Friday 9 December 2022

Jacinda’s Manic Ministry.

Do you want the moon to play with? What was it that persuaded Jacinda Ardern to exactly reverse Helen Clark’s strategy of under-promising and over-delivering? Even with the winds of history at your back, over-promising the electorate is a silly thing to do. No government should ever attempt to defy Murphy’s Law, especially in circumstances where its supposed servants feel morally obliged to wreck any attempt to change the status-quo.

LOOKING BACK over the five years this government has been in office, it’s hard not to feel depressed. Given the mess the Baby Boomers made of New Zealand between 1984 and 1990, it was assumed that the first Generation X government would, at least, know what not to do. Having learned their trade at the feet of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins should have been immune to the allure of grand ideological schemes; and known better than to make promises they couldn’t keep.

“Under-promise, and over-deliver.” That was Helen Clark’s mantra for the 15 years she led (that is to say utterly dominated) the Labour Party. In a nation still enthralled to neoliberalism, the formula made perfect sense. Full-on social-democracy, as the Third Labour Government discovered, was verboten – even in the hey-day of Keynesianism. Thatcher and Reagan made social-democracy even harder.

In its essence, Rogernomics represented Labour’s complete capitulation to the new economic and political order. Henceforth, the best social-democrats would be able to offer were limited programmes which, while mostly making life easier for capitalists, occasionally scattered a few crumbs in the direction of the poor.

By under-promising and over-delivering, a Labour government could present itself as both sensible and competent. Not much might be on offer, but if you said you were going to deliver – and you did – then your voters weren’t just grateful, they were impressed. The days of big dreams might be over, but Clark’s clear-headed grasp of her own and her party’s limitations, made it possible for some of the people’s smaller dreams to come true.

What was it that persuaded Jacinda Ardern to exactly reverse Helen Clark’s formula? Even with the winds of history at your back, over-promising the electorate is a silly thing to do. No government should ever attempt to defy Murphy’s Law, especially in circumstances where its supposed servants feel morally obliged to wreck any attempt to change the status-quo. If anything can go wrong with an unorthodox left-wing government’s policy, its neoliberal public servants are bound to make damn sure it will.

It is astonishing that Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins never appreciated how many of the Fifth Labour Government’s achievements required only a modest reconfiguration of already existing administrative machinery. Clark and Cullen avoided, wherever possible, projects that required a major reshaping of the physical world. They would never have been so foolhardy as to promise the construction of 100,000 “affordable” houses. Who was going to build them? More to the point, who was going to pay for them? Neoliberalism had shut down the active state, it wasn’t about to start it up again.

And yet, Ardern and Robertson did nothing but raise expectations. New Zealand was going to be “transformed”. Kindness and wellbeing were going to replace neoliberalism’s watchwords of “effectiveness” and “efficiency”. Poverty, itself, was in the Prime Minister’s cross-hairs. After 30 years of the dismal science’s overcast skies, the sun was poised to break through. It was going to be a beautiful day! Labour’s whole front-bench seemed to be on Ecstasy.

But just as Labour’s big promises were on the point of being revealed as hollow, effectively scuppering the Government’s chances of re-election, big events intervened to restore its fortunes. It is hard to come up with a better example of ill winds blowing a floundering government so much good. Certainly, Ardern’s response to the Christchurch Terror Attacks, and then to the Covid-19 Pandemic, drove Labour’s failures from the public mind.

The Government’s performance was aided immeasurably by the neoliberal playbook being uncharacteristically thin on how to deal with terrorist horrors and killer viruses. In extremis, Ardern and her advisers fell back on ideas and responses inimical to the radical individualism of the neoliberal ideology. People were suddenly introduced to the spiritual and material benefits of collectivism and solidarity. “They are Us” proved mightier than the Aussie gunman’s semi-automatic. It felt good to be part of a “team of five million”.

Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins, with their colleagues holding on for dear life behind them, rode these mighty exogenous tidal-waves all the way to an absolute parliamentary majority – which turned out to be just about the worst thing that could have happened to them. Absent Winston Peters and his white-knuckle grip on the political hand-brake, Labour lost little time in showing the country just how important NZ First’s restraining influence had been. Over the next two years, convinced they were ten-feet-tall and bulletproof, Ardern’s government proved itself unsafe at any speed.

At the heart of Labour’s political delinquency was its conviction that the events of 2019 and 2020 had conferred upon the party’s leadership an unchallengeable moral authority. That the groups it was marginalising and (in their own eyes) persecuting: conservative Pakeha males; the militantly unvaccinated; traditional feminists; fundamentalist Christians; believers in freedom of expression; supporters of the National and Act parties; homeowning Baby Boomers; just might, together, add up to a majority of the electorate, did not slow them down.

Indeed, the refusal of these deplorables to acknowledge the Government’s moral superiority made its members very angry. Labour found the anti-vaxxer occupation of Parliament Grounds in February-March 2022 especially confronting. The naked hatred and contempt directed at them by some of the protesters left many parliamentarians convinced that such people needed to be silenced. The defenders of free speech were allowing crazed conspiracy theorists and the spreaders of misinformation and disinformation to poison the public wells. A line needed to be drawn.

More rational, but equally problematic, was Labour’s Māori Caucus’ determination to take advantage of the party’s parliamentary majority to quicken the pace of decolonisation and indigenisation. This was necessary, they told their Pakeha colleagues, if the party was serious about forging a credible partnership between Māori and the Crown. Unwilling to risk accusations of racism, most of Labour’s caucus acquiesced. Any misgivings they may have harboured about co-governance, Three Waters, He Puapua and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, remained unacknowledged and unvoiced.

Only Labour’s steady decline in the opinion polls offers the slightest hope that the almost manic quality of its parliamentarians’ behaviour might be recognised for what it so clearly is: electorally suicidal. If not, then Roger Hall’s description of the Labour Party in his 1977 stage play, Middle Age Spread, may yet be applied to the bizarre mixture of febrility and fortitude that characterised Jacinda Ardern’s manic ministry:

Honestly the Labour Party remind me of a documentary I saw on television about sleeping sickness. All these people who’d been half asleep for twenty years were given this new wonder drug and they all came alive and sang and danced around for a bit … and then the drug wore off and Zap! Back to sleep for another twenty years.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 8 December 2022.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Neoliberalism watchword never included effectiveness – just efficiency. There is a huge difference which they never seemed to grasp.
And given that just recently Labour has allowed an unelected body to cause a recession, which will hurt the worst off of us, rather than any members of that body or any members of parliament for that matter – it seems that labour has not shaken off its neoliberal Roger Douglas roots.

Anonymous said...

Someone once commented on what the Soviet leadership was really like behind closed doors. Most commenters assumed that behind the closed doors they would behave like 'normal' people. But no - in private they behaved as they did in public. You see they were communists - to the core.
Adern etc are socialists to the core. They belive in it 110%. They have blind faith in the correctness of socialism - redistribution and all that. They also believe that its right.
They also believe in the process of socialism - ie: some have to be sacrificed to the cause - thus the "rivers of filth" comment and the vaccine mandate - still in force for health workers.
They will go down totally unrepentant.

Gary said...

Surely health reform, workplace relations reform and water reforms are big ticket items - significant political achievements and better than just tinkering. How much of it will be repealed by National?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous @ 11:33

And you know this, how? Are you acquainted with the Labour leadership? Have you conversed about politics with them? Have you read material in which their ardent socialism is clearly evident?

No, you aren't, and you haven't.

If you knew anything at all about Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues you would know that they are, at best, social-democrats, and, at worst, unenthusiastic neoliberals.

I defy you to name just one project initiated by this government which might reasonably be described as hardline socialist.

Just one.

No? That's because they haven't. That's because they're aren't.

Thanks anyway, though, Anonymous, for showing Bowalley Road's readers just how ignorant most of the Far-Right is of anything other than bar-room politics - and it's a pretty boring bar-room at that!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Thanks Chris – you wrote that so I didn't have to. :)

Gary Peters said...

Come on Chris, the "far right" jab is beneath you, in my opinion.

The recently advised "Income Insurance Scheme" looks pretty socialist to me as does the recent "Fair Pay" legislation giving undue influence to unelected trade unions. Now you may not see them as "hardline" but many would.

As a possibly "far right supporter" in your mind, I have little problem with the application of genuine welfare and as someone who has previously worked on the front line I can assure you that there is way more non genuine than genuine recipients for whatever reason.

However, welfgare doesn't bother me too much as any money doled out generally finds it's way into the community and keeps the wheels rolling. What irks me most about this current government, although that word confers a level of respect that I no longer have for them, is the overtly racist tone that they have introduced under the pretext of righting wrongs.

I note other commentators, Karl DuFresne springs to mind, have noted the overwhelming degeneration of our previous reasonable outlook as a nation. That has been degenerated for what end, I genuinely have no idea.

Alan said...

AMEN Chris!

Unfortunately the cerebral Troglodytes whose expertise in sniffing out the meaning of 'Socialism' and then apply it to the doings of this unfortunate government do little more than exposing the shallow ignorance of their own cerebral processes.

Your offering his the nail squarely on the head. Masterful! A blind faith in selfishness and greed is what this land is sliding into a hopeless future on....


The Barron said...

Gary @ 13.01 is right. Labour has taken the mandate o the electorate and looked to bring in major reforms that have been long overdue. I am curious as to how anyone thinks that lasting reform could be made without looking at the obligations to Maori, be it customary, Treaty or international indigenous rights backed. To introduce restructuring without this would simply invite revision within a short period as there is increasing consensus for Maori empowerment.

The education reforms at school and Polytech level have included significant Maori input and involvement, this largely went under the radar. The Health reforms is a victory of Andrew Little over Chicken Little, the panic at allowing some Maori autonomy has come and the dissipated when opponents realised it made no difference to their own health access.

The Maori wards system induced vile on this blog. The local body elections have come and gone with local democracy in tact and everyone able to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Broadcasting merger simply reintroduces NZBC for the 21st century. Minister Jackson believes it will be more representative of New Zealand and this will include growing indigenous inclusion. A direction already happening. For those that think it is state driven, look at the advertisements we now see on TV and understand that the state and the market are moving in the same direction.

Finally we have Three Waters. I have yet to hear anyone advocate that the status quo is sustainable. My own view is that local government has shown an inability to maintain safe supply and environmental waste disposal. The turn out at local body elections show little mandate. New Zealand's size means that reform should be consolidation of services, funding and decision-making. Any lasting reform requires Maori interest in water to be factored in. We can still turn on our taps and flush our toilets, but in future we can have some guarantee that such services will be more equitable throughout NZ.

If any major reforms do not factor in Maori needs it is simply short term wall papering. Whether we agree with all reforms or not, there should be some respect that Ministers are prepared to use their political capital on doing them right.

Wayne Mapp said...

On the comment by Chris in reply to Anonymous I would agree. Among the senior leadership of Labour, some of whom I have worked with, there wouldn't be any socialists. Less true of some rank and file MP's. Some are definitely socialists. Probably rather restricts their Cabinet prospects.

From what I see, and in some cases actually know, Labour's leadership is Social Democrat. Basically comfortable with the overall structure of things (society, economy) but want it to be fairer, within their perspective. Also they are less keen on strict accountability and measured effectiveness, which is an important value for those in National. Such an approach is too hierarchical and censorious for many in Labour.

Perhaps the best measure is the PM's own lifestyle,. A nice house in a nice suburb. A beach house. A boat. No capital gains. In my view her conception of fairness is that she would like to see a lot more New Zealanders being able to fulfil what for many is the kiwi dream. Though I understand that this conception of the kiwi dream is not so appealing to our host.

DS said...

The very idea of calling the upper rungs of the Labour Party anything but neoliberal is morbidly hilarious (hint: social-democracy is 1960s/1970s Scandinavia). They're neoliberals with extra social spending (and "kindness"!), and a profound lack of interest in economics. Once in a very great while something slips through from the genuine Left (Fair Pay Agreements), but this Government, far more than Helen Clark's, simply doesn't care about anything so old-fashioned as that.

It's worth recalling that every New Zealand Government since 1984 has done less than its predecessor - and this one is no exception.

John Hurley said...

Chris Trotter, how good is your eye sight. I don't see John key score a hole-in-one (although I do see a large video camera at the event)?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I note other commentators, Karl DuFresne springs to mind, have noted the overwhelming degeneration of our previous reasonable outlook as a nation."

As someone who has had something to do with Karl DuFresne, I would say that his opinion on "degeneration" is not worth listening to. I have no great regard for his ethics.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I have yet to hear anyone advocate that the status quo is sustainable."
Because it isn't.
It seems to me that the vested interests – i.e. councils – who have not done a great job of protecting our water, are stirring up their political base with the idea that central government is "stealing" the water from ratepayers. As if somehow they own it. Which is interesting considering it was decided that no one owns water. And of course the councils are backed up by national and act who would love to sell our water to the sharks, just as they did with electricity, so that they could sell it back to us at a profit.
Much of the opposition to 3 waters is emotional, partly based on the fact that Maori are perceived to be getting something, and we all know what happens when conservatives discover that someone "unworthy" is getting something for "free".
Funny, we've had someone who has worked in the area or at least allegedly, (let's face it "on the Internet no one knows you're a dog"), but they did make eminent sense. Naturally they were completely ignored and the flurry of emotion and anti-Maori feeling.

Incidentally – Wayne – when you are off the subject of Iraq and Afghanistan, you are usually astute – a welcome change from many of the right-wing commenters on this blog.

Gary Peters said...

Wayne, Chardonnay Socialist was coined for a reason 😉

Mack said...

"Looking back over the five years this government has been in office it's hard not to feel depressed"
Cheer up Chris, If you look at the longevity of the Key government, it seems the less a government accomplishes anything, the longer it survives. John Key twiddled his thumbs for years,had a fun go at changing the so achieved nothing.
The country could just about run on automatic fact..if they didn't bother to come back after the Xmas break, they might win the next election.
As Duncan Garner said..." Jacinda is such a nice person, it's hard to dislike her"

Anonymous said...

The status quo is certainly sustainable at least in Auckland
Water care’s performance has hardly been exemplary but it has provided a more than adequate supply of quality water and within its budget a reasonable standard of disposal.
And Aucklanders are very clear about who owns the water and the infrastructure supporting it - they do - bought and paid for by generations of rate payers their ownership is unequivocal

sumsuch said...

To Mack, it just requires a prominent enough talker to point out the crap of Key point two o.

I'm just trying to anaerobically digest this significant article, as is my way, being an averager.

Gary Peters said...

While you may not like what Karl DuFresne has to say, at least he says it under his own name.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Karl has never had to worry about his boss taking issue with his political views. He is extremely right-wing hand has pretty much worked for extremely right-wing bosses the whole of his career I suspect. Other than that, I don't give a shit whether he uses his own name or not.
But I tell you what Gary – pop along to a very left-wing website, make some controversial right-wing comment, and leave your name address and phone number. Just a thought experiment perhaps.
Or better still, go along to an extreme right-wing website, leave a controversial left-wing comment with your name address and phone number, because I guarantee the RWNJ's are far more feral than anyone on the left. I know – I have some personal experience.

The Barron said...

GS is right. Anon simply shows the exception that proves the rule. Auckland has expanded and consolidated water services with the Auckland council merger and redrawn boundaries. Other parts of NZ have not had the population and mass.

I believe all those in NZ have the right to reliable and sustainable water service regardless of the post code. Auckland has outperformed other councils on this, however, this is no excuse to ignore far north water service poverty. The new northern water body will have the advantage of Auckland's infrastructure to begin with, this allows bringing the north up to grade. However, we surely realise that the scale of Auckland means maintainance and innovation will favor Auckland in the long term

sumsuch said...

Gary Peters, if only MPs and councillors didn't take pay, we'd be in heaven.

John Hurley said...

What Big Mouth Bass said

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I don't know much about Auckland and I couldn't care less to be honest, but 40% of Wellington's water is apparently being lost before it reaches our taps. Perhaps not surprising given that Auckland sucks the life blood out of much of the rest of the country.

Simon Cohen said...

Way to go Gary. Guerilla Surgeon presumes to lecture us all behind the cloak of his anonymity.

Gary Peters said...

GS suggested popping onto a left wing site and making right wing comments.

I'm not too sure what a "right wing" comment is but no offense Chris, I thought I was on a left wing site and have been making my comments but I have no idea about my wings. So far, not a single comment has been refused by Chris whereas the vast bulk of my comments made on the dailyblog has been disappeared within minutes.

As for Karl being a right winger, I seriously doubt that and I would definitely consider him far more liberal than I and he is certainly more patient than anyone on the standard mad house.

As I said, if you have the conviction of your convictions, maybe take a shot of courage and use your own name.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Wayne, Chardonnay Socialist was coined for a reason."

Of course it was, it was coined as a stick to beat the left with. But you can't call, Ardern a Chardonnay Socialist, because she isn't a Socialist. (Well actually I guess you can call her what the hell you like, but she still isn't a socialist.)

Simon – I have been posting under this particular nym for at least 20 or 30 years now. My invitation to Gary also applies to you.

Charlie Whatshisname said...

Simon Cohen prove to us that your moniker is not an anonymity.
Anyone holding their breath?

John Hurley said...

Perhaps the best measure is the PM's own lifestyle,. A nice house in a nice suburb. A beach house. A boat. No capital gains. In my view her conception of fairness is that she would like to see a lot more New Zealanders being able to fulfil what for many is the kiwi dream. Though I understand that this conception of the kiwi dream is not so appealing to our host.
One thing is absolutely clear, Auckland will grow to 2.5 million in 30 years. Around the town centers there will be increased density. But in areas where the norm is townhouse and traditional housing there will be huge resistance to multilevel apartments. Mayor Len of course knows this, and the plan will be adjusted to take that sting out. Typically in these exercises you put your maximum position out for consultation to give some space to pull back. Of course some planners may not understand this political nuance, and probably not some councillors (i.e. Anne Hartley, judging by her reported comments at the
So what is reasonable for traditional suburbs. Well, we will see a lot more traditional sections of 800 m being divided into 400 m. Where there are larger sites we will see housing clusters, say housing units every 250 m. That will require terrace housing
and duplexes and 3 level buildings (parking on bottom level and accomadation on top two). For instance in my area (Bayswater) Ngati Whatua now owns the Navy Housing, typically a small house on 1000 meters. In 5 years the existing 100 houses will redeveloped as a slick integrated concept with around 300 to 400 dwellings. At some point the marina will get
approval for around 100 houses.
Will this all fundamentally change my neighborhood? In my view, no. But will mean a more vibrant Belmont centre (with some apartments in the centre), we will get a much more lively marina, and a proper ferry terminal. Maybe a shop or two at the marina And we can demand 4 lanning Lake Road!

How strange that this is where we’ve ended up. With a government of property developers, by property developers, for property developers. A government which has actually made it illegal to protect character housing.

Not because this Labour Government wants to build the sort of Auckland envisaged 80 years ago by the Housing Division of the Ministry of Works. An Auckland of public housing for the poor, and the young, and families saving for a home of their own. No.

When the character housing suburbs Donnell so despises are flattened, what rises from the ruins will not be for the poor, it will be for the ten-percent. The professionals and managers whose mission it is to keep the world safe for the one-percent. The super-rich who will, long since, have abandoned the doomed leafy suburbs for vast penthouses at the summit of Auckland’s proudest towers. Or sprawling mansions in the countryside, up long driveways, safe from prying eyes – and clawing hands.

No, this Labour Government isn’t building houses for the poor. This Labour Government hates the poor! Why else would it leave them to rot in mouldy houses, squalid motels, and cheap imported cars? No, this Labour Government is building boxes – tool boxes – for its ever-helpful mouthpieces and apologists.

Not to put too fine a point on it, this Labour Government is building houses for people like Hayden Donnell.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

If you think Dufresne is liberal Gary I have a bridge I'd love to sell you. No doubt like many arch=conservatives, such as Jordan Peterson he describes himself as a "classical" liberal – which doesn't mean liberal at all.
He may well be liberal relative to commenters on this site, but as far as I'm concerned the only conservative commenter on this site is Wayne Mapp. He is someone you can have a conversation with without resorting to insults. The rest are raving RWNJ's.

Simon Cohen said...

My email address is simoncohen as Chris can confirm.
As is my google account.

Karl du Fresne said...

It doesn’t bother me that the commenter who calls himself (I bet it’s a male) Guerrilla Surgeon describes me as extremely right-wing. Anyone who knows me would regard that as laughable. But to put it as politely as I can, I’m surprised that an anonymous commenter has been allowed to make vague and unspecified insinuations about my ethics. If he has evidence of any situation in which he thinks I’ve behaved unethically, I invite him to provide it, either on this blog or on my own. But he should identify himself rather than cower behind a pseudonym. In the meantime I’ll leave it to readers of this blog to wonder about Guerrilla Surgeon’s own ethics in seeking to undermine someone’s reputation with an unsubstantiated throwaway line.

Doug Longmire said...

It is to your shame, Chris Trotter, that you published that personally insulting comment regarding Karl.
Until now, I had respected you as a responsible journalist, but you have let yourself and your readers down.

Gary Peters said...

Funny old world.

The left wing right wing epithets have been bandied around, peoples character have been called into question, suggestions have been made to make yourselves known on blogs and then antagonise others, but few have addressed the points made in the comment by Chris Trotter and the problems that most of us see emanating from those problems.

Some outrageous claims have been made, ie: an unelected body being allowed to cause a recession, significant political achievements have been made. Assertions without a shred of evidence and obviously stated from an idealogical perspective rather than a real world view.

Anyway, it's a funny old world and I wonder just how far down we have to go before those that are supposed to care actually start.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Karl du Fresne.

My apologies, Karl, for failing to adequately moderate this thread.

The "usual suspects" on Bowalley Road hack away at each other in what might politely be called a "robust" fashion all the time. Sadly, I appear to have become inured to it.

I should not have allowed unwarranted aspersions to be cast upon someone not a part of this blog's ongoing affray, and certainly not by someone using a pseudonym.

I will attempt to be more sensitive to such invective in the future - and head it off at the pass.

Once again, my apologies.

Doug Longmire said...

Well said, Chris.
A genuine apology is the sign of an honest journalist.
Thank you.

Ricardo said...

To Guerrilla Surgeon

I think you need to start reading, a lot more, and a lot more widely. I can offer a primer guide for you if you like.

Karl du Fresne in my humble estimation is a liberal in the rich tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith and even David Ricardo. Minor figures like Thomas Jefferson and some Frenchman called Voltaire also feature in this pantheon. How so you ask? He believes in the rule of law, individualism, democracy, social equality, rationality, non-collectivist economics and so on. There was a phenomenon called the renaissance a while ago where enlightenment stared spreading around the globe.

I thoroughly recommend enlightenment to you.

Karl du Fresne said...

Thank you Chris. Much appreciated.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I didn't bring up DuFresne, but I'm quite willing to provide the story behind my insinuation if you want to call it that.
Years ago, when he was editor of the Evening Post a letter was sent to various people who wrote letters to the editor. It was something like "as a celebration of our letter writers we like to invite you to a morning tea."
I went. I was cheerfully sipping a cup of tea and eating a sticky bun when one of the reporters who I happen to know cautioned me to watch what I said. When asked why, he said "You realise that they're going to have a story about you right?" In my naivete I had not. I should have perhaps realised something when the rather gushy woman reporter whose name I have forgotten thankfully, came up and asked me all sorts of personal questions.

Talking to some of the other invitees, none of us had been told that there was a story involved, and some of the dottier ones didn't care about what they said anyway. I don't think I actually figured in the story.

So yes, if I had been told they were writing a story about their letter writers, I simply wouldn't have gone. They just wanted a story about how obsessive and stupid letter writers were on the whole. I read the story it was quite patronising.

As to the extreme right, remarks DuFresne made to be about employment and unemployment convinced me that he was very right wing. Of course this is a movable feast, and I'm used to being accused of being a Stalinist here when I am in fact a Social Democrat – which no one including Chris has apologised for, not to mention there wasn't one time and actual physical threat. But then I guess I am writing under a pseudonym.

I began writing under a pseudonym for very good reasons which I have explained several times on this site and a number of people explained to DuFresne when he was deciding whether to allow it or not. These reasons no longer apply but I can't be bothered changing.
Even so, the level of accusation and invective I have suffered on this site is far above DuFresne's. All I can say with regard to him is, "The fuck your feelings crowd sure have a lot of feelings."

I also noticed that the rules that DuFresne operates under on his own blog permit people like Simon Cohen and Kit to gratuitously insult people like me who were writing under a pseudonym without the right of reply. Unfair – his blog, his rules but I have not commented there since.

Doug Longmire said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon Cohen said...

I began writing under a pseudonym for very good reasons which I have explained several times on this site and a number of people explained to DuFresne when he was deciding whether to allow it or not. These reasons no longer apply but I can't be bothered changing...

So Guerilla Surgeon now has no reason for not using his own name but can't be bothered changing.
What a crock.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Ricardo. Many conservative people describe themselves as "a classical liberal". It simply means conservative.
I have read about the Enlightenment, and studied it tangentially at least in a formal setting. I possibly know as much about it as you do. As far as I know, Adam Smith did not favour the concentration of wealth that modern "classical liberals" seem to be okay with, and John Locke seem to only favour equality for white people, given that he invested in the slave trade. And there is some debate about whether Locke himself favoured the unlimited acquisition of wealth.

If you wish to investigate a little more deeply, I would recommend:

Williams, R. A. (2012). Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilisation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hall, S. (1992). The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power. In S. Hall, & B. Gieben (Eds.), Formations of Modernity
Or perhaps:

Racial Capitalism in Voltaire’s Enlightenment
Gianamar Giovannetti-Singh

And unfortunately, as this article points out, the Enlightenment did have its weaknesses.

Jackson, J. P. & Weidman, N. M. (2004). The Origins of Racial Science, Antiquity – 1800.

Your Enlightenment figures were often not nearly as enlightened as you seem to think.
I'm not prepared to have a lengthy discussion about this, because every time the sort of thing comes up people who have little or no knowledge or appreciation of Enlightenment figures mention these paragons of virtue.
Not saying you're one of these, but Brandolini's law means that to come to terms with mere mentions of these Enlightenment figures – which probably took you all of about five seconds – means I have to get out my notes, find the articles I used for the various assignments I did about this, and read them yet again. That takes quite a long time, and as near death as I am, I'd sooner spend it on other things.
But thank you for the primer, though it's a somewhat patronising way to put it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I will explain yet again – I wrote under my own name for a long time – particularly letters to various newspapers. Mostly about noncontroversial topics. I used a pseudonym for the controversial blog posts, because I didn't want my various bosses finding out my political views. Now that I'm retired, I no longer have that particular reason. So my apologies Simon I was possibly little unclear. The reason I stopped writing under my own name – which essentially meant stopping writing letters to newspapers, was that I was getting phone calls from RWNJ's, one of whom abused my seven-year-old son. He's grown up now, but I still can't be arsed being rung up in the middle of the bloody night by some eejit who wants to abuse me. And if you think that's a crock I don't give a (crock of) shit. Anyone who is willing to ring up everyone in the phone book with my name in order to find me is quite possibly capable of all sorts of idiocy.
I notice that your profile on this blog does not mention your address or phone number, and of course we have no guarantee that you are using your own name. After all, "on the Internet no one knows you're a dog."

Anonymous said...

GS - you come across as old, cranky and self-righteous. Just an anonymous observation. There is another word in the back of my mind but it's obnnoxious so I won't mention it.
Sometimes you make interesting comments but it's a shame you think your opinion is the only one worth having.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Gosh anonymous, you came all the way over here just to call me names. What a fantastic contribution to the debate. Usually people like you are called trolls and politely told to fuck off. Chris unfortunately is wedded to freedom of speech.