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Friday, 19 October 2007

What we can learn from the police raids

The recent raids on various anarchist, environmentalist and Maori sovereignty activists of this week have thrown up some issues which its worth reflecting on.

The police allege that several activists up and down the country were involved in some kind of armed insurgency against the government. (Given the far left ideology these people hold this actually is not as surprising or far fetched as it seems. Marx taught that social change can only be brought about through armed revolution and advocated such revolution. Worldwide millions of people have died as a result of this belief. In fact the idea that force or violence against innocent people is justified to achieve social reform is at the heart of even moderate left wing thinking see here). These allegations by the police will be tested in a court of law at this early stage however the evidence for these allegations has not yet been provided. That’s because the trial is yet to happen. Hence it would be unwise and unjust to make a prouncement either way. Unlike what occurs in socialist regimes in NZ whether a person is guilty or innocent is determined by an impartial trial, according to evidence. We don’t use state owned media or the discretion of leftist news editors to determine these things. Nor do we use denouncement by a mob of people to determine these things.

Note however the reaction of many activists on the political left. They appear to not like this fact about our current society. Instead are condemning the police for racism, they are claiming that the state has unjustly persecuted groups working for social change. They claim arrests on flimsy evidence have been made to ensure the passing of anti-terror legislation. They are organising protests up and down the country to condemn the arrests. The problem is that no one has yet seen the evidence for the allegations. This should send a message to all loud and clear, these activists will condemn people are organisations for racism, without and before examining the evidence . They will support a group without examining the evidence about what that groups actions actually were. They will allege government conspiracies to suspend people’s civil liberties, without examining the evidence or before the evidence for this claim is clear.

Of course it’s possible that they are correct in these allegations and its also possible that they are not. If it turns out they are correct then this will mean NZ has to face some very unpleasant truths about our current government. It will be apparent that under our current left wing regime, we have a police force that will accuse people of terrorism, send armed police into their homes, search their property and arrest them with out any evidence whatsoever to assist the state in passing certain legislation. That will be very concerning. On the other hand if these activists are wrong, then it will reveal to us some unpleasant truths about far left activism in this country. That groups, many of which have preached armed revolution for years, actually mean what they say and intended to kill harm and maim New Zealanders.

The point is however at this stage we have insufficient evidence to know which of these scenarios are true. If these activists turn out to be correct, its not because they actually had evidence for these claims, it will be simply a fluke, a piece of luck. Although they will take credit for bringing this to NZ’s attention they will not deserve such credit All they brought forward was unwarranted speculation which just happened to turn out to be correct.

This brings us to what I think is worth noting here. Many activists on the far left in our country have demonstrated to all that evidence means nothing to them. They have made up their minds about what’s true and false regardless of what the evidence is, they will jump on band wagons make serious allegations accuse others of conspiracy racism, and protest when they have no evidential basis for what they say. There is a word for this, its called prejudice: judging a person or group as evil prior to any consideration of the evidence for and against them. There is also a word for people who express intolerance for others, and do so obstinately regardless of the evidence for or against. My dictionary states the correct English word for people who do this is “bigot”. There is also a word used for denigrating another’s character ( i.e. accusing him of racism, conspiracy, persecution of others etc) without evidence “slander”

I also want my readers to reflect on a couple of questions: What does the fact that a group of people will make accusations this serious about others before the evidence is in say about their integrity, their concern for other people, their commitment to truth and fairness? And what does the fact that a group will make public condemnations, protests and prouncements without any evidence say about their credibility?

I want you then to take a further action, remember these questions and the obvious answers to them next time you see the same people march down the street alleging a conspiracy of governments and big business to destroy the freedoms of the workers, Maoris and Gays. Or claiming that this event was really a conspiracy to get Oil. Remember it next time they make some allegation about another person being a racist or homophobe and remember it next time they make some condemnation prouncement or public condemnation. People who are not interested in the facts deserve to have no credibility.

I discovered at Uni that many segments of the far left in this country are a nasty group of malicious people who will lie, slander, and defame others, without any evidence at all to achieve their political goals. I also discovered that they frequently lies distort the truth, suppress or refuse to consider any evidence against their views they then whip up irrational mobs to repeat their slogans. In fact they tend to get very nasty and aggressive if counter evidence is provided. For example if say a PhD student ethics writes into a magazine and refutes their argument, they often respond with nasty puerile slander and abuse, but are unable to actually deal with the evidence provided.

This lesser known face of left wing activism is now there in public for all to see. Take a good look.


  1. Matt, much of what you say here is spot on, but weren't you arguing just a couple of weeks ago that it's possible to have knowledge without evidence...

    Worth thinking about, huh?

  2. PC

    Good point.

    My position is that *some* beliefs derive their justification by being inferred by argument from other beliefs *others* are known to be true immediately because they are evident or self evident to the person who has them. (I cant go into all the issues in a short response) The question then is in which category do beliefs about wether a person is innocent or guilty of a crime fit.

    That I think depends on the epistemic situation the believer is in. If I witness the crime first hand. I see it actually occurring, then I am happy to say that I can rationally believe this person is guilty without being able to prove it. I don’t need to prove it. I saw it. Moreover if I was with Tame Iti at 5 pm on wednesday and the police say he was in the Urewea's detonating bombs I know he is innocent of this crime, even if I cant prove it to others who were not there. However in cases where I did not see what occurred, then I think one does need proof before one can make a sensible judgement.

    In addition I think in this context there are, in addition to epistemological considerations attaching to beliefs moral duties viz a viz certain actions; for example a duty to not accuse another of a seriously immoral activity unless you can prove it which hold in addition to pure epistemological considerations.

    Now I think that most of these protestors are people who were not in a position to see whether or not crimes were committed (how could you see what a person did not do unless you know the exact time they were alleged to have done it and also were with them at that time) nor would they claim to have seen it. Its more based on certain bad inferences they have drawn, (i.e this activity occurred at the same time as Bill X is before parliament therefore it’s a conspiracy, or Tame Iti is a Maori, therefore its racist etc) Hence it’s a belief which is held on the basis of inferences and the inferences are clearly bad inferences and its known that various premises which are relevant to such inferences are unknown.

    I am willing to grant that a religious believer who was in an analogous situation to this who believed would be irrational. i.e. if there were moral duties not to profess a belief without evidence. The believer was not in a situation where certain beliefs could be evident to them and the believer did not claim to be but rather based his belief on bad arguments knowing that heaps of relevant facts necessary for coming to a correct conclusion were unknown.

    My point is that in many circumstances I don’t think religious believers are in these situations.


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