Chris Trotter is a funny political beast, he is firmly on the left and most of the time I find him quite despicable. After all I recently pulled to bits his bizarre Marxist view of democratic politics being "them" vs "us", the "moneyed" vs the "workers". I remember many years ago a bizarre column of his claiming that when Air NZ introduced business class on domestic flights (which has been gone now for 6 years but will be back in a different form from next year) it was a sign of a change in New Zealand - the class in front was "them" while "us" sat in the back. Sheer nonsense of course as mostly "them" were politicians. He has said that "we pay a toll for our comfortable lives" in that other people's kids get abused. He sung praises for Wolfgang Rosenberg, a supporter of Stalinist East Germany.
However this time he is on the side of freedom, or at least against those who were advocating fomenting violent revolution. His open letter to John Minto in the Sunday Star Times some weeks ago spoke volumes, he nailed his colours to the mast of liberal democracy. His closing statement made a fundamental point:
"Because in the course of the past month, John, I have heard you make many accusations, seen you point many fingers and hurl many fistfuls of abuse. But I have not heard one word from you about the right of a democratic society, such as ours, to be protected from people who think it's OK to run around the bush with semi-automatics and Molotov cocktails. People who think it's OK to train young Maori men to be bodyguards for the Americans in Baghdad. People who think it's OK to reach a level of preparation for organised political violence so alarming that New Zealand's most liberal police commissioner, ever, felt he had no choice but to launch "Operation Eight". Because it's NOT OK, John. Political violence in a functioning democracy is NEVER OK. And I want to hear you say it. "
See that? Political violence in a functioning democracy is never ok. So does John Minto reply yes or no? No, of course not. This self proclaimed champion of human rights, who blames the West for how Robert Mugabe (no doubt one of his pinups) is treating Zimbabwe, who also blames everyone but the perpetrators for torturing their own kids, likes political violence. Indeed he is an apologist for violence committed by anyone he sees as a victim - nice chap.
Minto's response starts by claiming, so innocuously that "groups involved in working for social change saw the long shadow of the state loom over them". Oh "working for social change", which in his world doesn't include libertarians, Christian conservatives or the Business Roundtable, no it is code for socialist Marxist groups. Minto only supports those wanting statist collectivist solutions. He trots out again the excuse that evidence was leaked, of course all of the evidence is now publicly available thanks to the internet - and it IS damning. So he ignores it, he prefers to attack the anti-terror legislation - he doesn't even respond to Trotter's comment. He doesn't condemn the ideas expressed by those accused - because Minto, like too many in the so called "peace" movement have no interest in peace, or non-violence. You see "peace" means surrender.
Minto, rightly, would argue that peace under apartheid was impossible, so it was legitimate to fight to overthrow it. However, he would also argue the same about any other conflict, according to the side he supports. He wouldn't support Palestinians ceasing hostilities in the West Bank and Gaza unconditionally - though he would support them waging war against Israel and overrunning it. He wouldn't support the USA destroying an Iranian nuclear weapon's facility, but he would support the USA abolishing its own while Iran does nothing.
Minto is a revolutionary, he cares little for rule of law under liberal democracy. Indeed, his sympathy for Robert Mugabe tells you much about where he comes from - he opposes capitalism, Western liberal democracy (unless it doesn't mean his side wins and gets what he wants) and supports political violence. If the evidence found by the Police proved to be substantial, Minto would say acts of terrorism committed by those with such views were "justified" or "understandable". He's no friend of freedom, he is a sympathiser of thuggery and brutality as long as it is for Marxists. His well known anti-apartheid views were correct, but he was, again, supporting Marxists against a brutal regime - he doesn't criticise the ANC now despite its rampant corruption and intolerance for criticism. However, it is clear what side he is on - the peace he argues for is AFTER the revolution.