Can North Korea Teach the West How to Have A Humane Cannabis Policy?

Our media has been giving us the Two Minute Hate about North Korea for over two decades. Anyone who has read 1984 knows that most of the reason for this is to distract from the crimes of our own politicians and industrial leaders. One of these crimes is the War on Cannabis: Western Governments could learn from the North Koreans how to have a humane, honest and fair cannabis policy.

For the past 40-50 years, Western Governments have conducted a War on Drugs against their own people, without the consent of those people. Trillions have been spent during these decades to persecute tens of millions of Western citizens, many of whom had not caused any harm to anyone. This mass human rights abuse – because that’s what it is – continues to this day, despite small wins for the people in some areas.

This War on Drugs has been justified with a rhetoric so clumsy and corrupt that even a 1930s-era propagandist would be embarrassed by the lack of subtlety. From the infamous “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” to “Cannabis use causes psychosis” to today’s horseshit stories about how buying cannabis is supporting Mexican narcoterrorism, no more hamfisted effort has ever been made to sell anything.

For roughly half a century, Western families have been ripped apart from having one of their family members sent to prison for a cannabis offence. Tens of millions have been forced into a traumatic encounter with the Police and justice or prison systems, treated as criminals when most were mentally ill and needed help. In America in 2016, there were 574,641 people charged with the crime of simple cannabis possession.

One would expect then, that the punishment for cultivating cannabis in a place as fundamentally evil as North Korea would be horrifically draconian and senseless. If it’s up to seven years imprisonment in New Zealand it must surely be life in prison or even execution there.

To the contrary – far from scheduling cannabis as belonging to the most dangerous category of addictive drugs with no medicinal value as America does, North Korea doesn’t even consider cannabis a drug. Not only are people free to cultivate it without sanction, but it grows freely by the roadside in many places, being a weed and not being subject to eradication programs. North Koreans are free to harvest and smoke it every single day – and they do.

Many would personally be happy to trade all the supposed Western freedoms to drink booze, watch television and chase loose women for the freedom to smoke cannabis, have quality conversations with intelligent people and at the end of the night still be capable of maintaining an erection. So one has to ask: who’s actually better off?

The thawing of relations between the West and North Korea might have implications for cannabis policy in the West. Those Westerners who are still labouring under primitive superstitions such as “cannabis causes brain damage and therefore people should go to prison for it” might learn something from the more enlightened approach taken by the North Korean Government.

Perhaps North Korea could send advisors to the West to educate our politicians about how large industries conspired to make cannabis illegal for the sake of wiping out a competitor, and that keeping it prohibited is actually an immoral thing to do. These North Koreans could also be tasked with going through our Police and justice system employees to root out the sadists who believed that imprisoning someone was ever a fair or reasonable response to drug possession, because they are morally defective and cannot be trusted to serve the public.

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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).

Writing Histrionic Personality Disorder

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) are colloquially known as “drama queens” or “shit-stirrers”. Fundamental to the disorder is a desire for attention that borders on the narcissistic, as well as strong, shallow, rapidly-changing emotions. This article looks at how to write realistic and believable characters with HPD.

As is the case with many of the conditions in this book (and especially the personality disorders), people with HPD are often high-functioning in several ways. As with most of the conditions in this book, people with HPD can often be entirely competent and effective in their niche. For instance, they excel at screen and theatre acting.

A simple (if crude) way of conceptualising HPD is that, for people with it, drama is like a drug. They get hooked on it, they seek it out compulsively, they try to get bigger and bigger doses of it. The more attention they can draw to themselves the better. A cynic might call them a “psychic vampire” because dealing with them frequently leaves a person tired.

For these reasons, HPD is a fitting and excellent choice for some of the characters in your fiction. A character with HPD will naturally liven things up – even if they end up causing chaos. Because they seek drama out, it is never far from them. Not only do they like drama, but they tend to have just enough narcissism to bring some truly dark emotions out of others.

From the perspective of other characters who might encounter a character with HPD, one of the most difficult things about them is their apparent need to be overly emotional and dramatic all the time. Because emotional reactions are contagious to some extent, a person with HPD will tend to trigger those around them – a great quality in a bartender perhaps, but if there is a need for calmness and order this is usually unhelpful.

Other characters might also find the constant self-aggrandisement extremely tiresome. People with HPD like to use elaborate and flowery speech when unnecessary or even unhelpful, and love to tell stories that feature themselves looking good or being heroic. Such typically unsubtle attempts to draw praise are sometimes described as “needy”. Indeed, it is common for people with HPD to display symptoms typical of Dependent Personality Disorder.

Several common characteristics of HPD overlap with common characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One of these in particular is the usual reaction to criticism. For the histrionic, any and all criticism is a brutal personal attack, an act of the utmost cruelty. It is so bad that any retaliatory measures are justified (although a character with HPD will tend toward passive-aggressive revenge tactics).

Related to this is the constant seeking of reassurance or approval. A protagonist with HPD might have compulsive thoughts about not being a good enough person and so seeks out ways of being told that they’re worthwhile. If a character has HPD, there might also be very clear ways that this can be shown through their clothing choice: “Loud and proud” would sum up their dress style.

Other characters might find it very stressful to be around a character with HPD, partially because of the narcissism but mostly because they don’t leave other people in peace. Because of their need to be the centre of attention, a character with HPD might continually butt into other people’s conversations, or make it all about them. They’re also generally happy to spread rumours around, especially if they think that doing so will make someone angry.

A character with HPD might strike other characters as superficial or false. After all, their emotions might strongly rise, but they also strongly fall and quickly transform into other ones. A second character might come to feel that they can’t really trust the histrionic one. It’s hard to know whether they’re acting or genuine.

One area in which the lives of people with HPD tend to be in particular disarray is romantically. They commonly perceive sexual interest where none exists. This makes their own lives difficult, as they often end up misreading the signals and making a move on someone who then rejects them. It can also make other people’s lives difficult, as people with HPD tend to perceive sexual infidelity where it doesn’t exist. This jealousy can fuel untold dramas.

On a darker note, people with HPD are well-known for hitting on people who are already in established relationships. This is partly because of the aforementioned tendency to perceive sexual interest where none exists, but this can also be influenced by a narcissistic refusal to respect other people’s boundaries and an inability to delay gratification.

Having said that, people with HPD are often very engaging to make love to. Excessive sensitivity and dependence on other people’s approval can make for a powerful contribution to the bedroom magic.

Adding a character with HPD to your story, or adding aspects of it to a character in your story, has the potential to liven things up but there is a risk that it can also make things more trivial. Because histrionic characters can get upset over small things, they can be hard for the reader to relate to, and therefore are often better as a foil to another character or as comic relief.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Solution to the Authoritarian Right Wing is Not the Authoritarian Left but Libertarianism

The answer to right-wing authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism only with a softer face

The Western World is still recoiling at, but fascinated by, the horrors of World War II. Consistent with Francis Fukuyama’s Great Pendulum Theory, we have been looking for solutions to the problems of life that led us into World War II and this has pushed us to the far-left. This essay will argue that the solution to the excesses of the authoritarian right is not authoritarian leftism but libertarianism.

The authoritarian left can be found crying crocodile tears over all kinds of suffering that it blames on the right, in the hope that they can gather more power as a result of the ensuing outrage. Characteristic of the authoritarian left is that they make the same critiques of capitalism and verticalised social structures as the libertarian left, but they offer radically different solutions.

Instead of more freedom for good people, the authoritarian left seeks less freedom for bad people. It sounds like it should lead to similar results, but it doesn’t. Less freedom for good people is one obvious side-effect, but this is considered merely a bit of collateral damage. Those who lose out will understand that such measures were necessary for the sake of the greater good – and if they don’t understand this we will force them to.

Another flaw of the authoritarian left is their bloodlust for punishing those who they consider to have transgressed the moral code. In this sense, the authoritarian left is no less vicious than the authoritarian right, only they purport to brutally punish people to further an agenda of horizontalism instead of one of verticalism. Anyone who tries to elevate one person or group above another is to be ripped down.

Right now, the wet dream of all authoritarian leftists is control of public speech, especially on social media. There is nothing that they would like more than to bring in “hate speech” laws governing social media discourse, so that anyone who expressed a politically incorrect sentiment would be harassed by the Police. Their logic is that if the people were forbidden from expressing certain dangerous ideas then those ideas would become less widespread, thereby dispelling the danger.

The real problem with authoritarian leftism is that the people promoting it are also promoting authoritarian solutions, which tend to mutate back into authoritarian rightism before anyone realises it. As mentioned above, the authoritarian leftists tend to make accurate and fair criticisms of right-wing policy – the problem arises when their recommended response to those criticisms is to centralise more power in their own hands.

The real solution to the problems of the authoritarian right is libertarianism, whether of the left or the right variety. That some on the libertarian left are unwilling to concede this point is a real danger. If the libertarian left is unwilling to co-operate with the libertarian right to oppose authoritarian solutions, they will find the authoritarians co-operating to split the libertarians in half.

Currently, there is a large risk that the extreme, authoritarian right will come back to prominence as a consequence of the social unrest brought about by mass Third World immigration into the West, especially Europe.

The authoritarian left’s solution to this problem is to “stop bigotry” by cracking down on what they deem “hate speech”. Because the dogma has it that all human groups are precisely equal in all ways, any economic disparity between one group and another must come from the malicious efforts of the wealthy group to undermine and impoverish the poor one. Therefore, Third Worlders can only be poor and violent because of prejudice, which must then be stamped out.

The problem with this is, if and when the authoritarian right comes back into power, they will have all these hate speech laws already on the books and a population conditioned to accept gross abuses of state power in the service of some spurious link to a greater good. They might even have – worst of all – a population desperate for change, baying for blood and with hate speech laws on the books. Then it’s a simple matter of adjusting the definition of hate to “speech against nation/race/ruler” and we have another genocide on our hands.

Beating the authoritarian right will require that we intelligently encourage avenues of freedom that take people away from the left-authoritarian/right-authoritarian cycle. If we love freedom more than we love our own delusions that we can perfect the world by force, then we can accept that working towards libertarianism is a worthwhile goal, regardless of whether it’s left or right in form.

This will require that the ruling powers guarantee the cognitive liberty of the people. In particular this means to keep the Internet free, to keep artistic expression unrestricted, to keep the press free and to refuse all punitive forms of drug prohibition.

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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).

Te Reo With Mnemonics: Caring And Sharing Words

help – āwhina

A child cries: “I lost my letter R!” A man says “My dog will help you – he’s an r-finder!” His dog goes into the bushes and comes back with a letter R.

give – takoha

A family is sitting around eating Mexican food when a baby stretches out a hand and says “Give. Give. Taco here.”

share – toha

A lady at a party produces a bowl full of toes. She goes around sharing them, saying “Get a toe here.”

care – kumanu

A man cares lovingly for a cow, who shits into a wheelbarrow that the man wheels over to a gigantic pile of shit with a sign that says “Cow Manure”.

neglect – whakahapa

A child sits outside, neglected. Its parents neglect it by sitting inside partying. The child picks up some binoculars and sees a person playing a harp on a distant hill. It can see the far car harper.

contribute/provide – homai

A donations collector approaches a bunch of gangsters. One of the gangsters says “Okay homies,” and they all contribute some money.

The Māori word for neglect – whakahapa – shares a “f-k-h-p” construction with the English phrase ‘far car harper’.

kind/to show kindness to – atawhai

A really tough-looking man jumps when a nurse kindly wraps a bandage around a sore finger. She says “So you’re not such a toughie!”

nasty – whakawiri

A soldier says “I’m worried.” With a nasty expression, his sergeant says nastily “Fuck worry!”

support – taituarā

A tuatara, supported on the shoulders of two other tuataras, reaches up and pulls down a piece of fruit.

take – tango

A man holds out a twenty dollar note, and a couple tangoes up to him to take it.

thank/acknowledge – mihi

A man shakes hands with a doctor. The man says “I’d like to thank you for fixing my head.”

consider – whaiwhakaaro

A car drives around with three bagpipers leaning out the windows playing their pipes. A man looks at the piper car and says “They should consider those trying to sleep.”

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future III

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The second chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Tax’. Seymour opens with a complaint about wasteful government spending, citing the example of Gerry Brownlee flying to San Francisco on the taypayer’s dollar for a photo op. Indeed this was an appalling waste of money for no benefit to the nation, but Seymour leaps from this fact to the tacit assumption that all tax money is likewise wasted.

Seymour is right when he says it’s stupid that the Government is running surpluses while the average New Zealand household is at record levels of debt. The solution is, naturally, lower taxes. Here Seymour makes a sharp distinction between “our own” money, and “another person’s” money. Not for him the interdependence of all things. In Seymour’s world, there are very clear lines over who owns what.

Government takes in taxes equal to 40% of GDP, Seymour notes – “exclusively” another person’s money. Seymour doesn’t agree with the idea that the state is the most efficient provider of many services on account of the economies of scale afforded by its unique size. For him, the Government is merely a parasitic entity that sucks tax money out of hard-working Kiwis and wastes it frivolously.

Breaking step with the usual neoliberal choice of target, Seymour points out that there is a tremendous amount of corporate welfare in New Zealand as well. This only lasts for a few sentences, because he’s soon back to crying about taxation. Bracket creep comes in for particular ire – for Seymour, the wealthy aren’t getting a big enough share of the spoils of economic growth.

True to being a politician, he is dishonest. He claims that bracket creep happens because wages rise (which is true) but he also claims that wages rise to meet the increase in the price of consumer goods. The truth is that wages are not linked to the inflation of consumer goods – they are a function of the relative leverage that the employer has over the employee. When consumer goods become more expensive, this gives the employee absolutely no additional leverage through which they can negotiate a higher wage with their employer. If anything, it gives them less leverage because the lower standard of living makes them more desperate to settle.

In one paragraph, Seymour abandons even the pretense of reasoning and simply lists American libertarian slogans: “High tax rates… drag the economy down”, “people spend their money better than governments do”, “Money goes more good in the private sector than in the public sector.” Again one senses the cold shadow of the millions starved to death by Communism.

Seymour makes some good and fair points when he talks about the bureaucratic waste in the system. The problem is that this waste is the only thing he sees – all Government spending is hip-hop tours and junkets to San Francisco. He will not acknowledge that tax money is used for anything good, or that taxpayers get anything back for their tax money. National are the good guys because they levy less tax; Labour are bad and the Greens are the worst of all.

It’s hard to disagree, however, when he complains about the top tax bracket being $70,000. One doesn’t have to be wealthy to concede that someone earning $70,000 a year is far from loaded.

In all, one feels that Seymour is capable of making some good points but has a dishonest method for selecting and presenting them to the reader. Despite that, it’s easily arguable that Seymour and his party are tasked with playing an important role in New Zealand politics – that of keeping a check on Government waste – even though they are apologists for neoliberalism.

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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).

Will Drinking Alcohol Still Be Popular In 50 Years?

Booze: it’s kind of crap, and it’s time we moved on to better drugs

A lot of really stupid things have fallen out of fashion in recent decades, and for good reason. Smoking tobacco is now uncommon, because we’re now much more aware of the deleterious effects than we used to be, and seeing someone riding a motorcycle without a helmet is rare too. This article asks the question: will drinking alcohol still form the basis of Western social interaction in half a century?

Let’s face it: the only reason we drink a lot is habit. It’s not because alcohol is good, and it’s not because alcohol is safe. Alcohol isn’t really good because there are plenty of other common drugs that are better: MDMA is a better entactogen, cannabis is more relaxing, opium is better for getting wasted with. It’s also not safe, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has spent time around drunks.

No – the reason why we drink a lot is because our parents did, and they drank because their parents did, and so on, and in every case it’s true that people drank alcohol because that’s just what people did. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Westerners knocked back the booze – they didn’t know about the relationship between alcohol and heart disease, liver failure or cancer, because people seldom lived long enough to be affected by such things.

Moreover, there are large capital interests that are tied up in alcohol manufacture and sales. The alcohol industry is easily big enough to buy off politicians at the national level – and they do. These politicians have been more than happy to stop any competitor to alcohol getting established, which is why our recreational drug scene is soaked with booze (and thereby with the violence, sluttiness, vomiting and hangovers that inevitably accompany the alcohol experience).

These factors might very soon stop having an impact. The changing drug market scene has smashed the duopoly over the recreational drug market that alcohol once enjoyed along with tobacco. Not only are there now over a dozen territories where cannabis is properly legal, but the rise of dark markets on the Internet has made it possible for people anywhere to access a wide variety of drugs without needing anything more than a postal address.

There have also been more sinister undertones to the historical promotion of alcohol use.

From the earliest days of the Age of Colonialism, European traders were aware of the destructive effect that alcohol (usually in the form of rum) had on the natives of the New World. There was no need to shoot them when you could simply trade them some booze and watch them destroy themselves. Although it was not appreciated at the time, alcohol was effectively able to be used as a bioweapon by the Europeans.

This was because they had developed a genetic resistance to alcohol over thousands of years of exposure, while the natives had not. Over the past several thousand years, because Europeans were getting drunk much of the time, there was a selective pressure against those who misbehaved while drunk. Anyone who became excessively violent or stupid while drunk was liable to delete themselves, and their genes, from the gene pool. Over time, therefore, Europeans adapted to behave relatively tamely when intoxicated.

So when the European traders introduced alcohol to the delicate psychobiological balance of the New World, it had a similar effect to a hand grenade. Alcoholism has destroyed the native peoples of North America, South America, Australia and Polynesia. If European complicity in this was widely accepted and owned up to, the need to legalise recreational alternatives to alcohol would become obvious.

Given all of these factors, it has to be asked whether the widespread consumption of alcohol is something that will continue much further into the future. It can already be observed that the youngest generation is abandoning alcohol en masse, usually for cannabis but sometimes for other substances that can be easily be obtained: MDMA or research chemicals are popular alternatives.

Global recreational drug culture this century is more likely to revolve around cannabis for the reasons described. Cannabis is something that people of all nations and races can enjoy equally without any sense of cultural advantage, unlike alcohol, which is really the white man’s drug. It can already be seen (in the few places they exist) that cannabis cafes serve as places where people of many cultures come together in harmony and good cheer.

As awareness of the harms of alcohol spreads, as recreational alternatives become increasingly available and as world culture moves further away from a Eurocentric model, it’s possible that the prominence of alcohol in our culture diminishes in the same way tobacco did. It’s hard to imagine now, but there are good reasons to think that hardly anyone will still be regularly drinking alcohol in 50 years’ time.

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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).

Writing Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is a condition characterised by extreme distrust and suspicion of other people and their motives. Characters with PPD are well-suited to serving fictional roles as fiendish adversaries or challenging social obstacles. This article gives some useful tips for writing a believable and engaging character with Paranoid Personality Disorder.

People with PPD are generally very low on the agreeableness scale. Characteristic of the condition is an extreme suspicion of other people’s motives. To be paranoid is to be distrusting, and without a significant element of mutual trust it’s impossible to have any kind of social organisation.

A diagnosis of PPD comes when paranoia has led to a level of disruption that has caused significant disruption in the life of that person or others. It’s not hard to see how this can easily happen in the case of extreme paranoia, for the aforementioned social reasons. A person with PPD is unlikely to trust their employer or supplier to not be ripping them off, and nor are they likely to trust a professor or a doctor.

A protagonist with PPD might live in a world of perceived malevolence. They might see schemes, tricks and traps around every corner. No-one ever approaches them with good news, or with a good offer: all human contact represents merely just another attempt to cheat them. In this regard, the life of a character with PPD might be socially impoverished in a similar fashion to someone suffering from Schizoid Personality Disorder, only with distrust replacing indifference.

If the protagonist of your story encounters another character with PPD, chances are high that they won’t like them very much. It isn’t a pleasant experience to be spoken to as if one is a liar, especially when one had never considered actually lying. It also becomes quickly apparent that investing time and emotional energy in a friendship with a paranoid person is unlikely to be reciprocated, because their constant suspicion will quickly lead to them discounting the value of any favours or friendship offered.

This could make for an interesting story if the protagonist was tasked with winning the trust of a character with PPD. Such a story might mean that the protagonist has to find a way to tease out the few remaining trusting elements in that person and making sure that they get rewarded.

It might also mean that your protagonist ends up learning exactly how someone can end up with PPD in the first place. Perhaps the character they are interacting with did genuinely get cheated, on multiple occasions, by liars who they once trusted: parents, teachers, lovers, bosses. There could be a further twist, if the character with PPD brought all this upon themselves owing to their own malignant personality.

It’s common for individuals with PPD to have what appears to be a “fragile” personality. Ambiguous comments are frequently interpreted as personal attacks, and jokes are often taken in bad humour. Even worse, these reactions are often permanent, because individuals with PPD do not readily forgive slights and insults. For obvious reasons, such behaviour tends to attract enemies, which only serves to fuel the paranoia and mistrust.

A commonly related phenomenon to PPD is that of projection. People who are paranoid are often narcissistic in the sense that they think everything is about them. For this reason, they tend to project their own selfishness and malevolence onto other people. Many cases of paranoia are based on the fact that the paranoid person is themselves not worth trusting.

Some theorists have delineated a variety of subtypes of PPD. Some people with it are particularly stubborn, obsessed with order and regularity and consumed by a fear that someone is trying to cheat them out of something. Others are insular, and lead hermit-like lives far away from the crowds of crooks and criminals that make up society. A third type is malignant – their distrust of other people comes from from suspicion but from hatred.

It’s unlikely that a character in your story will see it as a good thing to encounter a person with PPD, but it is possible. After all, paranoia is an extremely useful aptitude in a variety of security and surveillance-related roles. So if you’re writing about a spy, for example, you might use touches of PPD to flesh out their personality. A character who was once an intelligence officer, but who was let go because they became too paranoid, would be a fitting example.

An interesting twist on a story featuring a character with PPD is if they were actually correct. What if the PPD character was correct in their suspicions of everyone else, and there was, in fact, a great conspiracy or scheme going on?

An important distinction to make is the one between PPD and paranoid schizophrenia (note that paranoid schizophrenia is not in the DSM-V). Paranoid people don’t hallucinate from paranoia alone, and the paranoia involved in PPD is not ludicrously delusional. In other words, a person with PPD may have a twisted conception of reality, but they will not have lost touch with it.

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This article is an excerpt from Writing With The DSM (Writing With Psychology Book 5), edited by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Is It Time to Nationalise Empty, Foreign-Owned Houses in New Zealand?

It isn’t fair that Kiwis sleep on the streets while houses sit empty because their foreign owners are gambling on the New Zealand housing market

As seen by its climbdowns on the TPPA, on medicinal cannabis and on immigration, the Sixth Labour Government lacks courage. This means that the time has come to make some truly bold suggestions. Given that our homelessness crisis has long ago reached critical status, it’s time for a bold solution to the housing shortage. This essay proposes that we nationalise all empty, foreign-owned houses to provide shelter for our own people.

The state of homelessness can be summed up by the fact that there are believed to be 24,000 homeless in Auckland alone. This gives New Zealand by far the worst homelessness rate in the OECD, a list which includes much warmer and poorer countries like Mexico.

Per capita, our homelessness rate is far worse than the second-placed Czech Republic and around twice that of Australia, despite that it’s much easier to be homeless in the Australian climate. It’s gone beyond being a national disgrace, to the point where it is threatening our status as a developed country with a functioning society. It’s time to consider extreme measures.

It’s hard to get an accurate figure on the number of New Zealand homes owned by foreigners. The people making most of the profit off selling them have a vested interest in restricting awareness of, and information about, their activities. However, we can make educated guesses.

A 2016 census revealed that over 8% of Vancouver homes are unoccupied. From the same link, we can see that slightly fewer than 6% of Vancouver homes are both unoccupied and owned by foreigners. So roughly two-thirds of empty homes in Vancouver are also owned by foreign residents.

There are believed to be 33,000 empty houses in Auckland, with others saying 35,000. If two-thirds of those houses are both empty and owned by foreigners, that makes for 22,000 homes – about the same number as there are homeless people in Auckland.

The Vancouver solution so far is to charge a 1% property tax on an annual basis for every Vancouver property left unoccupied. This amounts to $10,000 in taxes for a million-dollar property. Vancouver is infamous for its overheated housing market and perhaps represents an extreme case, but the basic principle is the same as in Auckland: most of these foreigners are speculators who have parked money in real estate for the capital gains, and they have no interest whatsoever in the ability of the locals to find affordable housing.

The question naturally arises: if there are so many foreign residents who are keeping houses empty purely for the sake of making a profit, and so many Kiwis who are going homeless because of the shortage of available housing, why be satisfied with a tiny bit of tax as compensation for the damage done? Why not nationalise empty houses that are owned by foreign residents?

Nationalisation could proceed on the grounds that owning a house in New Zealand and deliberately keeping it empty is a crime, in much the same way as owning a business and refusing to serve a customer on the basis of their race is already a crime.

Deliberately keeping a house empty when there is a housing shortage would therefore be declared to be a crime equivalent to refusing to stop to ascertain injury at the site of a motor vehicle accident. In other words, it would be an action that represented a criminal level of disregard for the well-being of the people of this nation.

The logical punishment would be forfeiture of the property.

After nationalisation, the houses would simply be added to the existing Housing New Zealand stock as an asset on the balance sheet. From there, Housing New Zealand would proceed to treat them as regular state houses, and they would be rented out or apportioned to the needy as was necessary to meet their needs for shelter.

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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 Northcote By-Election Result is Fraudulent and Illegitimate

Northcote by-election candidate Dan Bidois was crowned the winner, despite only getting the support of 21% of eligible voters

The reason why our ruling class have the right to rule, so they claim, is because they have the consent of the masses. But the winner of yesterday’s Northcote by-election and newly crowned Member of Parliament, Dan Bidois, did not have the consent of the masses. Therefore, the Northcote by-election result is fraudulent and illegitimate.

19,900 people cast a vote in the Northcote by-election. According to the Northcote Electoral Profile on the Parliamentary Profiles page, there are 49,569 eligible voters in that electorate. This tells us that barely more than 40% of eligible voters chose to participate in the democratic process – something like 30,000 people abstained.

The question then has to be asked: how is the election of Bidois to the House of Representatives legitimate, when fewer than half of eligible voters took part in the election process? If so few people believed that the democratic process was worth participating in, isn’t that sufficient evidence that it has failed, that its claims of legitimacy are fraudulent?

Bidois himself won 10,147 votes in the by-election, which amounts to almost 21% of the eligible voters in Northcote. If no-one cares about the election, how can the winner of it legitimately claim to have any power to rule anyone? Any reasonable person can see that this is absurd. We can’t possibly know what the electorate wants unless we canvas the non-voters.

One candidate, Liam Walsh of Not A Party, ran specifically on the non-vote. His platform was that democracy has failed and is inherently corrupt (hard to deny) and that it would be better for us to scrap it entirely and work together instead of using the democratic system to try and fuck each other over.

After all, as a National MP, Dan Bidois will immediately work towards the further enslavement of the young, the Maori and the working class. Walsh notes that Bidois came second to an empty seat.

One wonders what would happen if those 60% of adults in Northcote who do not feel represented by New Zealand’s peculiar imitation of democracy gave their allegiance to Walsh instead of to the central government.

What if, instead of paying taxes to the IRD to piss up the wall on flag referendums, yacht races, imprisoning medicinal cannabis growers and importing Somali rapists, people paid no taxes, and we had neither flag referendums nor a justice system putting people in cages for growing medicinal plants?

Some might respond that having no democratic government will leave the community unable to solve problems that require collective solutions, but Dan Bidois, with his 21% support, sure as fuck isn’t going to be solving them either. He, like the majority of backbenchers, will stick his nose straight up the arsehole of his party’s leader, in this case Simon Bridges, and he will keep it wedged there as long as the National Party hierarchy is responsible for his meal ticket. As a consequence he will vote to enforce National Party policy and dogma – not the will of the Northcote electorate.

A democratic election that gets 40% turnout cannot claim to return a legitimate ruler. The vast majority of the Northcote electorate did not consent to being represented by Bidois; therefore, his being in the House of Representatives is no more legitimate than it would have been if the CIA had helped him raise an army that seized power through force.

After all, a foreign-backed dictatorship might even gain the consent of more than 21% of the population – assuming it put a sufficiently enlightened person on the throne – which would make it no less legitimate than yesterday’s by-election.

If the democratic process is rejected by a majority of the people, then it’s time to get together and to think up a new political philosophy that adequately represents them. It’s apparent from the fact that New Zealand clings to cannabis prohibition, a policy supported by almost no-one, that the will of the people is not represented by the law enacted by their rulers. This failure to represent the people’s will is evidence that democracy has failed and needs to be superceded.

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