IT IS DIFFICULT to attach a name to the ideology currently guiding the actions of the New Zealand ruling-class. For the past twenty years the Left has been content to call it neoliberalism, but in the third decade of the twenty-first century that term has less and less purchase on reality. The new ideology which has emerged, let’s call it “wokeism”, is a radical fusion of neoliberalism, environmentalism and identity politics – and its powerful enough to disrupt profoundly the political, social and economic institutions of New Zealand society.
That wokeism will generate massive resistance is certain. Its assault on the traditional order will leave more and more people feeling unmoored and vulnerable. Inevitably, a political movement will arise to contest the wokeists’ claims and policies. This movement will not, however, be driven by the traditional Left, it will be the creation of an angry and radically populist Right. What’s more, the transformational ambitions of wokeism will provoke its opponents into advancing an equally comprehensive programme of revocation and reconstitution. The result will be a deeply divided society, with tolerance and empathy in short supply.
The backlash against wokeism will be made much more aggressive by the difficulties its opponents encounter in making their voices heard. The mainstream news media – and especially the state-owned media – have become increasingly intolerant of ideas and opinions which directly, or indirectly, challenge the wokeists’ view of the world. Stuff, the largest newspaper publisher in the country has embraced wokeism wholeheartedly and set its face resolutely against the errors of “racist” New Zealanders. Even more significantly, citizens determined to spread “unacceptable” ideas can no longer rely upon the major social media platforms for their dissemination. Increasingly, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are “de-platforming” individuals and groups (including a former President of the United States!) whose beliefs have been anathematised by the woke.
This de-platforming of dissenters by the woke media – often facilitated by threats from major corporate advertisers to withdraw their financial support – will complicate the mobilisation of wokeism’s opponents, but it will not prevent it. Inevitably, the sheer number of New Zealanders shut out of the wokeist discourse will persuade conservative investors to offer them a Fox News-like outlet for traditional views and values. As Rupert Murdoch knows well, there are big profits to be made out of alienation and anger. Those corporates hitherto persuaded to embrace (and enforce) wokeism may experience second thoughts when the enormous size of the traditionalist audience is revealed.
Right-wing political parties will likewise be forced to decide whether or not the game of accommodating themselves to the demands of wokeism is, in the long term, worth playing. If they decide not to place themselves at the head of a movement fuelled by rising anger and resentment and strongly supported by a major media outlet devoted to its cause, then, most assuredly, someone else will. National and Act will not be slow to understand that if they do not get on board the radical right-wing populist bandwagon, then it will roll right over the top of them. As with the Republican Party in the United States: they may not like it, but they will not fight it. Their biggest challenge will be to find a Trump-like politician to front it.
The key insight of the world’s most successful populist leaders is that the voters will not punish a politician for farting in the wokeist church: who simply refuses to be daunted by charges of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or any of the many other “thought crimes” promulgated by the woke. The politician who responds to all such accusations with a straightforward “Yes, I am. And if you expect me to apologise for it, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed!” That sort of politician: Trump, Duterte, Bolsonaro, Orban; receives as many cheers as jeers – probably more. Yes, liberal Americans were horrified when Trump branded Mexican border-crossers drug-dealers, rapists and thieves; but conservative Americans were delighted to have finally encountered someone willing to “tell it like it is”.
The other key insight of the right-wing populists is that most people really don’t like the news media. The politician who viciously attacks reporters: who accuses them of manufacturing “fake news”; who bans them from his press conferences and brands the newspapers and networks they work for “enemies of the people”; will emerge from the conflict stronger – not weaker. So long as they have their own equivalent of Fox News to carry their message to their “base”, it simply does not matter if wokeist media outlets rebuke and revile them as right-wing “fanatics”. Indeed, such charges will only succeed in further burnishing their reputations as champions of the “deplorables”. CNN didn’t bring Donald Trump down. What defeated him was his own woefully inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Couldn’t happen in New Zealand. How often has that “argument” been advanced by those whose salaries depend upon it being true? If these political Pollyannas had the slightest familiarity with the history of their own country, they would know that it already has.
Much of the populist National Party prime minister Rob Muldoon’s popularity was generated by his heated exchanges with journalists. Long before Donald Trump crossed swords with CNN’s White House correspondents, Muldoon was ordering the removal of the Listener’s parliamentary reporter, Tom Scott, from the Beehive theatrette. When the TV news showed the prime minister ordering his aides to “take him away”, liberal New Zealand was horrified. For “Rob’s Mob” of conservative New Zealanders, however, is was thrilling proof of their leader’s strength. The media had it coming!
Muldoon’s most apt pupil in the dangerous game of right-wing populist politics was Winston Peters. Openly challenging the news media and arguing aggressively with journalists live on television became a key component of his enduring electoral appeal. Once again, liberal New Zealanders were perplexed: what could Peters possibly hope to gain by such vulgar displays of political truculence?
What Peters understood, and his well-educated and refined critics tended to forget, was that half the population falls on the wrong side of the bell-curve. Instinctively, the vulgar masses recoil from the lofty condescension of professional middle-class journalists. By attacking the news media, and its “sickly white liberal” assumptions, Peters, like Trump, secured the votes of the “poorly educated”.
All of which raises the critical question: Who will take on the right-wing populist mantle of Muldoon and Peters? Certainly, National’s Judith Collins and Act’s David Seymour would like to, but are they temperamentally suited to the role? Do they have the necessary slivers of ice-cold steel driven deep enough into their souls? Are they able to deploy the sort of cruel humour that lacerates their opponents’ self-confidence? Can they make people laugh at their vicious jokes in spite of themselves? It is certainly very difficult to imagine either Collins or Seymour successfully delivering Muldoon’s brutally funny quip: “I have seen the shivers running around Bill Rowling’s back, looking for a spine to crawl up!”
There is no shortage of applicants for the job of radical right-wing populism’s “drummer”: the leader who will make the hearts of the angry and the marginalised beat faster. The rabble-rouser who will cause them to clench their fists and clutch at their grievances more tightly. The messiah who will inspire them to set aside their ingrained sense of inferiority and their deep fear of being laughed at and/or condemned, and demand their own version of paradise. The demagogue who will impel the unmoored and vulnerable towards the clamour of ideological battle with the relentless and pitiless beating of his rhetorical drum. Oh yes, we’ve seen Billy Te Kahika, Jami-Lee Ross, even Hannah Lee Tamaki, make their pitches. But – no sale. The next drummer has yet to step out upon the national stage.
While New Zealand waits for that perilous person to appear, the woke supremacy will continue. Hate speech will be outlawed. The nation’s history will be re-written. Even the country’s name will be driven relentlessly towards the memory hole. Were these assaults upon tradition to be offset by decisive governmental action making rents and homes affordable, forcing the rich to pay their fair share of tax, and restoring a rough balance of power in the workplace, then they might be forgiven. If the democratic rights of New Zealand citizens were being beefed-up – instead of being whittled away – then wokeism might have a future. But, they aren’t, and it doesn’t.
Only when the drum-beat of right-wing populism starts to shake New Zealand’s windows and rattle its walls, will wokeism’s fondness for silencing its enemies finally begin to make a kind of desperate sense.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 4 February 2021.
More sneering at identity politics I see. This seems to be a knee-jerk defensive reaction of many conservatives today, what young people call triggering. Let's not forget that every advance in civil rights in the last couple of hundred years has been the result of identity politics. From the abolition of slavery to the enfranchisement of women and beyond. Rights are not given freely, they are taken – by people who embrace identity politics. You really need to get over your discomfort and try to find out why people engage in identity politics. Here is a hint – it wasn't so long ago that conservatives on this site were expressing the opinion that women didn't need to engage in identity politics because let's face it, they were equal now. That was just before the "me too" movement started I believe.
And let's have a word about deplatforming. In what bizarro world do private companies owe anyone freedom of speech? The barriers to entry for platforms, particularly Internet platforms these days are not great. You can create your own platform and say whatever the hell you like. That's why Parler and Me We were created, so the loony right can share information about how Hillary Clinton is running a paedophile ring out of the basement of pizza restaurant that doesn't have a basement, how the election was "stolen" from Donald Trump, how rich people are harvesting adrenochrome from young children, and how the world is run by lizard people in disguise. It's a pity that some of this misinformation caused at least five deaths the other day but I guess that's the price of freedom of speech right? As long as it's someone else's deaths.
So ... are you intending to replace free speech with forced speech? You're going to ask private companies to publish every nutty conspiracy theory or fascist opinion about race, even though it may well harm their public image with normal people, and possibly cost them a lot of money? I'm sure that's going to go over really well with business owners.
I think this is an excellent explanation of how things are - what I have been puzzled about for some time. But I don't agree with this line of thinking:
Were these assaults upon tradition to be offset by decisive governmental action making rents and homes affordable, forcing the rich to pay their fair share of tax, and restoring a rough balance of power in the workplace, then they might be forgiven. If the democratic rights of New Zealand citizens were being beefed-up – instead of being whittled away – then wokeism might have a future. But, they aren’t, and it doesn’t..
It seems to me that wokeism is based on a bag of grievances, gathered carefully from here and there. The idea is that in attending to those grievances the world will be better and that is the belief that wokeism holds out. But the whole concept of wokeism is based on presenting and 'calling out' various embedded wrongs and grievances, and as one disappeared another would arise.
I think if the government attended to the items you have noted above, fair taxes, workplace conditions and respect between the workers and bosses, the wokeist numbers would be whittled away, though not disappear. Too many have found the satisfaction of emotional tub-thumping without having to bother with an understanding of human nature, class, differences in understanding society and events between individuals and groups, history, reasoned discourse and what suasion means and sounds like. We repress intelligent thought and allow our emotions free rein - with peril.
To: Guerilla Surgeon.
You are correct, of course, GS, about the democratic gains of the past 200 years.
But so am I in anticipating the reactionary backlash to the claiming and bestowing of democratic rights.
After the French Revolution came Napoleon I and III.
After Reconstruction came Jim Crow.
After Weimar and its world-beating progressive constitution came Hitler and the Nazis.
After Obama came Trump.
If you decide to go after conservatives and traditionalists with a stick, then be assured, they will come after you with a pump-action shotgun.
That's all I'm saying, comrade.
Great post Chris except for one thing, its not going to happen, its already happening! The housing crisis and Covid 19 alone are pushing things along at a delicious clip and come the next election without the Covid response as cover Jacinda & Co will have a fight on their hands. And even if they win a third term the guaranteed (and sadly expected) failure to fix the housing situation will create the very disenfranchised you predict.
Grey, indeed emotions run wild and thought is in short supply. Both wokism and populism display both qualities.
Listening to a US educationist talk recently was illuminating. He recounted how a school embraced "critical race theory" that demanded that student achievement is a function of race privelege. Therefore they scrapped standards as racially biased. The white parents were too cowed to object and feared cancellation and other consequences. Asian parents who valued achievement pushed back hard. When asked why they said that they had experienced a similar event and philosophy : Mao's cultural revolution.
What we are experiencing is a lack of balance. Yin and Yang. We all have some of each. A liberal cuts down rare trees to build a house. The conservative objects to the tree felling but part of him understands the need for housing. Both understand the joint need to plant more trees andkeep the house in good order.
Wokesters only know how to pull things down and apportion blame. Populists cant identify what structures actually do need to be rebuilt and rotten structures are somebody elses fault.
I say a plague on both their houses.
Let's not forget that every advance in civil rights in the last couple of hundred years has been the result of identity politics. From the abolition of slavery to the enfranchisement of women and beyond. Rights are not given freely, they are taken – by people who embrace identity politics.
Because the world would be a better place if only more corporate CEOs were black, disabled, and transgender? In case you haven't noticed, there's a reason capitalism is so keen on Wokeism - it is absolutely no threat. Patting oneself on the back over Civil Rights rather overlooks the elephant in the room, which has always been economics.
As someone with a conservative disposition, I suggest you underestimate the depth to which ‘wokeism’ has permeated not only our Government, Educational Institutions, and the Media, but also big business. This has not happened ‘overnight’ as it may appear to many observers, but has been at least 25 years or more in the making. Christopher Lasch, a man of the Left predicted this transformation led by the elites in his book “The Revolt of the Elites” back in 1997.
First, it is a rejection of the ‘old order’ established upon the Judeo / Christian religion. Second, it has moved beyond being reactionary, to establishing its own religious dogma predicated on the notion of victimhood, intersectionality, and racism. True, the goalposts shift, and the language changes regularly, ‘coloured people’ today to ‘people of colour’ tomorrow, but this is just another means of separating the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the unrighteous, them from us.
Under the old order, Tolerance meant accepting the ideas, opinions and lifestyles of those with whom you disagreed. You might not like it but you grudgingly accepted gay this or transgender that. However under the new dogma, tolerance means submission to woke ideology, and grudging acceptance falls far short of the celebratory “Allied embrace” now required.
Yesterday it was possible to keep your head down, do your job, and dutifully attend the HR D&I meetings, while still harbouring your own opinions. Now however, anti-racism has become the darling of the corporate world. This new ideology is actively defeating racism with racism, declaring all whites racist, and those who object are simply showing their ‘white fragility’. Staff are expected to engage actively in HR ‘struggle sessions’ in order to confront their inner racist, and become a better person. There is no place for passivity when you are identified in the work place as a racist by virtue of your skin colour.
Unlike the older order, there is no redemption for the sinner. Whites and their systems are inherently racist and oppressive and will always be so. The best they can do is accept this, and celebrate their HR departments racist hiring and promotion plan designed to produce equity in the workplace. Note, equity is not the same as equality; it requires active discrimination in order to correct passed acts of discrimination, regardless of how long ago they may have taken place, and if anyone alive today was involved.
Corporates are paying big money to consultants to help them become ‘anti-racist’. They are quick to punish suppliers and media outlets who exhibit racism in order to publicly demonstrate their virtue. They are the new Puritans.
This is bigger than politics. This is a religious cultural shift, and it’s happening upstream from those in the beehive. Changing the politicians will make little to no difference. We are at the very early stage of a soft totalitarianism facilitated by the corporate world in combination with Big Tech. Like all utopian projects it will eventually fail, but the human cost will be very high, as usual.
This is a bit silly. "Freedom of speech" just means that the State will not criminalise opinion. Though it may limit speech that is intended to (and may in fact) cause direct and immediate physical harm to others. "Freedom of speech" doesn't mean that you say whatever you like and your fellow citizens then can't tell you (forcefully) that you are a dickhead. Most people whining about their freedom of speech just can't handle the fact that their worldview is slipping from a position of dominance.
Yes, liberal Americans were horrified when Trump branded Mexican border-crossers drug-dealers, rapists and thieves; but conservative Americans were delighted to have finally encountered someone willing to “tell it like it is”.
Think of two cats in the garden fighting. The owner comes out claps his hands. One flinches and the other takes off in a hurry over the fence. That’s what Trump voters want (and New Zealanders).
The next drummer has yet to step out upon the national stage.
You could sum NZ up here. Paddy Gower says “we need the diversity and we need the migrants (Kmart comments aside). Michael Barnet (advertisers) agrees as (of course) does Paul Spoonley. Those two represent NZ media like a twin engined jet
That's why Parler and Me We were created, so the loony right can share information about how Hillary Clinton is running a paedophile ring out of the basement of pizza restaurant that doesn't have a basement, how the election was "stolen" from Donald Trump, how rich people are harvesting adrenochrome from young children, and how the world is run by lizard people in disguise
Contrary to a popular view in psychology, intelligent people are just as prejudiced as less intelligent people – but just toward different groups. (N = 5,914)
Ethnic diversity erodes social trust
Team creativity/innovation in culturally diverse teams: A meta‐analysis
But support for Trump is not confined to white Americans, and, as the book acknowledges, no more than 6% of Americans share white supremacist beliefs. In Washington Post/Kaiser 2018 survey data cited by the book, when white Americans are asked directly about their support for the “alt-right or white nationalist movement”, the number who answer in the affirmative is just 2%, compared with the 6.4% of African-Americans and 5.4% of Hispanics who identify as white nationalists!
No disparities on officer shootings
Much better written than I could do, but I cover more ground. My beef with the Left is its Rightward shift to authoritarianism, its support for extremely conservative polities such as indigenous cultures and Islam, its dereliction of responsibility to the poor; cultural repudiation; grand narrative destruction and its replacement with utopian aspiration regardless of consequence; depreciating advanced culture and elevating primitive culture; its alienation of ordinary people and failure to respect conservative values; its failure to address neo-liberal ideology, and worse, its refusal to reverse its doctrines; social engineering driven only by aspiration with no regard for consequence, support for individual rights over duties and relational solidarity, reducing trust; anachronistic moralising, criticising and diminishing Western colonialism while incorporating the much more deadly and morally supremacist Islamic colonialism; diminishing jihadism while escalating the much less deadly Right-wing terrorist threat; support for agitated responses to climate change and Right-wing extremism; moral support for fringe activities such as veganism and gender variability; repudiation of instinct, especially sex roles and hierarchy; the list goes on, but the result is the rise of Right-wing populism such as Trump and le Pen.
Whenever I begin to feel overcooked in all this political porridge, I return to the gospel story of the Good Samaritan. There a man from a despised group crosses the road and puts his stuff at risk so a beaten-up fellow human can have a chance at recovery. And I've felt something of this unconditional compassion in the last three nights and days, on my back in Middlemore Hospital. Yes, OK, the people who cared for me are getting paid. But the ones doing the really menial stuff -- cleaning, etc -- had ready smiles and a winning quietness.
Regardless of Dominion voting machines the election was stolen
The above accounts for Jacinda's popularity
When you have all the media all the academics and corporates lined up against the ghastly racist people who want a slow rate of immigration so they recognize themselves as the people of the land. Ordinary New Zealanders are now second class citizens: a complaint about loss of identity is worth 5cents sympathy whereas a complaint about migrants being the cause of that is worth $10 (as in photo above).
If you decide to go after conservatives and traditionalists with a stick, then be assured, they will come after you with a pump-action shotgun.
That's all I'm saying, comrade.
Why is that Chris. Does the same apply to the left?
"Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears."
Jesus wept, do you people never actually read the articles you post?
1. In the US, it's perfectly legitimate for companies and individuals to do stuff that is not allowed in New Zealand. Such as contributing large amounts of money. So that aspect of it isn't why Jacinda won.
2. The rest of it is trying to stop conservatives from stealing the election by denying people the right to vote, and spreading disinformation. The first isn't really applicable to New Zealand because even the National party doesn't try to eliminate people from the voting rolls, although they are often happy enough with disinformation.
For Christ's sake, perpetuating the idea that the US election was stolen is what caused the deaths of five people not too long ago.
As long as constructive common sense based on basic economic realities prevails over serious imaginary and potentially destructive ideological, racial and ethnic differences -
i.e. evolution prevails over revolution -
we can face the future with confidence.
Cheers - Jens.
What a difference it would make to the tone of the debate on this blog if contributors were barred from hiding behind non-de-plumes. Let's see now, is Guerilla Surgeon perhaps Winston Peters? Maybe not.
Let's not forget that every advance in civil rights in the last couple of hundred years has been the result of identity politics
Identity that was chosen! You "identified" as a unionist or a
"slavery abolitionist" or a Suffragette and so forth and formed political movements around those choices to get the policies and laws you wanted in government.
The Identity Politics of today largely revolves around an identity based on some characteristic of yourself that you can't change, like your sex, skin colour, sexual preference and so forth. Only the tiny group of Trans-folk fall under the category of identity-by-choice.
The skin colour IP is particularly disgusting, especially since it was not so long ago that such thinking was considered to be obviously racist, and still is when directed towards non-Whites. But it is now entirely acceptable, even celebrated, for vile things to be thought about Whites and said about them, starting with the idea that Whites are inherently racist and must fight that inner impulse constantly and publically.
There are any number of grifters, starting with DeAngelo and her bullshit book, "White Fragility", who have cashed in on this with "teaching" courses in corporations HR departments and government ministries.
The flip side of IP is that it can be played by every side, including the rather large White cohort who, sooner or later, will grow tired of being the only bad guy among all the IP groups, and start acting like an Identity Politics group. Actually this was an analysis put forward about Trump's victory in 2016. The longer IP goes on in its modern form the worse this will get, although naturally Chris has to dress this up in old-fashioned Leftist thought as "reactionary conservatism". It's not; it's Whites saying they can play the IP game too and that it's either that or begging for forgiveness forever from people who have no intention of ever giving it because it's too politically useful.
It should not have to be pointed out to the Left, but this is what happens when you insist on judging people by the colour of their skin - and no, being a Hard Leftie White won't save you, even as you hurl the accusations at other Whites.
You can say whatever you want but be prepared for blowback.
Some people, usually right-wingers, seriously believe that freedom of speech means they have a right to be limitlessly offensive.
Try telling your wife "I f**ked your sister" and see what happens.
Try wandering through the CBD wearing a swastika t-shirt and see what happens.
Guerilla Surgeon said...
Sometime in the fall of 2019, Mike Podhorzer became convinced the election was headed for disaster–and determined to protect it.
This was not his usual purview. For nearly a quarter-century, Podhorzer, senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation, has marshaled the latest tactics and data to help its favored candidates win elections.
Trump’s election in 2016–credited in part to his unusual strength among the sort of blue collar white voters who once dominated the AFL-CIO–prompted Podhorzer to question his assumptions about voter behavior. He began circulating weekly number-crunching memos to a small circle of allies and hosting strategy sessions in D.C. But when he began to worry about the election itself, he didn’t want to seem paranoid. It was only after months of research that he introduced his concerns in his newsletter in October 2019. The usual tools of data, analytics and polling would not be sufficient in a situation where the President himself was trying to disrupt the election, he wrote.
Just to be clear he wasn't one of those people with Trump Derangement Syndrome he just wanted to secure the election. Simon Mark compared Trump to McCarthy and the role of the media as that to the reporter who combatted him.
This all reminds me of RNZ, Asia NZ and NZ initiative who all claim to be non partisan but they are steering a ship on a course and Trump was way off course because Trump appealed to the traditional American nation.
It's dickheads like you who are fuelling this and I thank you for it because when the backlash comes it will be sweeter than honey.
The only ones I feel sorry for are the minority groups you woke fuckheads purport to represent because they will likely suffer too.
But if that's what it takes 5o flush the woke then so be it.
I'd actually be quite happy for a stasi style cleansing of the woke, such is the evil and stupidity they represent.
GS said " Let's not forget that every advance in civil rights in the last couple of hundred years has been the result of identity politics."
I'd just like give a shout out to the hundreds of millions of people slaughtered by purveyors of identity politics from both the Left and Right... comrade. Within living memory... comrade.
Also... the idea that neoliberalism has anything to do with "wokeism" is a pratfall of biblical proportions. Congratulations... comrade. Wokeism is leftards all the way to the bottom. From the despairing commie postmodernists through the universities, the schools of education and on to any field with "studies" appended to it. Leftards all the way. Have the balls to face up to it.
Wokeists sow the seeds of their own destruction, Chris, because they are imposing a lie. A clever lie spawned in academia for the most part but a lie nevertheless. People tolerate that lie at present because of the plague we are living through. Their fears and energies are directed elsewhere in these extraordinary times. But once the practical effects of the lie become real and intrude directly into their lives the resistance will gather a momentum of its own.
To: Bowalley Road's longtime readers.
I decided to publish the above incendiary comments from far-right individuals to give you just a taste of the political bile that is currently surging through our political system.
We ignore this sort of rage at our peril.
Good for you Chris. The issue I have with their comments is that to a degree I agree with them. Anybody with any revolutionary idea knows that once the Jacobins get some ascendancy they will start pushing the extremes. That is where woke is going.
GS seems to be the main target and because of his strident, partisan and inaccurate comments he garners little sympathy from me. To say he is blind in one eye and cant see out of the other is an understatement.
As to his opponents please dont come any further than centre, just enough to put bad ideas to bed.
"Guerilla Surgeon said..." Er... No I didn't. You see this is the reason why I don't bother replying to your stuff most the time it's absolutely incomprehensible.
Jesus Chris, I thought that the regular conservative commenters were bad enough.
Well Chris, assuming we don't ignore their rage, what the hell are we supposed to do with it. I think the correct response might be mockery.
"The 'fuck your feelings' crowd sure have a lot of feelings."
"Conservative tears taste so sweet."
"Facts don't care about your feelings."
I really like using their own phrases against them. Unfortunately in NZ I can't really say "America, love it or leave it." I suppose I could say NZ love it or leave it but doesn't quite have the same cachet somehow.
The idea that we are going to change these people's minds attractive though it may be perhaps, is wrongheaded. The crazy is strong in them, and they have too much of their self-image tied up in their beliefs to even think rationally. There is absolutely no point in trying to have a rational discussion with people like that. Even with some of the regular contributors here. Personally, I think we ignore them, wait until they do something stupidly illegal, like invading the Capitol :) and then put them in jail.
Brendon, a secular religion can never be a true religion. Rationality only gets you so far.
I was brought up an Anglican and know the scriptures reasonably. I dont believe in the Christian God, nor literal truth in the texts. I am however convinced that the wisdom contained, and the practice of Christianity for two millenia shapes our morals and thinking in a way that secular dogmatics cannot begin to fathom. But that is not the big difference.
A true religion contains transcendance and mystery. It does not promise Utopia on earth. Im a socialist at heart but I dont rely on it to replace peoples spiritual needs. At that point all secular ideologies come up short.
Neil Keating - Are you the real Neil Keating? Names are changeable, and it seems that blogs use as establishing identity, the user of a certain computer and even that can change. There are no absolutes in this time of business disruption to traditional mores.
I think that the Conchords I've Got Hurt Feelings could be used quite often to calm the troubled brow. That business of counting to ten before mouthing would be useful too.
The problem is that there isn't just one cause of all the problems. But the medicine for the ill would be working together doing positive things that are helpful to the community. We already have a full stock of criticisms and doom-sayers thanks.
Put them in jail? I was reading about the blokes (I bet they're male) using lasers to distract pilots at night. For them and other malicious 'funsters' I suggest the stocks. Let them be seen and be uncomfortable for a while. There would have to be some personnel to keep an eye on them. But that would be cheaper than jail and the long Court cases where they plead mitigation for everything from bed-wetting to being on a sugar high, plus the regular whacks they got before they were outlawed.
I view "wokism" as a form of Christian heresy. It takes the Judeo/Christian concepts of mercy and justice and perverts them into expressions of hatred and injustice on the basis of "inherent (white) racism" and a desire for equity (an imposition of present injustices to redress past injustices). It comes complete with its own dogma, just as real as those found in any mainstream religious tradition.
This ideology could only flourish in a culture informed by its Judeo/Christian past which is why I consider it a form of heresy. It is not found in Islamic countries, or those of other religious persuasions. Those religious traditions do not contain the DNA necessary for wokeism to emerge.
When a people or a nation reject their Christian faith, the vacuum does not last for long, soon another ideology or belief system will enter to fill the void. Even Atheists have embraced their own dogma. As to your own rejection of Christianity, I'm surprised you find any wisdom in its practice. Jesus claims are so outrageous as to be either true or an outright lie. He leaves no room for comforting middle ground.
Oh Brendan. If only Christians actually lived up to their concepts of mercy and justice, we'd all be a bit better off perhaps and maybe we wouldn't need "wokeism". :) But unfortunately people have turned Christianity into a seething cult of ignorance and hatred. (Except perhaps for the wishy-washy Anglicans)
And funnily enough, those inconvenient social justice warriors also seem to exist in non-Christian religions. That book seems to have really gone to your head.
Brendon, I think your comments nicely sum up what was predicted by Nietzsches' death of God.
The clear dilemma is that by the West rejecting Christian doctrine we opened the door for false gods that ape aspects of our Christianity and culture, but lack the balances. Such are fundamentalist free market dogma, and Marxism. Each has its Puritan strain, such as Wokism. Maybe it is not surprising to see Wokism emerge strongest in that "shining city on the hill". An echo of the Puritan settlement and its creation. They too had witch trials.
My rejection of the God of the Bible and of Jesus as God is perhaps the modern "disease" : we cannot explain God scientifically. I am a child of a scientific rational world, so taking faith literally is illogical. Perhaps I reconcile faith such as yours as something that is a mystery, neither proven nor unprovable. Im happy however that the social and moral precepts have stood the test of time which is why I am frightened that post Christianity will tear them down with no proven replacement to guide our actions and culture.
It is quite true that in the absence of an accepted social belief system people find one of their own. Just as some sort of religion of infinite variety seems to have been adopted by every known independent group of humans. But doesn't hat attest to a quirk of human nature needing to grasp at an explanation for things they can't understand. Like why we all have to die. Which is a persistent
Also though humans have many negative traits as well, I think that mercy and justice are some of our better traits and quite naturally occurring irrespective of religion. They are positive human instincts usurped and claimed by nearly all religions but they do not belong to any religion, they belong to nature. Not only human nature either.
Cheers david J S
Brendo, why are you on the side of the rich in a society which has been skewed for the rich for 36 years? Know yourself by your fruits. Christ actually liked rich people? You do understand the desperation of the neediest left behind by the freemarket? You grew up in the that grand caring welfare state, despite its faults. And atheistic Scandinavia are the best christian states. It's all about your feeling of personal satisfaction. Your stolidness doesn't convince me a bit of the truth of Christ's love. More, the cultishness of Trumpian christianity. Which I've seen for 40 years too far up close.
"CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor."
Ambrose Bierce – sometime in the 1880s I do believe.
Dave, Sam, GS I tried to answer Brendon on why I reject belief in his God. I did not attack his religion or his faith, a subject specifically discussed by the Left with regards to intolerance of Islam after the Christchurch tragedy. Why the open season on Christianity? Why the rejection of two thousand years of your own culture? What will you replace it with?
Nick. Being a cultural Christian believing in Christianity are two different things. I reject both the belief, and the influence it seems to have on much of the world today ... I reject in fact all religions. I reject Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, as well – it's all superstition and it all does far more evil than good. Admittedly my beliefs are coloured a little by interacting with the US, where Christianity in its fundamentalist form is far more dangerous than Islam. But even so, you can see it's malign influences in Brendan who because of his Christian beliefs blames the poor for their "bad choices", and wants to minimise government aid for them.
Why should I need to replace it? Are you assuming that morality requires a belief in a god or gods as so many Christians do? Do you think that somehow Christianity is a force for good? If so you should read more widely.
If I could get away with another quote – from Christopher Hitchens – "Religion poisons everything."
Or... “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
I concur with the concept of respecting Brendon's faith. And I am sure he is an admirable person. But expressing my own beliefs inevitably disagrees with his. Just as yours apparently do. There is a multitude of factors of my own culture that I would disagree with in the light of what that culture has learned over the last 2000 years without rejecting the recognition that this evolution has been my culture. I would replace religion with humanity.
D J S
I note that Christianity and my faith in Christ has become a topic of conversation in this post. What always amuses and sometimes surprises me is the assumptions that people make about what I believe. I find this happens a lot, even from even my friends who are on the political left. Surely, I must be a card-carrying Republican, climate change denier, red neck, indifferent to the poor, Trump supporter, (insert your preferred prejudice and sterotype here) – when my opinions and views are as varied, reflective and nuanced as your own.
Nick J - thank you for your recognition of the blessing that 2000 years of Christianity has purchased for the West.
Sumsuch – I have never stated that I’m ‘’on the side of the rich” – and even if I were, what difference would it make to your life or mine?
GS – I have never singled out the poor for their bad choices. We all make bad choices, some more than others. The worse choices we make, the more likely we are to become poor, but not always.
David Stone – thank you for your respect – it is mutual.
As an aside, Chris has talked at times about insisting people use their actual names on this blog, and not post anonymously or using pseudonyms. I do believe this would add to the quality of the debate on these posts, and I for one would support it. You can me on Linkedin here:
Thanks again to Chris for thought provoking posts and his advocacy for free speech. On this basis alone I can forgive his socialism. We cannot be right about everything.
Youse above me apart from GS, christianity has been disproved 'by its fruits'. If you're rational about it it doesn't amount, if you're passionate, it just produced Trump.
The best of it is the Sally Army, doing good as an 'order'. But, of course, the heart matters despite. Give it a rest, only reason matters.
"GS – I have never singled out the poor for their bad choices. We all make bad choices, some more than others. The worse choices we make, the more likely we are to become poor, but not always."
Weasel words I'm afraid. You insist that the poor are poor because they make bad choices. You don't seem to appreciate that people are poor because of the way society is organised. You put everything on the individual, which is typical religious right practice.
Only once have I made an assumption about what you believe, I thought you must be a fundamentalist of some sort because of your right-wing beliefs. I do believe that you straighten that out for me.
You regularly make an issue of your Christianity, how can you expect it not to be discussed?
Nothing ever improves if one is too cynical. As far as religion goes, it is interesting and if one cares, illuminating, to see what the Prophets originally said and think about the reasons why.
What did Jesus say? What was he referring to in his stories? Was he talking literally or using analogy to explain better what he was referring to? And he was talking to people about their present lives, so he referred to their practices of that time and how things should be done to shift behaviour in society to a better level. The shining example he gave us has to be viewed in that light, and carried forward to the present to see how the moral can be applied now.
Sam, if only reason matters we would live in the best of all possible worlds. Clearly reason only goes so far.
greywarbler, straightforward logic provides all the truths of religion, just as magnificent AND founded on reality. 'Be nice' to people is the best of religion, and then they warp away to kick others not their religion. You've seen what the born-agains have done in their hometown of America. If you believe in 'love God' and 'love your neighbour' and haven't read further I'm for you. Even as it is I'm for you.
Nice talk here , Chris. Though it's like addressing my mentally disabled brother-in-law. Or, religion as a serious subject.
Blogger sumsuch said...
Youse above me apart from GS, christianity has been disproved 'by its fruits'. If you're rational about it it doesn't amount, if you're passionate, it just produced Trump.
Jon Haidt says religion evolved to bind people together. Religions vary by environment (hunter gatherer; agriculturalist).
As Nietzsche said "God is dead and we have killed him". He meant (I think) nature abhors a vacuum". Wokeness and anti-racism (it is argued) have all the hallmarks of religion. I noticed a post on Kiwiblog about Wokeness and one comment was that Wokeness is good (if it doesn't go to far).
It is good for him because:
Anti-majoritarian politics, meanwhile, undermines the ability of any demos to form and wield democratic power against business. Thanks to these shared interests between intellectuals and investors, left-modernism has combined with capitalism’s “four freedoms”—the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor across borders—to become the ruling ideology throughout the West.
"No one has done more for migrants than me". As another commenter on Kiwiblog said they made him a fortune in real-estate and he likes the cheap blow jobs.
Anti-racism delinks societies bottom half from the nation even if it is a sound and logical grouping for a geographical area. While the bottom rung looses status it flows to the upper rungs (Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern). I remember talk on Nine to Noon where they scoffed at a (simple-minded) person who cried when (maybe for the first time in her life) she was in a shop surrounded by Asians. Imagine all the trampled on sensibilities if that were Maori (in relation to colonisation).
The anti-racist taboo has replaced to pull of nationhood. The context being continuous flows of peoples who see each other as the other (as a policy)
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