Our Problem Isn’t Too Much Masculinity – It’s Too Little

Our culture is so fucked up that it has a number of things completely backwards. It’s easier to find a doctor willing to tell you about the benefits of male infant genital mutilation than it is to find one willing to tell you about the benefits of medicinal cannabis. As this essay will examine, one of the things we currently have backwards is blaming a lack of masculinity on an excess of it.

The phrase “toxic masculinity” is bandied about, ever more frequently nowadays, as if it described an established phenomenon in psychological science. Ostensibly, the term is limited to the description of particular behaviours, performed by men, that are toxic to others or to society at large. In reality, the term is only ever used in the attempt to belittle men – or masculinity in general.

People frequently use the term with the implication that the toxicity comes from an excess of masculinity. But we live in the least masculine age in the history of Planet Earth. In New Zealand at the time of the 2013 Census, around 14% of children were raised by single mothers. When they are at primary school, 88% of their teachers will be women.

This means that most of the adult influence on boys in their formative years is female. Some boys will get to school having never seen a positive male role model or perhaps any at all. If these children are growing up to cause problems because they don’t recognise other people’s physical boundaries, it’s not the sort of problem that more femininity will fix.

The phrase “toxic masculinity” is often used to attack participatory sports, especially under the guise that these sports teach men to be aggressive, domineering and invasive of other people’s personal space.

The reality is – as everyone who has played sport knows – the rules of every game force you to channel aggression into goal-directed activity that does not harm anyone without their consent. You can’t just punch someone on a sporting field, or you’ll be sent off and possibly kicked out of your team. In this regard, the older men (usually) act as models of composure for the younger ones to follow.

Moreover, participatory sports have done more than any government initiative to break down barriers between different race and class groups and encourage them to all meet on the level. On a cricket field, a three doesn’t become a four just because the batsman was brown or middle-class or for any other reason. Masculine energy can therefore be used as a leveller in the interests of horizontalisation just as much as feminine energy can.

Our time in history is so completely feminised, and so confused, that hardly anyone even knows what masculinity is any more. It’s little wonder that some people can call it toxic with a straight face, when they have such a confused conception of it.

We’re so confused nowadays, that we have to go right back. Way, way, way back before even Jesus and even Socrates and Plato, back to the real ancients, who told us: masculinity is the ability to impose order upon chaos. Fundamentally the world is made of a feminine yin-chaos and a masculine yang-order, and in much the same way that the feminine makes chaos out of order, so too does the masculine make order out of chaos.

There are several ways that a person can impose order upon chaos, but correct conduct means that you impose order upon yourself first. This is something that is understood by every actual man, and is not understood by boys or by boys masquerading as men. They go out to impose order upon the world first, and do not realise that the strongest influence is the most subtle.

Socrates, perhaps the foremost Western example of manhood, taught that happiness came from making peace with death. Esoterically, one might describe this as imposing order upon one’s own spirit. As a previous article here has discussed, a failure to impose order upon one’s own spirit by making peace with death is akin to labouring under chains of gold, such that one becomes the slave of anyone who can credibly promise absolution.

A person who has imposed order upon their own spirit is able to impose order upon their mind also. Not being afraid of death means to not be in a state of constant panic at the inevitability of it, which means that it becomes possible to use one’s time on low-intensity pursuits such as reading. They will also be much more able to behave appropriately, on account of having imposed order upon their emotions.

It can be seen here that the common modern conception of masculinity is completely arse about face.

A properly masculine man will not sexually harass women for the simple reason that he has imposed order upon his reproductive instincts and, as such, can discharge them when appropriate, as a matter of will. His animal instincts don’t lead him – that would be an example of chaos being in control.

Likewise, a properly masculine man doesn’t feel the need to dominate everyone, or to boss them around, or to avenge minor insults with violence. He has imposed order upon his own ego, and as such does not have the same insecurities that a less masculine man would have. A truly masculine man has imposed such order upon his emotions that others can not easily knock him off balance. He is in charge of himself.

As such, a properly masculine man attracts the feminine not through force and aggression, but through attracting its freely-willed devotion. Rapists and molesters are not examples of too much masculinity but too little. A real man will have imposed such order upon his life, his behaviour and his appearance, that women will naturally want to be devoted to him, and therefore he doesn’t feel impelled to move on them without their consent.

Men who act on their impulses without consideration for the well-being of others are not “toxic males” – they are shitheads. What our society needs is more masculinity, so that young men can see examples of the correct imposition of order upon chaos. If young males are shown older males being rewarded for correctly imposing order upon themselves, they will imitate it. Thus, what we need is more masculinity, not less.

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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: It Doesn’t Matter That People Have to Pay For Cannabis Users’ Healthcare

One argument that is often made by people in response to proposals for cannabis law reform is that they don’t want to pay for cannabis users’ healthcare. The logic goes that cannabis law reform is unfair on the general populace, because they have to fork out for the inevitable increased healthcare burden through general taxation. As this article will examine, such an attitude is mistaken.

Like many of the false arguments against cannabis law reform, this one relies on another bogeyman. In this case, it’s the supposedly heavy burden that the health system would suffer under if cannabis were to be made legal. This burden would have to be borne by everyone, and it isn’t fair to expect them to do so.

As with many examples of false logic, this argument depends on seeing the situation incorrectly.

For one thing, it’s possible that, if cannabis were to become legal, some of the adverse consequences of its use would become more widespread. But it’s foolish to think that, in such a case, cannabis use would go up while the rates of all other recreational drugs would stay the same.

In reality, recreational cannabis is a competing good to alcohol. A lot of people use it because they find the ritual of rolling up and smoking a joint as relaxing and enjoyable as drinking a beer, and at least as social. Everywhere that cannabis is legal, at least some of the population have decided that they prefer to socialise over some weed than over some booze.

So the supposed “extra” healthcare burden that would be caused by increased cannabis use is balanced, perhaps even several times over, by the savings that accrue from health problems that were prevented by the reduced use of other recreational drugs.

Alcohol abuse is believed to cost the country $4.9 billion per year. The total cost of cannabis use on our health system right now is, even if one uses the ultra-conservative Drug Harm Index, $431 million. This latter figure is not merely the cost of cannabis use to the healthcare system but also ancillary costs, so the true figure is much lower (this latter figure also includes $126 million of costs due to premature death caused by cannabis use and is therefore somewhat fantastical).

So even if legal cannabis doubled the total harm that the Drug Harm Index says that cannabis does to society, this would be more than compensated for if it reduced the total harm done by alcohol by 10% or more.

A second factor to consider is that the cost of cannabis damage is small compared to the cost of old people just clinging onto life for a few more years.

New Zealand’s total healthcare expenditure was $16.8 billion last year, and people aged over 65 used over 42% of that – and that percentage is increasing. So people over 65 use roughly $8 billion dollars’ worth of taxpayers’ money on health costs every year, much of which is wasted on futile attempts to delay a terminal illness.

Even if we ignore that cannabis use is not higher in jurisdictions where it is legal, and even if we ignore that legal cannabis would mean users could use much less harmful routes of administration, and even if we assume that the total healthcare damage would be double under legalisation than what it is now, it still wouldn’t be a great amount of money compared to what is already spent.

The third argument is, of course, that it simply doesn’t matter if cannabis users’ healthcare has to be paid for out of general taxation. As mentioned above, alcohol abuse costs the country almost five billion dollars a year, which amounts to close to $1,600 per taxpayer. If such a high bar is acceptable for alcohol, then its acceptable for cannabis as well.

Cannabis users are, or should be, part of our society the same way as anyone else is. So in the same way that we’re happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cigarette smokers, alcohol drinkers, Olanzapine takers (the side-effects of many psychiatric medicines are bad for the physical health), rugby players, horse riders and mountain climbers, so too should we be happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cannabis users.

Legal cannabis would make it easier to minimise healthcare costs anyway, because doctors would be able to encourage cannabis users to avoid joints and dabs in favour of edibles and vapourisers. So if healthcare costs really are a concern, legal cannabis is better for more than one reason.

In summary, it’s not fair to object to cannabis law reform on the basis that the general taxpayer would have to pay for a sudden massive healthcare burden. A repeal of cannabis prohibition would not lead to such a burden – in fact, a sober look at the experience suggests the overall healthcare cost of recreational drug use would fall if cannabis became legal.

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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.

Peterson Derangement Syndrome

Many words have been written about Trump Derangement Syndrome, and Obama Derangement Syndrome, and Bush Derangement Syndrome. This refers to the ability to cause people, who are otherwise reasonable, to go insane at the mere mention of your name. It’s rare for anyone who is not an American President to achieve this power level, but recently one man has threatened to: Canadian Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson.

Peterson was a minor celebrity among YouTube psychology nerds for his insightful lectures into psychopathology and Nietzsche when he inadvertently decided to tell the world that the emperor had no clothes. This he did in the form of refusing to accede to compelled speech in the form of pronouns.

In particular, he spoke out about a Canadian bill called C-16, which – according to Peterson’s interpretation – would lead to people facing criminal charges for referring to a person with a pronoun other than the one they would prefer to be used. The collective consciousness was shocked, at first, but Peterson insisted that refusing to use a person’s preferred pronoun was a fair thing to do, in cases when that pronoun clearly wasn’t accurate.

It was then the shitstorm began.

Accusations of “literal fascism” began to fly as the social justice warriors demanded Peterson’s head for refusing to meet their demands to dance on command. In response, he threw more petrol on the fire. The psychologist was not content with merely saying that transgender pronouns were bollocks, but that an entire suite of leftist shibboleths were all garbage as well.

Communism was crap, the gender gap was false, most of the racial IQ difference is genetic and – worst of all – he refuted the tabula rasa theory.

Peterson Derangement Syndrome is when an individual is reduced to a hissing, demented rage merely at the mention of the name of Jordan Peterson. Much like the derangement syndromes named after American Presidents, a person with this condition is unable to concede that there might be anything good about Peterson, or that he might have any ideas worth listening to. The mention of his name seems to trigger a limbic hijack in those with the condition.

Unlike the majority of talking heads in the media, Peterson is a legitimate intellectual. Not only does Peterson actually have a Ph.D, but he has also worked for many years as a Psychology lecturer at both McGill and Harvard Universities. On top of that, he has over 10,000 academic citations.

So part of Peterson Derangement Syndrome is believing that a man with a Ph.D and over 10,000 academic citations is not a legitimate intellectual. Sufferers of it are happy to dismiss him as a charlatan and a fraud, someone who simply makes things up with no basis in reality at all. This is clearly absurd when the man in question has passed peer review with such accolades.

The anti-Peterson movement has taken on cult-like properties, in the sense that for people with Peterson Derangement Syndrome, the rest of the world is either with them or against them on the matter. Social media has induced them into believing that Peterson is a Hitler-like figure who campaigns tirelessly for the reintroduction of some kind of fascism. It can be seen from this, that part of Peterson Derangement Syndrome is simple mass hysteria.

Many Peterson haters deride his fans as a horde of incels, desperately looking for a father figure to help them replace their lost masculinity. In this, they have half of a point, but they also betray their own neurosis. Most Peterson haters also hate their own fathers, and usually because those fathers failed to provide a space of order in which those people could grow. This father-hate is then displaced onto the foremost father figure, which is Peterson.

Many of the people who become deranged at the mention of Peterson’s name are living out some unresolved conflict with an authority figure, from some point in their past. Usually this adversary is their father, but it could also be a teacher, guidance counsellor or even a Police officer. To these damaged souls, Peterson represents a force trying to suffocate their free spirit.

At the core of Peterson Derangement Syndrome is a hatred of masculinity, in particular a hatred of order.

Peterson is himself an exceptionally masculine figure, having succeeded in imposing major order upon his own life. It’s extremely difficult to become learned enough to get tenure as an academic professor, especially if you weren’t from a family that groomed you for such a role from youth. It takes incredible amounts of will and commitment, and many people see such a thing and feel self-hatred.

So some of what causes Peterson Derangement Syndrome is simple Tall Poppy Syndrome. The majority of his critics are bleating soyboys who would struggle to read a book, let alone lecture an academic discipline for many years and then write a book. Much of their opprobrium can be chalked up to the simple envy of a lesser towards their better.

At the core of it, though, is a depraved alliance of trans activists, Marxists, fedora-tippers, neo-Luddites, anti-science morons and, ironically enough, actual Nazis, all of who have generated so much collective outrage that encountering someone who likes Peterson is enough to tip them over the edge into derangement. Claiming to be a Peterson fan is to declare yourself the enemy.

Now that Peterson has been invited to speak at a Trilateral Commission meeting we can guess that his influence will be around for a very long time. This will mean that Peterson Derangement Syndrome will only become more intense, pushing up towards Donald Trump levels.

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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: Reform Would Not Send The Wrong Message to the Children

One of the usual reasons trotted out for opposing cannabis law reform is that it “wouldn’t send the right message to the kids”. This was the statement that John Key frequently made to the media when pressed on the subject. As this article will examine, however, this thought-terminating cliche also attitude is mistaken.

It might sound laughable, but there are many in the New Zealand Government who believe that their personal conduct sets an example for the rest of the country to follow. These deluded fools genuinely believe that the young people of the nation look to them as an example of integrity, honesty and correct conduct. So detached from the people are they, that they are entirely unaware of the contempt in which they are held.

Some of these egomaniacs are afraid that making any move on cannabis law reform would “send the wrong message to the kids”. By this, they think that liberalising the cannabis laws will lead to a spate of young people taking up cannabis use as a habit, on account of that their elders had sent them the message that it was okay.

Leaving aside the obvious retort that this would actually be a good thing if it stopped those young people from doing as much alcohol or synthetic drugs, there are a number of reasons to think that this reasoning is illogical.

For one thing, the message that the politicians appear to be sending by example of their conduct is one of alcohol, tobacco and sleaze. If they are the ones setting the standards for the young to follow, then we can look forward to many decades of boozing, bribery, infidelity, dishonesty, backstabbing and all manner of petty quibbling and bitching.

For another thing, we have to ask ourselves if prohibition itself is actually a good message to be sending out.

The message that the Government seems to be sending by enforcing cannabis prohibition is that the best way to deal with drug problems is by putting people in cages. If someone has a drug dependency of some kind, the way to help them is not by giving them medical care, but by physically forcing them into a cage full of rapists, murderers and thieves.

They seem to be telling people that empathy and compassion don’t factor into government decisions, and that they are more than happy to brutally force citizens to conform to arbitrary laws, even when those same citizens don’t consent to them. Your body is the property of the Government, and they can do what they want with it, including put it in a cage if you use a medicine they don’t approve of.

Worse, they’re also sending the message that science, logic and reason don’t factor into government decisions. The Government is happy to go along with foreign mass hysteria about reefer madness, and thinks it acceptable to force laws onto New Zealanders on the grounds that they have been introduced overseas, with no consideration given to the science or to the need for evidence.

Perhaps the worst message of all has been that sent by Parliamentarians who have ignored all the letters and emails they have received from their constituents about cannabis law reform. For decades, Kiwis have been entreating their Parliamentarians to do something about cannabis prohibition, knowing how much access to cannabis medicine would improve their life quality. And for decades, those Parliamentarians did nothing – the vast majority too cowardly to even raise a peep.

By ignoring the will of the people for cannabis reform, the Government is sending the message that it’s acceptable for the Government to impose whatever arbitrary laws it likes on the population, even without that population’s consent, and then to ignore them when they complain about the suffering caused. This is far more of a danger than the risk of Parliamentarians sending the message that it’s okay to use cannabis.

If the Government is truly concerned about the message that their conduct sends to the people, they ought to legalise cannabis today, and make an apology for all the suffering their actions caused by waging a War on Drugs against their own people. This would send a message of humility, integrity and contrition – much better than imprisoning people for using a substance that the New Zealand people think should be legal.

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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.

Esoteric Aotearoanism

If the Spear of Destiny ever comes to New Zealand, we ought to be ready to receive it. To that end, we can act to attract it, by employing the Law of Attraction. We can do that by promoting a cultural movement that recognised the excellence of New Zealand and our future greatness. This essay describes a mystical tradition that could serve these ends: Esoteric Aotearoanism.

Elementary alchemy has it that if one combines masculine and feminine in the right manner, one achieves a combination that is greater than the mere sum of its parts. By combining the feminine clay and the masculine iron, it’s possible to get silver, an element neither feminine nor masculine but somehow both, and not just both but the correct proportion of both.

This is represented in Taoism by the Taijitu, which combines the white yang and the black yin to create a shape that has a life of its own, one that tells a story. The energy, light and life of the yang projects itself into the darkness of the yin, which in turn follows the yang in devotion. The result is a spiral that turns for eternity.

Esoteric Aotearoanism tells a similar story. This story is represented in the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism, which consists of three vertical stripes: the leftmost white, the rightmost black, and the central one silver. It is crucial to note here that the central band is silver, and not grey, because the combination of the two parts has created something more valuable than their mere summation.

The opening degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism is that the Esoteric Aotearoan flag represents the nation of New Zealand in the Kiwi people. 

The white is yang, which represents the British. This is not just because the British are white, but also because they are orderly. The British came from the West and therefore the leftmost third of the flag is white. It is from there that the energy and organisation to create the institutions of New Zealand came.

The black is yin, which represents the Maoris. As with the British, this does not simply reflect skin colour, but rather a vital, invigorating passion. Because the Maoris come from the East, the black occupies the rightmost third of the flag. It is from there that the soul of the nation comes, and how we get direction to differentiate ourselves from the globohomo masses (and from Australia in particular).

The silver stripe represents New Zealand, the space where those two ingredients meet, and where they combine to become something more valuable than either. The yang is bright but unyielding; the yin is gentle but dull. Together they are colourful, and shine as silver. As silver is more valuable than either iron or clay, so too is the combination of British and Maori more valuable than either alone.

The silver stripe also represents those who have come together under the silver fern, because they have acted to create something that is greater than either the British or the Maori components. It signifies that what we have of greatest value is that which comes from the land here. It’s not what we imported from Britain or from Polynesia – it’s what we have created ourselves here, according to the direction of our own wills and of the spirit of the nation.

It’s also a reminder that our future lies in the unity of these two forces.

Sir Apirana Ngata hinted at Esoteric Aoteraroanism being the way forward when he said:

Ko to ringa ki ngā rakau a te Pākehā

Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna Māori

Ko tō wairua ki to Atua

In English this means “Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha, your heart to the treasures of your Maori ancestors, your spirit to God.” The sentiment behind this was that we ought to take the best of both worlds. Both the Maori and the European world brought things that were good and things that were bad. We can take the best of both, and leave the worst of both.

This leads naturally into the teaching of the second degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism, in which the various qualities contributed by the British and the Maori are mapped onto the four masculine elements.

The clay represents the Maori. This is because he is vital and passionate, but has a dark side of sometimes expressing unrestrained violence. He is soft and likes to share, but this can sometimes lead to a lack of discipline.

The iron represents the Briton. This is because he is hard and disciplined, but has a dark side of sometimes being cruel. He is orderly but can sometimes be hard-headed, unforgiving and pedantic.

The silver also represents the Briton (this conception of silver is related to, but separate from, the conception of silver in the first degree). This is because his scientific and technological prowess made it possible for New Zealand to become wealthy and prosperous, and for us to defend ourselves without need for submission.

The gold also represents the Maori. Like the clay, the Maori is soft, but he is also colourful. This represents spirituality and an understanding of the world beyond. The Briton is intelligent but he is spiritually ignorant. The realm of gold is where New Zealanders connect to God, and the Maoris, particularly those with an enthusiasm for cannabis or psilocybe wereroa, have a vital role to play here.

Esoteric Aotearoanism considers it a tragedy for a Kiwi to identify as either a white person or a Maori. This would be like denying one of your parents. It’s a small-minded and petty thing to do. That sort of solipsistic narcissism will lead to the nation tearing itself apart down the centre. To identify as one and repudiate the other is an idiocy that is promoted by the enemies of this nation.

In reality, Kiwis are already so intermixed that as many as a quarter of us are some kind of Northern European-Polynesian hybrid. It is this sort of person – not Maoris – that is unique to these isles, the true tangata whenua. There are Europeans in Europe and Polynesians in the Pacific, but only in New Zealand can those who are a mix of the two truly say that they have a home.

This leads onto the third degree of Esoteric Aotearoanism, which deals with the future of the two contributors to Aotearoa. The fact is that white people and Maoris are interbreeding at an extremely high rate, and therefore will eventually mix into one people, who are not separated by category but only by degree. Even then, it will not be a degree of value but simply a degree of proportion of yin or yang.

This people will be a true Kiwi people, and they will best be able to channel the best of the yang and the best of the yin to create something truly precious. Many of them will be among the most excellent individuals on Earth on account of hybrid vigour. There are already plenty of examples of this, such as Buck Shelford, Shane Bond, Michael Jones and (allegedly) Dan Carter.

In all, Esoteric Aotearoanism is a new narrative for a new century, one that repudiates the nation fighting against itself, and one that encourages the nation coming together to embellish the strengths and ameliorate the weaknesses of its constituent parts. This is a narrative that, if supported, can bring peace and prosperity to all Kiwis.

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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: Cannabis is Not Addictive

One of the most common arguments against cannabis is that it is an “addictive drug”. People making this argument raise images of zombie-like addicts burgling houses and selling their bodies in dark alleyways for the money to finance their addiction. Leaving aside the fact that this fear-mongering is bollocks, the argument isn’t even accurate.

The scientific literature warns us of “irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, restlessness and sleep disturbances“, sleep problems and “a constellation of behavioral, somatic, and mood symptoms.” It’s clear that to stop using cannabis often means that one encounters these problems, but they soon go away. People enjoy using cannabis, but use alone does not count as addiction.

Psychology Today ran an article that stated “The vast majority of those who use marijuana do so occasionally and exhibit no addictive symptoms — no increased tolerance, no cravings and no withdrawal. In other words, they can take it or leave it.”

It’s true that cannabis does not cause meaningful physical addiction. Something that’s really addictive is alcohol. Withdrawals from alcohol are known to cause delirium tremens, a phenomenon known as “the DTs”, which can kill the sufferer. If this is considered an acceptable side-effect of a recreational drug, then the physical addiction potential of cannabis is nowhere near objectionable.

The counter-argument to this is to say that cannabis can still be psychologically addictive. Psychological addiction is a kind of excessive habituation, where a person does not become medically ill but who can suffer “psychological symptoms like anxiety, mood swings and depression”.

At this point, another frightening image is formed. Here, instead of burglars, the stereotype is of slovenly, morbidly obese videogamers who lie around all day drinking Mountain Dew, completely without ambition aside from securing their weed supply, all social bonds long since abandoned in favour of the next puff.

The reality is that it’s not so much a matter of cannabis being addictive, as that people who do not have adequate levels of stimulation search for anything they can to fill the gap, and cannabis fills the gap. Anyone who smokes cannabis every day can tell you this – it’s frequently a matter of having nothing better to do.

As was demonstrated by the Rat Park experiments carried out by Professor Bruce Alexander, addiction is a function of both available addictive substances and a lack of environmental stimulation.

The Rat Park experiments showed that rats that lived in a stimulating and interesting environment, where a variety of exercise, food and mating opportunities were available, were up to 19 times less likely to consume water laced with morphine when compared to rats that lived in a standard laboratory cage. Given that rats are also social (or at least semi-social) mammals, this can teach us some things about the nature of addiction in humans.

The fact is that human society of 2019 has left some people behind to die, and for these unfortunate masses there is not a lot of pleasant stimulation to be had. Some of these people turn to alcohol to fill the gap, some turn to opiates, some turn to tobacco, some turn to cannabis. In all cases, the problem is not the drug itself, but an environment that fails to provide stimulation enough to meet people’s psychological needs.

If sufficiently fulfilling stimulation is available (or at least entertaining stimulation), people don’t tend to smoke cannabis all day. Therefore, the emphasis shouldn’t be on putting people in cages for using cannabis, it should be on creating a society that people freely want to engage in.

Most of the reason why cannabis users have had to take all the blame, instead of the people responsible for constructing society in a way that others want to escape it by using cannabis, is that the people responsible for designing society have all the power. Naturally, therefore, they design society in such a way that all of the other members of it have to take the blame for its failures.

What cannabis addiction ultimately amounts to is blaming cannabis for the problems caused by cannabis prohibition. Just because bored people with nothing to do sometimes smoke cannabis all day doesn’t mean that the cannabis forced them to do it. A healthy society that allowed people to freely use cannabis in (e.g.) coffeeshops, would soon find that people soon get bored of it and drift into other things.

The argument that cannabis is addictive is not sufficient to justify making cannabis illegal. The addictive potential of cannabis is minor, and the withdrawal symptoms from it not severe. Focus should be placed on organising society in a manner that inspires ordinary people to engage with it of their own free will, not punishing cannabis use.

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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: The Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime

Proportional sentencing is supposed to be a fundamental tenet of our justice system. When a person causes suffering to another, they are given a proportionate amount of suffering intended to discourage: we are told that “the punishment should fit the crime”. As this article will argue, the punishment for cannabis offences is not commensurate with the nature of the crime.

The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is three months imprisonment, as established by Section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Most Kiwis can intuitively understand that this is massively disproportionate to any harm caused by the act of cannabis possession, but this law is on the books, and has been for over 40 years without being repealed.

Some might counter here with the fact that essentially no-one gets sentenced to prison for cannabis possession nowadays. This counter-argument misses two essential points.

The first is obvious: if no-one goes to prison for cannabis possession anymore, on account of that society has “moved on” and no longer considers cannabis possession a crime, then it’s an obsolete law. If it’s an obsolete law, then we ought to strike it from the books.

The second is that people still go to prison for cannabis cultivation, which is not any more of a crime than cannabis possession is. Brian Borland was given four years and nine months imprisonment for unrepentantly growing cannabis – an incredible punishment if one considers that no-one was harmed by his actions.

Some people were outraged by the sentence given to Devonte Mulitalo, an Auckland youth worker who groomed and sexually assaulted a 12-year old girl, coercing her to perform sex acts on him. He was given ten months home detention. Many thought this sentence was too light, and in comparison to Borland’s sentence it seems obscene.

Takaka resident Alicia Fulcher-Poole was given three and half years in prison for killing someone while driving high on methamphetamine. It’s incredible that reckless disregard for human life resulting in a death can receive a less severe penalty from the system than growing a medicine without permission. But this is the state of our “justice” system.

It’s apparent to almost everyone that 52 months imprisonment for growing cannabis is a ludicrously disproportionate punishment, when the total suffering caused by growing cannabis is compared to the suffering caused by killing someone through reckless use of a motor vehicle. Even if one assumes the most uncharitable interpretation of Borland’s motives, he didn’t kill anyone.

Borland’s sentence was getting up towards the maximum end of the scale, which is seven years imprisonment. This is a heavier sentence than the sentences that are routinely given out for killing people in motor vehicle accidents.

Moreover, the effect of having a criminal record lasts longer than the sentence, and sometimes much longer. Branding someone a criminal – even if there is such as thing as the Clean Slate Act – is to consign them to a lower class of citizen, one that is precluded from many opportunities that normal people take for granted.

Even a measly cannabis possession conviction is enough to prevent someone from being allowed to enter a variety of countries, most notoriously America. Neither will it be straightforward to work as a Police officer, teacher or other Government employee. This is a heavy, heavy punishment just for being caught in possession of a medicinal flower.

This loss of travel and employment opportunity is enough to significantly lower the quality of a person’s life. Getting involved with cannabis should never mean that a person is consigned to live as a lower class of citizen for the rest of their lives. This is a level of arbitrary cruelty that borders on barbarism.

Cannabis prohibition should be lifted because it’s not right to have such brutal punishments for actions that do not cause suffering. It makes a mockery of the supposed proportionality of the justice system. Using the criminal justice system to deal with cannabis is an absurd over-reaction to something that doesn’t harm others.

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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.

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 Two Fundamental Political Questions

There are a myriad of political questions under discussion, and every day that goes by there are more. All of these questions have contributed to a state of confusion. This essay seeks to cut through it, by arguing that all of those questions fundamentally boil down to two interdependent ones: Who and How Much?

Politics exists in other mammals, in particular primates, and could be said to be a cultural method of minimising violence in the distribution of resources. It’s a way of deciding who gets what, and who goes without. The first fundamental question of politics, then, is: “Who is part of the ingroup?”

All political arrangements are a way of reaching the most satisfying arrangement for the group. In cases where it’s clear who is in the group and who isn’t, such arrangements are simple. The practical reality, however, is that it’s very difficult to draw clear and distinct lines between who belongs and who does not.

It’s an easy question to answer when the subject is a family. This group derives from the strongest bond of solidarity that exists: that between mother and child. The members of the group are therefore the mother and children, plus the father, plus the parents (especially the maternal grandmother).

When it’s an extended family, or a village, it’s also easy to answer. It’s when the group size starts to exceed Dunbar’s Number that problems start to arise. Dunbar’s Number is an ethological rule of thumb that posits the breakdown of social structure once the size of the group exceeds about 150. This number is an estimation of the number of meaningful social connections a person can maintain.

Once you have a group that exceeds this, like a town, city-state or kingdom, then it becomes impossible for individuals to remember enough social connections for them to recognise every person they meet. This means that individuals start to encounter strangers. This is an everyday concept for us, but only because we are civilised – in the biological past, encounters between strangers frequently resulted in violence.

To circumvent this violence, lines were drawn to clearly delineate who was part of the ingroup and who was not. Another way to ask the first of the two fundamental political questions is, therefore: “Who counts as ‘us’, and who counts as ‘them’?”. As will be shown, this question is interdependent with the second.

The second fundamental political question is: “What does it mean to be ‘us’ and ‘them’?” Once you have a group, it then becomes a matter of what the members of the group are willing to do for each other. Are they willing to die for each other, or do they merely extend a slight favouritism sometimes?

Viewed another way, the second fundamental political question is one of solidarity. How much solidarity do members of this group have for one another? If they have high levels of solidarity, the group could be a fearsome political or military force in their region, or upon the world stage. If they have low levels of solidarity, then the name of the group might be something of a joke.

From looking at the consequences of the various ways of answering these two questions, two laws of group psychology become evident.

The first is: the larger the ingroup, the weaker the bonds of solidarity. As mentioned above, the strongest bonds are between mother and child, followed by the wider family bonds. Tribal bonds are also very strong, but once the group becomes larger than 150, bonds begin to weaken appreciably. When the group becomes too big, ingroup members start being treated as strangers. Then, new ingroups form.

The second law is: the more diversity within the ingroup, the weaker the bonds of solidarity. At one extreme is the example of a family. Such a group will co-operate so closely that individuals are happy to make extreme sacrifices for each other. At the other extreme would be a group that was comprised of one half Nazis and the other half Communists. Such a group will tear itself apart in short order.

The inverse relationship between diversity and wealth within a nation is established: the more diverse a nation, the poorer it tends to be. The reason why is clear if one considers that the most important factor in national wealth is the human capital of the workers. It costs money to make an investment in the human capital of the young, and people are less willing to pay to make that investment the less they have in common with those young people.

A loss of solidarity with increasing diversity can also be observed by comparing the nature of society in Scandinavia or Japan with society in America or Brazil. In the former countries, people are generally happy to pay taxes because they believe those taxes will help people like them. Their answer to the second fundamental political question is that there ought to be strong bonds of solidarity within a nation, like an extended family, and their answer to the first is that who constitutes ‘us’ needs to be tightly controlled.

The two fundamental political questions are therefore interrelated. The first question determines the answers the second question, and vice-versa. It is impossible to decide how much solidarity one should have for other group members until you know who is in the group, and it’s impossible to decide who should be in the group until you decide how much solidarity is expected of each member.

But until those questions are answered, it’s impossible to decide any other question. A person’s position on issues such as how much tax to pay, what social services should be covered, immigration, defence and more, are all functions of their positions on these two fundamental political questions. Until you know who counts as ‘us’ and what that entails, it’s impossible to decide anything else.

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

The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis is 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.