Friday 27 August 2021

Mission Impossible?

Will This Country Self-Destruct? “So more than half of our mission is already accomplished! Nothing beats neoliberalism for dissolving the bonds of community and leaving in their place a collection of selfish individuals. And nothing beats multiculturalism and the creation of isolated ethnic enclaves for fostering economic and cultural division.”

HOW WOULD YOU set about unmaking a country? If you were in the same position as “Mr Phelps”, listening to a tape-recorded message at the beginning of every episode of the 1960s TV series Mission Impossible, and this was your appointed task, how would you do it?

The first question asked of your “Impossible Missions Force” is straightforward enough: “How old and how strong is this state?”

The answer supplied does not fill you with confidence that this mission will be easy.

“It’s not that old, but it’s pretty strong. In fact, it’s said to be the oldest continuously functioning democracy on earth. It was the first to enfranchise its indigenous people. The first to enfranchise its women. And among the first to enfranchise all of its men.”

Seeing your shoulders sag, another member of the team pipes up with the information that for many years the country was referred to as “the social laboratory of the world”. Its progressive legislation was admired and copied around the globe.

“Fantastic!” you exclaim. “I suppose the next thing you’ll tell me is that the place boasts a homogeneous population, is unblemished by extremes of wealth and poverty, guarantees every person a house and a job, along with health care and education, all provided free of charge by the state.”

You notice immediately that your team has brightened. With obvious relief, the same bright spark replies:

“Now, if you had asked that question 50 years ago, the answer to just about all of your questions would have been Yes. From the mid-1980s on, however, two crucial decisions have produced a profound series of changes in this nation. The first was the decision to open up its economy to the full force of globalisation by implementing a series of extremely radical neoliberal reforms. The second, much less well known, was to dramatically re-orient the country’s immigration policy. Rather than continue with a regime dedicated to preserving the ethnic and cultural status quo, the government of the day opted to transform the country into a multi-ethnic and multicultural society.”

“Brilliant!”, you exclaim – this time without the slightest trace of irony. “So more than half of our mission is already accomplished! Nothing beats neoliberalism for dissolving the bonds of community and leaving in their place a collection of selfish individuals. And nothing beats multiculturalism and the creation of isolated ethnic enclaves for fostering economic and cultural division.”

“It gets better”, another team member responds. “Just before the introduction of neoliberalism and multiculturalism, the indigenous people, whose lands were taken to provide the economic foundation for the colonial society which took off rapidly in the second half of the nineteenth century, embarked on a cultural and political renaissance, using as their battering-ram a hitherto ignored treaty negotiated more than a century earlier to facilitate the colonisation process.”

“Perfect!” You exclaim, slamming your right fist into the palm of your left hand. “And, let me guess, the left-wing intelligentsia bought the whole kit and caboodle?”

“Well, yes, that goes without saying,” says the bright spark. “What makes this country different, however, is that the anti-colonial ideology of the indigenous people has been taken up with bewildering speed by the judiciary, the civil service, the universities, large numbers of the country’s leading artists and writers, the news media, and most of the political class. The formerly moribund treaty is now officially recognised as the nation’s ‘founding document’ – guaranteeing ‘partnership’. A recent report, presented to the incumbent government by a collection of scholars, even goes so far as to recommend a revolutionary restructuring of the state. A new constitution of ‘co-governance’ is proposed, involving the indigenous people and the descendants of the original colonisers ruling together.”

You study the faces of your Impossible Missions Force.

“And the voters have simply gone along with this? Everybody in the country is just deliriously happy with the idea of sharing power with the people their ancestors conquered way back in the nineteenth century? Happy, too, presumably, to return all the land and resources they stole to construct – what did you call it? – ‘the social laboratory of the world’?”

“Actually,” murmurs the bright spark, “the elites’ grand plan hasn’t been publicly disclosed yet.”

“Jeez!”, you exclaim. “This mission just went from being ‘impossible’ to a walk-in-the-park! All we have to do is tell them!”

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 27 August 2021.


Ethan Hunt said...

"All we have to do is tell them!"

Easier said than done when everyone has been bought. And everyone has.

John Hurley said...

It's an interesting situation. Last night I watched a discussion on Auckland's housing problems (2015). The context being Phil Goff's banning of Stephan Molyneau and Lauren Southern whose message was us/them and the possibility of the foreigner being other.

The head of the property investors federation slipped in "third most livable city" and "agglomeration benefits" thereby justifying the situation and claiming nothing is made worse while the rest of the discussion was how to fix the dreadful situation. Shamubeel is there as the economist who talks about housing without mentioning immigration. A yuppie lawyer envisioned a new urbanism (where the young professionals would live).

That is the power of elites and modern media. TV news is still king, I think back to the invasion of Iraq with an Abrahams tank rolling into Baghdad. RNZ is trying to spread itself across platform because of the growth of the internet and the aim is national identity. You can't hide reality forever though - no one is more racist.

I wonder what it will take to wake people up: a senile ice cream eating Joe Biden and Taliban chasing American's out of Afghanistan might help.

greywarbler said...

One way of getting people's attention would to first cut out the colour in tv.Everything looks exciting and cruisy on tv, it chatters away like budgies, there are game shows to see if people can dredge up some unimportant info from their brain triggered by bells and lights which must be classic pigeon conditioning. To get change people have to turn it off, have little house meetings and discussion where they gather ideas for local co-operative efforts and the way forward, and discuss the roadblocks. They could try reading Yes Miniter to get the hang of the civil servant- manager, remembering Franklin's? WORDS ABOUT HANGING TOGETHER OR HANGING SEPARATELY. Also lOOK AT THE FONT OF BUSINESS ACADEMIA WhERE THE MINDSET IS FORMED - kNOW YOUR CHARLATANS. Sorry about text - will try to do better.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

This country was never homogeneous. Maori, particularly Maori poverty was simply hidden in the rural spaces.

Odysseus said...

The first major challenge to "the elites' grand plan" is imminent. The battleground will be the government's grab for all the community-owned 3 Waters infrastructure around the country to redistribute control of access to freshwater to regional iwi elites. More and more councils are expressing concern about the plans and calling for a pause in the government's ambitions. If the government goes ahead and expropriates these assets there will be massive opposition at all levels. God knows where it will lead.

David George said...

Will this country self destruct?
Is this the end result of unbounded liberalism (economic, personal and social) in a society characterised by a make-it-up-as-you-go-along morality with no responsibility? I think so.
A hard hitting column out today from Melanie Phillips sums up the trajectory of our Western liberal democracies, the symptomatic debacle in Afghanistan, institutional decline and corruption and the consequent unravelling of our precious social cohesion and trust.

"What’s happened in Afghanistan should be a graphic warning to the west to snap out of its complacency about the left. Their track record, both in and out of office, shows that they are generally as delusional as they are incompetent.

And they will never change. The notion that the Democratic Party has been hijacked by a few extremists is itself delusional. Just look at what the universities and schools are teaching the young — to hate their country and western values, to internalise the Marxist trope that all relationships are defined by power, and to believe that lies are truth and truth is lies.

These ignorant, spoiled, viciously indoctrinated young people are the future of the Democratic Party. And this educational subversion has been going on for decades — with the mainstream media its most conspicuous and degraded advertisement.

Where have all those “centrist” Democrats been all this time? Either being sucked into the madness by telling themselves that their political tribe is virtue incarnate and so everything it does is right and good; or else covering their eyes and ears and pretending that this cultural meltdown, and their side’s role in it, isn’t happening. And exactly the same thing has happened to Britain’s Labour party and wider “progressive” circles."

John Hurley said...

Blogger Guerilla Surgeon said...
This country was never homogeneous. Maori, particularly Maori poverty was simply hidden in the rural spaces.
Especially before Europeans arrived. What mattered though was relative status because humans are status obsessed.
BTW East Coast district nurse

On Twitter "Bernie" commented (sarcastically) that a European woman couldn't get into MIQ because she was White. For that he was told not to be racists and asked "what is a typical New Zealander?". That was Labours goal from the 1980's "celebrated diversity" -after all "racist".

Then again?:

The thing is, and I mean absolutely no offence by this, I love my children more than I love yours. And I think you should love yours more than you love mine. To love someone is to count them as being special. And so to love without preference is not the glorious extension of love to all humankind, it is the eradication of the very possibility of love. And the same argument applies, by extension, to friends, and to communities and nations.

In other words Labour got it completely wrong (if you subtract vested interests like universities and property and their affiliated industries) and we are stuck now in an information war. One positive sign though is that journalists are least trusted.