Demographer Dan McGlashan Explains This Week’s Horizon Research Cannabis Poll

My name is Dan McGlashan, and I am the author of Understanding New Zealand, a demographic study of the Kiwi people. In this article, I will explain the results of the recent cannabis law reform poll by Horizon Research, which broke down support for the upcoming cannabis referendum by party affiliation and age.

60% of New Zealand adults would vote to legalise the recreational use of cannabis on the upcoming referendum, according to the poll, with only 24% against. 16% had no opinion. Broken down by party support, 84% of Green voters would vote yes, with 63% of Labour, 56% of New Zealand First, 49% of ACT and 33% of National voters doing likewise.

The Green, Labour and National votes don’t need much explaining. The Greens have always been the strongest supporters of cannabis, apart from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Likewise, National has always opposed any effort to reform the laws. Many readers were surprised, however, to learn that support among New Zealand First voters is stronger than support among ACT voters.

In Understanding New Zealand, I showed which demographics were the strongest supporters of cannabis law reform, by correlating those demographics with support for the ALCP.

The average cannabis law reform supporter is – on average – young, poor, Maori, uneducated and with an especially high chance of suffering from a debilitating physical or mental illness. These demographics are all disenfranchised ones, which is why there is a strong association between being a cannabis user and having a difficult life. They are also the ones most heavily impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Some were surprised to see that support for cannabis law reform is very high among New Zealand First voters. 56% of New Zealand First voters would vote yes in the referendum, almost as many as Labour voters. New Zealand First voters are often stereotyped as old, bitter, out of touch racists, which makes it hard to explain their heavy support for cannabis law reform.

In reality, there is a moderately strong correlation between being a New Zealand First supporter and being Maori: one of 0.38. This also helps to explain why there was a moderately strong correlation of 0.40 between voting for New Zealand First in 2017 and voting ALCP in 2017. Many will also be surprised to read that there is no significant correlation between median age and voting for New Zealand First.

In other words, the New Zealand First demographic is much younger and browner than the lazy stereotype would have it. This can be established simply from observing the extremely high levels of support gained by New Zealand First in the Maori electorates. These young, brown and poor people are reliably fans of cannabis use, despite the general social conservatism of the New Zealand First movement.

Many others were surprised to see that only 49% of ACT supporters expected to vote yes in the referendum. ACT markets itself as the party of liberty from government overreach, and one might think that this would be reflected in support for cannabis law reform, but they have traditionally been very weak on the issue, perhaps even cowardly.

The simple truth is that ACT voters are not from the demographics that care about cannabis law reform. The correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Asian was 0.46, but the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Maori was -0.51, which suggests that very few actual cannabis smokers are ACT supporters.

Moreover, ACT voters are wealthy: the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and personal wealth was 0.61, making their supporters their wealthiest of all. ACT voters tend to come from two major groups: rich, old, white people with all the money, and young professional Asians who don’t want to pay taxes. Neither group has any major interest in recreational cannabis.

The cannabis referendum is very likely to end up with a yes vote, because most of the opponents of cannabis law reform are old and dying off. Conservative National voters are being replaced by less conservative ACT voters, and young people mostly support it anyway. It’s enough to compare Chloe Swarbrick with the decrepit Bob McCoskrie to guess that the repeal of cannabis prohibition is inevitable.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis is Not Harmful

One of the most fundamental arguments for cannabis prohibition is that cannabis is harmful. Because of this harm, the argument goes, we need to make cannabis illegal. This will give people less opportunity to use cannabis and thereby have their lives destroyed. As this article will examine, there are at least two good reasons to oppose this argument.

Firstly, we can see prohibition causes more harm than legal cannabis would – and over and above the harm caused by enforcing the prohibition. When a country or state introduces cannabis prohibition, they usually also introduce a number of ancillary laws that are ostensibly to fight the harm of cannabis, but which end up causing more harm.

It’s apparent that burning plant matter and then inhaling the smoke is not the best thing you could do for your lungs. This is not a contentious assertion, and the vast majority of cannabis users are fully aware of it. But when people have tried to take measures to make cannabis use more safe, they find themselves being stymied by the law. In many cases, the law is intended to penalise not just cannabis use but the entire cannabis culture.

Manufacturing cannabis butter to make some brownies changes your crime from possession of a Class C drug to manufacture of a Class B drug. So if a person decided to make some hash brownies, they would then not only be in possession of a Class B illegal drug, but they could also be charged with manufacturing it – which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

We are told that the schedule of increasing penalties reflects the schedule of increasing harm caused by these drugs. But the harm of cannabis does not increase 56 times because someone made some bud into some brownies. There’s no logic to that at all – if anything, the harm is lessened by virtue of avoiding lung damage.

It’s true that the psychoactive effect of hash brownies will be greater than smoked bud, but the psychological drawbacks of using cannabis have been massively overstated. The cozy consensus that using cannabis causes schizophrenia has been shattered by new research suggesting that it is a genetic propensity to schizophrenia that predicts cannabis use, and not the case that cannabis use alone predicts schizophrenia.

In any case, it’s possible that even cannabis bud does not cause net harm. Yes, smoking it is not great, but the smoke damage may be outweighed by the medical benefits of lower stress etc.

Likewise, the example of “drug paraphernalia” is another one in which the majority of the harm is caused by the law itself, rather than cannabis. People have been arrested for the possession of water bongs and charged with a more severe crime than mere cannabis possession – but using a water bong is more healthy than inhaling hot smoke. Despite being more healthy, possession of a bong carries a maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment in New Zealand.

The physical harms of cannabis have generally been overstated. Of course, inhaling cannabis smoke is not ideal but even this is transparently less dangerous than rugby, horse riding, skiing and downhill mountain biking. All of these activities, whose level of risk falls into the acceptable threshold, are legal. Therefore the “cannabis is so harmful it should be illegal” is nonsense.

Moreover, even the most ardent cannabis user doesn’t smoke as many joints in a day as a tobacco user smokes cigarettes, and so the level of risk here falls into already established acceptable limits.

Another major argument when it comes to the supposed harms of cannabis is that prohibition is a bizarre response to any supposed harm caused. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that cannabis is harmful – how does it make any sense to introduce more harm into a person’s life, just because they used it? The idea of punishing an adult into taking responsibility is ridiculous.

The argument that cannabis should be prohibited because it is harmful is mistaken. Cannabis prohibition itself is responsible for more harm than cannabis is. If reducing harm done to human beings is a consideration when setting legal policies, then it’s clear that prohibition ought to be repealed for the sake of a less punitive approach.

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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.

Reverse McCarthyism

A terrible and pathetic social phenomenon occurred in the United States of the 1950s. In the shadow of the Cold War, a large number of people lost their jobs and faced social persecution after being accused of Communist ties or sympathies, a phenomenon known as McCarthyism. Our society today is wracked with a similar, but different phenomenon – this essay calls it “Reverse McCarthyism”.

Senator Joe McCarthy was the man who gave the name to the phenomenon, otherwise known as the “Red Scare“. He started it by making the claim to a Republican Women’s Club that he had “a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” The implication was that Communist traitors had infiltrated the US Government.

The ensuing mania to root out suspected Communist sympathisers led to a large number of innocent people getting harassed, interrogated and fired or rendered unemployable. This had the effect of chilling all discussion about left-wing topics, for fear of being accused of being Communist. People would openly declare their contempt for “Pinks” and for labour movements in general, leading to the normalisation of extremely conservative attitudes.

Our culture nowadays has a very similar phenomenon occurring. Now that the Great Pendulum has swung back in the other direction, as it does every 50-60 years, today’s form of McCarthyism takes aim at the bogeymen of the left. We can call this phenomenon ‘Reverse McCarthyism’.

Reverse McCarthyism is a witchhunt against suspected supporters of Nazism.

Original McCarthyism was marked by a fear of saying anything that sounded even vaguely Communist. Reverse McCarthyism is identical, except about Nazism. In the same way that Original McCarthyism scared people into silence about left-wing ideas, Reverse McCarthyism scares people into silence over nationalist ideas.

It’s fair to say that open declarations of racial supremacy do not contribute towards the common peace – but the truth is above all, and without the freedom to express the truth we have nothing.

The idea that a Western country could realistically be improved by importing millions of Muslims and Africans is insane. Reverse McCarthyists, however, make out that to oppose it means that you must hate non-white people and desire to see them expelled for the sake of racial purity. Opposition to Third World immigration is genocide. Much like other moral panics, Reverse McCarthyism is leading to people making terrible decisions out of a fear of being persecuted for wrongthink.

The most boneheaded example of Reverse McCarthyism has been the FaceBook witchhunts of recent years. It’s now possible to get ratted out to the FaceBook admins, and banned, for even the vaguest allusion to something that the Nazis might have supported. You don’t have to support genocide or even ethnic purity – the mere suggestion that a nation ought to have the choice to decide what sort of person comes through its borders is enough. Even laugh reacting the wrong post can be taken as support for Nazism.

Hitler jokes are right out. The famous meme of Hitler strumming a banjo is completely verboten, as is the Hitler dancing with glowsticks gif and the Hitler-fighting-the-Satanic-banking-cartel meme. Posting any of these will get you blocked and banned. No mercy can be had because, under the rules of Reverse McCarthyism, any lenience shown towards Nazi jokes makes a person morally complicit in all the crimes of World War II (as well as European imperialism).

The most pathetic example of all – which showed that Reverse McCarthyism has gone just as far as the original did – was when Scottish comedian Count Dankula was convicted of a hate crime and fined £800 for teaching his girlfriend’s dog to do a Nazi salute as a joke. In this case the moral hysteria had reached such a degree of intensity that a mere shitpost was judged worthy of being branded a criminal.

There is an overlap between Reverse McCarthyism and the Holocaust religion. Both of these ideologies benefit from pushing the myth that the Nazis were a uniquely monstrous evil, somehow categorically greater than any that has gone before. In the case of the Holocaust religion, this sentiment is used to justify the conquest of the Palestinians; in the case of Reverse McCarthyism it is used to justify more globalism.

Reverse McCarthyism is pushed by a different sort of person. Although many Reverse McCarthyists are Jews seeking revenge for the original Red Scare, the majority are just the same bog-standard capitalist parasite that used the original as an excuse to bust unions (ironically, simply pointing out the fact that many Reverse McCarthyists are Jews is enough to get Nazism accusations from other Reverse McCarthyists). These people oppose nationalism because they want to import cheap labour to make money today.

The phenomenon has led to some strange bedfellows, notably Israeli Jews and actual Nazis, who both oppose globalisation on account of that it weakens the borders of their particular desired ethnic enclave. This has led to the common but bizarre sight of Western leftists calling Israeli Jews ‘Nazis’ on account of their desire for a strong border wall and immigration policies that favour a particular race.

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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: Drugs Are Not Categorically Bad

“Drugs are bad, mmmmmkay?” goes the South Park joke. Mr. Garrison’s catchphrase satirises the near-total absence of thought that the Establishment has put into their anti-cannabis rhetoric. The idea is that drugs are bad, and cannabis is a drug, therefore cannabis is bad, and therefore cannabis prohibition is justified. As this article will examine, it’s not that simple.

The popular conception of what the word “Drugs” means is highly variable. Some people consider any foreign substance taken into the body to be drugs. Other people say that anything not prescribed by a doctor is drugs; once it is prescribed it magically becomes medicine. Still others contend that drugs are anything that are bad, and anything not drugs is good.

The kind of person who makes the argument that drugs are categorically bad is usually the sort of person who is obsessed with purity. Inevitably they are a wowser of some kind, and they fit into two categories: the first some kind of physical health freak, the second some kind of religious freak. Their belief is that cannabis disrupts physical and spiritual health, respectively.

The physical truth about many drugs, like most substances that one could put into the body, is that healthy and unhealthy use is a primarily a matter of dosage. The most obvious example is salt, where too much or too little will leave a person in poor health. Some might counter here that a lack of cannabis will not make someone sick, but that’s not true in many medicinal cases.

Another example is amphetamines. There are many amphetamines that are basically the same substance as what one finds in ADHD medicines – in other words. The major difference is that the crackhead takes it in much, much heavier doses than what a doctor would recommend.

A small amount of cannabis will not hurt a person, unless they are extremely sensitive to smoke or similar. In fact, a small amount might greatly help a person, especially if they suffer from one of the hundreds of different conditions that cannabis is known to treat. By the same token, smoking a hundred joints a day will be bad for you almost without a doubt.

In any case, the fundamental point is that this argument is misdirected. If a particular dose of a particular substance is bad, then don’t use it. It’s a simple as that!

It’s possible that a blanket admonition against drugs along the lines of “drugs are bad” is a good idea if you are a parent speaking to a ten-year old child. Someone without the mental sophistication to make good decisions might need it. But it’s no basis for a national law that governs young and old alike.

Adult citizens are not like children, and need to be spoken to honestly. The positive and negative effects of all drugs need to be spoken about honestly, and the citizens need to be informed with reference to reality and science. If this does not happen, then the risk arises that those citizens lose trust in doctors and Government officials, and then movements like the anti-vaxx one start to crop up.

Cannabis should not be illegal because “drugs are categorically bad”. This is a child’s logic, and it should not be informing the national cannabis policy. We need to move on from these simplistic thought patterns, because they do not describe the reality of the situation, and absent that people cannot make correct decisions.

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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.

VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto VI

This reading carries on from here.

The next chapter in Industrial Society and Its Future, beginning from paragraph 171, is ‘The Future’. Here, Kaczynski discusses the likely outcomes of the perpetuation of the techno-industrial system.

One potential outcome is that increasing technology and automation means that the vast majority of human labour becomes performed by machines instead. At this point, one must consider whether this machine workforce is to remain working under direct human supervision or if it is to work autonomously. It could be that our increasing dependence on the decisions made by these machines make us dependent on them, in the same way that we have become dependent on other technology.

The horror scenario, as Kaczynski sees it, is that automation will incentivise the extermination of the masses on the grounds that they are no longer needed for their labour. A more humane scenario is that the elite uses propaganda to reduce the birth rate of the masses so that natural deaths cause the population to decline. This may become necessary because of ecological considerations. The only alternative is to essentially domesticate humans like pets.

Kaczynski flat-out rejects the idea that work for the sake of the work is the solution to the problem. Makework will not lead to any kind of fulfillment. Even more of a worry is the fact that these problems will continue to get worse. The bourgeois sort of person who runs the machine will only become more and more a part of it, and the machine will grow to absorb all, barring the odd pocket of nature kept as reserve.

He concludes, “It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences.”

The next section is titled ‘Strategy’. Here Kaczynski talks about what specifically can be done to oppose the techno-industrial system. Most people believe that the forwards march of the system is inevitable; Kaczynski disagrees. It can be meaningfully opposed in two ways: by increasing the stresses within it to hasten its collapse, and by developing an alternative ideology so that people can learn to live without it.

The French and Russian Revolutions provide an example of how this could be achieved. Ideologies must have both a positive and a negative ideal. Kaczynski proposes valuing wild, raw Nature as something that should prosper freely. This includes human nature. If the techno-industrial system collapses, people will come to live close to Nature again, on account of that they will be forced to.

Most people don’t like psychological conflict, and as a consequence they do like black-and-white thinking. Despite that, it’s important to target the ideology at intelligent and thoughtful people, because they will be most capable of influencing others. Even so, it’s necessary to have a simpler version of the ideology that even simple people can understand. Care must be taken so that propagandising towards this simpler version doesn’t put the more thoughtful people off.

The most important thing is building a committed core of good people. For this reason one needs to take care who one attacks and who one befriends. The general public should never be blamed, but focus should be placed on the ruling class. Care must be taken not to encourage conflict in the wrong places, because that will lead to more technology. It’s also a mistake for minorities to put members into high positions in government and business, because that will just hasten the absorption of that culture by the system.

For this reason, it’s better for revolutionaries to not try to win power in the democratic system. There is no way to change the system from within without getting co-opted. The collapse of the techno-industrial system will induce short-term suffering, and the politicians will get blamed for it, so best to stay out of the way until such a time as this suffering gets blamed on the shortcomings of the system.

The revolution will have to happen in all nations at the same time. For this reason, it’s better for the world to become interconnected – the hope is that if, for example, America collapses, it will take the rest of the world down with it.

People will not be aided by becoming more passive in the face of the system. Humans have a will to power; this is a fact. This will to power can be better satisfied in primitive conditions, because people will satisfy it by meeting their survival needs.

Technology can be freely employed by revolutionaries, but only if it is directly employed in the destruction of the techno-industrial system. Humans cannot be trusted with technology any more than any alcoholic can be trusted to babysit a bottle of wine. In any case, revolutionaries should have as many children as they can, because anti-technological attitudes will be in some way inherited.

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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: The Criminal Justice System is Not A Treatment Pathway

Of all the terrible arguments made in favour of cannabis prohibition – and there are many – one of the worst is the argument that contends that cannabis prohibition is a good thing because some of the people that get involved in the criminal justice system are incentivised to stop using cannabis. This article will examine the flaws in this logic.

One of the saddest peasant attitudes remaining in our society is the idea that certain people just need a “good kick up the arse” to encourage them to function properly again. The idea seems to be that a “short, sharp shock” of physical abuse can be beneficial to drive dullness from a person’s mind. It’s an abusive attitude that is a remnant of a less enlightened time and, fortunately for the rest of us, it’s dying off.

This attitude finds expression in the idea that getting arrested on account of a cannabis offence could be a good thing, if that led to a person suddenly appreciating the consequences of cannabis use and changing their habits for the better.

There is an element of logic to this line of reasoning. After all, it’s common for young petty criminals to become afraid the first time they encounter some genuine heat from the Police, or the first time they do a custodial sentence and realise that prison isn’t a great deal of fun after all. This fear can, indeed, change behaviour.

But what this approach leaves out is two things.

The first is that many people simply don’t want to stop smoking cannabis, any more than they want to stop playing rugby or buying magazines with Harry and Meghan on the cover. You could instruct the Police to arrest people for playing rugby in the park, on the grounds that their behaviour was recklessly dangerous, but it wouldn’t make it the right thing to do or a good idea. Neither would it stop people from doing it.

Psychologically speaking, it’s hard to declare that you know how another adult should live their lives, and so much better than them, that you can fairly justify setting the Police on them if they don’t do what you say they should do. In another time and place, that degree of coercion would be recognised as slavery, and it’s no wonder that people naturally disobey the cannabis laws today.

So this means that deploying the Police to force people into getting medical treatment for using cannabis (as if that even made sense) will not be effective in the long term. People feel like they have the right to use cannabis, and they will continue to feel as if they have the right, because it’s natural to think it ridiculous that a medicinal plant could be illegal.

It’s possible that Police involvement in a person’s life might reduce their level of cannabis use, but so what? Punching someone in the face for eating a Big Mac might also inspire them to make healthier lifestyle decisions, but that doesn’t mean that the overall benefit of the action outweighs the overall harm.

The second is that there are cases of legitimate medicinal need, and encounters with the criminal justice system are not helpful in cases of medicinal need. Police officers are not qualified doctors and neither can they be. Having them as the first line of dealing with cannabis users makes as much sense as making the Army responsible for it.

The argument refuted in this article is usually made by people who are entirely unaware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. When they become aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis they tend to stop making it. Of course, if a substance really is medicinal then it ought to be something supplied by doctors and pharmacies; the Police should not be needed at any stage.

There may, indeed, be cases where there is a cannabis user who needs psychiatric intervention. After all, there are many instances in which certain strains of cannabis will not be helpful. A person who is acutely psychotic from sleep deprivation doesn’t need a honking high-THC strain that will wire them even tighter.

But even in cases like this, it’s not Police intervention that would be helpful, unless it comes as part of the Mental Health Act or similar and not as part of enforcing the law against the “crime” of cannabis. A person who has mentally disintegrated so far that they need psychiatric intervention is already in a kind of hell. The last thing they need is to encounter law enforcement.

The argument that cannabis users can be persuaded to get treatment for “cannabis abuse” by getting arrested, and then threatened with further attacks from the Justice system, is neither fair for rational. It would be better for cannabis to be made legal and destigmatised, so that people who did need treatment would be more likely to get it. Police involvement is unnecessary.

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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 Case For Cannabis: A Majority Now Want Reform

One of the strongest arguments for cannabis prohibition was that it was what the majority wanted. For better or for worse, we live in a democratic system, which means that the law ought to reflect the collective wisdom of the majority, and opinion polling in Western countries used to favour cannabis prohibition. As this article will examine, that is no longer the case.

It’s true that opinion polls used to favour prohibition. In 1969 only 13% of Americans believed that cannabis should be legal. Only 44% of Americans believed that cannabis should be legal as recently as 2009. By 2018, however, opinion polls now favour legalisation. 66% of Americans now support legal recreational cannabis along the lines of the Colorado model, and the trend line points sharply upwards.

If one goes back 100 years, most people thought that cannabis should be legal anyway, as its medicinal applications were obvious: cannabis prohibition is the experimental condition, and it has failed. So this sharp decrease in prohibitionist sentiment over recent years is really a return to the baseline condition of liberal cannabis sentiment.

The public did consent to the experiment with prohibition, this is true, but this was the result of a naive people believing the lies of politicians beholden to industries that saw cannabis as a competitor. Foremost among these were the timber, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. Being the paid whores that they are, Western politicians happily told lies about how cannabis had no medicinal value and was a dangerous drug, because their sponsors profitted from it.

As a result of these decades of lies, the public has not been accurately informed. As a result of that, they could not make correct decisions. Because politicians have been lying to people for decades about cannabis, there has been a common perception about cannabis that has taken a lot of effort to correct. When the public are accurately informed, things are different.

If people are correctly informed about cannabis, with reference to science, evidence and reality, they almost always come down on the side of legalisation. There is simply no scientific evidence supporting any of the common arguments about cannabis causing violent murders, rapes and general madness. The mid-1990s repeal movement in California associated with Proposition 215 was possibly the first time that a proper public attempt to tell the truth about cannabis had ever been made, and in that instance they came down on the side of legalisation.

As mentioned above, a clear majority of Americans are now in favour of legal cannabis, and something similar can be observed in New Zealand. Although opinion polling about the upcoming cannabis referendum is rudimentary on account of that the actual referendum question is yet to be formulated, what little there is suggests that the pro-cannabis side is already ahead. Probably it will pull further ahead as more positive news comes in from American states that have legalised.

Other opinion polls, asking more specific questions, have returned similar results in New Zealand. A Drug Foundations survey conducted in July found that two-thirds of the country wanted some kind of change to the cannabis laws, although they were not given a clear distinction between legalisation and decriminalisation. It also found that the prohibitionist side was no longer winning the recreational cannabis debate.

The next generation of young people is heavily pro cannabis all over the West, as seen in Understanding New Zealand. McGlashan calculated that the correlation between being under 20 and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was 0.41, whereas the correlation between being aged 65+ and voting for that party was -0.43. This means that the opponents to cannabis law reform are all dying off: after all, society advances one funeral at a time.

What this suggests is that the victory of cannabis law reform is inevitable. The fact is that the majority of anti-cannabis sentiment is held by brainwashed old people who are dying off. There is already a majority in favour of cannabis law reform everywhere, and this will only grow stronger as time progresses and old people who have been conditioned to hate cannabis users die.

Cannabis ought to be legal because a majority of people have now realised that the fears were grossly overblown and they want reform. Cannabis prohibition no longer has the support of the people, and support for it continues to fall. In a short number of years there will only be a remnant of cannabis prohibitionists left, and it might be better to put them out of their misery now.

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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.

Could Fuel Tax Riots Come to New Zealand?

Europe is caught in its heaviest protests since 1968. Ostensibly as a result of fuel taxes, they have become so large that in France some are concerned they may lead to a nationalist revolution, and French President Emmanuel Macron is rumoured to have given orders to send in tanks to quell any unrest this coming weekend. However, there’s more to the story than this – and the reality suggests that these protests might come to New Zealand.

France is a heavily taxed nation – government spending is 56.6% of GDP, compared to 37.4% in America and 48% in New Zealand. This has long been accepted by the French people, because of their high levels of social trust and solidarity, but the whole system is dependent on the will of the average Frenchman to pay into it. The Frenchmen paying taxes were happy to do so because they believed that this tax money was going to help people like them, but this is no longer the case.

Fuel taxes are something that particularly affect working-class white French people, to the benefit of the middle class and the underclass who live in the big cities. People who live in big cities can take public transport or taxis, and in any case don’t have to drive far. Working-class people who have to commute to work often have to drive from small villages or towns to a city somewhere else, sometimes twice every day, and so become heavily affected by any rise in the fuel price.

A large proportion of the New Zealand population still lives rurally or semi-rurally. There is a commonly-cited statistic that suggests that New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, but what this statistic ignores is that our cities are exceptionally sprawling by world standards. So even people who live in cities have to drive a lot as part of everyday life.

Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand that this rural population is much more likely to own cars and to drive to work than to walk or to take public transport. Buses are not an option for the majority of New Zealand’s rural dwellers. There’s more to it than just this, however. These fuel taxes would come as another burden to what is an already heavily discontented working-class rural population, who already feel that the cities are benefitting from the current order at their expense.

If Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party go through with their plans to raise the refugee quota at the same time as raising petrol taxes for the sake of fighting global climate change (or whatever the excuse is), they run the risk of fostering the same kind of discontent that has now erupted in Europe. Although they will deny the connection, the perception will rise among the rural working class that they are being taxed through fuel to pay for the importation of refugees that they didn’t want.

For a working-class white person who already has to see middle-class brown people promoted ahead of him on account of their skin colour, or winning scholarships that he cannot apply for on account of his skin colour, things like fuel taxes are an extra kick in the guts. Despite the attempts of the mainstream media to spin the French protesters as insane anarchists, hooligans and neo-Nazis, the fact is that they belong to the same group of normal, everyday people who have lost out from neoliberalism all over the West.

We already saw some small protests in New Zealand two months ago when the petrol price crept up to $2.40 per litre. As the article linked to in the previous sentence suggests, the Government plans to raise the excise tax on petrol by another 7c over the next two years, primarily to pay for infrastructure projects in Auckland.

This means that the neoliberal Government of Jacinda Ardern is potentially making the same mistakes as the neoliberal Government of Emmanuel Macron.

The Sixth Labour Government certainly seems like it’s willing to raise petrol taxes on the New Zealand rural poor to pay for things like doubling the refugee quota, and for Auckland infrastructure projects that most New Zealanders will see no benefit from. Should this cause the petrol price to get up to $2.40 again – or even higher – then the stage is set for fuel price riots to come to New Zealand as well.

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

VJMP Reads: Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto V

This reading carries on from here.

The next chapter in Industrial Society and Its Future is ‘Control of Human Behaviour’. Having established that invasive control of human behaviour was inevitable given a high enough level of technology within a society, Kaczynski now turns to the question of how that behaviour is controlled.

Pressures to control human behaviour have arisen from the beginning of civilisation. When civilisations try to control people so tightly that those people go beyond the limits of their endurance and collapse, then that society will also collapse. Human nature therefore limited the development of human society, but technology threatens to change this by making it possible to change humans.

The passage “Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction?” reads as extremely prescient for 1995. Kaczynski was writing at the start of the Prozac wave, but the trend has worsened severely, with as many as a quarter of some populations on a psychiatric drug at any one point in time. It can be said, therefore, that he predicted the current state of widespread dismay and despair.

Psychiatric drugs are not so much medicines as they are ways of postponing the collapse of society. “In effect, antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.” With a strong sense of irony, Kaczynski notes that the system is often doing the individual a favour when it brainwashes him into submission, because the alternative is destruction. Likewise, the definition of “child abuse” changes depending on which childrearing techniques produce results the system wants, and which do not.

The social disruption we see today is the result of what the system has done to people. This can lead to a totalitarianism that arrives after a number of steps, each one an apparently necessary reaction to a social problem, often with a humanitarian justification. We will probably have to contend with widespread genetic engineering for this reason. The system tends to regard as a “sickness” any mode of behaviour that is inconvenient for it, and therefore that manipulating people to fit in is a “cure”.

In ‘Human Race At A Crossroads’, Kaczynski points out that the system is not in control over everyone. Although it has total control over those who could be termed ‘bourgeois’, there are still many different kinds of disaffected rebel groups. The main concern of the system is to make these people docile so that they can no longer threaten. With this achieved, technology can then expand to take over everything on Earth. Human resistance will be impotent.

A total collapse of the technological system would give humanity the chance to start again. Kaczynski concludes that those who hate the industrial-technological system have two major duties: the first to increase the stresses within the technological system so as to hasten its collapse, the second to develop an alternative ideology that can serve to order a new world when it does.

The last chapter in this section is ‘Human Suffering’. Kaczynski was able to note, even in 1995, that the world’s population has become overblown on account of the technological system, and a collapse of the system would shortly be followed by a collapse in that population. This might entail much suffering in the short term, but this is less than the suffering that would arise if the system was allowed to grow even bigger. In any case, some consider dignity and freedom more important than merely avoiding suffering.

It is far from clear that the collapse of the industrial system would lead to less suffering anyway. Technology has meant that natural controls on population have been removed, which has resulted in a population explosion and all the suffering ensuing from that. Our relationship to Nature has been destroyed, and this is before we account for the effects of future problems like climate change.

Technophiles are unwilling to admit that when a technology comes and makes great changes to a society, this results in many other changes further down the line. For instance, agricultural advances that solve the problem of poverty merely lead to overpopulation, which leads to new problems of stress and aggression. This is an easily predictable problem, and there are many, many others that are not as predictable.

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Mental Illness is a Political Concept, Not a Medical One

Many people live under the glib assumption that mental illness is a subject that the experts have got a good handle on. These experts, through the wisdom gleaned from decades of studying human behaviour in a myriad of contexts, have made a clear distinction between mentally ill and mentally healthy behaviours and thoughts, and can apply this accurately in a clinical setting. We are told that this distinction is objective and scientific, but the reality is that who is crazy and who isn’t depends more on fashion – and who is in power – than on science.

Take the example of homosexuality. Sexual attraction to people of the same gender was considered a mental illness as recently as the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. By this, it was meant that same-sex attraction was a mental defect that could be diagnosed and, if need be, treated. Some would say that we’ve evolved past such a mentality, and this author would not disagree, but with a caveat: we could easily make homosexuality illegal again.

All it would take would be a strong cultural shift towards a family-oriented kind of folk conservatism, and for it once again to be fashionable to be against homosexuals, and the herd could easily come to take it for granted once again that homosexuality should be illegal. If a popular celebrity made arguments against homosexuality on national television, the masses would soon be turned against it. Some arguments against homosexuality are perennial, and will inevitably become fashionable again, like the appeal to naturalism.

The appeal to naturalism is a common argument against homosexuality. It contends that, because both a male and a female are necessary for an act of sexual intercourse to have any chance of resulting in reproduction, only this arrangement of sexes is natural. Two people of the same sex engaging in sexual intercourse cannot produce a child and is therefore unnatural, and this is therefore immoral, in the same way that having sex with animals or the pre-pubescent cannot produce children and is therefore immoral.

One could fairly argue that there are a number of fallacies in this line of reasoning, but that’s not the point. The point is that, as long as the appeal to naturalism holds some sway among people, there is a chance that it could become fashionable again such that the masses came to accept it as obvious. If one looks at the world, and at the history of it, it’s apparent that homosexuality, like feminism and the use of certain drugs, is a fashion that waxes and wanes according to historical cycles.

The same thing is true of other conditions now considered to be mental illnesses. The case of schizophrenia is another example of where politics trumps medicine. No-one knows what schizophrenia and psychosis really are: psychosis is said to be the loss of touch with reality, but there is no universal, objective way of knowing what reality is. What is commonly accepted as reality is something that varies greatly from place to place and from time to time, even among people who are all committed to the scientific method.

No-one really understands why some people are crazy, but if a person doesn’t work, they need a doctor to declare them mentally unhealthy if they want to go on welfare. Sounds straightforward, but if an incoming conservative government wants to trim the number of people on welfare for psychiatric reasons by 10%, then the psychiatrists will select the 10% of their current patients that they feel have the best chance of making it and declare them to be mentally healthy. That they are the same as before doesn’t matter – the important thing is that the politics have changed.

For political reasons, all responsibility and blame for a person suffering a mental illness has to be shifted back onto either genetics or the person themselves. The environment is seldom to blame, but if it ever is, it is the fault of the parents and the home environment, never the fault of the rulers and the social environment. Depression is never caused by society being depressing. Anxiety is never caused by society being anxiogenic. What causes mental illness is bad genes, doing drugs or some kind of quasi-mystical spiritual failure, but never the misarrangement of society.

Some will say that mental illness demonstrates a failure to adapt to society. Fair enough, but the problem with this is that society is grossly unhealthy. For many tens of millions of people, the pressure of trying to fit into a society as fucked up as this one has pushed them beyond the limits of their psychological endurance. Their major problem is that society does not, and never will, recognise the part that it has played in making people mentally ill, because this would be a political error. This obstinance only serves to drive more people insane.

At the end of the day, it’s politicians that that people take orders from, and not research psychologists, and so doctors who have to deal with mental illness have to use the framework laid down for them by politicians. These politicians have not been able to resist the temptation to play around with the definitions of mental illness for the sake of achieving their political goals. Unfortunately, this meddling has become so severe that the concept of mental illness is now more political than it is medical.

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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).