VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto I

Having completed our reading of David Seymour’s Own Your Future, we now turn away from neoliberalism and have a look at anarcho-primitivism. The next subject of the VJMP Reads column will be Industrial Society And Its Future, otherwise known as the Unabomber Manifesto, by Ted Kaczynski.

Sent to the Washington Post in June of 1995, alongside a threat to kill more people with mailbombs if it was not published, the 35,000-word manifesto is broken down into 232 numbered paragraphs. These are grouped in short chapters, each with a subject heading.

The first of these groups is the Introduction. Kaczynski wastes no time shocking the reader: the first sentence is “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.” This section pulls no punches: Kaczynski is adamant that the effect of industrial society has been to increase the amount of human suffering, and that it will only get worse as society develops. The only solution is a revolution, which may or may not be violent.

Kaczynski then moves on to the psychology of modern leftism. He writes that “One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism,” which is curious if one thinks that this was written in before 1995, when ‘trans’ meant transvestite. What underlies modern leftism, Kaczynski states, are feelings of inferiority and oversocialisation. This ties in with the idea, expressed elsewhere by Nietzsche among others (such as VJM Publishing), that leftism is essentially a slave morality.

To elucidate further, these feelings of inferiority are a group of qualities such as self-hatred, low self-esteem, defeatism etc. that are not only shared by modern leftists but which have collectively come to shape the course of history. Kaczynski is extremely insightful when he points out that the people who most angrily take offence at politically incorrect statements are those from privileged families. Leftists are also dishonest. They are outraged when a Western country performs a certain action but are indifferent when a Third World or socialist country does so.

Leftists identify intensely with anyone weak, repellent or otherwise inferior, hence they take offence on their behalf. They hate anything good and successful. This makes them feel like losers, so that they have no faith in their own personal ability to provide. As a consequence, they become collectivists. They hate science and rationality because these mindsets consider some ideas superior and others inferior. Leftists hate that, because of their fear of being judged inferior. They hate IQ tests for similar reasons.

Oversocialisation is an extreme form of the process that psychologists describe when they explain how children learn to conform their behaviour to the demands of society. The difficulty with the current world, Kaczynski has it, is that has become so complicated that no-one can act morally anymore. Oversocialisation is the process whereby leftists, “In order to avoid feelings of guilt, […] continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin.”

Oversocialised leftists tend to be intellectuals or members of the upper-middle class. What they like to do is to take accepted moral principles, declare them as their own, and then accuse society of violating them. Leftists do not rebel by violating society’s principles, but they express their hostility by accusing society of not living up to them. Their hypocrisy is evident when they claim to support black people, but then insist that these black people live up to the values of the industrial-technological society that imprisons them.

Today’s society seeks to socialise us more than any previous society. As a consequence, oversocialisation has affected us more than ever before. These problems of the leftist are problems of our entire society in microcosm.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Bob McCoskrie Is An Absolute Fuckwit

Giving Bob McCoskrie a national platform to rant about “dope” and “Big Marijuana” is like giving your granddad a national platform to rant about Islanders after he’s had a few sherries on Boxing Day. Stuff did it anyway. This column will have a look at McCoskrie’s screed of fuckwittery, with the intent of responding to his shamelessly dishonest rhetoric with some facts.

One can guess from the title of the article (“Legalised dope is a licence for Big Marijuana to exploit young people”) that it is going to be crudely dismissive of the wishes of the New Zealand cannabis community. To have an article with the word “dope” in the headline is like publishing an anti-immigration opinion piece that had the word “niggers” in the headline. He has blatantly chosen the most inflammatory possible term to describe cannabis, one that associates cannabis use with brain damage.

In this piece, McCoskrie recounts his observations from a recent trip to Colorado, one that he undertook to “see first-hand the effects of legalising marijuana”.

His second paragraph mentions “a money-making industry of lobbyists and special interest groups putting profits over evidence-based policy protecting public health and safety, and ready to flout and challenge any regulations,” with the implication that this describes the industrial cannabis lobby, but this description more aptly fits the alcohol and timber industry lobbyists who agitated to make cannabis illegal in the first place.

McCoskrie gets hysterical about the high THC content of the cannabis products he spies in the Colorado “dope shops”, but the facts are that a high THC product actually makes the product safer. Like the fuckwit he is, McCoskrie is thinking about THC as if it was alcohol, so that a high-THC cannabis edible is somehow functionally equivalent to an absinthe or similar.

No-one has ever died of a THC overdose, so comparing it to high-proof alcohol is nonsense. Unlike alcohol, which kills people in New Zealand every weekend, cannabis doesn’t kill anyone. The most dangerous thing about cannabis is probably the long-term effects of regularly smoking it – and these are completely avoided by the edibles and vaporises that McCoskrie rants about. In other words, what he is railing against are the signs of people using cannabis more safely and responsibly to minimise harm.

Some of the paragraphs in this article are “Old man yells at cloud” level, and the reader can’t help but to wonder if McCoskrie has some kind of senile dementia that has caused him to see things that aren’t there. He decries people in Colorado “popping a handful of Gummi Bears containing 10 times the legal limit of THC per serving,” but there is no legal limit of THC per serving, any more than there is a legal limit of caffeine per serving. The sentence is simply nonsense.

McCoskrie is so hysterical that at some points in his screed he becomes completely detached from reality. The worst example is when he cites the existence of cannabis suppositories as proof that cannabis producers are deliberately targeting their product at the young. In fact, the vast majority of people who use cannabis suppositories are elderly ones who cannot use other route of administration because of the complications of old age. Perhaps McCoskrie should have tried a few while he was over there?

It’s noteworthy that at no point in his travels through Colorado did McCoskrie see anything untoward happen on account of cannabis legalisation. He talks about the terrible panoply of cannabis-related products as if it were Weimar Republic pimps selling children on a Berlin street, but can’t recall seeing any notable level of crime in Colorado or any homelessness in the streets, or any sign of social decay. This is striking, considering that the state legalised cannabis four years ago, which is easily enough time for anything of that nature to have occurred. McCoskrie is just a wowser.

No anti-cannabis rant would be complete without employing the slippery slope fallacy, and McCoskrie duly gives us the line “they will want legalisation not just of this drug but all drugs – cocaine, heroin, P”. By this he somehow draws a connection between people who want access to medicinal cannabis and people who go on methamphetamine benders, when the two people could hardly be more different.

It’s exactly this kind of rhetoric conflating people who need medicinal cannabis with reckless criminals that fuels the War on Drugs, which means that McCoskrie must share some blame for the suffering caused by cannabis prohibition. It’s because of people like him that people like Helen Kelly have to suffer needlessly as they die.

Predictably, McCoskrie gets savaged in the comments below the article. What he is writing might have been considered mainstream conservatism 40 years ago, but now it goes down about as well as other conservative ideas from 40 years ago, like whipping up hysteria about white people and Maoris sleeping with each other. It’s apparent from reading this article that McCoskrie doesn’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about, and is panicking for no good reason.

The only thing this piece can be compared to is a sermon by a Third World religious fundamentalist, who has travelled to the West and seen dancing and intermingling between unmarried youths and shit their pants. McCoskrie is a religious fundamentalist – his Family First lobby group want to recriminalise prostitution and further restrict alcohol. Essentially, they are theocrats, and McCoskrie wants to prohibit cannabis for the same reason that the rulers of places like Iran and Saudi Arabia do.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Alchemical Gold, Gold Magic and Gold Magicians

In alchemism, the Elementary Masculine Perspective divides reality into four elements of increasing value: clay, iron, silver and gold. Previous articles looked at alchemical iron and alchemical silver, what they represent, and what sort of person embodies them. This article looks at the fourth of the four masculine elements: the radiant and enigmatic substance known as gold.

The primary masculine division is into precious and base. The secondary masculine division is the further division of the base, as well as the further division of the precious into silver (colourless precious) and gold (colourful precious), with the latter more precious than the former.

That gold is shiny and colourful means that it represents the highest frequency of all, namely that of God, that which makes all things possible. The chemical symbol ‘Au’ comes from the Roman word aurum, which shares a root with the modern word aura. It was believed that the substance possessed an aura such that it was holy, or from God.

Elementary alchemy has it that the division between yin and yang can be represented as the division between clay and iron, with the first passive and soft and the second active and unyielding. Silver relates to a balance of iron and clay that is more correct for the current situation than either extreme, and represents how according with the World of Forms is more valuable than simply being an animal.

Gold is a second order of balance, between and beyond all of silver and clay and iron. What this means is that gold is unafraid to act as pure iron or pure clay, should the situation demand it. This makes it different to silver, which attributes value to the middle ground between the feminine extreme of clay and the masculine extreme of iron, and which is reluctant to act as either.

Silver is prone to a particular form of the balance fallacy called the Conceit of Silver. Essentially this means that silver always believes that it’s of the highest value (i.e. that it is of gold). Gold is willing to place itself below silver – and that is precisely why it is more valuable than silver. Gold is without ego.

Gold represents a kindness that none of the other elements are capable of. Silver is too conceited, iron too harsh and clay too soft. This kindness is something extremely valuable, because without it this world is something of a hell. It is why Aleister Crowley was impelled to write “Love is the law, Love under Will.”

Kindness given of the free will of the giver, and not to secure some future advantage, is real gold, and invaluable. Without it, nothing else in this world can have any real value, for gold gives meaning to things.

Being the most malleable of all metals, gold is softer than both silver and iron. This relates to the fact that it is also the most expansive. One gram of physical gold can be beaten out into a sheet a square metre in size; by similar means, a tiny amount of alchemical gold is enough to make a tremendous number of things possible. Therefore, gold is pliable enough to achieve things that silver cannot (much less iron or clay).

Gold relates to the widest, broadest, most fundamental and most deeply hidden knowledge. It is the esoteric to the exoteric of silver. Knowledge of gold is knowledge of the metaphysical fundamentals, what Plato called the World of Forms. Silver is knowledge of the material world; gold is knowledge of the immaterial. Silver is knowledge of the current state of affairs; gold is knowledge of the eternal.

Metaphorically, gold refers to that of the greatest value. No element is more valuable than gold: therefore, gold is perfection. Gold also relates to God, which is to say that it cannot be described, on account of being more fundamental than language. It is consciousness to the intellect of silver, the muscles of iron and the viscera of clay.

Gold magic relates to a person’s frequency of consciousness. If a person can overcome suffering and come out the other side neither pacified nor cruel, then it can be said that they are in possession of spiritual gold. A human being that has never suffered will be something like the silver. One who has suffered and become cruel as a result is like the iron, and one that has suffered and become meek is like the clay. To remain kind even when one has suffered is like the gold.

Psychological and spiritual healing fall under the rubric of gold magic. Successful gold magic will induce a depressed person to be more happy, an anxious person to be calm, and a despairing person to find meaning. Silver cannot do any of those things because its nature is cold and austere. Silver cannot impress with warmth of kindness. Gold causes those suffering in its presence to feel that everything is going to be okay.

This an esoteric quality possessed by gold magicians. You could never trust a person who said that they were a gold magician, and any gold magician would know this, and therefore they would never say it. Anybody claiming to be a gold magician could be confidently said to actually be a silver magician, because a real gold magician wouldn’t go around bragging about how wonderful they were – they would be content that their behavioural example was such that they would be sufficiently rewarded.

The presence of alchemical gold is felt on such a fundamental level that it causes its possessor to radiate warmth. Unlike silver, which can be measured in IQ tests and university achievements, gold cannot be measured. This is a feature of its divine origin. It can only be sensed – and some people sense its presence where others do not, which is another reason why it defies description.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Why There’s Nothing, Fundamentally, To Be Afraid Of

Some people wonder why the great sages, such as Buddha, are always depicted smiling. It seems like there’s some great and uplifting secret that they are privy to, knowledge of which has liberated them from all the suffering in the world. Buddha knew a great many things. One piece of knowledge he shared with Alan Watts: that there’s nothing, fundamentally, to be afraid of.

Essentially there is no reason to ever worry or to feel bad about things that might happen in the future. This seems like an article of faith, and perhaps an irrational one, until one looks at the philosophy behind it.

Most people think that they know what lies in store for them as a human being on this planet. That they will die, and suffer as they do so. What lies in store is growing older, more tired, more decrepit, and eventually more sick, until a major organ fails and one dies painfully. Probably this death will be preceded by several decades of increasing pain in joints and muscles, as well as eyesight, hearing, bowel and bladder failure, and maybe even a stroke or two.

It follows from this that life itself is suffering, and increasingly so as one ages. We can conclude that we know we’re going to die, and that this death is going to be painful. Therefore, we know that an attitude of apprehension and even fear towards the future is rational. This is why almost everyone has one – we know that the future brings immense suffering.

But do we really know this?

One knows that one is conscious. Thinking about it, it’s possible to realise that this is all one really knows. This is the one and only single fact that one can ever state with certainty. Everything else is a matter of probability, even questions like “Will the Sun rise tomorrow?”. It’s not certain that the Sun will rise tomorrow, because the Earth could be destroyed at any time by a comet, rendering the question of sunrise meaningless.

Because nothing else can be known, nothing else can be stated as an eternal fact about reality. Only the fact that one is conscious can be stated as such. All else belongs to the category of contents of consciousness, which is to say that all else is merely “things that one is aware of”. These phenomena are not facts in the same way that one can state “I am conscious” as a fact. Rather, they are probabilities.

Let’s say that life is suffering. Fair enough, life is suffering, and it gets worse until the physical body dies. So what? There is no reason to think that one will still be aware of the suffering of one’s physical body after its expiration. One is conscious now, and one is conscious of a physical body, and this physical body suffers – so what?

There is no reason to think that consciousness is still aware of the suffering of the physical body after death. Indeed, consciousness might then become aware of a new body, or might dream up something else entirely. Therefore, any physical suffering can never be any more permanent than any other phenomenon of Nature, such as the ebb and flow of the tides. Birth, death, doesn’t matter: all is just an oscillation from pain to pleasure, with high points and low points.

For this reason, there is no need to fundamentally be afraid of the decay and death of one’s physical body. There’s every reason to think that on the other side of death is the absence of all suffering, and all pain is just a shadow of death. All suffering is an effect of material phenomena, which are all transitory in nature. If there is no reason to fear death, then there is no reason to fear pain either. All suffering will pass.

Note that the argument here is that there is nothing fundamentally to be afraid of. There might be plenty of things to be superficially afraid of – death and pain being the foremost of these. It makes sense to be afraid of getting hit by a train, not because the consequences of getting hit by a train would be permanent, but because one has a role to play here in this dimension of reality in which we find ourselves, and one’s role is (in all likelihood) one that avoids getting hit by trains. Not to be fundamentally afraid does not imply that one ought to behave recklessly or without regard for one’s physical well-being.

There is no reason, fundamentally, to be afraid of anything, because all suffering is a phenomenon that will pass. We do not need to be afraid of pain merely because pain is painful – this is sufficient reason for pain to be avoided, but not for it to be feared. We can appreciate that pain, like all natural phenomena, comes and goes, and that we remain the observer of it, as we remain the observer of all material phenomena.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis Is Not A Gateway Drug

A common argument for cannabis prohibition asserts that cannabis is a gateway drug, in that using it inevitably leads people to using harder and harder drugs. The idea is that we need to keep cannabis illegal so as to keep people off the pathway that leads people onto truly destructive substances. As this article will examine, there is a modicum of truth to the gateway effect, but not in the way it’s usually presented.

The usual way that the gateway drug theory is portrayed is as follows. An individual tries cannabis for the first time, and experiences a cannabis high. This is a pleasurable sense of peace and euphoria that the user decides they want to have again. So they try cannabis again, and have a good time again. So they use it some more, and soon find that they need more and more of it to get the same level of hit.

Eventually the user is addicted to cannabis. After a while, cannabis is no longer able to do the job. At this point the drug user naturally comes to seek out harder drugs, such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, in the hope of getting a chance to relive the original amazing high that cannabis gave them. For some reason, the idea that cannabis use leads to heroin use is particularly prevalent in some circles, especially among the elderly (which reveals that the genesis of the gateway drug theory is in old-fashioned superstition).

The logic is that cannabis prohibition should prevent people from getting exposed to that initial cannabis high, by way of making the substance harder to get hold of. The harder it is to get hold of, the fewer people get addicted, and so the fewer people who seek out really hard and destructive drugs. Therefore, cannabis prohibition protects people from the harmful effects of, for example, methamphetamine or heroin addiction.

The reality is that the gateway effect is a phenomenon that is caused entirely by cannabis prohibition, and which would mostly disappear if there was cannabis law reform, except for in the case of people who have a deathwish.

Many drugs are illegal. Of those, cannabis is particularly badly suited to serving as a contraband substance. It has a strong smell, is bulky and doesn’t generate much raw profit if one considers how much time and expense goes into cultivating, transporting and storing it. Most other contraband substances are much easier to deal with and more profitable, especially those of the powdery kind.

For this reason, many unscrupulous cannabis dealers use cannabis as a kind of lure, by which customers can be induced to buy more profitable (and/or addictive) substances. It’s common in New Zealand for cannabis dealers to suddenly “run out” of cannabis when a particular customer comes around, only to offer a hit of methamphetamine by way of compensation. If the customer decides that they do like it (and this is very common), the dealer is right there to sell them a point bag.

When the would-be cannabis user is then hooked on methamphetamine, they are much more profitable than they would have been if the only other option was to sell them an ounce of weed every two weeks or so. A person who is into methamphetamine is able to burn through thousands of dollars in a week. A dealer can potentially make twenty times as much money selling methamphetamine to a person than they could selling cannabis.

So the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug is untrue. There is such a thing as the gateway effect, but this only exists because of prohibition, in particular because of the opportunity that prohibition creates for drug dealers to get naive cannabis-seeking customers hooked on harder drugs. Far from being a gateway drug which leads to people recklessly doing coke, crack, meth, smack and anything else they can find in search of a buzz, cannabis has shown promise as an exit drug for conditions like heroin addiction and even alcoholism.

If cannabis was legal, people who want to use it could simply go to a cannabis cafe or cannabis store, buy their sativa or indica as desired, and then go home without being exposed to methamphetamine or heroin or anything else. A clerk at a cannabis store is no more likely to offer the customers methamphetamine than a bartender would. After all, they already have a steady and secure income through selling a legal drug to a set market, so why would they want to screw that up?

The truth is that cannabis prohibition forces people into the arms of criminals. This is the true causal origin of the gateway effect. Repealing cannabis prohibition would mean that the people who want to buy cannabis don’t need to encounter criminals in order to so, and consequently never get exposed to a dealer offering to sell them a truly destructive drug.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The New Zealand Student Media is Just as Gutless as the Mainstream Media

It’s rare for a Kiwi to look towards the New Zealand media establishment with reverence or even anything approaching respect, on account of that the profession is little more than a bunch of corporate whores cheerleading for neoliberalism. Even so, it is sometimes astonishing to learn quite how gutless the New Zealand media is, as local anarchist Rick Giles found out earlier this week.

The depths to which the New Zealand yellow press is willing to sink can be observed by the treatment of Giles by Auckland radio station bFm. bFM had Giles on their live show, where he was interviewed by Laura Kvigstad. The segment was called “Anarchy in Aotearoa” and featured Kvigstad and Giles talking about Giles’s interest in anarchy and some of the realisations that had led him to anarchism, and some of the things that anarchism had led him to believe.

This was a part of a wider series called “Wire Worry Week”, which was a week at bFM dedicated to “focusing on the concept of anti government; expanding upon how movements that have worked against governmental systems have influence on the current state of the world.” Giles, as the man behind AnarKiwi, was invited onto the show to speak freely about his political opinions. Readers can listen for themselves to decide whether Giles said anything genuinely worthy of specific repudiation.

In response to – presumably – the shrieking of upper-middle-class Social Justice Warriors all over Auckland, bFM made the following statement:

NB: Following the broadcast of this interview it has come to 95bFM’s attention that the subject of this interview, Rick Giles, espouses political and historical views that the station finds particularly unsavoury. We will not be removing or editing the interview, but wish to make it clear to all listeners that 95bFM does not support or align itself with the personal politics of the interviewee. Our decision to provide Mr. Giles a platform during a week-long discussion on anti-government movements was one that, with hindsight, would not have survived greater scrutiny and vetting process. The station, its volunteers and wider associates do not wish to endorse Mr. Giles’ particular brand of historical revisionism in any way, shape or form and we sincerely apologise for any concern or aggravation caused via our negligence in this case.

It is an incredibly pathetic measure for a radio station to go to these lengths to repudiate a New Zealand intellectual who is guilty only of wrongthink. So gutless are bFM that even when they decide to specifically give a platform to the counterculture they can’t bring themselves to allow alternative points of view to pass without condemnation. Even worse, they are not even decent enough to say exactly which of Giles’s political opinions were so heinous as to be worthy of deplatforming.

What’s hilarious is that you know if Hillary Clinton wanted to appear on bFM to speak to the students of Auckland, they would fall over themselves to provide her a platform, despite that she has killed at least 2,500 more people than Giles, and that’s only counting one of her many crimes. After all, they’re happy to happy to give Peter Dunne a platform, despite the fact that the lies he told about cannabis and about synthetic drugs are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of young Kiwis.

The really terrible part about all of this is that bFM, and by extension the University of Auckland, have failed in their primary purpose of being a university. The primary purpose of a university is to provide a safe space for free-thinkers to discuss ideas that might otherwise be too controversial to discuss in public, on account of that the public would chimp out upon being asked to consider (not accept, just consider) some of the assertions that are necessary to discuss such things.

Apparently the fashionable trend in mainstream media circles right now is to take the exact opposite approach to VJM Publishing; we believe that dialogue is the way to destroy ignorance. The mainstream media don’t care about ignorance; they believe that destroying dialogue and virtue signalling is the way to greater profits. bFM, by making a statement repudiating Giles, are simply learning how to be good, obedient corporate whores. This is, after all, what they will be after graduation.

Part of being a corporate media whore is deplatforming anyone not part of the Establishment (such as Giles) while happily platforming anyone who is part of the Establishment, no matter how many people have died as a result of their negligence or dishonesty (such as Dunne). bFM are willing to give a platform to a Government agent whose ham-fisted cruelty caused New Zealanders to die, but Giles is “particularly unsavoury”.

What bFM did to Rick Giles is a microscopic example of what the mainstream media does to New Zealand all day, every single day. They take uncontroversial ideas, and they sell them as rebellious and controversial so that the desire of some individuals to portray themselves as free-thinkers can be satisfied. In every case, genuinely controversial ideas are ignored as “loony” and their purveyors deplatformed, as happened to Giles. They are a pack of absolute fucking whores, and the alt-media will continue to be a thorn in their side.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future XII (incl. Summary)

This reading carries on from here.

The eleventh, and final, chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Treaty of Waitangi’. Given eight pages at the back of the book, it’s hard to imagine that Seymour takes this issue very seriously. One gets the feeling that it will be a quick virtue signal with one quiet mention of the Resource Management Act and that would be it.

He starts with a story about how the elders at the Te Tii Marae preferred him to the Green Party MPs at a Waitangi gathering on account of that he knew his Ngapuhi genealogy. Dismissing the Green MPs as “up themselves”, he is very much the hero of this story.

True to form, he then launches into the virtue signalling, being careful to place a macron over the a in ‘Maori’ and pushing a warm, fuzzy, globohomo vibe about how much he loves Maori culture. Seymour comes across as revoltingly dishonest and shallow here, considering that his ACT Party supported the Fifth National Government in its destruction of the Maori people. Politicians demand to be judged on their words, not their actions, like all hypocrites.

What Seymour writes here isn’t unreasonable on the face of it. It’s certainly true that many of the land confiscations made by the New Zealand Government were done so on spurious grounds, often outright false, and it is not reasonable for the beneficiaries of this process to get away with it scot free.

The problem is that the same logic can justify a great many other things. What Seymour and his kind like to call “profit”, others like to call “wage theft”. So if it’s true that “if you take something that is not yours, you should give it back” – which is apparently an ACT Party principle – then are the New Zealand working class owed some of their past production that was taken off them in the form of company profits? Why are wages dwindling relative to the cost of living? Seymour doesn’t seems to care about that side of things.

Indeed, the first mention of the RMA comes four pages in. Here, Seymour objects to the idea that local iwis might be allowed to object to land developments under the RMA. This, he cautions, leads to the possibility of Maoris being given a special class of citizenship. So Seymour is happy to virtue signal about how important Maoris and Maori culture are, he just doesn’t want to pay anything extra for it.

Laying down his neoliberal credentials harder than anywhere else in the book, Seymour declares that “New Zealand at its best” can be found at a citizenship swearing-in ceremony, where a bunch of people from other nationalities can be found “uniting as true Kiwis”. Not for Seymour the argument that a true Kiwi is someone who has roots in the country, or someone who can tell stories about his ancestors and their childhoods in the country. Kiwiness is merely another commodity to be bought and sold.

We could bet money that Seymour would profoundly disagree with this article about how being a Kiwi is a matter of the depth of one’s roots in the country.

He is, however, correct when he points that that Maoris have not actually benefit from all the special treatment of the last decades, and in some major measures (such as home ownership) have actually lost ground. He further makes a good point when he mentions that the problems faced by Maoris are the same problems as faced by all New Zealanders to a greater or lesser extent.

In summary, Own Your Future is a terrifying vision of how money and virtue signalling can matter more than heritage, blood links or any other basis for solidarity. David Seymour is the High Priest of New Zealand Neoliberalism, proudly carrying on the ACT tradition of valuing money more than people. He follows Rodney Hide, Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas in the ideology that everything in the nation can be packaged up and bought and sold for cash, people just as well as timber and lamb chops.

In this sense, he is unrepentant: he believes that New Zealand has a moral obligation to take care of foreign refugees out of general taxation money, but has no such moral obligation to take care of its own poor, even though many of them were created by the horrors of neoliberalism, the very same political philosophy he espouses in this book. Own Your Future stands out, even by the standards of political treatises, as an example of absolutely shameless virtue signalling.

Despite this, he makes several very good points about government overreach, especially with regards to its failed War on Drugs. He isn’t wrong when he points out that unnecessary taxation sucks energy unnecessarily from people, and although Seymour could never be a Georgist, he is correct when he labours the link between capitalism, innovation and prosperity. Perhaps, for that reason, there is merit in having an ACT Party seat in Parliament.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Black Caps in the United Arab Emirates 2018, Second ODI Preview

The BetFair odds have narrowed since the Black Caps’ emphatic 47-run win in the first ODI, a win that included a Trent Boult hat trick. Surprisingly, though, they are still the underdogs, paying $2.26 on BetFair in the second ODI starting midnight tonight in Abu Dhabi. History suggests that this is an excellent bet – New Zealand have won their last 12 ODIs against Pakistan and won the last one with comfort.

The Black Caps will see little reason to tinker with what was a solid and effective side in the first ODI.

The core batting axis of Munro-Williamson-Taylor-Latham did the job for New Zealand, scoring 204 of the team’s 266 runs. Ross Taylor averages 61 against Pakistan and is a rock at No. 4, while Tom Latham averages 45 from his last 20 ODI matches. He struck at 106 over the course of his 68 in the first ODI, and will look to be positive again because of the expected need for high scoring from the middle order in next year’s Cricket World Cup in England.

However, the junior batsmen were poor. George Worker, Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme contributed one run between them, which meant that the bowlers had to finish the job of getting them over the line.

Worker is in the side as an injury replacement for Martin Guptill, and so the problem of weakness at opener will solve itself, but Black Caps coach Gary Stead will be concerned about that middle-order weakness as well. The balance of the side might demand that the Black Caps choose a batsman at 6 who is a more accomplished hitter than Nicholls.

Glenn Phillips is a major contender for this role, but his returns in the T20 series and in the A series before that were poor. Corey Anderson is another option, and he was excellent here for the Black Caps in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, but has been unfortunate with injury.

As far as the bowling is concerned, far too much is riding on Trent Boult.

Questions must continue to be asked about Tim Southee’s place as the opening bowler of the ODI side. Since the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Southee has averaged 43.34 with the ball, taking 43 wickets from 38 games. He neither swings nor seams the ball to any real extent, and neither is he fast or accurate. By contrast, Trent Boult has averaged 24.70, taking 79 wickets from 40 games.

Matt Henry has taken 39 wickets from his last 20 games at an average of 23.82. Incredibly, Henry only played 4 ODIs in the whole of 2017, which makes his lack of gametime seem like an appalling waste on the part of the Black Caps coaches. Dropping Southee and replacing him with Henry seems like a slam-dunk decision that would give the Black Caps the most dangerous new ball pair outside of India.

The Black Caps appear extremely vulnerable if Trent Boult doesn’t knock the top off the opposition batting order. Lockie Ferguson is a gun bowler and is improving steadily (16 wickets at 23.56 from his last 10 games), but doesn’t yet have the ability to threaten that even Henry has, much less Boult.

With Southee ineffective and de Grandhomme a true part-timer, this means that the only other attacking option is Ish Sodhi. Sodhi is a good bowler and is improving steadily – he has taken 17 wickets at 30.00 from his last 10 ODI matches. The question is whether he can pose enough of a threat with the ball for the Black Caps to not always lose the middle overs.

The big risk is that Pakistan will easily be able to consolidate once Boult finishes his first spell, because there is little threat from the rest of the bowlers. Pakistan had a century stand for the 7th wicket, and the Black Caps should rightly be worried about their ability to finish a game off.

Black Caps (probable):

1. George Worker
2. Colin Munro
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Tom Latham (wk)
6. Henry Nicholls
7. Colin de Grandhomme
8. Tim Southee
9. Ish Sodhi
10. Lockie Ferguson
11. Trent Boult

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Raises Prices But Also Raises Incentive to Supply

One of the most common arguments for cannabis prohibition is a microeconomic one. The idea is that making cannabis illegal makes it more expensive, which means less people can afford to use it, which means the harmful effects of cannabis use are minimised. The logic is that people won’t be able to afford to harm themselves. As this article will show, this argument, common though it is, is mistaken.

If one assumes that cannabis use is inherently harmful, then one appears to have a clear-cut case for reducing the amount of suffering in the world by making it illegal (that cannabis is not inherently harmful is another argument, and will not be considered here). Making it illegal means that only the black market is able to supply it, which means that the end user has to pay a risk premium that takes into account the cost of Police harassment of the cannabis grower, and the inefficiencies that this harassment introduces into the growing process.

This risk premium makes cannabis more expensive, because the end user has to pay for all of the product confiscated by Police, or stolen by other criminal actors, or which was never grown because the size of the grow room was limited by the need to keep it clandestine. All of these factors serve to drive the price of cannabis up, which – according to the law of supply and demand – serves to reduce cannabis use.

The mathematics checks out. However, the core economic argument that cannabis prohibition reduces harm by disincentivising people from buying cannabis falls down, for a number of reasons.

It is true that prices fall sharply when cannabis becomes legal. The average price of an ounce in Colorado is NZD259, which means that it has fallen almost by half since legalisation took place. Websites that track the price of cannabis across various American states show that the price has fallen as low as NZD100 an ounce in places like Washington, where it is both legal and where the ability to supply is relatively unconstrained.

It isn’t true that this fall in prices leads to more use. Surveys in Washington have found that teen rates of cannabis use remained the same after cannabis legalisation. It is also noteworthy that teen rates of cannabis use in Holland are unremarkable in any sense. These surveys reveal that cannabis prohibition does not deter use.

In any case, the most important question to be asked about the high prices of cannabis caused by prohibition is this: who is getting all the money? In the same way that alcohol prohibition made Al Capone and his fellow Chicago gangsters rich, so too does cannabis prohibition funnel consumer wealth into the hands of the black market. This inevitably means criminal gangs, most of whom are deeply unpleasant people who are using the money to fund enterprises that genuinely do cause mass human suffering.

Once criminal gangs start getting involved in the cannabis trade, it means that there is going to be a lot more violence than if they weren’t involved. The black market means fighting for drug turf, which means intimidating other members of the black market away from certain territories through violence and the threat of violence. It means murders, kidnappings, gun violence, and all manner of other low-rent behaviours that lower everyone’s quality of life.

High cannabis prices incentivise all of this. The higher the cannabis prices are, the stronger the pull of the black market for cannabis on the various shady operators out there. Not only that, but the higher the stakes, the more ruthlessly people are willing to behave in order to secure a share of the profits. No-one is going to kill anyone else over the right to sell cannabis for $75 an ounce.

So the fact is that, in the final analysis, the economic equation balances out. The higher the price of cannabis, the lower the demand, true – but the higher the price, the higher the incentive to get into the black market opportunities for cannabis. If you are a criminal, and you don’t want to work, then growing some cannabis to sell to 15-year olds at $400 an ounce seems like an attractive proposition. If those 15-year olds are happy to wait until they’re 18 to buy it legally at $150 an ounce, well then you’re shit out of luck.

Cheap, legal cannabis would take a large slice of the black market, and render all criminal action in that slice uneconomic. This has several advantages, the foremost of which is that criminals can’t make as much money out of cannabis as before and therefore do not dominate the market. Another advantage is that people will be consuming a much higher grade of cannabis once it’s grown by professional horticulturalists and not gang members, and they will be able to do so more safely.

Cannabis ought to be made legal in order to disincentivise criminal actors from moving into the black market for it. Cheap, mass-produced, high-quality cannabis will take away the profit from what is currently a black market enterprise, which will have the effect of removing most of the criminal element from the cannabis trade. This will have the overall effect of reducing crime and suffering, because the criminal element causes more suffering than is prevented by cannabis being too expensive for some people to harm themselves with.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Black Caps in the United Arab Emirates 2018, First ODI Preview

The Black Caps will be looking to register their first win under the new coaching regime of Gary Stead when they play the first ODI against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi tonight (12am NZT). Returning to a more preferred format, they will be keen to show that they were not deserving of a 3-0 scoreline in the T20s. Having pushed Pakistan very closely in the first two matches of the T20 series, they will back themselves to get a win tonight.

Pakistan are the favourites on BetFair, paying $1.64 to New Zealand’s $2.54. This reflects a large degree of home advantage, because Pakistan have lost the last 11 ODIs in a row to New Zealand, and are ranked 5th on the ODI table compared to New Zealand’s 3rd. It may also reflect some of Pakistan’s red-hot T20 form, although New Zealand would back themselves to win any 50-over contest against a side they have beaten the last 11 times.

The Black Caps will be frustrated that there are some injuries, because they will force some difficult selection decisions. Martin Guptill will not participate in the ODI series on account of still being injured. Neither will Corey Anderson play any further role in the tour on account of a heel injury, which means that Colin de Grandhomme is all but guaranteed a spot in the ODI middle order. Todd Astle will miss this ODI because of knee irritation, which opens a spot at No. 8.

However, the core of the first-choice Black Caps side will be present. Indeed, new Black Caps coach Gary Stead is spoilt for choice in some areas.

For one thing, most of the top order is nailed-on in the form of captain Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham. The first two are arguably New Zealand’s two finest ODI batsmen ever and Latham, although he might be the junior partner here, averages 42 from his last 20 ODI innings. Ross Taylor averages 62 from his last 50 ODI innings and is essentially now Martin Crowe reincarnate.

Colin Munro, who was very good in the T20 series with a 58 and a 44, will probably be continued with as the white-ball opener despite his lack of success there in the ODI setup. The plan is for him to replicate what Brendon McCullum used to offer and his T20 feats show that he is capable of it. Henry Nicholls has probably done enough to hang on to the No. 6 spot, with Colin de Grandhomme at 7.

The difficult choice comes when it comes to replacing Guptill. George Worker is the favourite, having opened the batting in both 4-day and 50-over formats in the recent New Zealand A tour matches in the UAE. A less likely option is a reshuffle that moves Latham back to opener and brings Mark Chapman or BJ Watling into the middle order, and even less likely (but still possible) is going for two hitters, England-style, and partnering Munro with Glenn Phillips at the top.

There is plenty of choice in the fast bowling stocks as well. Trent Boult returns from paternity leave, which means that Williamson can count on ten overs from New Zealand’s premiere bowler. The other opening bowler will be either the incumbent Tim Southee, who has been poor in ODIs in recent years, or Matt Henry, who was excellent over the winter in England country cricket.

The third seamer, if one is chosen, could be the other one of the two mentioned just now, or the ever-improving Lockie Ferguson, or even Adam Milne, who was arguably the first-choice third seamer at the time of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Then again, there might not be a third seamer if the Black Caps decide to go with two spinners and to get 10 overs out of de Grandhomme, Munro and Williamson.

In any case, Stead will be forced to leave at least one excellent seam bowler out of the starting XI.

The Black Caps might play only the one spinner, but will probably play two on account of the slowness of the UAE wickets. The first choice is Ish Sodhi, who has become much more consistent with the white ball recently and who is the incumbent, but we are also likely to see Ajaz Patel feature.

New Zealand (probable):

1. George Worker
2. Colin Munro
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Tom Latham (wk)
6. Henry Nicholls
7. Colin de Grandhomme
8. Matt Henry
9. Ish Sodhi
10. Ajaz Patel
11. Trent Boult

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.