Some forward-thinking people are starting to discuss the idea of a universal basic income. This is the idea that the Government would make a small but weekly payment to each adult resident citizen, just enough to keep them alive but not enough for any luxuries or even any decencies.
Predictably, the idea that the Government might help the poor in some new fashion has resulted in cries of communism from those who expect to inherit large amounts of property.
But there are reasons to believe that bringing in a universal basic income, even if it was as little as the current unemployment benefit, would significantly raise the standard of living of the average New Zealander.
For instance, a universal basic income would, at a stroke, remove all the cruel things that people do to each other out of desperate poverty.
One might object here that they would not remove all the cruel things that people do to each other out of greed – and that’s true in some cases – but consider this.
Every great dictator or tyrant who convinced a mass of people to go against their better nature, and to later regret that they had done so, convinced those people by offering them money.
They just looked for desperately poor people. Poverty is control. That’s the way it has to be understood for the psychological reactions of people to the question of a universal basic income to be understood.
Hitler could not have achieved what he did without the Great Depression and the economic restrictions imposed on Germany as a consequence of the Versailles Treaty.
People like to make a big deal about Hitler’s rhetoric and oratory skills, but the naked fact is that the NSDAP paid men to serve in the military, and they could pay a lot of men for not much money because those men were all as poor as shit.
This is why getting the rich to give up some of the money they have extorted out of the poor through their control of the Police and of private property is not a simple matter of appealing to the simple fact that it would reduce the sum total of human suffering.
One must also take into account the loss of power this entails.
Think of all the women in history who were forced to accept the sexual advances of a man they didn’t like because they needed the money.
Think of all the men in history who have wound up doing violence to strangers because they were forced to be obedient to someone violent for the sake of money.
Think of all the kings and queens who were able to raise an army to invade some other peaceful place because the peasants of their kingdom had no access to the commons on account of enclosure, and therefore were forced to take the monarch’s silver or starve.
Think of all the times a parent who, on account of stress from worry about where the next meal was coming from, took a short-sighted decision in the heat of the moment and came to regret it.
Go back as far in history as you like. How many robberies, how many burglaries, how many thefts, how many assaults and murders could have been prevented had we merely seen to it that people didn’t need to go hungry, and did so with a similar effort to what we already put into punishing and protecting ourselves from robbers, burglars, thieves and murderers?
We’re not talking about an equal distribution of luxuries, or even decencies. A person living merely on a universal basic income will be too poor to afford much beyond food and shelter – but at least they will not be so poor that they will take violent actions out of desperation.
One might raise an objection to this on the grounds that, if people were willing to look after each other enough to introduce a universal basic income, they would have done so already and would not need coercion through Government taxation.
This objection is only reasonable up to a certain historical point. When the productivity of the average citizen has advanced to such a degree that simply by pressing a button they can cause machines and computers to produce a million dollars worth of goods, there’s no reason barring a sadistic need for control to cut non-machine-owners out of this cornucopia.
Of course, much of this discussion is academic in the case of New Zealand, which is 20 years behind the rest of the world in progress on questions like this and getting worse. Medicinal cannabis was legalised in California in 1996 and we are yet to even have a proper discussion about it, so we will likely be several decades behind the rest of the world on the basic income question too.
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.
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.
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.
With a General Election called for the 23rd of September this year, the political fashion season is now upon us. Kiwis everywhere are asking themselves “What political cause do I have to pretend to support this season in order to virtue signal my advanced and Christ-like moral sophistication?” This article has the inside goss.
The first thing that everyone needs to know is that gays are out, refugees are in. Gays have been fashionable for long enough – homosexual law reform has been fashionable since the 1970s – and have now become an entrenched part of the Establishment, fielding more than twice as many MPs as would be proportionate for their numbers in the population.
Cynics might point out that the sort of refugees that have the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to make it to New Zealand are probably middle class anyway, but the trendy thing to do is to blame it all on American bombing.
Now that America has a white man in the big chair once again, it will now once again be fashionable to talk about the drone strike campaign that killed hundreds of thousands of people during the reign of Barack Obama.
Talking about this was exceptionally fashionable during the last years of George W. Bush, because the indiscriminate nature of the killing naturally upset human rights fans. Drone strikes regularly claim dozens of ancillary fatalities that are written off as ‘collateral damage.’
It was highly unfashionable to speak about this during the reign of Obama because he was just so goddamn ball-achingly cool. But now that it’s trendy to compare Trump to Hitler it will also be trendy to talk about the drone strikes again, as one can have little doubt that drones are something Hitler would have gleefully used had he been able.
Women are also out, and this has made it even more fashionable to be pro-Islam this season.
The fact is that, despite the rhetoric about the gender gap (almost entirely produced by yuppie lesbians trying to smooth the path to a C-suite position), it is really hard to get away with paying a woman less for literally the same work in New Zealand.
The vast majority of the feminists who were fashionable at university are now middle-class and assuming positions of power themselves – and often at greater rates than the males of Generation X because the females tend to have higher educational standards.
And what’s less cool than a competent, educated middle-class person in a position of power?
Throwing women under the bus is probably the only way we political fashionistas can cope with the cognitive dissonance that would be brought about by simultaneously supporting them and an aggressively male supremacist religious tradition that considers women barely better than animals.
Do note that transsexuals are not the hot new thing this political fashion season. It seemed for a long time as if they would be, because of all the noise they had been making.
But New Zealand has long ago had an openly transsexual Member of Parliament – a Georgina Beyer, assigned male at birth, who completed two terms as an MP for the Labour Party from 1999.
On the clearly unfashionable side of things is the economy. Bill English said that the economy was the primary issue this political fashion season, and he’s the epitome of uncool.
So whatever you do this political fashion season, don’t point out the fact that refugees cost the country $100,000 per year each, and so taking even as many as a thousand per year costs more money than the Feed the Kids Bill would have done.
Hungry kids are out, unless they are foreigners. So mentioning the $100,000,000 per year expense of taking in 1,000 refugees might be this season’s biggest faux pas.
Cannabis users will have to continue their forty-year wait to become fashionable, because most of them are poor, mentally ill and Maori and all of those are associated with being grotty and poor and uncool.
Alcohol will still be fashionable, though, because the alcohol industry will continue to dump tens of millions into advertising until the plebs can’t talk or think about anything else.
So get ready to crack some chardonnay with your newly-made Syrian friends on the 23rd September this year.