Why Meme Magic is Real, or How Trump Won the Propaganda War

The aptly named One Meme to Rule Them All heralded the true beginning of the spontaneous grassroots pro-Trump campaign. At no point were Hillary supporters motivated to produce or share memes

Remember when you were a kid, and “reading” books used to be less about those weird symbols that the grown-ups were hypnotised by, and more about looking at pictures that had those symbols underneath? That wasn’t just you being uneducated – it was also your intuitive understanding of the power of those pictures to talk to your spirit.

Magicians are aware of one thing that ordinary people are not: that the deeper parts of the mind, which psychologists call the subconscious – or even the unconscious – are not in any way less powerful than the surface parts that do all the thinking and talking.

Indeed, some even draw a distinction based on the primary target of the magic in question. Lesser magic can be considered the art of conscious magic and is mostly intellect-based, routine and predictable; greater magic is the art of unconscious magic and is mostly will-based, darker and more dangerous.

Memes speak to the subconscious. So they, like magic, are not targeted at the logical, rational, autistic left brain, because the left brain is the gatekeeper of the conscious. Memes appeal to the joyful, passionate, spontaneous and psychotic right brain, because the right brain is the gatekeeper of the subconscious.

In this, their power is humour, not logical rigour. This is a point that the left have missed for a long time, as they have become ever more obsessed with political correctness and policing people’s speech, although they managed to avoid any serious consequences until the Trump election.

We are now in the Post-Truth Age; this is a point that is well understood. The implications of this are less well understood. One of them is that it is no longer considered possible to determine using logical rigour which of a set of political candidates is most likely to be lying.

Politicians have been trying for so long to get an edge on their opponents by crafting more powerful lies that the race to the bottom has led to no-one believing them at all.

The more Hillary Clinton shrieked accusations of fascism at Trump, the more she herself came to appear Hitler-like, and the more Trump came to appear the noble resistance

And so it simply didn’t matter what Hillary Clinton’s arguments were. All Trump had to do was to create the right sort of vibe, and this would ensure that his voters turned out while Hillary’s did not. In this regard, the more Hillary struggled to get an edge, the more she sunk into the quicksand.

The rhetoric against Trump quickly became so extreme that it was laughable. Clinton genuinely appeared to believe she was fighting Hitler, and the stronger her belief the crazier she appeared to all but her own echo chamber.

Soon it was pretty clear that Hillary Clinton was herself a dangerous megalomaniac, and that she had the entire political establishment, the military establishment, the industrial establishment, the banking establishment and the media establishment behind her.

It was against this backdrop of extreme seriousness and humourlessness that memes started to work their magic.

Meme magic began, therefore, in the symbology of resistance. In much the same way that early Christian martyrs adopted the symbol of the fish as a sign of a mutual interest in resisting Babylon and Rome, so did young and creative people adopt Pepe and Kek as signs of resistance to a monstrously corrupt political establishment.

After the election, only the relatively woke appreciated how close we had all come to disaster

FaceBook avatars bearing green frogs also bore a message that went over the head of the majority of the plebs, but these were understood as a secret language by an elect few. It was a sign not to give up hope, not even when the mainstream media was pushing polls that gave Hillary Clinton a 98% chance of winning.

The three propaganda images in this essay are an excellent example of this phenomenon, and are merely a selection from the best. Where some people just see ridiculous drawings or photoshops of Trump, many others were powerfully affected at a subconscious level.

This column has previously argued that Hitler represented an excess of masculine energy, and that the world may have recently swung too far to the left in a 70-year cycle of history.

Hillary was always much more like Hitler than Trump was or ever could have been. Her promise to let 500,000 Syrian refugees into America was a clarion call for those who had been watching the collapse of Europe and the distance between Establishment politicians and the will of the people in the West.

Perhaps her defeat was then – rather than the certain path to nuclear hellfire the talking heads told us it would be – a sign that things are about to move back to normality. Trump has already admitted that the American Government has done a poor job recently of living up to its stated ideals.

The danger for Trump is that, having gone all-in on the “drain the swamp” rhetoric, he has to make genuine change or lose support in the next election. He also has to stay onside with the army of meme magicians that shitposted him into the White House.

It is too early to say if he will succeed. In any case, it can be confidently predicted that meme magic will play a large role in the next election and in each one henceforth.

Can This Black Caps Side Take The World No. 1 ODI Ranking?

In winning the Hadlee-Chappell series 2-0, the Black Caps have defeated the Australian side twice in an ODI series in 12 months and moved to No. 3 in the official ODI rankings. This essay poses the question: can Kane Williamson’s side achieve something unprecedented in New Zealand ODI cricket history, and take the No. 1 spot?

The Black Caps have never achieved the distinction of being able to claim that they were the best ODI side in the world. At times we have come close. The current Black Caps ODI unit might have it in them to go the rest of the way.

Let’s look at the team with reference to the official ICC player rankings.

On these rankings the figure of 750 stands out as a benchmark for world-class performance. To achieve a score of 750 a player must consistently excel in comparison to their peers. It is a rare enough distinction that only six current batsmen have rating scores above 750.

Williamson had a score of 752 in January 2015, and in the two years since then has almost always stayed above that figure. If we compare his returns with that of Martin Crowe, we can see that Crowe was similar but generally below the 750 mark. Crowe, however, maintained his standard of between 700 and 750 for nine years.

In the extremely unlikely event that Williamson’s career peters out from this point, he would end up with a career ratings trajectory similar to that of Andrew Jones, who hit his peak at roughly the same time as Crowe.

Jones, who was like Williamson in that he was rock-solid at No. 3 but unlike him in that he was picked late for the Black Caps, maintained a rating above 750 for about four years.

Ross Taylor, widely regarded as the second-best bat in this current side, has maintained a Martin Crowe level of performance for the past three years, in which time he has also been between 700 and 750. He has averaged 55.89 with the bat in those last three years.

What the Black Caps of Jones and Crowe’s day didn’t have was a classy hitter at the top like Martin Guptill. Although Guptill was not world-class for the first part of his career, he got on top of his game about two years ago and since then has risen above 750. He averages over 50 in the 50 matches he has played since the start of 2015.

The Black Caps have long had a tradition of excellent ODI bowling, going all the way back to Sir Richard Hadlee, who was one of the best of all. At one point the Black Caps had the rare distinction of having three of the top five ODI bowlers, in Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills.

Vettori was the only one of those three to be truly world-class for a decent length of time – Bond suffered many problems with injury and Mills was not enough of a wicket threat to really be considered in that top bracket.

The most skilled Black Cap with the ball currently is Trent Boult, who is ranked No. 1 in ODIs. Boult is a curious case, because he hasn’t even been in the ODI side very long. He has, however, maintained a bowling rating of 750 or thereabouts for most of the past 18 months, during which time he has also struggled for fitness.

But given that he is rapidly improving and is only 27, this column contends that over the next few years, Trent Boult will establish himself as the best ODI bowler in the world. He might not have quite as many wicket deliveries as Mitchell Starc, but he is far more relentlessly accurate and incisive.

Perhaps the major weakness of today’s Black Caps side in comparison to those of past years is the absence of a world-class allrounder. When Cairns, Oram, Styris and Vettori were operating the team had both depth and flexibility.

Certainly there is potential among the current wider squad for a quality No. 6 to emerge. Corey Anderson has even more potential than Cairns, but can’t stay on the field long enough to make an impact. Jimmy Neesham appears to have the goods, but has been unable to translate it into class in ODIs. The best bet going forward might be Mitchell Santner, as the errors he makes tend to be errors of inexperience.

With four world-class players in Williamson, Taylor, Guptill and Boult, and a handful of potential ones in Matt Henry (currently ranked 7 in ODI bowling but can’t make the side), Santner, Anderson, Tom Latham, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne, the Black Caps side of 2017 looks to have both a stronger core and much greater depth than ever before.

All it would take would be to maintain those standards or gradually improve them over time as players naturally get more experience, and the Black Caps will surely claim the No. 1 ranking sooner or later.

This side could actually take the No. 1 ranking fairly soon if enough results went in their favour. A 3-0 win in the ODI series against South Africa later this month is far from unthinkable, considering they just beat the world champion Australians 2-0 at home.

That would leave them second, two points behind Aussie, and therefore within striking range of the previously unachievable.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of Maori New Zealanders

Most Kiwis are generally aware that the average Maori is doing it harder than the average Kiwi by a range of measures, but may not be sure precisely why. In any case, there is much more to the Maori experience than just that.

The correlation between median personal income and being Maori is a moderate -0.48. This is enough to tell us that the average Maori is considerably poorer than the average Kiwi. However, this correlation is not quite as meaningful as it might appear on the surface.

The correlation between median age and being Maori is even stronger, at -0.63, and because there is a mildly significant positive correlation of 0.27 between median age and median personal income it is fair to conclude that Maori are poorer than average, to a small extent, because they are younger than average.

There is a fair amount of cynicism among Maoris regarding Paheka religions. This is reflected in the fact that being Maori has a significant negative correlation with being a Christian, which is -0.37. This will surprise those any who expect that Maoris are like Pacific Islanders in all regards. The correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being a Christian is a moderately strong 0.46, so they are very different to the Maori in that sense.

There is no significant correlation between being Maori and being Anglican – this is 0.02. Being Maori has significant negative correlations with practicising a variety of religious traditions: with being a Catholic it is -0.28, with being Presbytarian it is -0.40 and with being Buddhist it is -0.45.

Even more surprising to some is the strong positive correlation between being Maori and being a Mormon (0.54), as well as the correlation between being Maori and following Spiritualism and New Age religions, which was a mildly significant 0.24. In this latter correlation the Maori share something exclusively with the Paheka, who also have an interest in these traditions, unlike Pacific Islanders and Asians.

The explanation for the strong negative correlation between being Maori and net personal income becomes obvious if one looks at the correlations between being Maori and maximum educational achievement.

Being Maori had a moderate positive correlation with being in all three groups with the poorest education. Being Maori had a correlation of 0.57 with a Level 2 education, of 0.55 with a Level 1 education, and of 0.67 with no qualifications at all.

Even worse for the purposes of making a good income, being Maori had a significant negative correlation with having any of the university degrees. With having a Bachelor’s degree the correlation was -0.45, with having an Honour’s degree it was -0.46, with having a Master’s degree it was -0.45 and with having a doctorate it was -0.41.

It is known that Maori men in particular have the lowest life expectancy of any of the major population groups in New Zealand. Few would dare guess that things are so bad for Maori men that there is a significant correlation between being Maori and being female – this is 0.31.

Related to this unusual death rate, there is one pattern that stands out when it comes to the demographics of Maori. Although Maori are only doing moderately worse than the Kiwi average when it comes to most measures of social health and wellbeing, they still comprise the bulk of the Kiwis at the very bottom of the ladder, who have it hardest of all.

There is a correlation of 0.91 between being Maori and being on the unemployment benefit and a correlation of 0.77 between being Maori and being on the invalid’s benefit. There is also a correlation of 0.92 between being Maori and being a regular smoker and a correlation of 0.79 between being Maori and being a solo parent.

These are very strong correlations and suggest that much of the worst social devastation has happened to Maoris.

There is a significant positive correlation between being Maori and all of the income bands from Loss or No Income up to $50K. There is a significant negative one between being Maori and the three income bands above $70K. One can guess from this that working class industries and occupations are the general trend.

The significant positive correlations between being Maori and working in a particular industry are 0.47 for working in transport, postal and warehousing, 0.44 for working in manufacturing, 0.43 for working in education and training, 0.42 for workign in electricity, gas, water and waste services, 0.38 with working in administration and support services, 0.32 for working in healthcare and social assistance and 0.31 for working in construction.

There are only two industries with a significant negative correlation with being Maori: professional, scientific and technical services at -0.33 and financial and insurance services at -0.26. The former of these is not surprising considering the unusually low representation of Maori on the higher rungs of the education ladder.

True to the long-held stereotype of “Maori being good on guitars and bulldozers”, there is a very strong correlation between being Maori and working as a machinery operator or driver – this is 0.66. There is also a strong correlation of 0.62 between being Maori and being a labourer. The strongest correlation between being Maori and any occupation, however, is with community and personal services, which is 0.72.

Predictably, there is a strong positive correlation between being Maori and having been born in New Zealand – this is 0.70. This may not even be as strong as some might predict, but it ought to be kept in mind that the vast majority of New Zealand Europeans are native born and that there are large Maori populations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

What Waitangi Day Could Mean For New Zealanders

Today is Waitangi Day, the national holiday of New Zealand. Our national holiday is today because it commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the document of partnership between the native Maori tribes and the British pioneers that led to the founding of modern New Zealand.

Everyone knows that. Here’s something you probably didn’t know. In the original articles of Australian Federation, which are held for public viewing in the Australian National Museum, it stated clearly that only white people and Maoris were allowed to vote in Australian Federal elections.

Why Maoris?

The framers of the early Australian Constitution were no fools, but they were not right about everything. Back in the late 19th century when the desire for federalism swept the Australian continent in response to an ever-increasing majority of the people being native born, it was anticipated that New Zealand would join the nascent Southern nation as another state.

After all, New Zealand was born of exactly the same sociohistorical phenomenon as Australia – the British Empire – and the white majority of New Zealand was not much culturally different to the white majority of Australia.

There was one catch. The early framers of the Australian constitution knew that the New Zealand Maori had been treated in a significantly different manner to the Aborigines of Australia, and that race attitudes were very different across the Tasman Sea.

Maori New Zealanders have had their own Parliamentary representation since 1868, about a century before Australian Aborigines were considered proper human beings by their settler culture.

In other words, it has been known from the beginning that our attitude to the native people made us fundamentally different in mentality to our brothers across the ditch.

The reason why Maoris were given the right to vote in Australian Federal Elections from the very beginning – unlike any other non-white race on Earth – is because it was understood that white New Zealanders would simply not accept federation into Australia otherwise.

Let’s be very clear about something at this point: this relationship is not one-way traffic. This intent of this essay is not to glorify the mostly middle-class people who colonised New Zealand and contrast them with the mostly working-class people who colonised Australia.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a partnership agreement that the Maoris have lived up to. By the standards of most international treaties in history that makes it very rare – and very precious.

One time at a factory I worked at in Brisbane, a pack of local bogans had cornered me and one of our co-workers, a Maori fellow named John. They engaged us in a conversation about who would win in a fight between the two of us and the six or seven or them.

John grinned and said: “We Kiwis are lovers, not fighters.”

It was a cunning way to defuse the situation, and it ended in good cheer. But it occurred to me shortly afterwards, based on what else I had observed in my half a year in Australia about the relations between white Australians and Aborigines, that it was highly unlikely an Aborigine would find cause to say the same about a white Australian.

Can an Australian Aborigine genuinely look at a white Australian and see one of his own, in the way a Maori New Zealander can look at a Paheka? Of course not. In fact, nothing like it.

This column’s contention for Waitangi Day is this. Forget the attention whores, the tub thumpers, the race baiters, the shit stirrers, and all the other dickheads who have turned this day into a low-rent freakshow. Let them have their day in front of the peanut gallery.

They have tried to divide and conquer us, as the ruling classes always have done to the people they have ruled, but in this they have failed.

However, let’s not dwell on that.

Instead, let us focus on the fact that the way we Kiwis have conducted race relations since the foundation of New Zealand has left us with far fewer daily unpleasantries than people of most other European colonies.

On my first day in Sydney, I walked out of the train station and up the main street towards the central city. On a dirty, water-logged mattress shoved up against a brick wall were a group of Aborigines, drinking meths out of plastic bottles.

On one of the first days I spent in Los Angeles I cycled to Malibu from Manhattan Beach. At Malibu, one can look up to the hills and see houses built like castles on huge sections, each property surely worth eight figures. From the same spot, one can look down to the beach and see several dozen people who sleep in cardboard boxes, and all of them are black.

And these are stories about the Functioning World; the non-Functioning World has horror stories about the friction of cultural borders rubbing up against each other that one can hardly believe.

On Waitangi Day, let’s spare a thought for the naked fact that, in most of the rest of the world, race relations are so bad that your skin colour is akin to a uniform and every street akin to a battlefield.

We managed to dodge the vast bulk of that – partly through design, partly through goodwill, partly through luck. Let’s take this day to appreciate that.

Where is Humanity on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a famous psychological theory based on the observation that people as a rule take care of their most pressing needs first, and only when those are satisfied do they develop an ambition to move to the next level.

The most common way to represent this is as a coloured pyramid – one can see an example as the title image of this essay. The ‘lower’ desires represent the more fundamental ones. The need represented by each level must be satisfied before a person is motivated to move on to the next one.

The lowest level is physiological needs. This basically means air, water and food. When the need for these are met a person moves on to safety needs, such as physical and economic security. Meeting those needs will mean a person advances to the level of love and belonging, where they try and satisfy a need for friendship, intimacy and belonging.

Above these three levels are two that are arguably not so much ‘needs’ as ‘decencies’. The first is the need for self-esteem. This relates to the human desire to be accepted and appreciated by others and by oneself. Generally the lower one’s self-regard the greater one’s need for fame or respect.

The last level is self-actualisation. This involves fulfilling one’s greatest potential; becoming the best version of oneself that it is possible to be.

It’s common for individuals to look at where they are themselves on Maslow’s hierarchy. It certainly is an interesting theory for anyone curious about how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

Some people are further than others. What we generally consider wealthy, fortunate, or “doing good” correlates pretty strongly with where a person is on the hierarchy of needs. If we take a look at humanity, though, we can see that as a whole we have not come very far.

According to the World Food Programme, 842 million people go to bed hungry on any given night. This represents about one in every eight people, all of whom have fallen at the first hurdle when it comes to the hierarchy of needs.

If one thinks about what that means in practice, it is one in every eight people who have no realistic chance of ever making progress in any of the other needs. After all, someone who goes to bed hungry will hardly be concerned with their bank account, because if they had any money they would have bought food with it.

It’s worth thinking that one in every eight people are that desperate – possibly that means one in every eight people are desperate enough to have a strong incentive to do serious harm to another human being, should an opportunity for a robbery arise.

After all, the major incentive a person has for not robbing someone is their desire for physical security, in the form of not going to jail, and their desire for social esteem, in the form of not being thought to be a robber.

As both of those needs are less fundamental than the need for food, a hungry person is unlikely to care about them very much. The desire for food is even more fundamental than the desire for peace, and so one in every eight of us is too hungry to care at all about all the war in the world.

A global universal basic income would raise us up the hierarchy, as it would take care of most basic physiological needs. It is the inability to fulfill the need for these that causes the vast majority of human suffering in the world.

It does, however, raise the spectre of overpopulation, at least in the minds of those who believe that some of the tropical peoples are incapable of keeping their breeding in check. If a person believes this, then it is natural to also believe that a global basic income will lead to ecological collapse.

Maybe humankind is doomed to remain at a reasonably low level because of the belief that if we co-operate too closely, factions within humanity will take advantage of this peace to wage war against other factions, perhaps even without those factions knowing about it.

The False Dichotomy of Nihilism vs. Fanaticism

Why is the world so fucking crazy? Here’s the short answer: people prefer the certitude of moral fanaticism to the yawning, howling chasm of despair that is nihilism. This essay argues that this false dilemma will always arise in the hearts and minds of people who have failed to dial their frequency into the range of gold, for whatever reason.

As any existentialist can tell you, nihilism is an inevitable part of being human. If one is not dull in the head, one soon observes that the vast majority of politicians, rulers, religious men and media figures are liars and thieves, essentially just master pirates, and one turns from there quickly to despair.

This despair tends to neither last nor transmute directly to nihilism. It doesn’t last because the naivete into which one was brainwashed soon reasserts itself. Because it reasserts itself, the despair does not transmute into nihilism.

A dull person will cling to this naivete once it is reasserted, and will not let it go again for fear of the despair that filled that gap last time. An intelligent person will break it down again, choosing by an act of will or intuition to understand that their suspicions about the true order of things were correct, and that one can never trust a person claiming to be one’s superior.

If the child-like naivete cannot reassert itself, usually because a person has developed a deep cynicism towards it, then despair will eventually turn to nihilism. This only occurs once a state of learned helplessness has been achieved. From here, things will go one of two ways depending on the philosophical sophistication of the person involved.

One way is to reach a kind of philosophical maturity. This way is really, really hard and is outside the scope of this essay. Essentially it is the same task as creating the Philosopher’s Stone, or reaching nirvana, or spiritual absolution, or becoming the Overman.

The second way is to become a fanatic about something. In practice, it doesn’t actually matter what one becomes a fanatic about, although each individual fanatic will doubtlessly have a number of illogical, contradictory or spurious reasons to support their supposedly heartfelt belief. All that matters is that it feels better than nihilism.

It can be observed in many people that they have become fanatics about something in order to distract their minds from the ennui that arises from considering existence authentically. Honest philosophical thought seems to lead directly to panic as nothing appears to matter and we appear to die.

One absolves oneself of the moral imperative to be authentic once one becomes a fanatic. The life of a fanatic is defined. It is defined primarily by those one stands in opposition to.

If a National Socialist, one opposes Commies; if a Communist, one opposes Nazis. If a supporter of one’s military, one opposes all other militaries. If a supporter of one’s soccer team, one opposes all other soccer teams. If a feminist, one opposes the patriarchy, if a men’s rights activist one opposes feminists, if a Muslim one opposes the infidel, if a Catholic one opposes the heathen, and so it goes.

This process is as true of groups as it is of individuals. Thus we can see that, ironically, the mass rejection of the mainstream moral narrative that followed World War I laid the furrow for the mass fanaticism that led to World War II.

Becoming a fanatic in this manner leads to a very soothing and very temporary kind of peace. One soon becomes surrounded by like-minded fanatics and, from there, it is trivial to convince oneself that the mission all of you are on is the true and righteous one and that by rebuilding the world in your image you will genuinely create a utopia for all.

Doing so, however, comes at a bitter cost. In refusing to act authentically by becoming a fanatic, one inevitably finds oneself forced to either tell lies or to commit violence, for all falsehood finds expression in the human world in one of those two ways.

Observing the reality around you before taking action usually gives you necessary clues about who you are and what your role in this place is. This is the basis of Pyrrhonic wisdom, which is to ask what the nature of things actually is before you react to it.

This column contends that the way to peace is to look beyond; to look beyond the reasons people say they do things and the moral superiority they claim motivates their actions and see the true frequency of their spirits. And then apply that same caustic cynicism to oneself, usually in meditation.

Only by doing this can a person correctly observe the terrain before them and move accordingly.

Understanding New Zealand: Turnout Rate of Party Supporters

What sort of political party supporter actually turns out to vote? It’s not as straightforward and simple as just old, rich, male and white. However, turnout rate can serve as a useful indicator of general disenfranchisement.

Interestingly, the correlation matrix gives us a clue about a line of information that is completely closed off to anyone running a simpler analysis: we can know which party has the supporters that are most likely to vote by looking at the correlation between party vote in each electorate and the turnout rate in that electorate.

It seems fair to assume that, all other things being equal, the turnout rate of any party’s supporters is roughly equal to the degree that those supporters feel their needs and desires will be taken seriously by the eventual representatives. After all, if your vote will not count for anything because your MP will ignore you anyway, why bother to cast it?

Perhaps more than any other set of correlations, this one tells us who is running the country. If you have money and wealth, you can vote knowing that whoever wins the election will listen to you out of natural shared solidarity. If you are disadvantaged – poor, physically or mentally ill, female in some cases, the wrong religion or race in many others, you can’t.

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and voting for National – this was 0.76. The Labour one, at -0.67, was almost as strong in the other direction. This difference represented by this correlation arguably reflects the most fundamental political division in society – between the haves and the have-nots.

This correlation is large enough that we can predict the vast majority of people who do not turn out to vote are Labour supporters.

Reflecting that the average Green voter is significantly wealthier than the average Kiwi, there is a significant correlation between turnout rate and voting Green – this is 0.26. Probably this would be higher if it reflected the level of class privilege of the average Green voter, but because the average Green supporter is also so young the turnout rate is somewhat suppressed.

The turnout rate was, as it was for Labour, significantly negatively correlated with New Zealand First support. The correlation here was a moderately strong -0.40, which is possibly even a little less negative than one might have expected based on the income of the average New Zealand First voter. Even though the bulk of New Zealand First supporters are working-class Maoris and thus have a low turnout rate, the party has a core of elderly white voters who can be counted on to vote.

The turnout rate was moderately correlated with voting for the Conservative Party in 2014 – this was 0.55, easily the second highest of all the correlations between turnout rate and voting for a party. This is even though voting Conservative in 2014 did not have a significant correlation with median personal income.

The main reason for this is the strong correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and median age, which was 0.75. Because old people vote at significantly greater rates than the young, and because old people are religious fundamentalists at significantly greater rates than the young, old people will vote for a party (like the Conservatives) that appeals to religious fundamentalism.

All of the parties that had a high proportion of Maori voters had a significantly negative correlation with turnout rate. The correlation between turnout rate and voting Maori Party in 2014 was -0.74, with voting Internet MANA it was -0.69, with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.68 and with voting New Zealand First it was -0.40.

None of these are surprising considering the strong negative correlation between turnout rate and being Maori (-0.74). It may be that the natural support levels of both the Maori Party and Internet MANA are closer to what the Conservative Party is pulling in, but because of massive disenfranchisement among Maori are unable to translate that support into seats in Parliament.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.