The Case For Cannabis: It Doesn’t Matter That Awful People Support Cannabis Law Reform

Some people – whether they’re honest about it or not – don’t support cannabis law reform because of the sort of person who does support it. Because many unpleasant and dangerous people think that cannabis prohibition is a bad idea, some others have gone as far as to conclude that it must really be a good idea. As this article will show, it doesn’t matter that awful people support cannabis law reform.

Indeed, demographic analysis shows that the sort of person who supports cannabis law reform isn’t the same sort of person who is doing the best. According to Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand, the correlation between voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 and net personal income was -0.48, meaning that ALCP supporters were among the poorest in the nation, about as poor as National voters are wealthy.

Voting ALCP in 2017 had a correlation of 0.66 with being a solo parent, 0.68 with having no formal academic qualifications, 0.79 with being on the invalid’s benefit, 0.82 with being on the unemployment benefit and a whopping 0.89 with being a regular tobacco smoker. This suggests that being a cannabis supporter is correlated with just about every measure of low social standing.

Clearly, cannabis isn’t a drug for people who are doing well in life. Fundamentally, cannabis is a medicine, and therefore it appeals primarily to people who are sick in some way. This is obvious from the strong correlation between voting ALCP and being on the invalid’s benefit, because many of those people have discovered cannabis in their desperation. It’s not surprising, then, that its supporters are generally people who aren’t doing well.

None of that matters when it comes to determining the fairness of cannabis law reform.

Many people don’t like to use objective, intellectual reasoning when they make decisions. As was understood by Edward Bernays, people often rely on the consensus opinion of the herd when they choose what car to buy, or what political party to vote for. More specifically, they rely on the consensus opinion of their peer group.

People who are in this category, and whose peer group are prejudiced against cannabis users, tend to be prejudiced against cannabis as well. Their reasoning follows the logic that, because the sort of person who supports cannabis has a low social standing, they can’t have devoted any real honest thought to the issue. However, this entire argument is based on a kind of snobbery. It’s little more than looking down one’s nose at another person.

In fact, it’s a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy. Just because an argument for cannabis law reform comes from a person who isn’t a highly upstanding member of the community doesn’t mean that the argument is false in any way. The logical validity of the argument for cannabis law reform has no relation to the social standing of the people promoting it.

Variations of the ad hominem fallacy have been used to oppose most other kinds of reform. Women’s suffrage was opposed by those who characterised its supporters as spinsters and shrews. Homosexual law reform was opposed by those who characterised its supporters as AIDS-riddled degenerates. In more recent times, capital gains tax reform has been opposed by those who characterise it as expropriation and its supporters as communists.

It’s also a circular argument to say that cannabis should be prohibited because criminals use cannabis. If cannabis is illegal, then of course only criminals are going to use it. So a person cannot then turn around and argue that, because only criminals use it, this is justification for keeping it illegal.

People who use this argument tend to portray cannabis users, and cannabis law reform proponents, as brutally immoral degenerates. Dealing cannabis is viewed not as bravely supplying a medicine in the face of a tyrannical political system, but as maliciously destroying other people’s brains for life. Cannabis dealers are equated to child molesters in terms of the suffering they bring.

Even if this absurd caricature was true, it wouldn’t matter. In much the same way that neo-Nazis have a fair point when they talk about the effect of mass immigration on social cohesion, and in the same way that ecofascists have a fair point when they talk about the effect of vehicle exhaust pollution on the world’s ecosystems, all those members of society’s underclass who support cannabis law reform have a fair argument to make.

Although it’s true that the strongest support for cannabis law reform comes from society’s underclass, individuals within that underclass aren’t necessarily there because they are evil or immoral. Most of the people who use cannabis are doing badly because they are ill, either physically or mentally – cannabis is ultimately a medicine, before it is anything else.

So just because a person is poor, or a criminal, doesn’t mean that their arguments in favour of cannabis law reform can be dismissed. To the contrary – it is often people like this who are at the front lines of the War on Drugs, and understand and accounting for their experiences is crucial if we are to set the world to peace and order.

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

An ANZAC Lesson: The Real Enemy Is Always Behind You

My grandfather Fred was born in West Auckland, on the land that is now McLeod Park, named after his father Harry. Fred saw action in North Africa and Italy with the 2nd New Zealand Division and the British Eighth Army. He survived the war, returned to New Zealand, and raised a family. This essay is about one of the lessons he taught me.

He had, like tens of thousands of other Kiwi men, volunteered to fight in World War Two. Having volunteered, and then having experienced war and decided that it was a complete waste of time and something best avoided, he wanted to teach his offspring some lessons to help them avoid ending up fighting overseas.

He only ever spoke of combat, or of the general deprivations of war, to his wife, but he did tell us grandchildren a lot of stories about the lessons he had learned from his war experience. These generally involved insights about psychology, whether general or specific to the various nationalities he had encountered, or relating to military life and the nature of organisations.

One of his favourite stories related an experience that occurred shortly after the German surrender in May 1945. He was on the back of a troop transport truck with the other members of his company, when they encountered a column of German prisoners of war being marched along the road in the other direction. Upon seeing this, the officer in command of the New Zealand troops ordered the company to not acknowledge the presence of the German troops – after all, the war was not technically over yet.

But when the two forces met, the Kiwi troops spontaneously broke into a cheer, and waved to the Germans, who waved back with similar sentiments. It didn’t matter that they had been ordered not to do this, for the war was over, and that meant that the inhumanities of war no longer needed to be inflicted upon each other. Open fraternisation was, of course, not possible, but it was clear that no genuine illwill existed at the level of the average soldier.

It took a while to fully appreciate the import of this story. The first lesson was the magnitude of the relief that the soldiers must have felt upon understanding that the war was over. The realisation that all the killing and dying had ended would have been a joy that is barely comprehensible to someone who has never experienced combat. This joy would have been powerful enough to override any remaining sense of obligation to follow orders.

I spoke with him about this story once, after it had occurred to me that this feeling of goodwill towards the German soldiers was stronger than any goodwill he felt towards his own leaders, who were, after all, on his side. At this point he gave me a lesson, with an admonition to never forget: the real enemy is always behind you.

The apparent truth is that your enemy is the guy on the other side of the battlefield shooting at you. The real truth is that your enemy is the guy behind you, the one who coerced you into fighting in the first place. Never mind the fact that the guy behind you speaks your language – you still have more in common with the working-class man on the other side of the battlefield than you do with your own commanders.

This truth was illustrated by another, darker story, that took place in Italy. Fred’s company had taken a number of German soldiers prisoner during the battle of Monte Cassino. In the heat of the moment, one of the younger German soldiers broke down in tears, apparently under the conviction that he was about to be shot dead.

Fred offered the young German a cigarette, and instead spoke to him. Why would we shoot you in cold blood? he asked. Do you think we are monsters? The German replied that he had been told that the British were, indeed, monsters, whose insatiable greed had led them to try and take over the entire world and to subjugate it and all its peoples. It was in trying to stop this greed that the Germans had been drawn into the war.

Fred realised, of course, that he had been told exactly the same stories about the Germans. Moreover, the men who had been the ones to tell those stories had not themselves been subjected to the horrors of combat. The New Zealand politicians who had organised the war effort were safely back at home, fat and happy, as were the newspaper men. The sense of betrayal he felt upon realising this inspired the lessons he had to teach me.

Never, ever trust the politician or the newspaper who tells you how evil and terrible some men overseas are. It’s all but guaranteed that the politician and the newspaper are lying to trick you into sacrificing yourself for the commercial interests of their sponsors. World War Two was a banker’s war, Fred taught me, and the soldiers who fought in it were coerced into doing other men’s dirty work for them. There was nothing glorious or honourable about it anywhere.

There are two ways to get a man to do your dirty work for you. The first is to force him, the second is to trick him.

New Zealand’s involvement in World War One had at first been a voluntary affair, but it became a matter of force on the 1st of August 1916 with the passing of the Military Service Act. In total, almost 20,000 Kiwi men were conscripted for military service, roughly 20% of the total who served. Some 3-4,000 of these men were killed in battle.

By the time World War Two rolled around, the propaganda of the Establishment had become a lot more sophisticated. This was thanks, in large part, to men such as Edward Bernays, who had studied the use of propaganda and how to make it more effective, and who had written about it in books such as Propaganda. So they knew how to use the apparatus of mass media to convince men to join the Army.

This meant that the Establishment media could simply pump out enough stories about how the Germans bayonetted babies, and how they were trying to take over the world, and how Hitler was a unique evil that demanded a unique response, and enough people would believe it so that they didn’t need to conscript anyone any more. Men would simply volunteer to fight.

Fred raised me so as to never fall for the propaganda. Never to believe the politician, never to believe the media. Because, at the end of the day, the real enemy is always behind you. Your real enemy is not the opposition soldier but the one who raised the company, battalion or Army that you are now a member of. He’s the real enemy because the opposition soldier is, in the final analysis, only protecting himself from you.

Once, after I had been studying some military history, I remarked to him about conscription. Sure, I knew that the reasons behind the Vietnam War and the Gulf War were equally as false as for all the other wars. I could be smart enough to know that the television was lying to me about the need for me to participate in the next war, but if enough people my age were also aware of this, what would stop them going back to conscription?

What would I do if a conscription officer came to my house?

His reply was simple, and borne of the bravery that comes from having to face combat: “Shoot the bastard.”

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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.

20 Years Since Columbine: Are We Still Nihilists?

This week saw the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. The massacre shocked a Western World used to adult serial killers, because we didn’t believe that high schoolers could also be capable of such evil. In the aftermath of the massacre, the consensus was that the motivation for the deed came from nihilism. This essay asks: are we still nihilists?

History can be thought of as a series of attempts to solve the basic existential question of what we’re supposed to be doing here on this planet.

For many centuries, we had religion, and the struggle between good and evil, chaos and order. But then we killed God, and (as Nietzsche predicted) this threw us back into Nature, and the world of eternal struggle. This played itself out in the titanic clash of empires that was World War One, and the following clash of nations that was World War Two. After three decades of trauma, we decided that we’d had enough bloodshed, and so we tried a new narrative.

The postwar consensus was based around pure hedonism. After three decades of deprivation, something as simple as being able to buy a milkshake or a cheeseburger on demand was seen as a great pleasure that demanded appreciation. Later, the number of television channels to which one was subscribed was the sign of material fortune. The problem was, of course, that hedonism is not an answer to spiritual problems.

The Columbine High School massacre was perhaps the first major sign that the postwar consensus had failed. The prosperity the Boomers enjoyed was based on the idea that material consumption was the reason for human existence. This was great fun, but it was only ever a distraction. It never solved the basic existential dilemma.

Klebold and Harris’s actions were an example of something that this column has previously called anarcho-nihilism. This is where one proposes to destroy the pre-existing system without offering any alternative system that might replace it. One simply destroys for the sake of destroying.

Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant were later examples of this phenomenon. Both men wrote entire manifestos that detailed at length their grievances with the world and the way it was being run. Enemy crimes were listed exhaustively, but neither man suggested much in the way of an alternative. Both will go down in history, but neither as a builder of nations.

Anarcho-nihilism could be said to be the challenge of our time. This isn’t the same as simple nihilism, which was the problem of previous times, because nihilism didn’t always lead to a violent assault on the old order. It usually led to simple suicide, which meant that the ruling class were not particularly bothered by it. Since March 14th this year, there have been more deaths to suicide in New Zealand than to terrorism, but the latter has taken up a hundred thousand times more emotional energy.

If we are to avoid going down the path of Breiviks and Tarrants destroying the whole world in a hail of bullets, we need to assert some kind of anti-nihilism that meets the emotional needs of the masses, while not repeating the mistakes of previous attempts at this.

An idea of what form this anti-nihilism might take can be seen in the various corners of cyberspace. In 1999, The Shroomery was only just getting started. Now it is one of the most popular counter-culture websites in the world, with an Alexa ranking in the top 30,000. Here it’s possible to find all kinds of discussions about aspects of spirituality that ordinary people would have trouble being able to comprehend – at least for now.

Any anti-nihilistic movement powerful enough to truly appeal to a great number of people will have to achieve a number of things. At a minimum, it must convince people that their actions in this world, and specifically whether or not those actions increase or decrease the suffering of their fellow sentient beings, are meaningful.

Achieving this may require the promulgation of the kind of sentiment that arises as a result of the psychedelic experience, the kind that is often derided as “hippie” or “new age” but which, if examined closely, answers with awesome clarity the questions of how we got here and what we’re supposed to be doing. This might require the reinstatement of something like the Eleusinian Mysteries, so that we can collectively revel in something beyond the material.

At time of writing, in 2019, it seems like not only are we nihilists, but we are destructive ones, and not only that, but the destructive and nihilistic sentiments are getting worse. That is certainly cause for alarm, but it’s also cause to take action, and to help promote an alternative. With enthusiastic promotion of psychedelic medicines for curing spiritual illness, it may be possible for us to finally overcome the threat of nihilism, and to allow a new spirituality to rise.

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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 Are All One – But So What?

A cosmic truth, realised by many people who have meditated or done enough psychedelics, is that we are all one. Despite the fact that it appears that each of us occupy a separate body, forever dooming us to stand apart from everyone else, mystics and shamans throughout the ages know that we are all intimately connected on a spiritual level. However, as this essay will argue: so what?

The oneness of all that exists, and the fact that separateness is only an illusion, is an inescapable truth about reality that comes to many people seeking enlightenment. It usually comes like a lightningbolt out of the blue, and usually when a person is deep in meditation or high on a powerful psychedelic.

The truth is that there is only one thing that can be said to exist, and that is the consciousness that is God. So as to escape from the infinite loneliness that is being the only thing to exist, God has created this illusion which we call the physical world, and has split up into an infinite number of separate consciousnesses. Each one of these consciousnesses streaks a unique path through the Great Fractal.

All of us are a unique expression of the consciousness of God, the possessor of a divine spark. This means that, on the level that really matters, every other creature on this planet is the same as us. Every other creature is an expression of God, and their lives are being experienced by God, just as ours are. Therefore, everything else that exists is as important as God, the most important thing possible.

But so what?

At the end of the day, every individual being still has to play the role that it was created to play. Each of us are a biological organism that is subject to certain chemical and physical laws. These laws demand that the closed systems that are our bodies absorb energy from the outside world. Since we cannot photosynthesise, we have to eat things, and because we can only eat organic matter, we have to kill in order to live.

The rat and the mouse still have to invade the granary, for if they don’t, they will themselves die. If you are the granary owner, you have to accept that they are going to keep coming whether you like it or not, and therefore you have to kill them first if you want to keep your food supplies safe. There is no shame in this – if your role is to kill, then kill you must.

It doesn’t matter if those you are killing are fundamentally the same unique expressions of God that you are, because the ones you are killing for are also unique expressions of God. The lion still has to chase the zebra, for if she does not, her cubs may starve. Behind many a terrorist is a person who loves their own people.

Some people cling to the notion that it’s possible to find perfect peace in this place, as if it were simply a matter of willing such a thing to be possible. Many of these people have the conceit that this desire for peace is a virtue, something that makes them better than those who don’t have it.

In truth, however, these people are actually less moral than others, because they reject one of the basic principles of the universe, which is that life is eternal struggle. Rejecting a basic principle of reality because one would prefer that it didn’t exist reflects weakness, and a lack of courage, not superior moral insight.

The full truth is even more fundamental than this. The yin is one with the yang, and both are part of the Tao. Neither complains that the other consumes or abuses it. Both play their role perfectly. Therefore, someone who rejects completely the idea of conflict is like someone who has rejected the yin or the yang. They cannot be a complete person, at peace with the world.

So if different human groups come into conflict, and fight, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the people involved have made a mistake somewhere, or that one side must necessarily be immoral or evil. It may just be that the different groups were fated to fight. The fact that we are all one doesn’t mean that fighting must never happen – it just means that we take our turns at being the winner.

Of course, this is not to argue that we should all be fighting all the time. Just because life is eternal struggle doesn’t mean that it’s nothing else. A person’s true role might to be to question and to resist their violent and aggressive impulses, or to sublimate them into something beneficial, not to surrender to them.

But if a person’s role is to go along with their violent impulses, then they ought to do so with full enthusiasm. Realising the fact that all is one doesn’t mean that one is absolved from ever having to fight or to struggle. Even after enlightenment, one still has to live one’s life, and to play one’s role.

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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.

The Spear of Destiny

Many people with a passing familiarity with occultism will have heard of something called the Spear of Destiny. This is an extremely powerful concept with deep importance for the future of our planet. This essay discusses the occult meaning of the Spear of Destiny, and its implications.

Like many occult concepts, there is an exoteric and an esoteric form of the Spear of Destiny.

The exoteric form is the one that people are the most familiar with. The usual story is that the Spear of Destiny was the one held by the Roman centurion Longinus, which he used to pierce the abdomen of Jesus Christ while on the cross at Calvary. This spear apparently became a valuable relic, otherwise known as the Holy Lance.

The spear came into possession of the Holy Roman Emperors around 1,000 years ago, and has remained in Central Europe ever since. It was said that Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the Spear, and set a detachment of crack Waffen-SS troops to capture it when the Nazis annexed Austria. Today, it lies in the “Worldly Treasure-chamber” of Hofberg Palace in Austria.

However, that’s not what the Spear of Destiny really is. There’s an esoteric explanation that makes a lot more sense.

The real Spear of Destiny is a metaphysical object, and it is held by the most influential person on Earth, whoever that is. There is always one person on Earth whose initiative controls the destiny of the human race, one person who is more powerful than all others. This person has the ability to rewrite reality according to their will, as long as they continue to wield the Spear.

The first to hold the Spear of Destiny may have been Gilgamesh, the first king of Sumeria and arguably the progenitor of civilisation. As the first king in the world, Gilgamesh was the first man to truly put the environment around him to order. Therefore, he was the greatest and most powerful man on Earth, at least for a time.

The Spear of Destiny then moved to the West and to the North, as it would continue to do for at least four thousand years. The next inheritor of it may have been a leader of the Akkadian Empire that arose after Sumeria, probably Sargon of Akkad. The Spear would remain in Mesopotamia for many centuries, as it was the only place that civilisation and order existed to a meaningful degree.

Babylonian kings no doubt held the Spear for some time. Hammurabi would have held it when he composed his famous set of laws. Ashurbanipal may have held it at the time of the neo-Assyrian Empire, and the neo-Babylonians held it after him. Nebuchadnezzar may have held it at about the time the dream from the Book of Daniel occurred.

At some time around 500 B.C., the Spear of Destiny left the Ancient Near East, and came to Greece in time for their Golden Age. The Spear of Destiny was certainly held by Alexander as his Macedonian armies conquered almost the entire world known to them. Alexander was probably the single most influential man who ever existed, and he made the Spear his own.

After Alexander’s Empire collapsed and the Golden Age of Greek culture began to fall away, the Spear continued its Westward motion, ending up in Italy in time for the ascent of the Roman Empire. Without doubt, it was held by Julius Caesar, who used it to become one of history’s most influential statesmen. Trajan would have held it as the Roman Empire reached its greatest influence.

Before Trajan, however, there was Jesus Christ, whose dramatic and total reformation of Abrahamism created a religious movement that would grow to become the world’s largest. Longinus may well have held the metaphysical Spear of Destiny on the date of Christ’s crucifixion, because Jesus Christ was the most influential individual of his time, and Longinus took that mantle by killing him.

The Spear of Destiny remained with the Roman Emperors for a few hundred years after Trajan. Who held it during the Dark Ages is unclear, but it can be perceived again in the possession of Charlemagne, as the Frankish king put order to much of Western Europe. The Spear spent some time in the Holy Roman Empire, which was founded by Charlemagne in 800.

William the Conqueror may have held it in 1066 during the invasion of England, and Marco Polo may have held it during his travels in the 13th century. In any case, the Mediterranean rulers of Venice, Genoa and the later Iberians appeared to be in control of the world’s destiny at this time.

As the Age of Exploration began, the Spear may have been held by Christopher Columbus, but was more likely held by his patrons, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. As Iberian dominance wound down, to be replaced by Northern European control, the Spear moved to Holland.

The Spear of Destiny was held by William of Orange at the peak of the Dutch Empire, and dramatically leapt over the English Channel after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Shortly after this event, England would combine with Scotland into “One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain.” This soon became the British Empire, the largest and most powerful the world had ever seen.

The Spear of Destiny would remain in Britain for at least two centuries, being held at one point by Queen Victoria as the British Empire expanded into a force capable of conquering the globe. After the carnage of World War One, the Spear of Destiny became attracted across the Atlantic, probably to New York, and probably into the hands of Theodore Roosevelt.

Adolf Hitler’s supposed obsession with the Spear can be better understood in this context. The exoteric story is that “Hitler believed the power of the weapon would give him the power to conquer the world“, and that Hitler said, of seeing the Holy Lance, “I myself had once claimed it as my talisman of power and held the destiny of the world in my hands.”

The esoteric story is much different. Hitler knew of the metaphysical Spear of Destiny and wished to take it back from the Anglo-Americans. Had he succeeded in conquering Europe and bringing Britain and America to the peace table, Hitler may well have taken possession of it, and he may well then have held the destiny of the world in his hands.

History, of course, had other ideas. From the East Coast of America, the Spear seems to have travelled further West, and probably now resides in California. It’s possible that Donald Trump holds it, but it’s also possible that it’s in the possession of a Los Angeles movie or music magnate, considering the reach of American soft power.

The future, of course, is unknown. But we can predict, given the relentless Westward motion of the Spear of Destiny over the past 4,000 years, that it will at some point cross the Pacific. Most people already believe that China is destined to supplant America as the world’s foremost power, and this means that the Spear might move there in coming centuries.

This is no guarantee, of course. The Spear might pass to Japan first, or even Korea or Indonesia. Another possibility, considered by very few, is that it may pass to Australia, as the Southern Kingdom has the land area to build a monumental empire over the next few hundred years. After that it may move to India.

All that can be said for sure is that the Spear of Destiny is the single most sought after object in this section of the Great Fractal, and therefore it can be predicted that people will fight for control of it as long as human civilisation exists.

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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.

Selectionism: The Prejudice That The World May Not Be Ready For

People are always chimping out over all society’s prejudices: sexism, racism, homophobia etc. are all variously blamed for the world being an unpleasant place to live in. While all of these prejudices have certainly contributed to the miseries of the past and present, there’s one prejudice that few are aware of, and even fewer have spoken of. This prejudice is selectionism.

Sexually reproducing species fall along a continuum that has two poles referring to the two extreme reproductive strategies described by Robert MacArthur and Edward O. Wilson. These are known as the K strategy and the r strategy. The existence of this dichotomy has given rise to the existence of a prejudice that the world is yet to formally understand.

Among K-selected groups, the population is determined by the carrying capacity of the environment. Breeding rates are relatively low, which allows for high rates of parental investment. Consequently, the young take longer to mature. They also have longer lifespans on average and are larger. Examples are large mammals, especially humans and primates, as well as birds.

Among r-selected groups, the population is determined by the biotic potential of the individuals involved. In other words, the reproductive potential. Breeding rates are relatively high, and parental investment is low. The idea is to breed them and get them into adulthood as soon as possible. Examples are amphibians, insects and small mammals such as rodents.

It has long been noted that certain human groups are more K-selected than others. It’s apparent just by travelling around the world that some people have larger families than others, that some people mature more quickly than others and so that some people reach adulthood with greater levels of parental investment than others.

Those who get to adulthood with greater levels of parental investment tend to be healthier, both mentally and physically, and they also tend to be better educated, and thus wealthier. So K-strategists tend to produce higher standards of living than r-strategists, whether one observes at the family or the national level.

Almost without exception, the person noting such things considers themselves to be more K-selected than average. After all, in order to be educated well enough in order to understand ethology, a person generally needs to be the recipient of a large amount of parental investment, and if a person receives that then it’s likely that they are descended from K-strategists.

Selectionism, then, is a prejudice against those groups who use, or are perceived to use, an r-selected reproductive strategy. It’s essentially a bias in favour of K-strategists. A selectionist, therefore, would have a very strong in-group preference towards others they perceived to be K-selected. They would consider other K-selected groups to be superior.

Of course, there is a very real sense in which the K-selected are morally superior: their greater level of parental investment tends to lead to a healthier and better educated offspring, which tends to lead to a wealthy and prosperous society. Almost everyone agrees that a father that stays around to raise his children is morally superior to one who abandons them, and this near-universal agreement is why selectionism has so much power.

The interesting thing about it is that it cuts across and through the ordinary conceptions of races and classes. A selectionist couldn’t care less about interracial marriages between different K-selected groups. Neither could they care about marriages between different classes, as long as the family stays together and the children are raised into functioning adults.

So selectionism is entirely different to racism. Whereas the racist German and the racist Korean don’t want their children marrying each other for fear of diluting their particular racial gene pool, the selectionist sees no inherent problem. As long as their children don’t marry r-selected people, who are liable to abandon or neglect the grandchildren, the selectionist is happy.

Selectionism already exists as a prejudice, although not many people are aware of K and r selection – it’s just hidden by way of being conflated with other things.

For example, when a person chooses to look down on another race, class, family or other group of people, it’s commonly the case that they perceive that other group to be more r-selected than their own. They consider that other group to breed faster and more recklessly, and to invest less time in raising their offspring, thereby lowering the average human capital of society. In other words, they consider that other group to be more like a pest animal.

This is the basis of all group prejudice. What this essay suggests is that the group prejudice against r-strategists may come to replace all current prejudices against other races, classes or traditions. Instead of seeing blacks as pests, or the working class as pests, or Muslims as pests, this essay suggests that, in the future, people’s prejudices will fall along selectionist lines instead.

Concepts such as racism will eventually stop making sense on account of widespread race mixing. There are two separate forms of racism: excessive in-group preference and excessive out-group aversion. There is no difference between the two in a selectionist context, because K and r-selection make up a binary and mutually exclusive spectrum. Consequently, stronger in-group preference must also be weaker out-group preference in the context of selectionism.

The frightening thing about selectionism is that people who follow it might have a point: if the r-selected breed at greater rates within the same environment as the K-selected, and begin breeding earlier on account of earlier maturity, then they will inevitably overwhelm the K-selected unless they are prevented or somehow discouraged from doing so.

Selectionism, therefore, reflects a fundamental political dilemma. If the K-selected are taxed to support the greater breeding rates of the r-selected, then society itself will become more r-selected, and so all the good things brought about by heavy parental investment in offspring will disappear. Many of the people who appear to be racist, classist or otherwise prejudiced are aware of this equation.

It can be seen, then, that the idea of selectionism already has a powerful appeal, and it’s an appeal that may grow in pace with the numbers of the r-selected. Selectionism may be the prejudice that the world is not yet ready for.

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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.

The Case For Cannabis: One Person Who Smoked Cannabis And Went Crazy Is Not A Pattern

If one talks to many prohibitionists, one argument that comes up over and over again is the argument from personal experience. They will tell a story about how they knew a person who was doing great, until one day they smoked cannabis and just went crazy. This article explain why this is not a legitimate reason to keep cannabis illegal.

It’s a familiar story by now. The straight-A student, the hard-working businessman or the devoted mother, all living amazing lives until they had a smoke of cannabis and then – boom, total mental collapse. It’s a story familiar to anyone who has seen the film Trainspotting, only it doesn’t really happen that way with cannabis.

It’s true that the use of cannabis often occurs at the same time that a person becomes a psychiatric casualty. Inevitably, however, further examination of the lives of these people show that things aren’t as simple as use cannabis, go crazy.

Psychosis isn’t normally something that just breaks out from nowhere. Usually it’s something that develops, quickly or slowly, over a period of time, during which the person becomes more and more agitated. In most cases when psychosis is preceded by cannabis use, there are multiple factors at play, in particular lack of sleep, anxiety, adrenaline and job, health or relationship stresses.

When a person hears about someone they know using cannabis and then having a psychiatric event, what they don’t also hear about is the surrounding life circumstances. Almost always, the supposedly “healthy” person was either starting to feel overwhelmed with the pressure and stress in their lives (which is what turned them to cannabis) or there was a pre-existing psychiatric condition that wasn’t known about and which was exacerbated by cannabis use.

More academically, it is said that the plural of anecdote is not data. Knowing that one person who had a psychotic break happened to have used cannabis at some point leading up to it is one thing. It is not, however, evidence that a wider pattern exists of perfectly healthy people using cannabis and then becoming psychotic.

Even more academically, arguing that cannabis should be illegal because you knew one person who smoked it and went crazy is an example of the fallacy of composition. This is a logical fallacy that states that something that is true of one member of a group (such as one cannabis user) is true of the entire group (all cannabis users).

In other words, even if was true that there was one person who did become psychotic purely on account of cannabis use and no other factor, it wouldn’t make it possible to generalise this experience onto all people who use cannabis. One example is just one example, and it requires many further such examples before one can conclude that using cannabis inevitably leads to psychosis.

However, it’s entirely possible that using cannabis can contribute to psychosis under certain circumstances.

The first common way is that it can bring up traumatic memories. A large number of people, perhaps even a majority, have some kind of suppressed memory. Usually this relates to an early childhood trauma, with violence and sexual assault being the most common. The percolating effect of cannabis on the thoughts can cause such repressed traumas to bubble to the surface, and often in contexts where the user is not prepared for them.

Many people have been forced to suppress these memories in order to have a chance at an ordinary life. So when they suddenly face them again, the stress of this can lead to an episode of mental disturbance. This is particularly true if the memory cannot easily be suppressed again.

The second common way is that it can bring the user into spiritual realms of thought that they may not be prepared for. As discussed at length elsewhere in this book, cannabis is a spiritual sacrament. The dangerous side of this is when people use it expecting a high, and instead find themselves confronted with deep existential or spiritual questions.

It’s normal for people to avoid thinking about the fact that they’re going to die one day. One of the most common ways to break this habit is to have a smoke of cannabis and find one’s mind drifting to unusual places. The deconditioning effect of cannabis can have a greatly beneficial effect on creativity, but push it too far and you can lose touch with the bonds tethering you to collective reality.

Neither of these common ways can be helped by making cannabis illegal. Pushing cannabis underground has only had the effect of making people unaware of the real psychological effects of the substance, and this lack of proper awareness has caused more damage than cannabis itself.

In any case, given the large numbers of people who do use cannabis in New Zealand, and the large numbers of mentally ill people in New Zealand, it’s not surprising for someone to know a person who is in both of these categories. If someone did know a person who used cannabis and later became mentally ill, that’s not indicative of a wider pattern.

Furthermore, this argument ignores all the people who use cannabis and don’t go crazy. If 11% of the population has used cannabis within the past 12 months, that’s a huge number of people. It means that the average person probably knows a couple of dozen cannabis users. If this is the case, then it’s notable that they only knew one person who seemed to have a psychotic episode linked with cannabis use.

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

Understanding the Honk Meme

There’s a new meme making waves in cyberspace. Based on the original Pepe the green frog meme, this new form adds a multicoloured clown wig, a red clown nose, a novelty bow tie and a eerie, distant smile. The meme is normally presented with the word ‘Honk’ or similar. This essay explains the honk meme.

The original Pepe meme is how an entire subculture has found a manner of expression. This bland-looking rubber-lipped frog has come to stand for an entire generation of everymen, his various expressions of rage, fear, anger and bliss the way that generation signals emotions in Internet groups. Many threads on Internet message boards start with a picture of Pepe, and these images portray an incredibly broad range of sentiments.

Pepe represents the travails of a generation that finds itself doing much worse than its parents did. The Millennials are discovering that their standard of living is lower than the generation before it, and much lower than that of the Boomers. Studies show that wage workers in Western countries have lost most of their house-buying power over the last few decades, and it looks set to get worse.

So Pepe’s new appearance, in the form of the Honkster, signals a dark turn in the collective mindset of the young.

Essentially, the idea is that we now live in Clown World, where nothing makes any sense any more. Our society is no longer a real society, where people care for each other on account of belonging to a wider kin group, but a parody of one, in which the old have all the wealth and power and aspire to suck as much life out of the younger generations as possible. We’ve strayed so far from our founding principles that we’ve lost our moral compass.

The sheer ridiculousness of so much of everyday life, it is reasoned, can only be explained with the idea that the normal timeline of Planet Earth deviated from its previous course at some unknown point in the recent past, and entered this place called Clown World. According to this theory, the Planet Earth is now in a different dimension of reality to the one it was in up until a few years ago. Therefore, the ordinary laws of psychology, sociology and political science no longer apply.

In Clown World, the clowns are in charge. This is nowhere more easily understood than by observing the total absence of qualifications among our ruling classes. Donald Trump in America, Theresa May in Britain, Justin Trudeau in Canada and Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand all appear uniquely hopeless. They blunder clumsily from one slapstick mishap to the next, and they appear intent on making the world into as big a circus as possible.

In Clown World, there is no longer cause to feel any hope. The world has failed. Not only has it failed, but it’s failed so badly that it seems like it was really just a joke the whole time. Nothing this absurd could possibly have been taken seriously by so many people, and therefore the only rational thing to do is to throw one’s head back in laughter as the clowns make honking noises.

The slack smile of the Honkster is not the smile of joy. It’s not even the sardonic smile of a generation that knows their parents traded away their inheritance for a pittance. It is the drugged smile of oxycontin, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, pharmaceuticals being the only way to cope the fact that our world is a brave new one, in which people’s suffering has been medicated away to reduce their propensity to rebellion.

In this context, it has been said by an anonymous wit that “The world ends not with a bang, and not with a whimper, but with a honk.”

The honk is the look on the face of the Green Party supporter when she is gang raped by the same refugees she voted to open the borders for.

The honk is the sound the key makes in the lock when it turns to jail a man for criticising Police inaction in the face of reports of Islamic rape gangs operating in their area.

The honk is the cry of helplessness of a hundred million young people all over the West, drawn out so long that it has taken on a different character entirely, morphing from despair into a demented humour.

Realistically, this honk ought to be a terrifying sound. The discordant honking is the fanfare of a generation that has not only lost hope, but which has also lost meaning. In Clown World, it makes no sense to hope for anything, because there is no relationship between hoping for things and getting them. One cannot set one’s will to a goal and achieve it here, because nothing makes sense. The whole world is against one.

As the economic situation worsens, the face of the Honkster might be replaced with something less humourous. The bitterness inherent in the Clown World meme, and the nihilism it reveals, suggests an unstable and unpredictable environment. The Honk meme might be a sign that the social fabric is starting to tear.

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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.

The Case For Cannabis: A Criminal Record is A Disproportionate Punishment

Cannabis possession or cultivation are currently crimes, which means that a criminal record is a common result from being arrested for a cannabis offence. Our justice system, however, is supposed to operate on the principle that “the punishment fits the crime”. This article will argue that getting a criminal record for anything to do with cannabis is grossly disproportionate, considering the severity of the crime.

Having a criminal record makes a person’s life a lot harder. Many employers will filter out applicants with criminal records before they even seriously consider them. This is true of almost every job that requires any real responsibility. This means that a future of poverty, or at least severely limited economic opportunities, is a common consequence of getting a criminal conviction.

Of course, having a criminal record is supposed to make people’s lives harder. A criminal is a person who has declared that they are unable or unwilling to abide by the rules of decent society, and it’s fair that they’re marked as such for the safety of other people. We’re not allowed to chop people’s hands off anymore, so there’s no other way to clearly mark a person as a member of the criminal class other than to give them a record.

The problem is that cannabis use isn’t a crime like a real crime is. Real crimes have victims. It’s fair that a criminal record marks a person who has acted with gross disregard or malice towards life and towards suffering. But a person who grew some medicinal cannabis plants has not shown any callousness or ill will. If anything, they should be rewarded for taking actions to alleviate suffering in the face of discouragement from the law.

Becoming unemployable because of a criminal record is one thing if you are a murderer, rapist or fraudster. In cases like these, it’s probably fair for the vast majority of employers to rule such people out from the beginning. But a person who used cannabis, even if they grew it, has not done anything to warrant being placed in the same class as those who have callously brought harm to others.

In any case, that’s not where the punishment ends. Most fair people can agree that it’s unnecessarily brutal for a person with a cannabis conviction to have trouble finding work for the rest of their lives, but it’s also extremely hard to travel with a criminal conviction. Many countries – Canada and America among the most notorious – regularly refuse to let people in if they have a criminal record, reasoning that they have failed to demonstrate sufficient good character.

These two punishments tie in with each other. Many jobs nowadays involve international travel, and this pattern looks set to continue as the world continues to globalise and integrate. This means that, in order to be able to perform an increasing number of jobs, one needs to be free to travel internationally. A person with a criminal conviction preventing them from travel is effectively disqualified from all of these jobs.

Forty years ago, when the War on Drugs was just ramping up, the sort of person who got a cannabis conviction probably wasn’t likely to travel overseas anyway. But in 2019, being restricted from overseas travel for life is a heavy punishment indeed.

It’s worth noting here that a criminal record also affects the wider family. An adult whose employment and travel opportunities are restricted will have trouble providing not only for themselves, but also for their families. So the children of people who grow up with cannabis convictions are also punished.

All of this constitutes obscene cruelty, especially when it is considered that cannabis is a medicine, and that most people who grow it do so to alleviate suffering.

It was once – falsely – believed that cannabis caused a lot of harm. When it was thought that cannabis was a dangerously addictive drug that destroyed peoples minds, then giving someone a criminal record for cannabis may have made some vague kind of sense. Now that we know that cannabis prohibition was built on false premises, it is apparent that giving someone a criminal record for dealing with it is unfair.

In this case, the correct thing to do is to formalise this state of affairs, and as soon as possible, by repealing cannabis prohibition. We can no longer, in good faith, argue that giving someone a criminal conviction is a punishment that fits the suffering caused by the supposed crime.

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

The Four Alchemical Realms of Law

When people talk about whether or not something is illegal, they’re talking about whether or not something is against the law. The problem with this logic is that there are several different kinds of laws, and some of them override others. As this article will examine, there is a realm of law corresponding to each of the four masculine elements of clay, iron, silver and gold.

The realm of clay corresponds to natural laws. These laws are fundamental, and therefore they underpin all the laws of iron, silver and gold. Like the clay, these laws are so fundamental that they don’t need to be written down, and they don’t need to be understood. They are simply Nature doing its thing, and they have applied long before any human laws existed, and still apply to the vast, vast majority of the Earth’s creatures.

In a state of Nature, most people are barely aware that these laws exist, until they feel the pleasure or pain that comes with acceding to, or violating, those laws. But the laws of Nature exist no matter whether a person is aware of them or not. Fall off a cliff, you die. Eat poison, you die. Get too close to the big animal with the sharp teeth, you die.

Although the basic laws of Nature are physical laws, and then chemical laws, some of them are also biological laws. Laws of clay that start to approach the realm of the laws of iron are those like “Don’t try to have sex with female X or male A will thump you over the head.” These are essentially the same laws that non-human creatures use to defend their territory or resources. “Might is right” is an example of the laws of clay.

The realm of iron corresponds to the the laws that are enforced by organised human violence. When civilisation began, all offences against the sensibilities of property owners were written down into a code of laws, and penalties for transgressing them proscribed. An entire class of judges and jailers came into being to enforce these laws, paid for by the surplus wealth generated by the order that came with civilisation.

These are laws of iron because the Police will beat you up or put you in a cage if you disobey them. You may even get your head chopped off with an iron axe. Unlike natural laws, legal laws are written down, and therefore can be enunciated very clearly (although some will always quibble). The point of this was to distinguish them from the laws of clay, which were never any more than simple animal instincts.

Like iron, the laws of iron are unyielding. The Justice System doesn’t care if you knew it was illegal or not, or if you really meant to do it or not. Justice is blind, which is another way of saying that it is merciless. Laws degrade into laws of clay once money starts getting involved in the justice system and better lawyers get lighter sentences. But when they don’t degrade, the edges of them become gilt with silver.

The realm of silver corresponds to the laws that are enforced by society. These are the laws that relate to social status, i.e. whether or not a person is considered high value by their community. Violating laws of silver doesn’t carry a risk of arrest like violating laws of iron does, but they can lead to people being less friendly towards you, and giving you fewer employment, social or romantic opportunities. Obeying laws of silver tends to lead to the opposite.

As silver is softer and brighter than iron, so are the laws that fall under the realm of silver more malleable than those that fall under the realm of iron. A person who has transgressed a law of silver, and who has earned some enmity from his fellows, can escape punishment by making a sufficient compensatory effort. Therefore, the laws of silver are more subtle than the laws of iron, and can also change on a whim.

However, like iron, they are cold and sharp enough, in their own way. Many a man has been found innocent at trial but nevertheless destroyed by whispering and gossiping. Social exclusion might be more subtle than an axe, and the consequences less permanent, but it is still enough to cause suffering, and therefore enough to modify social behaviour.

The realm of gold corresponds to the laws that are enforced by God. In this sense, the laws pertaining to the realm of gold are similar to those pertaining to clay, in that they are not written down, and neither are they social. Although other people might be able to help a person understand the laws of clay and gold, they can’t force that person to abide by them, unlike the laws of iron and silver. They can only instruct and leave it up to that person’s true will.

It isn’t easy to speak about what the laws of gold are, but it can be said that they are even more subtle than those of silver and iron. Here we are speaking of laws like the law of karma and the law of attraction. It has to be understood at this point that the realm of gold is the realm of consciousness, and its laws relate to how to alter the frequency of one’s consciousness.

Much of alchemy is the art of playing higher laws off against lower ones, so that one causes change in accordance with one’s will despite being bound by laws the entire time. This is a subject of its own and deserves its own essay, but there are some things that can be said about it here.

One can alter one’s consciousness by obeying laws in higher realms at the expense of laws in lower realms. The most powerful example of such a thing was the example of Socrates. By obeying the laws of gold, and completely ignoring all of the laws of silver, iron and clay to the point of causing his own death, Socrates made himself immortal in this world. Likewise, gathering with friends to break unjust laws of iron (such as drug laws) can create magically powerful bonds of solidarity.

This is another possible interpretation of Aleister Crowley’s saying that “The key to joy is disobedience”. By disobeying the cruder laws, such as the law of biological entropy, unjust statutory laws and by prising the truth above social fashion, it’s possible to raise the level of one’s consciousness. A skilled alchemist can therefore reduce the level of their suffering, and the level of the suffering around them, even as they disobey laws, and even though disobeying those lower laws consistently brings suffering.

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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.