Against the atheist bus campaign

Written By: - Date published: 12:11 pm, December 11th, 2009 - 105 comments
Categories: religion - Tags:

uk_atheist_bus_imageI’m sorry, but I just can’t see the point of this atheist bus campaign. New Zealand is one of the most secular countries in the world. Religion here is seen as a private matter and apart from a few fringe idiots we don’t have a problem with political religion.

Kiwis just don’t have the temperament for that sort of thing. In fact, the best way to discredit a political cause is to associate it with religion. That’s why the religious extremists behind the smacking lobby had to dress up their latest campaign as a ‘march for democracy’, and even then they only got a handful of supporters.

The fact is the vast majority of Christians in New Zealand are decent, tolerant people who see religious belief as a private concern. They don’t bother me about my beliefs and I don’t bother them about theirs. That’s as it should be.

We don’t need imported culture wars. It’s not the Kiwi way.

105 comments on “Against the atheist bus campaign”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I heard that guy on national radio this morning, and was thinking “um, NZ is probably the most secular first-world country in the world, what exactly are you trying to achieve here?”.

    It seems like a rather stupid thing to do anyway. It’s not actually going to make anyone change their mind about anything. Atheists will laugh and say “haha, stupid theists”, while theists will either be offended or ignore it.

  2. IrishBill 2

    As a longtime atheist myself I agree this is unnecessary, counterproductive and dull. I’d prefer to see a campaign against the free-market theists. “There’s probably no invisible hand” would be the best thing written on a bus. Ever.

  3. ieuan 3

    ‘It’s not the Kiwi way.’

    And here’s me thinking the kiwi way is to have a good robust debate about things rather than quietly hiding them.

    It’s a free country people, I don’t think they need the permission of the writers at the Standard to run their campaign.

    I’ve donated $20 to help them their message out (which is ‘it’s OK to not believe in a God’ – if your asking).

    • Eddie 3.1

      Dear oh dear. No one’s trying to deny you the right to put up a billboard. Knock yourself out. I just don’t think it’s particularly productive or helpful.

      • ieuan 3.1.1

        Actually you said ‘it’s not the kiwi way’.

        Maybe you would like to explain what the ‘kiwi way’ is?

        • Eddie 3.1.1.1

          Importing culture wars, trying to impose your private religious beliefs on other people. Kiwis generally have better things to do than proselytise, and that’s the way I like it.

          • ieuan 3.1.1.1.1

            Your reading a hell of a lot into a fairly simple, straightforward message.

            Then again the writers at the Standard are great at adding 2+2 and getting 5.

            • Eddie 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I find it hard to believe this campaign is not connected to the wave of militant atheism inspired by Dawkins and Hitchens that’s grown up as a response to Christian fundamentalism in the US and to a lesser extent in Britain.

              • Pascal's bookie

                militant?

                Nah. Strident perhaps, or hectoring.

              • snoozer

                militant is Dawkins’ term I think.

                I’m a fan of Dawkins’ writing. But I don’t see what good this campaign does. It’s insulting, rather than educating.

              • The Baron

                Sorry Eddie, we evidently forgot that hectoring and telling people what to believe is the sole preserve of you and the Labour party.

                The amount of injustice, intolerance, bigotry, hatred, agression, discrimination, war, famine and death has been caused by religion throughout history is a tragedy. Some of us consider a small stand against that as something important – sorry that you find it so offensive, because it came from “over there”.

                And then to close things off with your own import – a kiwi take on “unamerican”, to back up your case. If that ain’t hipocrisy, I don’t know what is!

          • Deus ex Machina 3.1.1.1.2

            Sure, your thoughtful, intelligent, intellectual liberal would allow us all the arrive at our own religious, or non-religious, beliefs after careful meditation and perhaps discussion on the subject. That’s as it should be.

            But for a great many people their religion is a matter of cultural default. they go with the stream. They will be aware of alternatives but know nothing about them, and likely have neither the tools, time nor inclination to bother about the matter. Such ‘religion’ is worthless – like voting National because ‘Labour’ is Socialist, and “Socialist” sounds creepy, or because that was the way your father voted.

            This advertising campaign is intended to rattle that mind-set. It is aimed at those who would call themselves ‘Christian’, ‘Moslem’ etc. because that was how they were brought up, but who might harbour doubts about it. It’s saying to them, “It’s OK to think these thoughts. There’s another, quiet mainstream that thinks that way too.” It’s just an invitation to take the first step on a journey to a ‘true’ religious or non-religious view of the world for anyone who wants to take it.

  4. Tammy Gordon 4

    I was just invited to join this campaign on Facebook. I won’t be. One of the things that seems so incredibly pointless and mindbooglingly harmful throughout history, is the intent of organised religion to impose its views on other people with different views. So as an atheist (and I resent even having to name my beliefs, to me it’s like declaring that I don’t believe in the Giant Pumpkin) I’m fundamentally – no pun intended – opposed to proselytising.

    • I had to laugh Tammy when I read your post.

      I am a Christian myself but had always thought if I was a atheist what would be the point apposing a belief when you don’t believe its foundation concept exists as you have nicely said. Pumpkin analogy was good by the way.
      Just goes to show even those who don’t agree can agree.

  5. outofbed 5

    Does an atheist bus know its destination?

  6. Gosman 6

    So we’re one of the most secular countries in the world eh?

    So why does our National Anthem implore a supreme deity for protection?

    Why is our Head of State intricately linked with a State sanctioned faith?

    Why are religious rites actively encouraged in national institutions?

    I say until these abhorent behaviours are stopped campaigns like the one on the buses are not just acceptable, they are vital.

    • Eddie 6.1

      It’s my view that none of that symbolism really matters compared to the bigger issues. I’d support getting rid of it, but I’m not going to waste my time or money doing so. But like I say, if it really matters to you then knock yourself out.

  7. felix 7

    …apart from a few fringe idiots we don’t have a problem with political religion.

    Yeah, but why do you have to view this through a political lens? You might as well ask ‘what’s the point’ of any number of endeavours which don’t address a specific political concern. The latest Dimmer album for instance – what’s the point?

    As ieuan says, “it’s OK to not believe in a God” is a valid message and it might be one that a lot of people benefit from hearing.

    • Gosman 7.1

      Oh my god!

      A topic we are in agreement on.

      Perhaps the end of the world is ny after all. 😉

    • Eddie 7.2

      The reason I bring politics into it is because this movement is largely inspired by the rise of political Christianity in recent years. But I doubt there are many people out there who don’t see atheism as legitimate. We’re not in bloody Texas.

      • Gosman 7.2.1

        I disagree. Even in NZ Atheist and Humanists are seen as reather bizarre and fringe.

        The Humanist movement is always fighting to get the same sort of official involvement in various state activities whereas the Religious organisations are actively courted.

        • Eddie 7.2.1.1

          Not my experience, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          I don’t know why the humanist movement would want official involvement in state activities anyway.

    • IrishBill 7.3

      Felix, I like the new Dimmer album. Somewhat ironically I’m particularly fond of “Bless”. Regarding the validity of the messages, yes it’s valid but it’s promotion in this manner risks giving the batty christians more oxygen.

      • felix 7.3.1

        Yeah I like it too. I was just saying that because something doesn’t have an obvious political context is a stupid reason to dismiss it. Most worthwhile things in life don’t.

        However I’d go further and suggest that we do have a problem with extreme religious nutters in politics in NZ, and that problem is the same as the problem with the other types of fringe nutters in politics – that supposedly “centrist” or “moderate” politicians give them the time of day.

        As for the oxygen, that’s probably a good point. I’d note that they seem to breathe ok without it though.

  8. The fox 8

    I kind of see your point about it not being the Kiwi way and all, but try telling that to the likes of Wishart who imported the culture wars very successfully a long time ago. Cultural isolationism is no excuse for ignoring the global memes of the fundamentalists. This campaign may seem a little self indulgent but at a time when rational science is being rabidly attacked by creationists, shrugging your shoulders and saying nothing to with us is a bit of a lame response really.

    • Eddie 8.1

      I’d support the campaign if it was somewhere like Arkansas where the god squad are an actual threat. New Zealand? Not so much.

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        Every where there are visible presence of Religious people and symbols actively involved in State sanctioned activity it is a threat.

        • Eddie 8.1.1.1

          I don’t take such an extreme position. No one’s forcing me to believe anything or do anything against my will. It’s not ideal, but hardly worth worrying about.

          I’m also not sure whether the western view of secularism is all that chop anyway. Amartya Sen has some interesting things to say about this. But that’s a whole different argument that I don’t have time for.

          • Gosman 8.1.1.1.1

            Yet it was you who started this topic.

            For someone who has little interest in something you sure have expended an awful lot of effort on it.

          • Con 8.1.1.1.2

            No one’s forcing me to believe anything or do anything against my will. It’s not ideal, but hardly worth worrying about.

            So because you weren’t religiously indoctrinated as a child, you have no sympathy for those who were, or who still are suffering in this way? That certainly is less than ideal.

            • Eddie 8.1.1.1.2.1

              I was referring to religious symbolism like the Parliamentary prayer or the mention of God in our anthem. I doubt anyone has ever become a Christian as a result of the Parliamentary prayer.

              • felix

                Nice strawman, Eddie, and by “nice” I mean “preposterous and infantile”.

                The religious traditions and symbolism woven through the very fabric of our society may seem harmless enough on their own (parliamentary prayer for example) but they don’t exist on their own. They form a self-reinforcing mechanism in which each supports the validity of the next.

                For those indoctrinated at a young age into religious belief these symbols are constant reminders, on both conscious and subconscious levels, of the correctness of that indoctrination and when functioning correctly the illusion is that no indoctrination has taken place.

                I don’t for a moment believe that you don’t already understand how this works.

              • A Nonny Moose

                I doubt this sort of campaign is speaking to the fundamentalists, but more to the people who haven’t used church on a weekly basis in their lives. We are socialized from the beginning of our lives to accept god/religion in our every day lives before we have even formed an opinion on our own personalities.

                Baptized as a baby – you don’t get a choice. Religious instructions at school – you don’t get a choice. God/prayer in school/national anthem – you don’t get a choice.

                It’s not fair that religion should get a free pass as the moralization of our society. Some people live by tradition or honest fear of questioning. They should be let known, in the kindest of way, that it’s OK to question.

                Calling it wussy? Well, an atheist doesn’t really want to succumb to the thundering levels of rhetoric that theists are allowed.

                Oh, and Atheism Bingo 101: atheism is not a belief – it is a lack thereof.

              • Eddie

                Dude, I’m not defending Christianity or the use of Christian rituals by the state. My position on this is apathy. I’m sorry if I don’t see the odd bit of symoblism as a grave injustice, but I just don’t.

                Maybe it’s a matter of different life experiences colouring our reactions to these issues.

              • felix

                With all due respect Eddie, nothing you’ve said today would characterise your position as apathetic.

                When you say things like:

                I doubt anyone has ever become a Christian as a result of the Parliamentary prayer.

                you’re actively defending the use of religious symbolism and ritual by the state, and on extremely flimsy grounds.

              • Eddie

                I’ll make it clear then – I don’t think the state should favour one religion, and I oppose the mixing of church and state. I don’t think symbolic issues like the Parliamentary prayer are worth dying in a ditch over.

              • felix

                Again with the strawmen, Eddie.

                No-one’s suggesting “dying in a ditch”. It’s some billboards on buses.

                And you’ve spoken out rather strongly against them so far.

              • Eddie

                You’re conflating my comments about billboards with my comments about the Parliamentary prayer. Different issues.

                The prayer shouldn’t be there as it technically contravenes the separation of church and state, but in my view the prayer is just symbolism and I’m not going to waste my time trying to remove it (like I would, say, enforced church attendance or the teaching of creationism).

                My view on the bus ads is explained in the post. People’s private religious beliefs are their own and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business.

              • felix

                No-one’s suggested dying in a ditch on either issue, Eddie. It’s a strawman which ever way you want to apply it.

                If anyone it’s you who seems to be conflating them. I don’t see anyone else here claiming that the billboards have anything to do with parliamentary prayer.

                No-one’s suggested that parliamentary prayer will turn people into christians either. In fact it’s hard to see anyone else even mentioning parliamentary prayer, hence another strawman.

                My view on the bus ads is explained in the post. People’s private religious beliefs are their own and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business.

                But that doesn’t wash in light of your further commentary, Eddie. If you’re quite happy having religious ritual, symbology and iconography embedded deeply into the culture then it’s absurd for you to take a stand against these billboards and still pretend to be an uninterested bystander.

                You’ve picked a side whether you know it or not.

              • Eddie

                This is getting tedious. The prayer and the billboards are different arguments from different sub-threads in this discussion.

                Regarding the prayer, there’s a difference between being ‘happy’ with something and thinking it’s stupid but not worth wasting time and effort on. My view is the latter.

                Regarding the billboards, like I’ve said a hundred times, I think people’s personal religious beliefs are their own and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business.

              • felix

                Regarding the prayer, there’s a difference between being ‘happy’ with something and thinking it’s stupid but not worth wasting time and effort on. My view is the latter.

                Who is suggesting otherwise, Eddie? You made up the ‘dying-in-a-ditch-over-parliamentary-prayers’ bit yourself. Get over it.

                Regarding the billboards, like I’ve said a hundred times, I think people’s personal religious beliefs are their own and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business.

                But they’re not just “personal” beliefs, Eddie, they’re deeply embedded social constructs supported by layers and layers of assumptions.

                As I have to spend large parts of my life dealing with people and institutions who are working within the framework of these assumptions and constructs it most certainly is my business.

                You’ve been arguing all day that people shouldn’t waste their time challenging these assumptions, Eddie, and you brought it up with the post. That’s not the way uninterested apathetic bystanders generally spend their time.

  9. OOB; nice haiku, though a little bit EJ Thribbish!

    Actually I
    Am of the opinion
    That the bus stops here.

    My only complaint about the campaign is that it’s so wussy. ‘There is no god, enjoy your time alive’ would be more apposite, I reckon.

  10. ieuan 10

    ‘The fact is the vast majority of Christians in New Zealand are decent, tolerant people who see religious belief as a private concern.’

    Like the Family First’s and Larry Baldocks of the world?

    Didn’t they just force a $9M referendum on us that asked a stupid question that something like 90% of people supported?

    How do they fit into your nice little view of kiwi Christians Eddie?

    • Eddie 10.1

      Baldock and co are not the vast majority, they’re a fringe minority who have to hide behind words like ‘democracy’ to push their ideas, and even then only get a handful of supporters.

      If you’re looking to undermine the likes of Baldock you need to wedge them from mainstream Christians and make it clear what a fringe character he is. Nothing about this billboard campaign will achieve that.

      • ieuan 10.1.1

        Like the 300,000 who signed their petition? That fringe minority, that handful of supporters?

        • Eddie 10.1.1.1

          I don’t think you can plausibly argue they were signing anything to support political religion. They were reacting to the myth that the police would be breaking down the doors of good parents and confiscating their children over a light smack. The organisers were fringe extremists, the people signing were only guilty of ignorance and fear.

  11. Bill 11

    Methinks these pussyfooting atheists are ‘probably’ agnostics.

  12. Janice 12

    I heard a little old lady the other day refer to Bishop Brian and his 700 obedient sons as “the Density Church”. I wonder if the sons are going to be seconded to clear the banners off the buses. I can’t see the point of discussing it, many years ago most of the people in the world considered the earth flat, it didn’t make it so.

    • outofbed 12.1

      Its not ?

      • felix 12.1.1

        Turtles all the way down I’m afraid.

      • Pascal's bookie 12.1.2

        Don’t listen oob, It’s a fucking plot mate, first they tells you it’s ball shaped and they show you pretty pictures. Next thing you know it’s ‘leap years’ and there’s an extra fucking ‘day’ added to the calender. Is it a holiday? Is it fuck.

        • ieuan 12.1.2.1

          Miles off topic but: Bang on, I’ve never understood why leap year day is not a holiday. If you’re on a salary you work it for free.

  13. Bill 13

    One potential upside might be if some kids from fundi families who have been trained to take the existence of god as a given and taught that everyone thinks ‘thus’ and are ‘protected’ from any and all contrary view points read the bus and paused for thought or had that seed of doubt silently planted in their mind….

  14. tc 14

    God forgives and saves sinners……..in fact he’s saving a few for a boys weekend away woo hoo.

  15. randal 15

    god lives and he loves YOU!
    dont worry be happy.

  16. I’m a bit perturbed that commenters here are focussing on the effect on Christians. I’d prefer a world sans all religious faiths, Christian, Muslim, Pixie, whatever.

    And while I’m at it, why are the Scientologists still allowed a tax free status? Not even close to being a religion in any spiritual sense.

  17. randal 17

    ieuan.
    even better.

    • ieuan 17.1

      You might be happy with your God being a ‘she’ but if that was the case it would stuff up every organised religion out there. They pretty much all have the man as the centre of the universe and the woman as a second class citizen.

      That’s the nice thing about religion, it’s always been a power game, just ask Brian Tamaki.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    I’m wondering if I should donate to them. I don’t think it’s a great idea but at the same time I understand why the message needs to be out there.

  19. outofbed 19

    No, buy someone a goat for xmas instead

  20. Camden Whelk 20

    If you take out the imported culture wars there is bugger all left to the Kiwi Way. We are an English-speaking European-descended post-Enlightenment Global Western culture. The only thing that makes us unique is our connection with Maoritanga, and the original owners might like that back at some stage. Everything else is imported.

  21. Scott 21

    What is the problem with this campaign? If religious groups are allowed to promote their beliefs, then why shouldn’t atheists be allowed to?

    I personally think religious belief is completely irrational. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to see a sign or billboard that supports and gives comfort to my view?

    When I can walk down Queen Street without some proselytising fool trying to give me books, and when people peddling religion stop banging on my front door, then maybe I’ll be able to agree this campaign isn’t needed.

    Besides, what do religious people have to fear? My kind are all going to hell anyway.

  22. Ag 22

    A more telling blow against NZ religion would be struck by having the billboard accuse Brian Tamaki of wearing a hairpiece.

  23. Rex Widerstrom 23

    Atheist buses? That cannot end well.

  24. Eclipse 24

    Looking at the number of responses this thread has attracted (which I haven’t read all of), I can’t help but feel the campaign is already achieveing its primary purpose – encouraging debate

  25. Westminster 25

    I agree, although the recent section 59 debate may have created the first few cancerous cells of a militant Christian tumour. Nevertheless, I think it’s premature to be battling culture wars like this right now.

  26. Adam Jarvis 26

    I think many people are taking the thrust of Eddie’s post too far. Leaving aside the contradiction in tone between his claim that the signs are simply unnecessary and “We don’t need imported culture wars. It’s not the Kiwi way.”, i’ll go with the first interpretation.

    He doesn’t think it is needed. New Zealand is apparently a highly secular country with no problems with religion to speak of. I disagree.

    People have brought up our dear Bishop and Larry Baldock. What about the exclusive brethren (and others) attempt to hijack our democracy only 2 elections ago? What about the not insignificant proportion of our country that votes for the party espousing ‘Christian family values’? Ray Comfort hails from New Zealand!

    While I could go on, I realise these things are relatively minor. We do have a mostly secular country. The need for this campaign pales in comparison to the need for it in the states. Yet, we could do with a dose less religion on the national stage. That alone, justifies the small inoffensive message that it is, in fact, ok not to believe in a deity.

    Even if the campaign were to have no effect nationally, I would still support it. This might be the first time many indoctrinated kids are exposed to this point of view. If some kids become, at the very least, more accepting of non believers (and perhaps less likely to accept religious BS), it is money well spent.

  27. NickS 27

    Lawl, the poll on Stuff for this got utterly Pharyngulated:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/3149823/Theres-probably-no-God-coming-to-a-bus-near-you

    Beware the minions of Myers.

    • Adam Jarvis 27.1

      Oh come on… PZ would never do such a thing 🙂

      Clearly 86.7% of New Zealanders don’t believe in God. Exactly the same proportion who like beating their children.

      Coincidence? I think not. This is clear evidence atheism leads to child abuse.

  28. Connie Mist 28

    I work in a profession (social work) where it is “normal” to open a meeting with a prayer and close with a hymn.

    Any I protest I may make must be silent lest I am accused of insensitivity; I welcome the bus campaign to offer a platform for debate…

  29. illuminatedtiger 29

    As long as it boils the blood of the Exclusive Brethren and Destiny Church I’m all for it!

  30. Craig Ranapia 30

    I’m a devout Catholic.

    I enjoy my life, and things I worry about are worth the investment of emotional capital and not the result of faith-based neurosis.

    I also avoid patronising atheists of my acquaintance as unhappy neurotics who need to find God and cheer the fuck up because one religious principle I do my best to live is “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

    And as I’ve said elsewhere, if you want to be noxiously reductive and patronising towards millions of people, how about this:

    ALLAH PROBABLY DOESN’T EXIST. NOW STOP BLOWING SHIT UP, AND CHILL OUT.

    Islamic fundamentalism deserves to be challenged and exposed, but not by soundbite patronage of a billion human beings whose fundamental beliefs I don’t share, but are no faith-based Borg Collective by any stretch of the imagination.

    • ieuan 30.1

      ‘one religious principle I do my best to live is “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

      That’s the ‘golden rule’ and while adopted by most religions is not a ‘religious’ principle, it is far more universal than that.

      Bit sad if the only atheists you have met are ‘unhappy neurotics’, maybe most atheists you know would rather not tell you about their non-religious stance and given the rest of your comments it is no surprise.

  31. Richard 31

    Did you hear the one about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac?
    He lay awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog.

  32. rave 32

    There’s definitely no kiwi way.
    captcha: ridiculous

  33. Craig Glen Eden 33

    God this discussion was boring!

  34. Camden WHELK MAKES THE POINT THAT: ‘If you take out the imported culture wars there is bugger all left to the Kiwi Way. We are an English-speaking European-descended post-Enlightenment Global Western culture. The only thing that makes us unique is our connection with Maoritanga, and the original owners might like that back at some stage. Everything else is imported.’

    Hmmmm… it’s been an interesting recent development in a couple of schools I know that staff are required to stand for recitation of karakia and join in singing waiata before daily briefings, and and students in assembly are also required to join in the singing of waiata.

    Lyrics translated as all about dawns and mountains and such, with a bit of ‘Great Spirit’ thrown in. Pantheism perhaps.

    Now, what should we put on the sides of our school buses?

  35. Unfortnately, this is one of the side-effects of the vitriol and militancy of the hardcore Christian fundamentalist lobby. It does tend to spark off equally vocal antagonistic responses. Actually, I felt that hoarding was a model of restraint, compared to other pro-secularity messages that I’ve seen. And hey, we live in a pluralist society of mixed and happily co-existent religious and secular philosophies. So give them their right to free speech and expression.

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  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    5 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    5 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    6 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    7 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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