The real name of the anonymous blogger known as Idiot/Savant is a secret in the New Zealand blogosphere. I do not know the reasons why he chooses to hide behind a pseudonym, although there are many valid reasons why he might choose to. Simple privacy is reason enough.

However, Idiot/Savant’s real name and New Zealand residential address is known to Pacific Empire, and although I will not reveal it here, I would like to show you an aerial photograph of his house.

idiot-savant.jpg

Now this may seem like a breach of I/S’s privacy – and it would be, if I had actually revealed his name and address – but this information is no more than Idiot/Savant thinks is fair for others who choose to express their political opinions online.

The requirements for [complying with the Electoral Finance Act] were not onerous – adding a statement setting out his name and address – and would have historically been required if he had published his advertisement in any other medium. But apparently, that was too much for him, so instead he has chosen to play the martyr and silence himself instead.

This is not something anyone should have any sympathy for.

No, Idiot/Savant. It is your hypocritical position on free speech that no one should have any sympathy for.

Hypocrisy? Oh yes. When websites and website authors are threatened by governments overseas, such as in Malaysia, Idiot/Savant leaps to defend them:

At the same time, they’ve claimed that they are not trying to “strangle internet freedom”. Of course not. They’re simply trying to silence everyone who disagrees with them, which is of course completely different.

How insightful. Yet I/S thinks that the Electoral Finance Act shutting down a website because someone wishes to hold a political opinion anonymously is somehow NOT an attack on free speech.

As the Tui ads go, Yeah Right.

Hat tip: DPF

In the interests of fairness, here is an aerial picture of my own house.

14 Responses to “The Left Vs Free Speech”

Oh come on chaps, publish his name and address…lol

He is a socialist, so get stuck into him!

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That would be dirty politics, Elijah, the kind that make me want to quit the NZ political scene. What we’ve done here is simply demonstrate his hypocrisy. Just because he is a socialist is no reason to be mean and discourteous.

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The left-aligned Hutt 2020 party (aka Labour Party in drag) didn’t like a letter to the editor I wrote in the Hutt News denoucing their big spending plans at the last local elections.

Rather than rebutting my argument, the campaign manager responded by listing several features that easily identified my home and egged nutters on to vandalise the front fence.

But I got the last laugh, not a single one of their candidates was elected and one of them personally blamed me for their downfall!

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Thanks Michael, that is a perfect example of the ugly politics of exposing people’s personal details.

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Michael: that’s terrible. I hope you’ve got plenty of ideas for this years Hutt South campaign?

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Why is NRT still on our blogroll? I’m deleting it and replacing it with better links, like Poneke and Quest for Security.

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There’s a big difference between political commentary and a website which is specifically political advertising.

I personally think that the electoral commission should have the address details for ads, but I don’t think they need to be publicly known. As long as we have the name publicly stated on any web political advert, I would be satisfied.

Since Idiot Savant isn’t advertising, there is no need for anyone to know his address. Should he put up a big ad saying VOTE FOR… then I’m sure he would abide by the law.

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That is just creepy and a perfect illustration of why some people choose to remain anonymous online. Well done.

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“Innocent”: Why, thank you! I agree, it is a perfect illustration of how creepy it is that Andy Moore’s website could be shut down simply because he wanted a degree of privacy.

A degree of privacy which Idiot/Savant jealously guards for himself, yet would deny others – even though there is no substantive difference between what he and Andy do, i.e. express political opinions online.

Note that we have not revealed Idiot’s identity, nor threatened to. We do not hide behind the mask of anonymity, although we support everyone’s right to do so online. For that matter, we could have picked any closeup of houses on Google Maps and just said it included Idiot’s address (as it is, it could be any of about 25 houses in the photo).

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Luke, you have a very refined conception of moral nuance. Great play, great point.

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Well its not really that clever…you are perfectly entitled to express your political opinions online and anywhere else under the new law and to suggest otherwise is simply partisan grandstanding. If you want to engage in electioneering and solicit votes then that is different and you have to front up plain and simple. I don’t recall idiot campaigning for any party.

Quite aside from that, Andrew Moore openly flouted the law, baited the authorities and now he and much of the politial right are loudly playing the victim …excuse me for not being sympathetic.

We probably have hundreds of restrictions on free speech in our society – basically because that is the will of the political mainstream (and I don’t mean that in the Don Brash sense). Most voters (and even most national voters) simply do not believe in unrestricted free speech and the would find the idea (along with the rest of the ideas of the strange libertarian cult as loopy as I do). This doesn’t make us Zimbabwe or North Korea.

There is a lot not to like about the current government but you really need to get a sense of perspective here.

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Innocent bystander, you are right in that this is a rule which will affect only a few people in New Zealand this year, and then only when they are in a situation like Andy’s (don’t want to reveal their home address).

What is important is the cumulative effect of this law and the many others like it. Freedom does not go down screaming in a ball of fire, it dies because of a thousand tiny law changes which all take away a little bit of our freedom.

We are never going to be able to point to one law and say, this is where it happened; this is where NZ crossed the line and became a fascist communist state.

What we can do it hold up each little law as it becomes clear that it chips away at freedom of speech and make sure that everyone knows about it (even if they deny the cumulative effects of such laws).

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To add to Luke’s comments, I don’t think any restrictions on freedom of speech are justified. Maybe that makes me strange or loopy and not part of the political mainstream, but I believe that I should be able to shout my political opinions from the rooftops, buy $3000 billboards, advertise them in newspapers and all without fear of prosecution. Moreover I should be able to do all that anonymously if I want to. Free speech should be unconditional, not predicated on disclosing your name and address, submitting to an audit, getting a permit or anything else. At the moment the only ways you can express your political opinions anonymously and legally are by voting and blogging. And yes, the EFA covers all political expression, because the definition of election advertising has not been effectively narrowed from the original version, despite the removal of the “issue advertising” clause. The EFA also covers negative campaigning, so it would cover Idiot if not for the blog clause.

This doesn’t mean I want shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, making a credible death threat, deliberately lying to destroy a reputation, or making false claims about a product to be legal. You don’t have free speech on someone else’s property or on someone else’s website, and the other examples cover force or fraud, i.e. deliberate violations of rights to which the speech component is incidental.

BTW, when trying to persuade a libertarian the old “he knowingly broke the law and deserves to suffer the consequences” argument is just doomed to failure…

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[...] at The Standard, and the hypocrisy of the Left with regard to anonymity and privacy has not gone unnoticed in the [...]

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