How to Tell if You’re Really A Libertarian

The most famous political chart puts everyone into one of four quadrants: authoritarian left and authoritarian right at the top, and libertarian left and libertarian right at the bottom. It’s fashionable to claim to be libertarian, but not everyone who does so really is. This essay looks at how to tell if you’re really a libertarian.

The political consensus of the Western World is still profoundly affected by the horrors of the authoritarian governments of the 20th century.

Authoritarian governments in the form of Nazism and Communism caused the deaths of some 150 million people, directly or indirectly, through a variety of wars and famines. These acts live on in infamy with names such as the Holocaust and Holodomor, the very mention of which summon images of starvation, misery and death.

Since then, it’s been extremely unfashionable to be authoritarian. But it’s still tempting – as tempting as it ever was. The thought that some ideas are not merely great, but so great that they have to be forced on the populace at gunpoint by a government that will kill its own citizens before it will compromise, is one that reoccurs throughout human history. All that’s necessary for it to actually become a reality is a sufficient degree of arrogance, or self-righteousness, on the part of the rulers.

Once a government has enough hubris – and whether they are left or right doesn’t matter here – they will start thinking that the lessons of history don’t apply to them, or that their actions are so righteous that human nature will change in recognition, or that they are uniquely talented and therefore can achieve things that no previous rulers could.

Once this stage is reached, it’s possible for the government to start doing things to people whether they want it or not, instead of helping them get things done in accordance with their own wills, and at that stage the government meets the definition of authoritarian. We have ideas so good they have to be compulsory! is the rallying-cry of the self-righteous authoritarian.

A person who is really a libertarian will stay committed to liberty no matter how tempting the proposal to abandon it might be. They therefore reject the idea that ideas can be so good that the government has to force them on people. Exceptions to this rule are only made in the gravest circumstances – never to try to make the world better, whether the justification be to “put order to things” or for “the greatest good”.

A person who is really a libertarian will reject proposals from both the left and the right if those proposals are too authoritarian, even if they have minor sympathies towards one of the two poles.

They will not (for example) only reject leftist authoritarian ideas, such as raising taxes or making a minority language compulsory for all school children, while accepting any and all right-wing authoritarian ideas, such as starting wars or drug prohibition.

A person who claims to be a left libertarian will happily criticise the left if it does authoritarian things. Many authoritarian leftists have been agitating to remove speaking rights from various conservatives (or even just people labelled “conservative” by the media), a process they refer to as “deplatforming”. This is blatantly authoritarian, so anyone supporting it on the grounds that it furthers leftist interests cannot also claim to be a libertarian.

Not even if they believe that the left is the side of liberty! Being an authoritarian under the guise that one’s authoritarianism ultimately serves libertarian ends is a fail. All psychopathic dictators claim this.

Likewise, a person who claims to be a right libertarian will genuinely be against crony capitalism and genuinely be against the political influence that large corporate interests exert on the legislation. They will refuse to complain only about taxation, and will also complain about corporate welfare and bailouts of inefficient companies.

Because authoritarianism is so unfashionable, many people will try and sneak authoritarian ideas into the discourse under the guise of them being either left or right. If the person they are speaking with is simple enough to equate either left or right eternally with libertarianism, then getting that person to oppose something is as simple as equating it with whichever of the left or right that person associates with authoritarianism.

The left does this with rhetoric about the need to make up for past injustices and for forced equality of outcome, and the right does this by stirring up fear of government and of minorities. Any person who is really a libertarian will reject all of this reasoning, and will remain steadfast to the belief that ideas should not be forced onto others, because justifying authoritarianism from either the left or the right will justify more of it from the other side as well.

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

Writing Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism has gone from being a little-known condition to being a condition that everyone is accused of having, autistic or not. However, just because everyone is aware of autism doesn’t mean that everything they think they know about the condition is accurate. This article looks at how to write believable and realistic characters with autism.

The most characteristic feature of autism is a pronounced difficulty with social interaction, usually coupled with an obsession with certain repeated actions. This difficulty with social interaction is enough to cause immense difficulty in the lives of some autists and the people around them. This goes beyond mere awkwardness, to a point where fundamental communication becomes difficult.

From the perspective of a person with autism, much of the difficulty about living with the conditions comes from an inability to make the intuitive understandings about other people, and their behaviour, that is usually taken for granted. A person without autism (a “neurotypical”) seems to have an almost psychic understanding of how other people think and behave. Social interaction just seems so effortless for such people.

Your protagonist might have difficulty getting along with someone who has autism, on account of that the autistic character doesn’t seem to understand what the protagonist believes to be the rules of social interaction. The protagonist might make jokes that don’t get laughed at, and come to think that the autistic character doesn’t like them, when the problem is a low level of communication.

Then again, your protagonist might get along with an autistic character just fine. Autists can make a lot of sense, in their own way. Often, a person with autism will be capable of observing human interaction without all the pretense and brainwashing, and can arrive at objective, if odd and unconventional, conclusions. These can sometimes be valuable wisdom (and they can sometimes be juvenile truisms).

Viewed from the outside, an autistic character might appear as excessively orderly, to the point of dysfunction. Autists often like to ritualise certain behaviours (much like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), to the point where not being able to perform the ritual sometimes creates unbearable anxiety. Their speech can be likewise regimented and repetitive. It’s common for them to compulsively stack objects or line them up.

Moreover, autists often feel solidarity with other neurodiverse people, and vice-versa. Autism is entirely different to, say, schizophrenia, but much of the lived experience of autism is similar to other mental conditions. The social rejection and the anxiety about more rejection, the anxiety, the shame, the frustration, the despair: these are all emotions that mentally ill people tend to experience more than others. An autist might relate strongly to someone who also feel them, even if that person is not autistic.

If your protagonist has autism themselves, you will have to be very careful about how you render their internal dialogue, should you write about them in the first person. A lot of fiction is poorly written because the characters in it have an unrealistically high level of understanding the behaviour of other people. An autistic protagonist will frequently be baffled by the behaviour they encounter. Much of their behaviour will be a complete mystery.

One of the most dramatic things about autism is the emotional consequences of the social difficulties that arise from having the condition. The awkwardness of autism is often mistaken by other people for malice, psychopathy, pedophilia, terrorist intent and all manner of other things. This makes life extremely difficult and can make for a harrowing story (unless your protagonist turns out to be a pedophile or terrorist).

It ought to be easy to engender sympathy from your reader here, because most people are sympathetic to the sense of injustice that comes from undeserved social rejection. Despite that, the other characters might feel like they have good reasons to reject the autistic character. After all, it is hard to tell the difference between social clumsiness and malice sometimes.

Because autism is a spectrum, there are many subclinical versions of it. A character with a subclinical level of autism will be relatable for many – after all, there is no person who has perfectly smooth social interactions all day every day. For them, their autism might be something that just makes life more colourful or interesting.

Autism can increase in severity all the way up to the point where a character with it will just about live in their own world, divorced from the concerns of most of the others. Realistically, a character with severe autism will have a hard time being a major character in your story because their degree of communication impairment will be so severe that no-one else will understand them. More moderate forms could involve a degree of social impairment that can be more or less overcome.

There is reason to believe that small amounts of autism can be helpful in certain occupational fields, especially those that pertain to the imposition of order upon chaos. Therefore, an autist need not be presented as conspicuously mentally ill. They might have found a niche that suits them perfectly, in some job that requires order to be imposed upon chaos. Mechanics and computer engineers are favourites.

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

Why the All Blacks Will Do Kapa O Pango Against Argentina

The All Blacks will play the Argentinian Pumas this Saturday night in Nelson. This is the first time the All Blacks have played in Sun City, and as a result it’s expected to be the biggest thing ever to happen here. Only one thing is more certain than an All Black win – and that’s the fact that the All Blacks will do Kapa O Pango and not Ka Mate on Saturday night.

As most people are aware, the All Blacks have two hakas: the traditional Ka Mate, composed by Te Rauparaha around 1820, and the modern Kapa O Pango, composed this century. A smaller number know that Te Rauparaha was some kind of warlord and that Kapa O Pango came in during Tana Umaga’s time as All Black captain.

Te Rauparaha was indeed a war hero – to some. To others, he was every bit the war criminal as other war leaders tend to be viewed as by the people they attacked. He played a leading role in the Musket Wars as a war chief of the Ngati Toa. Armed with musketry, Te Rauparaha’s forces swept all the way down to Kaiapoi, and along the way he carried out some of the most ruthless genocides ever seen in Polynesia.

As this article luridly describes, the existing residents of the South Island were exterminated in a campaign of brutality that would have appalled even the men who destroyed the Aztec Empire under Cortez. Mass murder followed by cannibalism and enslavement of any survivors was the standard practice of war parties in the New Zealand of the 1820s, and the forces under Te Rauparaha were not an exception.

By the early 1840s, the Northern South Island was almost completely depopulated, which made it ripe for European settlement. Nelson and Blenheim were early growth centres on account of this; the road between them, where the Maungatapu Murders took place, was once a relatively busy highway, even if it could only be traversed by horse and cart or by foot.

This is the reason why Nelson has the honour of many national firsts – such as the the location of the first rugby match ever played in New Zealand, an 18-a-side affair at the Botanical Gardens, near the Centre of New Zealand.

So to say that Te Rauparaha is not well thought of by the Maori tribes local to the Northern South Island, or what’s left of them, is an understatement, akin to saying that Adolf Hitler is not well thought of among Poles. For the All Blacks to perform a haka written by him, on the same grounds where he committed possibly the worst atrocities New Zealand has ever seen, would be too great an insult for the local Maori to bear.

Steve Hansen and Kieran Read, ever the master strategists and culturally acute on account of being in charge of New Zealand’s single most successful example of intercultural co-operation, are entirely aware of this, and will no doubt avoid performing the haka that has particular sinister connotations to the local Maoris of Nelson. No surprises: we will see Kapa O Pango this weekend.

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

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

Animal companionship is neither a luxury nor a vice

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

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

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

There are three major reasons why this should happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing Dissociative Identity Disorder

Once known as Multiple Personality Disorder, and known casually by some as “split personality”, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a condition characterised by more than one distinct personality in the same physical body. The disorder is one of the most misunderstood and mischararacterised of all psychiatric conditions. This article looks at how to write believable and non-cliched characters who have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

People who have DID don’t change personalities whimsically. It usually only happens in response to intense stress or emotional pressure. When it does, however, it can be frightening and confusing for the people who see it. A person who has “switched” personalities might indeed seem to be an entirely different person, with different facial expressions, a different gait, different body language and an entirely different way of talking. Their vibe might feel entirely different, and not just in the sense of a change of mood.

Like many of the conditions in this book, DID is believed to have origins in early childhood abuse. The currently prevailing theory is that particularly intense early childhood trauma can cause the mind to dissociate. If this is severe enough, this dissociation can lead to one part of the mind becoming almost quarantined from the others, as if to protect the whole.

For example, a child might receive such intense physical abuse that their personality splits into a regular child’s personality (or primary identity) and a second, much harder and meaner one, who comes about as an adaptation to the abuse. What this can lead to is a situation where the second personality comes out in stressful situations as if trying to “defend” the primary personality from further trauma and abuse. That second personality might be willing to make decisions and take measures that the first cannot countenance.

Characteristic of this condition is the inability for one persona to remember things that have been said to another persona. Because the various personas are complete personalities with their own set of memories, things that are understood by one persona are not necessarily understood by others. People with DID can also lose track of time very easily, on account of that time that passes for one personality doesn’t necessarily also pass for another.

If the protagonist of your story encounters a character with DID, their first clue might be observing signs of depression in that other character. People with DID commonly also have depression, partially on account of the difficulty of living with the condition, and partially as a result of early childhood trauma and abuse. Other conditions are commonly comorbid with DID, especially the other conditions that are believed to have origins in heavy childhood trauma, such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, anorexia and bulimia.

Your protagonist might find it baffling how that the character with DID sometimes doesn’t remember what’s said to them. Even more baffling is that the character with DID will often react with anger if it is put to them that a certain subject had already been talked about. Your protagonist might conclude that the character with DID is on drugs of some kind, and they might feel like they have good reason to draw such a conclusion.

In other ways, your protagonist might have to tread carefully. The heavy childhood abuse that usually precedes the development of DID can make a character with the condition hard to deal with for reasons not directly related to it. For example, they might be paranoid, suspicious, vicious etc. before the effects of DID are accounted for. This might mean that your protagonist mistakes the separate personalities of a person with DID as them being dishonest. Your protagonist might feel that the character with DID is only pretending not to remember things.

If the protagonist of your story has DID themselves, then telling a story about them automatically becomes a challenge because it isn’t clear who is speaking in the first person and who is speaking in the third. Assuming that there’s a primary personality and a secondary one, the primary one might be the one that is written about in the first person. It’s possible to do both, but care has to be taken not to sound like you are retelling the story of Jekyll and Hyde.

Your protagonist’s encounters with other characters could become extremely difficult if the protagonist has this condition. They might find themselves confronted with repeated accusations of being two different people – an accusation which is, understandably, not simple to deal with. Neither are accusations of being on drugs, or being a bastard, or lying, or just being fucked-up – all things that a protagonist with DID might have to deal with from other characters.

DID is not schizophrenia, but it shares many things in common with schizophrenia. DID is believed to be the single most strongly correlated psychiatric condition with severe early childhood abuse and neglect, with schizophrenia closely behind. So a person with DID might have deep understanding of how schizophrenics think and operate, and may have gone through some parts of the schizophrenia spectrum themselves.

It’s worth noting here that attempting to get off a criminal charge by claiming that one has DID and that one’s alternate personality did the crime has virtually zero chance of success, and that even if it did succeed the consequences would probably entail involuntary psychiatric care every bit as unpleasant as going to prison. Juries and judges are wise to such simple tricks and it won’t succeed outside of an extraordinary setting.

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

Understanding New Zealand: City vs. Country

The division between city people and country people is one of the most telling in all of ethnography, and has been since the start of history. This is as true for New Zealand as it is for anywhere else. In this study, Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, looks at the statistical differences between people who live in the big cities (Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, referred to here as “Living Urban”) and people who live in the provinces.

This study defines “City” electorates as any belonging to the following list: Auckland Central, Christchurch Central, Christchurch East, Dunedin North, Dunedin South, East Coast Bays, Epsom, Hamilton East, Hamilton West, Helensville, Hutt South, Ilam, Kelston, Mana, Mangere, Manukau East, Manurewa, Maungakiekie, Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, New Lynn, North Shore, Northcote, Ohariu, Pakuranga, Port Hills, Rongotai, Tamaki, Tauranga, Upper Harbour, Wellington Central, Wigram and Tamaki Makaurau.

These electorates tell a story that seems paradoxical on the surface. City dwellers are wealthier than provincial New Zealanders (the correlation being Living Urban and Median Personal Income was 0.37), but they are disinclined to vote for the wealthy party, National (the correlation between Living Urban and voting National in 2017 was, at -0.01, almost perfectly uncorrelated).

Urban people like to vote for the ACT and Green parties more than any others. The correlation between Living Urban and voting ACT in 2017 was 0.37; for Living Urban and voting Green in 2017 it was 0.36. The main reason for this is that young and trendy people support these parties, and young and trendy people live in urban areas.

The strongest negative correlations with Living Urban and voting for a particular party in 2017 were for New Zealand First (-0.60), voting Ban 1080 (-0.52) and voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (-0.40). These three could be said to be the truly rural parties.

The two major parties both spanned the rural-urban divide. As mentioned above, urban dwellers do not vote National any more than rural dwellers do, but the grip of the Labour Party on the urban electorates is overstated. The correlation between Living Urban and voting Labour in 2017 was not significant, at only 0.11.

On a racial basis, it’s immediately clear that most rural people are Kiwis of European descent and Maoris, whereas most Pacific Islanders and the vast majority of Asians live in an urban setting. The correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and Living Urban was -0.28, and between being Maori and Living Urban it was -0.35. This tells us that rural New Zealand is still very much a bicultural affair.

The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and Living Urban was significantly positive, at 0.33, and for Asians the correlation was strong, at 0.60. The reason for this is primarily because these two groups comprise the most recent waves of immigrants, and immigrants tend to establish themselves in major centres first before moving to the provinces. Indeed, the correlation between Living Urban and being foreign-born was 0.61.

Further clues appear when we examine the correlations between living in a big city and age. The correlation between Living Urban and median age was -0.23, on the border of significance, which tells us that the average city dweller is somewhat younger than the average country dweller. However, there were negative correlations between Living Urban and being in either of the youngest two age brackets, between ages 0 and 14 in total.

There were moderately strong correlations between Living Urban and being in either the 20-29 age bracket (0.50) or the 30-49 age bracket (0.51). These are also the age brackets that correlate the most highly with working fulltime and with median personal income. The correlations between Living Urban and being in either of the 50-64 or 65+ age brackets are both significantly negative.

What this tells us is the age-old story of young adults moving to the city for the sake of jobs and wealth, and then moving back out into the provinces again when it’s time to retire or perhaps to raise a family. This pattern of human migration, from country to city and back again, goes all the way back to at least Babylon, so it’s not surprising to find statistical evidence of it in contemporary New Zealand.

Keeping with the theme of employment, we can see that having any of the university degrees is significantly correlated with Living Urban (Bachelor’s at 0.63, Honours at 0.56, Master’s at 0.62, doctorate at 0.48). As described elsewhere, the reason for this is because of the strong correlation between having a university degree and working full-time.

In short, all the capital is in the cities, therefore that’s where the full-time jobs are, therefore anyone wishing to save money (as young, educated people tend to do) must live in an urban area. Indeed, there is a positive correlation (although not a significant one) of 0.18 between Living Urban and working in a full-time job.

This explanation is reinforced if one looks at the correlations between working in capital-intensive professions and living in an urban environment. The correlation between Living Urban and working in a particular profession was 0.58 for professional, scientific and technical services, 0.59 for information media and telecommunications and 0.61 for financial and insurance services. Notably, it was -0.72 for agriculture, forestry and fishing, for obvious reasons.

There was a significant positive correlation between Living Urban and renting one’s house (0.30) and a significant negative one between Living Urban and living in a freehold house (-0.31). This ties in with the observation that people in big cities have a different attitude to wealth generation: they are likely to become educated and earn a large wage with heavy expenses, whereas rural people tend to consolidate and grow wealth by minimising expenses.

Indeed, while there was virtually no correlation (0.01) between Living Urban and being unemployed, there was a significant correlation (0.27) between Living Urban and working for a wage or salary. This also ties in with the aforementioned fact that the jobs on offer tend to be where the major accumulations of capital are.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

Are You Naziphobic?

Hatred of foreign ideologies – such as Nazism and Islam – is often rooted in xenophobic prejudice

Naziphobia is a big problem in the West right now. Irrational fear of Nazis, usually rooted in classism against workers and racism against Germans, is causing large amounts of unnecessary misery in the Western World. This essay will help the reader examine themselves for any signs of prejudice against members of the German National Socialist Worker’s Movement.

The common argument is that Nazism is inherently a hate ideology, and that it inherently calls for the destruction of non-followers. It is true that Mein Kampf does actually contain a plan to invade Eastern Europe and to starve the inhabitants to death to make way for German settlers, and therefore that anyone who supports Nazism is supporting ethnic cleansing and supremacist genocide, but there’s no reason to focus merely on that side of the story.

Some might argue an invasion followed by genocide by starvation is grossly antisocial, and that ideas so grossly antisocial should not be tolerated lest they become more popular. However, against this we can see that the standard for tolerance has been set by the degree shown for Abrahamic religious traditions, whose holy scriptures call for the extermination of non-followers and polytheists (Koran 9:5, Exodus 22:20).

After all, if the standards of tolerance are not exceeded by a holy book that commands its followers to kill polytheists, idolaters or homosexuals, or by an ideology that considers a man who chopped the heads off 600 Jews in one day to be the perfect man, then Nazism is clearly within acceptable bounds. Hitler’s plan merely called for the subjugation of Eastern Europe; Muhammad’s plan calls for the subjugation of the entire planet.

In any case, we cannot blame all Nazis for the actions of a few of their kind. To assume that all Nazis are violent just because many of them are is a form of prejudice and bigotry. Not all Nazis should be tarred with the brush of a violent few, and consideration should be given to the economic circumstances of Nazis before judgment is applied.

People argue that a repeat of a tragedy the size of World War II should be avoided at all costs, but it’s telling that people have to go back over 70 years to find an example of mass-scale Nazi violence. If anything, the fact that there has been no meaningful terrorist action in support of Nazism since 1945 is proof that Nazism has evolved from the barbarism that it’s often portrayed as in mass media.

Not all Nazis are violent. If they were, we’d all be dead by now.

It also has to be considered that some children are born into Nazi families and can’t simply give up the ideology because the rest of us tell them to. Many of these young people already feel like the world is against them, and overt expressions of Naziphobia will only make them less amenable to gentle persuasion.

Some middle-class people who don’t like Nazis ought to challenge themselves for any inner signs of class prejudice. Maybe they don’t really hate Nazis but really just hate working class people, and because working-class people are the most disaffected by the current political arrangement and therefore the most likely to see the appeal in Nazism, are the most likely to become Nazis. Therefore, Nazism is associated with the working class, which explains why so many people are prejudiced against Nazis.

As part of the efforts that need to be made to overcome institutional prejudice against Nazis and children of Nazi families, there is a need for more compassionate portrayals of Nazis in popular culture. The Government ought to fund media that stars Nazi characters and which portrays them as educated, competent and moral people. Perhaps it is even necessary to mandate that a certain percentage of television time be granted to Nazi characters.

Despite this show of compassion, we ought to help people to leave the ideology where possible. There was been success in funding community support groups for anyone willing to leave fundamentalist Abrahamic cults, and the same might be true of Nazism. Nazism is not as rough as Islam, since many Muslim countries still uphold the death penalty for apostasy, but there could still be value in wavering Nazis finding cameraderie in people who have turned their backs on what is really a hate ideology.

Ultimately, the olive branch must be held out to Nazis of all kinds. After all, the more aggressively we display contempt for Nazis, the more that individuals from Nazi families are likely to see us as the enemy and to dig their heels in. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Therefore, treat Nazis as you would wish to be treated yourselves. Part of this involves maintaining solidarity with Nazis and taking action against those who are prejudiced against Nazis. Anyone who insults Nazism or Nazis should be made aware, in no uncertain terms, that they are a bigot and that their prejudice has no place in a world of ideological diversity.

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

For the House-Buying Power of 26 Years Ago, The Average Kiwi Wage Would Have to Be $79.25/hr Today

“Remember back in 1992, when you used to be able to just… work and buy a house to raise a family in?”

Housing is commonly left out of inflation measures, which is why low inflation rates are always reported. Unfortunately for Kiwis, the reality is that housing costs make up a large and ever-growing proportion of our expenses. This study will show that the average house-buying power of the average Kiwi worker is less than 40% of what it was 26 years ago.

The average house price in New Zealand on the 31st of January 1992 was $105,000, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures. This is as far back as figures go – 26 years. The average wage in New Zealand was $14.72 in the first quarter of 1992, according to Trading Economics. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, this works out to an average weekly wage of $588.80.

If a person saved 50% of their average wage in 1992, they would save $294.40 a week, which would be $15,351 per year. This would allow that person to buy the average New Zealand house after 6.84 years. So a person who completed university at the end of 1991, at age 21, and got a job at the average wage with their Bachelor’s degree, could expect to own an average house, mortgage-free, before age 30.

Saving half of one’s income is some feat, however, especially if one also has to pay rent or a mortgage. Saving 25% of the average wage, a more attainable proportion, would see a person in 1992 save $147.20 a week. This would be $7675 per year, which makes the average house attainable after 13.68 years.

Still, that means that in 1992, anyone who was willing and able to work at the average wage could own their own house outright within 13.68 years if they could only save a quarter of their income. This means by age 35 if they graduated from university at age 21 and saved a quarter of their income after then. Easy times.

In 2018, things are very different. The average wage has now gone up to $31.08 by the second quarter of 2018, but the average house price has jumped to $560,000 in those 26 years.

Using the example above, a person who qualified from university at the end of 2017 at age 21, and who immediately got a job at the average wage, would earn $1,243.20 per week. 25% of this is $310.80, which works out to $16,206 per year. Because the average house price is now $560,000 in New Zealand, that means that the average Kiwi worker now has to work for 34.56 years before they can expect to own their own house outright.

This means that the average Kiwi in 2018, even if they graduated at age 21 straight into an average wage and saved 25% of their income perpetually, still couldn’t afford to own the average house freehold until age 55, whereas such a thing was attainable 26 years ago by age 35. The middle-class dream is now dead in New Zealand. Kiwis are now tenants in what used to be our own country, enslaved by capital.

Another way of looking at this grim equation is that the average wage in 2018 has a mere 39.6% of the average-house-buying power that the average wage had in 1992. Even a person who managed to save 50% of the average wage from age 21 – a frankly incredible feat in today’s economy – couldn’t own the average house until age 39.

To correct this imbalance, the average wage would have to rise 155%, from $31.08 to $79.25. This is the cold, hard maths of our situation: the average wage would have to be almost $80 to give the average Kiwi worker the same chance of owning the average home as in 1992.

Note that an average wage of $79.25 an hour would represent no change in wealth from 1992. Even with an average wage that high, we would still have no more average-house-buying power than the average wage did in 1992. All of the benefits of the last 26 years of technological and logistical advances would go to their creators and the capital that financed them.

$79.25 is what the average Kiwi worker would have to make per hour today, in order to have the same average-house-buying power as they would have had in 1992. If the average worker got a share of that, the average wage would be over $100 per hour.

Note also that it’s much harder to get a job paying the average wage at age 21 now, compared to 1992. A Bachelor’s degree is no longer the mark of excellence that it was in the mid 1990s – now one needs a Master’s degree to be at that level, which means two more years of no earnings and borrowed money. Moreover, the open borders of neoliberalism mean that you now have to compete with half of the planet just to get that one job.

Note thirdly that $560,000 is the average New Zealand price and is no way representative of Auckland or even Christchurch or Wellington. If you want to buy an average house in a relatively major centre you will be looking at paying even more than $560,000.

In summary, the Baby Boomers of New Zealand have subjected Generation X and the Millenials to what can only be described as intergenerational rape.

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

Writing Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) is a condition characterised by an extreme emotional dependence on other people. It’s usually a long=term condition that makes it much harder to live an ordinary life, and is slightly more common among women and young adults. This article looks at how to accurately write about characters with Dependent Personality Disorder.

People who have DPD have extreme difficulty making decisions on their own on account of their dependence on other people. They tend to lack the self-confidence to back their own instincts and their own decision making. They are rarely certain that they have made a good decision, unless someone else gives it their approval. This approval they constantly seek, and they constantly act to avoid disapproval.

DPD is a Cluster C Personality Disorder, which means that fear and anxiety are ever-present features of it. In this case, the fear and anxiety primarily relates to making wrong decisions. For whatever reason, people with DPD don’t learn that no-one on this planet really knows what they’re doing and that their decisions are usually as good as anyone else’s. Dependent personalities have a strong desire to have someone else give the “stamp of approval” to their behaviours and actions.

If the protagonist of your story encounters a character with DPD, they might perceive that second character as childish, even infantile. Many of their mannerisms will be the same as young children who are yet to learn the boundaries of social behaviour. A common example is when they make a joke but become afraid that it was a social error until someone else laughs, at which point they do too.

This can be frustrating if the protagonist has to get the character with DPD to take adult responsibilities and to be independent. The condition is especially challenging since the harder someone pressures a person with DPD to take responsibility, the more anxious they will become, and consequently the more dependent. The protagonist will have to know patience to succeed, and if they don’t know if they have to learn.

Your protagonist might be resented by a DPD character if that character feels the protagonist is not approving enough. It’s common for people to think disparagingly of someone with DPD because they see dependency as weak and craven. This timidity can breed resentment, so that a character with DPD might easily feel themselves slighted and wish to take revenge. Passive-aggressive behaviour is a common feature.

A protagonist who has DPD themselves probably lives a life of extreme anxiety. Because so many decisions are made in everyday life, a protagonist with DPD will almost certainly have a lot of difficulty living one. They will have great difficulty getting projects or activities started, because they are too dependent on what other people think to take the initiative themselves.

This is especially the case when a person with DPD has to be examined by an authority figure. If a protagonist with DPD has to, for example, sit a driver’s licence test, it’s common for them to work themselves into a state of panic beforehand, thinking about the possibility of making a mistake and earning the instructor’s disapproval. Passing through international customs is also a great trial. Both of these situations induce far more anxiety in someone with DPD than in a person without the condition.

If your protagonist has this condition, they might find it extremely difficult to ask for their rights if they are being taken advantage of. A character with DPD might be so afraid of disapproval from their boss that they don’t seek to enforce their rights, and standing up to one’s parents is out of the question (unless one is really pushed too far). They might also take measures to ensure that they are never alone, because this requires that one think for oneself.

People with this condition tend to be highly motivated to seek out and maintain relationships with people they consider protectors or caregivers. A protagonist who is acting along these lines might find that pledging their allegiance to a leader of some kind alleviates much of their anxiety about not making correct decisions, for good or for ill.

DPD patients usually have a perception of themselves as powerless or incapable of anything, which might betray a life story of having been treated in that manner by authority figures. Mirroring this is a perception of other people as all-powerful and infinitely capable. This is not simply the same as low self-esteem, because DPD doesn’t tend to come with the bitterness and resentment that characterises a poor self-image.

As with many of the conditions in this book, there is believed to be a considerable link between early childhood abuse or neglect and later development of DPD. In particular, it is thought that parenting styles with too much overprotectiveness or authoritarianism correlate with having the condition. Overprotective parents might prevent a child from exposing themselves to danger and therefore from learning that they are capable of overcoming it, whereas authoritarians might create a sense of learned helplessness.

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

The Four Ways to Become Enslaved

Chains can be physical, mental, or spiritual

There are many different ways that a person can become enslaved to the will of another or to a group of others. Although people usually associate the term ‘slavery’ with the chattel slavery of the American South, there are as many different kinds of slavery in the human world as there are ways of exploitation in the natural world. This essay describes four distinct ways of being enslaved that accord with the four masculine elements.

The four ways to enslave are, effectively, the four different ways of introducing artificial scarcity. Only when a state of artificial scarcity has been induced will another person surrender themselves to the will of another. There are effectively four ways of doing so: two physical, two non-physical.

The most basic way of asserting dominance over another of your own kind can be observed in other mammals, especially other primates, when they fight over their food supply. To enslave another person in this sense is to deny them the peace and solitude to gather food from nature. The alpha primate will not allow any others to eat until he himself is satisfied. Disobedience is punished with violence.

To be enslaved in this manner is to wear chains of clay. This is because a lack of food is the most natural and immediate survival problem that faces life forms such as mammals, primates or humans. To not be able to eat when one needs to nourish oneself is slavery, because hunger will cause one to grow weak.

Chains of iron are what most people think when they hear the term ‘slavery’. This refers to iron manicles and shackles that prevent or hinder movement when fastened around a person’s wrists or ankles. It’s extremely rare to see a person enslaved by chains of iron nowadays, but it’s still common to see people who are more or less enslaved in the same way as a person wearing irons – i.e. by an artificial scarcity of security in that person.

What chains of iron refers to on a metaphysical level is control of another person’s physical safety, and their ability to remain free from wounding and physical harm. This is effectively how criminal gangs establish a presence in a neighbourhood – business owners are guaranteed physical security for them and for their business, but only if those business owners agree to pay for the “service”.

Chains of silver are frequently used metaphorically, usually to denote a person who has been enslaved by wealth. A person who has allowed themselves to become controlled by the physical objects and possessions they have hoarded could indeed be said to be enslaved by chains of silver, but there’s more to it than just that. Metaphysically, chains of silver refers to all tricks of the mind, which is all lesser magic.

In other words, chains of silver refer to an artificial scarcity of knowledge, in particular knowledge relating to the physical world. A person who has thousands of dollars in credit card debt that they can never clear, so that the bank regularly takes a hundred dollars in interest charges every month, just because they bought some crap they saw on television, could be said to wear chains of silver. In this case the term refers to the financial literacy needed to avoid debt traps like credit cards.

Likewise, a person trapped in a political ideology could be said to wear chains of silver. If a person’s social circle all think in a certain way, and their media organs all speak in the same way, and their courts and Police enforce it, a person might forget that there’s any other way of thinking. Many English speakers are subjected to so much capitalist propaganda that they are astonished, travelling overseas, to see other avenues of solidarity.

Very few people are enslaved by chains of clay and iron nowadays, and although most of us wear chains of silver to some extent, they are seldom a heavy burden.

However, the vast majority of people are enslaved by chains of gold, and many of those are so enfeebled by these gossamer bonds that the other forms of enslavement become virtually inevitable. A person enslaved by chains of gold is someone who is not aware of the fact that consciousness is the prima materia, and who consequently believes that the death of their brain means the extermination of their consciousness.

Chains of gold, therefore, refer to an absence of spiritual knowledge. It is the birthright of all humans to be made aware of the true nature of the relationship between consciousness and the physical world, and therefore anyone who does not possess that knowledge has been enslaved by chains of gold. This is something that has purposefully been done to enslave us by way of destroying our natural spiritual traditions, for example by prohibiting entheogen use.

Gold is the softest of all metals, and fittingly, chains of gold are also the weakest. This does not mean that they are the easiest to break. In fact, the opposite is true. These chains of gold are the trickiest of all, and not just because they are invisible. Those who wear them cannot conceive of them, by any sense. A person enslaved by chains of gold cannot be induced to believe in God.

A person enslaved by chains of gold will not believe in God, and consequently they will not believe in chains of gold. No-one enslaved by chains of gold is aware of it; as soon as a person becomes aware of chains of gold they are broken.

It could be argued that a person can only be enslaved with baser elements if they are first tricked into wearing chains of gold. For instance, a spiritual person might be better able to resist the temptation of loaning some money to satisfy a short-term urge. They might also be unafraid of death, and therefore willing to choose death before submitting to chains of iron.

Alchemically speaking, these are the four ways that a person can be enslaved. Although chains made of the baser forms of clay and iron are rare in the modern world, it’s important to remember their historical role, because a return to them is possible if we get weighed down enough by chains of silver and gold.

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