Everything is a Matter of “Muh Feels”

It’s common for one side of an argument to demand from the other side a cold, logical, rational reason to justify their position, while at the same time decrying all appeals to emotion as fallacious. The problem with this line of reasoning is that there are no truly objective reasons to make moral judgments about anything. As this essay will investigate, all political motivations are based on emotion.

Usually the person dismissing an argument as emotional is the sort of person who is a bit autistic, perhaps themselves not really in touch with their own emotions. This sort of person has a tendency to dismiss the genuine outrage, horror or disgust of other people as illegitimate motivators. They also have a striking tendency to not realise how emotional their own arguments are.

For instance, on the question of taxation for the sake of paying for social services, many people on the left make the argument that the right are without emotion when it comes to child poverty, mental health services, rape crisis centres and the like. The usual rightist counter to this is to claim that them keeping the maximum amount of their own income is a moral imperative to oppose communism or the likes, and that left-wing “feels” about starving children etc. do not and cannot ever justify the government levying taxation upon people.

What these rightists usually miss when it comes to this line of reasoning are their own emotions that are tied up in the issue.

The government levying taxation upon people is not wrong by dint of some decree from God. It is usually only opposed by those who believe that their personal net return of government services received from this taxation is negative. For these people, a sense of anger arises from feelings of having one’s energy parasitised; a similar sort of anger arises in cases of property theft or gross disrespect.

It can thus be seen that the right wing opposes taxation for emotional reasons. In other words, “muh feels”.

Political questions, when it comes down to it, are all a matter of “muh feels”. Feelings of injustice motivate most of them, and for many people such feelings are unavoidable. After all, the feelings of the population about what is the optimum level of taxation fall along a bell curve with no taxation at one end and full communism at the other, but the actual overall level of taxation must fall on a point on that curve, meaning that many above it will be outraged that it isn’t higher and many below it will be outraged that it isn’t lower.

Even murder fulfills this criteria. After all, what’s wrong with murder other than that it makes us feel bad? If it wasn’t for the fact that a person likely feels terrified when they’re being murdered, or the fact that the people left behind feel bereaved when someone they love is murdered, or the fact that the people in the neighbourhood feel afraid by murders in case they are next, or the fact that other citizens feel disgusted by murder because they consider it a bestial act of brutality, then there would be no reason to even make murder illegal, much less anything else.

Indeed, it could even be argued that, without feels, none of us would be capable of feeling motivated to do anything, and we would simply lie about until we died of metabolic failure.

Although it’s often true that a person does not examine their own emotional impulses and makes political decisions by just lurching from one burst of neurotransmitters to the next, this does not by itself mean that emotional input into decision making is necessarily undesirable, or that a line of reasoning appealing to an emotion is necessarily fallacious.

It could even be that, for a social species, correct decisions cannot be made without some accounting for how people will emotionally react to them. If one drills deep enough, there may not be much more to life than “muh feels”.

We Don’t Need a Cannabis Referendum – Just Legalise It

Conducting a referendum about a liberty that should already be guaranteed by human rights legislation has proven to be highly divisive in Australia

Kiwi cannabis users have been buoyed by the demise of the Fifth National Government. It is already clear from the change in rhetoric that the incoming Sixth Labour Government will approach the issue with honesty, in contrast to the John Key/Bill English/Peter Dunne approach. However, honesty doesn’t prevent one from making errors – and the decision to hold a referendum about legalising the personal use of cannabis is one such error.

It’s widely accepted that the actions of the New Zealand Parliament in passing gay marriage legislation was a wiser, less divisive move than the actions of the Australian Parliament in holding a referendum on the subject. The Australian experience of having a referendum on such an emotive subject was that the country tore itself in two, with many people eventually choosing to vote against gay marriage out of sheer bitterness and resentment.

The New Zealand experience of making it legal by Parliamentary decree gave the country an opportunity to come together in mutual desire to right the wrongs of the past. Even conservatives like Maurice Williamson saw the need to give a passionate speech in favour of a law change, and the Parliament itself went as far as singing a song out of a will to demonstrate that the old days of hate were over.

It’s also widely acknowledged – by the New Zealand people, if not by the New Zealand ruling classes – that withholding cannabis medicine from sick people who need it is an extremely cruel thing to do, and something only done because of hate. Certainly it’s much crueler than withholding marriage rights from people, which, while inconvenient, are hardly a matter of life and death or daily suffering and misery.

Moreover, it’s obvious from the experience of the half a dozen American states that have already legalised the recreational use of cannabis that the downsides of doing so have been massively overstated for decades. The predicted crime explosion and spates of suicides never eventuated – indeed, some research suggests that suicide rates can drop by almost 5% in the wake of legalising medicinal cannabis, and this rises to almost 10% in the cases of young males.

So why not just do the obvious thing, acknowledge the evident truth, stop lying and just make the personal use of cannabis legal by Parliamentary decree, as the Labour Government intends to do with medicinal cannabis?

This way we can avoid giving a platform to moronic bigots like Bob McCroskie to further divide our society with fearmongering and lies. The Australian equivalents to McCroskie have polluted media space with hysterical predictions of doom, further alienating gay people from the mainstream, and the same will happen in New Zealand if we also put a question of basic human rights to referendum.

Ultimately, no-one has the right to prevent anyone else from using cannabis. No-one has the right to take this freedom away from other people, any more than they have the right to prevent them from watching cricket or eating parmesan. Therefore, there is no good reason to have a referendum about whether it should be legal or not, because there’s ultimately no good reason to obey any law prohibiting the use of cannabis.

Our law should simply reflect this reality and make it legal.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

Cannabis Law Reform Appears Imminent Under The New “Afghanistan” Government

The Afghanistan flag is black, red and green, like the alliance supporting the Sixth Labour Government

A black-red-green “Afghanistan” coalition has replaced National in the halls of New Zealand power, and so the absolute, mindless refusal of the outgoing National Government to countenance any kind of cannabis law reform is now no longer relevant. This means that the wasted decade might be at an end. This article looks at the prospects for cannabis law reform over the next three years.

Labour had already pledged to introduce medicinal cannabis within the first 100 days of taking power, at least to “people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain”, but questions remain.

It isn’t yet clear what definition of medicinal cannabis Labour intends to use when they change the law. What constitutes “medicinal” use of cannabis is a subject of considerable debate, not least among medical and mental health professionals. That it could be prescribed to people with terminal illnesses seems straightforward enough, but what qualifies as “chronic pain” could vary from a small number of acute conditions on the one hand, to a California-style wide range of ailments on the other (California has had legal medicinal cannabis since 1996).

The best outcome for cannabis users would be that the Labour Party adopts the same definition of cannabis, and treats cannabis the same way, as in Julie Anne Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill, currently before Parliament. This bill contains a very broad conception of medicinal cannabis and provides for users to grow their own medicine at home if they have approval from a doctor who believes that cannabis would prevent suffering.

A jackpot outcome for medicinal cannabis users would be for the home grow provisions of Julie Anne Genter’s bill to be made legal within the first hundred days of the Sixth Labour Government. Although we can be sure that all of the Green MPs and most of the Labour MPs would support this, Winston Peters and New Zealand First might prefer a narrower definition of medicinal cannabis in the first hundred days with a broader definition put to referendum as part of the deal with the Greens.

Recently it was learned that the Green Party had successfully negotiated to hold a referendum on personal use of cannabis at or before the 2020 General Election. Although it isn’t clear at this stage whether this will be similar to the referendum that successfully legalised recreational cannabis in Colorado in 2012, or if it will be some watered-down offer of decriminalisation, the very fact that a referendum is happening is excellent news for New Zealand cannabis users.

Although James Shaw is maintaining the lie that the Greens have supported legalising cannabis for 20 years, rather than tell the truth that they abandoned cannabis users for many years in an effort to appeal to the middle class, the fact that he feels the desire to take credit for the change in public perception regarding cannabis is a sign that he is sure that the wind has changed.

This column pointed out some years ago that it would be possible to tell when the public perception of cannabis had definitively shifted because politicians would start publicly claiming to have always supported a law change. Shaw is lying when he says that the Greens have had cannabis law reform as part of their policy for the past 20 years, because cannabis law reform activists have been challenging the Greens that whole time to update their cannabis policy to something similar to that of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and they have only done so in the past year.

But that doesn’t matter any more. The important thing is that a lot of cannabis law reform should be happening in the next three years, under a governing alliance that does not suffer from the fear-based myopia of the National Party around the substance. It appears that the efforts of cannabis law reform activists to persuade the centre-left parties of the merits of reform have been broadly successful, and that the ruling powers are now of a mind to make change to the laws.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

The Conscript’s Dilemma

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or so it might seem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Not Sound Crazy When Talking About Your Psychedelic Experiences

It’s hard to talk about the world beyond to people who aren’t familiar with that range of frequencies

Even though the Internet has led to a sharing of shamanic knowledge completely unprecedented (and impossible) for any other point in the world’s history, it hasn’t filtered down to the mass consciousness yet. Probably it never will – the men of silver and iron and clay cannot be expected to concern themselves with what lies beyond this veil. This essay gives some tips for talking to them about the world beyond without sounding insane.

The most important thing is to have a feel for what the person you are talking to is likely to be able to handle. This means that you have to look for clues from what you already know about them to give hints about what they already believe.

The easiest way to sound crazy is to express a belief that does not accord with consensual reality of the mass consciousness of the people around you. This is true whether you are in meatspace or cyberspace. The lower the intelligence of the person you are speaking to, the less likely it is that they will have challenged any belief widely-held by the people around them.

It is in this will to challenge consensual reality that most people judge sane from insane. All you have to do is to assert that things are not as they are commonly believed to be, and some people will start to consider you crazy. Essentially you only have to contradict the television, or in other cases the radio or FaceBook.

You might start a conversation with a suspected normie by questioning the narrative that you are fed by the network news, or by the broadsheet papers. Even that is enough to sound pretty crazy to most people, who are on the level of “they couldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.” If a person is on this level they are in no way ready to handle the idea that the government has lied to them about psychedelics for the sake of making them easier to control.

A useful tactic here is to point out how the governments and mainstream media of Anglosphere countries colluded to sell the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in order to manufacture consent for the Iraq War. It’s possible now, though, that a person remembers those times differently and will choose to remember it in a way that denies this collusion.

It pays to be wary of the fact that most people are materialists, which implies that they believe that the brain generates consciousness, and that upon the death of the physical body this consciousness somehow “disappears”. These people consider all kinds of religious ideas like karma and God to be superstitions, and the bitterest contempt is reserved for those religious who believe that the consciousness survives the death of the physical body.

Unfortunately, this belief is also one of the major insights of psychedelics – perhaps it is this psychedelic insight that forms the foundation of most religious beliefs.

Psychedelics are hard, and integrating their lessons extremely hard

Mathematics is the way to get at people who are the hardest to reach. Expressing a sense of awe and wonder at how, for example, the Fibonacci sequence reoccurs in the state of Nature is a good way of getting a person to ask themselves whether there’s something other than sheer chance going on. Other ways are to express similar sentiments about the non-reoccurring nature of pi or the import of Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

The way to talk about it so that it makes sense is by talking about previous beliefs that you once held that you either questioned or abandoned after taking a psychedelic. Usually this makes it possible to apply logic to dismantle one erroneous idea after the other, and it’s seldom necessary to mention that this destruction of illusion was achieved by means of psychedelics (any insight that psychedelics have brought you can be plausibly credited to either meditation or a near death experience as well).

For example, a psychedelicised person might be able to conduct a conversation with a normie about the boundaries of the human body, and how it’s not clear where inside ends and where outside begins. The very idea of selfishness starts to unravel if the idea of what it is that one might be selfish about is challenged, and by such means light can shine through.

This column believes that the ultimate goal of consciousness expansion is apotheosis, where an individual consciousness reunites themselves with the universal consciousness and becomes privy to certain mysteries, such as that there is no such thing as time and that the death of the physical body does not impact the true self.

Contemplation of this alone is liable to induce a psychiatric breakdown in a lot of people. Most people are so utterly terrified of the concept of their future death that they have pushed the very idea of it into a deep, dark part of the mind, only to be ventured into in an emergency. Even fewer people have looked deeply enough into their own minds to have made a surgically precise distinction between consciousness and the content of consciousness.

Starting with such subjects is probably too much. Most people will declare you crazy for talking about them rather than risk psychosis by dwelling on them.

Questioning the materialist dogma that the brain generates consciousness is the quickest way to be seen as crazy. This dogma is taken by many to be the absolute, inviolable and axiomatic truth of reality and conversation along these lines is likely to make materialists fear or despise you.

The best thing is probably to declare skepticism of the claims of a mutual enemy. The Government, the Church or Big Business can all serve as excellent mutual enemies. Skepticism of the claims of these mutual enemies might then be generalised into skepticism about other claims and dogmas.

The World That Sober People Built

Sober minds built the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima; sober minds gave the orders to drop that bomb; sober minds followed those orders

“That person must have been on drugs” is a common response to observing all kinds of wacked-out behaviour, as if taking a psychoactive drug inevitably brings about false kinds of thinking – a cognitive bias this column has previously described as Sobriety Bias Syndrome. But if we look around the world that sober people built, and the moral values agreed upon by sober people, things really didn’t turn out that great.

It was pious and sober people who decided, a few thousand years ago, that mutilating the genitals of baby boys was a legitimate expression of God’s will. It was sober people who decided to adopt this tradition from the foreigners who practiced it, and people are sober when they argue for the “health benefits” of the mutilation.

George W. Bush, completely sober, decided that sending the firepower of the US military after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a great idea, even though it led directly to the deaths of over a million people. The US Congress, elected to represent the American people, also soberly decided that this was a great idea.

In the 1930s we created and watched “documentaries” such as Reefer Madness, which exhorted us to tell our children that smoking cannabis will turn them into murderers; a dozen years later, with god-fearing sobriety, we built nuclear weapons and dropped them on Japanese civilians, killing hundreds of thousands in one hit.

These are the actions of sober minds. So clearly a person doesn’t have to be intoxicated in order to do terrible things to someone else.

Far from it. In many ways, sobriety can be seen as a kind of virus. Its presence in a person’s mind tends to work to drive out periods of non-sobriety, usually because of egoistic religious delusions about achieving purity of thought. The sober mind tends to have thoughts repeating in it over and over again, and this repetition can lead to a powerful commitment to some ideas.

This is a fact long understood by television programmers, who appreciate how repeated exposure to a short, powerful stimulus is more likely to induce purchasing behaviour in a potential consumer than a single exposure to e.g. a lecture about the qualities of a product.

Because novel psychoactive experiences tend to destroy this conditioning by allowing the conditioned person to see things from new perspectives, if you want to get everyone marching in lockstep then these psychoactive experiences need to be either discouraged or made illegal.

Consequently, entirely sober people have decided, presumably using sober logic, that putting another human being in a cage is a fair punishment for being caught growing a medicinal plant without permission.

Maybe there’s an argument that too much sobriety makes an individual mean from a lack of levity, and a society dumb from a lack of questioning?

After all, the mass shooters making the front pages recently are definitely not smoking weed, taking ecstasy or tripping on mushrooms or LSD, and neither are the genital mutilators, military warhawks and brainwashers that are responsible for most of the world’s evil.

The truth is that the world needs a diversity of ideas if humans are to survive the challenges of coming years. Never mind a diversity of skin colour – such superficial qualities do not constitute real diversity. Real diversity is diversity of ideas, even outlandish ones, even crazy ones, because that is the kind of diversity that saves us from groupthink and prevents us from making the kind of error that arises from self-righteous conviction about one’s correctness.

To that end, sobriety is our enemy and getting wasted is our friend.

When Opening the Borders to Mass Immigration, The Effect on the Locals’ Quality of Life is Not Considered

The forces pushing for mass immigration in recent decades have been an alliance of both the left and the right, which is why the West has seen so much of it, despite that it often has clearly negative effects for the locals. Some people don’t seem to fully understand that, when agitating for mass immigration, the forces in favour of it have got no interest whatsoever in the effect of that immigration on the quality of life of the locals. This essay looks at why.

Western conservatives are not only terrified of being seen to oppose immigration lest they be confused with the racial conservatives who lost World War II, but they are more than happy to open the floodgates to mass immigration for economic reasons.

First among those economic reasons is that mass immigration destroys the existing bonds of solidarity among the native population, which works to divide and conquer them and make them ripe for wage exploitation. Western conservatives know that Westerners are too afraid to protest the importation of low-skilled workers from outside the country lest they be seen as racist, even when that same importation is undermining their labour power and thereby sharply lowering their quality of life.

It’s obviously much harder to start a union when much of the workforce doesn’t speak English, or if they’re here on temporary visas, or if they’re from a cultural tradition that has little idea of worker’s rights (which is most of them). So the wealthy know that by opening the floodgates to the whole world they can smash the sentiments that prevent workers from selling each other out as cheaply as possible.

Second among these economic reasons, but no less important, is that mass immigration drives up the value of investment property, which a large proportion of Western conservatives hold. In so far as the value of any given piece of land is a function of the amount of money willing to bid to own it, it’s mathematically obvious that opening the borders to all and sundry will remove previous restrictions on demand, thereby driving it up – alongside the price of the property.

After all, no-one is making more land, so the supply of land in New Zealand is a constant. By letting in a few extra million people, the wealthy can stimulate demand which pushes the price of that land up.

Which is great if you’re in the minority that already holds land, and terrible if you’re in the majority that doesn’t.

This reason, incidentally, is why the population will never be allowed to fall, and why it has not been allowed to fall in Western European countries where the birthrate has been below replacement level for a number of generations. Economic reasons mean that the rich will simply force their puppets in Parliament to maintain the price of their land holdings by opening the borders.

This is why the population of France has not decreased in several decades, despite that native French women have had a below replacement level birthrate for over a century now. The French elites would rather import foreigners to replace the missing locals than allow their property values to decline with a falling population – and the same is now true of Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany.

After all, if you’re in the top 1%, then it doesn’t matter if the average goes down as long as inequality rises by enough to compensate, because rising inequality will see the top 1% cream more and more of it. Selling your countrymen out for shekels might lower the standard of living of the nation, but it won’t lower yours (until enough other people do it of course, but the hope is that this point is never reached).

Western liberals, for their own reasons, are also more than happy to open the floodgates to mass immigration.

One reason is that these liberals do not generally live in the same neighbourhoods that are affected by mass immigration and the crime that comes with it. So the negative side of agitating for mass immigration is not considered to outweigh the positive side of virtue signalling one’s good will towards poor foreigners.

Another reason is that they are ideologically opposed to national bonds for the reasons that these are impediments to a global communist state. The sharper the lines are around who counts as a Kiwi and who doesn’t count as Kiwi, the more difficult it is to subsume New Zealand into the global communist consciousness.

None of this is to argue that immigration is a bad thing or that it should be stopped. But it’s clear that the National Party has lost control of the immigration system above and beyond the desire to keep wages low and house prices high. The wishes of the people who already live in New Zealand, and who have inherited a sense of guardianship over the land, is not respected and the effect of this immigration on their quality of life not considered.

Ultimately, the New Zealand immigration system needs to be run according to the philosophy that the New Zealand population as a whole are to be the beneficiaries of the fact that this is a nicer place to live than most of the rest of the world. Not right-wing special interests who want cheap labour for the sake of maximum profits or left-wing special interests who want the destruction of social coherency for the sake of maximum control.

VJMP Reads: Anders Breivik’s Manifesto XIII

This reading carries on from here.

In this section (pages 1068-1152), Breivik writes about a wide variety of topics, including a proposal for a merit system for the society of knights, how to counter state propaganda, an entreaty to European police forces and an argument for the reinstitution of patriarchy.

Again without apparent irony, Breivik writes that “[The media] deliberately portray us as the anti-thesis of the ideal person so that we achieve a minimum of impact when it comes to appealing to the average European.” This is a curious position if it is considered that the average European, being rather civilised, generally finds murderers unappealing.

It’s obvious from reading a document such as this one that a person with Breivik’s mind was clearly capable of carrying out the deeds he was accused of. But it’s hard to know what to make of someone who advises prospective mass killers to “Visit a male salon if possible and apply light makeup” before taking photos of themselves in order to look the best.

Here Breivik gives a very interesting explanation for the phenomenon of the mainstream media describing white mass shooters as “lone wolves” or “mentally unstable”: ultimately, the Establishment wants to avoid having to explain why there is an ideological opposition to the way they are running things, because having to explain this would give that opposition the perception of legitimacy.

This explains why ruling classes of all times and places are so quick to decry their opponents as “mad” – because it delegitimises them.

Yet again, Breivik decries Nazism: “We hate everything Nazi Germany stood for, in fact we view the current EUSSR/Multiculturalist regimes of Western Europe as totalitarian Nazi regimes.” It’s apparent that there will always be people who call him a neo-Nazi, but anyone who has bothered to read this document knows that this isn’t true.

The most difficult thing for most readers of this document to understand will be Breivik’s frequently declared opposition to “all hate-ideologies; communism, cultural Marxism/multiculturalism, Islam and national socialism.” Most people tend to assume that any mass shooter belongs to a hate ideology and will therefore have considerable difficulty putting Breivik in a box.

Also difficult to understand is Breivik’s frank acknowledgement of the success of Islam in honouring those who have martyred themselves for its cause. Perhaps this has occurred out of Breivik’s will to approach the question of nationalism from a military perspective.

When Breivik writes that “It is every Europeans duty to defend their people and country against the ideology of genocide, conquest and destruction known as Islam,” this raises a number of questions. Some of these questions are fair, but many will resist asking them for fear of granting legitimacy to violent nationalist sentiments.

The biggest is this: how do we know that Islam is not an ideology of conquest? Because the only thing stopping more people from following Breivik’s line of reasoning is the pervasive belief that Islam is not an ideology of conquest. If this belief does not accord with reality then it will eventually yield.

This is no trivial point. The fact remains that if a large number of fighting-age men come into your territory with an ideology of conquest then you are literally at war, no matter how much you might deny it or want it not be true. Who decided that these “refugees” came to Europe with a long-term will to peacefully integrate? Who is even qualified to decide such things, and, if no-one really is, how can it have happened?

Certainly if the millions of Muslims who are currently in Europe decide that they don’t want to peacefully integrate – and the experience from everywhere else is that they don’t – then letting them in in such numbers was a catastrophic strategic error from the perspective of European leaders tasked with maintaining the quality of life of their people. It might be a problem that takes a century or more to solve.

Perhaps it’s not unreasonable to declare these leaders traitors?

Interestingly, Breivik explicitly mentions in this section the fact that attitudes to Jews make it extremely difficult for European nationalist sentiments to unify around a common goal. On the one hand are neo-Nazis, who consider Jews the enemy; on the other hand are Christian conservatives, who consider the Jews a common ally against Islam.

At the end of this section, Breivik underlines the strength of his identification with Christianity, making the argument that only the Catholic Church can unite and speak for all Europeans and that conservative Christian governments ought to reflect this in their policy.

In all, it’s clear that the Establishment is, and must be, very uncertain about how to respond to someone like Breivik. They appear to have mostly decided to make the subject of him and his ideas taboo (which is, of course, a red rag to those of us at VJM Publishing), but this strategy is doomed to fail because of the increasing pressure brought about by the political trends mentioned in this document.

Peters Has More Leverage in a Labour-Greens Coalition than in a National One

Winston Peters aleady has a number of achievements in government, and the mana that comes with those. Labour and the Greens are more likely to recognise this than National are

The most important element in any negotiation is each side’s BATNA – Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. In other words, how good or bad it would be for either side to walk away from the table. This article will argue that, ultimately, Winston Peters ought to go with Labour and the Greens, for the reason that he can wring a better deal for himself (and for the nationalists he represents) out of that side.

The deal that Peters ought to offer Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw is this: support Peters as Prime Minister for this next term at least, with Ardern in an apprentice role as Deputy. Let’s have a coalition Government that’s mostly Labour with certain New Zealand First mandarins in high places and James Shaw in Cabinet somewhere, maybe Julie Ann Genter as well.

Peters will be the Prime Minister, so if anything goes wrong he can take the blame for it when he retires. But if everything goes right, we get at least one, hopefully two terms of stable centre-left government, at which point Peters retires triumphant.

This should allow us to undo the game of hot potato that our immigration system has become and whack the minimum wage up to a point at which our working class have a standard of living similar to Australia and the rest of the West.

And if everything keeps going right, Ardern will step naturally into the role after those two terms when Winston rides off into the sunset.

This will achieve several purposes: it will allow for a change in Government from the hyper-neoliberal National Party; it will neutralise criticisms that Ardern is too young and inexperienced to take on the top role; it will help Winston Peters fulfill ultimate career objectives.

For Ardern that’s a pretty sweet deal. There’s no reason to think that this deal will be considered part of the electoral pendulum from Labour to National to Labour to National to Labour to National to Labour to National to Labour to National, which means that if Peters does step down after one or two terms of measured, calm, reasonable and dignified leadership, there won’t be a sense that it’s National’s “turn”.

This would mean that Ardern, at age 43, will be in prime intellectual condition to begin her own three-term reign of Prime Minister.

The BATNA for Labour and Ardern is that Peters throws his support in behind National and the country has to endure another three years of neoliberalism, except this time not under the shrewd cunning of John Key but under the blundering, hamfisted efforts of Bill English, with the baby-eating banshee of Paula Bennett shrieking in his ear all the while.

This is a pretty bad alternative, all things considered. It’s effectively a total loss.

Bill English simply couldn’t accept a deal that was this sweet to Peters. His backers expect nothing less than the Ninth Floor, and there would be howls of outrage from his own party if he gave up the Prime Minister’s Office to the leader of a party that won less than a sixth of the votes of National.

National also has a much better BATNA than Labour does. Even if Peters agrees to go with Labour and the Greens to form an African coalition, that coalition would still have to succeed and to provide stable government, for if it didn’t, the electorate would be only too happy to give National another chance under Bennett.

Some in National might be only too happy to let some kind of Labour-New Zealand First-Greens abomination tear itself to pieces for three years (or less) and then set up a three-term Sixth National Government under Bennett or Steven Joyce or some other half-witted order follower.

For this reason, Peters will understand that Labour will be more incentivised to maintain a stable Government than National will. The National Party social media machine proved itself exceptionally effective at raising an angry mob at the peak of the Metiria Turei affair, and if their working relationship with Winston Peters fell apart it could be predicted that the electorate would put the blame on Peters.

This all means that Peters has much more leverage to use against and with Labour and the Greens than he does with National.

Should People Lose The Right to Vote When They Get the Pension?

Ideally, the people who voted would be the same people who had something at stake

When our democracies were set up, there was one thing that was never anticipated: medical advances leading to a white-haired horde of pensioners that held the balance of power in almost every single election. We’re essentially living in a gerontocracy now, and there’s no giant ice floe to push them out onto. This article looks at a potential compromise for our society.

Life expectancy in New Zealand was about 71 years in 1960, which meant that the average person was only expected to live a handful of years once they went on the pension at age 65. When the pension was brought in, in 1898, it was obviously much less than even this.

Life expectancy was over 81 years in 2015, and it keeps climbing as medical advances and social changes like the decline in tobacco smoking prevent what had until recently been incurable diseases. This has led to a problem arising: New Zealand now spends over $12,000,000,000 per year on pension payments, as the average person now lives a dozen years or more extra past the pension age, which has not increased.

The reason why the age of 65 was usually chosen as the age of universal pension was that, by age 65, a person’s body is usually no longer capable of the physical labour necessary to earn a full wage. The wear and tear of life as a working man meant that a full effort was no longer possible from age 65 and, because the vast majority of jobs going around were working-class ones, it was a reliable rule of thumb that most people would be knackered by then.

But if we now live in a knowledge economy, as many politicians and economists are now insisting we do, then the original reason for setting the pension age at 65 is null and void. If we live in an economy where a person’s productivity is primarily a function of their intellectual capabilities then there’s no reason to have a pension age determined by the limitations of the physical body, because there is no need to treat mentally productive people as infirm.

It might be that a person’s intellectual capabilities are not enough to keep them in employment either. Perhaps that person traded on the strength of their body and, for whatever reason, their mind was not developed to the point where participation in a knowledge economy was possible. Such a person should still have the right to a pension.

But the unfairness arises when a person who is still more than capable of earning a living from their mind does so, at the same time as pocketing a $370 a week pension that was intended specifically for people incapable of working. Winston Peters has shown that even a career as intellectually demanding as top-level politics can be undertaken until one’s mid-70s, and yet if he retires in 2020 he will have claimed the pension for ten years while still working full time.

This is really a gigantic con game, in which the elderly have forced payment for their unsustainably lavish lifestyles on the young. Worse, the larger this 65+ age bracket grows, the ever more incentivised they are to vote against any reform to this Ponzi scheme.

Democracy was never intended to have this massive bulk of old voters gumming it up. Once a person is at this stage, they have relatively little stake left in the future running of the country. No major decisions need be taken by such people – they’re already sorted.

Perhaps our old people need to have a deal put to them?

If you reach 65 and feel that you are no longer intellectually capable of participating in the knowledge economy, that’s fine. Here’s a pension – but you are no longer considered intellectually capable of participating in representative democracy.

If you want to keep working on the grounds that you’re entirely capable of it still, you can – and you get to vote as well. But you don’t get to claim a pension on the grounds that you’re too infirm to participate and still get to wield power over others.

We can accept that, for some people, the fair price to pay for being looked after until death is to forfeit their right to further influence the political system in their favour. After all, if you have a political class that pays you $370 a week no questions asked, when you almost certainly own your own home already and don’t have to pay rent out of it, you’re already creaming it by any measure. Life is sweet and easy at that point.

It’s time to stop the Baby Boomers’ theft of the production of the following generations. Taking the right to vote away from pensioners will make it possible for a fairer balance of taxation and benefits to be struck.