Banning The Great Replacement Manifesto Violates The NZ Bill of Rights Act

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, the country has been forced to endure the Great New Zealand Chimpout. This has involved everyone losing their minds, and over-reacting in ways that they may later come to regret. One of these over-reactions was to ban Branton Tarrant’s Great Replacement Manifesto, an action which was – as this article will show – a violation of the basic rights of New Zealanders.

The idea of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act is ostensibly to “affirm, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in New Zealand”. Supposedly based on the American model of inherent human rights, the NZ Bill of Rights Act is said to guarantee the rights of Kiwis and delineate areas in which the Government cannot take freedoms away.

However, the New Zealand Government has just violated this. In deciding to ban the possession of a copy of Tarrant’s manifesto, the Government violated Section 14 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act, which states:

14 Freedom of expression

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

This states, perfectly clearly, that New Zealanders have the right to seek the Great Replacement Manifesto, to receive the Great Replacement Manifesto, and to impart (share) the Great Replacement Manifesto. Consequently, the actions of the New Zealand Government to ban this document are illegal, and are a violation of the human rights of New Zealanders.

So why did they do this?

The Government doesn’t want anyone becoming aware of its failures. Like the psychopathic narcissists they are, politicians are incapable of admitting that they are ever wrong. Therefore, they are incapable of admitting what every working-class Kiwi already knows: that mass immigration has greatly enriched the already wealthy, at the expense of the already poor.

What they really, really don’t want is other working-class people realising that the demographic trajectory of New Zealand appears to be taking them on a path towards Brazil, and then South Africa, and then Haiti. Because, if they do realise this, then the Government either has to take action to prevent it (which will put them offside with their masters in banking and industry), or risk more mass shootings as the position of the working class continues to decline.

Much better to kick the can down the road, and just try not to talk about it, like we did with drug law reform, euthanasia law reform, climate change etc. Otherwise, someone has to point out that the emperor has no clothes. The fear that the charade might soon be over has led to a state of panic among New Zealand’s ruling class.

This atmosphere of panic, coupled with the unusually large number of weaklings in the highest reaches of Government, is why there has been an over-reaction like this. Most New Zealanders are still running around like headless chickens, and in their submission have accepted that the Government can take away any rights it sees fit.

Moreover, there’s a set precedent that the Government can violate the Bill of Rights Act and no-one cares. As a previous article here has pointed out, psychiatrists already violate the Bill of Rights Act by forcing medical treatment on people who have explicitly withdrawn their consent. This has even gone as far as electroshock treatment, but only alt-media sources like VJM Publishing are interested in taking up the issue.

What needs to happen is twofold. The Government first needs to quietly make Tarrant’s manifesto legal for people to read. Second, it needs to address the concerns raised in the manifesto in a more honest and respectful manner than just screaming about “white supremacism”. After all, the bulk of the concerns about the effects of mass Third World immigration are held just as strongly by Maoris as by white people.

If the indigenous people of New Zealand don’t want to be replaced by overseas sources of cheap labour, then this has to be acknowledged and addressed. If they believe that maintaining some level of ethnic homogeneity is better than full globohomo, then this has to be acknowledged and addressed. If they believe that the past conduct of certain ethnic and religious groups is so poor that we would be better off keeping those groups out of the country, this too needs to be acknowledged and addressed.

An honest conversation with the New Zealand working class has been needed since the imposition of neoliberalism. True courage, and true leadership, would see it happen soon. The New Zealand Government has to speak honestly to the people about their vision for the nation. It cannot end suffering by banning information and sending the Police to harass any Kiwi who speaks freely.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

A Sevenfold Conception of Inherent Human Rights

In this age of tyranny and chaos, many people have lost their natural understanding of the inherent rights of human beings. Many of us have strayed so far from reality, and drifted so far into slave morality, that we honestly believe that rights are granted by the goodwill of the Government. This essay will argue that human rights are not only inherent, and necessary for any civilisation to exist, but also that they are sevenfold, at three different levels of resolution.

To understand our inherent rights, it is necessary to turn to a philosophy that accurately describes reality. We do so here with reference to elementalism, in particular the hierarchy of the four masculine elements. The four masculine elements are clay, iron, silver and gold, in ascending order of rarity and value.

Clay is the most fundamental of the masculine elements, and represents the feminine realm of Nature. In this sense, it represents the rights relating to a person’s life, their right to life and their right to self-ownership. Inherent human rights in the realm of clay means that people inherently have the right to life.

Applying the paradigm of clay to human rights tells us that the State does not have the right to kill its citizens, and neither may it claim right over a person’s body without that person’s consent. The Government may not use the people for medical experimentation, and neither may they be conscripted, whether as soldiers or labourers.

More specifically, the Government ought not to levy taxes on basic food produce, and neither should they interrupt the right of people to gather food and water from the wilderness, because both processes are essential for life. Some would go as far as to argue that the State ought to supply a universal basic income to compensate for the imposition of private property.

Iron is the next most fundamental element, and refers to the masculine realm of war and defence. Inherent human rights in the realm of iron means that people inherently have the right to physical self-defence. They have the right to own and carry weapons, both to protect their own person and their home. They also have the right to expect that the State will act to defend the physical integrity of the nation, and that it will act to protect their private property.

It is also recognised here that the people themselves are the ultimate guarantor of their rights. The realm of iron is the realm of masculine wisdom, and here it is understood that the Government is not always the friend of the people, and is all too often its enemy. Being wisdom, and not excess, there are limits here: people may only harm others if those others are posing a direct, immediate and actionable threat.

Anarcho-homicidalism is enshrined as a right under the realm of iron. The people are never obliged to be slaves – this right is absolute and fundamental. Therefore, they have the right to take any measures necessary to resist enslavement – up to, and including, killing their enslavers. The point at which it is necessary to do so is a question for the people themselves, and never a question for their government.

Silver is the first of the precious masculine elements, and refers to the realm of the mind and intellect. Inherent human rights in the realm of silver means that people inherently have the right to pursue and to discuss the truth. This is otherwise known as the “right to free inquiry” because it is in the nature of gentlemen, when their baser duties are discharged, to discuss such things.

This implies that the rights of the people to freely research, read, discuss and impart information shall not be restricted, except in cases where there is an immediate risk of physical suffering (i.e. incitement of violence). People must always have the right to gather to discuss subjects and to impart information to each other. The State has no right to interfere with a person’s life because they expressed a certain piece of information, whether fact or opinion.

These rights mean that institutions like the Office of Chief Censor are to immediately be abolished. Nothing is to be censored, however certain information might be classified as unsuitable for some audiences, in that exposure to it may cause them harm. Note that, with the realm of iron, there are limits to rights here: the right to free speech does not legalise fraud, nor outright lying for the sake of defamation.

Gold is the most precious of the masculine elements, and refers to the realm of consciousness and God. Because God is more fundamental than language, and therefore cannot be spoken of, it’s not easy to speak about what inherent rights a person has in the realm of gold. Like gold, these rights are precious, and sometimes very rare. In principle, the paradigm of gold here relates to the rights to religious and spiritual freedom.

Inherent human rights in the realm of gold means that people inherently have the right to conduct any ritual, and to consume any spiritual sacrament, that they believe will get them closer to God. These rights are subject to the three more fundamental rights, in that they cannot infringe on any other person’s free speech (i.e. no blasphemy laws), they cannot infringe on any other person’s bodily integrity (i.e. no infant genital mutilation) and they cannot infringe on any other person’s right to life (i.e. no convert or die).

This means that the State has absolutely no right to restrict the consumption and sharing of spiritual sacraments such as cannabis, psilocybin and DMT. No-one has to go through a court and argue that these substances are part of any recognised religious tradition – they simply have the inherent right to use them. Citizens inherently have the right to take any action they feel will bring them closer to God, as long as it does not cause suffering to others.

It is also recognised here that rights are granted by the Will of God, which is more fundamental than the right of any human institution, whether governmental, ecclesiastical, military or otherwise. Therefore, because these rights are granted by God, no such institution can rightly take them away. If it tries to, the people have the right to resist, and they have God’s approval to do so. These rights are inherent to the nature of reality, which is something more fundamental than human governments.

There is another layer behind these four masculine elements. It could be said that, in the same way that the four masculine elements divide into base and precious, so too do our rights divide into a base right that can easily be understood by all people, no matter their intellect, and a precious right that that is harder to grasp but which must be fought for with a determination befitting its value.

The fundamental feminine right, then, relates to the physical world. It is the right to not suffer physically at the hands of the State; the right to physical liberty. What this means in practice can be seen be examining the realms of iron and clay. We can summarise it as the right to bodily integrity, or the right to not have one’s bodily integrity harmed by the State.

The right to physical liberty means that people have the fundamental right to decide how their bodies are used, and what goes into them, and what stays in them – this is known as the Base Right because even animals intuitively understand it. The State does not have the right to impede the physical security or harm the physical integrity of its citizens, whether at the group or individual level. Neither does it have the right to impede their access to territory, unless suffering should be caused by doing so.

In practice, this means that the State does not have the right to interfere with the reproductive rights of its citizens. It cannot mandate a limit to family size, for example, and neither can it prohibit abortion. Nor can it force vaccinations on people, or any health treatment on people, without their consent – the Base Right forbids it. It also means that people, at the group level, have the right to free assembly.

The fundamental masculine right, on the other hand, relates to the metaphysical world. It is the right not to suffer metaphysically at the hands of the State. What this means in practice can be seen by examining the realms of silver and gold. It can be summarised as the right to metaphysical integrity, or the right to not have one’s metaphysical integrity harmed by the state.

In much the same way that people have the right to decide what goes into their bodies and how their bodies are used, they also have the right to decide what goes into their minds and how their minds are used. This right is called the Precious Right because, like masculinity itself, it isn’t always clearly understood.

It means that people have the right to cognitive liberty. Although much of this is already covered under the realm of silver and its rights to free speech, there is more here. The State may not infringe on the rights of the people to express themselves, and may not interfere with the psychological integrity of its citizens, whether at a group or individual level. Neither may it decide that certain practices are legitimate spiritual ones and others not.

There is a third and final level, a right even more fundamental than the Base and Precious Rights, the seventh right that ties all the others together. It is, simply put, the right not to suffer at the hands of the State. This is known as the Fundamental Right and is to be used as the guiding principle whenever it is not clear how to proceed.

The right not to suffer at the hands of the State underpins all of the Base Right, the Precious Right, the right to life, the right to self-defence, the right to free inquiry and the right to spiritual exploration. The Fundamental Right recognises that the State may not cause suffering to people in any of the physical, metaphysical, spiritual, intellectual, martial or biological realms.

Describing our rights like this, in elemental terms, is now necessary owing to the confusion that has arisen from the meshing together of hundreds of incompatible value systems. Our current governmental models have refused to recognise our rights as human beings, and so it has become necessary for us to rally around a new conception of those rights and to see that it is enforced in the space around us. This sevenfold elemental conception of human rights is the way forward.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Makes the Police Less Effective

Of all of the side-effects of cannabis prohibition, one of the most insidious is the suffering caused to the population by decreased bureaucratic and institutional effectiveness. This occurs across a range of Government agencies, but none as severely as the criminal justice system. As this article will examine, cannabis prohibition makes the Police less effective and less able to do their jobs properly.

A lot of successful Police work depends on input from the community, because the Police frequently rely on tips from people who know about crimes. Criminals aren’t always tight-lipped, and sometimes they talk about their crimes when they shouldn’t (especially to women). Many more crimes get solved as a result of someone who knew the perpetrator ratting them out than as a result of detectives finding clues with magnifying glasses.

This is why reports of crimes in the media frequently come with an appeal from Police to witnesses or anyone who knows the perpetrator to come forward. Realistically, this is the best that the Police can do in many cases. It’s easy to see, then, that policing depends on having good relations with the community, and a sense of mutual trust.

If cannabis is illegal, then any individual cannabis user is going to be very wary of the Police, and for good reason. They will be highly averse to having officers come to their house, and will be highly averse to making contact with the Police. After all, they are criminals themselves.

It’s easy to imagine this from the perspective of a cannabis user. Why would a cannabis user who has just witnessed a crime call the Police, when doing so greatly increases the risk that said cannabis user gets arrested themselves? If the Police want to talk to them, then the cannabis user is going to have to present themselves with no sign that they use cannabis, or risk getting arrested.

This makes the Police less effective because they can no longer rely on the voluntary co-operation of cannabis users. Prohibition shifts people who use cannabis from the set of potential Police allies to the set of Police opponents.

This also isn’t the only way that cannabis makes the Police less effective.

A British study showed that one million manhours of Police time was spent every year on enforcing cannabis prohibition. This accounts for all the arrests, all the time spent booking and processing people and the following up of tips. Adjusting for the size of the country, that suggests that somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 manhours are wasted in this manner every year in New Zealand.

The fact of the matter is that the general Police budget is limited, and the manhours used to enforce cannabis prohibition come out of that general Police budget. So 70,000 hours spent harassing people for cannabis is 70,000 hours not spent following up burglaries, assaults, thefts and the other petty crimes whose enforcement depends on general funding.

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, it emerged that shooter Branton Tarrant had never had his firearms licence checked by the Police. He had come to New Zealand with an Australian firearms licence and used that to purchase weaponry, and at no point was it ensured that he had his firearms safely locked away, or even that he was in a sound mind to own them.

This is not to argue that the Christchurch mosque shootings would have been prevented if cannabis was legal. The point is that Police effectiveness is a matter of correctly apportioning their limited manhours to enforcing the laws of New Zealand. Should they decide that a certain amount of spending is necessary to enforce cannabis prohibition, then they cannot escape the opportunity cost of not having the funding to fully enforce certain other areas.

Cannabis prohibition should be repealed for the sake of making the Police force more effective. Not only would this allow for a decrease in the mistrust held by sections of the population towards the Police, but it would also allow the Police to expend their resources more efficiently, by freeing up at least 70,000 manhours currently wasted on enforcing cannabis prohibition.

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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 Basics of VPN Use, And Why Every Kiwi Needs to Know Them

The aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shooting showed that the New Zealand Government is willing to give away all of our freedoms in its blind panic to clamp down on everything. We Kiwis are going to have to learn how to fight Internet censorship and how to share information despite a Government committed to banning free discussion. This article discusses the basics of VPN use.

‘VPN’ stands for Virtual Private Network. It serves to extend a private network across a public one, so that you virtually access a private network somewhere else in the world. Essentially, a computer somewhere else surfs the Internet on your behalf, and then sends the data directly to your computer. The point of this is primarily to circumvent government censorship and corporate geo-restrictions.

It’s like the diplomatic black bag of internet traffic – the Government can’t snoop in on it while its in transit and choose to block it.

VPNs are very popular in totalitarian countries such as China, because they allow their users to access websites that the government doesn’t wish them to access. As any reader of 1984 could tell you, the prime objective of any government is to stay in power, by whatever means necessary. One of the primary ways this can be achieved is by controlling information and discourse, so that rebellious ideas cannot flourish in the minds of the populace.

As Joseph Stalin put it: “Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?”

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, the New Zealand Government has taken a sharply totalitarian turn. They seem to have decided, without securing the consent of the people or even making an announcement, that it’s okay for them to censor whatever website they see fit, for any reason (or even none). Although they will not admit it, this is a totalitarian action that breaches fundamental human rights. For this reason, we citizens are forced to take counter measures.

When a country such as New Zealand tries to block the free flow of information to its citizens, those citizens have to turn to grey- or black-market solutions such as VPNs. Using a VPN will allow a person to access almost any website that the New Zealand Government may have decreed verboten, for the reason that the Great Firewall of New Zealand will consider the web traffic to be something else.

The Opera browser comes with a built-in VPN, which is probably the easiest way to get started for anyone new to the idea. The simplest way to get started is to just download and install the Opera browser (the download page can be found with a simple web search). If you then open that browser, you can see the Opera symbol up in the top left corner. Clicking on this will open a drop-down menu, on which you can select ‘Settings’ near the bottom.

This will take you to a separate Settings page, where you have a number of options. By default, you will come to the Basic panel. Towards the top-left corner of the screen, underneath the word ‘Settings’ you should be able to see the words ‘Basic’ and ‘Advanced’. ‘Advanced’ is a drop-down menu, itself consisting of three options: ‘Privacy & security’, ‘Features’ and ‘Browser’.

If you click on ‘Features’, a number of options will appear in the centre panel. At the top of these is one called ‘VPN’. Underneath this is the option to ‘Enable VPN’. From here, enabling the browser VPN is a simple matter of hitting the radio switch to the right.

Note that this may make your browsing a bit slower, because the VPN is an extra step between you and your data. However, this is a minor inconvenience, and may be your only easy option if you want to access forbidden websites.

Some people might say at this point “But the Government, in its omnibeneficence, only banned the really evil sites where hate speech flourished and I didn’t want to go there anyway.” Fair enough – but the Government could ban anything else in the future, and so you might as well learn how to circumvent that now while you still can.

Ask yourself, do you really believe that the Government is going to stop with 8chan and Zero Hedge? The Government probably regrets that the Internet ever came to exist. They would gladly switch to having a North Korea-style government news service with all alternatives banned if they thought they could get away with it.

So what we can expect is more of what David Icke calls the “Totalitarian Tiptoe”, in which the Government bans an ever-increasing number of websites, taking advantage of moral panics to do so. Because the Government’s appetite for power and control is unlimited, Kiwis ought to get to know the basics of VPN use immediately.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

The Case For Cannabis: Legalisation Will Not Lead to A Black Market

One of the fears of those who are against cannabis law reform is that a legal system would lead to the growth of the black market in cannabis production. Therefore, it would be better to keep cannabis illegal. As this article will examine, this reasoning is based on at least two major errors.

The logic goes like this: it costs X amount of dollars to buy an ounce of cannabis – let’s say 300. Cannabis is likely to be taxed in a manner similar to alcohol, and alcohol taxes are reasonably hefty, so let’s assume at least a 20% sin tax on cannabis, plus 15% GST – this is already over $400 an ounce.

This could mean that legal cannabis will cause so much tax to be added to the cost of an ounce that black market operators will be able to undercut it. Since cannabis growing will not be cracked down on because of its new legal status, large numbers of people will be able to grow and to enter the black market at no risk.

This reasoning is false in two major ways.

The first is that is doesn’t account for economies of scale. On the black market – which is currently where all cannabis is sold – producing cannabis isn’t cheap. As mentioned elsewhere, home cannabis grows suck up as much as 1% of the electricity production of nations such as America and New Zealand. These are incredibly inefficient compared to warehouse grows.

Moreover, cannabis sold in a legal market, from dispensaries, would not carry the risk premium associated with a product sold on the black market. The risk premium is very high in the case of cannabis, because a lot of product gets intercepted by Police action before it ever gets sold, and the losses from this have to be balanced against finalised sales.

Taking both of these things into account, we can see that the production cost of legal cannabis, manufactured by the ton and distributed to pharmacies without interruption, is going to be a fraction of what it is currently. This means that it will be possible to put GST on it and a sin tax on top of that, and still sell cannabis for $200 an ounce, or less.

No black market producer could compete with this and still make enough of a profit for it to be worthwhile. So, if anything, legal cannabis would sooner wipe the black market out completely by undercutting it. This was a principle understood in Uruguay when they made cannabis legal in 2013 – they set the price of cannabis at $1 a gram.

The second major reason why we need not be concerned about a black market is because we have the capacity ourselves to more-or-less set the final cannabis price through taxation.

There are really two kinds of prohibition: hard prohibition and soft prohibition. What we have right now is hard prohibition, where the Police will physically smash anyone in possession of cannabis, or cultivating it. This is hard because it uses the full power of the state, and will go as far as killing you to enforce it, or putting you in a cage for several years. We are simply not allowed it and no correspondence will be entered into.

But making something legal, and then taxing it to the point where it’s almost impossible to afford, is a kind of prohibition. The New Zealand Government is currently employing soft prohibition of tobacco, in that it has been raising the tobacco taxes every year, with the stated intent of forcing tobacco cessation through making it unaffordable. This it believes is in the greater good.

Soft prohibition shares many of the drawbacks of hard prohibition. In the case of cannabis in New Zealand, we can see that black market tobacco has made a comeback, to the point where trade in it is believed to cost the New Zealand Government tens of millions is lost taxes every year. So we can see that high taxes on legal cannabis is a bad idea, if the black market is to be discouraged.

If cannabis legalisation was done intelligently – which is to say that it was done with an entirely different mindset to how prohibition has been done so far – we would set the level of taxation such that the transition to a legal cannabis market was a soft transition. In other words, we could calculate what the expected average production cost of an ounce of cannabis should be, account for profits, account for GST, and tax that total at a rate that would still allow it to beat the black market. This would achieve all major objectives at once.

Not only would cannabis law reform not lead to more cannabis being sold on the black market, but it would be the best thing to fight the black market. Cannabis law reform would allow legal sellers to undercut the black market through economies of scale and the removal of the risk premium, driving criminal gangs out of business.

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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: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda VII

This reading carries on from here.

The seventh chapter of Edward Bernays’s Propaganda is called ‘Women’s Activities And Propaganda’.

Bernays is comfortable stating, in 1928, that women “have achieved a legal equality with men”. This doesn’t mean that their activities are the same – it simply means that their vote is of equal worth. This makes them particularly important to understand from a propaganda perspective.

He points out that women don’t have to occupy high positions of political power in order to have a strong political influence. It doesn’t matter that women are not taken as seriously as men in positions of high leadership, because they lead women’s organisations with great numbers of members, and the women leading them have a heavy influence on how their members vote.

Bernays considers the women’s suffrage campaign (which had won victory in America shortly before he wrote this book) to be a good example of the power of propaganda to bring societal changes. He credits the use of propaganda by women’s organisations for increased social welfare and alcohol prohibition. Many female propagandists were trained either by the suffragette movement itself or by the Government during World War One.

These clubs can hold events that draw large numbers of people, so if a popular enough event can be held, it will result in great numbers of people being influenced. Bernays is especially taken with the idea of such clubs sponsoring art or literary competitions. Such events can generate enormous amounts of goodwill.

Bernays is optimistic that an increased voice for women can help mould the world into a better place for all of us. He believes that the entrance of women into politics will allow them to focus on areas that men had previously neglected or were not interested in. This is primarily achieved by the introduction of new ideas or methods.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

The Case For Cannabis: Legalisation is Better For the Environment

Recent studies suggest that the future prospects for Earth’s environment are poor. The situation is dire enough that, finally, an awareness is growing that certain measures will have to be taken if the human species is to survive – and soon. This article explains how cannabis law reform is one of those measures (if a minor one).

Many people labour under the idea that cannabis prohibition stops people from using cannabis. Therefore, they assume, cannabis prohibition prevents it from being grown and used. The truth, of course, is that evil laws don’t prevent actions, because human nature is to defy evil laws, and so people grow cannabis everywhere anyway. In any case, cannabis is a medicine, and people will not simply go without a medicine because of the law.

Because of things like Police helicopters that go searching the hills and forests for outdoor grows, a majority of people who grow cannabis do so indoors, and most of these grows are simple setups under a 400 or 600 Watt bulb. These generally cost somewhere between $70 and $100 a month to run, and can produce several ounces of weed over a eight- or ten-week cycle.

This is a great outcome for an individual cannabis user who doesn’t want to deal with the black market, but it’s not the best outcome for the environment.

A study by American scientist Evan Mills found that indoor cannabis grows use up to 1% of America’s entire energy supply. If a similar proportion holds true in New Zealand, it would mean that indoor cannabis grows in New Zealand suck up electricity equivalent to that used by a city the size of Nelson every year. This represents some $60 million worth of electricity, every year.

Another way to put this is that a four-plant grows uses as much electricity as running 29 fridges. It’s a lot of energy being used for something that doesn’t really need to happen. After all, these grows are only done indoors for the sake of evading detection.

Legal cannabis would mean that cannabis growers could simply put a plant outside and let it grow in the Sun, without fear of being spotted by Police helicopters. There would be no energy requirements at all, and the cost of grow nutrients and the like would be minimal on account of that the plant would just be allowed to grow as large as possible.

Not all indoor cannabis growing could immediately be switched to outdoors. Many people simply don’t have the appropriate facilities. However, the vast majority of it could be, on account of that people would rather buy cannabis from a shop or get it from a pharmacy than grow it themselves, for a greater cost, and have to worry about watering, spider mites, replacement bulbs, buying potting mix, getting ripped off etc.

So legal cannabis would mean that companies would be able to build entire outdoor cannabis farms, and these farms would be much better for the environment than the current arrangement, in which everyone has a home grow operation because they can’t buy it legally and they need to avoid getting arrested. All of those highly inefficient home grows can be wound down in favour of commercial operations that achieve economies of scale.

The tricky thing about this argument is that the sort of person who cares about the environment already knows that cannabis should be legal. In much the same way that anyone who has bothered to look at the climate science knows that changes need to be made, anyone who has bothered to look at the science behind cannabis knew that cannabis prohibition should have been repealed 20 years ago.

The sort of person who genuinely believes that it’s a good idea to put people in cages for growing or using cannabis are, almost inevitably, the same kind of people who don’t care at all about the environment or what the state of it might be after we are gone. The characteristic feature of such people is an absence of empathy for others, and an inability to consider their suffering to be real. So the environmental argument will convince few who are not already convinced.

However, the fact remains that cannabis law reform is a better move for the environment. It would greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the cannabis cultivation industry, as well as reducing the amount of wastage in other areas. Given the pressing need to consider environmental impacts in all areas, we should make it legal for individuals to grow cannabis outside at home.

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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: Edward Bernays’s Propaganda VI

This reading carries on from here.

The sixth chapter of Edward Bernays’s Propaganda is called ‘Propaganda and Political Leadership’. Having elaborated upon the basics, Bernays now turns to what this book is best known for.

The chapter opens with an almost Machiavellian statement of anti-democracy. “No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea.” The leader, then, has an obligation to use propaganda to induce the people to go in the right direction.

Curiously for 1928, Bernays is in a position to lament the apathy that already existed in the American voting population of the time. He presages the coming of Adolf Hitler when he states that this apathy only exists because of the failure of any political leader to capture the imagination of the public (this might be because propaganda has been used to destroy political communication).

Voter apathy is here blamed on the inability of politicians to dramatise themselves and their platforms in terms that have real meaning to the public. This cannot be achieved by a politician who merely follows the public whim. Given the strictures of democracy, “The only means by which the born leader can lead is the expert use of propaganda”.

Political campaigns ought to be planned and conducted as professionally and as meticulously as any advertising campaign of a large company. To this end, they would do well to be honestly funded. Bernays decries the “little black bag” method of funding, on account of that it lowers the prestige of politics.

A clever political campaign will outline, from the beginning, specifically which emotions it intends to appeal to. It will figure out exactly who it intends to appeal to, how to reach those people, and the areas in which multiple target groups have aligned interests.

Politicians, as leaders, ought to be creators of circumstances, not victims of them. In this, they have to be clever. The old-fashioned approach is to assault voting resistance head-on, through argumentation. The new approach is to arrange things so that such a conclusion seems dramatic and self-evident.

The best thing is to agitate the public into a sense of anxiety beforehand, so that when the politician speaks it is as if they are providing the answer to a desperate question. Bernays expresses a strong conviction that untrue propaganda will never drive out the honest, because the untrue propaganda will become weakened by growing public awareness of it.

Viewed from ninety years later, it seems that Bernays was altogether too naive and trusting. He wasn’t wrong when he says that the question of whether the newspaper shapes public opinion or public opinion shapes the newspaper is a bit of both. However, he didn’t appear to have anticipated that those who control the apparatus of propaganda would choose to pump it out ever more shamelessly, nor that mass media would see us soaked in propaganda 24/7.

A real leader ought to be able to use propaganda to get the people to follow them, rather than them follow the whims of the people. Again, Bernays emphasises that understanding the target audience is crucial: “The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public.”

Government can be considered the “continuous administrative organ of the people”. To this end, an understanding of propaganda among its workers is vital for the sake of clear and accurate communication. Bernays prefers to describe this as education rather than propagandising. Perhaps the difference was more distinct in the 1920s.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

Did Cannabis Prohibition Doom Humanity to Extinction?

Were the hippies right all along? The counter-culture that arose in response to the Cold War championed many things that made them hated: free love, a return to Nature, a rejection of materialism – and cannabis. This essay examines the possibility that we would have survived if only we had listened, and that cannabis prohibition doomed the human species to extinction.

A recent scientific report on climate data paints a grim picture for humanity’s future. Titled “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy”, the paper lays out the stark fact that we have polluted the planet so badly that future chaos is inevitable. The truly baffling thing is we knew this all along. The science that explained what would happen to the planet if we continued to burn fossil fuels was established in the 90s – the 1890s.

So why didn’t we listen?

For the vast majority of human history, we lived in a close enough balance with the environment to not destroy it. Although there were certainly cases of localised destruction – the firestick farming method of the Australian Aborigines being perhaps the foremost – it was only recently that humanity developed the capacity to destroy the environment of the entire planet.

Somewhere along the line, we lost touch with the rest of the biosphere. Perhaps what initially kicked it off was following Descartes’s belief that only human beings were truly conscious. Maybe it was even further back, to Aristotle’s injunction that humans occupied the highest place on the food chain. In either case, what really pushed our ignorance into critical territory may have been the prohibition of cannabis.

Although the idea is commonly laughed at nowadays, cannabis is a spiritual sacrament, and has been used as such for thousands of years, particularly by the common ancestors of the Indo-European peoples. Evidence that ancient Scythians hotboxed tents with cannabis smoke predates writing in the area, Hindu and Vedic culture is replete with references to it, and even ancient Taoist alchemists considered it a major plant medicine.

An example of the kind of insights that people come to from cannabis use is that all creatures are part of one collective consciousness, which is more fundamental than time and space and is not constrained by them, and which is therefore eternal, and all of the other spiritual ideas that people nowadays consider to be mental illness. We’ve lost touch with these insights in the pursuit of ever more material wealth.

The real mental illness, it could be better argued, is on the part of those who don’t use cannabis.

It is the non-hippies, who don’t use cannabis, who buy expensive toys that are just plastic hunks of shit, and who drive around in enormously polluting vehicles, and who spend tens of thousands remodelling their house just for social status, who have wrecked the environment. A civilisation that destroys its own environment in pursuit of producing trivial, fleeting material pleasures could correctly be said to be insane.

If one understands that cannabis is a spiritual sacrament that used to keep humanity in touch with the natural world, and that this loss of contact with the material world has caused a climate crisis that may prove to doom us all, then it can fairly be argued that cannabis prohibition led to the destruction of humanity. If we’d just sat around smoking weed instead of working hard and aspiring to own ever-larger piles of crap, the planet might have survived.

If we had never contracted the disease of workism, we never would have thought it a good idea to drive miles to work, burning fossils fuels all the while, just to make three times more money than we actually need, and that just so we can buy piles of plastic crap and home improvements that never get used. We would have learned to appreciate the natural world more, instead of seeing it as something to be consumed on the road to economic growth.

Any hippie could tell you that the philosophy of eternal growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell. You don’t need an ecology degree to understand that an organism or group of organisms cannot keep growing indefinitely and stay in their niche. Either they stop growing or they expand into other niches. The ideology of eternal economic growth was inevitably going to hit its limit in one way or another.

If that hippie was of the more thoughtful kind, they might be able to tell you that such philosophies arose because people started to become afraid of death. Because cannabis has been a spiritual sacrament for our ancestors for so long, its prohibition in the early 20th century had the effect of, quite literally, separating us from God.

It’s possible that, if cannabis had never become criminalised, we never would have lost touch with Nature enough to even think about such a thing as building a strategic naval force that spanned the entire globe, sucking up enormous amounts of coal and oil as it did so, to the point where the biosphere collapsed. Ironically, if we had lived as the filthy, lazy, crazy hippies had suggested, we’d have had a better chance of passing through the Great Filter.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.