The Case For Cannabis: An Elderly Perspective

The perception that old people are generally anti-cannabis is far from a myth. Although many elderly cannabis enthusiasts have plenty of friends who are pro-cannabis, statistics show a strong negative correlation between being aged 65+ and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017. This essay describes what those enthusiasts already know: that there is a strong case for cannabis law reform from an elderly perspective.

The unpleasant truth about getting old is that it tends to involve a lot more healthcare than being young. Getting old is tantamount to the body crapping out. It’s a miserable truth to acknowledge, but there is a strong correlation between aging and physical suffering.

Because of this elevated degree of physical suffering among the elderly, there is an elevated demand for medicines of all kinds. Everyone knows that old people are always popping pills for some ailment or other. The increased sickness and frailty that comes with aging means that elderly people are interested in all kinds of medicine and, increasingly more nowadays, in cannabis.

One of the areas in which cannabis has shown the most promise for the elderly is an alternative to opiates for the sake of pain relief, particularly in the case of cancer and terminal illness. An article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine describes how cannabis was found to be a safe and effective medicine for the elderly population in this way. Its greatest benefit seems to be found in replacing opiates and thereby avoiding their profound and unpleasant side-effects.

Cannabis has also shown promise in treating a number of conditions that are much more likely to afflict the elderly, such as Parkinson’s, insomnia, some forms of chronic pain, age-related cognitive decline and hypertension. This is only a small sample – cannabis has also shown promise in treating entire classes of illnesses, in particular inflammatory ones.

Despite the attempts by prohibitionist interests to equate cannabis with more harmful substances such as tobacco, the fact is that a vast range of medicinal uses for cannabis are already known. It’s very possible, given the evidence thus far, that further research into cannabis will uncover new ways to alleviate the suffering of the world’s elderly.

Some will make the argument that all of this evidence in favour of medicinal cannabis, which is an entirely separate issue to recreational cannabis. But just because the elderly have plenty of reason to support medicinal cannabis doesn’t mean that they have reason to oppose wider cannabis law reform.

It has been discovered in Canada that freeing up restrictions on recreational cannabis encourages doctors to write prescriptions for it. When “recreational” cannabis is illegal, this normalises the idea that cannabis itself is harmful, and discourages doctors from writing prescriptions for medicinal cannabis. Therefore, the two issues are inseparable.

The fact is, as Edward Bernays might have told us, that the amount of research that gets done into cannabis medicine for the elderly is a direct function of the degree of positive sentiment towards cannabis that exists in the wider society. The more people in general feel that cannabis is helpful and not harmful, the more likely someone is to suggest to research its medicinal qualities, or to agree to fund such research.

So the elderly everywhere have an interest in liberalising restrictions around cannabis, because this will lead to doctors taking an interest in the application of the plant to alleviating the suffering of conditions that afflict the elderly.

All of these things add up to there being good personal reasons for elderly people to support cannabis law reform.

After all, the elderly overseas support cannabis law reform – it has been noted that many of the beneficiaries of cannabis law reform have been elderly. The fastest-growing group of cannabis users in legal jurisdictions are the over-65s. The article linked here, from the Journal of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, states “marijuana use seems normalized among the older populations as more of those who ever used marijuana age.”

The fact that many elderly are against cannabis law reform, despite being the major beneficiaries of it, is not a contradiction. Those generations were the ones exposed to a viciously anti-cannabis mentality that was not above telling lies to demonise the plant. Because of this normalisation of the idea that cannabis is harmful, it’s understandable that someone raised in this era might still believe so.

However, there remains a moral imperative to look honestly at the evidence for and against cannabis before making a decision to support its prohibition. This ties in with one final thing the elderly might like to consider: the question of goodwill. This is a question of what kind of legacy they want to leave for those who come after them.

The Police are unlikely to arrest old people for cannabis offences (although they do). They are much more likely to go after the grandchildren of those old people. When the grandchildren of old people get criminal convictions for using cannabis, they have to live with those for the rest of their lives, and (as argued in another chapter) the effects of a criminal record are disproportionate to the suffering caused by cannabis offences.

The elderly don’t win from their offspring getting criminal records.

Ultimately, the elderly might like to think about cannabis law reform, not just for their sake but for their children and grandchildren. It will be those generations who will be looking after them in the old folks’ homes, and many of the nurses who work there would like to have access to cannabis to unwind after a day of work. The smart thing to do might be to stay on their side.

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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.

It Doesn’t Matter What The Polls Say Or What The Referendum Says – We’ll Use Cannabis Anyway

Kiwi cannabis enthusiasts were alarmed this week by a couple of polls that suggested a majority of people might now be against cannabis legalisation in New Zealand. A Reid Research poll for Newshub and a Colmar Brunton poll for One News both suggested this. As this essay will argue, what the polls say is just as meaningless as what the law says.

Cannabis prohibition has failed. There’s no doubt about it. With every year that passes, another overseas jurisdiction repeals prohibition, and society in general is starting to move on from it. The most glaring example of this are the falling rates of convictions for cannabis offences, as not even the Police can be bothered enforcing this law.

People miss the point if they say that this means that murder and rape prohibition has also failed because they keep happening. Murder and rape have victims. They are therefore categorically different to using cannabis, and there’s no reason to treat them the same.

Statistics show that using cannabis is one of the most Kiwi things that anyone can do. The correlation between being born in New Zealand and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 was 0.77, which tells us that cannabis use is an integral part of our national culture. The deeper a person’s roots in New Zealand, the more likely they are to be a cannabis user.

So in reality, there’s no need for a referendum, because we live the referendum all the time. Every single day, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis choose to use cannabis, for a wide range of ailments, to socialise, to destress or simply for a laugh. We signal our approval of cannabis every day from the simple fact that we choose to use it every day.

Almost everywhere and everytime Kiwis gather outside of Government supervision, there’s some weed involved. When we go tramping and hunting, we take some smoke with us. When we meet up for a barbeque, we like to break out the bongs. After we play touch or cricket we like to have a puff. And at the beaches, and in the parks, and in the bedrooms, etc…

We’re going to keep doing this, and the Government will not ever be able to stop us. The Governments of far more submissive and less free-thinking peoples than New Zealanders can’t stop their people from using cannabis – how can they stop us?

The number of cannabis seeds in private hands must number in the multiple billions. Law or no law, there is an entire underground network of cannabis enthusiasts who have been sharing seeds, clones and cultivation techniques for decades. These people love to help new people become growers themselves and defy prohibition. This culture has no intention to go anywhere.

Neither is it going to go anywhere. No Government can come up with a justified reason for making a medicinal plant illegal. Whether now or a thousand years from now, human beings will always intuitively feel that a law prohibiting them from using a part of nature to heal themselves is obscene.

This intuitive feeling is not just a delusion brought about from cannabis-induced psychosis. Far from it. It reflects something much deeper, namely the fact that we have a God-given right to use any spiritual sacraments we see fit. This is described elsewhere as the Golden Right, and the Government may not violate it because violating a person’s ability to connect to God causes suffering.

Because of all this, it doesn’t matter that a couple of polls might have suggested that the cannabis referendum result could be negative. I was stoned when I wrote this article, I will be stoned on the day on the cannabis referendum, and I will be stoned the next day too, regardless of the result.

People have an obligation to defy unjust laws. Even if the referendum result is negative, prohibition will still be an unjust law. Because it will still be an unjust law, people will keep defying it. The control freaks in the Government can hiss and rage all they like – Kiwis are going to use cannabis anyway, because it’s our will. Refusing to recognise this fact is futile.

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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 Golden Right, or The Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right

The essay A Sevenfold Conception of Inherent Human Rights expounded seven human rights that are, after a minimum of thought, clearly understandable to any person. These seven rights stem immediately from a basic understanding of yin and yang, and are encoded directly into the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism. This essay takes a closer look at what is simply known as the Golden Right.

The black stripe at the bottom of the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism represents the yin, and when combined with the silver stripe in the context of human rights represents what is known as the Base Right, which is the right to physical liberty. This has two aspects, one pertaining to the right to self-defence and the other to the right to bodily autonomy.

The white stripe at the top represents the yang, and when combined with the silver stripe in the context of human rights represents what is known as the Precious Right, which is the right to cognitive liberty. This also has two aspects.

The Feminine Aspect of the Precious Right is the right to cognitive liberty pertaining to the mind and intellect. In particular, this means the right to free speech and to free expression. The Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right is the right to cognitive liberty pertaining to the soul and spirit. In particular, this means the right to religious belief and religious expression.

The Feminine Aspect of the Precious Right is also known as the Silver Right, and the Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right is also known as the Golden Right. This is because it is the most precious of all rights. Without it, individuals and nations lose their moral compass and will fall.

The right to cognitive liberty in the context of the soul and spirit means the right to explore the soul. This means that people have the inherent right to turn away from the material world for the sake of finding God. The Golden Right, therefore, is the right to reconnect with God at any time and place, by whatever means the individual feels necessary.

Being an aspect of the Precious Right, the Golden Right does not confer the right to cause suffering to anyone else for the sake of religion. The Golden Right yields to the right to free speech, to self-defence and to bodily autonomy. Therefore, no methodology for reconnecting to God can ever be above criticism, because this violates the right to free speech, and neither can it impel anyone to do anything, because this violates the right to bodily autonomy.

However, the Golden Right also recognises that impeding another person’s attempts to connect with God causes suffering, and no Government may therefore do it.

This means that people have the right to perform basic acts of spiritual hygiene. Not only does this include meditation, but it also includes chanting, drumming, singing, gathering in communion and entheogenic ritual. All of these activities can make a person more spiritually healthy by causing them to forget the pressures and temptations of the material world. Therefore, the use of cannabis and psychedelics, as well as of all other spiritual sacraments, is a right granted by God.

The fact that cannabis and psychedelics have thousands of years of use as spiritual sacraments all around the world, and that this is heavily documented, is enough to declare that the Government violates the Will of God by restricting their ability to connect with God. In fact, it’s more than enough.

It’s enough that an individual simply declares a particular course of action to be a methodology that enables them to connect with God, and it is allowed under the Golden Right. This means that, if a person believes that taking LSD (or any other modern chemical) is capable of reconnecting them with God, they have the right to do it.

Of course, if in taking these substances a person comes to violate the baser rights of their fellows, they are to be punished accordingly. The Golden Right does not confer freedom from the consequences of misbehaving under an entheogenic substance. The responsibility is on the user to make sure that they understand the dose they’re taking and that they take it in a controlled environment (to the extent this is appropriate).

Ultimately, the Golden Right is one of the inherent human rights granted by God, and is therefore a right no matter what any human Government might say. Anyone trying to take that right away from someone else is trying to enslave them by removing their inherent rights. According to the principles of anarcho-homicidalism, then, people have the right to kill anyone who impedes their right to connect to God.

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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: Fears of A ‘Big Cannabis’ Lobby Are Overblown

One of the latest scaremongering tactics is to equate the potential future harms of cannabis with the past harms of tobacco. This tactic invokes evoking the spectre of the Big Tobacco industry and implying that legal cannabis will cause another such monster to arise. This particular trick is a favourite of the sort of prohibitionists who appeal to wowsers, such as certain religious types.

It’s impossible to deny that, with the legalisation of cannabis, there will come a number of bad things. In almost every case, however, these bad things will replace even worse things that already existed. As mentioned at various points in this book, cannabis is a substitute for other substances. This is also true at the lobbyist level.

Yes, legal cannabis would strengthen the power of the cannabis lobby. Yes, this cannabis lobby will likely be as unscrupulous as the other lobbyists: they will bribe, they will lie, they will propagandise, and they will try to open access to their product while restricting access to their competitors. This outcome is unavoidable if cannabis users are to be offered equality with users of other substances.

However, the simple fact remains that they are lobbying for a product that does much less physical, mental and social harm than either alcohol or tobacco. From a harm reduction point of view, it’s not a bad thing for Big Cannabis to come onto the scene if it means commensurate losses for Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol.

In any case, cannabis can never become like tobacco, for a number of reasons.

The most obvious is that people don’t smoke cannabis like tobacco. It’s common for a tobacco smoker to go through a pack of 30 every day, which equates to one cigarette every half an hour or so. Not even the most dedicated stoner can rip through properly-sized joints at the rate of one every half an hour.

It’s impossible to smoke cannabis like this because of the psychoactive effect. After three joints, even those with the highest degree of cannabis tolerance will be feeling satisfied. As anyone who has smoked both tobacco and cannabis will attest, smoking cannabis doesn’t lead to feeling pain when breathing first thing in the morning, but tobacco does.

Another major reason is that a lot of people prefer to ingest cannabis using methods other than smoking. Because cannabis prohibition attacks the infrastructure that would otherwise supply cannabis to people, it’s usually sold in unprocessed form as dried buds. Thus, prohibition is the reason why cannabis culture revolves around smoking it at present.

Legal cannabis won’t necessarily mean people rocking up to the dairy first thing in the morning for a pack of 25 joints that they will chainsmoke throughout the day. It will mean that people take advantage of the panoply of alternatives to smoking that will become available. People who just want a background buzz will be able to use a small amount of an edible, and people who don’t want the ritual of smoking might be happy with a vapouriser.

A third reason is that it’s much easier to give up using cannabis. Many cannabis users find themselves taking tolerance breaks on occasion, or even going without for several months for a change in lifestyle or to go overseas. Very rarely does a person find themselves wishing that they could just stop smoking cannabis (the usual problem is finding enough cannabis).

This is a major distinction from tobacco. According to some studies, a heavy majority of tobacco smokers at any point in time wish they could give up the habit, but find that they can’t seem to stop because they keep feeling compelled to smoke another cigarette. This is ideal from Big Tobacco’s point of view, because they will keep buying them forever, often until they die.

So there won’t be a Big Cannabis trying to get people addicted to their product to milk them for decades of future sales. There doesn’t need to be – cannabis sells itself. In any case, a proper introduction of legal cannabis would mean that many people would be growing it at home.

Related to this is an argument that many make: there’s no point in legalising cannabis because we’re trying to prevent smoking in general. This argument almost completely misses the point, which is that the major reason why cannabis gets consumed in smoked form in the first place is that it is illegal.

Legalisation would make it easier to avoid smoking cannabis for the many who prefer not to smoke it. It would make it much easier to buy pre-prepared edibles, or vapouriser pens that use oil cartridges, or just plain vapourisers that vapourise bud (which can then be baked into an edible). So from the perspective of reducing the harm caused by using cannabis, legalisation makes more sense than further prohibition.

Correctly learning from the lessons of history would mean to accept that total prohibition fails, as shown by the example of alcohol, and total legalisation fails, as shown by the example of tobacco, so therefore some light regulation is the correct and appropriate middle ground.

Light regulation would mean that the potential damage caused by Big Cannabis lobbyists was kept to a minimum, without being so restrictive that the black market would rise up again. If intelligence was applied to drafting a cannabis law that sought to minimise suffering, it would keep the excessive aspects of both legalisation and prohibition out of the equation.

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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.

Good Nationalism and Bad Nationalism, Good Globalism and Bad Globalism

Leo Tolstoy wrote, at the start of Anna Karenina, that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Any occultist who understands that law of “as above, so below” also understands that this rule of Tolstoy’s also holds true for individuals – and for nations. Unhappiness expresses itself in a myriad of ways at all levels of reality.

The basis of empathy is the realisation that excessive self-regard leads to an increase in the suffering of other sentient beings. This excessive self-regard does harm on the level of the individual by, for example, inducing the individual to prioritise their own desires above other people’s needs. This leads to people going without and suffering heavily for the sake of a small amount of benefit to one other person.

However, there is also a good form of individualism. Happy individuals don’t feel the need to prioritise themselves over the rest of the world, because they don’t subscribe to a slave morality that tells them that the world owes them anything. But neither do they feel the need to prioritise the world at their own expense because of some masochism or deeply-imbedded guilt trip.

The good form of individualism acknowledges that, although every individual lives in a wider community and even wider communities, the individual themselves gets to decide over their own body and mind (see the Sevenfold Conception of inherent human rights) and not the community. As a result, they resist peer pressure and mob mentality for the sake of making the correct decisions.

So we can see that there is a good individualism and bad individualism. If we go the other way up the Great Fractal, past the family, we can find both nationalism and globalism. Despite the prevalence of the aggressive form of nationalism over much of the past 200 years, the idea that nationalism is automatically bad is globalist propaganda. Nationalism, per se, isn’t any worse than identifying at any other level of the Great Fractal.

As per the Tolstoy quote in the opening paragraph of this essay, we can see that healthy nationalisms are all alike, but unhealthy forms of nationalism are all different.

The good form of nationalism is the same as the good form of caring about one’s family and one’s community. In much the same way that solidarity with one’s family can induce one to have goodwill towards second cousins etc. who one is meeting for the first time, so can solidarity with one’s nation induce one to have goodwill towards countrymen who one meets for the first time.

The bad form of nationalism is the same as the bad form of individualism. It can be found wherever a person (or group of people) make decisions that grant minor benefits to one nation but at the major expense of others – or of the world system. The worst expression of this kind of nationalism could perhaps be found in the colonial actions of Belgium in the Congo during the 19th century, and most globalists claim to be fundamentally motivated by opposition to this kind of nationalism.

All globalists claim to be good globalists. They present themselves as enlightened types who have transcended petty nationalism, and as if they only make decisions with the entirety of all sentient beings in mind. Their attitude is that they are fit to serve as arbiters of planetary justice on account of the impartiality offered by their superior moral fibre. Therefore, they can be trusted to rule a global system.

This is true for some of them (more or less). After all, globalism is arguably nothing more than operating on a higher order of reality. It’s entirely possible to operate there, and there’s no reason to conclude that someone definitely does not belong there, just because they say they do.

However, there is also a bad globalism. In fact, there are two.

The obvious bad globalism is the kind that forces rules and regulations on people and places who do not want them. This is the same kind of tyranny as any other imperialism, in which a person in a distant land makes decisions that get imposed on the locals without their consent.

Cannabis prohibition was mostly a self-inflicted tragedy, but it wasn’t helped by the fact that the United Nations prohibited it with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. This treaty obliged all signatories to keep cannabis perpetually illegal, regardless of the will of the people of the nations whose leaders had signed them up.

There remains a great risk of this form of globalism, particularly in the form of globohomo. This means the risk that all national cultures in the world will be erased and replaced with a manufactured kind of consumer fetishism that can be easily milked for cash using the same methods anywhere in the world.

There is a much more subtle and insidious form of bad globalism, however. This occurs when people promote globalist values to other people, while secretly maintaining nationalist or racist values for themselves. An example is fervently propagandising for other nations to open their borders while also propagandising for one’s own nation to remain an ethnostate.

This form of globalism is little different to any other kind of hate ideology in that it is supremacist and exploitative. It’s deceptive in the sense that it presents itself as something it isn’t, for the sake of lulling other people into a false sense of security. It plans to leave all nations except for one’s own in a state of chaos.

In summary, it is impossible to equate either nationalism or globalism with good or evil. In much the same way that there are happy and unhappy families and individuals, unhappy people who identify with the nation will tend to express an unhealthy form of nationalism, and unhappy people who identify with the globe will tend to express an unhealthy form of that.

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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.

Ardern Is Only In Power Because National Was Shit

Numerous voices are bitching about the things that the Sixth Labour Government has done since seizing power. Persecution mania has ramped up to the point where many people feel personally aggrieved and targeted by the actions of Jacinda Ardern and her supporters. As this essay will show, the abuses of the Sixth Labour Government are a direct result of the neglect of the Fifth National Government.

People like to complain. Seldom do they like to consider that they themselves may have played a role in what has transpired. Even more seldom to people like to consider that they are part of an interdependent system with, and no more important that, all of the things they hate, compared to which they are like yin to yang.

When John Key’s Fifth National Government came to power, they inherited a number of social issues that had festered for a long time. There were large numbers of Kiwis who were desperate for a change to the housing situation, or the mental health system, or to the medicinal cannabis laws. Many of them had reason to believe that a change in Government from Helen Clark’s autocratic style to a more classical liberal style would bring relief.

All of these people were flat out ignored for nine years.

In this act of ignoring people with legitimate grievances, National sowed the seed for their own failure. All National had to do was to acknowledge that spending $400,000,000 per year on enforcing cannabis prohibition was poor fiscal management – a perfectly reasonable argument. That there was no good case to force taxpayers to stump up for the immense cost of enforcing a law that most of them didn’t want, especially when health and infrastructure were underfunded and could have used the money.

But they couldn’t even do this!

If the National Party wasn’t capable of understanding something as simple as the need for cannabis law reform – something that Third World countries like Uruguay understood years ago – then it’s a fair conclusion that they simply aren’t competent. So why not vote them out?

The situation with the mental health system is equally as jarring an example. The Fifth Labour Government didn’t do much to help those who had lost out from neoliberalism, but the attitude of the National Party towards the mentally ill was “just let ’em die.” Key ended his term with the highest suicide rate since records began.

National’s refusal to respect the will of the people wasn’t just a matter of degree. Sometimes it was categorical, as in the case for asset sales, where they were told explicitly that the nation didn’t want them sold, but did it anyway. This is the sort of arrogance that leads thinking supporters to switch allegiances.

So no-one who supported the Fifth National Government ought to grizzle about socialism or communism now. If you’re willing to sit on your arse while your fellows are needlessly suffering, even in cases where they’re not asking you for money but simply an end to the misery, then you’re also willing to accept the consequences of this neglect.

The Labour Party gets consent for the abuses it commits from the neglect shown by the National Party before it. Because one half of the population looked the other way when Kiwis were put into cages for growing medicinal plants, so does the other half of the population look the other way when the right to free speech is violated. The fact that we have the right to both grow medicinal plants and to speak freely is lost.

The great problem, from the perspective of a member of the Kiwi nation, is that this cycle of one bunch of incompetents getting revenge on the previous bunch of incompetents by punishing their supporters – almost all of who are Kiwis – is not helpful.

Labour and National are effectively a one-party dictatorship that has agreed to a power-sharing arrangement between the left and right wing factions. Perversely, the worse one wing of the Establishment Party does, the worse the other wing also gets to do, as there is no alternative to the National/Labour duoligarchy. Thus, anyone complaining about how crap Ardern is must also give some thought to the system that put her in power.

It might be true that Ardern and her Government panicked in response to the Christchurch mosque shootings, and overreacted by working to ban semi-automatic rifles. It might also be true that their actions to violate our right to free speech are obscene and bordering on tyrannical. It might even be true that none of this would have happened if National had still been in power – but National would still be in power if they hadn’t been so shit in the first place.

If we don’t like this arrangement, then the onus is on us to organise ourselves in ways that leave the Establishment no place to step in and take control. One way to do this might be to mutually agree on the sevenfold conception of inherent human rights. If all Kiwis mutually agreed that each other possessed those rights inherently, then we would have the solidarity necessary to enforce them.

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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: Other Acceptable Drugs Are More Harmful

The standard argument is that cannabis is too harmful to be allowed and this is why it has been made illegal. This extreme level of harm is ostensibly the reason why criminal penalties are applied to its possession and cultivation. However, as this article will examine, this argument is hypocritical and dishonest.

There’s no doubt that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than cannabis. In New Zealand, alcohol is believed to kill between 600 and 800 people every year, mostly from cancer, heart failure and liver failure. This is a horrendeous body count by any standard, even higher than the suicide count and the road toll.

The butcher’s bill for tobacco is even worse – this is believed to kill 5,000 people in New Zealand every year. 1 in every 1,000 Kiwis killed every year by one legal drug can only really be described as carnage. It’s orders of magnitude more destructive than cannabis, which is not conclusively known to kill anyone.

This argument for cannabis law reform is therefore very simple. If alcohol and tobacco do not meet the threshold for causing sufficient harm to be banned, then neither does cannabis. Put another way, if either alcohol or tobacco are acceptable when judged by balance of harm, then so is cannabis.

Others will respond that there’s no reason to add yet another harmful drug to what’s already available.

As mentioned elsewhere, this argument is ignorant of human psychology. People who want to get high will use whatever is available to them. There are no perfectly sober people enjoying their lives right now who are at risk of becoming a cannabis addict after one puff. There are, however, a lot of hard-core alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical users who would switch to using cannabis instead if it were available.

In much the same way that voting in an election means supporting one evil for the sake of defying a greater evil, many people use cannabis instead of a drug that is more harmful. In other words, cannabis can serve as a substitute for alcohol. This point has been argued at length elsewhere, but it’s important enough to be worth bring up again here.

If you could reduce the nation’s alcohol consumption by a quarter, you should also reduce the nation’s death toll by 150-200 every year. A proportion of people would use cannabis instead of alcohol if they were given the opportunity, so if legal cannabis would reduce the alcohol intake then it would save lives.

Even if a third of those who gave up alcohol for cannabis died from complications related to cannabis use (a ridiculous idea if one realises that legalisation will mean vaping instead of smoking), this would still represent a saving of 100 or so lives every year. So if other drugs are both more harmful than cannabis and legal, then it makes sense that cannabis should also be legal, because then some people could switch to it.

Some will respond that alcohol and tobacco are “part of our culture”. Well, we cannabis users would respond that cannabis is part of our culture. Certainly no-one asked us what our culture was, and if they had asked, many of us would have told them that we prefer to use cannabis. The people who made the decision are in the pockets of big alcohol manufacturers – they’re not objective judges.

For those of us who are part of the cannabis culture, using cannabis simply fills the same niche as those who recreationally use alcohol or tobacco. We know that it’s slightly physically harmful and can be mentally harmful if misused. Everyone knows this. It’s just that we believe the social, emotional and psychological benefits of recreational cannabis use outweigh the minor harms.

Yet others will argue that “the horse has bolted” when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. These drugs are so widespread that they are now impossible to prohibit.

However, the same is true of cannabis. Cannabis is easier to manufacture than alcohol, and getting hold of seeds is barely more difficult than getting hold of seeds for any other plant. Cannabis is everywhere in New Zealand, and plenty of people are willing to help others get seeds (or even clones) simply to defy the Government. An entire underground culture dedicated to its survival and propagation exists.

If it’s too late to enforce alcohol prohibition, then it’s too late to enforce cannabis prohibition as well.

In the end, the fact that there are drugs that are both more harmful than cannabis and legal is proof that our drug laws are not logical. Indeed, our drug laws are based more on past hysteria than any sober appraisal of the evidence. Cannabis law reform would be the first step in rewriting these laws to achieve harm minimisation.

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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 2020 General Election Will Be The Royal Rumble of New Zealand Elections

Next year’s General Election is going to be the Royal Rumble of New Zealand elections. Everyone wants to play a part in it, but only one can win. It seems that every fortnight a new party casts its hat into the ring. Numbers man Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, explains the electoral ramifications of this large field.

We already know that all of the parties with a finger on the brass ring will try to keep it there or to strengthen their grip. Labour, National, the Greens, New Zealand First and ACT will all get a fat chunk of electoral funding pre-election and mainstream media publicity leading up to it, on account of their current Parliamentary presence. These parties, however, will have to contend with an usually wide field of challengers.

Not only are all the usual challengers present, but so are a range of newcomers.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party will run again, potentially taking a seat’s worth of votes from other parties. Despite heavy pressure from the Greens to shut down their operations, the ALCP looks likely to not only run again but to do better than usual. Many people who habitually don’t vote on account of having no confidence in politicians will turn out to vote in the cannabis referendum, and they will be heavily tempted to throw a vote the ALCP’s way.

Green supporters tend to make the lazy assumption that, because the Greens champion cannabis law reform, ALCP voters must naturally have strong sympathies for them. In reality, the bulk of ALCP voters are Maoris and New Zealand-born white people, both of who are highly suspicious of the globalism of the Greens. ALCP voters are also much more rural than the urbanite Greens.

The Maori and Mana parties will be back, as the supporters of both parties have previously experienced the Parliamentary trough and want to be return there. Both of these parties appeal to a slightly wealthier constituency than the Maoris and Pacific Islanders who vote for Labour, which means that the presence of those parties threatens to skim those voters off the current Labour support.

This week brought news that Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church is having another crack at Parliament. Tamaki already ran in 2005 with the Destiny New Zealand movement, winning 14,210 votes. Although this was less than 1% of the total vote, he seems to have been encouraged enough by the experience, and has entered his Coalition New Zealand Party into the 2020 race.

Tamaki’s voters will no doubt reflect the demographics of his church, which are being pulled apart by the two opposing poles. On the one hand, his constituents are poor, which inclines them to vote Labour, but on the other hand, they are horrified by Labour’s passionate support for the most degenerate aspects of the Globohomo Gayplex. His voters will be those who feel caught in the middle, as they will be most easily persuaded to vote for someone else.

Also running for the first time is the Sustainable New Zealand Party, led by Vernon Tava. This putative blue-green movement seeks to strike a balance between entrepreneurialism and ecomanagement. They are aiming at the centre of the political spectrum on account of their belief that the Greens cannot effectively negotiate from the left of Labour.

As I have written previously, Tava’s movement will compete directly with The Opportunities Party, who aren’t lying down. Although TOP have been beset by internal squabbling, they still have the cash, the profile and the will to mount another campaign. They came about halfway to getting over the 5% threshold last time, and this will enthuse them to try again.

The combined effect of all of these parties will probably be to draw votes away from the Labour Party (in the case of the Coalition New Zealand, Mana, Maori and ALCP parties), from the Green Party (in the case of Sustainable New Zealand and TOP) and from New Zealand First (in the case of the same parties as Labour). None are likely to win representation.

This doesn’t mean that the situation favours National. Not only can they expect to lose some votes to Sustainable New Zealand and perhaps even to Coalition New Zealand, but they have their own new challengers on the right to worry about.

The hard conservative vote will be stretched by the New Conservatives, led by Leighton Baker and Elliot Ikilei. They appear to appeal to the remnants of Colin Crag’s Conservative Party – conservatives who are disaffected by the current direction of things, i.e. reactionaries. They already have a devoted social media following, and they aren’t the only ones contesting the right-wing protest vote.

Alfred Ngaro looks set to run some kind of Christian Zionist party aimed at a demographic that is similar to Tamaki’s, only wealthier. This party will also fight for the votes of those who oppose reform on issues such as abortion and euthanasia. This will mean that the Christian centrist voters will be split over at least three new parties.

If all of this sounds to you like these new parties have very little chance of achieving anything, you’d be correct.

The bizarre irony of our political system is that there is almost no point to setting up on either wing, because the most you can hope for is to win 5% off the largest party on that wing, and what you will realistically achieve is to suck a few percent away and to cause that wing to get less representation in Parliament. Setting up on the left tends to favour the right, and vice versa.

Thus, the net result of all these parties running – and all but certainly not winning any representation – is, ironically, to disenfranchise their own voters, who might have otherwise supported a similar party that did win seats.

In any case, much like the actual Royal Rumbles, New Zealand elections are rigged. Labour and National have set up a system where challenging them is almost impossible. Not only do challengers get a fraction of the electoral broadcast funding that the Establishment parties get, but they also have to overcome a MMP threshold designed to deny momentum to any new movement.

It’s as if Andre the Giant and the Undertaker got together with Vince McMahon and arranged to have them enter the Royal Rumble last and second-to-last, and with a five-minute gap between their entry and the third-to-last competitor.

The realistic mostly likely outcome of having a large number of small parties competing is the complete fracture of the territory they are contesting, i.e. the centre and the far wings. This will mean that the winner of the 2020 Election will be the largest of the remainder of Labour or National. They will win not because of superior policy or popular support, but from having the fewest competitors for their voters.

Most alarmingly, whoever wins might well win an absolute majority, on account of that the centre will be shattered. This will lead to an absence of any moderating force that can act to restrain the majority winner, as New Zealand First did after the 2017 General Election. The possibility of an absolute Labour or National majority in 18 months’ time is very real.

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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).

What New Zealand Could Afford if We Didn’t Take in Refugees

The tendency of most social democratic governments is to tax and spend. The usual pattern is to spend ever more as extra special interests keep making new demands. This inevitably leads to the downfall of those governments, as they end up spending money on white elephants and neglecting their core voters. This article looks at how the Sixth Labour Government is neglecting its own people by importing 1,500 refugees a year.

According to this New Zealand Herald article, the costs of refugee resettlement to New Zealand is roughly $130,000,000 every year. This suggests that each of the 1,500 refugees costs an average of roughly $90,000 per year, which is similar to the costs of keeping a person in prison.

This $130 million comes out of general taxation and means that we can’t spend $130 million on other things. Despite claims to the contrary, it’s impossible to spend the same dollar twice. So spending this money on refugees who we have decided to import means that we have to tighten our belts on $130 million of spending somewhere else in the economy.

So what have we chosen to forgo? Or, more accurately, what have our rulers elected to take away from us?

According to the Ministry of Social Development, there are 286,000 New Zealanders on a main benefit at the time of March 2019. These beneficiaries are also paid out of general taxation, i.e. the same fund as pays for refugees.

If we would lower the refugee quota to zero, we would have the spare money to give every beneficiary a Christmas bonus on the order of $500 every year in the lead up to the summer holidays. This would be a much better use of the money than importing problems into the neighbourhoods that those beneficiaries live in. A $500 bonus at the time of year when things are the tightest would make a profound difference to the quality of life of New Zealand’s poorest.

It might also make a difference to New Zealand’s suicide rates, as stress over Christmas and New Year’s, particularly financial stress, is known to be a common trigger for suicide attempts.

The ongoing homelessness crisis is another issue that could do with a cool hundred million dollars. A Stuff article reports that it will cost $4.1 million to house 100 homeless people in Christchurch. At that rate, if the $130 million we currently spend yearly on refugees was used on housing our own people, it would cover the housing of close to 3,000 Kiwis.

3,000 is close to the number of people currently believed to be homeless in Auckland. Since the vast majority of those homeless are Kiwis, it seems neglectful, if not callous, to spend $130 million on refugees instead, especially when that money could simply buy the houses to put almost 1,000 homeless in (assuming a house homes four people and costs $600,000).

Many of those Kiwis will have paid into the social system themselves through taxation or through service. It’s cruel to house foreigners at their expense.

Helping our own is more cost effective than importing refugees and helping them instead, because there is no language or cultural barrier to overcome and thus no need for interpreters or cultural guides. It is also much better for social cohesion, because our own usually have families that live here, and a whole family is lifted if their weakest member is helped.

Perhaps most appallingly, the New Zealand Parliament decided in 2015 that providing free breakfasts and lunches to the poorest 20% of schoolchildren, at a cost of $10-14 million, was too expensive. It seems incredible on the face of it, but our rulers are willing to spend ten times more on importing dependent foreigners than on feeding their own hungriest children!

A society that imports dependent foreigners and takes care of them, while leaving its own children to go hungry during the day, is one that cannot long survive. The inherent contradiction means that few of the next generation will have any confidence in the system, and will withdraw or revolt, as there is no point in contributing to a nation that treats its own worse than it does outsiders. It’s better to let it die and start again.

It’s important to underline here that, although spending a nine-figure sum of money on refugees while neglecting your own people is an act of evil, it’s not the refugees themselves who ought to take the blame. At worst, they are merely the receivers of stolen goods, in that they accepted the inheritance that our ruling class had stolen from us. There’s no shame in taking advantage of people as foolish as we have been.

The blame for not being able to house our own people and feed our own kids falls squarely on our own politicians who control the spending of our tax money, and on us for letting those politicians get away with it.

They are the ones who leave the people they’re representing to die while they lavish money on foreigners instead. They are the ones who distract us with emotive rhetoric about “doing the right thing” while ignoring the needs of the people they rule over. They are the ones who promote the idea that anyone complaining about their evil is themselves evil: a racist, white nationalist, Nazi, speaker of hate or similar.

Much of the suffering that Kiwis at the back of the queue are enduring is only happening because our rulers are spending the money on importing refugees instead. Lowering the refugee quota to zero would free up $130 million to spend on amenities for those among us who are doing it hard. It’s a lot of money, and all we lose is virtue signalling opportunity.

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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.