VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future X

This reading carries on from here.

The ninth chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Personal Responsibility’. Seymour opens here with a stark claim that ACT doesn’t believe in the nanny state or in a paternalistic government. Many of our laws are holdouts from an age of Victorian values, he states, and they are enforced by politicians who transparently do not have a deeper grasp on morality than anyone else.

Breaking rank with the other Parliamentarians, Seymour is willing to admit here that cannabis does less harm than alcohol and tobacco (although he points out that cannabis is not without its own harms). He also echoes a point often made by Kiwi cannabis law reform activists (such as here), that the burden of Police enforcement of cannabis prohibition falls mostly on Maori.

Seymour cites a Treasury study that estimated that cannabis prohibition costs the country $300,000,000 annually, as well as tying up 600,000 hours of Police time. Worst of all, the supposed criminal deterrence doesn’t even work – the overwhelming majority of people convicted for cannabis offences go on to use it. Moreover, the law is applied in a haphazard manner, as can be seen by the 26-month sentence initially handed down to Kelly van Gaalen.

In a distinct break from the right-wing that ACT is usually associated with, Seymour repudiates the moralising that is chiefly responsible for cannabis prohibition, pointing out that not only is there a heavy majority in favour of cannabis law reform, but that majority is steadily growing. This contrasts with the proportion of people who oppose actual crimes, such as murder – this proportion remains constant.

True to the libertarian image that Seymour is trying to stake out, he argues for legal recreational cannabis as well. However, true to the conservative streak that binds his party to National, he is torn, claiming that 80% of the New Zealand public opposes recreational cannabis. He does not cite a source here, and neither does he note that such opposition would be unusual in the context of places like Colorado and California voting by referendum to legalise medicinal cannabis.

Seymour takes pains to seat himself as immovably as possible, right in the middle of the fence. He is open to the possibility that countries that legalise cannabis might “lose their morality” and “become cesspits of unmotivated human squalor” (as if alcohol was not well capable of achieving both), and wants to have a Royal Commission that takes five years before he will consider that we have satisfactory evidence to make a decision.

He rightly pillories the Government for its sharp increase in the tobacco tax, pointing out that the people most sharply affected by this are those who can least afford it. Worst of all, it seems that raising the tax further will not help persuade people to give up smoking. Those who are still addicted are so addicted that they will do almost anything to get hold of tobacco. Sensibly, Seymour would legalise vaping and e-cigarettes.

Euthanasia is another thing that Seymour would legalise, promising an end to “morality-based harassment”. His reason for promoting this is to avoid the indignity of the last weeks of life. Having nursed elderly grandparents to the end of a terminal illness, I can commiserate with him in this regard. He is also in favour of abortion, which makes him less hypocritical than the old right. Seymour doesn’t want to pay for your kid either, but he’s happy to help you get it aborted.

It’s hard to find fault with any of Seymour’s proposals in this chapter. Even if the only right he champions with conviction is the right to die, it’s an excellent thing that these libertarian proposals are even being suggested. It is interesting to note how similar ACT is with the Greens on issues such as cannabis, especially if it is considered that being young is highly correlated with both voting ACT and Green.

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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).

The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis Is An Alternative to Booze

Alcohol is great fun – but it also has its downsides. Severe downsides. Violence, sexually transmitted diseases, mental disorder and verbal abuse: when the booze goes in, it all comes out. This essay will argue that the downsides of alcohol are severe enough that we ought to be permitted a recreational alternative in the form of cannabis.

The downsides to widespread alcohol use are considerable. The New Zealand Police Manager’s Guild Trust states that “alcohol is present in about 30 percent of family violence incidents they attend,” and according to the study The Burden of Death, Disease and Disability due to Alcohol in New Zealand, 3.9% of all deaths in New Zealand can be attributed to alcohol.

Any Police officer, emergency nurse, heart surgeon, barman, oncologist or taxi driver could give you supporting evidence. We are doing tremendous damage to ourselves on a daily basis through widespread consumption of a drug that has a number of highly toxic side-effects. The bashings, the rapes, the bodies wrecked in traffic accidents represent a great deal of human suffering – and we’re not given a recreational alternative.

Alcohol brings a great deal of joy, of course, which is why it should not be banned. The anti-depressant effects of being able to have a good time with friends is incalculable, even if one can measure the physical damage in dollars. Ultimately, we cannot say that any action that causes us to enjoy life without harming anyone else is immoral, and most alcohol use falls into that category.

However, much of it doesn’t. For those of us who do not wish to participate in the weekly debauchery, violence and chlamydia-fest that is the New Zealand alcohol culture, there should be a recreational alternative.

In Amsterdam, where recreational cannabis is effectively legal and sold openly from “coffee shops”, we can get a glimpse of what a cannabis-based recreational alternative to alcohol might look like. On the Rembrantplein on any sunny day, one can see a park full of people peacefully smoking cannabis, with no violence or disorder. This is not just because Dutch people are well-behaved (because Dutch people chimp out on booze much like anyone else) – it is more that non-violence goes hand-in-hand with cannabis use.

The fact is that cannabis is a relaxant and a pacifier, and it tends to make people more quiet rather than boisterous. So one of the best things about repealing cannabis prohibition is that it would give people a recreational alternative to alcohol. This means that anyone wanting to relax and unwind on the weekend wouldn’t be forced to partake in the culture of a drug that was associated with violence.

Indeed, it can be observed that rates of sex and violence crimes decrease in the wake of cannabis legalisation. This has been observed in the American states that legalised recreational cannabis since Colorado was the first in 2014. The obvious explanation for this is the vastly different effects that cannabis has on human behaviour compared to alcohol.

This is of utmost importance to those who are not compatible with alcohol, for whatever reasons. Many people know that they are not well-suited to drinking alcohol, because they tend to end up in trouble with the Police. When fully sober, many people can tell you that if they start drinking they will start fighting. But there’s no recreational alternative.

Legal cannabis would allow people to have options when it came to unwinding and having a good time. If they didn’t want to get messy they would be able to simply go to a cannabis cafe, and get blazed and talk some shit without the risk of violence.

Of course, the fact that cannabis is an alternative to booze is one reason why it’s suppressed. It has been demonstrated previously that political parties are soaked in donations from the alcohol industry, and that the purpose of those donations is to incentivise the politicians to vote against cannabis law reform. In other words, alternatives to booze mean lower profits for the booze industry.

This shouldn’t prevent the correct actions from being taken. Ultimately, the best option is to legalise cannabis so that there is a recreational alternative to alcohol. Those who are compatible with alcohol can drink alcohol, and those who are not have the option of using cannabis to unwind. This is much fairer and safer method of dealing with people’s recreational needs than by forcing them all to drink booze.

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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.

Te Reo With Mnemonics: Parts of Language Words

Word – kupu

An old woman walks up to a box and says “Eh, you words shouldn’t be cooped up in that box.” She opens the box and hundreds of words come out.

Sentence, Saying – rerenga kōrero

A woman reads from a piece of paper: “Rare anger, core ear? This sentence doesn’t make any sense!” The man next to her, who has apple cores for ears, gets angry. It’s a rare anger, core-ear.

Paragraph – kōwae

A boy is writing on a piece of paper, and a second boy reads the paper, and says “Paragraph, paragraph, paragraph.” The first boy says “Go away”.

Consonant – orokati

Two canoes are racing. One is covered in consonants and the other is covered in vowels. One of the rowers in the consonant canoe is a cat, and his partner says “Oh, row, catty!”

Vowel – oropuare

Two canoes are racing. One is covered in consonants and the other is covered in vowels. One of the rowers in the vowel canoe is a very wealthy-looking man, and he says to his partner “Oh, row, Poorer!”

Language – reo

A man says to a cat “Hey, do you speak human language?” The cat replies “Rrreoo!”

The Maori word for ‘lower-case’ – pūriki – shares a p-r-k construction with the English word ‘pork’

to spell – tātaki kupu

On a tarry road covered in tacks, there is a chicken coop. It is the tar-tacky coop. In it, the chickens are busy spelling out words.

to define, Definition – tautuhi

A schoolteacher asks a boy “Can you define the word for the class?” The boy says “Totally!”

Letter (lower case) – pūriki

A lower-case letter is being filmed doing a cooking show. It adds some meat into a frypan and say “This is the case of pork.”

Letter (upper case) – pūmatua

A bunch of upper-case letters are spectating a boxing photo shoot. The bout is between an Argentinan rugby player (a Puma) and David Tua. In upper-case letters above the shoot spell out: “P U M A – T U A

Alphabet – arapū

A man says “Hey I composed a rap. It’s about the alphabet.” The man raps off A-B-C.

Phrase – rerenga kupu

Two men watch a chicken coop in which the chickens are angry and fighting. One says “That’s a rare anger coop.” The other says “You know the phrase: it’s a cold winter when you have a rare anger coop.”

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The above is an excerpt from the upcoming Learn Maori Vocabulary With Mnemonics, by Jeff Ngatai, due to be published by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Harms Respect for the Law and for the Police

“Fuck the Police, comin’ straight from the underground,” go the lyrics. Many young Westerners can commiserate with the sentiment that the Police are not there to protect and serve them, but rather to harass and abuse them. But why should it be this way? This article examines the corrosive effect that cannabis prohibition has had on respect for the law and for the Police.

In the Netherlands, the occupation of Police officer doesn’t carry anywhere near the same stigma that it does among cannabis users in other Western countries. Not enforcing cannabis prohibition against the will of the people means that Police officers are seen as allies with a shared interest in the peaceful functioning of the community. Dutch people are not afraid to approach Police officers to ask for help or directions.

In other Western countries, by contrast, many young people see the Police as the enemy. It’s hard to have sympathy for someone “just doing their jobs” when doing their job involves conducting a war against their own people on behalf of their paymasters in the Government. Actions taken by Police officers in arresting people for using cannabis, such as the ones described here and here, are acts of evil in the eyes of most people, and certainly so in the eyes of cannabis users.

The first thought of many people, when they get high for the first time, is to immediately realise that they have been lied to about cannabis. It is not a substance that causes psychosis, but the contrary: it’s a medicine that removes it (although it arguably causes psychosis in non-users). Cannabis users gain the ability to go over previous traumatic memories and view them with new, happier eyes. In other words, it’s a healing herb.

This means that the Police are happy to carry out the task of imprisoning people for using a medicine, and for no other reason than that they were told to by their paymasters in Government. This is inherently disreputable conduct. Standing in the way of any sick person accessing their medicine is an act of evil, and if the Police willingly do this for money then it’s inevitable that the populace come to disrespect them for doing so.

There are knock-on effects of this which form a positive feedback loop. Cannabis prohibition deters decent people from joining the Police, because they know that if they do join they will have to enforce an immoral law against innocent people. So the quality of the average Police officer goes down on account of that the most moral and empathetic individuals disqualify themselves from service.

Another effect of cannabis prohibition is that people come to lose respect for the law. Many people, upon realising that cannabis is medicinal, ask themselves: if the government is willing to pass a law as stupid and counter-productive as the prohibition of cannabis, who’s to say that they put any real amount of honest thought into any of the other laws they passed?

This effect is certainly responsible for much of the hard drug use that people engage in. Many people who use cannabis and realise that the law against it is illegitimate come to think that laws against other drugs must also be illegitimate. This leads to them experimenting with those other drugs out of disdain for the law. When those people discover that the other drugs are much less kind than cannabis, it’s too late.

This process needs not stop there either: it can lead to disrespecting other laws, or even the concept of laws. If the Government is capable of passing a law as blatantly crooked and immoral as cannabis prohibition, why assume that any of their other laws are based on reason and logic?

The major undesirable effect of losing respect for the law is that social cohesion falls. After all, the vast majority of laws exist for good reason: violating them causes human suffering. Murder, rape, theft, assault – all of these cause unnecessary misery to other human beings. Cannabis does not, so if there is a law against that, then the law can’t be based on preventing suffering. It must be based on something else (such as corporate control etc.).

There are a large number of medicinal cannabis users, and they are an ever-growing number. Possibly they will continue to grow for some time yet as the medicinal qualities of cannabis become apparent to more and more people. If the Police continue to attack people for using medicinal cannabis, then the level of respect that average people have for the law and for the Police will continue to fall.

Comprehensive cannabis law reform, so that ordinary people were never persecuted for using or cultivating cannabis, is necessary so that the Police and the law can regain the respect of the public.

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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.

Why Science, Correctly Performed, Will Lead To A Belief In God

Nobel Physics Prize laureate Werner Heisenberg once said “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Something that Heisenberg understood, but which most lesser scientists do not, is that a belief in God will arise from doing science correctly. As this essay will examine, atheism is not necessarily the correct attitude to take into the natural sciences.

The scientific method begins with determining what we know for sure, and from there reaching out to what else can be stated with some degree of certainty. For instance, if a particular chemical reaction has transpired in a particular way a hundred times, we can predict with a high level of certainty that it will transpire that way one more time. From there, we can make alterations to our methodology in order to learn more.

What do we know for sure?

As it turns out, there is only one thing that a person can know 100% for sure: that they are conscious. Everything else is necessarily a matter of faith. Every belief, apart from the belief that one is conscious, is a matter of faith, because it is a statement about the material world.

All phenomena within the material world are known to be transitory, and therefore they contain an element of chaos that precludes total understanding of them. One might declare with certitude that “The Sun will rise tomorrow,” but even this is an article of faith – the Earth could be struck overnight by a gigantic comet that reduced the planet to cosmic rubble, thereby proving one wrong.

Although one might be 99.9999% sure about such predictions, one can never truly be certain, in the way that one can be certain that one is conscious. No prediction that depended on the permanence of some aspect of the material world could ever be made with 100% certainty – Heisenberg himself expressed this understanding with his Uncertainty Principle. It is certainly possible to predict that things will change (i.e. that you will die), but it is seldom possible to predict precisely when.

If one doesn’t know for sure that the material world exists, but one knows for sure that consciousness exists, then it doesn’t make logical sense to assume that the material world is the basis of reality. Consciousness can easily create the impression of a material world – it does so every night in our dreams. But there is no scientific explanation, no plausible explanation, that can demonstrate how the material world might develop consciousness. All talk of “emergent properties” is merely materialist dogma, special pleading.

Ockham’s Razor tells us that it’s more likely that consciousness dreamed up the material world and Planet Earth, in much the same way that it dreams worlds at night (an explanation that requires one step), than that the material world spawned from nowhere and evolved to be conscious (an explanation that requires hundreds, if not thousands of steps).

Therefore, there is no reason to assume that the death of the physical body ought to affect consciousness. If the material world is simply a set of phenomena that are dreamed up by consciousness, then there is no reason to assume that the death of one’s physical body ought to affect that consciousness. Therefore, there is no reason to assume that consciousness “disappears” or “dies” or even so much as changes form when the physical body dies.

The real question, then, is: of what does one become conscious upon the cessation of the temporal patterns that corresponded to one’s physical body? It isn’t easy to speculate about such things, because it depends on how laws from this world translate to the next. One thing can be said for certain though: of the next world, one will be conscious.

Ockham’s Razor can also be applied to the realm of biology to support the contention that consciousness is the prime materia.

Evolutionary science tells us very clearly that organisms do not evolve unnecessary appendages. None of limbs, organs, or parts of the brain will come into existence unless there is an evolutionary pressure that favours them. This will only be the case if those limbs, organs or parts of the brain (or early forms of them, at least) confer some kind of selective advantage. Without this advantage, there will be no selective pressure in favour of that appendage, and without that pressure it will not come to exist.

Consciousness confers no survival advantage. The human animal does not need to be aware in order to carry out any of its survival functions. All of the thoughts and calculations that the human brain performs over the course of a human life could just as well be made without consciousness. After all, a computer or android could be programmed to scan its physical environment for the sign of predators or food sources. It wouldn’t need to be conscious to do so.

If consciousness confers no survival advantage, then it cannot have been selected for by natural selection (i.e. by biological or material means). If it was not selected for by natural selection then it cannot be biological and attached to, or arising from, any part of the brain. To the contrary – the material world, including the brain, arises from consciousness.

If consciousness can dream up this world, and if it can dream up the fantastic nightscapes of our dreams, then it can dream up an infinitude of other world, realms and dimensions. And indeed it has – the entire rest of the Great Fractal is currently being explored by consciousness, in an infinitude of realms that you cannot even hope to perceive (yet).

Anything within the Great Fractal (i.e. everything that it is possible to perceive) can be dreamed up and explored by consciousness. Consciousness is infinitely creative. Consciousness can find a way to perceive anything that is perceivable. If it’s perceivable, then there’s a path to it through the Great Fractal from where consciousness currently is.

This effectively means that consciousness is omnipotent: after all, it is capable of conjuring anything from all the permutations of what’s possible.

It is often said that belief in God is a question of faith. Indeed it is. There is no possible way to prove that any being apart from oneself is conscious. All other beings could be conscious like you, or they could be programmable meatbags – and you have no way to prove otherwise. If they are conscious, that consciousness cannot be observed or measured. There is no instrument that will detect its presence or absence.

If consciousness is eternal, has the power to create anything possible, and whose presence in others is necessarily a question of faith, then consciousness is therefore God. It fulfills all of the criteria commonly attributed to God by Epicurus and others. This understanding can be arrived at scientifically, by logic, without need for faith.

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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).

Will the Sixth Labour Government be a One-Term Affair?

The Sixth Labour Government has already made one colossal error in its short time in power, and it looks like it’s set up to make another. Considering that their grip on power was already slim, and that they are relying on the infamously treacherous Winston Peters to maintain it, there’s every chance that the Sixth Labour Government ends up being a one-term affair. This essay discusses the possibility.

There are many forces that threaten to tear apart every party in every Parliament, but within the New Zealand Labour Party some gigantic fissures are starting to become particularly prominent. The decision to raise the refugee quota was a slap in the face to the poorer voters within Labour, and can be counted as a colossal error. The other error will be forced by the referendum to legalise cannabis.

Make no mistake – raising the refugee quota was an error of profound magnitude. The reality of the situation is this: European governments have, for a couple of decades now, placed the needs of foreign “asylum seekers” above those of their own working classes, and the consequences of doing so are clear. Doing so will lead to a return of authoritarian populists, as has been shown with the rise of the Sweden Democrats in Sweden, the AfD in Germany and Matteo Salvini in Italy.

If you are a poor New Zealander, then you are probably a natural Labour voter, but it’s extremely galling to see Labour spending the money that could have helped you on refugees instead. Adding insult to injury, these refugees are usually dumped in working class areas because that’s where the cheapest housing is. The cherry on the top is that any working-class person who protests their demotion in favour of foreign chancers will be denounced by Labour supporters as a racist.

The decision to double the refugee quota will drive a thick wedge deeply between the working-class faction of Labour, who are dependent on a limited pool of government largesse for their personal well-being and who resent more people claiming a piece of it, and the champagne socialist faction, whose primary concern is virtue signalling for the sake of social status and advancement.

This is the current rupture. It’s unlikely that a populist worker’s movement will arise merely on the basis of this, but it will cause some Labour voters to switch to New Zealand First in 2020 and some to abstain.

The inevitable future rupture comes with the cannabis referendum that will likely be held near the end of 2019. Labour will not admit this, but the referendum has the potential to tear the Labour Party right down the centre, for demographic reasons. This is not a concern for either the Green, New Zealand First or National Parties, because the demographic equation does not apply in their cases.

Maori voters are massively in favour of cannabis law reform – this is one of the strongest relationships in all of New Zealand politics. The correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 was 0.91. This is much stronger than all of the other well-accepted relationships in New Zealand society, and is immediately apparent if one observes the fact that the ALCP gets twice as many votes in Maori electorates as it does in General ones.

Pacific Islanders, by contrast, are much more lukewarm on the issue. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and voting ALCP in 2017 was -0.00 (i.e. perfectly uncorrelated), much weaker than the correlation between being Maori and voting ALCP. The reason for this is clear if one looks at the general demographic profile of Pacific Islanders: they tend to be religious, and the religious tend to be prejudiced against cannabis.

Therefore, the Labour Party cannot avoid being divided when the cannabis referendum comes around, and they cannot avoid losing a large swathe of voters because someone will inevitably feel betrayed. Either Maori voters will punish them for being too strict on cannabis, or Pacific Islander voters will punish them for being too loose. So Labour is damned if they do campaign for change and damned if they don’t.

These two errors need to be viewed in their correct context. Many political commentators assume (incorrectly) that, because all political parties generally fall on a left-right spectrum, if a given voter doesn’t like the government of the day then they will move leftward or rightward to cast their vote next election.

The truth, as Dan McGlashan demonstrated in Understanding New Zealand, is that for many Kiwis, the alternative to voting Labour is not voting at all. If you are a working-class New Zealander, and therefore a natural Labour voter, the preferred option when Labour is too right-wing is not voting Greens but abstaining from voting.

As the article linked immediately above describes, the correlation between voting for Labour in 2017 and turnout rate in 2017 was a very strong -0.72. That tells us that as many as half of all natural Labour supporters actually don’t vote. The real challenge for the Labour Party is not convincing the masses that National is bad or even that Labour would be better, but convincing them that Labour would be better enough to make it worthwhile to vote for them, and to not rather abstain by way of protest.

The two major errors discussed in this article might collectively have the effect of significantly reducing support for the Labour Party. They have already greatly disappointed their voters who are dependent on social assistance, and the cannabis referendum will force them to either greatly disappoint Maoris (who will then abstain from voting in 2020) or greatly disappoint Pacific Islanders (who will then abstain or switch to National in 2020). This disappointment might be enough to tip the balance back towards National in 2020.

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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).

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Harms Minorities

Cannabis prohibition causes harm across most levels of society, but some bear the brunt more than others. In the Western World, it can be seen that cannabis prohibition has a disproportionately heavy effect on minorities, and there are multiple reasons for this. This article will discuss the need for cannabis law reform from an ethnic rights perspective.

The South African High Court found found in a recent judgment that “the
criminalisation of cannabis […] is certainly characterised by the racist footprints of a disgraceful past.” In other words, the South African authorities are willing to admit that cannabis prohibition was forced on the people of South Africa out of malice.

They found that “it is general knowledge that some sections of the [Black] population have been accustomed for hundreds of years to the use of dagga, both as an intoxicant and in the belief that it has medicinal properties, and do not regard it with the same moral repugnance as do other sections of the population.”

It followed from this that the prohibition of cannabis and the normalisation of alcohol was to put European values first and foremost, and this was mentioned in part of their judgement when they made recreational cannabis legal earlier this year.

Ever since Jamestown – and possibly long before then – European colonialists knew that native peoples had a great susceptibility to alcohol. The American Indians called it ‘firewater’ for the explosively violent behaviour it caused among their kind. Rolling a barrel of rum into an Indian village had a similar effect to rolling a barrel of gunpowder into one.

The science is like this: in Europe, most of the people who could not handle alcohol had been wiped out of the gene pool over thousands of years of exposure. Anyone who chimped out when drunk got killed or put in prison, and thereby failed to reproduce. Consequently, Europeans (much like Middle Easterners) do not lose self-control when drunk at the same rate as peoples who have not had that historical exposure.

The people who conquered the New World did not understand the genetics behind this, but they were well aware of the destabilising effect that alcohol had on native communities. So they passed laws, such as cannabis prohibition, that forbade any alternative to alcohol. This forced the natives away from cannabis and forced them towards drugs that would destroy them.

Laws prohibiting alternatives to alcohol are extremely prejudiced in favour of European people and people of European descent. In terms of the damage it can do to people who don’t have a genetic resistance to it, alcohol is almost a bioweapon, and passing laws that prohibit recreational alternatives to it could rightly be seen as acts of genetic warfare against non-European populations.

In New Zealand, Maori leaders like to talk about economic reparations and the damage done by colonisation. But never do they talk about the damage done to Maoris by cannabis prohibition.

Maoris have no cultural tradition of alcohol drinking. Unlike Europeans, Polynesians have only been exposed to alcohol for a few centuries. This means that they have not had time to evolve a resistance to the substance, and neither have they had time to make alcohol part of their culture. Alcohol is a foreign substance to the New World, and it’s foreign to the natives here.

As anyone with a clue knows, Maoris love cannabis. Not only do you frequently see Maoris smoking weed at parties, but it’s common to see Maoris in the street wearing Bob Marley t-shirts or with the red-yellow-green of reggae culture somewhere in their clothing. Their love of cannabis is unrepentant – in other words, it’s part of the culture.

The reason for this is simple: not only is cannabis great fun, but Maoris are also aware of the destabilising effect that alcohol has on native communities, and have found that their social recreational drug needs can be met just as well by cannabis as by alcohol (in most cases). Given an even playing field, it’s better to smoke cannabis because it leads to much fewer problems, in particular much less violence.

However, although this behaviour is fair, rational and reasonable, it’s prohibited. There are hundreds of Maoris in prison right now for cannabis offences, even though the prohibition of cannabis has nothing to do with their culture and is something that was forced on them by (some) white people.

It follows, then, that anyone who is truly interested in racial justice in the West must also be in favour of cannabis law reform. This will not only give minorities an alternative to alcohol, instead of having alcohol culture forced on them, but it will remove one possible source of discrimination against those minorities by taking the issue away from Police discretion.

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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 Five Acceptances

A previous essay here discussed the Five Rejections of alt-centrism. These are the five core political values held by rival ideologies that are repudiated by alt-centrists. Because alt-centrism is about finding the healthy and correct balance between the fundamental forces of reality, there are also Five Acceptances that mirror these rejections. This essay discusses them.

Alt-centrism accepts from the old right that there needs to be order.

Without order, life is nightmare. Without order we return to the hell of the primeval chaos that existed before civilisation. Nature is indeed red in tooth and claw, and the Great Work of Ages has been to raise us from this chaos through the correct imposition of order. The alt-centre accepts that this work has been done out of good will and that it was necessary.

Order has its own value, because it provides a space in which the mind can think freely. Alt-centrism accepts this. A house can be thought of as a place of order, within the four walls of which people can be free from the elements. The order within our society, likewise, offers free space for people to think and to live.

Alt-centrism accepts from the old left that there needs to be freedom.

Too much order means stagnation. This is not only unacceptable to the human spirit but it also makes us much weaker on account of that the suppressed will resent and fight their suppressors. Order can provide shelter, but it can also be a cage – the alt-centre accepts this.

People have to be free to explore (within good reason) boundaries of sensual and sensual pleasure, of all kinds of music, and of all kinds of consciousness-altering substances. The alt-centre accepts that alternative sexual practices, pornography, drugs and dancing are all legitimate expressions of the human spirit (as long as those participating are doing so consensually). Therefore, the alt-centre accepts that avenues of expression and exploration have to be legal unless there is a very good reason for them not to be.

Alt-centrism accepts from the old centrists that there needs to be a balance between order and chaos.

The alt-centre accepts the need for order, but does not feel obliged to agitate on behalf of more order. The alt-centre accepts the need for chaos, but does not feel obliged to agitate on behalf of more chaos. More precisely, there is a time and place for order and a time and place for chaos, and the alt-centre accepts that flexibility on this question is important for correct decisions to be made.

Major differences arise from the fact that the alt-centre believes that the old centre has struck a cowardly and insipid compromise of values, and that the alt-centre believes that the truly correct balance needs to be struck between other values than the old paradigm suggests. The alt-centrist is more likely to think in terms of materialist vs, non-materialist than in terms of capitalist vs. socialist.

Alt-centrism accepts from the alt-left that inequality is now at unacceptable levels.

The productivity gains of the last 50 years of economic development have not been shared among all social classes. Instead, they have been portioned out according to how much of those gains people have been able to grab by whatever means, whether force or trickery. Labour has never had a lower share of productivity in the West, and capital has never had a greater one. This threatens social cohesion, and needs to be opposed.

The alt-centre agrees that those who derive a financial benefit from the ordering of society need to pay a share of their wealth to ensure that those benefits perpetually arise to the people of the nation. It is accepted that capitalists cannot plunder the world’s natural resources without restraint or censure, because that will lead to there being nothing left for future generations. A balance with nature has to be struck; this is accepted.

Alt-centrism accepts from the alt-right that people have to have things in common in order to have the solidarity necessary to have a society.

This does not imply the need for ethnostates, but it requires a concession that those arguing on behalf of ethnostates have some valid points, based in reality. We know from economic psychology that wealthy people within a country are only willing to pay taxes to the degree that they feel they have something in common with the recipients of those taxes.

Therefore, leftist policies like importing hordes of “refugees” also threaten social cohesion, and should be repudiated so that genuine solidarity can continue to exist among the people. The greater the diversity of a nation, the less solidarity will exist between the groups within that nation, and therefore the less the wealthy are willing to help the poor.

These Five Acceptances represent the feminine expression of alt-centrism. in that they are accepting of and open to what the other ideologies have to offer. This contrasts with the Five Rejections, which are the masculine expression of alt-centrism, and which seek to delineate the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not.

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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).

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Harms the Youth

One of the most common reasons given for cannabis prohibition is thinking of the children. Apparently it follows logically from thinking of the children that the criminal justice system has to imprison cannabis users. As this article will examine, cannabis prohibition actually harms the youth more than it helps them.

To begin with, we can see that the prevalence of youth cannabis use is much greater in New Zealand, where cannabis is illegal, than in the Netherlands, where it is legal. This is true whether prevalence is measured on a lifetime or a past year basis.

This one fact alone blows out of the water the prohibitionist contention that the rate of youth cannabis use would inevitably go up if the substance was legalised. It shows that having legal cannabis doesn’t necessarily mean that young people use it more, despite the lazy assumption that making a substance illegal inevitably means that there is less of it available.

The lawmakers who came up with the cannabis laws are so old and so out of touch that they have forgotten how young people think.

A report in the Scientific American referenced a study showing that teen cannabis use actually fell in Colorado after recreational sale to adults was legalised. The Denver Post ran a similar report, referencing a different study that also concluded that teen cannabis use did not increase after repeal of prohibition.

There are a variety of plausible reasons why this might be the case. The first is that cannabis use is already at saturation point among the young – anyone who really wants it can get it, without too much difficulty. Therefore, making it legal will not make it available to people who could not otherwise get it.

A second reason is that licensed, legal cannabis sellers, being no less reputable and professional than licensed alcohol sellers, will check teenagers for ID before making sales, and will turn away anyone who can’t prove that they’re of legal age to buy cannabis. This does not happen at tinny houses, for obvious reasons. Therefore, if a person is truly interested in preventing cannabis sales being made to teenagers, legal cannabis is better than the black market model.

If cannabis prohibition does not even help to keep cannabis out of the hands of young people, then there is no justification to continue with the policy. After all, getting arrested and tried by the criminal justice system does considerable harm to people, especially when they are guilty of nothing but using a medicine. It is traumatic to be arrested and hauled before a judge like a criminal.

Even if we assume, for argument’s sake, that it’s worthwhile to keep cannabis out of the hands of young people (for mental health reasons or similar), if a criminal deterrent fails to do so then keeping one in place is only maximising harm for no good reason. Protecting the youth would therefore demand some kind of cannabis law reform, in order to protect them from the criminal justice system.

A final argument is that alcohol is the drug of the Baby Boomers, not of young people. Young people should not be limited to alcohol when it comes to recreational drugs, because alcohol does not occupy a central and exclusive part of our culture. For the young people of the West of 2018, cannabis is just as much a legitimate choice of recreational and social drug as alcohol.

The best approach towards the youth would be honesty. Many members of Generation X and many Millennials do not trust the Government on account of previously being lied to about cannabis. This distrust does not help young people – in fact, it harms them, by inducing them to stay away from sources of official help when those might be needed.

Cannabis law reform is a better choice for protecting the youth. This is primarily because it would take the sale of cannabis out of the hands of criminal gangs, and put it under the aegis of licensed professionals who would be aware that they could be fined and lose their license if they sold to anyone under 18 (or whatever the legal age for recreational cannabis consumption would be).

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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.