The Real Gateway Phenomenon Is The Government Telling Lies About Drugs

One of the reasons for keeping cannabis illegal is known as the Gateway Drug Effect (or Gateway Drug Story, for the cynical). The logic goes like this: people who try cannabis will like it and, in doing so, come to reason that drugs are awesome, and will then inevitably try heroin and die.

Apparently this happens with such tragic predictability that the phenomenon has taken the name the Gateway Effect – namely, that cannabis serves as a gateway to the wider world of drugs.

This reasoning, wrong as it may be, is almost logical. There is a Gateway Drug Effect, only – the gateway drug is alcohol. There is also a gateway effect related to cannabis, but it’s not what the Government claims it is.

The real gateway effect usually kicks in the morning after one has tried cannabis for the first time. Invariably one has already tried alcohol and discovered what a hangover is. Waking up after having smoking weed for the first time the night before is often accompanied by a sense of relief, as one might have been expecting an alcohol-style hangover only to find the cannabis one is very different.

So that next morning, and that next day, it sinks in that you have been lied to the whole time about cannabis. That evening, you start wondering what else the Government has lied to you about.

And then you’re on a journey down the rabbit hole.

That rabbit hole can take the neophyte psychonaut to some paranoid places. This is natural when one realises that the police officers who came to your high school to tell you that cannabis causes violence and mental illness were lying. They came to you as if they were pillars of the community, and they lied to your face about a medicine that you might have found beneficial.

Did they know they were lying? Probably some of them did and some of them didn’t. The ones that didn’t know were lied to by someone else – but who are these people?

It soon comes to appear that the lying comes from the very top – from the political class itself.

This lying and forcing other people to lie has the effect of devastating the social fabric.

If I go to see a doctor about pills I’ve ordered off the Internet, I don’t know if I can trust them or not. I already know that doctors will quite happily repeat lies told to them by authority figures, whether those figures are in government or the pharmaceutical industry.

A doctor will look you right in the eyes and tell you that cannabis causes depression if their paycheck is provided by a pharmaceutical company who sells an antidepressant that makes more money than cannabis could.

Does it have to be this way?

Teenagers are going through a rite of passage nowadays that is very common. It involves smoking your first joint and realising that you’ve been lied to, and then following the same reasoning described in this article. This rite of passage (Eleusinian Mysteries aside) is a modern thing – people in the recent past were generally more than happy to march into a meat grinder if an authority figure said it was to their benefit.

The astute reader might have observed the paradoxical benefit here – this exact cynicism about the government is what makes it harder for English-speaking people to follow dictators.

Still, there’s surely a better way to shock people awake then by putting an unlucky minority of them in prison and leaving their friends and family to rue the butcher’s bill.

The Government’s strategy of lying about cannabis to the detriment of the people it governs, and then refusing to stop telling lies even when it’s obvious to almost everyone that they are lying, has devastated confidence in authority figures for an entire generation of Westerners.

How Much in Taxes Would New Zealand Make From Legal Cannabis Sales?

With the repeal of cannabis prohibition rising higher and higher in the national consciousness, it seems like a good time to assess the economic impact of a change. The figure of $180,000,000 per year has been touted as the potential savings from a repeal, but how much tax revenue would it bring in?

The paper linked above suggests that the figure ought to be around $150,000,000 per year, but an argument can easily be made that it ought to be more.

In the first ten months of 2016, Colorado sold over USD1,100,000,000 of cannabis. This figure was so high that the total tax receipts for 2016 on cannabis sales in Colorado look set to be more than those for 2014 and 2015 combined.

USD1,100,000,000 over ten months works out to USD1,320,000,000 over twelve months or NZD1,830,000,000 at the current exchange rate. Colorado has a population of 5,400,000 compared to New Zealand’s 4,700,000, which means that New Zealand is 87% as populous as Colorado. Assuming that the total cannabis sales per person is equivalent in New Zealand and Colorado, we can assume from this that the market in New Zealand would be 87% of the Colorado one, or $1,592,100,000 per year.

Rounding this to $1.6 billion, we come to the figure of about $340 per person per annum. Hardened stoners might scoff at this figure, as it represents about one ounce per year, and New Zealand very likely has more hardened stoners than Colorado, but let’s assume this represents a conservative lower figure.

Simply taking 15% GST on this volume gives us $240,000,000 per year. So it’s fair to say that the $150,000,000 touted above is a very, very conservative figure.

This figure of $240 million is assuming that cannabis is not subject to some kind of vice tax in the way that alcohol and tobacco are. In Washington, the State Government took a 40% cut of the total sales.

The Washington market is not as well developed or planned as the Colorado one, and is thus much smaller. But if the New Zealand market developed like Colorado, a 40% tax would (even allowing for a 10% reduction in total sales on account of the tax) reap $500,000,000 per annum.

The likelihood is that someone on the Government side will end up making the argument that legal cannabis will reduce legal alcohol sales and thus alcohol tax income, and therefore a vice tax will have to be placed on legal cannabis to make up for the shortfall.

The majority of the country will find this logic entirely reasonable, which is in fact regrettable but this is outside the scope of this article. It will probably get pushed through.

In any case, the chances of a cannabis tax up to or even exceeding Washington’s 40% are very real, as New Zealand has a lot more inbred, out-of-touch, sanctimonious wowsers than Washington.

Realistically, then, we could count on tax money from a mature legal recreational cannabis market bringing in half a billion to Government coffers every year. This figure would be considerably higher if we did so now and got the jump on Australia, as there are legions of Aussies who would happily fly a few hours to New Zealand for a weed holiday.

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.

Are You a Coincidence Theorist?

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If a paranoid person earns themselves the title “conspiracy theorist” by seeing connections where they do not exist, then a coincidence theorist is someone who does not see connections where they really do exist. There are various reasons why patterns are not seen: stupidity, naivety, or simple lack of data are some.

The subject is discussed at length in Ben Vidgen’s State Secrets, in which he notes the contrast between the scientific approach which is concerned with truth, and the political approach taken by the political classes and the corporate media, who “try to lull the public into believing that things happen by accident – the so called ‘coincidence theory’.”

It promulgates a state of mind akin to actually being a sheep, which is perhaps why it is so common in New Zealand. As George Carlin said, “Think of how dumb the average person is. Well, half of them are even dumber than that.”

However, it is the average intellect who, by the sheer weight of their numbers, sets the public discourse in this country. They are the ones who buy the products advertised in the gaps of the mainstream media.

But if the public is too thick to join the dots then the mainstream media will not discuss the subject with them. There is no obligation to enlighten, to illuminate or to elucidate: short-term profit is the only prerogative.

The mainstream media is McDonalds, soccer, Hollywood – it is the lowest common denominator of culture. This lowest common denominator serves as a gatekeeper that excludes all subjects too complicated for the plebian hordes. Thus, any intelligent discussion of issues is naturally driven underground.

stuffisshit

Above is an example of the kind of mindless drivel the mainstream media promotes – this from the 7th most popular website in New Zealand cyberspace.

Vidgen in State Secrets notes that a belief in coincidence theory is “a bit like thumbsucking. It is non-threatening, it doesn’t require any thinking or stressing out…”

It’s hardly surprising, then, that the mainstream media has, by 2016, completely abandoned any pretensions it may once have had to investigative journalism. Apart from one notable Kim Hill interview of Anne Tolley, they seem to have given a free pass to the establishment pedophile rings who have been revealed in Britain and America.

Perhaps a belief in coincidence theory is the natural thing for people who still have a childish and naive approach to life? After all, it takes a particularly cynical and adult mindset to properly grasp the volume of malicious lies spewed out by the political class and their tools in the mainstream media – not all have the grit for it.

For decades, dumb people have been able to shut down intelligent points by saying “Hurr, durr, conspiracy theory.”

Perhaps this needs to be turned on its head. We need smart people being able to shut down stupid points by saying “coincidence theory.”

State Secrets

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Buy a copy of State Secrets for Kindle by clicking this link.

At a critical crossroads in New Zealand history, VJM Publishing releases the second, e-book edition of New Zealand best seller State Secrets by author Ben Vidgen. Read retrospectively, the 1999 best seller is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what is now happening in the country known as Aotearoa.

State Secrets correctly forecast the emergence of major threats to New Zealand national security (and its status as a genuinely democratic state). Threats which come from the rise of multinational trade blocs intent on accessing New Zealand’s considerable natural resources.

The agents of these threats, Vidgen maintains, are supported by neoliberal political elements within and outside New Zealand’s own Government, such as its media structure, quick to take advantage of the simultaneous rise of a highly dangerous violent criminal class within New Zealand.

The 1999 book argues the rise of organised crime in New Zealand is nothing less than a second front in an economic war being deliberately waged on New Zealand sovereignty by those who seek to end New Zealand democratic traditions from the shadows.

For example, State Secrets demonstrates how large scale money laundering and white collar tax evasion was rife long before New Zealand was named in the Panama Tax haven bank scandal more than 60,000 times in 2016. State Secrets argued, well ahead of the mainstream pundits, that New Zealand’s role as the largest “washing machine” in the South Pacific was having an impact on the housing market and the New Zealand way of life.

Viewed in hindsight, the analysis – written by a veteran New Zealand investigator, with a research background in academic political science and New Zealand military intelligence – was dead on the bulls-eye every time.

State Secrets forecast the failure of the war on drugs, predicting a massive surge in the meth trade, financed by white collar businessmen, being simultaneously tied to the super escalated growth of American styled super gangs. A claim then considered unlikely but now indisputable for anyone who read the headlines today.

State Secrets correctly assessed that the collateral damage of this ‘evolution’ of New Zealand organised crime would serve to make lower socio-economic communities dysfunctional and would disempower swathes of the wider population as its impact overwhelmed the capacity of our health, education, social services and correctional services – in the process conveniently enhancing the argument for privatisation.

State Secrets identifies the enemy within: a neoliberal American and New Zealand Business Round Table alliance who today can be found to have dug their fingers deep into all sides of the New Zealand Parliament (and increasingly the state judiciary and security forces), the political spectrum, and even its underbelly.

It is driven by the motives of those addicted to the lust for absolute power and maximum profit. Forces seduced, as State Secrets forecasts, pre 9/11, by the largely self-made (self-armed) bogey monster of terrorism.

The enemy within chooses to ignore dealing with the real threats New Zealand faces by placing control on foreign investment and New Zealand, notoriously relaxing banking and company law.

Instead it seeks to opportunistically erode New Zealand civil liberties and strengthen a transformative State: one full of secrets which has broken its covenant with the people, serving a corporate master at the expense of the rest of New Zealand.

State Secrets by Ben Vidgen – Out Now!

state-secrets-cover-iii

At a critical crossroads in New Zealand history, VJM Publishing releases the second, e-book edition of New Zealand best seller State Secrets by author Ben Vidgen. Read retrospectively, the 1999 best seller is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what is now happening in the country known as Aotearoa.

State Secrets correctly forecast the emergence of major threats to New Zealand national security (and its status as a genuinely democratic state). Threats which come from the rise of multinational trade blocs intent on accessing New Zealand’s considerable natural resources.

The agents of these threats, Vidgen maintains, are supported by neoliberal political elements within and outside New Zealand’s own Government, such as its media structure, quick to take advantage of the simultaneous rise of a highly dangerous violent criminal class within New Zealand.

The 1999 book argues the rise of organised crime in New Zealand is nothing less than a second front in an economic war being deliberately waged on New Zealand sovereignty by those who seek to end New Zealand democratic traditions from the shadows.

For example, State Secrets demonstrates how large scale money laundering and white collar tax evasion was rife long before New Zealand was named in the Panama Tax haven bank scandal more than 60,000 times in 2016. State Secrets argued, well ahead of the mainstream pundits, that New Zealand’s role as the largest “washing machine” in the South Pacific was having an impact on the housing market and the New Zealand way of life.

Viewed in hindsight, the analysis – written by a veteran New Zealand investigator, with a research background in academic political science and New Zealand military intelligence – was dead on the bulls-eye every time.

State Secrets forecast the failure of the war on drugs, predicting a massive surge in the meth trade, financed by white collar businessmen, being simultaneously tied to the super escalated growth of American styled super gangs. A claim then considered unlikely but now indisputable for anyone who read the headlines today.

State Secrets correctly assessed that the collateral damage of this ‘evolution’ of New Zealand organised crime would serve to make lower socio-economic communities dysfunctional and would disempower swathes of the wider population as its impact overwhelmed the capacity of our health, education, social services and correctional services – in the process conveniently enhancing the argument for privatisation.

State Secrets identifies the enemy within: a neoliberal American and New Zealand Business Round Table alliance who today can be found to have dug their fingers deep into all sides of the New Zealand Parliament (and increasingly the state judiciary and security forces), the political spectrum, and even its underbelly.

It is driven by the motives of those addicted to the lust for absolute power and maximum profit. Forces seduced, as State Secrets forecasts, pre 9/11, by the largely self-made (self-armed) bogey monster of terrorism.

The enemy within chooses to ignore dealing with the real threats New Zealand faces by placing control on foreign investment and New Zealand, notoriously relaxing banking and company law.

Instead it seeks to opportunistically erode New Zealand civil liberties and strengthen a transformative State: one full of secrets which has broken its covenant with the people, serving a corporate master at the expense of the rest of New Zealand.

State Secrets by Ben Vidgen – Out Next Week!

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Early next week VJM Publishing will publish the second edition of Ben Vidgen’s 1999 New Zealand bestseller State Secrets.

This book is guaranteed to shatter your easy perception of New Zealand as a sleepy corner of Polynesia.

Extensively researched by Canterbury University graduate Vidgen, State Secrets explores the world that the corporate media doesn’t have the guts to.

Gunrunning, drug smuggling, people trafficking, “peek-a-boo” banking, passport fraud – and it goes up to the highest level.

The Kindle edition of State Secrets will be available next week and the print version before the end of 2016.