If You Want to Think of the Children, Then Legalise Cannabis

When I was working a cannabis law reform booth at a hippie festival in Nelson about eight years ago, I had an unpleasant encounter with a local hysteric. She approached us like she would have approached two fellows who were advocating to legalise child molestation and launched into a rant about the “twelves” who would inevitably get hold of cannabis if it was legal.

Before either of us could respond, she was dragged off by her embarrassed husband. If we had had the chance, we would have responded with an argument out of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook: that a repeal of cannabis prohibition would actually make it harder for teenagers to get hold of cannabis.

Now there is evidence that this counterargument was correct. The stupid thing is that, if one puts the hysteria aside for ten seconds, it’s quite obvious that legal cannabis is safer for teenagers than New Zealand’s current black market model.

It was found that in Colorado, where cannabis was legalised in 2012, legal cannabis stores generally don’t sell weed to minors. In a study similar to the Liquor Board stings in New Zealand, 19 out of 20 Colorado cannabis retailers refused to sell cannabis to a person who looked under 21 and who could not produce ID.

As can be imagined, a 19 out of 20 rejection rate is much better than what it would have been had the 20 stooges gone to tinnie houses instead.

Even though American teenagers are consuming less alcohol and tobacco than previously, rates of cannabis use among teenagers remains constant. Why?

It’s probably because, as centuries of relentless cultural brainwashing has ever less of an effect thanks to the Internet spreading truth about forbidden subjects, people naturally come to realise that they enjoy smoking cannabis more than getting drunk and smoking cancer sticks.

A short history lesson: the Greatest and Silent Generations survived the Great Depression and World War Two and incurred severe psychological trauma in doing so. This trauma was passed down to the Baby Boomers, many of who were fed into the meat grinder of Vietnam. Generation X, who followed, mostly escaped direct trauma but there are many who suffered secondary trauma as a consequence of being raised by mentally damaged Boomers. Now there are the Millennials, who are mostly okay.

It is not a coincidence that, as the generations get younger, they seem to naturally prefer smoking cannabis over using alcohol and tobacco.

This is probably because the less traumatised a person is, the less they desire the brutal sledgehammer effect on consciousness that alcohol has, and the less they desire the serenity-at-all-costs mentality that accompanies a tobacco habit. Alcohol is a brutal drug for a brutal age, and legal tobacco might prove to be an anachronism from a time when considerations like human life weighed far lighter than profit.

The desire to alter consciousness, however, also occurs frequently in people who have not been severely traumatised – and these people appear to prefer cannabis.

Cannabis tends to have the effect of making the user more, not less, sensitive. This means that people tend to avoid using it unless they are around people they like in a setting they find comfortable or in a mindstate where some cognitive enhancement, not destruction, is desired.

There is no good reason to limit the freedom of young people to alter consciousness to using alcohol and tobacco.

It may have made sense in an era when the life expectancy of humans was so low that few had the fortune to live long enough to die of alcohol or tobacco-related illnesses, but in the current age denying young people the use of recreational cannabis has the cruel effect of pushing them towards an early death from cancer or heart disease.

Psychedelics or Meditation: Which is More Transformative?

Some people wonder which is the more transformative out of psychedelic sacraments or meditation. The apparent forced choice comes from the proscription against intoxication that can be found in many spiritual traditions. This article suggests that a skilled synergistic approach is better still.

Psychedelics can be transformative in an extremely dramatic way. It’s possible for someone who takes a powerful psychedelic to permanently change into an entirely different person in the space of an hour.

One drawback with the psychedelic experience is that, because the new impressions come so overwhelmingly fast and intensely they are mostly forgotten the next day (a similar but less dramatic phenomenon can be observed with naive cannabis users).

This can lead to a sense that one is forever grasping for a truth that remains, ghost-like, just out of reach. One is haunted by the idea that perhaps everything one knows is wrong, perhaps the world is entirely upside-down, and that, no matter how much sense it seemed to make at any one time, it could potentially be tipped upside-down again at any moment.

Such an experience can be unsettling, to say the least.

Meditation is the opposite in many ways. One cannot count on an immediate, life-shattering breakthough within an hour of sitting down to meditate for the first time, but one can usually count on some kind of permanent insight once one gets it right.

Some people take a long time to feel anything pleasant from meditation at all. Certain people have been lurching from one attachment to another for so long with so little questioning that their habits are far too deeply ingrained to simply quit.

Related to this, often it isn’t the actual meditation itself that brings a change but a secondary insight that comes from meditating upon the meditation. After one has had the experience of sitting down meditating and coming away feeling really good, it is only a small cognitive step to the insight that one doesn’t actually need external stimulation in order to feel at peace.

This insight is the beginning of liberation from identification with the contents of consciousness.

This column will resist the temptation to declare that meditation is somehow more ‘natural’ or ‘wholesome’ than taking a psychedelic. For one thing, much of the pleasure that comes from meditation is because the act facilitates the release of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptomine, which results in the familiar feelings of peace and serenity that accompany it (the main reason is that the topic has been discussed at length here).

In retrospect, a good way to explore the world within might be this. Take a psychedelic in the correct set and setting and let your thoughts flow freely as they do. Allow your mind to be expanded. Allow yourself to become awestruck by the infinitude of psychic impressions, allow yourself to become terrified, allow yourself to feel like God.

Then, meditate upon it all. Meditate upon the question of why ordinary life is not usually as awesome as it appears to be on psychedelics, and on the question of what is ultimately terrifying about the contents of consciousness, and on the question of what, if anything, is the difference between you and God anyway.

Allowing yourself to be shocked by psychedelic insights and then to take the fear out of them by making sense of why they occur is part of the shamanism of the 21st century. It is how modern shamans travel to the spirit world and wrestle demons for the benefit of their loved ones back in the material world.

The Naturalistic Fallacy and Consciousness-Altering Drugs

A great and famous observation in philosophy is known as Hume’s guillotine, and it can be found “In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with” (Hume’s words). This observation is that people aren’t very good at describing reality as it is, but rather seem to prefer to describe it as it ought to be.

This general confusion of how things are and how they ought to be has led to all manner of incorrect thinking. One assumption, when applied to drugs in general (not just drug law in particular) seems to be that the human mind works most rationally and correctly when not under the influence of any external drugs – which is, as this reasoning glibly assumes, its ‘natural’ state.

An implication of this assumption is that any person under the influence of a psychoactive drug is ‘high’ or ‘intoxicated’ and thus cannot be trusted to do anything at all competently, perhaps not even verbally describe reality or their own will.

As any psychonaut can tell you, this is complete shit.

For one thing, we are almost always under the effects of one psychoactive drug or another. At any one point in time, close to half of us are either somewhat drunk or somewhat hungover, most of us have a least a buzz going from a solid dose of caffeine at some point in the morning or a haze going from a sleeping pill at some point in the evening, about a quarter of us smoke tobacco, and over a third of us are under the effects of psychoactive medicine prescribed by a doctor.

We’re never clean – so how do we know it’s better?

Secondly, there are already powerful psychoactives that are natural, and our brains are full of them. Our brains are naturally a store of psychoactive chemicals called neurotransmitters, of which there are over 100 known.

Some of them are well known, such as adrenaline. Yes, the rush you get from fighting or from nearly being killed is literally just a drug rush: adrenaline binds to adrenergic receptors, which causes the blood flow to heart and lungs to increase and the muscles to surge with energy in preparation for possible mortal combat.

Few would argue that this burst of manic energy, which often brings with it cerebral haemorrhages and heart attacks, could possibly be more healthy than smoking some Northern Lights and relaxing for the evening. But some will.

Thirdly, there are many ways of altering consciousness that don’t even involve psychoactive drugs. There is music, meditation, physical exercise, and if one has never altered consciousness from making love one simply hasn’t done it right.

If it’s possible to significantly alter consciousness by ‘natural’ means then it can hardly be argued that sobriety is itself natural. Indeed, the idea that humanity’s natural state is to wallow in mind-rotting tedium is probably a masochistic artifact of Abrahamic influence or a consequence of the brainwashing that was done to condition people to industrial era labour.

A fourth and final point is that in some cases the human mind demonstrably works better when influenced from the outside. When a child is born, the act of nursing and being nursed releases oxytocin in both mother and baby.

Oxytocin is known as the “love drug.” Large doses of it in the brains of females while making love will induce them to favour a monogamous pair bond with their partner. This neurotransmitter appears to play a role in all kinds of emotional bonding and interpersonal solidarity, as it is released by pleasant physical contact like being caressed or stroked and brings with it a reduction in anxiety and fear.

The baby needs this release of oxytocin in order to be healthy, because, without it, they tend to develop to be suspicious and cold, probably because they have internalised a moral value that the world is a place where no-one really cares about each other.

Thus it can be seen that, in some cases, a drug that requires an external influence is a natural part of the human experience as a consequence of humans evolving as a mammalian, and thus social, species.

All of these arguments taken together suggest that the received wisdom of “Drugs bad no drugs good” is not only far from the truth but could be dangerously counterproductive.

There is actually a lot of merit to the counterargument. Looking at the drug intake of most of our greatest cultural icons demonstrates clearly that the unique and original thoughts common to many drug experiences is a powerful facilitator of creative achievement.

Our Relationship With Information Has Fundamentally Changed in a Quarter-Century

The greatest selective advantage that the human creature has over its competitors is an unrivalled capacity for intelligence. This manifests as an ability to make use of information. Few are aware of it, but the human relationship to information has undergone a revolution over the past 25 years – and it has implications for our conception of intelligence.

It used to be that there was a shortage of information. Now there is a surplus. In many ways, this has been a good thing. In some ways it’s had strange implications.

Some of the ways it is good are like the way creatures that have adapted to a shortage often find themselves thriving when there is a surplus, such as athletes who have trained at high altitude where there is a shortage of oxygen.

It has meant that researchers and academics now have it easier than ever. Instead of relying on a librarian or punch cards, researchers can put a regular expression into a search engine which has crawled all the papers in their field (or subset thereof).

In fact, most people have in their pockets instant access to more information than physically exists in the largest library in the world. This is fairly straightforward, and not as interesting as the ways in which it is strange.

The strangest implication of our new relationship to information is that it is no longer about finding rare nuggets of truth among fields of irrelevant or easily dismissed information. Now it’s about knowing how to distinguish those nuggets of truth from nuggets that might look or sound very similar but which might really be full of falsehood.

Becoming educated about a subject used to be like finding diamonds among rocks – now it’s more like sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Being correct is now no longer a question of having money to buy books or to hire a learned tutor and having a good enough memory to recall what one has been told. Now it is a question of gullibility.

Take climate change as an everyday example. Determining the truth of this isn’t as simple as just finding out what the foremost expert thinks.

Who are the foremost experts on climate change, and why? And why does one set of supposed experts disagree so fundamentally with another set of supposed experts? If the experts are unified on climate change, how is that different to when they were unified on homosexuality being a mental illness? How much of the consensus is groupthink?

And what is the extent of politics on the science of climate change?

Questions like this once didn’t need to be asked because there was no way of propagating enormous amounts of dis- or misinformation like there is with the Internet of today. Often things were as simple as finding the nearest university professor who had an interest in the subject, and that was as good as one could hope for.

Dealing with this change is difficult because it requires an entirely different set of mental skills. The new paradigm prioritises nuance and probability over revolution and absolutes. Shades of gray instead of brutal black and white.

One now has to be more streetsmart with research, and accept that politics has a much greater influence on science – especially the soft sciences – than most would dare admit. Today’s climate change debate appeared in the previous generation as the debate over racial intelligence, and in the generation before that as the debate on the medicinal value of various psychoactive drugs – two other subjects where finding the simple truth is impossible.

To some extent it doesn’t matter: the sort of person who didn’t read books nowadays simply doesn’t educate themselves with the Internet instead. You can’t make gold out of shit.

But to a large extent, intelligence is different to what it used to be. It is no longer a simple question of storing, retaining and reproducing information like a biological hard drive, but a question of identifying the most likely claim to correctness out of a number of plausible competitors, like a knight choosing a blade from an armoury before battle.

This may mean that the kind of person we consider to be intelligent now may not be the same kind of person that we will consider intelligent in another quarter-century.

How the Actions of the John Key Government Contributed to NZ’s Record Suicide Rate

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This year has been our generation’s equivalent of 1968 – changes on all fronts, and many records broken. Apart from breaking records at rugby, New Zealanders have also had recent success in breaking records at suicide.

Broadly speaking, we have some idea why people commit suicide. Although the biochemical reasons vary, the essential reason is a sustained abuse and/or neglect that convinces them it would be better to be dead than continue to live in a place where such things happen.

There is already evidence suggesting up to 90% of suicides occur in people with a mental health diagnosis or potential diagnosis, and an American study found that high rates of childhood abuse and neglect were correlated with a 12-fold increase in the frequency of suicide attempts as an adult.

Thus, it’s fair to say that – if it wasn’t already obvious to the reader – of those who attempt suicide as an adult, most will have a story of childhood abuse or neglect to tell.

What causes childhood abuse and neglect? Tragically, the answer to this is usually more childhood abuse and neglect; the child learns from its own parents that human life isn’t worth very much and naturally they treat their own children the same way. Monkey see, monkey do. Lack of empathy cascades down the generations.

Apart from this simplistic response, the strongest correlate with abuse and neglect of children is poverty. Poverty tends to lead to abuse and neglect for two reasons. The first is stress in the family unit, the second is that it causes mental illness in the mother.

Stress leads to abuse and neglect because a parent who is continually under high levels of stress will have greater difficulty maintaining the correct attitude towards their offspring. They are more likely to lash out from suppressed frustration and rage, and they are more likely to abandon consciousness through the bottle or other recreational drugs.

It might be obvious that mental illness in the mother contributes to an increased suicide rate among the offspring, but in case it isn’t obvious the science makes clear that such a causal relationship exists.

One of the most reliable factors predicting a future maltreatment report for any given child is known to be maternal depression.

It’s well known that poverty is one of the major causes of depression in women, usually because it imposes considerable psychological stress at the same time as removing women from accessing useful avenues of social support.

In fact the association between poverty and mental health is considered one of the most well-established in all of psychiatry.

For women it is especially acute because women tend to make much greater use of social networks to pre-empt mental health conditions. This means that poverty, in addition to the stress it already causes, makes it more difficult for women to maintain their social networks, and so an unfortunate feedback loop with poverty and decreased mental health outcomes can be observed.

Considering that the vast majority of people who are both poor and with dependent children are women, this pattern is especially impactful.

After reading all this, it is perhaps predictable that there is a relationship between childhood poverty and antisocial behaviour. Not only are children more likely to exhibit antisocial behaviour if they are from a home in poverty, but they are also more likely to show persistent patterns of antisocial behaviour into adulthood the more years that they spend in poverty.

All of this ultimately reflects an area where politics and health cross.

For, if poverty creates mental illness, then there’s a clear moral imperative to reduce poverty in the same way that there is a clear moral imperative to provide sanitation to people so as to prevent cholera outbreaks, typhus, plagues etc.

After all, in the same way that someone chucking a bucket of shit out into the street might impact you by creating a disease, childhood neglect and abuse is going to create the sort of adult that will rob, rape, burgle and murder you when you’re old.

However, a vote for the National Government of the past eight years was to vote for tax cuts in exchange for defunding rape crisis centres, slashing mental health funding, cutting benefits to sick people and perpetuating the war on drugs.

Looked at like this, it’s hard to deny that a vote for a National Government is a vote to decrease the mental health of everyone in the bottom half of society (or perhaps even bottom three-quarters, considering that many people vastly overestimate how wealthy they will be in ten years’ time), because it is a vote to redistribute wealth upwards from the already poor to the rich, thus increasing poverty and therefore the consequences of poverty, such as mental illness.

This might explain why so many old people vote National (the correlation between voting National in the 2014 General Election and Age is 0.81): they won’t be around to see the full extent of the damage that National policies do to the collective health of the nation, but they can cash in their tax cuts straight away.

Probably if John Key were to be presented with the information in this article he’d say that all mental health problems are caused by drug abuse. So there is little value in trying to talk sense to the current political establishment about the subject.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to educate the younger generations with the truth about how the bulk of psychological problems arose in our society, so that they’ll be in a position to do something about it when the grip of the Baby Boomers on the brass ring of power is relinquished in death.

How Low Does Turnout Have to Get Before Voting Loses Legitimacy?

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The obvious smartarse answer is “It never had legitimacy”, but this merely ducks the question. The question of when a democracy can lose enough of the perception of legitimacy that it stops working, not by being usurped by authoritarians but from the populace simply not caring about it enough, is worth exploring.

The logic goes something like this. It’s reasonable to assume that if no-one voted at all, not even the politicians themselves, then no-one would care about democracy. So there is a clear limit case as votes approach zero.

If everyone votes (or at least everyone eligible), then it stands to reason that democracy has the biggest possible buy-in. Probably in a culture where 100% of the population votes there would have to be an exceptionally unusual degree of philodemos – a degree never seen in practice.

If a hypothetical democracy starts with 100% participation and this falls over time towards 0%, at some point along the line representing that descent the democracy will fail.

But where exactly?

The most recent American presidential election does not have an official turnout rate yet, but BetFair appears to be sure that it will be somewhere around 58%. This is low by the standards of Western democracies – but there appears to be no way to tell how much of this is due to disenfranchisement and how much is due to people seeing through the system and protesting by not voting.

This already highlights a problem with democracy – bombs dropped by American forces do not do 58% damage, and sentences for non-violent drug offences are not 58% as long as they would otherwise be. No matter how much the population wants democracy, they will get it good and hard.

Not even 58% buy-in is necessary in any case. Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP won the 1933 German Federal Election with under 44% of the vote, and this was enough to get rid of the Communists and pass the Enabling Act which paved the way to total fascism.

You could even argue that – if you take the example of the United States in its infancy, where only white male landowners could vote – even with support for democracy in single digits, it can still function as long as all other possible organisational approaches are prevented from taking form.

The tricky thing is that this line of reasoning exposes the truth at the bottom of the political system: the plebs were never in charge and any impression given to that end is simply a useful illusion.

Ultimately it’s whoever controls the loyalty of the Police that is in charge, because then anyone who disagrees that they’re in charge can be taken by the Police and put in a cage (replace Police with Army in many non-Western countries). This was all that Hitler needed to ensure to take power in Germany.

One has to then ask, if the ruling classes just took all the ballots and dumped them in the ocean, invented some election results that both sounded plausible and ensured the interests of said classes were protected, and then divvied up the remaining jobs among themselves, how much wiser would we all be?

Because the ruling classes doing so wouldn’t even be much different from the way the con is already played.

We can take heart that not all New Zealanders have fallen for the ruse – 63% of the electorate did not vote for a politician in last week’s Mt. Roskill by-election, which means that 63% of potential suckers did not give their power away to a shyster by consenting to the democratic charade.

Indeed, Dr. Richard Goode of Not A Party successfully claimed victory in attracting the non-vote, declaring himself Not A Member of Parliament for Mt. Roskill. This obligates him to not attend Parliament, which means that he is not responsible for levying taxes to spend on flag referendums, and nor is he responsible for putting non-violent drug users in cages by setting the Police on them.

I think we can all agree that this is a better deal than what we are getting from our current crop of MPs.

Faith in democracy will, however, have to get much lower before philosopher-kings such as Dr. Goode can be returned to their true position in society.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting New Zealand First

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The New Zealand First Party has been around for over 20 years and has carved a reputation as a nationalist socialist party that caters especially to the old. Although this is somewhat true it is a simplicity that comes nowhere close to giving the full picture of what is arguably New Zealand’s third largest political movement.

The statistic that will surprise many is that there is no correlation at all between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and being of European descent. This value is an even 0.00, which gives the lie to the commonly-held belief that New Zealand First appeals heavily to white nationalist sentiments. In fact, the correlation between being Maori and voting New Zealand First is a strong 0.66, which tells us that Winston Peters’s party has a much stronger appeal to the tangata whenua than it does to the culture of the settlers.

This correlation can be easily observed without any complicated analysis: one need simply note the high percentage of New Zealand First support in the Maori electorates.

Although the statistics downplay the idea that New Zealand First appeals to racist sentiments, they certainly do not have much support among Asians – the correlation between voting New Zealand First and being Asian is -0.60. For being a Pacific Islander the correlation is -0.08, which suggests that Islanders are generally indifferent to Peters’s message.

Another surprising statistic is that there is no significant correlation between Median Age and voting New Zealand First (-0.08). So the idea that New Zealand First is a pensioners’ party also is a banal simplification. Indeed, the average New Zealand First voter is not much older than the average Green voter (for whom the correlation with Median Age is -0.17). Certainly much younger than the average National voter, for whom the correlation with Median Age was a very strong 0.81.

New Zealand First voters are the poorest of the supporters of any major party: voting for them has a correlation of -0.59 with Net Personal Income. They are also the most poorly educated. There is a correlation of 0.79 with voting New Zealand First and having no qualifications, which suggests a surprising working-class sentiment among their voters.

Indeed, as the New Zealand working class, especially those with no qualifications, are the primary losers from mass immigration, which sees their niche in the job market swamped with competition at the same time their rents skyrocket, it is not surprising they vote New Zealand First in great numbers.

Voting New Zealand First had a correlation of -0.41 with voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum, which might reflect monarchist sentiments, or perhaps a working class conservative streak. It could also reflect a distaste among New Zealand First supporters for the flagship project of an international banker who sold assets and opened the borders.

Supporting the idea that New Zealand First has a strong working class base, voting for them has a correlation of 0.40 with not voting at all, suggesting a significant degree of disenfranchisement. This is, however, not as strong as the correlation between voting Labour and not voting (0.67). Perhaps this is evidence of a higher level of political engagement among New Zealand First supporters compared to people in similar sociodemographics. This might reflect a higher level of political sophistication among New Zealand First supporters in comparison to those who support Labour.

Of interest to potential post-2017 coalition options, voting New Zealand First had a correlation of -0.34 with voting National, -0.39 with voting Green and 0.11 with voting Labour. The strongest correlations were 0.44 with voting Internet MANA and 0.46 with voting for the Maori Party.

On the face of it, this suggests that a Labour-New Zealand First-Maori coalition might be the left’s best best after 2017. As the correlation between voting Labour and voting Maori Party is 0.41 this arrangement might well be most amenable to all sides. That New Zealand First voters have an apparent dislike for Green voters that is even stronger than their enmity for National voters suggests the current cozy assumption of a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First coalition post 2017 might be miscalculated.

Interestingly, voting New Zealand First had a correlation of 0.57 with voting for the Cannabis Party. Although this can be mostly explained by the common factor of Maori support, it probably also reflects a shared rejection of the mainstream media message (cannabis users and New Zealand First supporters tend to share an extreme skepticism of the mainstream media).

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This article is an excerpt from Dan McGlashan’s upcoming book Understanding New Zealand, to be released by VJM Publishing in the autumn.

Understanding New Zealand: Wealth and Poverty

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This is the one correlation everyone knows. In fact, this might reflect the single most fundamental division in politics: the have-nots trying to get and the haves trying to keep. Kids at primary school figure out that rich kids are more likely to be conservative than poor ones, and nothing changes at adult level. So this article looks at correlates with Net Personal Income.

A vote for National has a moderate 0.53 correlation with Net Personal Income, whereas a vote for Labour is -0.51. These two are probably of the same magnitude because they reflect mainstream, everyday people rationally voting for what suits their economic interests (the rich for less sharing, the poor for more sharing).

Perhaps the most interesting is that the correlation between voting Conservative and Net Personal Income is an insignificant 0.06. The Conservative Party may have had a wealthy backer splashing the cash, but the sort of person who votes for them is much less big money than the average National Party voter. Possibly this reflects the degree to which religious fundamentalists were attracted by Craig’s righteous message – and religious fundamentalists are known for being uneducated and thus poor.

The correlation with ACT is 0.36, which is interesting because this is not as high as it is for National. This tells us that ACT voters are actually poorer than National voters – which goes against the stereotype of ACT being a party only for big business. They are, however, significantly more wealthy than average. This could reflect a voter base of young professionals who are doing well but lack the seniority for the really big money.

With voting New Zealand First the correlation with Net Personal Income is -0.59, which means that the average New Zealand First voter is even poorer than the average Labour one. This can be explained to a large degree by the fact that New Zealand First’s support base consists mostly of Maoris and of pensioners.

Voting for the Cannabis Party and Net Personal Income had a correlation of -0.40, which suggests that the average cannabis user, while hard done by, isn’t doing quite as bad as the average Labour or New Zealand First voter.

The correlation with voting for the Maori Party and Net Personal Income was -0.35. The fact that this is weaker than the correlation between being Maori and Net Personal Income (-0.48) suggests that the Maori Party attracts a relatively wealthy section of Maoridom.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that people of European descent are significantly wealthier than the average Kiwi – this had a correlation of 0.35 with Net Personal Income. Some might be surprised by the fact that this is a higher correlation than that of being Asian with Net Personal Income, at 0.22. This might reflect the fact that, although Asian immigrants often come here with a considerable amount of capital, their children usually end up the same kind of pleb as the rest of us.

Maoris are also much poorer than Pacific Islanders, which might surprise some. The correlation between Net Personal Income and being Maori is -0.48, whereas for Pacific Islanders it is -0.29. This might reflect the fact that a relatively higher proportion of Islanders have immigrated to New Zealand for full time work, and therefore a relatively lower proportion of them are students, children or beneficiaries.

Another correlation that will surprise no-one is that between having a Master’s degree and Net Personal Income (0.67). This was almost as strong, in the other direction, as having no qualification and Net Personal Income (-0.68). That the correlation between having a Master’s degree and Net Personal Income is stronger than with either voting National or being white underlines the value of an advanced education in an advanced post-industrial economy like New Zealand.

There is also a correlation of 0.27 between Net Personal Income and no religion. This probably reflects the fact that the religious are less likely to become educated and therefore will have less opportunity to trade their labour for high amounts of money. The correlation with being Christian was an insignificant -0.07, probably reflecting the degree to which Christianity is mainstream. The correlation with being Buddhist was 0.32, probably reflecting that immigrants from Buddhist cultures to New Zealand historically tended to be well-educated.

A statistic that will depress some and enthuse others is that the correlation between Net Personal Income and voting in the 2014 General Election is 0.52, which reflects the degree to which the poor are disenfranchised by politics in New Zealand (this correlation cannot be explained by age alone).

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This article is an excerpt from Dan McGlashan’s upcoming book Understanding New Zealand, to be released by VJM Publishing in the autumn.

Why Are Psychiatrists Allowed to Violate the Bill of Rights Act in New Zealand?

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Giving someone medical ‘treatment’ against their will and very arguably to their own long-term detriment is explicitly forbidden under Section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Despite this, it happened on at least five occasions last year in New Zealand with electroshock therapy alone. How?

The answer lies in the Mental Health Act. Specifically Section 60, which allows a psychiatrist to override the Bill of Rights Act if they feel that it’s in the best interest of the patient.

Note that the will of the patient is considered a non-factor here.

Note also that a short few centuries ago, people were burned at the stake because authority figures decided that it was in the best interests of their immortal soul. Have we really come out of the Dark Ages? One suspects that the people getting electroshock therapy despite having explicitly refused consent may be inclined to think not.

Section 59.4 of the Mental Health Act reads: “The responsible clinician shall, wherever practicable, seek to obtain the consent of the patient to any treatment even though that treatment may be authorised by or under this Act without the patient’s consent.”

Who decides what is practicable? Certainly not the patient – and here the problem lies.

If treatment may be authorised without the patient’s consent by the Mental Health Act then the Mental Health Act overrides the Bill of Rights Act in New Zealand.

There’s only one reasonable conclusion to draw from this: mental health patients are lower than criminals in our society.

This proposition can be supported with a little thought.

It’s a common experience for a mentally ill person to come into contact with a system that refuses to help them, especially if that person’s illness makes it difficult to hold down a work schedule (or to work full stop) and so they need financial assistance.

Even worse, there is no obligation whatsoever on the part of the mental health services to make sure that the people who come to them for help are treated fairly.

Complaints against abusive mental health practitioners are usually treated with the same stonewalling as complaints against soldiers or police officers. Once a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, any allegation of abuse they make is simply written off as a delusion.

Contrast this state of affairs with what happens if a person chooses of their own free will to chop the head off another human being and rape the corpse.

In the case of such a grisly, senseless rape-murder, that murderer will be provided with a lawyer to guide them through the whole process of arrest, detention, custody, trial, sentence and aftermath, making sure that at each step they are fully aware of their rights. That lawyer, who will be provided to a murderer for free if they have no money, will ensure that nothing untoward happens to his client at any point.

If the murderer doesn’t like the punishment handed down for his act of murder he has the right to appeal to a higher court (his lawyer will naturally advise him at length here).

And if justice is still not done to the murderer’s satisfaction, there are Supreme Courts to help him, Ombudsmen, Police Complaints Authorities etc.

There is nothing like that for mental health patients in New Zealand. If you need a benefit because you are in an advanced state of psychosis and don’t want to starve to death in the meantime, you have 30 minutes with a psychiatrist and if you can’t convince them in that time it’s fuck off and die for you.

No appeal to a higher authority, no-one advising you of your options, nothing. Just out onto the street to fend for yourself, even if you’ve paid taxes for many years. The assumption seems to be, then, that you were just a parasitic malingerer trying to bludge a benefit.

In New Zealand it’s easier to find a doctor to perform electroshock therapy on a patient who has explicitly withdrawn their consent (five cases known in 2015) than it is to find one who will help their patients acquire medicinal cannabis (zero cases known in 2015).

That’s a sobering thought to anyone who believes the healthcare system is looking out for them.

If you want another, think that all the New Zealand has to do to destroy anyone deemed a thought criminal in 2016 is to find a psychiatrist who agrees and that psychiatrist will have the legal right to destroy that thought criminal’s mind with ‘medication’ or ‘treatment’ that could have any desired effect out of all the neurological reactions known to human biochemistry.

One of the best understood of which is sedation.

The thought criminal could be placed on a medication such as Olanzapine, a heavy enough dose of which will slow down the mind of the patient/victim to such a degree that stringing together ‘subversive’ thoughts would simply not be possible. This ‘chemical lobotomy’ is how people are silenced nowadays, now that physical lobotomies are illegal.

Giving someone electroshock therapy when they have explicitly refused treatment is as barbaric as the corrective rape practiced in Africa to try and ‘cure’ women of lesbianism.

It’s a very sad state of affairs when mentally ill people cannot have any confidence that the system they need to ask for help actually intends to help them. Yet, that is the state of affairs in New Zealand today.

Cannabis Use is Spiritual Hygiene

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There’s no way to avoid accumulating physical filth if one has a body. The basic demands of thermostasis require an intake of energy in the form of food, which necessitates both moving around and sweating as well as excreting waste products – both of which tend to make you smell bad. Basic hygiene, then, is to wash one’s body before the smell becomes offensive to others.

More offensive than a bad smell is a rotten spirit.

Unfortunately we live in a spiritually degenerate age and spiritual hygiene is not well practiced. The majority of people are unaware of the influence their rotten spirit has on others and have difficulty understanding how this works to their ultimate detriment.

In everyday life, our basic choices are twofold: you can meditate if you want the equivalent of a long, relaxing bath in perfumed water, or you can smoke cannabis if you want to equivalent of a quick shower under a strong blast of water.

The reason why cannabis has a spiritually cleansing effect is this. In the course of one’s everyday life, one inevitably encounters things that cause one to suffer, because life is suffering. The act of suffering causes one’s ego to develop, as the ego naturally develops to protect oneself in response to pain.

Possibly the most common kind of mental problem in the world is that caused by ego arising in response to pain and then not properly dissipating again when the pain is gone. Usually this is because the memory of the pain causes depression or dread about it happening again, or because a stimulus associated with the pain (such as a person) is still present in the environment.

This is where cannabis is so great. Using cannabis regularly has the effect of releasing the user from unconscious anxieties and neuroses brought on by too much worry. The warm, comforting and relaxing feeling brought on by the anandamide reminds one that everything is fundamentally alright, and that there is likely to be much joy in one’s future.

Rastas know this. This is why they get together in “reasoning sessions” to smoke cannabis and to discuss the nature of reality. This is done explicitly to heighten feelings of community and spirituality.

It’s sadly obvious that making cannabis illegal is evidence that we are living in a spiritually degenerate age. This could be by design, as the easiest way to enslave a people is to separate them from spiritual truth and thus incite fear in their hearts. it could be by accident, as the cumulative magnitude of our egos distracts us from facing up to the truth.

Cannabis use is spiritual because it frees people from fear, and in doing so liberates them from powerful instinctual and conditioned impulses to harm and exploit one another.

Its prohibition is a crime against the human spirit.