New Zealand Prime Minister Slammed For Comparing Free Speech To ‘Weapons Of War’: ‘In Fact, Evil’
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron (out of frame) following talks on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 20, 2022.
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced condemnation after she compared online speech to a weapon of war during a speech at the United Nations this week.

“As leaders, we are rightly concerned that even those most light-touch approaches to disinformation could be misinterpreted as being hostile to the values of free speech we value so highly,” she claimed. “But while I cannot tell you today what the answer is to this challenge, I can say with complete certainty that we cannot ignore it. To do so poses an equal threat to the norms we all value.”

“After all, how do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble?” she continued. “How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists?”

“The weapons may be different but the goals of those who perpetuate them is often the same: To cause chaos and reduce the ability of others to defend themselves, to disband communities, to collapse the collective strength of countries who work together,” she added. “But we have an opportunity here to ensure that these particular weapons of war do not become an established part of warfare.”

Notable responses to Ardern’s remarks included:

  • Dan Bongino, political commentator: “One of the most dangerous speeches you’ll hear this year, or next. The liberal totalitarian impulse is increasingly evident.”
  • Adam Baldwin, actor: “Things nasty rhetorical radical communists say: ‘… the values of free speech that we [Leaders™] value so highly, but…'”
  • Bev Turner, media personality: “She doesn’t like ‘chaos.’ Remember the opposite of chaos is total control. As she says they have ‘weapons’ to tackle anything which challenges HER version of truth. She really is the worst type of totalitarian leader using the needs of the collective ‘for your own good.’ Terrifying.”
  • David Harsanyi, The Federalist: “Flat out authoritarian.” He added, “Good luck controlling the Internet, tho.”
  • Nick Searcy, actor: “Climate change has always existed, for millions and millions of years. Only in the last 100 years have evil communists claimed that they can control it in order to enslave the stupid idiots they can scare into believing them.”
  • Glenn Greenwald, journalist: “This is the face of authoritarianism – even though it looks different than you were taught to expect. And it’s the mindset of tyrants everywhere: This is someone so inebriated by her sense of righteousness and superiority that she views dissent as an evil too dangerous to allow.”
  • Ned Ryun, political commentator: “She’s an absolute authoritarian. In fact, evil.”
  • Nick Palmisciano, Diesel Jack Media CEO: “Yes, please bring on the government disinformation service. What could possibly go wrong? It’s not like we ever see government officials abuse their power to their own ends.”

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