Not PC and Lindsay Mitchell both comment excellently on Chris Trotter's column (on Mitchell's blog), which paints an explicitly Marxist view of the debate on free speech and democracy. It is one that puts in stark reality what the view of those on the left is based on - one that should be a lesson to you all.
For Trotter it is "us" and "them". "Us" means the masses, the working classes, or as he would say those who are "obliged to earn a living by hiring ourselves out to the fortunate fifth". A view you'd find taught in Moscow 30 years ago. Those earning salaries could NEVER set up a business of their own could they? No. Indeed, those earning salaries are somehow inferior, at a disadvantage, though you might wonder if people didn't set up a business and didn't get a job, how Trotter would expect them to survive, except by the charity of others - or force (one he quite understands).
More telling is his view of "them". The "fortunate fifth". The despicable envy ridden venom for those who own more than others. You see if you save some of your salary, and set up a business, or make some investments, instead of drinking it, or spending it on consumption you are "fortunate". In the world of the Marxist success isn't something that everyone can aspire to if they work hard, apply their minds and try to get ahead - it is luck. It is clearly "luck" that such people are sought after by companies, not the fact that in most cases, hard work and intelligence get rewarded by those who value them. No, in Trotter's world it is binary.
"Them" own most things, it was luck they got it, and that is unfair isn't it? "Us", well we work for "them" increasing their wealth and they pay us a little to keep us going. See where this is heading? It is heading for the view that at the least, the state must exist to take from "them" to compensate "us" for the fact that "luck" bestowed property upon "them". At its worst it grants justification for the rivers of blood in revolution brought about by Marxists throughout the 20th century. After all, if you are taught that this is the way the world works, you might be angry and see the inequality in incomes and property as being unfair - not a simple reflection of the wide range of human abilities, intelligence, decisions made that were right and wrong, that those at either end of the "them" and "us" spectrum (rather than it being binary) may shift roles in our lives. More than one millionaire has ended up destitute or salaried, and vice versa.
For Marxists, the rich that have fallen are to be laughed at. The poor that have succeeded either better be engaging in significant amounts of charity and transfers, or are liars, cheats and have only succeeded through exploitation.
It is a fundamental bigotry against success - a bigotry that should be counter to human nature - imagine a civilisation that despises success. You don't have to imagine - go to North Korea, Cuba, look at China 1949-1979, Cambodia 1975-1979, "Myanmar", Albania 1945-1991, Romania 1947-1990, and on and on. It is a bigotry that at best stagnates and suppresses, with a little blood spilt from day to day (Cuba), at worst it murders en masse (China, Cambodia).
So this is how Trotter sees the debate - a debate about democracy. He sees democracy as only being legitimate when it grants the masses the right to say what he deems they would say if only they knew their best interests. These are leftwing views. He derides other views as those of the "owning classes". You wonder if he even thinks the "owning classes" should be allowed to participate. He knows if he said "no" he'd be walking right into the countries I listed above. After all, many communist states used the word "democratic" in their titles because they genuinely said they were "people's democracies" - "us" being represented by the communist party, in which case why represent "them" as they exploit, lie and cheat, so you only need one party to encompass the interests of "us". Trotter's view may perfectly align with the one party state.
However he isn't QUITE there yet. You see he also knows Labour swings from right to left, the 1980s being the period he despises most. He likes having the Greens and Maori Party keeping Labour honest with a leftwing perspective, and remember the Alliance which he credits as bringing Labour home. He also doesn't think you need you do away with liberal democracy to keep the left in power, you just need to regulate the expression of views of "them" by passing laws to ensure nobody can spend more money than "us" on that expression. Trotter's steady state democracy sees Labour permanently in power (pretty much), with the Greens and Maori Party keeping them there and honest. National permanently in opposition (by and large) and he'd just wish ACT would disappear, because that is "them" par excellence. He sees NZ First as representing a conservative version of "us", the one Rob Muldoon cultivated and which is long gone in National. Besides, Winston and Peter Dunne have been keeping "us" in power, so let's not get too upset (and both are one man ponies who are likely to retire in one or two elections).
Trotter also believes that, for all of his advocacy of "us" - most of "us" are really quite simple folk, bless them, salt of the earth I am sure. "Us" are easily swayed by lots of advertising, billboards, television, leaflets which advocate the election of "them", which criticises those who defend "us". In 2005 that's what happened. "Them" conspired, with a tiny religious sect (you can smell the evil), to produce billboards, leaflets and advertising that wasn't regulated or restricted enough. "Us" almost lost the election. Now "us" can't let "them" seduce the simple "us" to vote against their best interests can we? So we need a level playing field of advertising.
So the word "equality" is bandied about. Not actual equality mind you, he'd never expect Libertarianz and Labour to have the same amount of publicity - "don't be ridiculous", but enough to keep Labour and National on the same level. He says "them" want to "restrict ready access to effective mass communication technologies to people like THEMselves".
Funny how the argument to do the precise opposite is turned on its head - Marxists do that. However, his view is that such technologies aren't owned by the owners. He wants access to newspapers (which he actually has if he didn't notice it), broadcasting, forgets the internet is very much a free for all, forgets that anyone can publish leaflets, booklets and the like if they want - but hold on, what if you have MORE money. Ahhh, that's unfair. So he wants to restrict it. You see if you have the means and will to spend more money on political advertising than others, then you are one of "them" - which means you got the money from "luck" - and when you engage in politics you're ONLY going to express one political perspective.
You see, Trotter thinks "them" only want one thing - to use the state to defend the "them" and "us" system he has structured society and the economy into. So if you believe in "them" and "us" there are only two points of view. Therefore those with money want to use the state to advance themselves (ignoring that most advanced themselves in spite of the state!). We can't have the state advancing "them" can we? It's unfair. So that is why we need the EFB from his perspective.
Marxists want the EFB so "them" (people with money, who by definition got it by luck or exploitation) can't convince "us" (people without money, who are seduced by the advertising of "them" and don't know what's best for them, and who can't aspire to be one of "them", because "them" don't want it), to put "them" in power, defeating "us" (many of whom live and act like "them" but let's not mention that) in power. If "them" got in power they would use the state to make "them" richer and more powerful, and exploit "us" more and take away more of the "fair share" for "us". While "us" are in power, we'll take from "them" and look after "us". If we let "them" do as they wish, they would always be in power because most of "us" would be seduced by the advertising of "them".
It is a stark view of democracy that says most people are too stupid to know what is good for them and wont vote for their best interests, unless the views expressed at elections are in equal quantities - only then is it clear that they should vote for "us".
Arguments about freedom are meaningless in this world view. He sees those advocating freedom as "them" wanting freedom to not give "us" our share, and to exploit "us". Freedom for "us" is enough if you can protest and not get arrested, but that's it.
Of course, I wonder what category a man who has considerable access to all broadcast media and major print media would put himself in. He will claim to be one of "us", but how many of "us" have his power to influence? Or is it ok to be one of "them" in this situation. You know, a bit like how those high up the communist party would act and live like one of "them", but say if they didn't then the rest of "them" would get "us".
and in Australia, how come without such a law, it looks like "us" might beat "them"? Ah, but "them" have been in power for so long - they let "us" win for a term to remind us it's still democracy don't they?
Funny to be in the brain of a Marxist isn't it?