All posts by Richard

Just say Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian political pundit and internet celebrity. In 2005, Molyneux began a podcast called Freedomain Radio (FDR) and in 2006 he started a YouTube channel. Today he has a large cult following. As of July 2018 his YouTube channel has 798,445 subscribers and has had 247,260,366 views.

By now many Kiwis will have heard of Stefan Molyneux, thanks to protesters—including Auckland’s mayor Phil Goff, the Auckland Peace Action group, and Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) president Hazim Arafeh—trying to shut down an event at which Molyneux was booked to speak. At this stage it’s unclear whether or not the event will go ahead as scheduled. What is clear is that these days Molyneux is both full of himself and full of the proverbial.

But Molyneux used to be all right.

Molyneux used to be all right. Now he’s alt-right.

Molyneux used to be a fresh and fervid anarchist. Now he’s lapsed back into full-blown statism.

It’s all very sad, but it’s worth remembering that back in 2010 Molyneux published this wee gem.

The Story of Your Enslavement

This is the story of your enslavement—how it came to be—and how you can finally be free.

I’m not your dad or anything, but it’s worth watching the video presentation or reading the transcript. Even though it’s somewhat offensive to many, including creationists and vegans, and riddled with alternative facts and flawed logic. There’s a discussion of its various shortcomings in the comment section here if that’s what you want to focus on.

Here’s the gist of it anyway.

Human society cannot be rationally understood until it is seen for what it is: a series of farms where human farmers own human livestock.

Some people get confused because governments provide healthcare and water and education and roads, and thus imagine that there is some benevolence at work.

Nothing could be further from the reality.

Farmers provide healthcare and irrigation and training to their livestock.

Some people get confused because we are allowed certain liberties, and thus imagine that our governments protect our freedoms.

But farmers plant their crops a certain distance apart to increase their yields—and will allow certain animals larger stalls or fields if it means they will produce more meat and milk.

In your country, your tax farm, your farmer grants you certain freedoms not because he cares about your liberties, but because he wants to increase his profits.

Are you beginning to see the nature of the cage you were born into?

Molyneux then goes on to describe how the illusion of freedom is maintained.

Keeping the tax livestock securely in the compounds of the ruling classes is a three phase process.

The first is to indoctrinate the young through government “education”.

And so on. There’s nothing particularly original in Molyneux’s claims. For example, the idea that we’re slaves who think we’re free was suggested by Aldous Huxley. It’s pretty much a variation on pānem et circēnsēs (“bread and circuses”) which goes back to the satirical Roman poet Juvenal circa 100 AD.

But is Molyneux right or are we living in a free world? In an important sense it’s a matter of perspective, and a matter of personal preference. Even in an ideal state of affairs—Molyneux’s “truly free and peaceful” society, a society “without political rulers, without human ownership, without the violence of taxation and statism”—people would voluntarily trade some of their absolute freedoms for security, and call the residual freedoms “liberty”. The nature of “the cage you were born into” is one that suits some people, who are relatively more free in virtue of the fact that they have no desire to leave.

What does Molyneux in 2010 tell us about Molyneux’s predicament now?

Molyneux is a free-range slave, the property of Canada’s ruling class. But he seems to have forgotten this. He’s bought back into the illusion that the government is the servant of the people.

Ask not what your slave-owner can do for you—ask what you can do for your slave owner.

Molyneux has reversed this paraphrase of JFK’s dictum.

Ask not what you can do for your slave owner—ask what your slave-owner can do for you.

And what is Molyneux asking? He’s asking his owners’ friends (NZ’s ruling class) to let him cross into and speak in their slave pen, and at the same time asking his owners (Canada’s ruling class) and their friends (Western governments) to keep Muslims out! The irony is rich. Molyneux requires permission to leave Canada and permission to enter New Zealand, and he’s only been given permission at the last minute and he’s only allowed to be here in Aotearoa for 10 days.

Stefan Molyneux will be allowed into the country for 10 days, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced on Friday morning.

Today’s Molyneux is an immigration alarmist. I predict he’ll have about as much success stopping Muslim immigration as climate change alarmists will have stopping anthropogenic global warming. None at all. And this is for the simple reason that setting immigration policies is not up to Molyneux or to any of his fan base. Immigration policies are set, not by human cattle, but by human farmers. And they stand to profit from mass immigration just as much as they do from burning fossil fuels.

Headcase

It’s been over seven long months since the last time I just dropped in here to try to explain my absence from my own blog. In a word, depression.

I must preface the following remarks in this paragraph by saying that I regard psychiatry as a pseudoscience. I regard psychiatrists in general with contempt. Nonetheless, depression is classified as a psychiatric illness. I suffer from it myself (see link above). Regardless of the true nature of the beast, it truly is a beast. It is a life-threatening condition. Up to 10% of people who are diagnosed with clinical depression (aka major depressive disorder) take their own lives, sooner or later. Over 50% of all people who die by suicide suffer from clinical depression. In fact, 90% of all people who die by suicide suffer from depression, alcoholism, or some other diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their deaths. Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.

Of course, all of the above has just been brought home to me yet again after I read yesterday’s blog post by my co-blogger Tim on the tragic death of his friend Bruce Davies. May he rest in peace.

Lemmy on the bass

I’d now like to turn to something more positive.

The whole truth is that my prolonged break from blogging has been due to more than just my mental malaise. Several other factors have also contributed to the decline in my blogging output over the last couple of years. And one of them is that over the past year and a bit I’ve been spending rather too much of my spare time learning to play the bass guitar! It’s become my obsession. In fact, I’ve gotten good enough at it that I’m now in a punk rock three-piece called Headcase. I’m on bass, Bill the drummer’s on drums, and Simon’s on guitar and vocals.

Sure, so far we’ve had only one actual band practice, but it’s early days yet. We’re going to attempt a few covers to begin with, starting with a song called Submission by the Sex Pistols, and then we’ll take it from there. Watch this space.

But as well as becoming a rock star in my spare time I really want to get back into blogging on a regular basis. I’ve missed it. I’m out of practice. And I have writer’s block. So I thought I’d warm up with an album review. And a controversial opinion, viz., that The Endless River is Pink Floyd’s best album since Wish You Were Here.

But it’s been a hell of a day, it’s getting late, so my review will have to wait. There are only so many spoons in a day.

Meanwhile, I’m very much still alive, still here, and, furthermore, I’m back. 🙂

I just dropped in

I just dropped in to proffer an explanation of my absence from this blog for the past 18 months or so.

In a word, depression. I have been beset with mental health problems my entire adult life. I have at least four diagnosed DSM-5 disorders. Of these, depression is the worst. It is, quite literally, a life-threatening illness. Fortunately, amongst other things, my life is not mine to take. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Things took a turn for the worse about 18 months ago. Amongst other things, the full implications of having recently been belatedly diagnosed with adult ADHD were sinking in, winter was coming, and my usual coping strategies of injudicious drug use and abnegation of personal responsibility were failing me. But what really got me in a tailspin was when the state started bankruptcy proceedings against me, for alleged failure to pay taxes. I saw my GP about my predicament and he had no hesitation in giving me a medical certificate for WINZ. The upshot is that, since last autumn, I’ve been on the sickness benefit. Yes, that’s right. I’m a ward of the welfare state. So you can see what condition my condition is in.

But that’s enough about me, I don’t want to make this post all about my personal woes. In time-honoured fashion, I want to make it about this country’s political woes. This post will be about the government’s role in providing mental health services and, in particular, it’s role in NZ’s high rates of depression and suicide.

Straightaway, let’s get one thing straight. The government doesn’t actually care. The present National government doesn’t even want to know. Why else would it re-brand what was formerly the sickness benefit as “job seeker support”? A sickness beneficiary already has a job, and they know it! Their job is to get well. Well enough to seek, find, and then hold down a permanent paid position. All of which is easier said than done for the chronically mentally ill. Some of whom should, and do, end up on the invalid’s benefit.

The government doesn’t actually care. Certainly, the neoliberal government we’ve had in this country since 1984 doesn’t give a damn. To begin with, take the fact that the suicide rate for New Zealand males aged 15-19 doubled in the course of three years from 16 per 100,000 in 1985 to 32 per 100,000 in 1988. While trustworthy statistics aren’t easy to find, it would appear that this alarming increase in NZ’s youth suicide rate has held up. I see no reason to dispute the claim that NZ now has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.

Former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall makes a couple of especially pertinent points (notwithstanding his dubious analogy to climate change).

The critical fact is that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. This excess of young people’s deaths in New Zealand when compared with other OECD countries must be a result of local factors.

The statistics show that whatever these factors were, they began to operate from 1985 to 1988. That was a time of social turmoil in New Zealand. The economic restructuring that was sweeping the world was imposed faster and deeper in New Zealand than elsewhere.

“No pain, no gain” was the catchphrase of Rogernomics. What it meant was that it was expected that the structural changes would be painful but they would be worth it in creating a more robust economy.

For young people, the changes were rapid and painful indeed. Suddenly, finding a job was not guaranteed and bright future prospects dimmed for many. A reduced welfare safety net meant that many were not sufficiently helped and inequality widened.

I don’t think that we can say for sure what aspect of neoliberalism is to blame, or even that we can definitively blame neoliberalism in the first place for the sustained rise in youth suicides. But it’s certainly a prime suspect.

As ever: what is to be done?

Officially New Zealand has focussed on mental health and mental health services as a means of dealing with the problem. Mental ill-health and lack of mental health services cannot explain the sudden doubling of youth suicide from 1985 to 1988.

Not surprisingly, then, this approach has failed. Mental ill-health undoubtedly has a part to play in many youth suicides, but there is no reason that this should be more of a problem in New Zealand than in other countries.

It is comforting to believe that young people will be safer if our mental health services are improved but it is largely a false hope. Saying so will, no doubt make me unpopular, but so be it.

So be it, and I agree.

Sadly, throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to help much, if at all. In fact, I submit that a big part of NZ’s current mental health crisis is down to excessive reliance on the state to fix the problem. A bigger part is due to state intervention in the first place. It is completely wrong, for example, that the state treats the simple administration of a proven cure for depression as a greater crime than rape or armed robbery, and instead busies itself funding a lolly scramble of often worse than useless placebos.

Whereas I don’t think more government money is going to fix the problem, I do think it’s downright criminal to cut funding to mental health services in a time of mental health crisis. And that’s what this National government has done. My point is that where the state has taken on responsibility for the provision of mental health services, it must honour that commitment in the meantime. Until such time as we can successfully devolve this responsibility to families, friends and support at the local community level. Faceless bureaucracy never made anyone happy.

At a time like this, it is utterly appalling that the government saw fit to cut funding to Lifeline, one of NZs biggest and long-established suicide counselling lines. And instead, allocate that funding to a “new, preferred supplier” called LaVey. All very well, perhaps, except for the six-month hiatus between Lifeline’s funding being cut and the new provider stepping in. Oh, and the fact that Bill English’s wife is on the board of LaVey! Nepotism doesn’t get much uglier. (LeVa, LaVey. Whatever.)

Now, a closing few words about the efforts of the government-funded agency Like Minds and their take the load off campaign. When I first saw their video featuring Daniel from Taihape I was immediately reminded of the disturbingly dark comicbook art of the Spanish artist Joan Cornellà.

Wait just a moment! Take another look at take the load off. What on earth is that woman friend using to get her mate Dan out of his pit of depression? That’s right, it’s a hangman’s noose.

Sure, it’s supposed to be a lasso. But seriously, what sort of subliminal message are they sending to the suicidal? The people at the agency that created this plagiaristic monstrosity sure have a sick sense of humour. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same outfit responsible for Colin Craig’s election campaign material last election.)

I’m glad that I also have a sick sense of humour and can appreciate it. I hope you do too. To all my depressed friends out there, I say, life is very much worth living, no matter if it seems like a sack of shit right now. Hang on in there!

NAP during the race again!

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MEDIA RELEASE
Not A Party

1 February 2017

NAP during the race again!

Hello New Zealand.

My name is Simon Smythe. I put the myth in blacksmith. And the sigh in the unquestioned acceptance of a centralised government. Putting myself forward as the NAP (Not A Party) candidate in the upcoming Mt. Albert by-election happened last Thursday about 4:20 pm in the convivial atmosphere of the Manners Mall Electoral Commission Office.

My motivation for hurling myself into the bi-elecectory stoplight comes from my humbly magnanimous sense of community spirit when it comes to reminding people of their democratic right to not vote if they don’t want to.

We hear whisperings on the winds that enough is enough. Which is true in itself because enough is neither too little nor too much. But let’s not go crazy and fool ourselves into thinking that voting will have any effect on this phenomenon of enough being enough. The sentiment leads to other sentiments like… “somebody should do something!” and… “who let this happen?”

When we vote we let this happen.

The platform I’m campaigning on is all about representing the accused and maligned among us who are so often dismissed, called apathetic, and snidely looked down upon because we actively decline that most generous of invitations to vote.

As a dedicated and responsible non-voter I stand, with the rest of the NAP squad, at the vanguard of a serious and compassionate movement to illuminate and eliminate the irrational attacks of sanctimonious guilt and shame so often aimed at today’s forward thinking non-voter. The youth of today are just slackers. Somebody should make them do something.

Seriously though. The truth is, if you do vote you have no business complaining after the fact when your team lost. That’s just bad sportsmanship.

So basically our message is this: DON’T VOTE 2017. Voting is NOT A victimless crime. And have an A1 day.

Your representative and incoming Not A MP for Mt. Albert: Simon Colin Smythe.

ENDS

Not A Party (NAP) announces Mt. Roskill candidate

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MEDIA RELEASE
Not A Party

7 November 2016

NAP announces Mt. Roskill candidate

Not A Party (NAP) announced today that it is entering the Mt Roskill by-election race.

Richard Goode will represent the party, in its first foray into electoral politics.

Goode said he was “chuffed” to be chosen to stand for Not A Party (NAP) in the seat made vacant by Phil Goff.

“Let’s keep the seat vacant,” says Goode. “Let’s make Mt. Roskill a politician-free zone, with the rest of New Zealand’s electoral map to follow suit at next year’s general election.”

Not A Party (NAP) is the forerunner of a new breed of post-democratic political party. The party advocates a peaceful transition to a free, peaceful and prosperous society based on voluntary cooperation. “Don’t look to politicians for answers, they don’t have any.”

“Individuals and local communities know best what’s best for themselves.” Not A Party (NAP) believes in the efficacy of the man in the street. It is at a grassroots level that people understand what they need to achieve peace and prosperity.

Goode strongly supports people’s right to self-determination. So much so, in fact, that the candidate says he hopes to get no votes. “If you simply must vote, vote NAP. But why not stay home on election day and NAP instead?” He goes on to point out the benefits, “You’ll feel better for it, and be more productive.”

“DIY. Be the change you want to see. Don’t pander to the corporate oligarchs in the Beehive.” This is Goode’s challenge to the electors of Mt. Roskill.

The by-election, which was triggered when Phil Goff switched troughs, will be held on Saturday 3 December.

ENDS

The price of freedom is Eternal Vigilance

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Eternal Vigilance is 5 years old. 🙂

According to the meaning of numbers in the Bible, the number 5 symbolises God’s grace, goodness and favour toward mankind.

The name of this blog is from a speech by John Philpot Curran, given in Dublin in 1790.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance

said Curran. The shorter form of the original quote is variously attributed to the likes of Wendell Phillips and Thomas Jefferson, but no one really knows who first came up with the exact phrase. Here it is in the Virginia Free Press and Farmers’ Repository, May 2, 1833.

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Sadly, the sentinels on the watch-tower slumbered long ago. We’re still not free, we never have been, and likely never will be. Eternal vigilance is a big ask.

Just as well we’re not commies and we never had a first five-year plan!

So what’s the good news?

One issue close to the hearts of libertarians in general and at least two Eternal Vigilance bloggers is cannabis law reform. I’d like to take this opportunity to review the dramatic progress made towards sane, sensible and just cannabis laws in the last 5 years. Not here in New Zealand (not yet), but in the original land of the free, the United States of America.

That’s 4 states plus the District of Columbia since 5 years ago, 46 more states to go. And an unprecedented number of states will vote on marijuana this fall.

But it’s not all good news.

For example, in Colorado, fatalities and injuries on the road attributed to DUI dropped after legalisation but are trending up again. And, although arrests are down, the racial disparity in marijuana-related arrests hasn’t changed.

These things have occurred. And it is a true adage that, “what has happened once, may happen again.”

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (NIV)

I wonder and worry about what frightful bureaucracies may supplant cannabis prohibition in New Zealand once it is finally driven out.

Whole lotta Larken

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Larken Rose, author of The Most Dangerous Superstition, is my favourite anarchist thinker.

Larken posted this on his Facebook page yesterday. It’s highly germane to my previous post damning the MSM so I decided to copy and paste it below.

The world is really damn big, and there are a lot of people on it. No kidding, right? But the near incomprehensible number of humans on the planet allows for massive manipulation and deception. To wit, if I could merely choose which events and stories you hear about—even if everything I tell you is completely true and accurate—I would have massive control over your perceptions, control over your thoughts and fears, and therefore a lot of control even over your actions. If, for example, I made sure you were told about it—and saw the gruesome images—every single time someone was injured by a chainsaw (which happens about 80 times a day), you would think it was an intolerable, shocking epidemic… a crisis! If you weren’t very good at statistics and critical thought, you might even be joining the call to have chainsaws banned, or at least licensed and heavily regulated.

As another example, if I made sure you heard about it, in lurid detail, every time someone with red hair mistreated an animal, and you were exposed to that day after day, over time you would—whether consciously, subconsciously, or both—start to think that redheads are all sadistic animal torturers. Just due to the sheer numbers of people on the planet, there could be a news channel that reported only redheads mistreating animals, without repeating the same story twice, and without ever running out of stories (provided they had a way to find all those stories). For those who want to check the math, there are estimated to be somewhere around 100,000,000 redheads in the world. If even one out of every 100,000 of those was nasty to an animal at some point, that would give our “Redheads Being Mean to Animals Network” around three unique stories a day, for a year, never mentioning the same individual twice. (After a year you could probably start over with the list of people without the viewers noticing.)

The point is, if YOUR perception of any group—any race, religion, nationality, fans of a particular band, people who wear a certain fashion, people born in a certain month, etc.—is based on what you see on a screen, or hear on the radio, keep in mind that you are allowing someone else to mold your opinions for you. And if your view of that group doesn’t match your own direct, firsthand experiences, then you are probably being lied to, and someone is probably intentionally instilling fear or hatred in you in order to serve their own agenda.

Take it from an anarchist, living in a world of people who are being taught to fear anarchists.

A quick question for the reader. What is YOUR perception of anarchists?

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Allow me to mold your opinions for you.

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Yeah nah. You can mold your own opinions.

Meanwhile, I pick my fights, and defending the preferred labels of the political tribes with which I’m affiliated from what I and other tribe members deem to be misuse isn’t my battle.

There’s an insuperable problem with the terms ‘anarchy’, ‘anarchism’, ‘anarchist’ that isn’t going to go away. Simply put, the trouble is that the term ‘anarchist’ (e.g.) is an auto-antonym. Check out the Collins English Dictionary definition.

1. a person who advocates the abolition of government and a social system based on voluntary cooperation
2. a person who causes disorder or upheaval

I’m a person who advocates a social system based on voluntary cooperation and the abolition of government, but I’m not a person who causes disorder or upheaval. So, am I an anarchist or not?

What do you say I am?

I say I’m a voluntaryist.

A life cut short by Police

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My day got off to a bad start when I fetched today’s Dominion Post from the end of my mum’s driveway and read the headline. (See above. You can click the image to read the whole thing.) Three blatant lies in large print is excessive even for the Dominion Post.

A life cut short by P

FALSE. A life cut short by an unconfirmed number of police bullets.

Shot gunman had private education and good business – but lost it all to addiction

FALSE. He wasn’t a gunman. According to his girlfriend, who was present, he was unarmed. And, while he may (or may not) have lost the family business to an illegal drug habit, he lost his life to the War on Drugs.

Shooting unavoidable, say police

FALSE. There was no need for the police to break into a private residence unannounced and shoot a man dead just as he was about to sit down to have dinner with his girlfriend.

But Marshall’s girlfriend, who was there at the time of the shooting, insisted he wasn’t armed.

Kendall Eadie lived with him at the mechanic workshop.

She said the pair had just been about to have dinner when police stormed into the residence and immediately fired three shots at Marshall.

“The police executed a warrant on my place and murdered my boyfriend,” she said.

Three vicious falsehoods, and then my day got worse. While my mum read the paper, I went online to read the article. I searched for the headline, “A life cut short by P” to find it. But this is all that Google returned.

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Two links to a review of a biography of Edgar Allan Poe. When I did find the online version on Fairfax Media’s stuff website, the main headline now read

Hamilton police shooting victim Nick Marshall sank into addiction

and I became agitated. So much so that my long-suffering mother, who is well accustomed to her visiting son’s political rants, had to tell me to calm down. This before I’d had my morning meth or even a cup of coffee. 🙁

Why was I agitated? Because I realised immediately that readers of the print version, who (on average) are an older demographic who vote more, would not read the more truthful headline presented to readers of the online version, who (on average) are a younger demographic who vote less. The demonisation of methamphetamine continues apace deviously as the police ramp up their ongoing persecution of drug addicts (essentially all of whom are addicts due to unresolved psychological trauma—yes, drug addiction is a mental illness) this time by way of an extrajudicial killing. FTP and the MSM they rode in on!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, loud and clear. LEGALISE P. Or, at the very least, medicalise it. Make methamphetamine available on prescription. This is not in any way, shape or form a radical or irresponsible proposal. It’s simple common sense and compassion. It’s a no-brainer, and if it seems otherwise to you it’s because, sadly, you’ve been brainwashed. Actually, let’s be frank. If you think methamphetamine is inherently dangerous (Jim Anderton once called it “pure evil”) then you’ve been duped. Methamphetamine is safe enough to prescribe to children.

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Desoxyn is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Desoxyn may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Please realise that methamphetamine is only a methyl group (“meth”) different from amphetamine. Chemically speaking, methamphetamine and amphetamine are closely related, and in terms of subjective effects, even veteran speed freaks find it difficult to tell the two apart. Please know that amphetamine and its chemical cousin methylphenidate are routinely prescribed in New Zealand for the treatment of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that long-term treatment with ADHD stimulants (specifically, amphetamine and methylphenidate) decreases abnormalities in brain structure and function found in subjects with ADHD. Moreover, reviews of clinical stimulant research have established the safety and effectiveness of the long-term use of ADHD stimulants for individuals with ADHD.

Pretty much all the (wildly overstated) harm associated with methamphetamine use is due to improper dosage (yes, you can have too much of a good thing), improper route of administration (don’t snort it or smoke it), and (mainly) its illegality. What are the odds that the late Nick Marshall had undiagnosed ADHD and his methamphetamine use was as much self-medication as addiction? Suppose that he’d been able to see his doctor and get a prescription for P. Fully funded by Pharmac, he’d burn through $10 a month instead of frittering away the multi-million dollar family fortune in a few short years. (If, indeed, that’s what he did. I shouldn’t be making such an assumption. People with ADHD make notoriously bad business managers.) With the help of his doctor, he could reduce his methamphetamine use and wean himself onto the perhaps more forgiving amphetamine or the even more innocuous drug methylphenidate. And today Nick Marshall would still be alive and successfully managing Marshall Transmissions.

In conclusion, the War on Drugs is the Holocaust of our times, the editors at the Dominion Post are propagandist scumbags, and the blue-uniformed thugs are murderous Sturmabteilung.

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

I tried voting but it didn’t work

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My pet issue has always been cannabis law reform. I’ve always voted for cannabis law reform.

In 1996 I voted in the first New Zealand general election held under the MMP voting system. Naturally, I gave my party vote to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, who gained 1.66% of the party vote. Their result was simultaneously disappointing and encouraging. Disappointing, because it fell well short of the 5% threshold required to gain seats in Parliament under MMP. Encouraging because it was a solid base of support on which to build.

So in 1999 I voted for the ALCP again. But this time their share of the party vote fell by about half a percentage point to 1.10%. Instead of voting harder, people were realising that a vote for the ALCP is a wasted vote under MMP. But in a sudden plot twist, former ALCP candidate Nándor Tánczos entered Parliament as a Green Party MP and started making noises about cannabis law reform.

Clearly, I hadn’t been paying attention. Here was a party with a serious cannabis law reform policy that was actually in Parliament. So in 2002 I voted Green. Nándor was returned to Parliament and the Greens gained two more seats. Meanwhile, the ALCP’s share of the party vote fell again to 0.64%.

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Then I discovered what seemed to be my natural political home, the Libertarianz Party. I became their Spokesman on Health and stood for Parliament for the first time on the Libertarianz Party list in 2005. We gained a solid 0.04% of the party vote. Meanwhile, the ALCP’s share of the party vote fell to a record low of 0.25% and Nándor lost his seat. The Greens had lost interest in cannabis law reform and the dreadlocked skateboarder was now being seen by some as increasingly out of favour. He’d been moved down to 7th place on the Green Party list and the Greens were now down to 6 seats. But Green Co-Leader Rod Donald died tragically in late 2005 which meant that Nándor got to re-enter Parliament for one final term, during which he achieved the cannabis law reform movement’s one and only small success, new licensing rules for industrial hemp.

After the 2005 election I came out fully as a drug user and became the Libertarianz Party’s Spokesman on Drugs. In 2008 I stood again on the Libertarianz Party list and also as the Libertarianz Party candidate for the Mana electorate. I got 64 votes. The Libz gained 1% of a percentage point, skyrocketing to 0.05% of the party vote. Meanwhile, the ALCP rebounded from their record 2002 low and got a 0.41% share of the party vote. Nándor quit Parliament and went away to cleanse his soul. After the 2008 election I jumped waka and joined the ALCP.

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In 2011 I stood for Parliament again, this time on the ALCP list and as the ALCP candidate for the Mana electorate. Of course, by this time I fully realised that my chances of ever getting into Parliament on a cannabis law reform ticket were close to zero. I now regarded what I was doing as an exercise in educating the public and getting the cannabis law reform message out there, and my electoral results as a barometer of my success in that regard. I was simply taking a stand and speaking out against the injustice of the War on Drugs. I’d figured that I’d get more bang for my buck, as it were, campaigning under the ALCP banner instead of the Libz banner, and I was right. I got 334 votes as an ALCP candidate, up from 64 votes as a Libz candidate, and the ALCP’s share of the party vote went up 0.05% to 0.51%, its best result since 1999. The Libz once again barely registered with a mere 0.05% of the party vote, and soon after called it quits and disappeared from the New Zealand political scene.

Significant and sensible cannabis law reform started to happen elsewhere in the world. On 1 January 2014 cannabis law reform activist and Iraq war veteran Sean Azzariti became the first person to legally purchase cannabis for recreational use in Colorado. I was sure in my own mind that this could only bode well for the ALCP’s electoral prospects here in New Zealand. In 2014 I stood for Parliament again, again on the ALCP list and as the ALCP candidate for the Mana electorate. I got my best result yet with 403 votes as the ALCP candidate, but the ALCP’s share of the party vote dropped back down to 0.46%, much to my surprise and chagrin. And, also much to my surprise and chagrin, John Key’s National Party was returned for a third term. Worst of all, National’s lapdog Peter Dunne was returned as Associate Minister of Health, thereby ensuring that there would be no cannabis law reform for a further three years.

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I’ve become very cynical. To me it doesn’t seem like a very big ask to be allowed to grow and use a harmless medicinal herb. I’ve been advocating for safe, sane and sensible drug law reform for three decades and seen nothing happen except some farmers who were prepared to jump through bureaucratic hoops being allowed to grow industrial hemp.

I’ve participated in our democracy, at some considerable financial and emotional cost to myself. And achieved precisely nothing in terms of legislative gains. Meanwhile, arch-prohibitionist Peter Dunne, in league with Satan, pushed through the Psychoactive Substances Act. Instead of drug law reform, New Zealand got landed with peak prohibition. What a total fustercluck.

I’ve always voted for cannabis law reform but I’ve never gotten what I voted for. Insanity is voting for the same thing over and over and expecting a different result every time. But I’m not crazy, just a bit of a slow learner. I tried voting but it didn’t work. So now I don’t vote. I’m plotting to overgrow the government instead.

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Give me Liberty, or give me Death!