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The Standard

Forty Christmases

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 pm, December 25th, 2013 - 49 comments
Categories: Economy, Left, quality of life, Social issues - Tags: ,

Exactly 40 years ago to the day I was having a white Christmas – on the summit of Mr Fyfe overlooking Kaikoura. Today I celebrate another Christmas, high on another mountain, in another part of the world – with a light dusting of very dry, very icy snow drifting on the wind. The decades in between represent the prime of my adult life and I beg your indulgence to reflect a little on what has happened.

I’ll refrain from a dull recitation of all that has changed – some for the better, some for the worse. Those of you who are old enough will know anyway, and those too young don’t believe us oldies anyhow. But the 70’s were indeed a remarkable period of pregnant possibilities. If we recall Norman Kirk’s  ohu initiative – and then consider how utterly impossible such an experiment would be today –  then we have one small measure of what was lost.

Perhaps more than anything else I’m struck by the insane inversion of reality that as a mass society we have been sold. Christmas itself has become a parody of what Jesus stood for. Celebrating the birth of a man who who said “It is easier for a a thick rope to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven ” – with an orgy of materialistic over-consumption is but one symptom of this inversion. As I look out the window I can often see the clouds in the valleys trapped under an inversion layer – so maybe I’ll use that as my metaphor-  clouds of rampant possibility smoothly captured by the invisible.

Another symptom is how we have subverted the word freedom. In his excellent book The Predator State James Galbraith coins the pithy phrase ‘the freedom to shop’ arguing that:

The free market reactionaries promised that some combination of monetarism, supply side economics, balanced budgets, and free trade was the solution to America’s woes. The mantra “free markets” provided an easy antidote to “planning” that was said to constrain recovery and growth. As each conservative policy was tried, however, it resulted in obvious and even spectacular failure. In truth, all economies are always and everywhere planned—for the simple reason that planning is the use of today’s resources to meet tomorrow’s needs, something that all societies must do if they are going to survive—so the only question is who is going to do the planning, and to whom are the benefits going to flow? There are still a few true believers (principled conservatives that Jamie compares to noble savages in the political wilderness), but most conservatives realized that there is no conflict between “big government” and “the market” as they abandoned the myth but usurped the “free market” label. All we are left with is the liberal who embraces the myth out of fear of being exposed as a heretic, a socialist, or a fool. Thus, the liberal pines to “make the market work better”, never challenging the view (abandoned by all but the most foolish conservatives) that government is the problem.

Economic freedom is reduced to the freedom to shop, including the freedom to buy elections, and anything that interferes is a threat. “Market” means nothing more than “nonstate”, a negation of use of policy in the public interest. Jamie provides a careful analysis of the frontline battles on many of the most important issues–Social Security, health care, inequality, immigration, security after 9-11, trade and outsourcing, and global warming—showing how “market solutions” are designed to enrich a favored oligarchy through a spoils system administered through the state’s structure. The policy “mistakes” in Iraq or New Orleans or at Bear-Stearns do not result from incompetence—indeed they only appear to be failures because we apply inappropriate measures of success. There is no common good, no public purpose, no shareholder’s interest; we are the prey and governments as well as corporations are run by and for predators. The “failures” enrich the proper beneficiaries even as they “prove” government is no solution.

The Economist

But the inversion runs deeper than this. Each of us has two primary domains in our lives; the private, personal part of our life and the collective, public persona. By its very nature freedom is personal; it is the freedom to move, freedom to associate, freedom to express, freedom of ideas and faith,  the opportunity to be creative, excellent and to be of service to those around us. It is the freedom to love, to be compassionate and to direct our own feet along the path of our inner lives. It is the freedom to make choices, take responsibility for their consequences and to both give and receive forgiveness. Freedom is essentially the power to give unique meaning to each and everyone of our lives.

While at the same time whenever we engage in our work, businesses or any kind of political or collective life we are immediately confronted with the need to fit in. There are always policies, rules and laws to abide by, standards and procedures to follow, customs and conventions to observe. We willingly sacrifice our individual freedom of action in this domain because in return we receive the immensely greater benefits of civilised society.

These distinctions are important because they mirror a constant and largely ignored dichotomy underpinning political life – the divide between the authoritarian and the libertarian. Easily entranced as we are by surface appearances we’ve been comfortable debating the old left-right economic argument, but rarely addressed ourselves to this hidden, emotive power. For here is the underlying inversion – that the natural domain for the libertarian impulse lies in defending personal freedom ; while the authoritarian finds a legitimate outlet in planning, ordering and improving our collective economic life. At some point around 1980 this natural arrangement was thoroughly turned on it’s head.

The idea of choice was sold to us as the ‘freedom to shop’, and as Galbraith describes, that markets became the sole and legitimate expression of human need to be ‘free’. While a bit of competition is a good and necessary thing,  this a terribly limited thing compared to political freedom and democratic process on the one hand, and personal human needs on the other. Galbraith “argues how amazing it is that the real meaning of freedom in every normal sense was replaced by this narrow view of ‘market freedom’.  Amazing as it is that this nonsense could last so long and run so deep” . Furthermore I argue this bogus libertarian usurpation of our collective life has been paralleled by an insidious invasion of the authoritarian impulse into the realm of the personal where it does not belong.

In one sense there is nothing terribly new about this, we have always tended to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. But as the brouhaha over Len Brown recently demonstrates; we’ve no longer much scruples about collectively invading individuals personal and family lives, commenting, evaluating and judging, trampling our own metaphorically muddy boots over inner sanctums. First radio, then television  and even more potently the net has seen us gradually blur, and now erase the boundaries between personal and public. It is as if a sort of ‘neo-Victorian’ prudishness is wrapping it’s tentacles around our minds. (Of course was  all hypocritical cant – the Victorians were always as robust and earthy as any generation. They just raised denial about it to a particular art form.)

But the inversion is even more layered than this. How rarely for instance do we actually talk to each other anymore except when sheltered behind psuedonomynous masks on the net?  Politics, religion, art or simply expressing how you really feel is no longer tolerated in the modern workplace. TV, sport, the weather or an insipid recitation of ‘what I did in the weekend’ are the permitted topics. Even in less regimented social settings,  loose talk that might disturb the flow of vacuous drivel which usually passes for conversation these days is quickly subdued with a dose of collective disdain.  Asking awkward questions is verboten.

You cannot see this cage. As with the cloud you cannot see what holds it in place; yet it is real. Only in the hindsight of forty neo-liberal Christmases do I get sense what has changed, that the legitimate drive to order, regulate and control was decoupled from our collective life and has seeped instead into our personal lives –  all the while we were being told that our personal freedom  was to be satisfyingly re-defined as the freedom to shop in ‘free markets’. But they were of course no such thing; when the left abdicated from the collective, democratic right to order our economic affairs, it was happily snapped up by large corporates and big finance to be rigorously re-ordered for their advantage and the manifest disadvantage of the rest of us.

We’ve seen a long running debate on the left pivoting on the distinction between identity politics and economic politics. In part I think that it’s largely one of those silly unhelpful false dichotomies, or the usual weird old binary thinking. But also the evidence of the last forty years is clear, the left has been permitted to argue and win it’s reforms around various identity factions, just as long as we never threatened the economic order.

My underlying question is this; why should anyone care about anyone else’s gender, colour, sex-life, disability or culture? Poking our nose into other people’s private lives, and making judgments is authoritarianism in it’s worst guise. If instead of arguing for specific identity rights, we had argued for the fundamental, pure freedom to be who we were – whatever identity we claimed– that argument alone would have won the battle on all fronts simultaneously.  The 1945 Declaration of Rights was crucially a Universal declaration, yet he left was persuaded to take it’s eye off this big universal ball and focus instead on a collection of worthy yet ultimately smaller ones instead – but in doing so exposed itself to that most ancient of tactics employed by elites of all time – divide and conquer.

While at the same time under the guise of giving us ‘choice and freedom’ these same elites subverted our collective rights as a society and bent it entirely to their own ends.

As for that Jesus bloke. It is worth bearing in mind that 2000 years ago he was just another inspiring crank with a bunch of crankier followers. One of many in that turbulent era. The reason why he is remembered all these years later is because he understood precisely where the locus of this inversion lay. He was tolerated, popular even – until the day he entered the Temple and overturned the money-changers tables. That single action sealed his fate, and inexorably led to the events which make today Christmas.

49 comments on “Forty Christmases”

  1. lprent 1

    Good post. And there is data at the top of the mountain?

    If your data is limited, then release the post, and I will tidy up the text.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    The culture and attitudes of society and of our civilisation as a whole has been gradually and insidiously replaced with a corporate consumerist culture. And even that is waning now as credit worthiness disappears and access to even cheap goods becomes unaffordable for many. So the soma of consumerism and distracting entertainment is being subtly replaced with a culture which accepts permanent austerity for the 95%, indefinite ongoing war against some “other”, and a security and surveillance state intermingled seamlessly with anonymous corporate power.

    We are Oceania.

    King Herod attempted to have young Jesus killed by ordering the deaths of every young male in Bethlehem. So Jesus wasn’t all that popular with everyone from the start.

    As you noted the vast political power of the money men spans millenia, does it not.

    Finally, we’ve largely forgotten the radical and revolutionary symbol that Jesus and his gospel represented, born into a land ruled by a harsh and unforgiving imperial power.

    • Ron 2.1

      As far as I was aware there was no evidence anywhere that Herod (presumably you mean Herod the Great) ordered the death of male children as you state. In fact there is no evidence outside of biblical text that this ever happened.

  3. karol 3

    Great post, RL. And much food for thought.

    It’s good to see your argument laid out so well.

    I’m totally with you on the economic angle, but I diverge when you get into the realm of “identity politics”. It’d probably take a whole other post for me to explain – and maybe I will – but for now:

    Yes, I agree that the “neoliberal” (myth and) revolution has delivered us the “freedom to shop”

    I also agree on the pressing need to challenge the “neoliberal” orthodoxy, myth and the undemocratic practices enacted in it’s name.

    But economic divisions and oppression are not the only ones. Along side them, and overlapping and, at times conflicting with them is the patriarchal order and imperialism: the latter are both cultural and economic. At times the cultural elements are mapped on to the economic order: e.g. the way 19th and 20th century capitalism were mapped on to the patriarchal and imperialist orders.

    And the patriarchal and imperialist orders still exists, albeit often in fairly diluted forms. Unfortunately aspects of them were embedded in the development of left wing, anti-capitalist discourse and practices at least as far back as the late 19th and early 20th century. For instance, working class-focused parliamentary politics were initially built on the notion of a family wage for the (largely white) working class male. Women’s place was largely relegated to the home, servicing the life of the male worker, and raising the next generation. Here is part of the reason for the 2nd wave feminist line: “The personal is political” – women had long been socialised into servicing the economic, capitalis, imperialist and patriarchal orders through their roles in the domestic sphere.

    And unfortunately its legacy is still with us, even within the 21st century left. So good to see some improvements – such us seen with a woman like Helen Kelly leading the struggle for workers.

    On the problems of blurring the public-private divide. I partially agree. But in earlier, pre-capitalist times, there never was a divide between the public, private and community life. A more clear division between public and private arose around the same time as the rise of capitalism. See Carole Pateman:

    Pateman argues that the [public-private] dichotomy serves specific patriarchal purposes. First, it fails to accurately describe the everyday experiences of women; the activities that women do are not easily divided into ‘public’ and ‘private’. Second, public/private is a false dichotomy because the success of the (capitalist) public sphere is dependent on the labour done in the private sphere (household). Third, the dichotomy devalues women’s work; a hierarchy inherent in the dichotomy places greater value on ‘public’ and often hides the value of the ‘private’.

    RL: I’m partially with you on this:

    But also the evidence of the last forty years is clear, the left has been permitted to argue and win it’s reforms around various identity factions, just as long as we never threatened the economic order.

    To some extent the “neoliberals” have appropriated the aspects of feminism and anti-racism that fit within their “freedom” discourse. But the politics of gender/feminism and/or anti-racism, are also only acceptable to many as long as they don’t threaten the patriarchal or imperialist order.

    And the very term “identity politics” is used to undermine feminism and anti-racism, while also masking the continuing presence of 21st century forms of patriarchy and imperialism – the sites of these struggles are intertwined with the economic order – sometimes overlapping, sometimes intersecting and sometimes in conflict.

    And now I have written a post length comment.

    Class, racial, sexual and gender oppressions are at once economic, cultural and structural: and they are very often enacted at sites where the personal is political: in personal relations, in eugenic theories/practices, in the marketing of consumer-focused gender roles, etc.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      What a fabulous response karol ! I’m hard pressed to find a quibble with it at all.

      Especially on this: but in earlier, pre-capitalist times, there never was a divide between the public, private and community life.. That’s quite true, a point I suspect I’ve made myself in the past. In close intimate pre-agricultural, pre-industrial societies the notion of privacy in the modern sense scarcely existed at all.

      Yet it is the case that while there is a mutual interdependence between the individual and the state, viewed from the libertarian (not of course to be confused with the ridiculous political ideology spelt with a capital L)/authoritarian spectrum they nonetheless remain quite different things. Freedom only has meaning for the individual, while authority has a legitimate repose within the democratic state.

      And from this perspective it could be argued that community is the means by which we mediate and triangulate between the two.

      As Bill and others have identified, much of this inversion I’m discussing was achieved by the destruction of community over the last forty years. That has to be one of the most glaring change symptoms – the virtual eradication of whole swaths of community, clubs, associations, lodges and the like from our social landscape. Replaced by a media which has the peculiar property of rendering us passive, switching off our critical faculties and then imposing on us it’s own pre-formed, pre-approved, pre-digested values.

      But otherwise yes. I think we’re both busy patting down the elephant only at different ends of it. I especially like your last para.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1.1

        Great post, great debate. Boxing Day gifts :)

        Thanks.

      • karol 3.1.2

        Thanks, RL. excellent reply.

        This:

        And from this perspective it could be argued that community is the means by which we mediate and triangulate between the two.
        […]
        destruction of community over the last forty years.

        Yes, community is the often ignored part.

        I’m not totally convinced that “freedom” is only applicable to the individual. Remembering my stage one philosophy/education classes. “Freedom” was never understandable in isolation, but always as either “freedom from” or “Freedom to”. As such, it could mean freedom (for the subject classes) from state oppression. Freedom for a group to protest, etc.

        I am reminded of the French use of 3 terms, not just one, to degfine the democratic state:

        Liberte,egalite, fraternite

        That particular triad is not without it’s problems. However, the 3rd term (while it has patriarchal overtones) points to the element of community.

        However, your triad, RL seems like: individual, (democratic) state, community.

        • RedLogix 3.1.2.1

          your triad, RL seems like: individual, (democratic) state, community.

          Yes. Going in one step deeper, I’d observe that community is the domain where the hedonic mode of human behavior can be expressed in our drive to be creative, to excel and to be of service to others.

          The briefest of acquaintances with most of these old-time clubs and societies (and there was an astonishing myriad of them) reveals just how much these organisations were oriented around these ideals.

          The destruction of these groups may well have been collateral damage of the neoliberal revolution – but it’s no accident that it’s so much easier for those in authority to airily dismiss an impassioned appeal to save a heritage back-country hut when made by ‘Joe Bloggs” of Masterton, compared to the same ‘Joe Bloggs, President Masterton Tramping Club”.

  4. Jenny Kirk 4

    Thank you , RedLogix, you put the underlying malaise in our world so clearly ……

    (>) “But also the evidence of the last forty years is clear, the left has been permitted to argue and win it’s reforms around various identity factions, just as long as we never threatened the economic order.” (>)

    This brings back to me, the day (almost 20 years ago) when a professional planner/engineer said to local councillors that the main recreation for people now was to “go shopping” . And you see this now with the endless media stories about the “tills ringing” right up to Christmas Eve, and then again about the Boxing Day sales.

    Mindless consumerism, and trivia, have overtaken the collective freedoms we once had.

    • karol 4.1

      Jenny Kirk:

      This brings back to me, the day (almost 20 years ago) when a professional planner/engineer said to local councillors that the main recreation for people now was to “go shopping” .

      Ah. That’s interesting. because when I consider the recent developments in New Lynn, it looks like shopping/retail is a central focus. Communtiy activities take second place – MacDonalds has prime place at the square opposite the mall entrance, while the community centre is tucked away away from the central focal points, beside the railway line.

      The new buildings incorporate spaces for retail, but little space for organsied community activities. Why is a cinema/theatre way down the list of plans for the development of the area?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        A town centre for corporate interests, and elected officials with no budget or inclination to buy inflated commercial real estate for public space.

  5. Macro 5

    Well said Red. And an excellent discussion.

    In our rush to buy cheap and flashy we have in the process tossed aside the very foundation of our community, sold our jobs overseas,and forgotten that mankind needs to recreate as well as work.

  6. tracey 6

    fabulous redlogix

    we live in a frightened society. fear can be the onky reason otherwise rational people will cling to irrationality as though their life depends on it. take away the accimulation of stuff as the point of life and what are you left with. admit you believed a lie and what are you left with.

    it takes courage to change a belief. a form of bravery largely missing in nz.

    wayne mapp asked me if i deny the recent economic news is good? i say good for whom? for nearly 40 years i intermittently read this news… the benefirs just never trickle down. we will continue down the path for a long time because in my time the only party that has dared cry

    the emperor has no clothes

    is the greens.

    no wonder they are villified by the right and others. fortunately we dont have crucifixtions anymore.

    but lets take the time to ask this question. why are so many so fearful of the greens that they use alot of tome belittling them?the greens challenge us to invert our world and economic view. .. its too much for most to contemplate.

    indeed why dont we turn over the moneychangers tables more often when they screw us so majorly every 12 years and with stealth in between.

    • Naturesong 6.1

      It is a constant wonder to me that any christian person would vote for National, or Labour in recent years for that matter.

      • Foreign Waka 6.1.1

        Perhaps they were the ones believing in the fat man that comes through the chimney instead of Christ being borne?

      • Tim 6.1.2

        It is used to be a constant wonder to me why any ‘minority’ (includind, but not limited to race/ethnicity, sexuality) would vote National. I put it down to that ‘inversion’ and all it encompasses RL and Galbraith identify and of marketisation. (The power of the 80’s emergent ‘Pink Dollars’ et al). One even sees it today amongst some in the precariat/underclass.

        What a bloody EXCELLENT post RL! (and Karol)

  7. ak 7

    Beautiful post and discussion, thanks so much Red and everyone.

    And so timely. At the celebration of the birth of our most enduring values ever, amid signs of a long-awaited resurgence. As the money-changers’ tables collapse under their own excess, the world’s most powerful man embraces the clarity of his task with unprecedented courage.

    Well-spotted the massacre of our most vital life-blood, as shown graphically in the provincial population census maps. The commodification of everything now includes community: the very basis, fundamental, and essential ingredient of every single thing that has made us what we are, and given birth to everything we hold dear.

    “Friends” are now wooed, counted and dissolved with the tiniest movement of a finger; the dissemination of arcane and empty information substituted for rich life-giving intercourse. Pink, insipid lolly-water where our rich red heritage once pumped. Producing cheap manufactured persona and realities cheek by jowl with instant gratification and commercialism. Our very source now an empty desert of green factories and filth.

    And so a chairman’s son posts saint Helen’s head on pornography with utter impunity; power is won for the oppressors, and the roastbusters brag openly.

    Beneficiaries the last scapegoat group available; and even there, open bullying no longer acceptable. Orewa One, the bedrock and founder of latter-day National, the last kiwi frankenstein.

    And beware the careful Bennett-Borrows passive-aggression progrom lest it be employed elsewhere. Death by a million cuts, bruises and hurdles, is as miserable – or moreso – and effective as any Parihaka. And note the descent to the personal, the shameless and blatant use of the innocent for political gain: much more difficult to detect, Chuang and Len’s daughters possibly the tips of a giant iceberg at work as we speak.

    Yet despite the repugnant consequences, blossoms emerge. Despite deliberately-fomented and accidental stumbles, the Maori, Woman and Gay will never ever again be beaten down. The beneficial lessons of perseverance and truth writ large on every kiwi street and screen every day; Mandela and Francis too big, too true, to be ignored – even by the omnipresent moneychanger propagandists.

    Come down safely Red, and take a bow all of you.

    Write it large and shout it to yourself every day: KIA KAHA!

    • RedLogix 7.1

      And note the descent to the personal, the shameless and blatant use of the innocent for political gain: much more difficult to detect, Chuang and Len’s daughters possibly the tips of a giant iceberg at work as we speak.

      Nicely expressed ak. It’s not even a case of who is ‘innocent’ or not here – it’s the blatant exploitation of what should be private that constantly angers me. It’s the same prurient, emotional, grief porn formula used in the media to sell it’s advertising.

      You only have to be unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the authoritarian machine will descend on your personal tragedy and use you for it’s own purposes. And you will have little or no say in how it is presented and what is said. And in a manner our grandparents would have been mostly shocked to see. Although on the other hand it’s a form of emotional violence the Romans would have recognised; personal agony as entertainment for the masses.

      The beneficial lessons of perseverance and truth writ large on every kiwi street and screen every day; Mandela and Francis too big, too true, to be ignored – even by the omnipresent moneychanger propagandists.

      More than this. While the existing order is tottering and rotting from the inside; a simultaneous rebirth is underway. The form of it cannot be seen yet, but the components are being assembled. I’ve no idea when it’s meant to come to life.

      And I only wish you would post more often ak – then I’d be less inclined to inflict my own waffle and clumsy grammar on the world.

      I’m very safe where I am thank you. This is more of a project than an adventure.

      • karol 7.1.1

        Nicely expressed ak. It’s not even a case of who is ‘innocent’ or not here – it’s the blatant exploitation of what should be private that constantly angers me.

        hmmm… it depends on what actually happened. The resort to the “private” is a mixed bag, in my view. Yes, politicians, like the rest of us, are entitled to privacy for our sexual relationships.

        However, the intertwining of sexuality and power is everywhere – in politics and the workplace, as well as in the home. Abuse of a position of political or social power for selfish sexual satisfaction is a political issue.

        However, in Brown’s case, there is no clear evidence that he used his position for things like: coercing someone into sex via promises of political favours.

        There is a traditional pattern that older men use, or play on, their political power as part of their seduction line. (Kissinger talked of power being an aphrodisiac.) Some women may do that sort of thing, too, but not nearly as often as older men with younger women.

        According to Chuang, she wasn’t so much attracted to Brown as to the aura of his political position. So it’s in dodgy territory.

        However, I’m sure Brown isn’t the only political personage in NZ to have had such affairs.

        This from ak:

        And note the descent to the personal, the shameless and blatant use of the innocent for political gain: much more difficult to detect, Chuang and Len’s daughters possibly the tips of a giant iceberg at work as we speak.

        I notice you didn’t identify Brown as one of the “innocents”. And I do agree that WO and other Brown opponents have shamelessly been using this relationship in a very exploitative and sensationalised way for their own gain.

        RL: It’s the same prurient, emotional, grief porn formula used in the media to sell it’s advertising.

        Yes, I agree with that. Brown may not be “innocent” but his opposition are pretty shameless in milking the sensational for political gain, regardless of who gets hurt by it.

        Brown has lost my support – first Ports of Auckland, then voting for Sky City. His personal failings put him in ambiguous territory for me. The latter not a sacking offence, and something that is redeemable. People are capable of change. I will wait and see.

        Nevertheless, Brown surely must have known that such dalliances are likely to fuel opposition attacks. Reckless.

        But, more important are his political sell outs, and the fact that for me, he was always the not-John-Banks candidate … I’m hoping for a new left mayoral candidate come the next election.

  8. Ad 8

    Not sure I agree Jesus had one fixed view on money, assets, or human potential. You reminded me more of Gutierrez than Jesus per se.

    The seventies has inflated the balloon of utopia in your mind and the shape still remains. That space cannot be accurately described to those beyond that generation. It it a u-topos.

    I agree completely with you however on the aridity of economic language as a glossary of human being and becoming. Just nuts.

    Also not sure Greens have a lock on naming other ways of running a country. See Karol’s post on Michael Joseph Savage.

    It’s noteworthy that only on holidays can most get the mental space to imagine alternative lives. Like those French in 1968 who – when even tv and radio were on strike – finally caught up with neighbours across the street.

    I hope writers like you turn into Green Party policy writers and speech writers. They need idealists with historical reach – nostalgia of the Ernst Bloch kind is as you describe a way to freedom: through recovery.

    • Tracey 8.1

      Michael Joseph savage is dead. I named the Greens because they are currently publicly pushing a different view. I dont know any main party pushing mickey savage’s view, most of all not labour.

  9. chris73 9

    Just out of interest, what mountain are you on?

    • Tracey 9.1

      the mountain is not the topic of the thread, perhaps you could ask your social question in Open Mike?

      • chris73 9.1.1

        Just thought it was easier to ask the author in the thread they started as they’re more likely to see the question rather then post it in open mike where they might not see the question

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Oh — personally I’d be happy to enlarge on this at a later time.

          • chris73 9.1.1.1.1

            Thats cool, I’m just curious about things like that…posting from a mountain is certainly different from where most people post (I’m guessing)

        • Tracey 9.1.1.2

          yea but it’s not about whats easier for you is it chris, it’s about where it’s appropriate. The topic, which you have chosen not to comment on, which is your right, is nothing to do with the mountain he’s up.

  10. rhinocrates 10

    Thanks almost everyone for an interesting post and discussion

    Hi X73, how about the GPS co-ordinates of your mountain please just so that we can at last find the centre of the world, the Omphalos, as it were, at last. We’ve got to be consistent about references and citations per your perennial demand when you’re not playing the victim card… or are you just blowing raspberries as usual? (My favourite mountain is Olympus Mons, BTW).

    • chris73 10.1

      Are you Redlogix?

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        No rhino is a far tougher character than me….

        • chris73 10.1.1.1

          Well my question was aimed towards you not him so I was a little confused as to why he replied

        • rhinocrates 10.1.1.2

          “Tougher” maybe, but a lot flakier, I’ll be the first to admit.

          And, uh, sorry X73 “a little confused” might be understating it a wee small infinitesimally tiny bit.

          Testosterone poisoning can be treated, I’ve heard.

      • rhinocrates 10.1.2

        Nope. I’d say that if I were a liar of course, but you’ll never know for sure, will you?

        That’s one of the reasons why we have the never-question-anyone’s-handle rule – not only is it rude, it’s pointless.

        I might be Redlogix, but I think that they might dispute that. I might be your postie, your dog, one of the voices in your head, someone you passed in a crowd last week… the man in the trenchcoat with the ginger hair… the short woman in the leather jacket… who.. who?

        Since my avatar is inspired by HAL 9000, maybe I’m a bot?

        X73, such a chewtoy…

        Tracey: the mountain is not the topic of the thread

        And there is no spoon.

        OK, mockery of one kind, jollity of another is followed by yet another kind:

        Well, my Christmas has been wonderful – some family rifts healed, contra tradition.

        The Labour Party in its root form – certainly not after the Rogernomic cancer – has been described as Applied Christianity. Let’s hope that that continues and grows anew.

        http://weknowmemes.com/2012/05/did-i-fucking-stutter/

        • chris73 10.1.2.1

          “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” and sometimes a question is just a question but why you bothered answering a question that wasn’t directed at you is beyond me

          • rhinocrates 10.1.2.1.1

            Fun.

            (“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” – now now, you’re finicky about attributions – you should add “Sigmund Freud, Attr.”)

            • chris73 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Because maybe he didn’t say it

              http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/08/12/just-a-cigar/

              • rhinocrates

                Hence “Attr.”

                Do try to pay attention, dear boy.

                (People with no sense of irony standing on their dignity – they never fail to be funny)

                • Polish Pride

                  You guys should be politicians. You could argue for days just for the sake of arguing and get nothing done. Chris73 asked what mountain he was on out of interests sake nothing more. Rather than take the simple route and simply answer his question which would have taken all of 5 seconds. You instead scold and belittle him.
                  Is this Whaleoil or The Standard. You either genuinely think you are reaching hearts and minds with that behavior or your on a fast track to less and less people taking your views seriously.

                  Either way its a real shame because it was a good article and the left could have all of the most important things they want once they start thinking outside of the box, or put quite simply look at solutions that don’t involve the redistribution of wealth.

                  Left and Right is not about The caring Left and the Greedy Rightwing Capitalist Bastards.. Nor is it about the Sensible Right versus a bunch of Commie pricks and a bunch of tree hugging hippies.

                  See Left and the Right are just ways of thinking. They are two ends of a spectrum upon which everybody in the world falls somewhere depending on how exactly they see the world
                  Neither are right or wrong, they simply just are.

                  Someone on the Left views the world very externally. Sees things they want to change, see inadequacies within the system and want to change the system to address those inadequacies.
                  example: They see families not having enough money and from their position in the system they would like to help those families but cannot (the system does not give them the resources to do this) in understanding this they then want the system to provide. This is currently actioned through various types of welfare.
                  Someone on the Right views the world with much less of an external view. They understand the system, They understand the rules of the game. Their focus is on them and their family within the system, and doing what they need to do to be successful.

                  They see taxes as being something that, although necessary, takes away from them and makes it just that little more difficult for them to achieve what they need to or want to in the system.
                  They see these taxes spent on welfare and unnecessary political activities, govt departments.
                  Both focuses are noble in their own right
                  The person on the left just wants to look after others who they think need help.
                  The person on the right simply wants to look after their family.

                  Unfortunately because we currently have a system based on limited resources and money, neither group will ever get exactly what it is that they want.

                  Both can achieve the outcomes they are after but only in a system based on an abundance of resources. It cannot and never will be achieved through a system of scarcity. At least not without oppression.
                  It can only be achieved through politics of the individual whilst eliminating the need to redistribute wealth.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    We’re well into the transition from free market capitalism to neofeudal rule by the global 0.1%.

                    Further, we’ve already burnt through all of the Earth’s cheapest and easiest resources. Only the expensive hard to extract low quality stuff is left.

                    Your PR spin is already 10 years out of date, PP.

                    • Polish Pride

                      Then you misunderstood my point CV. I know exactly where we are currently headed.
                      It is as I have stated above whether you like it or not.
                      The solution you seek will not come from forcing the policies of the left upon others. The reason for this is that there is and always has been and always will be an equal and opposing force from the right. A force that will (under the current system) ALWAYS at some point have the numbers to have their side in power and implementing policy designed to give them and their voters what they want.

                      “Further, we’ve already burnt through all of the Earth’s cheapest and easiest resources. Only the expensive hard to extract low quality stuff is left.”

                      Yes we have, and whilst we continue to adhere to a system where the ‘economy’ which comes with the profit motive and planned obsolescence is of utmost importance, then we will continue to churn through our remaining resources at an even faster pace than we are now.

                      Whilst people need to sell goods to others and turn a profit then we will continue to not only strip this planet of its resources but the very need for profit and the ‘health’ of the economy will continue to be used to do so just as it is now.

                      Like it or not CV a path to the solution is in the post above.
                      A solution that provides what should be the ultimate and most noble goal of the Left. A world where everyone can live a happy and fulfilling life lived with dignity and freedom. A solution that also gives the right what they want a system where they and their family can live a happy and fulfilling life lived with success and freedom.
                      The Resource Based Economy solves not only the problems of the Left but also the problems of the Right, furthermore it solves the problem of the 1%

                      You only need to look at the bottom level Maslows Hierarchy to see how poorly the current system is performing for many around the world.

                      I like where your headed CV, I like the thinking laid out in your ‘coming out’ (so to speak) post. I realise you can’t commit political suicide right now by telling the masses when you run that- Hey we should switch to an RBE. I get that But that’s my job. Its my job to change the narrative.

                      “Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Meade”

    • halfcrown 10.2

      Well said rhinocrates
      But my favorite mountain is Venus Mons

  11. RL,

    I’m not worthy.

  12. North 12

    A brilliant read RL. Thank you.

  13. Ad 13

    Would be good to see cv do a post on ‘neo feudalism’ in New Zealand. Show us the depth of the darkness. With some predictions that are more convincing than impossible nostalgia. A good dark dystopian debate, cv.

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