21% of Americans now live in states that have legal recreational cannabis, and an overwhelming majority of them live in states with legal medicinal cannabis. It’s now obvious to every honest person that cannabis is a medicine, and that the recreational positives of it vastly outweigh the negatives. However, even when cannabis law reform wins its inevitable comprehensive victory, it won’t be the end of the struggle for cognitive liberty.
The struggle for cognitive liberty has been waged for several thousand years. It arguably begun when the first ever conversational topic became taboo – perhaps when some alpha male enforced a rule that meant his tribe were forbidden to speak of a certain subject. Since then, the forces of cognitive enslavement have only become more aggressive and more sophisticated.
In the New Zealand of today, we plebs are not even allowed to smoke medicinal flowers such as cannabis, not even if one of us has a severe medical condition that causes them to suffer badly. We’re not allowed to because the deconditioning effect of cannabis means that all of the shameless bullshit and lies that the political class have pumped into our heads for decades would be at risk of getting rejected.
Because the conditioning that enslaves us is profitable to the ruling class – as it makes us compliant, submissive and obedient – it is worth money. It could effectively be considered capital. This means that allowing the population cognitive liberty to question their own psychological enslavement, and the means to achieve this liberty, is a risk to the accumulated wealth of the ruling class.
This is true of cannabis, and is true ten times over for psychedelics.
Ultimate cognitive liberty comes from the complete destruction of the conditioned mind (or programmed mind). The behaviours that have been deliberately programmed into us have, and are intended to have, the ultimate effect of making us unhappy, because there is nothing more profitable than human misery.
This refers to the programmed behaviours that the ruling class force into your head at school, in the workplace, and through the mass media. They do this because your slavery is profitable, and because it allows them to impose a form of order on society that is beneficial to them. For these two reasons, the ruling class opposes the legalisation of drugs that allow cognitive liberty to flourish.
For example, it is known well enough by the people who need to know such things that smoking cannabis makes a person less desiring of, and less attached to, material possessions. This is because it has the effect of reducing suffering, which makes a person less likely to work long hours to save the money necessary to buy the crap that they mistakenly believe will make them happy. So reduced suffering means reduced profits for the ruling class.
Therefore, maximum profitability demands that the cognitive liberty of the people who might question this brainwashing be minimised.
When the Western World was first exposed to the power of psychedelics, we just shat our pants. We were in no way emotionally mature enough to deal with an entheogen that reunited our individual consciousness with that of God. Reuniting one’s consciousness with God is the same as absolution from all suffering, and we were in no way ready for that.
However, now that many of us are mature enough to treat cannabis as what it really is – a deconditioning agent that alleviates psychological suffering – we are starting to become aware that much of the suffering we endure on a daily basis has been forced on us from positions above us on the dominance hierarchy.
This means that the further we can decondition ourselves, the less suffering.
This fact was understood by Kevin Saunders, who is the man behind the recent Californian ballot initiative that seeks to “exempt adults 21 and older from penalties of possessing, selling, transporting, or cultivating psilocybins.” Saying that the ballot is “a natural progression from marijuana legalization,” Saunders relates a personal story of overcoming heroin addiction as a result of the deconditioning effects of the drug.
Psychedelics have incredible potential for alleviating all suffering arising from psychological conditions that are caused by excessive conditioning, in particular anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and addiction. Many people are aware of this, though they are currently shunned by the mainstream narrative, which has been set (as mentioned above) by those who profit from the suffering.
Over time, however, the truth will out, and this means that the legalisation of psychedelics is an inevitability.
With news that the North American cannabis industry grew by 30% in 2016 to reach a total of USD6,700,000,000 worth of sales, savvy investors in North America are scrambling to get a piece of the action. Stats show that the cannabis industry is projected to grow at a compound rate of over 25% until 2021, a faster pace of growth than even the Internet managed during the dotcom era.
New Zealand could easily become one of the world leaders in the cannabis industry. Almost nowhere in the world has the same combination of excellent growing conditions and a passionate and knowledgeable workforce. But, sadly, almost nowhere else in the world has a political class as cowardly and short-sighted as ours.
The New Zealand Government and our business elites constantly stress the importance of innovation for our future economic well-being. We are told everyday that we need to be smart and be one step ahead of our competition. Well, our competition is blazing ahead – 21% of the American population now lives in states where recreational cannabis is fully legal. This equates to over 60 million people.
The 4.7 million people trapped on our archipelago at the bottom of the South Pacific are losing out, and because of the incompetence of our political leadership we are falling further and further behind. Every quarter that passes means that our competition in North America advances their business practices further ahead of ours, meaning that it will be harder and harder for New Zealanders to compete in this market once we are finally allowed to do so.
For example, much of the new investment money flowing into the North American cannabis industry is establishing a capital base that, if we keep sitting on our hands, we won’t be able to compete with.
New technologies such as sensors that precisely measure the environmental conditions inside grow rooms, and computer software that makes adjustments to these conditions for the optimal possible plant growth, are being developed and rolled out in territories where it is legal to do so. New LED lighting technology is making it possible for growers to tailor the precise wavelength frequency of the light in their growing operation to the specific needs of the strain being grown.
These are examples of the kind of innovation that is generating money for people in more enlightened jurisdictions. New Zealanders could be competing with the North Americans for a share of this market, but we’re not allowed to.
We are also falling behind our competition when it comes to knowledge.
This is a double mistake because much of the knowledge of how to best produce a cannabis crop is in the hands of Maoris, who are the most desperate for new economic opportunities. As demonstrated by Hikurangi Enterprises, who have conducted a successful trial for growing hemp, many of the most knowledgeable Kiwis when it comes to cannabis are Maoris, who generally never believed the Government’s bullshit about cannabis anyway.
Ironically, a former Waikato farmer, John Lord, has used the agriculture knowledge that New Zealand excels in to become one of the heavyweights of this burgeoning industry in Colorado. He states openly that if New Zealand legalised cannabis like Colorado did five years ago, it would be worth thousands of jobs to the New Zealand economy (his estimate is 15,000). This is over and above the $400,000,000 we would save every year from costs relating to prohibition.
New Zealand is missing out on a plethora of economic opportunities in the cannabis market for no other reason than that our ruling class is backwards, cowardly and ignorant. It’s a terrible waste.
In this section (c. pages 574-658), Breivik puts some statistics on the demographic changes that are occurring in Europe, and tries to determine where this might lead. Like the previous sections in this document, Breivik here lists as many crimes committed by Muslims as he can possibly find – there is nothing too trivial to escape notice. Also like the previous sections, Breivik’s solutions are drastic. At one point he declares that “mass deportation of Muslims is the only viable alternative”.
At the beginning of this section he lists some “projections” of the future Muslim population in European countries. These projections state that France will be a majority Muslim country by 2050, at which point, Breivik contends, social order will start to collapse (if not beforehand).
Worryingly for those tempted to dismiss Breivik as a crackpot, the concerns in this section are backed up by hard statistics. The birth rate of European women in Europe is much lower than the birth rate of Muslim women, and, if this continues, it’s simply a matter of time until Muslims become more numerous.
This logic is mathematical. If a person puts $100 in a bank account at 3.5% interest, and $1,000 in another bank account at 1.3% interest, it’s clear that the first bank account will sooner or later become the larger of the two. The practical evidence is demonstrated by phenomena such as the population of Pakistan increasing five-fold in less than sixty years after 1951.
On some questions, it’s impossible to take any other position than agreement with Breivik, especially when he points out the mathematical likelihood of an ever-increasing Muslim population leading to further civil unrest. Some opinion polls for next year’s Swedish General Election suggest that the neo-Nazi Sweden Democrats will become the largest party – a total disaster from the perspective of liberal democracy, but one that was entirely predictable.
The new totalitarians, Breivik tells us, deal in persuasion and manipulation, and this is how they are distinguished from the old totalitarians, who used force. This is a phenomenon that this newspaper refers to as “chains of silver supplanting chains of iron”.
Given what we now know about Breivik, there are some very ominous passages in this section, in particular “My advice to Westerners in general is to arm themselves immediately, first of all mentally with knowledge of the enemy and pride in their own culture and heritage, but also physically with guns and the skills to use them.”
In other words, Breivik considers the movements of peoples that have characterised recent decades to be a war like any other war, in which victory can only come from killing enough of the enemy to force their surrender. He writes that “Islam hasn’t changed in the last 1400 years. Unless we are prepared to accept conversion or dhimmi status, we have to fight.”
It is telling that Breivik reserves his sharpest vitriol for the European elites who have facilitated what he sees as an Islamic invasion. In many ways, he comes down harder on them than on Muslims themselves. After all, the Muslims are merely taking advantage of the weakness of their enemy, an attitude which is entirely understandable and logical.
The European elites, however, are effectively acting as traitors by facilitating the mass migration of Muslims into their countries, with the resulting terrible effects on the native population. They are therefore the real enemy, and this perhaps goes a long way to explaining why Breivik chose the targets he did, rather than shooting Muslims themselves.
When George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror” in the wake of 9/11, right-wing parties in every Western nation immediately won a great victory. Ever since then, they have been able to appeal to the need to fight this war on terror in order to get votes. This has given them a big advantage over the left-wing parties, but now the left wing has its own equivalent of the War on Terror: climate change.
George W. Bush and his Republican Party knew full well that there would never be an end to terror, because there will never be an end to the human nature that impels sexually frustrated young men towards political violence. The Middle East will always be violent, because it’s in their nature to be, and even if they weren’t someone else would be.
Somewhere in the world, there will always be violence and terror, and this means that the War on Terror is an endless war. It is a battle that can never be won. No matter the circumstances, right-wing parties will always be able to use the violence somewhere in the world to justify increasing military spending and cracking down on civil liberties.
This has given them a permanent advantage over the left wing – until now.
If there’s one thing that can be said for certain about Nature it is that she is ever-changing. And she always will be – for over four billion years, Nature has thrown up an ever-shifting set of environmental conditions and admonished her children to adapt or die. There is absolutely nothing we can do about this, because Nature is infinitely stronger than even our collective will.
At any given time, somewhere in the world, there will be people suffering due to the whims of Nature. Somewhere in the world there will be droughts, somewhere else there will be floods, and in other places there will be storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis.
What the left wing has recently caught on to is the fact that, insofar as we have a moral obligation to fight climate change, this obligation will never and can never be discharged.
If the political class is at all capable of persuading the people they rule to submit to further taxation in the belief that the money will be used to “fight climate change”, they will be able to do so in perpetuity, because the climate will always change.
Because it’s a law of Nature that the climate will always change, no matter what humans do or don’t do, the left wing will always be able to use climate change as a justification for increasing government reach and cracking down on civil liberties. In this regard, the left wing has a weapon that matches the power of the right wing’s War or Terror. Any time anything bad naturally happens as a result of freak weather events, the left wing will be able to use it as an excuse to turn the screws.
This is how we have ended up with politicians like Jacinda Ardern saying that climate change is the “nuclear free moment” of our generation. The Labour Party knows that it can thump the drum of climate change forever, and therefore there is greater scope for long-term gathering of political capital if they prioritise this issue rather than issues like cannabis law reform (which will be soon be solved and moved on from).
Ten years, twenty years, fifty years from now, the left wing will still be prattling on about climate change.
Many people have come to believe that the advent of a universal basic income is necessary to solve the social problems of the medium-term future. The received wisdom has it that increasing automation will soon make the majority of working-class professions obsolete, as they will be replaced with robots. This article looks at the social consequences of instituting a universal basic income.
Conservative interests are dead against the idea of UBI. The reason for this is the entirely reasonable belief that it will be expensive.
If one calculates the cost of a UBI in a country as small as New Zealand, with an adult population of just over 3 million, the cost becomes clear. Assuming that the current unemployment benefit is an amount of money that corresponds to the absolute minimum that a person could live on, 3 million multiplied by $250 per week equals three-quarters of a billion dollars every week.
3 million x $250 x 52 weeks = $39 billion dollars per year. This sounds like a tremendous amount of money – and it is – but according to the NZ Treasury, the cost of social welfare in New Zealand is already $29.8 billion every year. So our current welfare expenditure is already 75% of what it would be with a UBI.
What has to be borne in mind is that this money will not be wasted; indeed, virtually all of it will be funnelled straight back into the economy as it is spent on essential goods and services. Poor people don’t save money, as a general rule, because in order to save one needs a surplus and there is not likely to be a surplus on $250 per week. So the $250 they are given will be immediately put to use in lubricating the economy.
This is in stark contrast to the current system, in which almost the entirely of the operating budget of WINZ is completely wasted. The entire point of WINZ officers is essentially to decide which of their clients to deny an income to, and this role will be completely obsolete with a universal basic income – all of the money currently wasted on employing these gatekeepers will be saved.
The real effect of a UBI will come in the transformations it will make to the work force. Currently, a lot of jobs that are morally questionable or undesirable are done because the person needs to earn money. The threat of homelessness or starvation forces people to take jobs that might be soulless or immoral – and the people who control the money supply know this (and have always known it).
Journalists, for example, mostly produce absolute shit because of the desperate desire to sell advertising. A UBI would mean that instead of writing about sensationalised rubbish (or simply just making things up), journalists could go back to being the Fourth Estate.
Police officers find themselves tasked with enforcing laws that they know are immoral. A large proportion of the Police understand that it’s completely immoral for them to wage a War on Drugs against their own people, but there’s nothing they can do about it if they want to keep food on the table. A UBI would mean that prospective Police officers would be able to say no to enforcing immoral laws.
There are also a lot of people who work in advertising and finance who derive no satisfaction from their work because they know that it’s either completely meaningless or that it actually makes the world a worse place to live in for everyone, but these jobs pay. A UBI would provide an alternative for these soulless jobs.
There is also a belief that a UBI would make people ‘lazy’ and unwilling to work. This is a long way from the truth. In practice, a UBI would make it possible for people to refuse to work jobs with shit pay, shit conditions and shit bosses, which would force the labour market to improve working conditions. Improving these conditions would incentivise people to engage with the workforce.
One effect of this would be to make it much harder for abusive bosses to keep staff. In the New Zealand workplace of today, many employees find themselves having to put up with psychological abuse from their superiors because those superiors control the purse strings, and thereby control whether the employee gets to eat or not.
In summary, bringing in a UBI would sharply reduce the degree of coercive power that moneyed interests would have over people who were dependent on an income for food and shelter.
The basic principle of the New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party is that religious superstition in the form of Puritanism is, and always has been, the single biggest threat to the happiness and well-being of individual Kiwis. Puritanism is a hangover from centuries past that New Zealand, on account of our geographical isolation and cultural anemia, has been unable to overcome. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party intends to reverse ALL religious and superstition-based restrictions on free conduct.
This sixteen-point plan establishes how, if elected to Parliament, the New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would act to restore freedom and dignity to Kiwis who face the humiliation of having 17th-century religious dogma forced upon them.
1. The Parliamentary Prayer to be abolished.
There is no reason why the representatives of a supposedly free people at the bottom of the South Pacific should have to pray to a Middle-Eastern God before they go to work. Worship of the God of Abraham belongs in the Middle East, not Polynesia. It has nothing to do with us here and we should not be supporting a foreign religious tradition. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would abolish the Parliamentary Prayer and replace it with a karakia based on the spiritual traditions that developed here in Aotearoa.
2. Male infant genital mutilation to be made illegal.
There is absolutely no justification for innocent children to be mutilated shortly after birth because of some barbaric superstition. Male infant genital mutilation is a practice that has no place in New Zealand, and New Zealand children should be protected and kept safe from it. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would make the act of male infant genital mutilation punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, both for the “doctor” who carried out the mutilation and for the parents who procured it.
3. Forcing fundamentalist religion on children to be considered child abuse.
There is clear evidence that threatening small children with the threat of eternal punishment in hell for disobedience has a massively deleterious effect on their mental health as adults. New Zealand has recently made the physical abuse of children illegal over the objections of Puritans – the New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would also make the psychological abuse of children illegal when this occurs in a religious context. It will become illegal to bring children to certain churches if the rhetoric of those churches is deemed to be abusive in nature.
4. The price of cigarettes to drop to less than $10/pack, legal age to buy tobacco dropped back to 16.
Tobacco has for centuries been one of the best psychiatric medicines for the alleviation of stress, anxiety and depression. The idea of a “Smokefree New Zealand” is more Puritanical bullshit that takes the freedom to self-medicate away from ordinary Kiwis. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would slash tobacco taxes so that it was once again easy for ordinary New Zealanders to use tobacco to alleviate psychological discomfort, and would drop the legal age to buy tobacco back down to 16.
5. Legal age to buy alcohol dropped to 16 for beer and wine in pubs, kept at 18 for hard liquor.
In several countries in Europe it is possible to buy beer and wine in a pub at the age of 16. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party believes that all the strictures and laws surrounding alcohol in New Zealand is responsible for making the substance appear to be a forbidden fruit, and that this perception is chiefly responsible for the binge drinking culture we have here. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would make it legal for 16-year olds to buy beer and wine if it was to be consumed in a supervised setting such as a licensed establishment.
6. Alcohol taxes to be slashed.
The Puritanical belief that making alcohol hard to afford leads to more responsible use has completely backfired. Even the most superficial analysis of the European experience demonstrates that making alcohol expensive leads to binge drinking because people are unable to attenuate themselves to regular responsible use of the drug. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would slash excise duty on alcohol so that it became cheap enough for ordinary Kiwis to have a few drinks with their weekday dinners, instead of saving up to get wasted on the weekends.
7. Cannabis to be made legal and sold like tobacco, but with a legal age of 18.
There is absolutely no justification for putting good Kiwi people in prison because they sell or grow a substance widely recognised in non-Puritanical jurisdictions to have great medicinal value. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would immediately legalise cannabis along the lines of the immensely successful Colorado model, but would allow for it to be sold alongside tobacco at dairies and petrol stations. A legal age of 18 would be established for purchasing the substance for the reason that cannabis, like alcohol, is a harder drug than tobacco.
8. Immigration from fundamentalist religious countries to be slashed.
If New Zealand is to keep itself free from the strictures of Puritanical religion, it is essential that the population of New Zealand be kept safe from Puritans moving here and forcing their demented morals on us. When immigrants come to New Zealand they bring with them cultural values that have the potential to lower the standard of living for the locals. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would slash immigration from all countries that are deeply religious, in particular all Middle-Eastern countries.
9. Churches to no longer be considered charities.
The promulgation of Abrahamic religion is not charitable. Brainwashing people into hating gays, hating women, hating drug users and hating atheists is not a charitable enterprise and sharply lowers the standard of living of New Zealanders, as well as creating mistrust and disunity among the people. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would strip tax-free status from all religious enterprises, thereby forcing them to compete on equal terms with secular ones.
10. Abortion to be made fully legal.
The Puritanical belief that women must be forced to carry to term a child that is not wanted and will have a terrible start to its life has caused immense suffering everywhere abortion is illegal. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would remove the barriers to abortion that currently keep women under the Puritan thumb.
11. Euthanasia to be made fully legal.
The Puritanical belief that terminally ill people must be kept alive and suffering as long as possible is simply obscene. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would take steps to ensure that people who have undeniably come to the end of their natural lives are able to die with dignity and without unnecessary misery and suffering.
12. Blasphemy laws to be abolished.
There is no place in a secular democracy for freedom of speech to be restricted just because it hurts the feelings of superstitious control freaks. The concept of blasphemy is a medieval idea that has no place in New Zealand. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would enshrine in law the right of every Kiwi to make any religious or spiritual statement they like, no matter how offensive this may be considered by Puritan fundamentalists.
13. Access to fireworks to be reliberalised.
The great joy that kids and adults of all ages once got from home fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night should never have been taken away from the New Zealand people. Fireworks were only banned because of Puritanical moral panic; the New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would bring back the same rights that free Kiwis used to have to buy and use fireworks leading up to Guy Fawkes Night.
14. Pornography to be liberalised.
The Puritanical obsession with sex has led to a number of anti-pornography laws that not only have no place in New Zealand but which are impossible to enforce in the Internet age. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would make it legal to depict in film or images any sexual act that takes place between consenting adults.
15. All other drugs to be made legal with attention given to real-life consequences.
Puritanism hasn’t merely taken away our rights to enjoy cannabis, alcohol and tobacco as we see fit, but also every other drug is now illegal as well. As for cannabis, there is simply no justification for putting good Kiwi people in prison because of their use of a drug. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would make every drug legal, with the exception of cases when the sale of a particular drug had a direct and clear negative effect on the health of individuals. This effect must be demonstrated through evidence – moral panic would not by itself be sufficient.
16. Eleusinian Mysteries to be reinstated and to occur at the start of every winter.
The Eleusinian Mysteries, in which participants would partake in a yearly ceremony that liberated them from the illusions of the material world and the brainwashing of culture, must be reinstated. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party would make institute a ceremony akin to the Eleusinian Mysteries in every city and town in the nation. It was such a ceremony that led to the Golden Age of Ancient Greece and there is no reason why the reinstatement of such a ceremony would not have similar benefits for New Zealand.
The Aotearoan Mysteries would take place about six weeks after the first winter frosts, which would give the priests enough time to collect the psilocybin mushrooms that are necessary to produce the kykeon. This would be drunk by the participants before they sit and watch a theatrical play that initiated them into the mysteries of life and death. Any adult who speaks English would be allowed to participate.
Full implementation of this 16-point plan would liberate New Zealand and the Kiwi people from the chains of silver and gold that Puritanical culture has enslaved us with. The New Zealand Anti-Puritan Party will thereby sharply increase the standard of living of everyday Kiwis and return to them their birthright of freedom and liberty.
The 1920s were a tumultuous time in the Western World. Rebuilding from the carnage of World War One, Westerners – especially Europeans – found themselves unable to decide on a peaceful way forward, and this absence of agreement expressed itself violently in the streets. This essay examines whether or not we’re looking at a repeat.
The German defeat in World War One saw a revolution that swept away the monarchy of Wilhelm II, replacing it with a fragile democracy known as the Weimar Republic. The well-founded fear of those who wanted peace in Central Europe was of a civil war between the socialist forces that had inspired the revolution and the reactionary conservatives representing those who held power and wealth under the Second Reich.
Communist agitation, inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917, was eventually put down by an alliance between the ruling Social Democratic Party of Germany and right-wing paramilitaries known as the Freikorps, and peace finally reigned.
But it wasn’t to last.
The severe economic problems of the 1920s, coupled with a sense of humiliation at the restrictions imposed on Germany by the victorious Allies, alongside continued communist agitation and growing nationalist sentiment, meant that chaos would soon usurp the shaky peace.
The far left didn’t like the Weimar Republic because they considered it to be holding back a communist revolution, and the far right didn’t like it because they preferred the authoritarianism that existed under the previous monarchy.
This state of affairs is very similar to what faces the West today.
Communist agitators have made a significant impact on Western society in recent years. They have successfully destroyed belief in tradition, resulting in plummeting birthrates, mass immigration that has changed the make-up of Western nations forever, and widespread and righteous anti-white racism.
Nationalist agitators have also made significant strides recently, most notably with the election of Donald Trump to the American Presidency. Many Trump supporters are shameless authoritarians, and much of the appeal of this authoritarianism lies in the belief that they are protecting the West from degeneracy.
The surge in both groups of extremists has led to increasing levels of street violence in America, most notably at the ‘Battle of Berkeley’ and then last weekend in Charlottesville. A sense of unfinished business lingers over both of these incidents, and after a fatal terrorist attack in Charlottesville the desire for revenge is a factor predicting further bloodshed.
What is the most foreboding is that Antifa is growing in strength because of rhetoric about the need to resist Nazism, and the far-right is growing in strength because of rhetoric about the need to resist Communism.
The echoes of the 1920s come from the fact that both sides are correct in their basic fears of the other side. Both sides are growing in strength because of sharply increasing dissatisfaction with the idea of liberal democracy, in a very similar way to how increasing dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic led to widespread street violence.
The left opposes liberal democracy because it wants to shut down free speech and free expression. The Communists believe that they need to control the narrative in order to bring about revolution, and this demands that even scientists like Richard Dawkins be denied the right to speak at a university.
The right opposes liberal democracy because it wants to shut down the free movement of people. The Nazis believe that the West is sinking into chaos, anarchy and degeneracy, and only by rallying around authoritarian figures can a sufficient degree of order be imposed upon society.
Both of these sides, therefore, have grounds to eschew dialogue and democracy in favour of raw assertions of power in the streets.
Also foreboding is the belief, shared by many commentators, that the economic hardships of the Weimar Era laid the foundations for massive German discontent with the idea of democracy, which paved the way for extremists like Adolf Hitler.
The West has not really recovered from the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Employment prospects are poor all across the West, with the dream of owing your own home now out of reach for most young Westerners, and working-class resentment at the amount of money spent on refugees risks growing into further discontent.
Perhaps all of this is building towards another climactic struggle.
Why does the world’s most popular female porn star get paid orders of magnitude more than the world’s most popular male one? And why does the world’s most popular male athlete get paid orders of magnitude more than the world’s most popular female one? The current fashion is to attribute all manner of prejudice behind these two facts, but the reality is that it’s just a reflection of nature.
A bird looks awesome swooping through the air, but there’s nothing graceful about a waddling duck. A shark looks awesome sliding through the water, but on the floor of a boat a fish looks ridiculous. A cat looks awesome stalking some prey, but looks much less so when licking its own arse, as cats do.
There is a reason behind all of this. We humans appear to derive some aesthetic pleasure from observing parts of nature doing what they have developed to be the best at.
A bird is a creature of the air; naturally it looks best when in the air and not on the ground. A fish is a creature of the water; naturally it looks best when in the water and not on the ground.
Every creature looks the best in the environment that they have adapted the most to thrive in. This follows naturally from an appreciation of basic principles of biology.
And this is why the world’s highest paid porn star is, and always will be, a woman, and why the world’s highest paid sportsperson is, and always will be, a man: women are made to make love and men are made to make violence.
Both of those truths are highly unfashionable at the moment, because the zeitgeist is that all are equal in every single way. The trend at the moment is to insist on equality to the point of rejecting all evidence to the contrary (which even goes as far as some suggesting that the skill levels are equal in international men’s and women’s soccer, for example).
They are true nonetheless. Females were more than capable of reproducing asexually – the point of sexual reproduction is develop a subgroup within each species that is specially adapted to violence so that they can better protect those not adapted to it.
But because women are made to make love, the demand for watching them make love is (and always will be) much greater than it is for men. A woman is in her natural element when making love, and so looks better making love than fighting, and therefore people are much more willing to pay money for a chance to watch one do so.
And because men are made to make violence, the demand for watching them fight (and play sport, which is just ritualised violence) is and always will be much greater than it is for women. A man is in his natural element when fighting, etc.
Women’s sport can only catch on to the extent that it is a contest of skill, because that is essentially a contest of brainpower and men and women are not different there. So a sport such as cricket has a much greater chance of becoming a mainstream phenomenon than one such as soccer or rugby, much less boxing or MMA.
Even so it will never be as popular as the men’s version, because the demand (among both men and women) to watch men compete at sport will always be much greater. This will be true as long as men are better at fighting than women.
It’s now 33 years since Neuromancer was published – establishing the cyberpunk timeframe as near-future – and that’s as long as either Alexander the Great or Jesus had in this world. It’s long enough for this essay to look back from the vantage point of 2017 and see how cyberpunk Planet Earth ended up becoming in this timeline.
Where Neuromancer and Snow Crash were half right was in their prediction of a matrix within cyberspace that filled the human need for societal interaction. FaceBook and the other giants of social media certainly led the ordinary citizens of meatspace to spend a lot more time in cyberspace, but we are still limited to the bulletin board model.
Advancements in virtual reality technology have been limited, to a large part, by the need for extreme amounts of processing power. A VR setup must be capable of generating a sufficient rate of frames per second to avoid latency from the perspective of the user, because this leads to simulator sickness, which decreases the level of telepresence.
So nothing really like the eponymous all-encompassing virtual environment in The Matrix, or the metaverse, has yet arisen.
Where all of the cyberpunk classics got it right was in the widespread adoption of novel classes of synthetic drugs.
Humans have always loved to experiment with consciousness – use of magic mushrooms, cannabis and alcohol all predate the use of writing. So it was fairly predictable that new advances in chemistry would lead to new frontiers in the exploration of mental space.
Although most of the chemical enhancement in cyberpunk literature has been for the purposes of increasing martial aptitude, as in Lucifer’s Dragon, most of its use in consensual reality has been psychonautic. In other words, here on Earth people mostly use the new waves of drugs to get high – but that doesn’t make for very good fiction.
Blade Runner didn’t foresee much different in the way of human drug consumption, but it did anticipate how close artificial intelligence came to passing the Turing Test. Many people chat with bots on social media without even knowing it – especially in online poker rooms and on large politics pages.
Certainly this film, based on Philip D Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, accurately captured the uneasiness of being a human and dealing with something that appears entirely human but for subtle differences.
Where the classics tended to get it wrong was politically, especially the diminished role of territorial governments. There seemed to be a glib assumption, perhaps expressed in extremis in Snow Crash, that corporations and the influence of corporations would expand to the point where 20th century-style governments no longer held any power.
In reality, hard iron laws like “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” continue to hold true, and any government capable of raising sufficient taxation to raise an army or secret police will still be a force on the world stage.
In the world of soft power, Transmetropolitan correctly predicted that the political landscape would be as shallow and insane as ever. The absurdity of the various political candidates in Spider Jerusalem’s life are an eerily accurate foretelling of the rise of the Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton circus.
Corporations have started implanting microchips in their employees, which has been a staple of cyberpunk horror for a long time. My own The Verity Key, however, predicted a different path of adoption for microchips under the skin: I figured that people, especially the technophilic, would adopt it themselves for increased access to private space.
It remains to be seen if this will happen – the expense involved in reaching a sustainable critical mass might make private adoption of RFID networks unworkable.
Things didn’t really get as dark and dystopic as cyberpunk predicted. This was always the probable outcome for a literary genre that consciously adopted elements of horror from other genres and from film noir. Things really just became weird. Perhaps the most accurate of all – predicting the current obsession with transgenderism – was Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.
If there are new avenues of cyberpunk still to be explored, it’s possible that they will feature characters who are unrepentant rebels with regard to questions of cognitive freedom, in particular characters pushed underground by new technologies that make intrusion into the mind possible.
That’s one way in which the brilliant anime series Psycho-Pass blazes a new path: from the harder, engineering and physics based sciences towards the biological ones. Much like The Verity Key, the Psycho-Pass series raises the question of what life will look like when neuropsychological technology advances to the point where the private thoughts of every individual have become a public matter.
The controllers of the mindreading technology in Psycho-Pass are public entities (or at least government ones), which makes for an oppressive totalitarian atmosphere, as opposed to the nihilistic anarchy of The Verity Key. Probably this timeline became more nihilistic than totalitarian, but who knows what might still happen?
With news that remote-controlled drones and tank-like war machines running off AI might soon become cheap enough for terrorists or rogue states to use every day against enemy targets, the most cyberpunk elements of human history, fictional or otherwise, may be still to come.
Vince McLeod is the author of cyberpunk novel The Verity Key and of the upcoming cyberpunk novel The Man With A Thousand Fathers, to be serialised here starting from the summer of 2018.
Dear Jacinda – there isn’t the time to go into much detail, so I’ll be brief. If you want to win next month you will have to copy Justin Trudeau and how he won in Canada. If you want to copy Justin Trudeau you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re listening where the other politicians have not been – and that means that you ought to campaign on comprehensive cannabis law reform in New Zealand.
Trudeau campaigned on several major policy planks, but one of them was that cannabis prohibition was a demonstrated failure and the law prohibiting it needed repealing as soon as possible. This was not a shock to the Canadian electorate in 2016 because there had already been four years to observe the effects of legalisation in Colorado and in other places. It will not be a shock here either.
By now even the South African High Court has ruled that cannabis use is a human right, as they did earlier this year. It’s fair to say that if a Third World country like South Africa has an intellectual tradition deep enough to understand the need for cannabis law reform, then New Zealand ought to be able to claim the same.
So with this issue you could demonstrate a clear point of difference with not only Andrew Little, but also with Bill English and Winston Peters. You can also prevent the Greens and the Opportunities Party from outflanking you.
One of the reasons Little was not successful as Labour Leader was his refusal to listen to the people. Cannabis users, all 400,000 of us, tried to tell him that we were tired of being told that our issue wasn’t important and that we’d have to keep waiting. We’ve been waiting since 1996.
All we got was talk about how cannabis users would have to keep going to prison because cannabis causes brain damage, despite us providing ample evidence that prohibition caused far more harm than cannabis itself ever could.
What is sitting before you is the easiest open goal ever offered to a Labour Party leader. Kick it in!
Introducing cannabis law reform to an electorate where up to a third of them are directly criminalised by prohibition, and over two-thirds of them support a change to the current law, will be much easier than introducing civil unions was to an electorate where barely one in a hundred people were affected.
The cannabis issue is unique in that it cuts across a wide range of demographics. The correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014 was a whopping 0.89 – strong enough that it can fairly be said the vast majority of Maoris have an interest in cannabis law reform.
Considering that there is also a strong correlation between being Maori and not voting, it’s clear that there’s a large block of cannabis-friendly Maoris who have been, up until now, reluctant to vote at all. Although the primary reason for this is general disenfranchisement and not cannabis specifically, the refusal of our political class to listen to Kiwis on cannabis law reform is a major contributor to that disenfranchisement.
This column has previously argued that cannabis prohibition is itself a racist law because of its disproportionate effect on Maoris. It has long been noted that the major losers from cannabis prohibition are the same demographics that vote Labour, so why not give your constituency a break by legalising the recreational drug that most of them prefer to alcohol?
The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and median age was -0.70, and with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014 and median age it was -0.55, so it’s apparent that there are broad overlaps between Labour voters, cannabis users, and the disenfranchised young and Maori who don’t see enough representation in the system for it to be worth voting.
Change Labour’s stance on the cannabis issue, and you can bring enough non-voters to the polls to change the outcome of this election.