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First they came….

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, August 6th, 2010 - 77 comments
Categories: education, national/act government, same old national - Tags:

This guest post quotes the statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller in Germany after World War II about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power. The comparison to NACT policies towards the education sector is striking.

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

In education in New Zealand we had them coming for the teachers, then the principals, then the Boards. All the while the Ministry of Education, our countries worst performing Ministry, sided with the Minister and against the many experts and commentators that were and continue to argue that National Standards are fundamentally flawed.

Now they are coming for the Ministry – it is hard to feel sorry for any of the people there who will be joining John and Bill’s dole queue.

77 comments on “First they came….”

  1. Justin 1

    In bad taste.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Truth is only “bad taste” to those who don’t want others to know it.

    • felix 1.2

      Notice how righties always get upset when people speak ill of the nazis?

    • jbanks 1.3

      Yep. You know you’re on some smoke hazed conspiracy shite when you self goodwin in the first paragraph. Crap like this is like shooting your cause in the foot.

      • lprent 1.3.1

        I’d think that you recognize the sensation quite well. You’d be one of the most regular at doing it…..

        • jbanks

          haha you really don’t get it do you hoppy?. If you weren’t always spouting that “Labour is infallible, National want to eat your children blah blah blah it’s the end of the world nazi ” rubbish all the time then you wouldn’t scare away the intellectual lefties who even if people don’t agree with they’re at least in the realm of reality.

      • Rich 1.3.2

        Because one geek lawyer in 1990 was entitled to dictate that nobody’s ever allowed to refer to the key events of the 20th century in Internet discussion? An *American* lawyer, you’ll note, not someone from any of the countries who suffered Nazi occupation or bombing in WW2.

        And while the Nazi’s were unique in the level and focus of their evil, it’s important to remember that the mainstream right (Lindbergh, Rothermere, Halifax) in Britain and the US held them in high regard right up to the point of war.

        • felix

          “Because one geek lawyer in 1990 was entitled to dictate that nobody’s ever allowed to refer to the key events of the 20th century in Internet discussion?”

          Nah, “Godwin’s Law” simply states that the longer an internet discussion goes on, the more likely it becomes that a comparison with nazis will be made.

          It’s a “law” in the scientific sense, not in the legislative sense.

    • Jum 1.4

      Obviously, then there’ll be nobody left when they come for you, as you are not concerned for the first group to fall over on this government’s list.

      • jbanks 1.4.1

        Come for me? Nobody left? Keep spouting this ridiculous tripe and there will be nobody left alright.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Now they are coming for the Ministry…

    Links? Sources?

    Not that I disbelieve you, it’s the type of thing that the NACTs, being a bunch of psychopathic authoritarians, would do after all but it would be nice to know what you’re basing your post upon.

    • Gosman 2.1

      You forgot Nazi’s in that list DTB.

      So long as they stay away from your mates in North Korea though eh.

      • felix 2.1.1

        Today’s mission: Mention North Korea as many times as you can.

        Bonus points for laughing at your own ignorance and random insertion of smilies for no reason.


        😀 😀

        • Gosman

          Obviously there must be additional bonus points for adding random 1’s into posts.


          I’m beating you now felix!

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Bad tastes tend to make me feel ill… Kim Jong Il.

          *budum… cha!*

          Do I get double points? 😀

    • lprent 2.2

      It is a guest post… If we don’t get a relevant link then we usually don’t add them. We’d either throw the whole post out or post as is. In this case I did look up the source of the quote because I was interested in where it came from – you can see my comment in italics.

      I figured in this case it’d either do either as a warning or as opinion on the news… So it got posted.

    • Fabregas4 2.3

      Mu understanding is that the Ministry of Education is to be restructured (code for reduced) because the Minister no longer has faith in their policy advice. This may mean of course that they are on the right track and oppose what Tolley is doing to education. But it is quite true that they have appeared, in their visits to Principals meetings to be thoroughly supportive of the Government (I understand the requirement to do so in terms of their public service role). But some of the things I have heard including comments such as “If you don’t agree with National Standards then you can always resign” from the Secretary of Education at a meeting in Kaikohe were plainly unhelpful, dictatorial, and from the Tolley school of Professional Consultation.

  3. Gosman 3

    Amazing to see Godwin’s law actually take affect so rapidly.

    Hey I know, why don’t you campaign on the slogan – “National – Just like the Nazi’s but much worse” at the next election and see how many people take you seriously ;).


    • felix 3.1

      LOL!! You don’t know what Godwin’s Law is! 🙂

      Just like they don’t in North Korea LOL!!!


      • Gosman 3.1.1

        You missed the random 1. I’ll give you a couple just so you don’t fall too far behind.


    • bbfloyd 3.2

      brilliant idea gos!!! the news media would be able to promote them as “nazi light” . fascism without the bayonets…

  4. mcflock 4

    um – while I don’t like NACT and indeed think that their policies kill people, succumbing to Godwin’s Law is a bit much. Especially on an anniversary of Hiroshima.

    Painfully obvious hyperbole doesn’t help any cause.

    • Gosman 4.1

      Wait a minute mcflock.

      You have to check with felix if you can reference Godwin’s law or not.

      • felix 4.1.1

        😀 😀 LOL1!!!! Korea!

        • Gosman

          Ooooooooh You are so naughty!1


          (I was falling behind in the happy face stake)

        • Puddleglum

          Felix, you’re the best! A maestro of timing and concision.

          That truly made my morning. You’d set it up beautifully.

          I just wanted to let you know how very much your skills are appreciated. I’d also been noticing Gosman’s use of ‘LOL’ as some sort of strained attempt at affecting derisory superiority but I couldn’t have retorted as well as you.

          And Gosman, well done for maintaining the humorous tone – if not quite with Felix’s deftness.

          anti-spam: dies – as in laughing!

          On the topic, the education portfolio is always going to be a difficult one for a National led government in much the same way as the Agriculture portfolio can be difficult for a Labour led government.

          Tolley might consider how Anderton did as Minister of Agriculture – came to be grudgingly accepted as a competent minister by farmers and, even, seen as a voice for them in Cabinet. Keeping your sector at least respectful of you is surely the stuff of an effective ministerial skill set. Tolley, sadly, gets a fail on that score.

  5. This guest post quotes the statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller in Germany after World War II about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power. The comparison to NACT policies towards the education sector is striking.

    Yeah, now that you mention it reducing the number of policy advisors in the Ministry of Education IS kind of like the imprisonment, torture and mass murder of dissenters during the Third Reich. Thanks Guest Standard Writer!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Nazi Book Burnings

      The Nazi book burnings were a campaign conducted by the authorities of Nazi Germany to ceremonially burn all books in Germany which did not correspond with Nazi ideology.

      Now you may be able to see the similarities.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        Damn ! I must have missed the official launch of National’s book burning policy.

        I do enjoy a good book burning.

        • Jum

          No book burning under this clever government – they’ve just merged Archives New Zealand and the National Library into the Department of Internal Affairs and called themselves ‘Ministry of Information’ so that they can spy on who is reading what. The books don’t get burned, just the fingers of the people.

          • Gosman

            No book burning?!? How dare this Government get compared with the Nazi’s without book burning.

            It makes me so mad that I want to dress up in a leather uniform and engage in some late night goose stepping torch parades with the fraulein.

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.2

      Actually, since Guest Poster has attributed ongoing persecution of teachers, principals and boards to the Ministry itself, the entire precept upon which the post is based is erroneous.

      In fact the purge of policy advisors from the Ministry is, in GP’s comparison, therefore akin to the arrest and execution of the SA and not the persecution of the Jews.

      Those who do not understand history are doomed to write badly constructed blog posts… or something like that. Let’s hope GP isn’t a history teacher.

    • prism 5.3

      Isn’t it the point that people disappeared, were taken away by the authorities, and nobody knew what to do so did nothing, deciding it was SEP? At the end one understood better the enormity of the program of arrests. What happened to the disappeared is a further chapter.

  6. marsman 6

    NACT resemble a bunch of bumbling,bullying,bullshitting buffoons, baboons and boot-boys. Did I mention brainless?

    • Gosman 6.1


      And… errr…. North Koreans

      🙂 :)!!1

      BTW Rex yours was an admirable effort but you forgot to mention North Korea directly so no bonus point sorry.

      • Rex Widerstrom 6.1.1

        Just give me a minute while I channel Redbaiter….

        You ill informed pinko scumbag. Take your stinking bonus point and give it to your masters in North Korea!!!1111!!1 Pinko!! Errr… scumbag!!11 Did I mention pinko?

        • Gosman

          Much better.

          Funny you mention Redbaiter. I got a lifetime ban from his old Crusader Rabbit blog for the very reason you mention. He stated I was too left wing.



          North Korea.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            I love the way “progressive” is the worst insult, kept in reserve for those truly deserving of contempt. Apparently there’s no one on the right who wants to see any progress (read: change) whatsoever.

            Since even going backwards requires that we change direction, I think politics needs to coin a new term: stagnators.

            Of course there’s plenty of fine fellows whose example we can look to, like Stalin, who was quite the conservative. And Kim Jong Il… he certainly doesn’t want no stinkin’ progress.

          • lprent

            Now that is so warped you’d think that we’d entered a event horizon ……

  7. Pete 7

    I actually feel sorry for the Ministry of Ed staffers – the Public Service Code of Conduct’s first principle is that they carry out Government policy – which I suppose Guest Poster means when they say “siding with the Minister”. A little BS for my liking – it shows that they are acting with the integrity expected of public servants.

    It’s not like Tolley listens to advice contrary to the Party line anyway.

    Also from the code:
    they also have a duty not to compromise their employer or their Minister by public criticism of, or comment on, Government policy“.

    (here: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/display/document.asp?navid=296&docid=6828&pageno=2#P51_4324)

    So what should they do? Seems like a Catch 22 to me.

    • jcuknz 7.1

      They can help to vote this lot out in 2011 … else go on the dole if they feel that much abused.

  8. This trivialises Niemoller and the nature of fascism.
    This outfit are rightwing arseholes.
    They won’t become fascists unless somebody poses a threat to their class rule.
    They havnt come for me yet, so relax.

    captcha: late

    • Gosman 8.1

      Actually I sent the boys around just a few minutes ago.

      Should be there any minute now…

  9. Scott 9

    The comparison between the Nazi’s and our current government fails for many reasons.

    The Nazi’s ran their murderous system of death camps with brutal and callous efficiency. This government couldn’t organise a picnic excursion without at least a dozen flip-flops and u-turns.

    However offensive and odious it may have been, the Nazi’s at least had an ideology. What does John Key believe in? And did he believe the same thing yesterday?

    Oh, and how about the fact that the Nazi’s murdered millions of people? Who did National/Act kill?

    Captcha: religions. Perfect

    • lprent 9.1

      That is probably the most perfect back-handed rebuttal I’ve seen for a while…….

    • Gosman 9.2

      “…Who did National/Act kill?”

      Give us time. The Nazi’s only came into their own during their second term.

      • bbfloyd 9.2.1

        gos… you dad is going to be so pissed off when he finds out what you’re being silly here when you should be doing your maths homework….

      • Puddleglum 9.2.2

        There’s a HUGE difference between a policy to deliberately persecute and kill people and the harmful effects of particular policies.

        There is, however, an intermediate case: Where there are predictable and extensive harmful outcomes of a policy, including in some cases the death of people, but the policy is implemented for other reasons. That raises an ethical question that implicates the personal responsibility of those who advocate particular policies.

        One of the reasons I consider myself to be on the ‘left’ is that I’m convinced that many of the policies advocated by the right have been shown by research to undermine wellbeing, increase human suffering and, ultimately, lead to early death.

        For example, allowing advertising to children has been shown to instill materialist values; those values, in turn, are known to be associated with lowered wellbeing, increased mental and emotional health problems and physical problems (e.g., obesity, diabetes) that can lead to early death. (for the research on the link between materialist values and wellbeing see Kasser’s 2002 book, The High Price of Materialism – a rather pedestrian but useful summary of the research to that point).

        The evidence on these matters is often as conclusive as evidence gets and has been presented to policymakers (so they can’t plead ignorance). The only justifications, so far as I’m aware, are that, either, the future benefits (about which we would have to claim to be ‘sure’) will be so overwhelming that short-term suffering, etc. is worth it; or, there are other values (e.g., economic freedom) that are of such importance that they outweigh such suffering. I don’t buy any of those justifications for reasons I’m happy to go in to.

    • Rex Widerstrom 9.3

      And don’t forget that Gerry Brownlee couldn’t even annexe the Coromandel successfully. Real Nazis wouldn’t have evn noticed the bump as their tanks rolled over those hippies.

    • felix 9.4

      Say what you like about the tenets of national socialism dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  10. Herodotus 10

    Manic Street Preachers on a similar vein as the post.. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
    A perfect song, great video and a great powerful message. Something of depth unlike many examples of the music world today.

  11. I guess that the Teaching Advisors who worked with Principals and Schools and have been tasked with promoting National Standards (some of their work is on the proviso that schools are introducing the Standards) and who will be jobless at the end of the year might be feeling that the master that paid their wages to do her work has now turned her attention on them.


  12. felix 12

    Hey kids.

    You do realise that the post isn’t actually comparing NACT to Nazis on the basis that they’re both all about murder and race-hate, don’t you?

    Please tell me you understand this.

    I mean I know Gosman doesn’t get it, but some of you others really should know better.

    • Fabregas4 12.1

      Well done Felix, the post attempts to show that what the government is doing, across all areas but in this instance in Education, works on the basis that it affects ‘others’.

      Transfer the idea to 90 Day Bill – easy to sit here in safe, professional jobs and feel unaffected – but if you were a service worker? Or to unemployment rising, lazy buggers who should get off their arses until it becomes you. The Ministry, and they are not alone in this regard, it seems have been caught like this too as the Minister and Key have attacked ‘useless’ teachers, ‘incompetent’ principals and ‘renegade’ Boards and they stood by. Now they are the target – that is the posts observation.

      And the fact that Key looks somewhat Goebbels like is mere coincidence.

      • Pete 12.1.1

        Sorry, I doubt the majority of the staff in the Ministry simply ‘stand by’ on this without feeling otherwise. They are paid (as I mention upthread) to carry out Government policy.

        So would you rather attack public servants for being neutral and doing what would be expected (even if it were a leftist government in charge), or have them compromise all public servants (which would be lapped up by the current govt and their ardent supporters) so that there is greater impetus for cuts?

        Disappointing post.

        • loota

          Those with principles, and means, will walk. Others will just grit their teeth and bear it, hoping for better days.

          • Pete

            Most, in this climate will stay and grit their teeth, but others will privately be protesting this when and where they can.

            The march in Dunedin yesterday is just one example of where this can happen.

    • Scott 12.2

      Felix, the guest poster quotes a statement about how the Nazi’s “came for” (i.e. murdered) the Communists, Jews etc, and then says “The comparison to NACT policies towards the education sector is striking.”

      What other conclusion are we expected to draw?

      • felix 12.2.1

        That the writer has an age of >12, an IQ of >75, and expects the reader to have the same?

        The writer is obviously comparing tactics (and responses), not drawing literal equivalence between actions.

        Scott you’re a lawyer. You’re smart. You know this. Why are you pretending to be a buffoon?

  13. MrSmith 13

    Can we ban everyone that is shallow enough to post LOL on this site please. makes me want to spew.

  14. jcuknz 14

    I thought it was the job of a public service department to implement government policy so I don’t see how ‘they are coming for the department’. OK they could be gunning for some of the principals and teachers but those appear to be dominated by the left wing so it is inevitable there will be conflict with right wing policies..
    Really it is a pity that the teachers cannot just get on with it and change things if and when there is a left wing government. In any case it is my impression that most schools are simply doing that and it is just a few union dominated schools which are kicking up a fuss on the basis of Labour right NACT wrong rather than any real basis for discontent.. They test already and the proposal is just a different test .. what the heck?

  15. jcuknz 15

    What is the basis for them being the worst performing department apart from them doing what the government tells them to do as laid down in the manual I expect?
    Coupling Nazi with NACT is silly left wing extremism … though I admit two of the letters are the same.

  16. George Darroch 16

    Oh dear. Nazi comparisons? Really?

    The editors of this site approved this ridiculous post, so they must be considered responsible for its ridiculous content.

    The National and ACT parties are nothing like Nazis – the comparison is extremely distasteful offensive, and counterproductive. Way to Godwin yourselves, The Standard collective.

  17. Descendant Of Smith 17

    It’s seems obvious to me that the purpose in the original post were to do with the sentiments expressed by the prose quoted rather than a direct comparison to killing people in concentration camps.

    The notion that the weak and vulnerable are preyed on first , the the next layer up until suddenly it was you and their was no one left to fight is a valid notion and should be expressed.

    We’ve seen these attacks on NZ’s poor and vulnerable from successive governments, we’ve seen the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the poor blamed for their own demise. We’ve seem the well off start to hide behind their gated communities and seen them steal hard-working everyday Kiwi’s jobs and savings. We’ve seen the price of housing pushed up to an ever increasing percentage of income.

    No-ones saying concentration camps are coming, though you could argue they exist in a more legalised way through the ever-increasing imprisonment rate, but this inexorable slide to the few having the wealth can only result in some sort of unpleasantness down the track.

  18. eye saw 18

    Todays concentration camp is your home.
    You are guarded by a 52 inch plasma guard,that works in with a couch to contain you and sport is provided to make you think that it’s your idea to stay in and watch the “game”.

    At the right moment during the “game” you will see cut ins to a smiling leader sitting in the stand,you will feel “good” and relaxed about the “game.”
    You will vote for this leader.

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