Why There Are No Honest People in Politics

Westerners have possibly never had less confidence in their politicians than right now. Confidence is so low that an ever-increasing number of people are losing their faith in democracy. Most people are aware that politicians are basically crooks, but it often hard to say precisely why. This essay explains why there are no honest people in politics.

The simple reason why there are no honest people in politics is because they are either filtered out before they get to the top representative level, or they are made to keep their mouths shut while at that level. This is achieved by a variety of mechanisms, some calculated and some incidental.

One of these mechanisms, a very deeply calculated one, was made apparent in New Zealand by the Jami-Lee Ross saga and the ensuing revelations about the National Party culture and its inner workings. It turned out that the National Party had taken six-figure sums worth of dodgy donations in exchange for pulling strings for those donors, and kept it secret. Many members of the National Party were aware of this corrupt conduct, but said nothing until Ross blew the doors open.

Getting to the top only sometimes involves demonstrating competence and winning the respect of your peers. Sometimes it involves finding out secrets about other people and using them to threaten those people into obedience. The value of a piece of information is inversely proportional to the number of people who know it, and therefore there is an incentive to keep secrets. If you can’t demonstrate that you can keep secrets, you can’t be trusted by the other members of your party – after all, the party will have secrets of its own that need keeping.

So not only do you have to keep secrets on the way up, but you have to keep keeping them while up there, otherwise the other people who are up there will throw you down. Jami-Lee Ross threatened to tell the country the secrets of the National Party, and he was swiftly ushered into psychiatric care. A similar fate awaits any other high-ranking politician who comes down with a sudden bout of honesty.

Of course, Jami-Lee Ross had a much easier time of it than Socrates did. Socrates once said “I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live,” which relates to the second of these mechanisms. Just as there is a mechanism from within a politician’s own party to lie, so is there a mechanism from other parties to do so (i.e. from within the political system). This mechanism has accounted for not only Socrates but also Jesus, William McKinley, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, John F Kennedy, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.

The people who are permitted to rise up from the masses into the ruling class are heavily vetted before being allowed to progress. The main objective of this vetting process is to determine their inclination towards obedience. The ideal candidate will be perfectly obedient to all those above them, and will demand perfect obedience from all those below them. To the degree a candidate deviates from this pattern, their advancement through the mainstream political parties will be hindered.

If a candidate shows signs of creative ability, or signs of any original thinking, they will find their progress blocked. This is why the current ruling class is full of lawyers, and almost entirely absent of writers or artists. Lawyer is an inherently dishonest profession (in contrast to novelist or poet), and this is seen by the incumbents in the ruling class to be a qualification for office.

The less honest you are, the more able you are to keep secrets by twisting and distorting truths and shamelessly dodging questions. Related to this is the fact that, if you go into politics, many of your fellow politicians will be absolute scum, and you will have to accept and account for this otherwise they will destroy you. Some of them, like Peter Dunne, are happy to kill people to advance their careers.

In 2002, Dunne forced the Fifth Labour Government to accept a confidence and supply agreement that promised no movement on cannabis law reform. As a consequence, many people died from either being unable to access medicinal cannabis, or from taking the synthetic drugs that Dunne did allow in lieu of natural cannabis. If Dunne is willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of Kiwis for the sake of his political ambitions, he’s certainly willing to have you killed for them.

A third mechanism serving to keep honest people out of politics comes from the nature of the whims of democracy. Politicians have to follow fashions, or they will rapidly be turfed out of office by the voters. The populace cares not for right or wrong, nor for any issue of justice: they merely get angry when they’re told to get angry. If the television tells them to get angry about apartheid, or the prohibition of homosexuality, or cannabis prohibition, they will do so.

Observe what happened to the individuals who spoke out about the issue of widespread clerical sex abuse within the Catholic Church before it became fashionable. Sinead O’Connor did it in 1992, and it was a career-terminating move. If something is unfashionable, a democratic politician will not support it: it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if it’s morally right.

Male infant genital mutilation, for example, is an obscenity, one of the most evil practices that the human species has ever devised, but Western politicians remain too cowardly to oppose it on account of that doing so is yet to become fashionable. You could bet money, however, that when opposing this practice does become fashionable, the politicians will claim to have always opposed it.

The opposite can be observed with the case of cannabis law reform. Until recently, a desire for reform was an exceptionally libertarian position for a politician to take, and only the real mavericks were willing to do so. The Cannabis Activist’s Handbook was published by this company in 2012, and copies sent to all of the political parties then in Parliament, but politicians remained resolutely silent on the subject until very recently.

Even though many people knew decades before the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook was written that cannabis prohibition was a complete sham, these politicians all calculated that it was in their best interests to maintain the net of lies. This even though it was killing their own people. If politicians are willing to yield to pressures like this, what hope is there that they will tell the truth about anything but the least controversial of things?

In summary, the reason why there are no honest people in politics is because both our culture and the political system itself weeds them out before they get to the top, or it destroys anyone at the top who reveals themselves to be honest. There are at least three major mechanisms by which this takes place, and the combination of all three means that our democratically-elected political class are some of the most pitiful, wretched and corrupt individuals that anyone could be burdened with.

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New Zealand Already Has A Chinese-Style Social Credit System

Some hysteria has been generated recently about China’s Social Credit System. Fears of a cyberpunk-style technodystopia have been stoked by new advancements in mass surveillance technology and data mining. As this essay will show, New Zealand already has a social credit system, and it does the same thing that the Chinese one does.

The Chinese social credit system, planned to be fully introduced by 2020, has sparked intense fears among libertarians. Already it is the case in China that people with too low a social credit score have been denied access to trains and other means of transportation. The biggest fear is that this Social Credit System will spread to other societies, leading to a world where certain groups of people get to enjoy extra-legal privileges denied to those lacking sufficient “credit”.

The Chinese system works by assigning every individual citizen a score based on their level of trustworthiness. This trustworthiness is calculated by combining a number of variables that relate to that individual’s criminal history, indebtedness, education etc. It also includes several Government blacklists, which have been compiled by domestic intelligence forces.

Anyone with a sufficiently low credit score will be denied services. This doesn’t only mean restrictions on transportation, as mentioned above, but also restrictions on where you’re allowed to live, what schools you may attend, who you’re allowed to marry and even what healthcare you’re allowed to get. Some far-thinking fantasists are afraid that an automated, computer-based system of social credit might be introduced to the West by tyrannical future governments to sharply restrict freedoms here.

In reality, New Zealand already has a Social Credit System that affords extra-legal privileges to certain groups, and so does everywhere else. It’s called wealth, and it is the default social credit system of every political system that has degenerated into oligarchy, as the West has done.

We were given a crude look at it this week when Joseph Babich, a wealthy member of one of New Zealand’s most prominent winemaking families, was let off scot free by a judge on charges of importing cocaine and methamphetamine. Importation of a Class A drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Contrast the leniency shown in the Babich case to the harshness of the sentence handed down to Thomas Tawha for poaching 59 trout to feed his own family earlier this year. Tawha got four months in prison.

What is clear from contrasting these two cases is that a sophisticated and all-encompassing social credit system already exists in New Zealand, and it’s similar to the Chinese one. ‘Trustworthiness’ means people that the Government likes (i.e. the obedient). Anyone the Government likes gets special privileges, and anyone the Government doesn’t like gets the hammer brought down on them for the slightest indiscretion.

The purpose of a criminal trial is not really to establish guilt, but to establish trustworthiness. Joseph Babich is a man who benefits immensely from the current political order, and therefore he can be trusted by the political class to act to maintain that order. Consequently, he escapes punishment. Tawha is a man who suffers immensely under the current political order, and therefore cannot be trusted to maintain it. Therefore, his punishment is brutal.

The New Zealand social credit system is mostly based around wealth, in that wealthy people are continually being let off crimes scot free, given warnings or not being investigated, while poor people are continually being hammered. Race is also a big part of it, in that white people and Asians can be trusted to support the current political order, whereas Maoris cannot.

To be fair, some of the aspects of this social credit system are not unreasonable. Babich had had no previous contact with the Police, while Tawha had dozens of previous convictions.

In Tawha’s case, however, at least some of the severity of his punishment can be attributed to the fact that he rejected the legitimacy of the New Zealand court system, even declaring himself a sovereign citizen. This is similar to the case of Brian Borland, who received four years and nine months imprisonment for unrepentantly growing cannabis. Borland’s sentence was heavier than those many of those handed out to rapists, people who commit vehicular manslaughter and people who pimp out children.

In summary, a comprehensive social credit system already exists in New Zealand, primarily based around personal wealth. With a high enough credit score you can break the law without punishment, and with too low a score the legal system brutalises you. This credit score is little more than the Government’s estimation of how compliant, obedient and submissive you are – the more taxes you can be milked for without complaint, the higher you are.

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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).

They’re All That Crooked – And They Always Have Been

A large number of Kiwis have just come to realise, thanks to listening to Simon Bridges speaking in the Jami-Lee Ross tapes, that the National Party is utterly corrupt. National are willing to sell positions on their party list for donations, making them little more than a pack of whores and traitors. As this essay will examine, all our politicians are that crooked, and they always have been.

Selling influence for cash is nothing new to the National Party.

As VJM Publishing showed in an article earlier this year, the National Party already sets policy according to the demands of their donors. As the May article states: “In 2017, the National Party got $41,945 in donations from Stoneyridge Vineyard, $25,438 from Gibbston Valley Winery, $16,700 from Spirits NZ and $42,000 from Graeme Douglas of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, whose morphine product is competing with medicinal cannabis for the billion-dollar analgesic market.”

The National Party then went on to block vote against Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill, which would have drastically alleviated the suffering of those who use medicinal cannabis by allowing them to grow at home. This meant that tens of thousands of sick Kiwis, who would have been able to grow their own medicine to prevent the pain that comes with nausea, insomnia and dozens of other conditions, were instead forced to suffer needlessly so that National could attract a mere $120,000 of donations.

If a $100,000 donation to buy a couple of Members of Parliament is an outrage that the whole country gets upset over, then what can we call donations of similar size that lead to sick New Zealanders having a medicine taken away from them?

The Labour Party is little better.

Jacinda Ardern dreams of a high position at the United Nations, like her forerunner Helen Clark. To this end, she knows that she needs to support the globalist position, as the ambition of the United Nations is to become a one-world government that has sovereignty over all national and regional governments. The United Nations intends to achieve this by destroying all national and regional boundaries, and integral to this process is the destruction of all national cultures through the removal of any unique and binding cultural features.

This is the reason why the zeitgeist sees the promotion of the English language (to destroy linguistic solidarity), the promotion of the mass immigration of Africans and Muslims (to destroy ethnic and national solidarity) and the promotion of identity politics (to destroy all other forms of solidarity). With all forms of solidarity destroyed, national and regional borders will dissipate, and with them the last means of resistance to the New World Order.

We know from statistics collected overseas that the sort of refugees and asylum seekers that have come to Europe commit a tremendous number of thefts, rapes and assaults, as well as all other kinds of crime, relative to their proportion in the population.

Therefore, Jacinda Ardern’s decision to open the borders to these people will inevitably lead to great suffering among the New Zealand people, as the population finds themselves becoming victims of theft, rape and assault at an drastically greater rate. But all this suffering is a price that Ardern is happy to force Kiwis to pay, and merely for the sake of supporting her ambitions for high globalist office.

This is only National and Labour. The ACT Party is so ready and willing to sell the country out from under your feet that their party website has a full Chinese translation. ACT probably has a higher proportion of actual fraudsters among their past members than the New Zealand prison system, with John Banks, David Garrett and Donna Awatere Huata being bywords for dishonesty among Kiwis.

The Greens, for their part, would raise the refugee quota to 100,000 tomorrow (and thereby reduce wages to a pittance) if they could get away with it. They would justify this crime as being for the greater good, as did the fraudster Metiria Turei. Peter Dunne opposed cannabis law reform because of corrupt links to big tobacco.

In fact, our entire history is full of crooks.

Looking at things from a psychological perspective, it’s hard to think that it could be otherwise. New Zealanders have shown, over the thirty years, that they simply do not care about honesty or integrity among their political class.

They were happy for John Key to lie to their faces about GST, they were happy for the National Party to have a probable Chinese spy among their members of Parliament, they were happy for Helen Clark to open the borders to cheap labour, they were happy for Jim Bolger to slit the throats of the lower classes and they were happy for David Lange to sell the country off to bankers.

The truth is that our entire political class is as crooked as what we heard in the Jami-Lee Ross tapes, and they always have been, and they likely always will be, because we are likely to keep accepting it. The political class in every country is as corrupt as the people are willing to accept, and recent decades have shown that the New Zealand people are willing to accept pretty much anything.

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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).

Should A Right to Animal Companionship Be Added to the Bill of Rights Act?

Animal companionship is neither a luxury nor a vice

The next attack by the do-gooders on the freedom of people to live their lives unmolested by government interference seems like it’s going to involve attempts to make companion animals illegal, usually on the grounds of some environmentalist excuse such as protecting wildlife. This essay argues that the control freaks need to be headed off at the pass on this issue, by enshrining the human right to animal companionship in the Bill of Rights Act.

The do-gooders have learned nothing from their failed attempts to ban alcohol, cannabis, psychedelics, and currently nicotine. Wielding the power of the state as if a waterblaster, they have attempted to blast away evil by getting the Police to smash in the heads of anyone dealing in this contraband. As anyone with an IQ over 90 could have predicted, this clumsy and cack-handed administration of punishment has only led to immense resentment and unfortunate unforeseen consequences.

People will naturally disobey unjust laws. So when the control freaks try and ban people from owning cats, as has been suggested by the mad witch Eugenie Sage with regards to Wellington, we decent people need to be ready to take counteraction. In fact, we ought to take pre-emptive action now, and agitate for the right to animal companionship to be added as a amendment to the Bill of Rights Act.

There are three major reasons why this should happen.

The first reason is that cats and dogs, and the presence of cats and dogs, are part of the natural life of humans. As described at length here, humans have lived with cats for so long on account of needing the cats to control the rodents that attacked their grain supplies, that we have essentially formed a symbiotic relationship with them. We have lived with dogs for even longer.

Cats are effectively a technology that has developed for the sake of pest control. Dogs are effectively a technology that has developed for the sake of hunting and security.

There are tens of thousands of rural dwellers who could tell you about the consequences of not owning a cat when you live in the country, as many Kiwis do. The consequences are to have everything in your house destroyed by rodents. The situation is not much better in the cities, because wherever people live they store food and throw away rubbish, and either action attracts rodents.

Because rodents and disease are constant companions, owning a cat is an essential part of home hygiene. People who are aware of the hygiene benefits of cats would no sooner not own one than they would stop washing their own hair.

The second major reason why a right to animal companionship ought to be enshrined in the Human Rights Act is because of the mental health benefits of animal companionship. These benefits are so great that any attempt to take them away from people ought to be construed as cruelty, the same way that it is illegal to withhold a medicine from people.

Loneliness is one of the biggest killers in our modern societies, and is a main driver of suicide. The natural tribal model has collapsed under the pressures of industrial capitalism and the population explosion brought about by the Green Revolution, and there is ample evidence that a lack of healthy social relationships is what is responsible for the increasing rates of youth suicide.

Science has shown that for people with compromised social support networks, such as the elderly or the unwell, animal companionship has a massive positive effect on their mental health. For people in these situations, quality time with a cat or a dog might be the only quality time they spend with any sentient being, and can easily be the difference between psychological good health and mental illness.

The third major reason to write something about animal companionship into the Bill of Rights Act is to pre-empt Government overreach. We already know that the kind of person who runs for Parliament, and who succeeds in becoming a lawmaker, is usually a power-crazed control freak with little to no respect for the free will of the voting public.

The thought that these overpaid bureaucrat-psychopaths in Wellington are sitting around thinking up new excuses to take rights away from people is enough to stoke outrage. Where does it end? Do we get told how many calories of food we’re allowed to consume per week, or how many hours we’re allowed to spend on the Internet?

The control freaks need to be pre-empted with a clearly defined and explained law that makes it illegal to ban either cats or dogs from a given neighbourhood, or to discriminate against a potential property tenant on the grounds that they own a pet. The Bill of Rights Act should be amended to state that New Zealanders have the right to animal companionship.

New Zealand has, sadly, destroyed our hard-won reputation as a human rights leader with our complete failure to deal with cannabis law reform. We could win that reputation back by taking intelligent and progressive measures to combat mental illness. One of these measures could be the entrenchment of the right of New Zealanders to have animal companionship in their place of dwelling.

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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 Government Religion

God was dead, but God has returned to life in the form of government. This essay examines a terrifying proposition: taken together, the number of people who are willing to do violence to others on behalf of their government greatly exceeds the number of people willing to do violence to others on behalf on any other mentality or ideology. Worship of government is its own religion.

For those who follow the Government religion, any pronouncement from the government is the same as if the clouds have parted and the voice of God had boomed from the heavens. The government simply cannot lie – its size and power makes it both omnipresent and omnibenevolent. Therefore, every law and decree passed by government is regarded by its followers as if it was written in holy scripture.

If all the available scientific and medical evidence says, for example, that cannabis is medicinal and can be used to treat nausea and insomnia, but the government says that cannabis is not medicinal, then the followers of the Government religion will say that cannabis is not medicinal. The scientific literature and all the evidence be damned – the government says it’s not medicinal, therefore it isn’t.

Before any decision can be made, the question has to be asked: does the government approve of this? This is the government-worshipper’s equivalent of the Christian question “What would Jesus do?”. All actions must be viewed through the prism of whether they serve government objectives. If not, those actions are sinful and must be discouraged.

Police officers are usually fanatical followers of the Government religion, which offers a ready excuse for them to discharge their baser, sadistic instincts on members of the public. Without the Government religion, Police officers would not have the authority to physically abuse people without punishment. The Government religion raises these people, who would otherwise mostly be criminals, into a position of prestige, and they return the favour with obedience.

Mental health workers are another. The job of a mental health worker is to determine when a person has lost touch with reality and to guide them back to it. The problem with this is that they have no natural or philosophical explanation of the nature of reality and so they rely on the government to provide one. This means that the government literally decides what reality is for mental health workers. They are consequently hopelessly mired in the religion.

Bureaucrats are a third, and arguably the worst of all three. Bureaucrats are to the Government religion what the cardinals are to Catholicism. They are the ones that seek to organise the world so that their religion might be dominant. In the case of the bureaucrat, the objective is to use Police officers and mental health workers to destroy those who oppose the religion.

If one reasons by analogy to dogs, we can see why government workers behave the way they do. Dogs are completely loyal to the people that feed them, on account of the gratitude created from that dog no longer having to worry about where its daily food comes from. In a state of Nature, the majority of creatures must live in a state of extreme anxiety on account of the pressure to acquire sufficient food resources to live. Anyone feeding a dog takes all that anxiety away, and the resulting gratitude leads to loyalty.

By the same token, the natural stress of finding enough money to live on has been alleviated, in the life of the government worker, by the government. Therefore, the government worker regards the government with the same undying, arse-licking loyalty that a dog regards its owner with. The government provides food and shelter like God provides manna from Heaven, and in exchange the government worker obeys the orders they are given.

Because Government-worshippers treat the desire of their government as if it was the Will of God, they are capable of causing immense destruction and human suffering. All of the death camp guards on both the Nazi and Soviet side were Government-worshippers, as were the Chinese mandarins responsible for the mass starvation of the Great Leap Forward. Those responsible for destroying their own young people through conducting the War on Drugs on them also commit their crimes out of a sense of the holiness of government directives.

Because Government-worshippers are responsible for most of the crimes against humanity committed throughout history, the rest of us need to oppose the spread of the cult and the fanaticism of its followers, for our own good. The best way to do this is to cause the Government-worshipper to realise that the authority they worship is fallible. This is why they are extremely reluctant to consider the possibility, much like any religious person.

The discovery that the government may have actually been wrong about something is enough to shatter the life of the government-worshipper. This will cause them to have a crisis of faith, which, like the crises of faith suffered by followers of other religions, can lead to the complete rejection of the Government religion.

The more doubt a government worker has in the infallibility of their paymaster, the less likely it is that that worker will commit a human rights abuse. Therefore, causing people to lose faith in their government is essential to keeping the rest of us safe. Making Government-worshippers realise that the authority they worship is fallible is the key to undermining the Government religion.

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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 VI

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The fifth chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Welfare’. Here Seymour opens with what appears to be sympathy for the disadvantaged, telling a story about the children without shoes or food at Raumanga Middle School, before white flight took all the pakeha kids (including him) elsewhere. This doesn’t last long. Within a few paragraphs, he’s fuming about how welfare “saps the will to live”.

Seymour then tells a story about how Michael Joseph Savage, when he carried a table through the front door of the first state house in New Zealand, put that table down immediately after passing through that door. It’s not clear why this story is told here, because it doesn’t fit the rest of the section. It seems to simply fit Seymour’s narrative that anything done to help people is bad.

Like a 21st-century echo of Ebenezer Scrooge, Seymour decries the entire welfare system, going all the way back to 1937. The problem isn’t so much the usual right-wing canards of welfare queens and benefit fraudsters, the problem is that the welfare system is designed to “allow the disadvantaged to live full lives participating in equal footing in the community”.

In this section, the brutal and dishonest reasoning at the heart of neoliberalism is laid bare. Seymour makes a list of all of the problems in society and then blames them all on welfare, without providing any evidence or even so much as an argument that the two are connected. He lists a number of statistics about people on welfare, but provides no comparison to other times and places so that we can judge if those numbers are angstworthy.

Without a hint of irony, Seymour writes that “A Treasury report on life outcomes showed that at every stage of life, having parents relying on benefits predicted worse outcomes for children.” The fact that he conflates being on a benefit, rather than poverty, with being the cause of these poor outcomes, is the central error in Seymour’s reasoning, in the ACT Party’s reasoning, and is why the party can never and will never succeed electorally.

He talks about being on welfare as if it was a simple choice, and the man writing that is every bit the man writing about the horror of getting a tennis ball to the head. Seymour comes across as so out of touch that it’s almost comical, such as when he argues against the idea that “welfare is good for the people receiving it”.

The idea that welfare is bad because it makes people lazy is a fringe belief of the American Republican Party, considered gauche even by them, but it’s front-and-centre here. “Being out of work harms people, and more importantly it harms their children,” Seymour wails, crocodile tears spurting. One can easily imagine him as the overseer of a cotton plantation in the antebellum South, cracking the whip for his wealthy employers.

In an outburst of raw neoliberalism, Seymour quotes John Key when it comes to describing Working For Families as an example of “Communism by stealth”. Seymour goes as far as suggesting that not offering tax cuts when possible is equivalent to totalitarianism by stealth. Not ashamed of absurdity, he even accuses National, who slashed the welfare system so badly that we now have the developed world’s highest youth suicide rate, of not being opposed to Communism.

Laughably, Seymour claims here that ACT supports greater access to mental health care. Anyone who has been a mental health patient for long will know that the Fifth National Government slashed funding and access to mental health care, going as far as cutting benefits to severely mentally ill people – and the ACT Party supported them every step of the way. This is why there was a very strong correlation of -0.66 between voting ACT in 2017 and being on the invalid’s benefit (c.f. Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand).

It’s most notable that nowhere in this essay does Seymour mention the supply side of the welfare question. At no point does he touch on the poor wages in New Zealand, and at no point does he suggest that Kiwi employers ought to do their bit by offering a fair wage. Employers are completely exempt from playing any role in motivating workers to work by offering them a wage that they can live on or buy a house with.

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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 Conduct Disorder

Unlike most of the conditions in this book, Conduct Disorder (CD) is only diagnosed in children and adolescents. As the name implies, people who get diagnosed with it conduct themselves in ways that the clinician considers disorderly, in particular when it comes to respecting the rights of other people. This article looks at how to write believable and interesting characters with the condition.

The most important thing is to distinguish CD from Antisocial Personality Disorder. CD is the developmental precursor to Antisocial Personality Disorder – it can only be diagnosed in those too young to have a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (i.e. 18 years of age). It is therefore a developmental condition.

One of the key symptoms of CD is a lower level of fear. This will express itself in a wide variety of ways.

The most notable way that a lower level of fear expresses itself in young people is when it comes to transgressions. A young person has not yet had time to internalise knowledge about the effects that their actions have on other people. They therefore have to learn to be afraid of punishment. This corresponds to Level 1 of Kohlberg’s Scale of Moral Reasoning.

A young person with CD will have a hard time internalising rules about those transgressions, in part because they don’t feel much fear, and so don’t have as much inhibition when primitive impulses towards violence and destruction start playing up on them. Because of this, they regularly violate boundaries relating to other people’s personal space and property.

Another way low levels of fear find expression is in transgressions against one’s own health. Young people already play fast and loose with their health when it comes to having a good time; young people with Conduct Disorder are nihilistically reckless. If the protagonist of your story has Conduct Disorder, chances are that they will be into the booze, weed and pills from their early teenage years.

A character with CD will likely be something of a daredevil. If they are male, they might find themselves drawn to racing motor vehicles or street fighting; if female, to shoplifting and starting trouble between men.

A story with a protagonist who has Conduct Disorder might read like J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Care must be taken here, therefore, not to sound cliched. Anti-hero stories mostly appeal to the same young audience, because they will most readily identify with the spirit of rebellion expressed by such a character. People with Conduct Disorder push the boundaries, for good or ill.

Punk stories, in particular cyberpunk, often feature protagonists who would appear (at least from the authorities’ perspective) to have Conduct Disorder. Young men like John Case of Neuromancer or Jonty Gillespie of The Verity Key are unrepentant criminals, usually because they have to be in order to make a living in the cracks of the edifice of respectable society.

After all, one man’s Conduct Disorder is another man’s righteous rebellion against a tyrannical oppressor. So a character with the condition might be the perfect choice of protagonist if your story involves going up against a large, faceless, totalitarian entity. After all, most of us have a point which, if pushed beyond, we will no longer behave in a co-operative manner.

If a character with CD is pitted against a malicious, evil entity (corporation or government), much of the difficulty in writing your story will come from making that entity unsympathetic enough that the reader readily comes to identify with that character. The more credibly this can be done, the less that character will look like a CD sufferer and more like a righteous hardarse.

Unsurprisingly, Conduct Disorder is highly correlated with all forms of early childhood abuse. A character with the condition might have learned by way of mimicry of their parents that violence and cruelty are perfectly acceptable ways to advance one’s interests, and that fear is for the weak and an invitation to be destroyed.

So if you are writing a character with CD they might not necessarily be a cool, daring and adventurous antihero. Realistically they are more likely to be somewhat brutal. If your protagonist encounters such a character, they might find them intimidating – the class bully, or local street thug.

If your protagonist encounters a character with CD, they could respond in a wide variety of ways, depending on how they themselves are (and their decision will be very revealing to the reader). They might consider that character a cool rebel to be befriended, they might consider them a danger to be avoided, or they might consider them a little brat to be corrected.

Conduct Disorder often occurs at the same time as Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s likely, therefore, that any character with it will have extreme difficulty at school, at work, or with either friends of family. Their life will probably be very chaotic, and will considerable Police or social worker involvement.

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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 New Zealand Government Has Been Separating Children From Their Cannabis-Growing Parents for Decades

This is no worse than what our own Government is doing to us

Today’s mass media assault on consciousness involved emotional images from America of Mexican children in cages. The ensuing outrage was based around the fact that when a Mexican family is apprehended crossing the American border illegally, the children are temporarily separated from their parents. Although this is regrettable, what the media is ignoring is that the New Zealand Government has been doing the same thing to its own citizens for decades.

For one thing, it’s standard practice for the New Zealand Government to separate children from their parents if those parents are going into custody for breaking the law. In this regard, the New Zealand Government’s normal actions are no better than what the American Government is doing. Even worse than this is the fact that many of those parents are going to jail for offences that don’t harm anyone, unlike (arguably) illegal immigration.

The fact that cannabis is a medicine is a fact near enough to universally acknowledged by the young people of the world, even if Baby Boomer politicians have been slow to understand it. However, cultivation of it remains a crime punishable by up to seven years imprisonment in New Zealand, despite that the plant has a wide range of medicinal effects and is used all over the country to alleviate needless suffering.

Because cannabis is so good for alleviating suffering – taking away pain, nausea, insomnia among other maladies – people continue to grow it, despite the law. But because of the law, a significant number of these people end up being apprehended by Police and sentenced to prison.

Many of the medicinal cannabis growers who have been put in prison over the past 40 years have had children. Those children were forcibly separated from their parents by the New Zealand Government for the sake of enforcing a law that should never have been a law.

So all the perfectly natural dismay that Kiwis have been induced to feel at what the Mexican children at the American border are forced to endure – a traumatic forced separation from their parents as a consequence of an arbitrary law enforced by armed men – could just as well arise as a result of thinking about what Kiwi children have to go through as a result of cannabis prohibition.

In fact, our own children have it worse, because they will often not get to see their parents again for a long time.

So if people in New Zealand are going to get upset because of an outrage that the global corporate media manufactured in order to target a conservative American President, let’s get equally upset about similar and equally evil actions in New Zealand.

Every time a New Zealander gets put in prison for a cannabis offence that has harmed no-one, leaving a child on the outside who is now missing a parent, we ought to react with the same outrage towards our own Government as we had today for the Trump Administration. If we’re going to expend energy on outrage let’s at least direct it somewhere where it can do some good.

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What Would the Average Hourly Wage Be in New Zealand If Wages Had Kept Up With House Prices?

New Zealand is torn by inter-generational tension right now. The young have no hope of finding houses they can afford and the old simply blame them for being too lazy to work hard enough to afford one. However, the numbers show that workers today get a much worse deal than they did 30 years ago. This article looks at what the average wage in New Zealand would be if it had kept pace with the price of houses since the late 1980s.

This graph from the Trading Economics website tracks the increase in the New Zealand Average Hourly Wage over the past 30 years. We can see that the average hourly wage in New Zealand, as of the beginning of 2018, is $31.03. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand website contains many interesting statistics and graphs, many of which can be downloaded from this link. This article will combine both sources.

In March of 2001, the House Price Index (from the RBNZ link above) stood at 700.2. At this time, the average hourly wage was $17.70. So if a person wished to purchase a $300,000 house, suitable for a growing family, they would have to have capital equal to 16,949 hours of work at the average wage.

According to this article by Human Resources Director, Kiwis work an average of 1,762 hours a year (this figure was for 2014, but for cultural reasons this figure does not change much over time). This means that, in March of 2001, buying a house suitable for raising a family in required capital equal to 9.62 years of full-time work at the average wage.

How does that compare to today?

After seventeen years of red-hot growth, the House Price Index now stands at 2480.8. This represents an increase of 254% over those seventeen years, and it means that a $300,000 house in March 2001 now costs $1,062,000 (all growth factors assumed equal). As mentioned above, the average hourly wage in New Zealand has increased from $17.70 in that time to $31.03, which represents an increase of 75%.

In other words, in January of 2018, buying a $1,062,000 house, suitable for raising a family in, requires capital equal to 34,224 hours of working at the average hourly wage. This is equivalent to 19.42 years of work at the average hourly wage.

We can see, then, that when measured in terms of a person’s ability to purchase a house suitable for raising a family in, the average New Zealander is less than half as wealthy as they were only 17 years ago. To have the same house buying power that it had in 2001, an average wage in New Zealand would now have to be $62.65 per hour.

People working in 1989 – when the majority of Baby Boomers would have been in the workforce – had it even better still. In December of 1989 the House Price Index stood at 453.5; the average hourly wage stood at $13.07 in the first quarter of that year.

So our standard family home that cost $300,000 in 2001 cost a mere 64.8% of that price in 1989, whereas the average wage in 1989 was 73.8% of what it was in 2001. Put another way, the average house suitable for raising a family in cost $194,400 in 1989, which represented capital equal to 14,873 hours of labour at the average wage. This was equivalent to a mere 8.44 years of saved labour.

The average house price has gone up 447% over the past 30 years in New Zealand; the average hourly wage has gone up 137% in that time. So to have the same house-buying power as the average New Zealand worker in 1989, a Kiwi in 2018 would have to get paid $71.50 an hour. This would allow them to buy a decent house after saving around 14,000 hours of the average wage, which is the standard of living that the average worker had in 1989.

In summary, the average New Zealand worker has lost almost 60% of the house-buying power of their wage over the past 30 years.

Buying a decent house in 2018 costs savings equal to 19.42 years of work at the average wage; 30 years ago buying an equivalent quality of housing cost savings equal to 8.44 years of work. So if a Kiwi left home at age 18 in 1970 and saved half of their income on the average wage they could own a house by age 35; a Kiwi who left home at age 18 in the year 2000 and saved half of their income on the average wage can’t expect to own one before they turn 57.

Despite tiny relative savings on consumer electronics, it’s obvious that the standard of living for young people is much lower nowadays than it was 30 years ago. The fact that wages haven’t come close to keeping up with housing costs is the main culprit.

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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. Available on TradeMe for $35.60.