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Karl du Fresne:-The snarling and hissing of the illiberal Left


Karl du Fresne writes:

(First published in The Dominion Post, March 9.)

It’s hard to imagine now, but censorship was a cause celebre in the 1960s and 70s.

The banning or restriction of movies, books and even records was never far from the headlines. Post-war liberalism was colliding head-on with traditional morality and the official censors were struggling to draw new boundaries between what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

The film censor featured in the New Zealand media so often in those days that he (it was always a “he”) became virtually a household name. Between 1957 and 1973, cuts were made to 37 per cent of films because of sex, violence or bad language.

Even without the film censor or Indecent Publications Tribunal standing over them, some government agencies took it on themselves to act as moral guardians – including the monopoly New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, which refused to play any record deemed subversive (for example, the pacifist protest song Eve of Destruction) or sexually suggestive (the Rolling Stones’ Let’s Spend the Night Together).

The whole piece deserves reading. du Fresne addresses the palpable shift from a more open society to the modern trend of groupthink, and oppression of thought in the name of freedom and tolerance. Indeed, we see an Orwellian future – it may well be with us. Part of this has been the charge into this abyss led by the left under the guise of being ‘progressive’ when they are at their most retrogressive and oppressive.

He concludes, somewhat too positively Adam considers:-

I wonder what the old-school liberal Left make of all this. It took generations for New Zealand to mature into a tolerant, liberal democracy and now it sometimes looks as if we’ve not only slammed on the brakes, but engaged reverse gear.

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