The obvious smartarse answer is “It never had legitimacy”, but this merely ducks the question. The question of when a democracy can lose enough of the perception of legitimacy that it stops working, not by being usurped by authoritarians but from the populace simply not caring about it enough, is worth exploring.
The logic goes something like this. It’s reasonable to assume that if no-one voted at all, not even the politicians themselves, then no-one would care about democracy. So there is a clear limit case as votes approach zero.
If everyone votes (or at least everyone eligible), then it stands to reason that democracy has the biggest possible buy-in. Probably in a culture where 100% of the population votes there would have to be an exceptionally unusual degree of philodemos – a degree never seen in practice.
If a hypothetical democracy starts with 100% participation and this falls over time towards 0%, at some point along the line representing that descent the democracy will fail.
But where exactly?
The most recent American presidential election does not have an official turnout rate yet, but BetFair appears to be sure that it will be somewhere around 58%. This is low by the standards of Western democracies – but there appears to be no way to tell how much of this is due to disenfranchisement and how much is due to people seeing through the system and protesting by not voting.
This already highlights a problem with democracy – bombs dropped by American forces do not do 58% damage, and sentences for non-violent drug offences are not 58% as long as they would otherwise be. No matter how much the population wants democracy, they will get it good and hard.
Not even 58% buy-in is necessary in any case. Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP won the 1933 German Federal Election with under 44% of the vote, and this was enough to get rid of the Communists and pass the Enabling Act which paved the way to total fascism.
You could even argue that – if you take the example of the United States in its infancy, where only white male landowners could vote – even with support for democracy in single digits, it can still function as long as all other possible organisational approaches are prevented from taking form.
The tricky thing is that this line of reasoning exposes the truth at the bottom of the political system: the plebs were never in charge and any impression given to that end is simply a useful illusion.
Ultimately it’s whoever controls the loyalty of the Police that is in charge, because then anyone who disagrees that they’re in charge can be taken by the Police and put in a cage (replace Police with Army in many non-Western countries). This was all that Hitler needed to ensure to take power in Germany.
One has to then ask, if the ruling classes just took all the ballots and dumped them in the ocean, invented some election results that both sounded plausible and ensured the interests of said classes were protected, and then divvied up the remaining jobs among themselves, how much wiser would we all be?
Because the ruling classes doing so wouldn’t even be much different from the way the con is already played.
We can take heart that not all New Zealanders have fallen for the ruse – 63% of the electorate did not vote for a politician in last week’s Mt. Roskill by-election, which means that 63% of potential suckers did not give their power away to a shyster by consenting to the democratic charade.
Indeed, Dr. Richard Goode of Not A Party successfully claimed victory in attracting the non-vote, declaring himself Not A Member of Parliament for Mt. Roskill. This obligates him to not attend Parliament, which means that he is not responsible for levying taxes to spend on flag referendums, and nor is he responsible for putting non-violent drug users in cages by setting the Police on them.
I think we can all agree that this is a better deal than what we are getting from our current crop of MPs.
Faith in democracy will, however, have to get much lower before philosopher-kings such as Dr. Goode can be returned to their true position in society.
Million of lines will be written about John Key’s shock resignation today, and most of them will be about the impact of this event on business and politics. For New Zealand’s 400,000 cannabis users, most of whom are already disadvantaged, the concern is more whether Key’s resignation will herald a shift to a sane and humane drug policy in New Zealand.
The National Party neglected its duty of care to the youth of New Zealand. Although the Baby Boomers generally cashed in royally on the booming house prices, the youth of New Zealand found themselves paying for those same increases in their rent and bigger debts.
For those young and poor, the Key era was more like an inquisition. Funding for rape crisis centres was slashed, cannabis prohibition was enforced as aggressively as ever, and access to financial help was restricted, mostly to pay for tax cuts for wealthy old people.
In fact, it could be argued – if somewhat cynically – that the purpose of National Party policy, especially on the drug front, is to destroy the young for the sake of the profits of the rich.
Not only was John Key strongly against even having a discussion about drug law reform, he even appointed the most aggressively anti-drug MP in Parliament, Peter Dunne, to the position of Associate Minister of Health, from where he was able to block all efforts for drug law reform.
John Key didn’t seem to have a problem with Dunne’s hamfisted efforts to ‘fix’ New Zealand’s archaic drug laws. He stood to one side when Dunne opened up the borders to Chinese legal highs of completely unknown origin. Even when reports of mental health casualties poured in from all corners, Key refused to criticise the blundering Dunne.
When Dunne brought in the disastrously flawed Psychoactive Substances Act, John Key voted to make it law, all the while ignoring the cries of thousands of Kiwis who have discovered medicinal benefit in cannabis. New Zealand was 12 years behind California on medicinal cannabis law reform when Key came to power – now we are 20 years behind, and still not a hint of progress.
No doubt the mainstream media will, in coming weeks, join in a chorus of “Rockstar, rockstar!” as they prepare New Zealanders to support globalist forces in the 2017 General Election.
Outside of the mainstream, and away from the arse-licking sycophants who have a corporate platform, Key will be remembered with bitterness for a long time.
Bill English, Key’s anointed replacement as Prime Minister, is also an old dinosaur, but he is known for being something of a pragmatist. In any case, chances of any meaningful change before the 2017 Election is extremely unlikely.
The best one can realistically hope for is that, with the resignation of a man who was like Torquemada to medicinal cannabis users, the country can finally have the long-suppressed rational conversation about drug law reform.
Once that happens, it’s simply a matter of time until the collective realisation dawns that cannabis prohibition must be repealed.
If a paranoid person earns themselves the title “conspiracy theorist” by seeing connections where they do not exist, then a coincidence theorist is someone who does not see connections where they really do exist. There are various reasons why patterns are not seen: stupidity, naivety, or simple lack of data are some.
The subject is discussed at length in Ben Vidgen’s State Secrets, in which he notes the contrast between the scientific approach which is concerned with truth, and the political approach taken by the political classes and the corporate media, who “try to lull the public into believing that things happen by accident – the so called ‘coincidence theory’.”
It promulgates a state of mind akin to actually being a sheep, which is perhaps why it is so common in New Zealand. As George Carlin said, “Think of how dumb the average person is. Well, half of them are even dumber than that.”
However, it is the average intellect who, by the sheer weight of their numbers, sets the public discourse in this country. They are the ones who buy the products advertised in the gaps of the mainstream media.
But if the public is too thick to join the dots then the mainstream media will not discuss the subject with them. There is no obligation to enlighten, to illuminate or to elucidate: short-term profit is the only prerogative.
The mainstream media is McDonalds, soccer, Hollywood – it is the lowest common denominator of culture. This lowest common denominator serves as a gatekeeper that excludes all subjects too complicated for the plebian hordes. Thus, any intelligent discussion of issues is naturally driven underground.
Above is an example of the kind of mindless drivel the mainstream media promotes – this from the 7th most popular website in New Zealand cyberspace.
Vidgen in State Secrets notes that a belief in coincidence theory is “a bit like thumbsucking. It is non-threatening, it doesn’t require any thinking or stressing out…”
It’s hardly surprising, then, that the mainstream media has, by 2016, completely abandoned any pretensions it may once have had to investigative journalism. Apart from one notable Kim Hill interview of Anne Tolley, they seem to have given a free pass to the establishment pedophile rings who have been revealed in Britain and America.
Perhaps a belief in coincidence theory is the natural thing for people who still have a childish and naive approach to life? After all, it takes a particularly cynical and adult mindset to properly grasp the volume of malicious lies spewed out by the political class and their tools in the mainstream media – not all have the grit for it.
For decades, dumb people have been able to shut down intelligent points by saying “Hurr, durr, conspiracy theory.”
Perhaps this needs to be turned on its head. We need smart people being able to shut down stupid points by saying “coincidence theory.”
The Establishment is wheeling out all manner of propagandists in their last-ditch efforts to continue the War on Drugs, and after booze-sozzled losers like Mike Hosking and Paul Henry have had their say, the barrel is truly being scraped.
The latest pisshead Baby Boomer to do a King Knut impression is Karl du Fresne. His attempt to defend the indefensible is called “It’s the underbelly of society that lives with with drugs’ consequences.”
As you will see, only someone whose brain has been damaged by alcohol could write a piece of drivel like this.
The only one sentence that makes sense in the whole piece is the first one: “My generation has a lot to answer for.” Du Fresne was born in 1950, and thus is part of the generation responsible for the War on Drugs. Not for drugs, nor for drug use, but for the War on Drugs.
His entire article gets this simple truth arse about face.
“Drugs were one way of rebelling against a society they found dull and stifling.” Du Fresne accidentally makes an ironic point here – the generation of people who are young in 2016 take drugs specifically because the mainstream cultural narrative of New Zealand is set by people like Karl du Fresne.
“Many of the people whose jobs disappeared in the 1980s sought escape in cannabis, glue and later, methamphetamine.” Many people did, after all, there were a lot of them. But none of the cannabis users came to the attention of the coroner – unlike the heroin users, which du Fresne neglects to mention (perhaps severe long-term alcohol abuse has damaged his long-term memory?).
Nor the pissheads, who will never get mentioned. The vast majority of people who became substance abusers on account of the economic policies of the 1980s became alcoholics. In terms of actual damage done, alcohol outstrips cannabis by 1,000 to 1. But du Fresne, like most alcoholics, sees the bottle as his little darling, never to be questioned, never to be sullied, above all criticism or blame.
“…it was the middle class that introduced society to the mind-expanding delights of drugs, but it’s mainly the underbelly of society that has had to live with the consequences.” With typical pisshead logic, du Fresne here blames the damage wrought by the War on Drugs on the drug users themselves. The middle-class hasn’t been as damaged by drugs because they haven’t been attacked by the Police or the Justice system to anywhere near the same degree as the working classes have.
It’s been known since du Fresne’s time that if a Police officer finds cannabis on a white middle-class person who speaks with a University accent chances are he’ll let them go with a warning, but if it’s a Maori or poor white person they get the hammer. So the “consequences of drugs” he talks about are the consequences of the Drug War, and nothing else.
Du Fresne’s delusional attitude to alcohol (the sure sign of an addict) shines through when he accuses the Drug Foundation, which presents factual research about the effects of drugs, of taking a “shrill line against alcohol”.
Never forget: to every pisshead, speaking the truth about the effect of alcohol is an unreasonable thing to do.
“But while there are valid arguments for decriminalisation of cannabis, and especially for its medicinal use, the reformers can’t ignore the baneful effects of drug use.” Why the fuck would any cannabis law reformer care about the baneful effects of methamphetamine, heroin, legal high, nicotine etc. use? None of those drugs have anything to do with cannabis whatsoever, so why are they lumped in the same category? And alcohol left out? It makes no sense at all.
“Neither can they ignore the risk that liberalising the cannabis laws will send the dangerous message that drugs are OK. They may be okay if you’ve got a university degree and live in a good suburb, but they’re not so liberating if you’re a hungry kid living in a freezing state house where any surplus money goes on P rather than food or heating.” Yes, that sentence really was that stupid. Du Fresne essentially argues here that cannabis law reform is bad because some poor people spend money on P. It makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever.
“A good starting point for the debate might be a more honesty.” An honest conversation about the damage done to New Zealanders by drugs would start with one word.
Why is this not mentioned?
The answer is this: Karl du Fresne is a complete and utter fucking whore, and the alcohol companies that advertise in Fairfax media are his pimps (he has many pimps, reflecting his total lack of shame). He propagandises for putting medicinal cannabis users in cages by using rhetoric that would be illegal if it was applied to Maori or gay people. All the while knocking back gallons of the drug that does more damage to New Zealand society than all others combined.
We don’t need boozeroos setting the cultural agenda for young people in this country any more. New Zealand needs to give a voice to the stoners and trippers among the young, and put Karl du Fresne, and his entire worthless generation of drug warriors and out-of-touch geriatrics, out to pasture.