VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger IV

This reading continues on from here.

The tenth essay in Ride The Tiger is called ‘Invulnerability – Apollo and Dionysus’. Here Evola further describes his conception of an aristocrat of the soul as someone who feels very deeply and who is very moved by things. The modern man (the man of clay, essentially), only feels very shallow emotions, and quickly moves from one such shallow impression to the next.

In this essay, Evola touches on the truly aristocratic topic of deliberately exposing oneself to great trials and tribulations, for the sake of learning one’s true nature. Alchemists will recognise this mentality as the one necessary to burn away everything but the gold so as to learn to distinguish Spirit from Nature. The purifying fire is that which burns away body and mind and leaves one with one’s true nature – it is necessary because it burns away everything shallow, leaving only actions which arise from the depths.

A person who has done this may find themselves gifted with a “transcendent confidence” that is characteristic of the aristocrat of the soul. This is important because in purifying oneself down to the gold one also strips away all of the conditioned belief in life’s meaning. To proceed past this stage, the alchemist must find within themselves the will to assert a meaning to life independent of any outside source. Then one is invulnerable.

To open oneself without falling apart is not easy in an age of dissolution. Here Evola takes care to point out that it’s very easy to fall at the second hurdle. Just because mainstream religion is bullshit doesn’t mean that we should abandon it for wild paganism and barbarianism. There is more.

The eleventh essay is called ‘Acting Without Desire – The Causal Law’. Once a person discovers their true nature, they should also learn the ability to act without desire. This entails taking the correct action at any given time instead of becoming distracted by profit or loss, or by what other people might think of you. Doing what needs to be done.

This needs to be qualified, however. There are naturalistic desires, that arise from the biology of the human animal. These are generally to be avoided. There are also, however, heroic desires, that arise from something greater than the merely physical, from something transcendent. These may be acted upon.

An aristocratic person, then, thinks not in terms of sin but in terms of error. The concept of sin is impossible because God has long been repudiated; all that remains is adherence to standards that one sets from within as an expression of one’s true nature.

One ought to act with a mind to what is effectively a law of karma, in that actions have consequences, regardless of whether those actions conform to any conception of good or evil. Those consequences are real and should be regarded as such. This is fine because the real man of gold doesn’t just live, but rather manifests himself and his true nature in the world.

This is the end of the second part of the book. The next part is called ‘The Dead End of Existentialism’, and the first essay here is the book’s twelfth: ‘Being and Inauthentic Existence’. This deals with the two types of existentialism (as Evola sees it): the philosophical, academic tradition and the practical tradition exemplified by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Evola dismisses existentialism almost entirely, for the reason that the existentialist philosophers are too much a product of their times, and because they are not themselves interested in the world beyond. The existentialists are very materialistic and this disqualifies existentialism from being a philosophy that an aristocrat might be concerned with.

Despite this, existentialism can be credited with some things. For one, the idea that “existence precedes essence” serves to keep the existentialist in touch with the metaphysical and transcendent. It also helps to highlight the dual nature of the aristocratic soul, which, as described earlier, is much deeper than that of the pleb.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger III

This reading continues on from here.

The sixth essay in Ride The Tiger is called “Active Nihilism – Nietzsche”, and continues to deal with the problem of the Death of God. Also continuing with the esoteric theme of this book, Evola appears to insist that the solution is alchemical. The negative is overwhelming and ascendant; it cannot be resisted. So the question becomes “how far the negative can be transformed into something positive.”

Here we are concerned with “the transition to the postnihilist stage.” Modern man is free, free from the strictures of Abrahamism – but free for what? We have striven against our enslavement for so long that we don’t know what to do with freedom. We invented God to assuage our existential anxiety, and, now that we are “free” from this God, that anxiety has rushed back with a vengeance. Evola cites Sartre here: “We are condemned to be free.”

Evola contends that Nietzsche’s conception of the Superman is not sufficient to avoid this nihilism. His reasoning is that the Superman theory is not sufficiently different from the other eschatologies, such as the Marxist one, and therefore cannot be more than a pseudosolution to the problem of nihilism.

As was true for Marxism, the Superman theory could potentially be used to justify all manner of horrors in the present by promising paradise in the future. However, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence strikes much closer to what might be described as a perennial philosophy.

The seventh essay is called “Being Oneself.” It seems as if that, once the pseudosolutions and outright false philosophies are abandoned, what one is left with is oneself. This something is beyond morality (indeed, morality is considered something to be liberated from), and internal, instead of imposed from without as if by God or King.

Nietzsche comes in for some criticism here. Evola considers his attitude to the human spirit “materialistic”, but concedes that Nietzsche must have seen beyond because he is capable of distinguishing the “Self” from the “I”. Other thinkers, such as Guyau, are considered, but dismissed for not offering anything truly new, merely “restrictions that more or less return to one οf the systems οf the old morality.”

Evola concludes that the answer, as ever, is to “Know Thyself”. However, there’s a caveat. In the past, it was easier to know thyself because one was defined by strictures of class, religion, nation, caste and many other things. Modern man is free, so he cannot fall back on these now-abandoned strictures.

Modern man is, in fact, so free that it is as if he has been shattered to pieces. His soul “contains multitudes”. This shattering, Evola contends, can be most easily observed in remorse, which is an emotion that mostly affects divided people and which is characteristic of our time.

The eighth essay is called “The Transcendent Dimension – ‘Life’ and ‘More Than Life'”. The man who gets it, Evola contends, is one who possesses a transcendental dimension, a spiritual dimension. Here he distances himself further from Nietzsche, who for Evola was more of a vessel that history acted through than a genuine actor in his own right. Nietzsche’s great error was “confusion of the sacred with the profane”.

Evola, through quoting Nietzsche, gives us a prescription for a man of gold, although without using alchemical terms: a many who has great passions (clay), but who holds them in check (iron), and who hold them in check with apparent ease (silver) and who, last of all, does not draw any particular egoic satisfaction from doing so (gold). Here, the highest sort of man is one who overcomes great dangers, for it is only in doing so that all these qualities can be expressed.

Evola mentions the common interest in Zen philosophy among the Beat Generation that was heavily influenced by the existentialists. Here, religious belief (of any kind) is rejected as a failure of the human spirit, of the sort of person who did not have the character to survive the tension of the Age of Nihilism, and who hence surrendered to easy answers.

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VJMP Reads: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger II

This reading continues on from here.

Part II of Ride the Tiger is called ‘In the World Where God is Dead’, and deals with the ever-present problem of the nihilism that arises when one abandons traditional values. This part consists of nine essays.

The first of these (the third essay in the book), ‘European Nihilism – the Dissolution of Morals’, sets the tone for this section. The subject matter will be familiar to any reader of Nietzsche, and indeed Nietzsche is mentioned in the first paragraph. This essay also mentions Doestoevsky, in the context of “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” It promises to be heavy stuff!

“Rational”, or atheistic morality, has no firm basis, Evola contends. Without an appeal to a higher power, any moral philosophy will eventually be chipped away at by critics until it disintegrates. Moral taboos cannot be justified, and therefore we can’t move past “everything is permitted”.

Perhaps more worryingly, it’s possible that, even if God did exist and inform us all, nothing would really change.

The fourth essay is ‘From the Precursors of Nihilism to the “Lost Youth” and the Protest Movement’. Existence has become absurd, Evola contends, because there are no longer any restraints. Here he traces the advancement of nihilism in the years post-Nietzsche. As Nietzsche predicted, the problem of nihilism only intensified as we entered the 20th century.

Movements such as punks and beatniks are drawn under the wider rubric of nihilists. The counter-culture becomes, for Evola, a “destructive, voiceless rage”. It’s isn’t necessarily that things are bad in and of themselves, but that a quiet, peaceful, mediocre life evokes this rage. Natural man feels little difference between the modern cornucopia of manufactured goods and slavery.

Citing Paul van den Bosch when he wrote that “When we were born, the gold was already transmuted into lead,” Evola makes another appeal to the perennial philosophy and its esoteric nature. This is necessary because the left-wing revolution has “betrayed its origins” with “a new conformism” – a statement that echoes in 2018.

The fifth essay is ‘Disguises of European Nihilism – The Socioeconomic Myth and the Protest Movement’. To Evola’s mind, there are two great socioeconomic myths of our time: the myth of Western prosperity, and the Marxist-communist myth of oppressor versus oppressed. Both myths are predicated on the same falsehood, namely that the signs and markers of the dissolution of society represent “progress”.

One severe problem exists with both of these myths: neither has any room for any conception of a higher world – the realm of gold in alchemism – and so both myths, while they solve the problem of nihilism, introduce unacceptable problems of their own. Both ideologies are predicated on a gross, fundamental error: that solving questions of material suffering will also solve questions of existential suffering.

Perhaps the last words here are “there is no correlation between material and spiritual misery.” This lays out the futility of trying to find absolution through materialist avenues. One is left with the impression, in Evola’s words, that “The time is near of the most despicable οf men, who can nο longer despise himself.”

Are we now in the time of the Man of Clay?

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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: Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger I

Having chosen a left-wing work (The Interregnum) for our previous reading, we now go to the right again and have a look at Julius Evola’s Ride the Tiger. Subtitled “A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul”, it’s based on the premise that the fight against modernity has been lost and the only thing a thinking man can do is ride the tiger of modernity until it’s time to rebuild on the other side.

Part I of the eight parts of this book is called “Orientations” and divides into two essays.

The first of these is called ‘The Modern World and Traditional Man’. This opens outright with a declaration that this text isn’t for everyone. Like The Satanic Bible, Evola is explicit in that his book is only for a particular kind of person. Ride the Tiger is written for the outsider.

Evola’s style seems timeless in the sense that his complaints about the nature of society apply just as well to 2018 as they did to his time, and probably apply well to many times in the past. Things are collapsing, certainly in social terms if not yet physical ones, and so Evola advocates a return to traditional values.

These traditional values are not bourgeoisie ones, Evola is at pains to point out, but in fact “the very antithesis of them.” Indeed, he hints at evoking the perennial philosophy, such as when he writes “It is good to sever every link with all that which is destined sooner or later to collapse. The problem will then be to maintain one’s essential direction without leaning οn any given or transmitted form.”

Psychonauts such as the readership of VJM Publishing will commiserate with this feeling, as it’s a handy description of the ego death experience that comes with the peak of a psychedelic trip. One loses all touch with and memory of the fleeting forms of energy that make up the material world, and resides solely in pure consciousness, and thereby reunites with God.

Fittingly, then, Evola states that the Tradition that inspires him has “the character of an esoteric doctrine.”

The second essay, ‘The End of a Cycle – “Ride the Tiger”‘, continues in the same vein. Evola explains that the expression “to ride the tiger” is from the Far East and refers to the idea that it’s safer to ride on the tiger’s back than to try and flee and get pounced on, for the tiger will eventually tire out and then one can make an escape.

Essentially, the idea expressed here is this: great and terrible changes are sweeping the world, and will continue to do so. They will destroy much, if not all, of the existing order, regardless of whether this order is good or bad. There is no hope of resisting this process.

All of this sounds terribly pessimistic and nihilistic on the surface, but it’s clear that, like Nietzsche before him, Evola has anticipated the nihilism that follows the destruction of the incumbent value system, and is speaking of what must come beyond that. He writes of the “Four Ages” system famililar to readers of Plato’s Republic as well as to Hindus.

The warning of this chapter is that the forces of destruction and degeneracy are too powerful to be overcome; resisting them is as futile as resisting the tide. But in this there is still a message of hope: those destructive forces are too mindless, stupid and disorderly to hold sway for very long and so, like the storm, they will pass, and leave an opportunity to rebuild order in their wake.

And so, Evola mocks the “progressive” and “advanced” thinking of the West as little more than symptoms of a disease of the soul. This is apparently the context in which the book ought to be read.

The object of the book is summed up in the final paragraph of this essay: “defining the attitude to be taken toward certain experiences and processes of today”. In other words, how do we deal with the fact that everything’s falling to bits?

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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: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand X

This reading carries on from here.

The tenth, and last, essay in The Interregnum is ‘Politics of Love’, by Max Harris. Like the other essays in this collection, it speaks from an unashamed youth perspective, such as when Harris complains of the “stale language” of the current political discourse.

This essay is about the politics of love, and it opens by defining what love is to Harris: “a feeling of deep warmth that is directed outwards towards an object, such as another person.” There is nothing objectionable about his definition of love; indeed it seems fairly comprehensive, especially when he writes that “the idea of love is closely tied to relationships and the connections between people.”

Predictably, given the Marxist leanings of the previous essays in this book, this essay quickly moves on to a declaration that the politics of love would necessitate “a willingness to accept a greater number of refugees.”

But one wonders why it is that emphasising the aspect of love leads naturally to the conclusions that Harris takes it to.

Why not, for example, stop all immigration to New Zealand from the Third World on account of love for the people already in New Zealand, whose living standards drop when Third Worlders move into their locales? Isn’t it entirely possible that my love for the people of New Zealand impels me to want to see them safe from robbery, rape and murder – the crimes that mass Third World immigration has brought to Europe and America?

Doesn’t our love for young New Zealand girls and women drive us to keep them safe from the rampant sexual abuse and harassment that is now part and parcel of the female experience in Europe?

Doesn’t our love for the homeless and mentally ill already in New Zealand drive us to take care of them as a priority, before we spend money importing irreparably damaged people from the other side of the world to jump in front of them in the queue?

Doesn’t our love for the hardworking taxpayer who has busted his back his whole life drive us to ensure that he can retire at a fitting age, instead of having to work into senescence to pay for gibs?

The essay makes a plea for more solidarity, but how is that possible when diversity is also increasing? It points out that New Zealanders already feel disconnected – so how will importing tens of thousands of “refugees” help? It will only add to the ethnic chaos, making us feel even more disconnected.

But Harris, and people like him, would happily call me hateful for asking those questions.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand IX

This reading carries on from here.

The ninth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Religion and the Real World’, by Daniel Kleinsman. It lays out its thematic question in the first paragraph: “does a pope’s ‘apostolic exhortation’ have any weight or relevance in the modern world?”

The scene is set by the usual canards of climate change and inequality. Pope Francis’s recent comments about how the world needs to do its bit to help with such issues is discussed.

Unfortunately, Kleinsman comes across as just another tub-thumper with an agenda. The insight that no relationship exists in isolation is credited to Francis as a “pope’s innovation”, when anyone with even a passing familiarity with comparative religion would know that the interdependence of all things is one of the original insights of the Buddha.

Ironically, even in an essay where Kleinsman has his lips firmly attached to the Pope’s anus, Kleinsman reveals the sham at the heart of Catholicism: the Pope credits evolution with bringing about consciousness, and is therefore a materialist who doesn’t actually understand spirituality.

This essay is poorly-written enough to contradict itself at several major points. The common theme of these contradictions is to demand that the whole world come together in harmony but to also dump all the blame for the condition of the world on a very select group of people.

If we’re all one, what’s the point in promoting this antagonistic dichotomy of “tangata whenua” and “tangata tiriti”, the only possible outcome of which is dividing the population into two opposing groups?

And if we’re all part of an interdependent system, aren’t all of us guilty of upholding and facilitating exploitation – even those being exploited by it?

One wistfully recalls the days when the left stood for solidarity between all people, and when the New Zealand left promoted the idea of Kiwitanga as a way of bridging the gaps between Maori and Pakeha. Now, those who speak the language of unity out of one side of their mouths are seeking to divide the country out of the other by talking about “those who are owed” and “those who owe”.

Kleinsman describes the masculine-oriented language used by Francis as “unhelpful”, but does not mention that the same holy book where Francis is getting all his stories from also commands women to shut up and and be quiet (Timothy 2:12 etc.): “…A woman must learn in quietness and full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first…”

On that line of reasoning, when are we getting a female Pope?

These are questions that the religious will never answer. Theirs is not to reason or to honestly inquire; theirs is to lecture, admonish, guilt trip and harangue. In that, they have something very powerful in common with Marxists, which perhaps hints at a possible alliance this century.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand VIII

This reading carries on from here.

The eighth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Feminism and Silence’, by Holly Walker. Feminism belongs, to most people’s minds, to the sort of thing the left was occupied with before it went crazy. So I’m almost expecting this essay to be relatively conservative compared to the Marxist insanity in much of the rest of the book.

Happily, the basis of this essay is the real-life challenges of a Green MP who found it difficult to combine the demands of her job with the demands of raising a child. This makes a refreshing turn back towards the real world, and the hardships Walker faced in her short time in Parliament are relatable.

Unusually for the essays in this book, Walker’s effort here is honest and disarmingly humble. She writes that “most MPs knew very little about the bills they were speaking on,” and laments that the further she got sucked into the party Parliamentary system, “my ability to share my true thoughts diminished.”

Unfortunately, from there the essay degenerates into the same Marxist politics of antagonism as most of the rest of the book. Walker complains about the proportion of female MPs being too low at 29 percent, not stopping for even a second to question whether it needs to be any higher. The equality dogma has choked all other lines of thought out of Walker’s mind.

Indeed, she even goes as far as asking why Parliament can’t just shut down sooner for the sake of making it easier to combine being an MP with being a mother, as if having mothers in Parliament was so important that it was worth sacrificing a major part of the Government’s efficiency and effectiveness for. The cynic will note that MPs taking a pay cut to reflect the drastic reduction in work hours is not proposed here.

Walker hits the right note when she writes “Let’s unstitch the neoliberal, individualistic mindset we’ve all internalised,” but it’s not easy to see how this essay, or this book, ultimately contributes to that. Neoliberalism and Cultural Marxism work hand-in-hand in that they both serve to divide and conquer the people and to set them against each other to be more readily exploited by an international ruling class, so it’s not credible to argue against neoliberalism from a Marxist perspective.

The essay ends with the author declaring that she spent an entire year reading only words written by women. From the perspective of the eternal victimhood of the female this is no doubt a victory; from the perspective of a working-class man watching his university opportunities dwindle ever-further, as women are assisted to take his place despite already being a clear majority of university students, it seems obscene.

In summary, this piece is very similar to most of the other efforts in the book. It’s clearly written from a privileged, middle-class perspective, despite claiming to speak for the disadvantaged, and it furthers the divide-and-conquer narrative of globalism while claiming to oppose it.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand VII

This reading carries on from here.

The seventh essay in The Interregnum is ‘Contributing to Public Life From Afar’, by Lamia Imam. If the essays so far had mostly managed to be worryingly Marxist without being alarmingly so, this essay leaps right into the deep end with no restraints at all.

In an effort that stretches credibility beyond breaking point, Imam complains about the difficulty she has found being accepted by New Zealanders as one of our own, despite literally being an anchor baby who spent almost all of her formative years overseas.

Echoing the complaints of Golriz Ghahraman, who also spent most of her formative years overseas being raised by non-Kiwis, Imam describes being born in New Zealand only to move away with her parents while still a toddler, only to wonder why she isn’t welcomed with open arms when she decides that she is a New Zealander many years later when she briefly returns to study (before shifting off again).

The question she does not confront is: why should Kiwis form close social bonds with people who are liable to up and leave the country forever, rendering that social investment worthless? If a person has all of their family overseas, and are themselves getting educated overseas, the likelihood of them still being here in 25 years is very low, at least in comparison to anyone else.

Really this essay should be seen for what it is, which is an effort to destroy the social bonds between New Zealanders for the sake of making us more easily exploitable by the international globalist class of which Imam is a member. To this end, it uses a number of globalist rhetorical devices that have previously been successfully employed towards the destruction of the Western working class.

One of the most obvious of these is crying about the “racism” she has faced on account of being Muslim (which is, of course, not a race). Another is the astonishing claim that people who don’t consider her to sound like a Kiwi on account of her admitted lack of a Kiwi accent are “ignorant”.

Claiming to be “hyper-aware of her privilege”, Imam appears to make no effort whatsoever to understand the thinking of the New Zealanders she claims to be her countryfolk. Relating an incident where a highly distressed man at a Community Law Centre “started screaming at me about immigrants, and specifically Muslims… ruining his job prospects,” absolutely zero effort is made to commiserate with one of the many Kiwis who have lost out from globalism.

Instead she complains that “acceptance was hard to come by,” as if the rest of us ought to have been grateful for the presence of a Muslim immigrant – a sight that has heralded the impending destruction of communities and nations all around the world for 1,300 years.

It seems that, according to Imam, Kiwis no longer have the right to decide for themselves what a Kiwi is. That can apparently now be decided by people who have lived three years of their life in New Zealand and who do not have Kiwi ancestors. Now you can just step off a plane and say you’re a Kiwi and that’s as good as anyone else can do.

As a reader I wondered how welcoming Imam would be if I turned up at the funeral of a wealthy family member, declared myself to be one of their tribe and demanded a share of the family fortune? Would I also find that “acceptance was hard to come by”?

In the end, I gave up when I read “Ordinary Kiwis supposedly do not care about identity politics, which suggests to me that they don’t have an identity.” No-one who, while claiming to be a Kiwi, writes something that stupid is worth reading.

In summary, this poorly-written effort rambles, does not employ logic and frequently contradicts itself, but the essay does raise many questions that are yet to be meaningfully discussed in the West, such as: who are we allowed to exclude?

Answering those question is not for The Interregnum. This book that preaches inclusivity as the highest of virtues has expressly excluded right-wing and working-class voices.

Fair enough on excluding the right-wing, if one wants to restrict the dialogue to the voices of the young, but why provide a platform for a jetsetting middle-class professional woman while denying a platform to working-class white people? It seems very strange that a book can claim to be speaking for the underdog but deny that underdog the right to speak about the issues that are causing them to suffer.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand VI

This reading carries on from here.

The sixth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Radical Kaupapa Maori Politics’ by Carrie Stoddart-Smith. Turning to maoridictionary.co.nz I discover that kaupapa means, in this context, something like ‘agenda’ (indeed, within the first page it has been defined as “something like first principles”), but the essay itself explores the various definitions of ‘Kaupapa Maori’.

At the core of this essay is the question that Maori have been asking themselves for 200 years. To what extent to we cling to the old ways, and to what extent to we abandon them for the sake of adaptation to a world that is different to what it was when the old days arose?

Many mainstream readers, conditioned to mainstream journalism, will find the tone of this essay jarring, as it is heavy on the kind of guilt-based sermon-style rhetoric that so many have learned to manipulate otherwise well-meaning audiences with.

It’s also full of the unnecessary race-baiting and shit-stirring that has become associated with the American style of race rhetoric, such as when Stoddart-Smith justifies the exclusion of non-Maori with “empowering Maori voices that continue to be silenced by the noise of history, and by the protestations of white New Zealand that insist on shouting us down and shutting us out.”

Unfortunately this dishonest, deliberately aggravating style of rhetoric is a throwback to the Cultural Marxism espoused in the introductory essay. Only “white New Zealand” is the enemy; the fact that Asian and Pacific Islander New Zealanders think much less of Maoris than white people do, not having had two centuries of living together, is ignored on account of not fitting the narrative (the fact that Asians and Pacific Islanders are harder to guilt trip may also be a factor).

It’s a shame that a confrontational and antagonistic stylistic approach was taken, because there’s plenty of philosophical value in this essay. In particular, Stoddart-Smith draws multiple parallels between kaupapa Maori and the anarchist philosophy of mutualism.

After all, pre-European contact Maori did not have a central government, and as a consequence they adapted to learn patterns of mutual support that helped them and their neighbours to survive. In some cases the agreements over which tribe had the rights to access what were very sophisticated and complicated, but the important thing was that they were mutually consensual, in contrast to today’s arrangement where representatives of the Queen enforce the law whether people like it or not.

If this side of things had been emphasised, this could have been a good essay. Unfortunately it’s full of common separatist canards like “colonialism embedded patriarchy in tikanga Maori” and the revisionist attempt to ignore He iwi tahi tatou, as if the historical nature of interactions between Maori and British settlers had been entirely involuntary on the part of the Maori, rather than mutually beneficial.

One feels that a sophisticated approach to redressing the historical wrongs done to the Maori people, and this essay falls a long way short of that. It is, however, a good example of Marxist agitprop.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand IV

This reading carries on from here.

The fourth essay in The Interregnum is ‘Climate Change and Just Transition’ by Edward Miller. Keeping with the theme of the book so far, Miller describes himself as “a political activist with a keen interest in global justice,” and declares the enemy as “the deeply held commitment of large businesses and governments to maintaining economic growth at all costs.”

Miller laments that neoliberalism has made conditions worse for the “most vulnerable of society,” and it is for them who Miller claims to speak. There is already a problem with this, as anyone who has spent time around the most vulnerable of society would know, and it’s that people with pressing, immediate problems couldn’t care less about things like “global justice”.

Writing of the need to sacrifice economic growth for the sake of lowering our carbon emissions, Miller suggests that he is completely engrossed in the bubble of middle-class privilege, like many Green supporters. The practical reality is that sacrificed economic growth means workers getting fired, hours being cut, health care being postponed or cancelled, and children going hungry – considerations often lost on the young and carefree.

Action on climate change is described as something “we so desperately need” – further evidence that Miller lives in an echo chamber. What we need are better wages, better houses, and better attitudes to mental healthcare and to child abuse. Problems with proximate causes and clear solutions. Focusing on problems with clear solutions will all us to ensure that our energies are not wasted from virtue signalling about issues we cannot affect.

Much like other commentators in this book so far, Miller attacks neoliberalism as if it was an evil that sprang from nowhere upon an unsuspecting world in the mid 1980s. This is perhaps to be expected of young writers who are yet to comprehend that history and the world existed before they were born, and were not things discovered by them.

But it’s difficult to take seriously a work that does not place neoliberalism in its context of the complete collapse of the Soviet Union and the West’s increasing awareness that Communism had directly led to the starvation of tens of millions of people. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Communism appeared to the world as a monstrous evil that had, after almost half a century, finally been defeated. It was natural that things move in the direction away from it.

Almost certainly, this movement away from Communism went too far, as political movements tend to do, and so neoliberalism does need to be balanced. But we don’t need to balance it with economic and social policies that have established historical precedents of failure.

The idea of returning the means of production to the masses via an unelected ideological elite that purports to speak for those masses is known to be suicidal, but Miller avoids this easy fantasy, making a successful point when he promotes the idea of a universal basic income by means of the Government printing money.

Unfortunately, the fate of those other men who have proposed debt-free Government-backed money (McKinley, Lincoln, Hitler, Kennedy, Gadaffi) is ignored here. Perhaps this book is not thick enough for the kind of investigation necessary for such a thing.