VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand III

This reading carries on from here.

The third essay in The Interregnum is “Reimagining the Economy” by Wilbur Townsend. I must admit that reading a book that opens with several Marx and Gramsci quotes which then goes into radical economic intervention makes me think of the millions of people who starved to death in the 20th century. Despite that, I continue in the belief that the left must have learned to moderate its radicalism by now.

Promisingly, this essay opens by sticking to sober facts. Townsend points out that the economy has grown by 48% since 1990, but the average wage is only 22% higher, on account of that the dividends of this greater economic growth is not being distributed. Moreover, wages in finance and insurance have grown 62% while wages in hospitality have grown 3%.

“There is money being earned in this country but, increasingly, it isn’t being earned by us.” This is the central lament of this essay, and it’s a fair one. After all, neoliberalism and free trade are sold to the people as innovations that will increase the logistical efficiency of getting cheap goods and services to market. But it’s not worth saving $500 on a television if you also lose $15,000 in wages.

In an odd coincidence, the essay contains a reference to Luddites, in the context of people who opposed technological advancement on the basis that it destroyed labour opportunity, and who question the liberating potential of these advancements. Jonty Gillespie and the machine cultists in The Verity Key refer to people as Luddites if they’re not interested in going deep enough into a virtual environment to forget the outside world.

Despite representing working-class sentiments more faithfully than Morgan Godfery managed in his opening effort, the middle-class social justice warrior influence does shine through at some points in Townsend’s essay, such as when he laments that “Misogynistic workplaces” and “sexist bosses” are responsible for the dearth of female truckies and wharfies. One suspects that some of Townsend’s acquaintances would happily have a proportion of men castrated if such was considered necessary to “solve the gender gap”.

Like many in the left of today, biological explanations for gender differences are avoided with superstitious fervour.

The youthful idealism also shines through when he argues for a universal basic income.

No matter how good the arguments for a universal basic income are, we have never had one before and there are good reasons for this. Townsend possesses an eerie certitude about the idea that a universal basic income would lead to a sharp increase in the quality of life, and, although there’s good reason to agree with him, raising the spectre of people dropping out of society to move to Takaka and smoke bongs might not sell it to a Middle New Zealand that just put the National Party in power for nine years.

Townsend takes this idealism so far as to insist that the factories, machines and raw materials should be returned to the collective. He pre-empts the obvious criticism by acknowledging that historians don’t have much time for Communism, but he waves it away by saying “I suspect they just haven’t noticed it done well.”

Despite this, he makes a good point when he mentions that sovereign wealth funds could serve as the capital owners of a range of national assets or robot workfleets, and from there a universal basic income might become possible.

In summary, this essay mixes some good points with a terrifyingly nonchalant self-righteous belief in the primacy of Marxist ideas. It’s probably fair to consider this a piece inspired by youthful idealism, despite the intelligent points occasionally raised.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand II

This reading carries on from here.

The second essay in The Interregnum is called ‘Speech and Silence in the Public Sphere’ by Andrew Dean. It recounts the story of the abuse copped by Eleanor Catton in the wake of her criticism of the direction the county was taking in 2015, and how this is indicative of deteriorating levels of public discourse.

Although most of the essay is devoted to quoting Philip Catton, which makes one wonder why Professor Catton didn’t write the essay himself, it aptly summarises the state of the cultural wars in New Zealand and in the West. The narrative of neoliberalism is triumphant; its victims are marginalised because their suffering goes against this narrative.

I was in Philip Catton’s History of Science class at the University of Canterbury in the year 2000. It’s curious to think about what the professor teaching that class 100 years from now will say about our time, and about the quality of our public discourse. Dean is right: our public discourse has degenerated to a shameful level, even as the Internet has theoretically made it easier than ever to share science, knowledge and truth.

Catton and Dean both have a point when they say that inequality has made the level of discourse more degenerate. The greater the inequality in a society, the more criticism of it is dismissed as “whinging” by those at the top and their lackeys in the mainstream media. Furthermore, the greater the inequality the more society becomes stratified into subgroups that speak their own dialect, so that it becomes difficult to communicate between different positions on the hierarchy.

The worse any one group of people is doing, the less their voices fit the neoliberal narrative that “Everything is better than ever, so spend spend spend!” And so, the more their voices are silenced by a mainstream media that is beholden to the same capitalist interests who support neoliberalism.

Dean refers to the same pattern that Dan McGlashan calls the “general disenfranchisement rule” in the demographic analysis Understanding New Zealand. It’s a feedback loop in which increasing inequality causes the people in the lower socioeconomic demographics to lose faith in the belief that the system represents them at all, which leads to a decreased turnout rate in elections, which leads to a system that represents them even less, leading to a further decreased rate and so on.

He also mentions the effect that neoliberalism had has on the discourse at our universities. Instead of acting as the conscience of the nation, our universities have to compete for students in order to get funding, which means that they have to present a certain image. In the case of New Zealand universities, which get a lot of international students from Asia, it is almost impossible to have a public discussion about the need for cannabis law reform.

All in all, this essay is pleasingly accurate and concise, and ends by pointing out that not only it is necessary to point out the failings of neoliberalism it is also getting harder to do because of the silencing of dissenting voices to the mainstream narrative.

VJMP Reads: The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand I

The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand is a small book of essays that is for sale at the Volume bookstore in Nelson, by Bridget Williams Books. The blurb on the back asks the question of whether New Zealand’s political settlement is beginning to fray, and purports to “interrogate” the future from a youth perspective.

The first essay, by editor Morgan Godfery, is called “The Voices of A New Generation” and opens by relating an anti-TPPA demonstration in Auckland. It breathlessly describes the excitement of thousands of diverse people coming together to oppose the signing of the multilateral trade agreement.

Reading this piece, something about it speaks to the lack of purpose that the young generation now has. The fight against apartheid seemed meaningful at the time; it seemed a great evil was being fought. A law that says that a large section of the population are second-class humans, for no other reason than skin colour, seems like the sort of arbitrary and cruel treatment that everyone should be against.

But can the same be said of international trade? Who really understands it well enough to decide? And so what if “trade agreements are signed”?

By the fourth page of this essay there is already a Marx quote, which bodes poorly. The reader gets the sentiment that the new voice here is going to be an echo of the same social justice warriors seen overseas. If not, why oppose something as vague and nebulous as the TPPA, instead of protesting about poor wages, poor housing, poor mental health outcomes?

The essay finds its feet when it hones in on the real enemy: neoliberalism. Godfery mentions the damage done to the national psyche by the Mother of All Budgets, and it feels like he speaks for many when he says that the children condemned to poverty by Richardson’s Budget are now adults, some of us with our own children.

But again, this speaks to the confusion in the New Zealand Left. What to make of the fact that the signing of the TPPA was protested under a National Government, with many prominent Labour supporters in attendance, and then the Labour Government went and signed it anyway? No-one knows yet if Labour will get criticised for their evident support of neoliberalism, or whether people will let it pass.

This introductory essay declares that the book is for those who have “a fierce desire to radically reshape politics.” It proposes that instead of focusing on “returns on investment”, that we return to a politics of “higher principles and values”.

This is all very well, but the question that strikes one is: whose higher principles and values? Because usually when the working class votes for people promising to govern by higher principles, it turns out that those principles only apply to a chosen few groups, and if you’re not one of them then you’re “privileged” (“privileged” means “untermensch” in social justice speak”.

We can see this now with Jacinda Ardern’s decision to give Manus Island “refugees” her highest priority, while saying nothing about the Kiwis suffering from the illegal status of medicinal cannabis. Unfortunately for medicinal cannabis users, official victim status has so far eluded them, and so they continue to be ignored.

Concluding with half a dozen mentions of the word “love”, this essay promises that the book will make for interesting reading for the sake of political philosophy. However, it’s not possible to believe that a book that opens by quoting several Marxists could be entirely trustworthy or honest, even if it is earnest.

It remains to see what these higher principles are.

What Does it Mean For The Left That Muslims Hate Homosexuals?

The Australian same-sex marriage referendum demonstrated something unpalatable to the left – Muslims, even more than other Abrahamists, hate homosexuals

A horrific realisation is slowly dawning on Western leftists; something that, after the results of the Australian same-sex marriage referendum, can no longer be denied. The anti-conservative alliance that the Left has become claims to represent both homosexuals and Third World immigrants – but the problem is that most of those Third World immigrants despise homosexuals.

This column has previously raised the question of whether homosexuals can still be considered part of the victim class owing to the vast increase in their fortunes over the last four decades. Homosexuals are now over-represented in the New Zealand Parliament by a factor of 250%, and their average income is considerably higher than that of the average citizen in most Western countries.

Before the referendum, the Australian Left made a lot of noise about stopping white Christian bigots from spreading their homophobia and hate. So they got a lot of egg on their faces when it turned out that their beloved Muslims and Third World immigrants turned out to be the most strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.

This could eventually mean that homosexuals start to move their allegiances to the right.

Already it’s known that white people support conservative parties in much greater numbers than they do leftist/liberal parties, and since it’s really only white culture that accepts homosexuals, and considering that the average Western homosexual is wealthier than the average Western non-homosexual, the next logical step for the homosexual bloc is to shift allegiances to the right wing.

After all, it doesn’t really make sense for homosexuals in the West to facilitate the mass importation of people who consider them animals and who will vote to take homosexual rights away. Gay white men are already finding themselves increasingly more welcome in right-wing circles of employed middle-class people and increasingly less welcome in left-wing circles of brown-skinned religious fundamentalists.

No-one should be surprised to see a wholesale shift in gay loyalties in the West over the next few decades, from liberal to conservative. One could argue that it already has started to happen.

What this will mean for the Left is increased tension between factions, up until a point where that tension becomes insurmountable. You simply cannot have an alliance where one party wants to throw the other party off a rooftop by command of God, and so leftists will have to choose between homosexuals on the one hand and Muslims and Africans on the other.

What this will mean for the Right is also increased tension, but also an opportunity. The tension will arise from the fact that religious conservatives do not like homosexuals, but at the same time can see an opportunity to gain their support on account of having so much in common, and therefore will get a sniff of power.

What this should mean for the Left is a coming together under the banner of a shared value, such as universal compassion. Some would argue that this has been done already or at least has been intended to happen but it’s simply impossible when one faction wants to eradicate another one. Muslims and homosexuals cannot co-exist in one political movement, that is now clear.

If the Left is to survive the 21st century and provide a realistic alternative to globalist hypercapitalism, which is currently rampant, it has to stop being so soft and recognise that some boundaries are necessary to prevent total chaos. One of those boundaries might well be the blanket exclusion of people from cultures that do not place a high moral value on tolerance and compassion.

Technology Has Changed The Nature of Human Intelligence

Kraftwerk sang about the fusion of man and machine in the 1980s, but even they couldn’t anticipate how the Internet would change our brains

People used to have a reasonably clear idea of what intelligence is. As measured by school examinations, intelligence is primarily a matter of remembering and recalling disparate pieces of information and, for bonus points, knitting as many of these pieces as information as possible together into a pattern that can be communicated. This was the approach taken by the Chinese Mandarin schools, and it made perfect sense – until now.

It used to be that having a good memory was the most important thing. This is natural if you lived in a time of informational scarcity, as we did for most of our history. Nature didn’t offer a lot of second chances to remember things; if you didn’t remember that crocodiles were often seen in this river, or what your grandmother said about not sticking your hand in empty logs where snakes could be, you probably weren’t long for this world.

Most of the time none of us had any idea what the fuck was going on. Only during the last 5% of the human experience has anyone managed to get anything written down, and even then mass literacy has only been a thing for a hundred years or so, and even then only in wealthy industrialised countries. The concept of being overwhelmed by knowledge was impossible outside of the most rigorous monastic setting.

The Internet has turned this entire equation on its head. It is like a gigantic non-corporeal memory comprising the sum total of human knowledge, never further than a few clicks away. No-one really needs to memorise everything anymore, when they could spend that same precious study time learning to understand the fundamentals of their discipline better.

During most of the time that people have been students, it used to be that you could open your skull and allow it to be filled. Anyone taking the time to speak to you probably had your best interests in mind, and so an atmosphere of high trust existed, and students could be more receptive.

Now, the most important thing is being able to discern truth from bullshit. On the Internet, people are lining up to shovel shit into your head. Not only are there the advertisers who have been a plague on mass media since the 1950s, but there are government propagandists – both foreign and “your own” government, religionists with a new audience, corporate intelligence agents, social justice warriors and anyone else with a drum to beat.

So you have to be more discriminating. After all, there’s no point in being open minded when you’re continually exposed to things like Flat Earth, which really only makes a person more stupid the more they think about it.

The more lies and propaganda there are around, the more intelligence becomes about being able to quickly and cleanly distinguish lies from truth, and to avoid logical errors like the balance fallacy, in which a person gives credence to a false position merely because a lot of people are bleating about it.

Intelligence is now about figuring out when you’re being lied to. Can you tell truth from bullshit when it comes to vaccine claims, for example? How do you know? How do you really know?

Now more than ever, what distinguishes the smart from the slow is how to accurately grade the reliability of the information that comes into their awareness and not simply accept it because the television says so and not simply dismiss it because the Government says so. Now it’s all about the metainformation – the information about the information – which gives us a second dimension by which to measure knowledge.

This will lead to an evolutionary process in which people who adapt to the new paradigm of information being abundant and unreliable, instead of rare and reliable, will outcompete those in the old paradigm of mindlessly memorising things.

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Vince McLeod is the author of the cyberpunk novel The Verity Key, a story based on his psychological research into whether it’s possible for devices to control people’s thoughts and actions by satellite.

Blade Runner 2049 Shows That Cyberpunk Will Live Forever

A Blade Runner for a new generation poses a set of moral dilemmas for a new generation – as cyberpunk always will

Film pundits are divided over whether or not Blade Runner 2049 can be counted as a successful film. On the one hand, it lost $80,000,000 at the box office; on the other, it has an 8.4/10 rating on the IMDB. This essay argues that not only is Blade Runner 2049 a great film, but it is evidence that the cyberpunk genre will live forever.

Cyberpunk, like Satanism and Test match cricket, is never going to find mass appeal among a Western population that hates thinking. All of these genres are acquired tastes that only a particular sort of person finds interesting – and then, they usually find it fascinating. So it’s entirely appropriate that Blade Runner 2049 did poorly at the box office but extremely well among cyberpunk fans who have a sophisticated appreciation for the genre.

Cyberpunk will always have a place in popular culture, as long as advancing technology continues to pose us moral dilemmas that bring with them the possibility of horror. New technologies will keep putting people in novel and unique situations without any previous example of how to conduct oneself, and they will continue to provide new methods to control, exploit, dominate and destroy.

Even though most new technological advances will be for peaceful and wholesome purposes, we can predict, to paraphrase William Gibson, that the street will continue to find its own uses for things, and therefore there will always be expression for people using technology to get any edge on each other.

Which means that advancing technology will continue to produce moral dilemmas that make for fascinating fiction.

The moral dilemma at the heart of Blade Runner was whether or not artificial humans could ever be considered real people, and so whether or not there was ever a moral obligation to treat them as equals, in the way that most people feel a moral obligation to treat other people as equals. Roy Batty was outraged that humans might have engineered him to have such an artificially short life span, and viewers were likely to concede that he had a point.

For whatever reason, the collective consciousness appears to have concluded that replicants are not, and can never be, conscious. Fair enough, but the moral dilemma at the heart of Blade Runner 2049 is whether or not the offspring of replicants that can breed are conscious. The characters in the film seem to glibly assume that any creature that is born must have a soul, but the question is never discussed at length by them, leaving such ruminations for the viewer.

Blade Runner 2049 poses this question in a believable and terrifying manner, and forces the reader to consider Philip K Dick’s fundamental question of science fiction: not “What if…”, but “My God, what if…” My God, what if artificial creatures that managed to replicate were actually conscious in the same way that we are conscious? What if acting to reduce the suffering of all sentient beings in the universe meant that we had to consider the offspring of replicants?

Cyberpunk is always going to raise questions like this, because it will always be true that somewhere there is a megacorporation with pockets deep enough to finance bleeding-edge technological research and application away from the watchful eyes of the government or the public, for whatever dark and twisted motives the world can surmise.

Because it did such an excellent job of posing such deep questions in a way that chills the spine of the viewer, it can be argued that Blade Runner 2049 is an excellent piece of cinema for the sort of viewer who appreciates a subtler and more cerebral tale than the usual Hollywood fare, even if it did not find mass market appeal.

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Vince McLeod is the author of the cyberpunk novel The Verity Key, a story of ANZAC mateship in a dystopic future world where it’s possible for devices to control people’s thoughts and actions by satellite.

Why Christianity Will Destroy The West (Again)

Christianity caused the 4th century Roman Empire to rot from within, until they were unable to secure their borders against invaders and collapsed. A similar fate is befalling 21st century Europe

Christian culture is defined by many things; virtue signalling, slave morality, resentment, passive aggression and self hatred are the foremost of these. This Abrahamic disease of the collective consciousness was fatal for the Roman Empire before us, and, unfortunately, the Western world hasn’t been able to shake it off for nearly 2,000 years. It’s going to be fatal for us too.

Mass immigration destroyed the Roman Empire – this is a matter of historical record. Fat, lazy and decadent, the Romans no longer had the will to defend their own Northern borders against Germanic barbarians, and that led to those barbarians having their will with the place. Free plunder resulted.

The Gothic War started in 376 when a huge number of Goths turned up on the border of the Roman Empire seeking refuge from the Huns. At first, Emperor Valens was pleased at the prospect of cheap labour for his workforce and willing soldiers (heard this story before?), but the unwillingness of the local population to support this foreign multitude of hungry mouths (what about now?) led to insurrection, and aided by traitors within the local Roman population (what about now?) the Goths were able to sack the place, leading to the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire.

All of this was made possible by the conversion of the Empire to Christianity, which turned the minds of the Romans away from reality and replaced their natural morality with the slave morality that we see expressed today in the legions of social justice warriors and cultural Marxists.

Angela Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran minister, and her Christian morality was instrumental in her decision to open the borders of Germany to the hordes of Syrian migrants seeking refuge from people exactly like themselves.

Thinking like a Christian and striving to make a show of piety, and supported by wealthy, fashionable virtue signallers, Merkel decided to allow a million Syrians to have their way with the country she ruled, on the basis that they were claiming to need help and that submitting to this invasion would be charitable.

The same catastrophe is going to happen to us, for the same reasons, and the same people will be cheerleading for it.

The immensely privileged Alison Mau used her platform in the mainstream media to let us know yesterday that we were all racists for not wanting to take hundreds of refugees, despite acknowledging that these refugees were severely mentally ill, which would require that the mentally ill New Zealanders already present go to the back of the healthcare queue to accommodate them.

Her logic is that, if you are one of the tens of thousands of Kiwis who are desperate for mental health care from a system that you have paid taxes into and which your grandparents built, you’re going to have to get to the back of the queue behind a horde of people who have not inherited a birthright to the wealth of the nation.

As Dan McGlashan points out at several points in Understanding New Zealand, this is the major division on the left, between the privileged, usually Green supporters and the unprivileged, usually Labour and New Zealand First supporters. The privileged, like Alison Mau, having enough money to protect her from the cruel vagaries of life, are happy to support whatever cause is trendy this week without care for the consequences, because the consequences of mass “refugee” resettlement will fall upon the unprivileged. The unprivileged, like the working class of New Zealand, will see the community bonds of the neighbourhoods destroyed, and the queues in front of them for getting mental health care become longer, and the security of their women and elderly start to become jeopardised.

The self-righteous Christian sentiment that expresses itself as a desire to be seen to be virtuous and compassionate will destroy the West, and it isn’t the Muslims that necessarily do all the damage. They just do enough damage to make people lose their minds, as the Jews once did in Germany. And then, all Hell breaks loose.

The real danger is not Muslims, because they are a century from being a real threat to the West. The real danger is what we ourselves might get tempted to do when the hordes of Muslim “refugees” fail to integrate, and start to achieve territorial dominance in certain areas.

A Holocaust of Muslims in Europe this century is entirely plausible – not because such a genocide is itself plausible but because all the stupid shit that leads up to one is apparently in the process of being repeated. Like the yin and the yang, the excesses of one ideology lead to the excesses of its counter, and the excess of a narcissistic desire to virtue signal one’s likeness to the ideal of tolerance and compassion as embodied in Jesus Christ will be violence.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto XIV

This reading carries on from here.

In this section (pages 1153-1234), Breivik gives his thoughts on the Knights Templar and ethnocentricism. The ultimate goal appears to be the institution of a cultural conservative society akin to that of Japan or South Korea, or what Breivik believes Europe to have been like in the 1950s.

Again, an element of paranoia comes through in Breivik’s writings, evidenced through extremely cynical conclusions to otherwise intelligent paths of reasoning. He correctly notes that the Nazi loss in World War II made any nationalist or racial conservative sentiments start to look a bit dangerous, and that this gave the initiative in the culture wars to the Marxists, but it’s not necessarily true that what happened to the West was due to some nefarious master plan.

It’s more likely to be simple superstition – such a thing happens to the ideology of the losers of every war.

Despite the paranoia, Breivik’s cold Nordic honesty shines through as some points, such as when he concedes that the Marxists have up until now been better propagandists than the cultural conservatives.

Although Breivik decries Nazism as a hate ideology at many points in this document, this section, if read in isolation, could easily give the reader the impression he was a racial supremacist. He decries what he believes to be an attempt by the cultural Marxists to cause the extinction of the Nordic genotype on the grounds that this genotype is evil, and he justifies an ethnostate on the basis that one would preserve the indigenous rights of the European people in the face of high Muslim breeding rates.

At some points, Breivik’s argument shows a distinct lack of deeper coherence. At one point he correctly points out that women like Pamela Anderson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Taylor Swift attained fame due to their distinctively Nordic appearance, but the fact that this is true is evidence against a global media conspiracy to exterminate the Nordic genotype. Why would a media conspiracy put forward the Nordic genotype as a beauty standard when they could put forward an Asian or an African genotype and convince white men to ignore their women?

If the media puts the Nordic look forward as a beauty ideal this will simply shift the pressure of sexual selection to favour Nordic people, which means that the Nordic genotype would reproduce at a higher rate than it otherwise would have done.

The Nordic genotype is not really faced with extinction. People of Nordic genotypes control 30 million square kilometres of territory across Europe, North America and Australia and number close to 400 million (USA 180 million, Germany 75 million, Britain 55 million, Canada 20 million, Low Countries 25 million, Scandinavia 20 million, Australia and New Zealand 20 million). Their combined economic output is three times the closest competitor (either the Japanese or the Han Chinese).

Any idea that Breivik is a neo-Nazi can be decisively put to bed when he writes that “If there is one historical figure and past Germanic leader I hate it is Adolf Hitler.” However, he concedes that there is a 60% overlap between his ideal policy and that of the Nazis.

In a passage about sexual morality, Breivik writes “Approximately 50% of my female friends end up under the definition/category; promiscuous (female sluts) as they have engaged in sexual activity with more than 20 partners…” This sort of lifestyle was not for him, however, despite that “I could easily have chosen the same path if I wanted to, due to my looks, status, resourcefulness and charm.” This invites one to wonder how Breivik would have turned out if someone had given him some MDMA at age 18 or so.

Curiously, there is a passage where Breivik writes about the need to use “reprogenetics” to create a race of humans free from hereditary diseases in which he sounds very similar to the megalomaniacal Sigurd Mastersen in The Verity Key. Breivik wants to use women in third-world countries as surrogate mothers for embryos engineered to create a child of the Nordic genotype.

Further underlying Breivik’s inability to comprehend irony, he writes in one passage about the dangers of hip hop and how the lyrics can easily lead to a destructive and anti-authoritarian attitude. Well, it’s apparent that Breivik himself fulfills the criteria of having a destructive and anti-authoritarian attitude.

Notably, Breivik writes that “I never tried drugs myself as I never wanted to break that threshold.” Perhaps if he had been willing to try some drugs he would have broken out of the paranoid, obsessive, repetitive thought-loops of vengeance and justice that led him to kill over 70 people.

The Conscript’s Dilemma

No forced hierarchy could ever form if those conscripted into it at the bottom killed those doing the conscripting

The thought experiment known as the Conscript’s Dilemma is at the very core of anarcho-homicidalism. It poses a very basic and very primal question that invites the listener to question their inherent attitudes to hierarchy, violence and submission. This essay discusses it from an anarcho-homicidalist perspective.

Imagine that you are a young man entering the prime of his life. Your village lies in the territory of a despotic king who regularly raises conscript troops to go and fight for treasure in overseas adventures. Those sort of adventures are foreign to you. You have you own life to live in the village – obligations to discharge, maidens to court etc. Life is orderly and good.

One day a conscription officer rides into your village. He explains that it’s war time again, and that he has come to round up for the army all fighting age men – which means you. The penalty for refusing to heed the king’s call is death.

This scenario has played out millions of times throughout the history of the Earth. It’s well-known what happens in the vast majority of cases: the villagers, cowed by fear of the distant king, willingly give up their sons to the war machine for fear of incurring the king’s wrath.

After all, if incurring the king’s wrath means certain death, and going to war only means the possibility of death, and there is no third option, going to war is the obvious correct choice.

Or so it might seem.

An anarcho-homicidalist thinks otherwise. Central to the idea of anarcho-homicidalism is that dominance hierarchies could not form without the consent of the dominated, and that anyone trying to enslave you can rightfully be killed if necessary to protect one’s own liberty. This means that the conscript at the centre of this dilemma has a third option: kill the conscription officer and trust that his fellows are also anarcho-homicidalists.

If the others are also anarcho-homicidalists, they will back him up. They will understand that killing the conscription officer was necessary to protect the village and its residents from the kingdom’s hierarchy. They will understand that the king’s actions are tantamount to an attempt to enslave, because they are implicitly claiming that the bodies of the villagers are the property of the king.

If they are not anarcho-homicidalists, that is to say they are normal men, that is to say they are cowards, they will be terrified of getting into trouble from killing one of the king’s men. They will turn the anarcho-homicidalist in, probably for the inevitable reward, or perhaps even kill him themselves out of a belief that he is a murderer and that the conscription attempt was legitimate.

The anarcho-homicidalist knows that if he killed the conscription officer, the punishment is unlikely to be much more severe than the worst potential cost of obeying the demand for conscription, which is to go to war and get slaughtered.

However the potential reward, should he find enough support in his actions that he is not simply taken down by the king’s local sheriffs, is total freedom.

Ultimately, this is what the question of anarcho-homicidalism often boils down to. If you’re not willing to kill to maintain your freedom, then you can’t maintain it in the face of someone willing to kill to take it away.

The Conscript’s Dilemma could be described in much the same way as the Prisoner’s Dilemma, with which it shares much of the same meathook logic. Essentially it’s a question of game theory, and it’s a curious one because the people involved, despite being best served by co-operation, are challenged by powerful incentives that incline them towards not co-operating.

More precisely, the dilemma is that if everyone was an anarcho-homicidalist, and everyone had confidence in everyone else’s faith in anarcho-homicidalism, they would all choose to kill any conscription officer who tried to force them into the army and thereby make slavery impossible, but if sufficiently few of them are anarcho-homicidalists then they will not resist enslavement efforts out of fear that the slavers will punish them, and so slavery becomes possible.

It is a useful rebuttal to those who reject anarcho-homicidalism right off the bat on account of that it explicitly calls for killing people. Very often, the alternative to having a will to kill in self-defence is to become a slave.

What New Zealand Could Learn From the Nevada Legal Cannabis Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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