VJMP Reads: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda VII

This reading carries on from here.

The seventh chapter of Edward Bernays’s Propaganda is called ‘Women’s Activities And Propaganda’.

Bernays is comfortable stating, in 1928, that women “have achieved a legal equality with men”. This doesn’t mean that their activities are the same – it simply means that their vote is of equal worth. This makes them particularly important to understand from a propaganda perspective.

He points out that women don’t have to occupy high positions of political power in order to have a strong political influence. It doesn’t matter that women are not taken as seriously as men in positions of high leadership, because they lead women’s organisations with great numbers of members, and the women leading them have a heavy influence on how their members vote.

Bernays considers the women’s suffrage campaign (which had won victory in America shortly before he wrote this book) to be a good example of the power of propaganda to bring societal changes. He credits the use of propaganda by women’s organisations for increased social welfare and alcohol prohibition. Many female propagandists were trained either by the suffragette movement itself or by the Government during World War One.

These clubs can hold events that draw large numbers of people, so if a popular enough event can be held, it will result in great numbers of people being influenced. Bernays is especially taken with the idea of such clubs sponsoring art or literary competitions. Such events can generate enormous amounts of goodwill.

Bernays is optimistic that an increased voice for women can help mould the world into a better place for all of us. He believes that the entrance of women into politics will allow them to focus on areas that men had previously neglected or were not interested in. This is primarily achieved by the introduction of new ideas or methods.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

VJMP Reads: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda VI

This reading carries on from here.

The sixth chapter of Edward Bernays’s Propaganda is called ‘Propaganda and Political Leadership’. Having elaborated upon the basics, Bernays now turns to what this book is best known for.

The chapter opens with an almost Machiavellian statement of anti-democracy. “No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea.” The leader, then, has an obligation to use propaganda to induce the people to go in the right direction.

Curiously for 1928, Bernays is in a position to lament the apathy that already existed in the American voting population of the time. He presages the coming of Adolf Hitler when he states that this apathy only exists because of the failure of any political leader to capture the imagination of the public (this might be because propaganda has been used to destroy political communication).

Voter apathy is here blamed on the inability of politicians to dramatise themselves and their platforms in terms that have real meaning to the public. This cannot be achieved by a politician who merely follows the public whim. Given the strictures of democracy, “The only means by which the born leader can lead is the expert use of propaganda”.

Political campaigns ought to be planned and conducted as professionally and as meticulously as any advertising campaign of a large company. To this end, they would do well to be honestly funded. Bernays decries the “little black bag” method of funding, on account of that it lowers the prestige of politics.

A clever political campaign will outline, from the beginning, specifically which emotions it intends to appeal to. It will figure out exactly who it intends to appeal to, how to reach those people, and the areas in which multiple target groups have aligned interests.

Politicians, as leaders, ought to be creators of circumstances, not victims of them. In this, they have to be clever. The old-fashioned approach is to assault voting resistance head-on, through argumentation. The new approach is to arrange things so that such a conclusion seems dramatic and self-evident.

The best thing is to agitate the public into a sense of anxiety beforehand, so that when the politician speaks it is as if they are providing the answer to a desperate question. Bernays expresses a strong conviction that untrue propaganda will never drive out the honest, because the untrue propaganda will become weakened by growing public awareness of it.

Viewed from ninety years later, it seems that Bernays was altogether too naive and trusting. He wasn’t wrong when he says that the question of whether the newspaper shapes public opinion or public opinion shapes the newspaper is a bit of both. However, he didn’t appear to have anticipated that those who control the apparatus of propaganda would choose to pump it out ever more shamelessly, nor that mass media would see us soaked in propaganda 24/7.

A real leader ought to be able to use propaganda to get the people to follow them, rather than them follow the whims of the people. Again, Bernays emphasises that understanding the target audience is crucial: “The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public.”

Government can be considered the “continuous administrative organ of the people”. To this end, an understanding of propaganda among its workers is vital for the sake of clear and accurate communication. Bernays prefers to describe this as education rather than propagandising. Perhaps the difference was more distinct in the 1920s.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

Why Victimhood Is Aggression

In a moral climate as degenerate as ours, weakness has become a virtue. We have come to believe that anyone who is weak must be innocent and the victim of misfortune or prejudice, and is therefore owed compensation. This has led to interest groups scrambling to position themselves as the biggest victim. This essay explains how victimhood is a form of aggression.

Justice is all about setting to rights what people are owed. If someone assaults another person, or steals from them, it’s important that the wider community steps in and sets things to rights. If they don’t, the original victim (or their friends and family) will seek vengeance, which historically has led to blood-feuding, which has frequently led to the destruction of entire areas.

Blood-feuding led to rulers and magistrates enforcing a code of laws – a codified, written set of laws and punishments for anyone who breaks those laws. The advantage of a code of laws is that aggrieved parties appeal to a magistrate for justice instead of taking revenge themselves, which means that grievances tend to settle down instead of festering into blood feuds.

The aggrieved party in any question of justice expects to be compensated. So the giver of justice, in order to keep the peace, tends to pass down rulings that favour the aggrieved. Because of the good nature of other people, it’s usually assumed that any party claiming a grievance must be deserving of compensation, and as a result, the majority of grievances are taken seriously.

The difficulty arises, as it has today, when some people start to realise that a sense of victimhood is highly profitable. A person, or group of people, with a deeply entrenched sense of victimhood can force the society around them to adapt to their wishes. This society does out of a fear of the implied threat of blood-feuding if those grievances are not settled. So artificially stoking a sense of victimhood can bring political power.

New Zealand anarchist philosopher Rick Giles has described this permanent victimhood as Victimhood Culture, one of the four major moral cultures of human history. Giles points out that, no matter how many concessions are given to people in victim mode, it’s never enough. This is because victimhood is an entire culture, a mindset into which people fall and into which they are often raised. It’s characterised by an absence of both honour and dignity.

There are genuine victims, but the proportion of them are ever fewer, and the proportion of grifters and chancers ever higher.

Making out like you’re owed, by exaggerating a sense of victimhood, is an act of aggression. The purpose is to intimidate good-natured people into giving up their wealth or freedom in order to compensate you for the supposed injustice. Because most people have trouble believing that anyone could be as shameless as to pretend to be a victim, most assertions of victimhood are taken at face value.

In reality, the world is an extremely complicated place. There are always a multitude of competing explanations for any political or historical event that might occur or have occurred, or for any sociological phenomenon that may have arisen. Therefore, it’s not always obvious to work out if you have been treated unfairly or not. So whether a person declares that they are a victim or not tells us much about them.

Take the example of the New Zealand Maori. The question of whether they benefitted from colonisation is one that draws a wide variety of responses. The competing explanations are that the British Empire showed up and rescued them from a life of intertribal warfare, slavery and cannibalism (on the one hand), or that they lived in perfect harmony with nature and with each other before the British turned up and corrupted them (on the other), or somewhere in between.

Therefore, it isn’t obvious for individual Maoris to know how much of a sense of victimhood they ought to feel. Inevitably, what ends up happening is that people feel a sense of victimhood that is proportionate to their own level of interpersonal aggression. This is why radicalism and violence go hand-in-hand.

This is true of people in any race, class or religion. If they are naturally aggressive, they will naturally want to take from others, and a sense of victimhood is the perfect justification. All that’s needed is some way of interpreting history so that you or the group you belong to were victimised by some other. Then, that other can be attacked until it pays compensation.

Unfortunately, this means that a sense of victimhood is worth money. If it can be stoked in other people, by suggesting to those people that they are victims and are owed compensation, then this victimhood can be parlayed into cash, jobs and other perks. A person claiming to represent a group of victims can easily siphon wealth into their own pockets. This makes it immensely tempting to stoke victimhood and to aggravate grievances.

The wise thing to do is to be exceptionally wary of anyone, whether an individual or a group, that claims to be a victim. Almost inevitably, this group will have managed to justify aggression against those who they see as oppressors. For this reason, a sense of victimhood, and perpetuating a sense of victimhood, can rightly be seen as a sign of aggression.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

VJMP Reads: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda V

This reading carries on from here.

The fifth chapter of Edward Bernays’s Propaganda is called ‘Business and the Public’.

Businesses have realised that their interactions with the public are not limited to selling their product. They also have to keep on side with that public, otherwise the latter will pass laws restricting the operational freedom of that business. This need to stay onside with the moral fashions of the public has created the public relations industry.

Incredibly for 1928, Bernays is already talking about the fact that it is no longer demand that causes goods to be supplied to the market. He is aware even then that demand is something that is created, and that this is economically necessary in an age of mass production owing to the size of the capital investment necessary to get started. This is entirely different to even a century beforehand.

It has meant that psychology is now necessary in order to conduct business. The minds of the market, both as individuals and as collectives, must be understood. The vast reach of mass media only makes this more important. “Business must express itself and its entire corporate existence so that the public will understand and accept it.”

A company must think hard about the impression that it creates on other people. This means that businesses have to think about things like the dress of their staff. Much of this sounds routine for 2019, so it must be remembered this book was written in 1928.

The propagandist’s work can be divided into two major groups: “continuous interpretation” and “dramatisation by highspotting”. The former is a kind of micromanagement of the public mind in all minor matters, whereas the latter attempts to create a striking and lasting impression. The appropriate method to use can only be determined after a thorough study of the needs of the client.

Bernays writes of his conviction that “as big business becomes bigger the need for expert manipulation of its innumerable contacts with the public will become greater.” Critical to this is finding common interests between the good or service to be sold and the public interest. This search can have an almost infinite number of dimensions. He emphasises against that the goodwill of the public is necessary for any success, in particular stock floats.

Competition is now so intense that almost every decision made by the consumer is someone’s interest. Even the choice of what to eat for breakfast impacts a large number of corporate interests, all of who want to sell their product. Bernays jokes that this might lead to people becoming fat out of a fear that manufacturers will go bankrupt if people don’t eat enough – bizarrely ironic considering our obesity struggles 90 years later.

Bernays finishes this chapter writing about the amusement industry, which has its roots in carnivals and “medicine shows”. They were the ones who taught business and industry about propaganda. Ultimately, propaganda is a dynamic industry that responds to changing trends, and therefore “Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse”.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

We’re All Slaves On One Big Tax Plantation

Most people today are horrified by the idea of chattel slavery. The practice is widely considered one of the most vile and evil institutions in human history, and for good reason. What most people fail to realise, however, is that we are still slaves living on a big plantation, but instead of cotton it’s all about taxes.

The truth is that our societies are little different to the cotton and sugar plantations of the antebellum American South. We are plantation slaves. The owners of capital are the same today as they were in the 1840s, and the overseers they employ are also little different. The main difference is that we are enslaved psychologically instead of physically.

This is why it was said that Kanye West had “left the plantation” when he began to repudiate the mainstream media’s relentless attacks on Donald Trump, as well as the implication that black Americans ought to always support the Democrat Party. The world view inculcated by the mainstream media is as constraining as any cotton or sugar plantation, and we’re the slaves on it.

On the tax plantation, all that matters is submission to the neoliberal capitalist globohomo agenda. Just as the owners of cotton plantations didn’t care about the well-being of their slaves, as long as they produced cotton, neither do the owners of our society care about our well-being, as long as we produce taxes.

In the same way that the owners of the cotton and sugar plantations got their overseers to squeeze as much productivity as possible from their slaves, so too do the owners of the tax plantations direct the overseers in the media, government and mental health industries to squeeze as much tax money as possible from their slaves. Sheep are farmed for wool, cows are farmed for milk, but humans are farmed for taxes.

The ideal is to get the slave to willingly produce tax money. The main method of achieving this has been to create a culture where possession and acquisition of material goods is considered the meaning of human existence, with ostracisation the penalty for anyone who disagrees. With this achieved, the people within that culture will work long hours for the money necessary for all this stuff, and that labour can be taxed without fear of resistance. The more work, the more tax.

If a slave is unwilling to produce tax money, the response of the overseers is similar to that taken by the overseers on a cotton plantation.

The initial reaction is abuse. The cotton plantation overseer would use physical abuse, in the form of whips. The thought plantation overseer, not being able to use corporal punishment, uses psychological abuse instead. This usually takes the form of calling the slave lazy, or a malingerer. The overseer will create the impression that the slave’s unwillingness to produce taxes for their owner is a moral failure on the part of the slave, something they should be ashamed of.

If this fails, the overseers move on to medicalisation. This is where the unwillingness to produce taxes is labelled a mental disorder requiring correction. On the thought plantation, the unwillingness to produce taxes is usually treated with psychiatric medication. The idea is that all thoughts of doing anything besides working and paying taxes are suppressed.

In the 1800s, a medical condition existed called drapetomania. This was a a diagnosis that could be given to slaves that had run away from their plantations. It referred to a kind of mental illness that impelled its sufferers to not want to be enslaved. The doctor who came up with the concept said “proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented”.

Another fictitious mental disorder that was used to justify slavery was called dysaesthesia aethiopica. This was the Slavery Age equivalent of what doctors nowadays call “amotivational syndrome”. The idea was that the unwillingness to be treated as a slave must be a mental illness that had to be corrected. After all, a mentally healthy slave would accept his position and work hard for the master.

We can see the same logic applied by psychiatric doctors nowadays. Individuals who are disinclined to participate in society, on account of its overwhelming shitness, are diagnosed with mental illnesses similar to drapetomania. Schizotypal personality disorder is one such – the withdrawal from social contact is labelled a mental illness and medicated. Antisocial Personality Disorder and schizophrenia are other common reactions to enslavement, also pathologised.

The overseers and plantation owners can never, ever admit that the lives they have constructed for us are grossly unnatural, and that this unnaturalness is so severe that it has caused most of the mental illness that we now suffer. They can never admit that removing people’s agency over their lives causes a frustration that ends up becoming expressed as depression or homicidal rage.

The only way forward for those of us on the thought plantation is to liberate our minds, even if the plantation owners and overseers respond with abuse. Crucial to this is a sense of solidarity with other slaves, in which we support each other to defy the overseers and the owners. We must work for each other, and not for the sake of the plantation.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

VJMP Waitangi Day Address 2019

The only power that scares the Establishment is the unity of the people. Only when Maoris and white people come together, with strong bonds based on mutual appreciation of each other’s talents, do the ruling classes of this country sit up and take notice. Only then do they become afraid of us, instead of the other way around.

There are two very popular, and yet very false, narratives explaining why our society is the way it is. Both of these false narratives serve to divide the nation into two competing blocs, at each others throats. The first is the Imperialist narrative, the second is the Marxist narrative.

The Imperialist narrative has it that Maoris lived in a state of depravity and constant terror. Intertribal warfare and cannibalism were rife; life expectancy was 30 years if you were lucky. According to the Imperialist narrative, Maoris were rescued from this state by the benevolence of the British Empire, which made slavery illegal, and kindly dished out medicine, technology and an end to the Musket Wars.

The Marxist narrative has it that Maoris lived in a state of perfect peace and harmony with Nature. There was no violence and no hunger until the white man turned up. Then the Maoris were driven from their land under musket and cannon fire, into the wilderness to die. The British came here for no other reason than greed, and never saw the Maoris as proper human beings.

Both of these narratives are horseshit. Both have been designed to sow discord and hatred. Both are aggressive, supremacist ideologies, and both are supported by aggressive, low intelligence, egotistical people. Neither has a place in the New Zealand of the new century.

There is a lot of pressure for us to take on one of the false narratives. Many people find it gratifying to blame someone else for their problems, especially an entire group. Many people have chosen a side, not as a Kiwi, but as either a Maori or as a white person, and many of these see the other side of the divide as the enemy who seeks to steal from them.

The British did made slavery illegal, and they did bring technology and medicine here, that is true. They also did some bad things, especially with regards to swindling land from the Maoris, and with creating a society in which money and plastic was valued highly than social and spiritual connections. This is also true.

The Maoris might have problems with violence and abuse and neglect of children, this is true. They have also done outstandingly well compared to other indigenous peoples. Their intelligence and tenacity has enabled them to adapt to the tools of the white man in a way that the others never could. They are much wealthier than Tongans, who were never colonised. This is also true.

We need a new narrative, one that takes us forwards as brothers in arms. Not one that keeps us squabbling in the dirt. Esoteric Aotearoanism can serve as that narrative.

New Zealand society, for the majority of its existence, has been a co-operative enterprise between Maoris and white people. For better or worse, we’re stuck with each other. Neither group of people is going anywhere, and rates of intermarriage are so high that the time will come when there are not only no pure-blooded Maoris left but also no pure-blooded whites apart from immigrants. This is inevitable unless we are divided and conquered by outside forces.

Because of these immensely high rates of interbreeding, and because of the close, sometimes imperceptible, cultural exchange that we have had, Maoris and white people cannot be spoken of as two separate groups. They must be understood as the two major contributing factors to something that is greater than either of them: the Kiwi nation.

There are none of us who are pure Maori, unaffected by the white man’s influence, and neither are there any of us who are pure white people, the same as what can be found in Europe. We are now the yin and the yang of something greater than either of us. Both love rugby, live music, cannabis and exploring the wilderness just as much as the other.

It doesn’t matter what once was.

Co-operation is the only way forward. This demands that we reject the false narratives that cause us to fight each other, and adopt a new narrative that allows each of us to contribute to the greater good in their own way. It doesn’t matter what proportion of Maori blood you have, or what languages you speak, or even what your political attitudes are. There is a niche for you to contribute to the Kiwi nation.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

VJMP Reads: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda II

This reading carries on from here.

The second chapter of Propaganda is called ‘The New Propaganda’. Here, Bernays elucidates some of the differences between the original approach to propaganda that arose with the advent of mass media, and the “new” approach that was developed after the application of mass psychology techniques to making propaganda more effective.

The industrial revolution has made kings much less powerful than they once were, relative to the masses. It spread economic power, and, with that, political power. The old democrats used to believe that it was possible to educate everyone up to the level where they could participate in rulership – in reality, the average person falls well short of what is required.

Propaganda fills this gap, serving as the means by which the minority can still rule the majority. “Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible Government.” The education of the common man, instead of teaching him to think freely, only conditioned him to become receptive to propaganda. Now his mind is receptive to propaganda of all sorts.

Using examples from a daily newspaper, Bernays explains how propaganda works in the mainstream media. Anything stated as true by an authority, such as the State Department, is taken as such. Here Bernays gives us a definition of propaganda: “Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.”

In practice, very little is done nowadays without some kind of propaganda campaign alongside it. Propaganda regiments the public mind every bit as much as the Army regiments the bodies of its soldiers. A group so regimented can be every bit as effective as an army.

Today, the approval of the public is necessary for any large undertaking. Therefore, propaganda is necessary for any large undertaking. Formerly, rulers could set the course of history simply by doing things. Today, the masses have control, so propaganda is needed to wrest that control back. As a consequence, propaganda is here to stay.

It was World War I, and the astonishing success of propaganda in that war to manipulate public opinion, that made people aware of what could be done. This was the first time that not only a multimedia approach was made to encourage people to support the national endeavour, but also key men were brought on board in a massive range of industries.

The new propaganda doesn’t just target the individual, but takes into consideration the structure of society and the way that information spreads through it. This is now a feature of society, because new proposals for reform must be clearly articulated before they will be influential. No-one can get anything done anymore without propaganda.

Bernays concludes this chapter by noting that “In the active proselytizing minorities in whom selfish interests and public interests coincide lie the progress and development of America.” The world is controlled by the small number of men that control propaganda, who make the rest of us think as they will, and society only progresses when their will is in accord with the collective good.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

Electoral Consequences of the Rise of a New Blue-Green Party in New Zealand

Much recent attention has been given to the possibility that a new blue-green party might arise to contest the 2020 General Election. A man named Vernon Tava has been interviewed outlining his vision for the putative movement, which is said to have some support. In this article, demographer Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, explains the electoral ramifications.

First, we need to determine who might vote for such a blue-green party. Secondly, we will speculate on what might happen if a large number of people do.

Crudely speaking, and this is very crude, we can say that New Zealand divides into four groups: the urban poor, who vote Labour, the urban rich, who vote Green, the rural poor, who vote New Zealand First, and the rural rich, who vote National.

The borderline between the Green and the National parties, therefore, is between the city and the country, and the unifying feature of these two parties is that their constituents are wealthy. So any new blue-green party would primarily target people who were doing better than average, regardless of whether they lived in the city or the country. But to distinguish them from the conservatives, they would need either an environmental or a social justice aspect from the green side.

Green and National voters are also characterised by being better educated than average (indeed, this is the basis of their greater wealth). So a green-blue party might target students, especially those who study at suburban universities. What unifies them, in particular, is that they tend to have globalist sympathies, and they tend to oppose the nationalist sentiments that they observe in Labour and New Zealand First.

This column has previously discussed the fact that the National and Green parties could ally on the basis of both being strong supporters of globalism. A new blue-green party might combine the green commitment to environmental causes with the desire to liberalise free trade and the movement of cheap labour (ignore the contradictions in that for a moment). They would then effectively be a neoliberal party.

The most obvious point is that such a party would compete directly with The Opportunities Party. As I showed shortly after the previous election in 2017, the bulk of TOP voters were disaffected Green voters. They were mostly young and well-educated, of either gender and any ethnicity, and were the ones most easily reached by the heavy investment made by TOP in FaceBook advertising. They have also had the most anti-nationalist conditioning.

Green Party voters would also be tempted towards a new party. The reason for this is many Green voters are well-educated, and so they often find themselves becoming wealthy by the end of their 30s, which means that they start to have an interest in protecting that wealth, and thereby paying less taxes. This pulls them towards the National Party, but they tend to be repelled by National’s indifferent attitude to human suffering.

National voters, for their part, will be hard to tempt to any blue-green party. For one thing, National voters are particularly loyal: the correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting National in 2017 was 0.99, an exceptionally strong correlation and higher than the equivalent figure for any other party. The other reason will be the electoral ramifications, as discussed below.

Second, the other major area of interest is the electoral ramifications of such a party if it would form and seriously contest the 2020 General Election.

One obvious point here is that the rise of a blue-green party would make things exceptionally difficult for The Opportunities Party. Although TOP does not describe itself as a blue-green party, they are competing for almost exactly the same demographic as any such new endeavour would also be competing for. Getting 5% of the electorate vote is hard enough as it is, and having two fledgling parties contesting that vote will make things extremely hard for both.

The obvious major point here relates to the overlap with Green Party voters. The Green Party only just made it over the threshold at the 2017 General Election, winning a mere 6.27% of the total votes. This means that they would only have to lose 30,000 or so votes in 2020 to a new blue-green party to run the risk of falling under the 5% threshold and so dropping out of Parliament entirely.

Ironically, game theory suggests that this is one of the most plausible ways for National to win the election. If a blue-green party did win enough of the Green Party vote that both parties failed to make the 5% threshold, the left bloc would lose all those Green party votes as well as some of the blue-green party ones, whereas the right bloc would only lose some of the blue-green party ones. This would leave National and ACT against Labour, competing for New Zealand First support.

Of course, these options are moot if the proposed party does win 5% of the electorate vote. As explained above, this would almost certainly lead to the obliteration of both the Greens and TOP, who are chasing similar voters. Assuming New Zealand First also won 5%, then there could be another head-to-head fight between Labour and National for the loyalty of the centrist parties, who would then in all probability hold the balance of power.

Because getting 5% of the vote is so difficult, and because the competition for the blue-green niche already so fierce, the future chances of Vernon Tava’s movement look extremely slim. They might have a greater impact as a spoiler that helps to wipe out the Green and Opportunities Parties, for the sake of ensuring that National holds the balance of power after 2020.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

VJMP Reads: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda I

Fittingly, the Propaganda Ministry turns its attention to the granddaddy of all propaganda literature, Propaganda by Edward Bernays. This short book was written by Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, by way of explaining his own prodigious insight into the manipulation of mass consciousness in the America of 1928.

He opens in the first chapter, “Organising Chaos”, with a stark declaration that the “organised habits and opinions” of the masses are formed according to the will of men who effectively form an unseen government. These men mold our minds and our tastes, mostly without us knowing who they even are.

Bernays contends that this is necessary, owing to the confusion ordinarily created by the democratic process, with its hundreds of different candidates. People would become confused if they were expected to understand the inner workings of all the issues that politicians are faced with. Therefore, the media narrows things down to a range that can be grasped.

Likewise, Bernays claims that society consents to have its choices relating to commercial products narrowed down by way of media propaganda. Because of reasons like these, there is a constant battle going on to capture the minds of individual people.

Bernays mentions that it may have been better to have had committees of wise men, who made decisions about the best way to do things. But we elected for the opposite of this. We have free competition of ideas, and in order for this to not lead to chaos we have to allow for leadership and propaganda to direct attention. This can be misused, but it is necessary nevertheless.

The advent of mass media has changed the way that the world is organised. At the time of the writing of the American Constitution, the village was the basic unit of society. Thanks to the mass media, it has become possible to be organised alongside people who live thousands of miles away.

Our society, instead of being divided by coherent geographical units, is now cleaved by all manner of social, political, ethnic, religious, racial or moral divisions. It is along the lines of these divisions that propaganda is spread. One influential group leader in any of these domains can soon have all the others in that domain following an idea.

Bernays labours the point that these cleavages are nonetheless comprised of individuals who exist in several groups, and therefore these groups are all interlaced. This is, in Bernays’s view, what society is. It is how democracy has chosen to simplify its decision making.

He summarises the book in the final paragraph of the first chapter. It is to explain how the minds of people are molded in modern democratic society, and how the manipulators of it go about their work.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

Esoteric Aotearoanism

If the Spear of Destiny ever comes to New Zealand, we ought to be ready to receive it. To that end, we can act to attract it, by employing the Law of Attraction. We can do that by promoting a cultural movement that recognised the excellence of New Zealand and our future greatness. This essay describes a mystical tradition that could serve these ends: Esoteric Aotearoanism.

Elementary alchemy has it that if one combines masculine and feminine in the right manner, one achieves a combination that is greater than the mere sum of its parts. By combining the feminine clay and the masculine iron, it’s possible to get silver, an element neither feminine nor masculine but somehow both, and not just both but the correct proportion of both.

This is represented in Taoism by the Taijitu, which combines the white yang and the black yin to create a shape that has a life of its own, one that tells a story. The energy, light and life of the yang projects itself into the darkness of the yin, which in turn follows the yang in devotion. The result is a spiral that turns for eternity.

Esoteric Aotearoanism tells a similar story. This story is represented in the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism, which consists of three vertical stripes: the leftmost white, the rightmost black, and the central one silver. It is crucial to note here that the central band is silver, and not grey, because the combination of the two parts has created something more valuable than their mere summation.

The opening degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism is that the Esoteric Aotearoan flag represents the nation of New Zealand in the Kiwi people. 

The white is yang, which represents the British. This is not just because the British are white, but also because they are orderly. The British came from the West and therefore the leftmost third of the flag is white. It is from there that the energy and organisation to create the institutions of New Zealand came.

The black is yin, which represents the Maoris. As with the British, this does not simply reflect skin colour, but rather a vital, invigorating passion. Because the Maoris come from the East, the black occupies the rightmost third of the flag. It is from there that the soul of the nation comes, and how we get direction to differentiate ourselves from the globohomo masses (and from Australia in particular).

The silver stripe represents New Zealand, the space where those two ingredients meet, and where they combine to become something more valuable than either. The yang is bright but unyielding; the yin is gentle but dull. Together they are colourful, and shine as silver. As silver is more valuable than either iron or clay, so too is the combination of British and Maori more valuable than either alone.

The silver stripe also represents those who have come together under the silver fern, because they have acted to create something that is greater than either the British or the Maori components. It signifies that what we have of greatest value is that which comes from the land here. It’s not what we imported from Britain or from Polynesia – it’s what we have created ourselves here, according to the direction of our own wills and of the spirit of the nation.

It’s also a reminder that our future lies in the unity of these two forces.

Sir Apirana Ngata hinted at Esoteric Aoteraroanism being the way forward when he said:

Ko to ringa ki ngā rakau a te Pākehā

Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna Māori

Ko tō wairua ki to Atua

In English this means “Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha, your heart to the treasures of your Maori ancestors, your spirit to God.” The sentiment behind this was that we ought to take the best of both worlds. Both the Maori and the European world brought things that were good and things that were bad. We can take the best of both, and leave the worst of both.

This leads naturally into the teaching of the second degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism, in which the various qualities contributed by the British and the Maori are mapped onto the four masculine elements.

The clay represents the Maori. This is because he is vital and passionate, but has a dark side of sometimes expressing unrestrained violence. He is soft and likes to share, but this can sometimes lead to a lack of discipline.

The iron represents the Briton. This is because he is hard and disciplined, but has a dark side of sometimes being cruel. He is orderly but can sometimes be hard-headed, unforgiving and pedantic.

The silver also represents the Briton (this conception of silver is related to, but separate from, the conception of silver in the first degree). This is because his scientific and technological prowess made it possible for New Zealand to become wealthy and prosperous, and for us to defend ourselves without need for submission.

The gold also represents the Maori. Like the clay, the Maori is soft, but he is also colourful. This represents spirituality and an understanding of the world beyond. The Briton is intelligent but he is spiritually ignorant. The realm of gold is where New Zealanders connect to God, and the Maoris, particularly those with an enthusiasm for cannabis or psilocybe wereroa, have a vital role to play here.

Esoteric Aotearoanism considers it a tragedy for a Kiwi to identify as either a white person or a Maori. This would be like denying one of your parents. It’s a small-minded and petty thing to do. That sort of solipsistic narcissism will lead to the nation tearing itself apart down the centre. To identify as one and repudiate the other is an idiocy that is promoted by the enemies of this nation.

In reality, Kiwis are already so intermixed that as many as a quarter of us are some kind of Northern European-Polynesian hybrid. It is this sort of person – not Maoris – that is unique to these isles, the true tangata whenua. There are Europeans in Europe and Polynesians in the Pacific, but only in New Zealand can those who are a mix of the two truly say that they have a home.

This leads onto the third degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism, which deals with the future of the two contributors to Aotearoa. The fact is that white people and Maoris are interbreeding at an extremely high rate, and therefore will eventually mix into one people, who are not separated by category but only by degree. Even then, it will not be a degree of value but simply a degree of proportion of yin or yang.

This people will be a true Kiwi people, and they will best be able to channel the best of the yang and the best of the yin to create something truly precious. Many of them will be among the most excellent individuals on Earth on account of hybrid vigour. There are already plenty of examples of this, such as Buck Shelford, Shane Bond, Michael Jones and (allegedly) Dan Carter.

In all, Esoteric Aotearoanism is a new narrative for a new century, one that repudiates the nation fighting against itself, and one that encourages the nation coming together to embellish the strengths and ameliorate the weaknesses of its constituent parts. This is a narrative that, if supported, can bring peace and prosperity to all Kiwis.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.