New Zealand Has a Chief Censor and He Decides What You Should Read and Send to Others

March 25, 2019
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After the horrible terrorist attack in New Zealand on March 15, the country’s knee-jerk reaction to an act of terror just keeps getting dumber and more dangerous than you could imagine. First, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that the country will be banning all semi-automatic weapons and confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens. Second, and I’ll be honest. Up until today, I had no idea that New Zealand had a government position called a Chief Censor. But today it was announced that David Shanks, who apparently acts as Chief Censor of New Zealand, has banned the 74-page manifesto, written and released by the suspect who committed the terrorist attack. Everyone who’s downloaded or printed it out should “destroy all copies.” Anyone who’s caught in possession of the manifesto faces up to 10 years in prison and anyone who’s caught sending the manifesto to someone else faces up to 14 years in prison!

Last week, I wrote quite a lengthy opinion post as a fact-check on the media’s selectiveness about the nature of the shooter’s motives and his supposed allegiance, as outlined in his manifesto. As I’ve previously said, I think it is important to know what is in the document, so that we know what to believe and what not to believe from the biased politicized media talking heads. That doesn’t mean that I support the contents of the manifesto. Read my post. I clearly do not. That also doesn’t mean that I support people sharing the document publicly and promoting it. Because I do not. That, however, also doesn’t mean that if I have the manifesto on my computer, an unelected dimwit should come up with a law that would put me or anybody else in prison for 10 years for the crime of reading and analyzing said document.

Outlawing books and writings has never been a positive good in history. As people, we’ve been through such times and they have never yielded positive results. Destroying the writings of somebody and most importantly, banning people from reading said writings is not the proper response to an act of evil. This is a clear infringement of free speech and is a very slippery slope that has always slipped further and further. This is just another tyrannical stupid knee-jerk reaction hiding behind the veneer of “safety.” 

Not to mention the entire idea of a country having a “Chief Censor” is authoritarian and beyond all comprehension when it comes to freedom of speech and expression. Can you imagine having a guy, probably non-elected and arbitrarily appointed by a bunch of bureaucrats, that receives the title Chief Censor? Put the terrorist’s manifesto aside, can you imagine having the Chief Censor regulate what book or writing or document you can or cannot read and/or have in your possession? Can you imagine that guy then sending the cops to your house so that you could be sent to prison for 10 years? Does that sound like free speech to you? Maybe tomorrow, Mr. Chief Censor is going to decide to ban all gun magazines or books about guns, or, let’s say, the true crime book genre as a whole. And why not? After all, if we’re going to ban and confiscate all guns, why would you need to read about guns anyway?

I want to make this clear. This is not a bash on the people of New Zealand. New Zealand may be a beautiful picturesque country nature-wise and I’m sure that New Zealanders are nice and welcoming people but policy-wise, it looks like it’s just another tyrannical place that is ruled by an unchecked authoritarian government that hates freedom.

That’s why, if you live in the United States, you should never take that for granted.

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