Defending Human Rights Begins At Home

There’s no point in Jacinda Ardern’s Government fighting for the rights of “refugees” in Australia when it is committing human rights abuses against the New Zealand people by denying us medicinal cannabis

Watching Jacinda Ardern virtue signal about the need for New Zealand to take in country-shopping refugees from Manus Island is disgusting when she is representing a Government that is currently committing human rights abuses against its own people. The fact is that if the Sixth Labour Government wants to get a reputation for being on the correct side of human rights issues, it needs to start at home with a repeal of cannabis prohibition.

Putting a sick person in a cage for growing the medicine they need to alleviate their suffering is a human rights abuse. No reasonable person doubts this anymore, despite the 80 years of propaganda seeking to demonise the plant. There is ample evidence that cannabis is medicinal and should never have been made illegal.

Plenty of unreasonable people once argued otherwise, and unfortunately our law still reflects the conclusions drawn by those unreasonable people in the form of the Misuse of Drugs Act. But much like prohibiting women from voting, or to putting gay men in cages like animals, reasonable people have kept the pressure on to get the law changed to something reflecting basic human compassion.

The majority of the New Zealand people now believe that the politicians who criminalised growing medicinal cannabis, and the Police officers, judges and bailiffs that enforce this illegal law are human rights abusers. This is because, if people do not have the right to a medicine that takes their suffering away when they get sick, then they don’t have any rights at all.

A law that forces sick people to endure unnecessary suffering when those sick people could themselves be growing a palliative medicine is obscene. It’s more obscene than anything else currently happening in New Zealand, and this is why Ardern needs to begin with a repeal of cannabis prohibition and not by meddling with Australian “refugee” policy.

It’s clear that it’s important to the Sixth Labour Government that they are seen to be doing the right thing. Much of the argument for voting for them in the first place is moral – that a greater redistribution of wealth would alleviate poverty and that we have a moral obligation to reduce poverty because it causes suffering. So they have an obligation to actually make moral decisions.

It’s also clear that the Fifth Labour Government fell, in part, because the public perception was that it was more interested in being seen to do the right thing than actually doing the right thing. They started to appear hollow and dishonest to a jaded electorate, and the public became cynical.

In order to avoid this, Ardern’s Government ought to deliver a meaningful win to the disenfranchised and dejected masses who voted them in, and quickly. It ought to introduce an immediate moratorium on cannabis arrests, effective today, by giving notice to Police Commissioner Mike Bush that it had intent to repeal cannabis prohibition.

If the intent was to look good from taking correct moral actions, this is one that the Fifth Labour Government should have taken 18 years ago, because there was enough evidence for California to make medicinal cannabis legal in 1996. Ardern would do well to make up for the tardy refusal of the New Zealand Government to stay informed; a pig-headedness that has caused so much suffering.

Of course, if Jacinda Ardern had any real integrity, and wasn’t just another of the virtue-signalling hypocrites that Western voters now expect leftist politicians to be, she would make a public Government apology to those impacted by cannabis prohibition, emphasise that the New Zealand Government never had the right to make The People’s Medicine illegal and open discussions about compensation for past criminal convictions. That would be the result of making an objective, honest appraisal about how to put things right.

This is too much to realistically hope for, but we can still call for an immediate moratorium on cannabis arrests on the basis that prohibition will not survive this term of Government.

Why Kiwis Hate the Police II

Many forget that the warrant of a New Zealand Police officer is not to enforce the law but to keep the peace

Consider this thought experiment. You’re driving down a state highway at 100km/h, with some cannabis in your car. Going around a bend, you see a Police car upside-down in a river with no person in sight. Obviously the driver failed to take the corner, and is almost certainly in dire need of immediate medical help. The question is: do you stop and help, or do you just drive on past?

Most Kiwis would argue that the correct answer is clearly to stop and help. After all, it’s a medical emergency, and the Police couldn’t possibly be so unreasonable as to charge a person with a cannabis offence if someone’s life was on the line. Surely discretion would be used in such an instance.

These Kiwis would have more faith in the Police than Caleb Smith, of Greymouth. His story, which hit the news yesterday, has appalled New Zealanders. Smith made a suicide attempt, and part of the Police response was to search his house, discover some cannabis plants, and charge him with a criminal offense. He now has three criminal convictions.

This incident is very enlightening when considered in the context of broader relations between the public and the Police. The reaction of most New Zealand citizens when reading about the conduct of the officers in the Caleb Smith story is horror, disgust and outrage, but that isn’t the worst thing.

The worst thing is the effect stories like this have on public perceptions of New Zealand Police officers.

Stories like Caleb Smith’s tell the reader that the sort of person who becomes a New Zealand Police officer is the sort of person who is willing to go up to another Kiwi at their lowest point – in the midst of a suicide attempt – and kick him in the guts, making his life far more difficult for no benefit to the public good, and without the consent of the New Zealand people. It’s a person willing to be cruel simply for the sake of it, using their uniform as a shield to evade responsibility.

Like a dog, they just do what they’re told without consideration. At least, this is how the Police naturally start to appear in the eyes of the population they are supposed to be keeping safe when that population read about such incidents.

Cries of “They’re just doing their jobs!” don’t change the sentiments that stories like Smith’s make Kiwis start to have towards Police officers. In fact, mindlessly following orders is as contemptible as anything else – and people know this.

At the end of the day, every Police officer has the free will to refuse to enforce laws that are unjust, and if they choose not to exercise that free will they cannot complain of the consequences.

It is the duty of every sentient being to consider whether their actions cause suffering to leave the world, or whether their actions bring suffering into the world. That Police officers enforce a law on the Kiwi people that causes great suffering, and that they do so without the consent of those people – who do not approve of that law – is worthy of contempt.

If Police officers choose to enforce a law, even when doing so requires them to willfully add more suffering to the life of one of their fellows who is already suffering severely, then it’s only natural that the people come to hate them.

Why the Religious Oppose Drug Use

The religious are closed-minded about a lot of things, and drug use is one of them

One oddity about the Western political landscape is taken for granted with no explanation given. It is that the religious, especially the fundamentally religious, oppose all drug law reform measures. Considering that drug prohibition does immense harm to drug users by subjecting them to a justice system built for murderers, rapists and thieves, it’s not clear why the religions would oppose this. This essay looks at why.

The religious prohibitions against drug use seem doubly strange if one considers that many of the world’s oldest religious traditions involve the use of cannabis. This is particularly true of the South Asian religions like Hinduism, which arose in the same general area in which cannabis was cultivated. Why would a tradition of behaviour intended to get one closer to God oppose the legalisation of an entheogen?

The truth is that religion, insofar as it’s practiced in our modern times, has degraded into the opposite of a spiritual practice. 21st century religion in the West no longer has anything to do with apotheosis or sharing any genuine insight into the nature of God that a person might have had.

21st century Western religion is just a sham, selling a communal sense of moral superiority, to people with low self esteem, for money. The people selling it don’t want their flock asking too many questions. They just want them regularly returning to be fleeced for a steady passive income.

In order for this ancient scam to be possible, people have to be separated from true spirituality. If a person is connected to true spirituality then they will instinctively understand that ridiculous stories like the need to mutilate the genitals of new-born babies, or that failure to worship God in the correct manner would doom someone to eternal punishment, or that a desert full of inbreds in Asia Minor was the holy land, are all ludicrous superstitions that serve only to distract people from genuine communion with God.

So religions need to deny people their spiritual birthright in order to make them confused enough to exploit them. Therefore, they need to deny them the entheogenic sacraments that the people have used since prehistory to connect themselves with God.

Entheogenic drug use leads to novel states of consciousness, which lead to original perspectives, which have a deconditioning effect on previous brainwashing, obsession or delusion. In this sense it is very similar to meditation, which also leads to novel states of consciousness that have a deconditioning effect (and it’s no coincidence that the religious have also tried to replace meditation with ineffective lizard-brain rituals such as prayer, chanting, contemplation etc.).

The religious oppose entheogenic drug use because it leads to genuine spirituality, because once this is achieved a person can no longer be scammed with fairy tales that are only convincing to the ignorant. It’s just a rehash of the many-thousands of years old story of wealth and power and the lies told to secure them.

We Don’t Need a Cannabis Referendum – Just Legalise It

Conducting a referendum about a liberty that should already be guaranteed by human rights legislation has proven to be highly divisive in Australia

Kiwi cannabis users have been buoyed by the demise of the Fifth National Government. It is already clear from the change in rhetoric that the incoming Sixth Labour Government will approach the issue with honesty, in contrast to the John Key/Bill English/Peter Dunne approach. However, honesty doesn’t prevent one from making errors – and the decision to hold a referendum about legalising the personal use of cannabis is one such error.

It’s widely accepted that the actions of the New Zealand Parliament in passing gay marriage legislation was a wiser, less divisive move than the actions of the Australian Parliament in holding a referendum on the subject. The Australian experience of having a referendum on such an emotive subject was that the country tore itself in two, with many people eventually choosing to vote against gay marriage out of sheer bitterness and resentment.

The New Zealand experience of making it legal by Parliamentary decree gave the country an opportunity to come together in mutual desire to right the wrongs of the past. Even conservatives like Maurice Williamson saw the need to give a passionate speech in favour of a law change, and the Parliament itself went as far as singing a song out of a will to demonstrate that the old days of hate were over.

It’s also widely acknowledged – by the New Zealand people, if not by the New Zealand ruling classes – that withholding cannabis medicine from sick people who need it is an extremely cruel thing to do, and something only done because of hate. Certainly it’s much crueler than withholding marriage rights from people, which, while inconvenient, are hardly a matter of life and death or daily suffering and misery.

Moreover, it’s obvious from the experience of the half a dozen American states that have already legalised the recreational use of cannabis that the downsides of doing so have been massively overstated for decades. The predicted crime explosion and spates of suicides never eventuated – indeed, some research suggests that suicide rates can drop by almost 5% in the wake of legalising medicinal cannabis, and this rises to almost 10% in the cases of young males.

So why not just do the obvious thing, acknowledge the evident truth, stop lying and just make the personal use of cannabis legal by Parliamentary decree, as the Labour Government intends to do with medicinal cannabis?

This way we can avoid giving a platform to moronic bigots like Bob McCroskie to further divide our society with fearmongering and lies. The Australian equivalents to McCroskie have polluted media space with hysterical predictions of doom, further alienating gay people from the mainstream, and the same will happen in New Zealand if we also put a question of basic human rights to referendum.

Ultimately, no-one has the right to prevent anyone else from using cannabis. No-one has the right to take this freedom away from other people, any more than they have the right to prevent them from watching cricket or eating parmesan. Therefore, there is no good reason to have a referendum about whether it should be legal or not, because there’s ultimately no good reason to obey any law prohibiting the use of cannabis.

Our law should simply reflect this reality and make it legal.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

Cannabis Law Reform Appears Imminent Under The New “Afghanistan” Government

The Afghanistan flag is black, red and green, like the alliance supporting the Sixth Labour Government

A black-red-green “Afghanistan” coalition has replaced National in the halls of New Zealand power, and so the absolute, mindless refusal of the outgoing National Government to countenance any kind of cannabis law reform is now no longer relevant. This means that the wasted decade might be at an end. This article looks at the prospects for cannabis law reform over the next three years.

Labour had already pledged to introduce medicinal cannabis within the first 100 days of taking power, at least to “people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain”, but questions remain.

It isn’t yet clear what definition of medicinal cannabis Labour intends to use when they change the law. What constitutes “medicinal” use of cannabis is a subject of considerable debate, not least among medical and mental health professionals. That it could be prescribed to people with terminal illnesses seems straightforward enough, but what qualifies as “chronic pain” could vary from a small number of acute conditions on the one hand, to a California-style wide range of ailments on the other (California has had legal medicinal cannabis since 1996).

The best outcome for cannabis users would be that the Labour Party adopts the same definition of cannabis, and treats cannabis the same way, as in Julie Anne Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill, currently before Parliament. This bill contains a very broad conception of medicinal cannabis and provides for users to grow their own medicine at home if they have approval from a doctor who believes that cannabis would prevent suffering.

A jackpot outcome for medicinal cannabis users would be for the home grow provisions of Julie Anne Genter’s bill to be made legal within the first hundred days of the Sixth Labour Government. Although we can be sure that all of the Green MPs and most of the Labour MPs would support this, Winston Peters and New Zealand First might prefer a narrower definition of medicinal cannabis in the first hundred days with a broader definition put to referendum as part of the deal with the Greens.

Recently it was learned that the Green Party had successfully negotiated to hold a referendum on personal use of cannabis at or before the 2020 General Election. Although it isn’t clear at this stage whether this will be similar to the referendum that successfully legalised recreational cannabis in Colorado in 2012, or if it will be some watered-down offer of decriminalisation, the very fact that a referendum is happening is excellent news for New Zealand cannabis users.

Although James Shaw is maintaining the lie that the Greens have supported legalising cannabis for 20 years, rather than tell the truth that they abandoned cannabis users for many years in an effort to appeal to the middle class, the fact that he feels the desire to take credit for the change in public perception regarding cannabis is a sign that he is sure that the wind has changed.

This column pointed out some years ago that it would be possible to tell when the public perception of cannabis had definitively shifted because politicians would start publicly claiming to have always supported a law change. Shaw is lying when he says that the Greens have had cannabis law reform as part of their policy for the past 20 years, because cannabis law reform activists have been challenging the Greens that whole time to update their cannabis policy to something similar to that of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and they have only done so in the past year.

But that doesn’t matter any more. The important thing is that a lot of cannabis law reform should be happening in the next three years, under a governing alliance that does not suffer from the fear-based myopia of the National Party around the substance. It appears that the efforts of cannabis law reform activists to persuade the centre-left parties of the merits of reform have been broadly successful, and that the ruling powers are now of a mind to make change to the laws.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

How to Not Sound Crazy When Talking About Your Psychedelic Experiences

It’s hard to talk about the world beyond to people who aren’t familiar with that range of frequencies

Even though the Internet has led to a sharing of shamanic knowledge completely unprecedented (and impossible) for any other point in the world’s history, it hasn’t filtered down to the mass consciousness yet. Probably it never will – the men of silver and iron and clay cannot be expected to concern themselves with what lies beyond this veil. This essay gives some tips for talking to them about the world beyond without sounding insane.

The most important thing is to have a feel for what the person you are talking to is likely to be able to handle. This means that you have to look for clues from what you already know about them to give hints about what they already believe.

The easiest way to sound crazy is to express a belief that does not accord with consensual reality of the mass consciousness of the people around you. This is true whether you are in meatspace or cyberspace. The lower the intelligence of the person you are speaking to, the less likely it is that they will have challenged any belief widely-held by the people around them.

It is in this will to challenge consensual reality that most people judge sane from insane. All you have to do is to assert that things are not as they are commonly believed to be, and some people will start to consider you crazy. Essentially you only have to contradict the television, or in other cases the radio or FaceBook.

You might start a conversation with a suspected normie by questioning the narrative that you are fed by the network news, or by the broadsheet papers. Even that is enough to sound pretty crazy to most people, who are on the level of “they couldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.” If a person is on this level they are in no way ready to handle the idea that the government has lied to them about psychedelics for the sake of making them easier to control.

A useful tactic here is to point out how the governments and mainstream media of Anglosphere countries colluded to sell the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in order to manufacture consent for the Iraq War. It’s possible now, though, that a person remembers those times differently and will choose to remember it in a way that denies this collusion.

It pays to be wary of the fact that most people are materialists, which implies that they believe that the brain generates consciousness, and that upon the death of the physical body this consciousness somehow “disappears”. These people consider all kinds of religious ideas like karma and God to be superstitions, and the bitterest contempt is reserved for those religious who believe that the consciousness survives the death of the physical body.

Unfortunately, this belief is also one of the major insights of psychedelics – perhaps it is this psychedelic insight that forms the foundation of most religious beliefs.

Psychedelics are hard, and integrating their lessons extremely hard

Mathematics is the way to get at people who are the hardest to reach. Expressing a sense of awe and wonder at how, for example, the Fibonacci sequence reoccurs in the state of Nature is a good way of getting a person to ask themselves whether there’s something other than sheer chance going on. Other ways are to express similar sentiments about the non-reoccurring nature of pi or the import of Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

The way to talk about it so that it makes sense is by talking about previous beliefs that you once held that you either questioned or abandoned after taking a psychedelic. Usually this makes it possible to apply logic to dismantle one erroneous idea after the other, and it’s seldom necessary to mention that this destruction of illusion was achieved by means of psychedelics (any insight that psychedelics have brought you can be plausibly credited to either meditation or a near death experience as well).

For example, a psychedelicised person might be able to conduct a conversation with a normie about the boundaries of the human body, and how it’s not clear where inside ends and where outside begins. The very idea of selfishness starts to unravel if the idea of what it is that one might be selfish about is challenged, and by such means light can shine through.

This column believes that the ultimate goal of consciousness expansion is apotheosis, where an individual consciousness reunites themselves with the universal consciousness and becomes privy to certain mysteries, such as that there is no such thing as time and that the death of the physical body does not impact the true self.

Contemplation of this alone is liable to induce a psychiatric breakdown in a lot of people. Most people are so utterly terrified of the concept of their future death that they have pushed the very idea of it into a deep, dark part of the mind, only to be ventured into in an emergency. Even fewer people have looked deeply enough into their own minds to have made a surgically precise distinction between consciousness and the content of consciousness.

Starting with such subjects is probably too much. Most people will declare you crazy for talking about them rather than risk psychosis by dwelling on them.

Questioning the materialist dogma that the brain generates consciousness is the quickest way to be seen as crazy. This dogma is taken by many to be the absolute, inviolable and axiomatic truth of reality and conversation along these lines is likely to make materialists fear or despise you.

The best thing is probably to declare skepticism of the claims of a mutual enemy. The Government, the Church or Big Business can all serve as excellent mutual enemies. Skepticism of the claims of these mutual enemies might then be generalised into skepticism about other claims and dogmas.

Who Voted For the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017?

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party may have have won 3,000 fewer votes in the 2017 Election than the 2014 one, but they won more votes than the Conservative Party, four times as many votes as United Future and over half as many votes as the ACT Party. That’s quite a few considering the minimal campaign expenditure. So who voted for the ALCP in 2017, and how were they different to 2014?

The average ALCP voter was fairly hard done by in 2017, slightly worse than in 2014. The correlation between voting ALCP and median personal income was -0.48 in 2017, strengthening from -0.40 in 2014. Also, the correlations between voting ALCP and being in any income band below $50K were all more strongly positive in 2017 than 2014, and were all more strongly negative in 2017 than 2014 for all income bands above $70K.

Part of the reason for this is that many of the voters the ALCP lost from 2014 were the educated, middle-class white ones who ended up voting for TOP. Indeed, it can be seen that this year’s crop of ALCP voters were more poorly educated than last time. All of the correlations with having a university degree and voting ALCP were less strongly negative in 2014 than by 2017 (-0.46 had become -0.51 for a Bachelor’s degree, -0.42 had become -0.49 for an Honours degree, -0.46 had become -0.51 for a Master’s degree, and -0.38 had become -0.45 for a doctorate).

It would seem that the group of ALCP voters that left for TOP between 2014 and 2017 were mostly the same university educated young professionals or students that left the Greens for TOP between 2014 and 2017. This might be little more than 0.1% of voters in the case of shifting from the ALCP, but for a party that small losing them has a big effect.

This means that the ALCP had become a bit less white by 2017. The correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and voting ALCP fell from -0.15 in 2014 to -0.23 in 2017, while the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and voting ALCP flattened out, from -0.10 in 2014 to -0.00 in 2017. It was even more strongly Maori in 2017 than in 2014: the correlation between being Maori and voting ALCP in the former was 0.91, compared to 0.89 in the latter.

Although there was still a significant correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and having no religion (0.24), it was a fair bit weaker than the same correlation in 2014 (0.34). This is a fairly distinctive change and gives an idea of the sort of person who switched to the TOP party from 2014.

The ALCP also lost voters in the 30-49 age group. Here the correlation between being of this age group and voting ALCP became more strongly negative: from -0.39 in 2014 to -0.43 in 2017. The ALCP vote fell across the board but even more sharply in this age group than the others. In the 20-29 age group the vote held relatively firm, telling us that what was already a young voting cohort in 2014 got even younger.

All of this explains why there was a strong negative correlation of -0.70 between voting ALCP in 2017 and voting for National in 2017. The ALCP continued to get support from the young, the Maori and the poor – in other words, from those mostly acutely affected by cannabis prohibition, who are entirely different demographics to those who regularly vote National.

The high amount of Maori support was also reflected in the high correlations between voting ALCP and voting for other parties that have a high level of Maori support. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and voting Maori Party in 2017 was 0.80; with voting MANA in 2017 it was 0.65; with voting Labour in 2017 it was 0.56 and with New Zealand First in 2017 it was 0.40.

Reflecting this, voting for the ALCP had strong negative correlations with voting for parties generally supported by wealthy or old white people. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and voting Conservative in 2017 was -0.40, compared to -0.51 for voting United Future and -0.52 for voting ACT.

Fittingly for a banned substance with immense medicinal value, there are very strong correlations between voting ALCP in 2017 and being on the invalid’s benefit (0.79) and the unemployment benefit (0.82). These were both a little stronger than in 2014, which might suggest that the cannabis law reformers that switched to TOP were more likely to be employed white professionals primarily interested in recreational cannabis, whereas those who remained with the ALCP tended to be on sickness or invalid’s benefits and mostly interested in medicinal cannabis.

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

What New Zealand Could Learn From the Nevada Legal Cannabis Experience

Nevada has moved on from the early 1970s – why can’t New Zealand?

Nevada was depicted in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a harshly repressive place for anyone with an interest in cognitive liberty. As captured in the foul year of our Lord, 1971, the billboard welcoming drivers to Nevada warned of 20 years imprisonment for being caught in possession of “marijuana”. Fast forward to July 2017, and they have recreational cannabis legally on sale in shops. This article looks at what we could learn from them.

Colorado passed a referendum legalising cannabis five years ago, and the results were more or less exactly what cannabis law reform activists had predicted the entire time. Now there are eight American states that allow legal recreational cannabis use, making it all the more pathetic that New Zealand politicians have so far lacked the courage to even discuss the issue.

Nevada is the most recent of these. Recreational cannabis sales became legal in Nevada this July. This first month of legal sales generated $US27.1 million in receipts, about $40 million in New Zealand dollars.

Much of that $40 million is believed to be from tourists who came into Nevada for the sake of their legal cannabis. It was almost double what Colorado sold in the first month of legal recreational sales there, and if one considers that the population of Nevada is 60% that of Colorado it’s three times the amount per capita, so clearly this isn’t all just coming from local demand.

What that tells us is that, with eight American states now with some form of recreational cannabis sales, New Zealand’s edge in the tourist market is rapidly bluntening. In much the same way that Islamic theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia that suppress alcohol don’t get many tourists, neither will New Zealand get many tourists when we’re the last ones to legalise recreational cannabis.

At the very least, we need to get the jump on Australia. If Australia, or even one of the major tourist states (Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria), would legalise recreational cannabis it would have a devastating impact on New Zealand’s place in the backpacker circuit.

On the other hand, if we legalised recreational cannabis sales while Australia was still struggling with gay marriage, we could capture a decent sector of the international tourist market. If it were possible to visit cannabis cafes on the main streets of places like Levin and Ashburton (let alone the bigger places) then Australia would start to look like a backwater in comparison.

$40 million in the first month of sales suggests around half a billion dollars a year in recreational cannabis sales for Nevada alone. This equates to some 5-10,000 full-time jobs. On a per capita basis, such a policy might provide 8-16,000 full-time jobs in New Zealand (this is in line with job figures suggested by Waikato cannabis kingpin John Lord).

Of course, Nevada voted to have legal medicinal cannabis in 2000, and New Zealanders haven’t even been allowed to have that yet, so the worry is that if we’re 20 years behind in that regard we will be 20 years behind when it comes to recreational law reform as well, i.e. Kiwis can expect to be allowed to buy a few grams of cannabis and use it like they would alcohol sometime in the mid 2030s.

But what we can tell from the short experience with legal recreational cannabis sales in Nevada is that the process has more or less gone the same way as in Colorado and Washington: no spike in crimes, tens of thousands more white market jobs, a lot more money for schools, and a whole lot of sheepish-looking prohibitionists.

The Big Lie of Our Age

Many pseudoscientific writings speak of the parts of the brain that give rise to consciousness, as if the question of whether the brain does generate consciousness had already been answered in the affirmative

The Big Lie of our age is that the brain generates consciousness. It’s a lie characteristic of our exceptionally materialistic age, because in most other times in human history people have retained their intuitive awareness of the primacy of consciousness. In the modern West, however, it’s simply taken for granted that the brain generates consciousness, and the deleterious consequences of this belief are denied or explained away.

This Big Lie has come about as a result of a reasoning error that became fashionable in the wake of the Enlightenment. The idea was that religion had held humanity back during the Dark Ages by making scientific research impractical, and therefore religious dogma had to be discarded from the scientific reasoning process, and therefore all talk of a world beyond the material had to be abandoned, and therefore consciousness simply had to be a material property.

From this Big Lie a number of falsehoods arise. Many of these falsehoods are encouraged by the ruling classes because they make the plebs easier to rule.

For instance, the belief that the brain generates consciousness leads immediately to the belief that the death of the brain (alongside the inevitable death of the physical body) must inevitably mean the “end” of consciousness. Because if the body dies, and the brain dies with it, then the brain must logically lose its capacity for ‘generating’ or ‘maintaining’ consciousness and thus that consciousness must disappear.

This belief, while predicated entirely on a falsehood, leads to a number of other beliefs.

The most powerful of these is the belief that this life is all that there is. If the death of this physical body means the death of consciousness, then I cannot be held responsible for anything I do while in this place (i.e. Earth, more or less). Therefore, if I take money now in exchange for attacking another person, or if I murder, rob or rape, then I only have to get away with it for as long as this physical life endures.

Another odd idea that follows naturally from the Big Lie is that only creatures with brain structures similar to that which knows itself to be conscious can also be conscious. If the brain generates consciousness by means of some property inherent to it (such as a critical mass of complexity) then other creatures can only be considered conscious to the degree that they share these brain structures with the person thinking up the consciousness theory (after all, that person knows themselves 100% to be conscious).

One delusion is that mortal terror is an appropriately dignified response to mortal threats for a civilised human. It is if you believe that the brain generates consciousness, but if you don’t believe this it becomes possible to be genuinely courageous. After all, why subject yourself to mortal terror if you know that the contents of consciousness are ephemeral and transient?

Of course, the ruling classes are generally happy to have people believe that this life is all there is, for a variety of reasons. Not least of these reasons are because it discourages anarcho-homicidalist action by making people afraid of execution, and because it makes people greedy, aggressive and acquisitive as they try to cram an eternity’s worth of pleasures into one mortal incarnation.

It is ultimately because of this Big Lie that cannabis and the psychedelics are illegal. These drugs modify behaviour by making the user aware, however fleetingly, of a world beyond the material. In this world beyond are immutable moral principles, and it’s harder to pull the strings of people who are aware of these principles and believe in them. Such people tend to make their own decisions.

A common experience on psychedelics is to feel the material world slipping out of consciousness and to become aware of an entirely different world as seen through an entirely different set of eyes, but which is ultimately comprehended by the same consciousness. This often results in the tripper learning the lesson of the primacy of consciousness and how conceptions of time and space are illusions brought about by temporary separation from God.

It is because of the Big Lie that people who become privy to such revelations about the true nature of reality – whether by taking psychedelic drugs or through other means – are seen as having gone insane, and their revelations seen as chaotic nonsense of no value. After all, if a psychonaut comes to realise that the Big Lie is a big lie, then that psychonaut must be dismissed as a space cadet or schizophrenic lest this realisation catch on.