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How to collapse liberal society

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, July 19th, 2016 - 130 comments
Categories: capitalism, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Globalisation, International - Tags:

A liberal society is a delicate flower with a seductive perfume. There are a set of presumptions in it that you can travel where you want, say what you want, publish analogue or digitally what you want, worship what you want, love who you want, belong to whatever you want, shop for whatever you want, have an expressive good time, and in doing all of the above be free from being arrested, having your lights punched out, humiliated by state instruments, or if you have, then there will be powers available to hold officials accountable.

That’s possible in fewer and fewer countries now.

In Russia, China, India, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and in the United States, we see the rise of authoritarianism or a yearning for a strong leader who will sweep away anxiety. In parts it’s not helped by too much democracy, and in others by democracy breaking down altogether with existing authoritarian regimes becomes less transparent and responsive to citizens.

We have been told since World War Two through postcolonialism, and reminded since the fall of the Iron Curtain, that if dictators kept falling and more states had elections, defended free speech, implemented the rule of law, adopted competitive markets, and joined the E.U. (and/or NATO) or other major trade bloc, that then a vast zone of peace would be created, prosperity would spread, and a great liberal order would sort out remaining disagreements through the W.T.O., or the World Criminal Court, or the U.N.’s peacekeepers. So the first way to collapse the liberal world order is to oversell it.

The second way to collapse the liberal world order is to rely solely on the formal institutions of democracy. Sustaining a liberal society also depends on a broad and deep commitment to the underlying values of liberal society, particularly: tolerance – and to be incredibly explicit about where the limits to tolerance are. Cultural and normative commitment can’t be developed overnight. It can’t be enforced with drones, special forces, or smashing in the doors of the newspapers (You’ll have your own list of what it isn’t helped by, and who are the worst offenders).

The next way to put the liberal order we’ve been used to into the ground is to rely on the young to renew it. We know how under-thirties have a fast decline in the belief in sustained political change through institutions. While the young have no special virtue, by and large they don’t vote even if they did. Since 1968’s cultural revolutions into a revived feminism, environmentalism, pro-gay, post-colonial, and anti-war movements, and massive aesthetic diversity, there’s been an undeserved moral premium to assume that society will be perpetually renewed through a natural virtue of the young to invent fresh expressive forms and fresh activist movements. Young people, however, are more interested in Warcraft, Farm Heroes and Pokemon, let alone ISIS or Occupy, than in sustainable renewal within established political party frameworks. Whereas the old-and-getting-older nominate the candidates, prefer nationalist causes like BREXIT, and vote for their own established self interest in low taxes on capital and high superannuation.

The remaining liberal societies are in trouble today because they are vulnerable to being hijacked by those who take advantage of the very freedoms upon which liberal societies are based. As Trump, Le Pen, Erdogan, Wilders, Netanyahu and others have shown, the democratic and media instruments of an open society actually accelerate demagoguery and political bullying. As the leaders of France and Belgium are finding, it’s less and less likely that unconstrained liberal freedoms will remain unconstrained if you can’t sit in a cafe without risk of being machine-gunned or walk down a boulevard without being purposely run down by a truck, by anti-liberals who enjoy the full freedoms of liberal society. It’s not reconcilable.

We can count the remaining member countries of liberal society on our fingers and toes. It’s getting cold.

My message is a defensive one about altering our mindset. We must remove from our minds the remaining idealist speck of an assumption that the liberal society is expanding and will overcome all, or is even at a plateau just catching its breath.

Liberal society is in decline world wide. It’s beyond saving by any one leader, party, country, or movement. The task of the remaining liberal is to stop it from getting worse, or slow down its decline.

130 comments on “How to collapse liberal society”

  1. Paul 1

    The demise of the liberal society can be linked to its squalid failure to tackle the growing disparity in wealth since the advent of neoliberalism.
    Chris Hedges explains it very well.
    In his 2010 book, Death of the Liberal Class, Hedges slams five specific groups and institutions — the Democratic Party, churches, unions, the media and academia — for failing Americans and allowing for the creation of a “permanent underclass.”

    Hedges says that, for motives ranging from self-preservation to careerism, the “liberal establishment” purged radicals from its own ranks and, as a result, lost its checks on capitalism and corporate power.

    • Gosman 1.1

      This is the reason you are losing the argument. You tie liberal ideals with economic equality. Liberalism developed out of the age of enlightenment from the 17th to 19th century. The leaders of the movement were not initially obsessed with ideals of economic equality but of higher levels of individual liberty and freedom. Trying to tie it to economic equality seriously weakens it’s attraction to a broad spectrum of society.

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        yeah, what we need is to concentrate on productivity. A form of accounting that immediately in economic time can translate profits from marginalization, border security, anti terrorism spend ups, into economic wealth for fewer at the top.

        Liberals will always be with us, its shorters we can do something about.

        • Gosman

          You completely missed my point. If you wish to encourage a movement to defend liberal ideals you don’t start by defining those ideals so narrowly that you exclude large sections of society from supporting them. Let’s find common ideals most of us can support then you can form a broad based movement. Up till then you’re just pushing your own narrow focused political agenda which is unlikely to get anywhere.

          • Kevin

            Do you really think that someone living on the breadline (or under it) gives a flying fuck about ‘ideals’?

            Economic equality is the first step. Without it everything else is moot.

            • Gosman

              Nonsense. Concepts such ad individual liberty and freedom have spread and prospered despite there being instances of mass poverty.

              • Rae

                That is libertarianism not liberalism. I know its difficult to get your head around (I struggle) but they aren’t the same thing. And counter to popular opinion, libertararian can apply to both left and right economics, it’s the right has seen fit to hijack it and try and keep it all to themselves, so much so, that the left gets all antsy if you dare mention the word libertarian. I would illustrate by saying that right libertarian would do what he wanted, to hell with anyone else, left libertarian would do what he wanted, but exercise discretion where his actions might adversely affect others. Kind of in a do unto others way…….

            • Gosman

              Nonsense. Concepts such ad individual liberty and freedom have spread and prospered despite there being instances of mass poverty.

              • Stuart Munro

                This is the great neo-liberal lie – that freedom for corporates is somehow beneficial. It benefits financiers – no one else.

            • red-blooded

              Kevin, liberalism’s core values are not purely focused on economic equality. A young woman being pressured by her family into an arranged marriage could be rich or poor but would still be having her human right to liberty being limited. Ditto a gay couple who wish to marry but can’t, or a non-believer who is forced to live by a religious code. Money is important and economic systems can enhance or limit people’s freedoms and opportunities, but it’s simplistic to boil it all down to this one issue.

            • Gabby

              There’s a pretty massive gap between living on the breadline (or under it), and economic equality.

          • aerobubble

            We will always need contarians, and those contarians who push liberal ideals, that balance out needs, will always have voice in debate. Well amongst those who seek to avoid risk, not only from inevitable change but lower blowback from society. The neolib take no prisoners, impunity is the only way to break with old ways, aint working as it does not allow for rebuilding, society healing behind its changes, it just goes on to the next bottleneck and smashes it. Its not that we need change and change means destriuctin, its that highly efficient profit in short term cycles is destroying our western civilisation from inside. Our kids are already paying the price of the zombie thatcherite march.

            • Gosman

              And that is your problem. Already you’ve turned away from defending liberal concepts and ideals from those who wish to take it away from society towards attacking the supposed evils of neo-liberalism. You even fail to understand the reason neo-liberalism concepts were so successfully spread was because they shared the same basic principles that the liberal ideals you wish to defend have namely increasing individual liberty and freedom as opposed to an authoritarian power or group.

              • AB

                No.They used liberal ideals as cover for completely illiberal actions. ‘Neoliberals’ are neither new nor liberal.

                • Gosman

                  And that is the problem for standing up for ‘liberalism’. You will waste so much effort trying to define it the way you want your opponents will have won.

                  • Ad

                    I was pretty clear in the first paragraph of the post, for precisely that reason.

                  • McFlock

                    says the jerkoff who tried to derail the debate into a semantic argument that contemporary use of the word “liberal” should be identical to when it was used 200 years before in a time of slavery and aristocracy.

  2. Rae 2

    I just wonder if the human race simply cannot help itself. With all of our knowledge and all of our ability to gather as much of it as we choose with just the click of a mouse, we still seem to be subject to the “same old, same old” syndrome. We seem almost hardwired to go from peace and co-operation to greed and excess, to when it gets all too unbearable to blowing each other to bits, to exhausting ourselves, to swearing we must never do that again, to peace and co-operation with each other. Maybe we come out of it a bit more advanced technologically, but essentially, us the humans, are still no different from our ancestors who gathered around the protective and warming fire in the caves.

    • Not the whole human race, Rae, just a group of humans who struck upon a way to dominate the others and expand at a rate no other group could, resulting in the mess we are all now facing.

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        yeah, Thatcherism was a zombie economic Apocalypse, Thatcher was zombie zero, selected by umbrella to infect the world. How do you survive an economic zombie plague? Stay out of the way? No, the scientists say no, to survive you must snuff out the zombies as quickly as they appear. The media did not, umbrella owned the media first. But thankfully conservatism-ists are weak and stupid, do nothing, serve the concensus if it starts failing, are cowardly acts, so the virus can be beaten as it aint that strong. Just projet out the trend line of the nonsense virus and laugh at the idiots who hold to it. i.e. as the scientists point out ridicule neo-cons at every opportunity. As to umbrella using its manufacturing plant of consent and quality reassurance, stop buying its shit, demand public broadcasting, shutdown the direct debits to big media, cancel the Herald at work, it aint hard. Until they ridcule the plague carriers we dont stand a chance. Running for NZ wont work, they are here already.

        • Robert Guyton

          The “group of humans” I’m talking about is not the 1% and their witch doctors, but us, those who live the way we do. Not all of humanity lives this way. In those who have a culture that eschews our world view, there is hope for us all. Pointing the bone at Thatcher et al is of no value, in the big picture. Stringing up a few unpleasant people is not going to save humanity. Imo.

          • aerobubble

            States stagnate, the signs of this stagnation, an inability to recognize that the status quo is served by a common creed, that empitimizes a dont look, aka the market will solve things, and a listen to your elders, aka wealthy successful people. Its nothing new. Deregulating or regulation debates that ignore the substance are just more distration. The 1% of the 1% need to be informed that they are no served by far right think tanks protecting us from over governance, that half hearted knee jerk regulation similarly harm their interestes, that only funding liberal entities, holding govt to account, etc keep their wealth safe, sure not as large a audited amount but then they are not sharing the wealth pie with hedge managers whose soul aim is to get richer upside or downside. A army of docile headless chickens is still going eventually march itself over a cliff.

      • Rae 2.1.2

        Yeah but once the wheels gain enough momentum, everyone is kind of along for the ride.

        • Robert Guyton

          There’s enormous momentum, Rae, but you can chose to not “kind of” be along for the ride/slide. At least, you can start applying the brakes (every one has a lever).

          • Rae

            Theoretically we all do, but the truth is we seem to be herd animals. I’ll tell you how I had that confirmed to me. 15-20 years ago I worked in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. I did a bit of everything there, including cleaning rooms. It became apparent after a while that way beyond coincidence did you find the first room you opened set the tone for the day. If it was a mess, your heart sank as you were pretty much guaranteed to find most of the rest like that, if they were neat then most would be neat. We scratched our heads to work out why, we counted out bus tour groups who always barely used their rooms, we counted out party night in the bar after which you kind of just donned the hazmat gear and got on with it. In the end all we could come up with to explain the phenomena was phases of the moon. Yep, I know what you are thinking.
            Human nature is a funny thing, and I found all the years I worked in hospo gave me a huge insight into it, that lasts to this day. You might be surprised how little free choice we actually have or rather, perhaps, how little we don’t realise we have.
            I don’t think we are far away from conflict and I think Turkey may be the touch paper, actually, with the events of the last week or so. There won’t be a place for those who wish to behave in a more civilized manner. You only have to look at the States and Donald Trump to see that the insane have their the keys to the asylum almost within their reach.

            • Robert Guyton

              Rae – many humans behave as if they were herd animals, it’s true, but it’s not the case for all. Ours is an agricultural culture. We sprang from peoples who herded cows, sheep and goats. That has shaped our present-day behaviour and made us vulnerable to those who recognise the effect and know how to be shepherds, goat herds and cowboys. You though, don’t have to flock, once you’ve recognise the cultural pressure to do so. There are non-agricultural societies that don’t behave that way. Look to them.
              As to knowing what I think about the moon, it might surprise you to learn that I write a monthly moon column for the New Zealand Gardener 🙂

              • Rae

                When I say “herd” animals, I use it in the loosest possible terms, probably reserving it for our collective mindset. I just wonder if much that goes on with us is beyond our control without a great deal of conscious thought going into it. That is something I believe we have to be educated to have, critical thinking and lately we seem to be just educating or people for a job. We also need a mind not too much given over to how on earth you are just going to financially make it into the next week. These days, you need to be able to afford to find yourself a peaceful place away from it all, perhaps why yoga is having such a resurgence, as you can get away from it all, if not in body, then at least in mind.
                And on the moon thing, I guess you can probably see what I’m getting at.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    I think we need to make neo-liberals responsible for their actions.

    Make a commission that investigates privatisations for public interest and reverses those that didn’t qualify. Public officials enacting policies that alienate public wealth can start by losing perks like super, and depending on the gravity of the offense, go to jail and/or have property confiscated.

    Every other kind of embezzler gets this treatment – why should neo-liberals fare any better?

    • Reddelusion 3.1

      Marxist Leninist play book eh Stuart, and once you are done with the Neo liberals will move on to the left we don’t like, and then just people in general Cambodian style Bugger Liberty

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        No mate.

        Here’s an example: Max Bradford.

        Max Bradford told a pack of lies and destroyed our electricity sector. There was no public benefit and no public mandate. Why should the fucker get away with it?
        NZ now has some of the most expensive electricity in the world.

        There’s not a shred of Marxism in this – this is about the theft by Max and his colleagues of public property. If these kinds of actions are allowed to stand no government property is safe – and indeed this seems to be the chief aim of the rightwing parties in NZ at present – their aims are not political but kleptocratic. Kleptocracy never produces good governance.

        • Paul

          And look at the other neoliberal criminals.

          Jeffrey Sachs and shock doctrine in Russia.
          Lancet Study Confirms Millions Died From “Shock Therapy”


        • Reddelusion

          That’s your subjective view Stuart, the way our parliamentary democracy’s works if you don’t like the policies or government ( who operate in a legal framework) you vote them out, in your system is there is some elite ( you or a one party state) who decides what’s good and what’s bad and then apply punishment.

          • Paul

            Yes we have a great choice here.
            Neo-liberalism or neo-liberalism.

          • weka

            That’s your subjective view Stuart, the way our parliamentary democracy’s works if you don’t like the policies or government ( who operate in a legal framework) you vote them out, in your system is there is some elite ( you or a one party state) who decides what’s good and what’s bad and then apply punishment.

            That’s your subjective view of Stuart’s comment. I on the other hand heard something else. You appear to have the delusion that individuals can vote out governments. Stuart was talking about ‘we’, not ‘i’. I know that scares you because you immediately think of the commies, but there are many different ways for people to work together that incorporate fairness, even ones that can include right wingers. It’s the antithesis of libertarianism though, so there will definitely be those that don’t like it.

            • Reddelusion

              Unfortunately that’s democracy Weka, you can’t have it your way, you need to convince a majority that your way is right It’s not perfect as Churchill quoted but it a dam sight better than anything else. MMP gets it about right allowing a minority voice to be to heard so I’m not sure what you are really on about re this mythical Kum ba yah system you propose.

              • weka

                How was Stuart’s comment anything other than part of the convincing the majority? How is convincing the majority exclusive of the ‘we’?

          • Stuart Munro

            Government need not be exempted from liability – Chile threw its neo-liberals in jail – so did Iceland.

            NZ governments since the 80s have been riddled with corruption – little or no loyalty to the country. Korea runs a prosecution service that generally goes after the worst political offenders as soon as they leave office – it’s not foolproof, but it’s better than letting the scoundrels off scot free.

            There is nothing incompatible with our legal and democratic traditions in punishing dishonesty. Severely 😀 .

            • Reddelusion

              What a stupid post, just because a government passes policy you don’t like it does not mean it’s corrupt. I did not like all of auntie Helens policies but I did not think she was corrupt or had any intent to harm the country or was disloyal to NZ, I just did not agree with some of her policies and ideas. Thats just tough on me, she was there on the mandate of the people by been voted in I am not now advocating that she now should be arrested for paying bribes re student loans, working for families etc What a silly fella you are

              • Stuart Munro

                There’s been a lot of corruption in New Zealand – you could only deny it if you are stupid. Or culpable.

        • DoublePlusGood

          Fay, Richwhite, Douglas, Prebble should be next into prison.

          • Colonial Viper

            Richardson. Shipley.

            • DoublePlusGood

              Thieves and Bludgers, the lot of them!

            • Stuart Munro

              Key, Joyce, Dunne, Collins, McCully, Brownlee.

              • s y d

                Goff, Moore, Wilde and on and on and on. Where do we stop with all these liberals?
                Everyone has the freedom to sleep in cars, under bridges, scavenge through bins if they so choose.

              • Smilin

                All of the above plus as many of their behind the scenes puppeteers you can get a hold of

          • Reddelusion

            Why, what law did they break ?

            • Robert Guyton

              The Natural Law

              • red-blooded

                What “natural law”? That’s a culturally defined precept. Your version of natural law? Mine? Their own?…

                Plus, let’s remember that these people were voted into power, and re-elected. It’s not a crime to make decisions as a politician, even if some of the decisions you make are unpopular, foolish or based on faulty economic/political philosophies.

                It’s true that Douglas et al didn’t reveal their plans before the election, and that they went hell for leather in one ideologically-driven direction, but they were then re-elected for a second term. Unless you can prove an actual crime, then get over the “they should be in prison” bullshit; it’s childish and (more worryingly) repressive. This post is about the death of liberalism; people who believe that anyone who holds a contrary view to theirs and acts on it should be imprisoned are killing liberalism. Think about it.

                • Stuart Munro

                  They lied but also their reforms failed New Zealanders. In most cases by design.

                  With freedom comes responsibility – steal public assets, pay the price.

                • Also kind of unintentionally funny that we have people enthusiastic about jailing their political enemies on a thread about “how to collapse liberal society” – well, that’s a good way to do it right there.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    The question is whether they are our political enemies – in which case they can make a public interest defence of their actions – or mere criminals, in which case they cannot. Criminality is not a right.

                  • red-blooded

                    True dat, Psycho. 😏

                    A more succinct statement of the point I was trying to make.

                • Natural Law – like when a cuckoo chick hatches in a finch’s nest – the baby finches will suffer an ignominious death, or when a fly wanders thoughtlessly into striking range of a mantis’ claws – Natural Law. Humans, being animals, are subject to the same Law, though we choose to behave as if it doesn’t apply to us.

            • DoublePlusGood

              Oh, several, surely: theft for sure, insider trading, possibly trading in influence, criminal nuisance, sabotage, acceleration of death, causing death that might have been prevented, causing loss by deception, false statement by promoter, receiving, endangering transport, waste or diversion of electricity, conspiring to prevent collection of taxes or rates.
              Can probably do whoever sold off NZ Rail for conversion of vehicle.
              Plenty of crimes on the books to cover their theft from the New Zealand public.

            • Stuart Munro

              Aside from the laws they can be shown to have broken, and there are many, they have broken their oath to loyally serve New Zealand. This is a matter properly punished at the parliamentary level by loss of benefits or privileges. In other countries it might be achieved by an upper house, an ombudsman like system, or a prosecution service. This is quite normal in well-run democracies.

        • Gosman

          Nonsense. The electricity sector is still active and the vast majority of the population receive secure supply. This is as compared to nations like Venezuela where the state controlled electricity sector has been so bad that they had to resort to a three day working week because there wasn’t enough supply.

          • Siobhan

            Nothing happens in a bubble, you might like to actually take half a second to consider WHY Venezuela is in such a state, you could start with Noam Chomskys take on the current situation, which I’ve linked, but a bit of History also wouldn’t go amiss.

            As to our ‘secure supply’ and I presume you are also meaning fair and affordable pricing, sure, we’re arguably better off than most of the planet, but we have the wealth and the economic and social security and the means of production to be in an even better situation.

            This argument, of ‘just be thankful you aren’t living in Bangladesh or wherever’ is a favorite of the neocons, and it’s one I’ve heard Helen Clark use as well, which is a worry.

            Heres an idea, instead of politicians and their fanboys telling us to be thankful we’re not a basket case, how about a Politician that sets a higher bar of a better World?. If you go through life looking down, you don’t get anywhere..you have to aim high…

            • Gosman

              Good to see you acknowledge our electricity sector has not been destroyed. If you are going to punish politicians for decisions made it should be for more than the situation could have been better than what we have now if they hadn’t made the decisions they did.

              • DoublePlusGood

                It isn’t destroyed, it’s just making profit at our expense, when it should be government owned.

          • Stuart Munro

            Venezuela Venezuela – you braying jackass.

            NZ government built and operated our electricity sector for generations – and they did an infinitely better job than the powercos.

            The only insecurity of supply NZ had was the Auckland brownouts under Mercury and it took a civil servant they’d made redundant to fix it.

            • Gosman

              You base your judgement that the government ran the electricity sector better than we have now on what exactly? When was the last time NZ suffered a brown out? I remember growing up and there were power outages on a frequent basis. The fact we haven’t had one for years suggests the power companies are better at supplying the market than government.

              • Stuart Munro

                ’98 – Mercury made a brownout last six weeks – third world stuff.


                We had the odd cut in the 70s – storm damaged lines – never much over 24hrs and even that was rare.

                The cost is also a non-trivial issue. The powercos have completely failed to contain electricity prices. My last winter power bill in Korea was about $8 NZ.

                So, the neo-liberals stole a vital public asset, operate it poorly, and gouge the customers who are obliged to buy from them. Genius – but lousy governance, the kind of thing a public interest commission could scrutinise rigorously, and recommend reforms and punishments.

                • Gosman

                  Nonsense. If you look at log term supply and demand there was capacity shortages for years in NZ pretty 1990’s. This is different to infrastructure failures that were the cause of what you mention. Capacity failures lead to load shedding which happened in NZ.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Mercury failed to plan and didn’t even have the brains to run a set of temporary poles through while the cables were replaced. They were simply not competent to operate a piece of critical infrastructure.

                    But you have not addressed of course the stolen public asset, or the failure to contain prices – either of which, in a well-governed state – would have seen Mercury dissolved.

              • reason

                but you can’t recall enron Goss ??????

                Given that this private and long time bankrupt electricity company stole Billions through market manipulations means you should have been paying more attention…..

                or you did know about Enrons frauds and bankruptcy but chose not to mention this famous power company ….. because they shat all over your argument ……….. and showed the huge damage reckless greedy private power company’s can cause.

                Have the Enron like price manipulations started here in Nz yet ?.

                • Gosman

                  Foe every Eron I can show you multiple State run energy companies that are corrupt and inefficient. Just look at South Africa or Brazil or Venezuela or Zimbabwe or DRC or (place name of country with State owned enegy company in Africa ir Middle East here).

          • Don't worry. Be happy

            Gosh Gossman you do seem very fond of writing ‘nonsense’….

      • reason 3.1.2

        Confiscate all farm land and property which was purchased through either tax havens, shell companys or dodgy trusts ……………

        The hidden owners would of course be given a chance to come froward and identify themselves and prove the legitimite source of their money ……………. that’s fair.

        Give New Zealanders 3 weeks to divest themselves from tax havens or all their New Zealand assets get seized and their passports revoked …. they can go live with their shadow money

        Go after the big accounting firms so that their “brands” are associated with their customers being put under the microscope and audited to within an inch of their lives … They would have to purge the Shewans in these accounting firms ……… or go down with them.

        Huge fines for banks that participate in tax haven shuffles of either their own or customers money …………….. either sackings or jail for the prime players

        Cease speculation on homes ……… Stop foreign investors making money at New Zealand citizens expense…. Build lots of modern sustainable healthy eco-houses …

        Root out all the right wing crony appointments like Wayne mapp, Electricity Authority (enron fan boys) , Serco etc etc http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=national%2Bcrony

        Bring court cases against dishonest derelict ministers and their hatchet consultants ….. perhaps using someone like a McReady marshaling a team of graduated but unemployed young lawyers ….. crowd fund the cases they will bring against people like Key, Collins Paula Bennett…..Rebstock …. Mccully etc

        Root out the pacific Islands tax haven networks that rich new zealanders have helped create and build ………. punish the architects.

        These law breakers and greedy thieves need consequences …………. nothing else matters to them ,,,,,, they run on no morals and bad ethics .

        On a more positive side ……

        I like the greens idea of making schools the hub and center of communitys ….you could incorporate sustainable community gardens/gardening as part of that… and it would secure access to healthy fresh food for children and familys …. also more inter-generational contact could take place with cooking and growing skills passed down to the young un s.

        Food security just like Housing,shelter, clean water, Health and sanitation is a necessity of life …..

        A few regulations making them CORE government priority’s would soon change the face of society.

        The worlds markets and consumerism driven growth is destroying both the planet and our humanity …….

        It’s past time to stop the damage they are doing to honest working class people and others in New Zealand ………….

        Or do we keep drinking the fecal kool aid ….made with tax haven johns sick river water …..

        Planet key is a sub prime hole into which our kids will fall ……….

        How deep will we let him dig it ??????

        I suspect he’s going to turn nasty now that he’s been exposed as building tax haven structures for rich criminals to launder and hide their money in New Zealand ….. The Panama papers leaks and Nicky Hager has stopped his corrupt shadow banking networking and empire building.

        What tax havens will he be sending Brash and Shewan to teach GSt to next ?? …

        He’ll be pissed and his only other achievement as prime minister was getting a vasectomy.

        I expect the angry slurry key may come out more often ……………. A blank shooting hissy transvestite called Merryl….. no one will kiss his flag.

        When he does his runner New zealand can start to repair itself.

        • Colonial Viper

          Nice actions but its exactly the kind of thing that major overseas powers have removed governments for. Massive blowback against the NZ financial and banking sectors would be the first and most obvious move.

          • Halfcrown

            I agree with you there Colonial

            Guatemala, is a good example of that sort of thing happening.

            • Colonial Viper

              I was thinking Australia, but yes we’ll start with Guatemala, and add in a bit of Venezuela.

          • reason

            Unfortunately for New zealand you are correct CV.

            Its also why I think climate change is the only thing that will save our kids from indentured fascism.

            From memory in our recent history business threatened to ‘go on strike’ early on in Helen Clarkes years of Government.

            I can’t recall what Labour were proposing …………. but I do remember they backed down on whatever it was.

            The banks raising interest rates by 3% or more would probably be enough to bring down a Government with the size of present day mortgages and debt…

            And they would do it in a heartbeat ….

            But the present subprime orthodox economic course is heading for disaster…….

            Where to start the changes ?……..

            Canadas legislation ensuring ‘food security’ for their country is a sensible policy we should adopt.

            I’m inclined to think of some kind of new Internal only currency which the govt issues…. and it could be spent on producing and purchasing the core necessity s like community produced food, eco state housing, environmental repair etc.

            Higher education should be free ……… but bonded to work in Nz for 3-5 years as repayment.

            What we must also remember is that John key and Co are working for the 5 people or less out of 100 ………… how many New Zealanders use tax havens and other tools of the mega rich?.

            They are actually very vulnerable ………..

        • Stuart Munro

          Works for me – though an inquiry process wouldn’t hurt – let them try to prove public interest in mitigation. Even making them think about it is a healthy trope.

        • red-blooded

          Hi there, reason.

          Anyone who’s broken a law should face fair consequences. I really worry about the whole idea of “retrospective” laws, though. There’s a difference between doing something unethical and doing something illegal. If you want to stop unethical behaviour, then think through the issues carefully, get politically active and help push for law changes.

          If it’s OK for people whose actions you disapprove of to be punished, even though they didn’t break any laws, you’re pretty much setting up a monarchy (reason rules!), totalitarian or theistic state. These are the sorts of societies who punish people who break unwritten “natural” laws.

          Please note, I’m not defending the various faults you’ve listed in your comment, just challenging the gunslinger approach to people who do things you don’t like.

          • red-blooded

            Oh, and BTW, the policy about making schools community hubs was one that Labour developed and argued for in the 2008 election. There was a lot of detailed policy work, including budgeting. This policy also posited raising the legal age of self-sufficiency to 18 (meaning that anyone under 18 would have a right to education, career support services, counselling, health services etc accessible through their local school, and that even if they had left school there would be some level of guidance and support being offered). Had it been instituted, schools in general would have become much more flexible, community-centred and family-focused (as the best of them already are) and this would have been resourced (unlike now).

            What did we get instead? Military boot camps, charter schools, big increases in funding for integrated and private schools, and now – yet agin, the spectres of bulk-funding and “performance” pay…

            • reason

              To true red-blooded and sorry for misappropriating some of the credit for good Labour policy ……………… which I’m sure the Greens also support 🙂 .

              I recall National axing funding for night classes as one of their first acts in attacking our community structures when they became government ……….

          • Stuart Munro

            That’s why I suggested a commission rather than sending them directly to the tiger food bin as they no doubt deserve. If they can in fact defend their actions in terms of public interest good luck to them. But if not they should face some censure.

            It is abundantly clear that there is no respect among the likes of the current government for the wishes or the interests of many or most New Zealanders. If they face the prospect of punishment then their worst scoff-law practices will be moderated by the fear of justice. As they should.

            • red-blooded

              So, Stuart, assuming that you get your way and there’s some kind of commission to interrogate people whose values and actions smack of neoliberalism and thus don’t match-up with yours; when the tide turns again and the next right-wing government marches down the halls of power, do they get to set up a commission to interrogate and possibly punish the people whose decisions and actions have, in the left-leaning interim, seemed to them to be too collectivist and liberal?

              Sorry, but don’t be daft. Worse, don’t be so repressive (“moderated by fear…as they should”)!

              Plus, while this government isn’t supported by commenters on this site (including me, just in case that was in doubt), the fact is that they’ve been voted in three times in an MMP system. We can’t keep fooling ourselves that they’re acting against the wishes of most New Zealanders. We have to try to change that narrative and convince people that a lefty government is in fact more in their interests (but NOT one that punishes people for acting legally and in-sync with the values of a democratically-elected government).

              • Stuart Munro

                I am sure that the vile forces of rightwingery will exert themselves to pervert any just institution anyone establishes.

                But they knowingly lied about the consequences of their policies and stole New Zealand assets. We are not deterred from punishing thieves by their ingenuity in devising new crimes, or from punishing murderers because we can only do so post facto.

                The neo-liberals have perpetrated a vast and damaging set of crimes against our country. The political cure for this kind of corruption is usually a due process which examines such activity.

                The horror this arouses in you is indicative of how sorely it is needed; if these were just or honest governments they would welcome a public interest audit.

              • reason

                Stuarts just venting red-blooded ……… I enjoy his tiger talk and the imagery it gives me ………….. Merryl our swinging tranny could poison the poor animals though

                Fooling people into voting against their best interests is not actually acting in the wishes of New Zealand ….. who voted for and wants to swim in rivers that make you sick for instance

                Who wanted our world education ranking to plummet

                Who wished for winning the world cup in domestic violence ?

                Who voted to commit fraud regarding New Zealands efforts into fighting climate change

                etc etc etc

                This election will be very dirty with national using racism, terrorism and gang hysteria ( which is often racism in drag ) …. we know this because everything they have done in Govt has been a disaster

                Dirty Politics is actually attack propaganda ….. misinformed people are manipulated into making bad or stupid choices …. racism and negative stereotypes are used to explain away the results from Government policy.

                Labour and the greens will have to overcome all the sleazy little right wing operatives appointed into organizations like the electricity Authority who attack Labour policy while being ‘reported’ as independent experts ….

                And National is flush with dirty money from their multiple rich donors …

                “The high value donors gave their donations to trusts, which passed it on anonymously to the party. …. Over one and a half million was to come in via the Waitemata & Ruahine trusts. Both of PO. Box 2244 Auckland”……” In public senior party mp’s and officials denied knowing the identity of donars, but privately they knew perfectly well who was writing the cheques”.

                Nationals Dirty Politics crew is huge after nearly 8 years of crony appointments http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=national%2Bcrony

                And that paddock hunter Lusk…… who knows how to shoot like Cameron slater knows how to box ….. he’ll be getting all the votes cheating can buy.

                • red-blooded

                  Well, some people wanted some of those things; it’s not like they all manifested themselves only in the last two years, and National have been voted in twice again after they first started doing them. But that’s not really the point, is it? The way you punish a government is to vote them out. The way you punish a business is to boycott them. While we may disapprove of the actions of many individuals and businesses, it’s ridiculous to talk about legal sanctions against people who haven’t actually broken any laws.

                  Liberalism? The word “liberty” is built in. You don’t trample over people’s liberty.

                  • reason

                    Realy red-blooded ? …..Do you actually know any people who want polluted rivers, high rates of domestic violence, failing schools and getting caught out committing fraud on the world stage as our efforts against climate change …….. who and where are these ogres ……

                    Where have I talked about legal sanctions against things that are not against the law ??????

                    Governments make laws ……..

                    I presume Winston in particular will be keen to make tax haven activity against the law …… like it should be .

                    “[We] discovered that bank secrecy was not only for money laundering, tax evasion, drugs and corruption, but also for terrorism; we have since circumscribed the use of bank secrecy for terrorism – and thus we have shown that it can be done. But we have chosen not to deal with the problems of corruption and tax evasion which are so enervating to the developing countries and deprive them of so much needed money.

                    Joseph Stiglitz, Testimony to the House Financial Services”

                    The rich, via lobbyists and Byzantine tax arrangements, actively work to stop redistribution. Inequality is not inevitable, it’s engineered

                    • red-blooded

                      Well, I know farmers who want to keep polluting rivers. I know “middle NZers” who choose to send their kids to integrated schools and don’t really care about others people’s kids in state schools. I know people who’d rather party up large and close their eyes to climate change because they’ve mentally put it in the “too hard” basket. And I think you know that people knew what they were voting for when they voted Key and Co back into government for a third term. You and I might not have wanted these things, but we didn’t form the majority. Either the majority did want these things or they didn’t care enough about them to let them be a deciding factor. Either way, the current laws allow them and the current regime will continue to enable them.

                      If we want to stop them, we have to change the mindset of the voting public, change the regime and put the pressure on to set up better legal frameworks. But let’s stop all this rubbish about punishing people in the name of enforced liberalism!

    • Adrian Thornton 3.2

      I like the cut of your jib…

  4. Adrian Thornton 4

    Good article, I think there is a world wide hunger in young people to believe in and work for something other than consumerism and self interest, unfortunately, the basic building blocks of our current system, the housing market and poverty rates are both good examples of this.
    If you are young and you haven’t got a house to obsess about, are left with crippling debt after any and all post school education, face stagnant wages, high rents , a crumbling health system etc…what is left to do?
    Well as we are witnessing in the UK now with Corbyn and witnessed in the US with Sanders, young people are mobilized and are ready to actively change the current entrenched political structures that has not and can not work for them.
    Watching this new revitalized left emerge with such power in the face of media contempt and negativity, their own political establishments actually working against them is wonderful to behold, this is real democracy at work…and I know what side of history I am standing on.

    • Those young people (and us older ones too) need a new story. Not a tweaked old-story, but a brand new one.

      • Siobhan 4.1.1

        I may be misunderstanding your comment, but…Those young people in the UK and the US seem pretty pleased with what you may consider a ‘tweaked old story’. Bernie may be out, but his message has massive support given the total lack of coverage he received in the main stream media, and given the fairly blatant Electoral carry on that excluded many of his potential voters. A hornets nest has been stirred up, and one way or another those people will be heard.
        As for Corbyn, just look at the numbers he’s attracted, the old guard centrists are determined to put an end to it all, but then they are so scared of his supporters they are having to set up endless fiery hoops to stop them voting ie two day window, $50.00 charge, cancellation of local Labour Party meetings etc etc. They even have the Tories trying to get Corbyn to step aside, painted as a deep concern for the fortunes of their dear friends in Labour.

        I’m not sure what sort of ‘story’ you personally may require to get involved, maybe some clues would help.

        • Robert Guyton

          Yes, sorry, the brevity of my comment left it too thin, meaning-wise. By new story, I meant…old story, older even, than industrialization. There were then and very rarely now are, societies that ran on a different template than the one that has brought us to this point. That line is traceable way back to the beginnings of agriculture and involved only some societies – there were many others that chose not to go the totalitarian, winner takes all, path. Those that did, held what seemed like a massive advantage over the others; better fed, able to form armies, etc. Their decision however, lead to what we are staring at now; essentially ecological collapse and the collapses that accompany it, at least to the point where humans will suffer greatly. I’m saying that the exit strategy will not be found in the historic record of this iteration of humanity, in the stories of the victors, us, but in the stories of those who took another route, though that meant their demise of near destruction. Times have changed, a new story, a revival and retelling of the non-totalitarian-industrial society’s story, is needed. Nothing changes when we use the status quo methods, no matter how many times we cycle through variants of what is essentially, a tired old tale.
          Hope that helps. I suspect it won’t 🙂

          • Wayne

            Are people really wanting that level of change. From what I see people including young people on the left want the current system improved, not overthrown. Meaning more redistribution to produce better distribution of wealth and income. People still want to be entrepreneurs, actually more than ever. Many more young people want their own businesses and their own freedom and their own choices.
            The desire for change is not the same as a desire for revolution.

            • reason

              How are young entrepreneurs meant to compete with corporations which use tax evading and other high priced accountants tricks to lower their costs below that which smaller honest local businesses have to pay ??…………

              Wayne should go look for more illegal wars to support for trade deals ….

              “”It must now be clear to her that Iraq will not disarm unless the international community, led by the United States and Britain in particular, is willing to give teeth to the UN resolutions,” Dr Mapp says.”

              You must be proud of those burned, maimed and killed innocent children wayne …

              nah just kidding …. it’s obvious you don’t give a stuff

            • Pat

              “The desire for change is not the same as a desire for revolution.”

              true enough but when that change is thwarted the revolutionaries gain a more receptive audience, and the longer it takes the more radical the demands.

            • mauī

              Wayne, I think you could argue that the system right now is looking like slinky the poodle the night before its owners last gasp effort to win the Cruft’s dog show. Not much hair left on the body, early signs of hypothermia and ridiculously elaborate styling on the brink of collapse. The owner’s credit cards are maxed out and they’re out of new ideas. This is probably slinky’s final show. There are a few young pups out there living a happier and more practical life, showing what could be. Winning Crufts isn’t the be all and end all.

        • adam

          Coupled with in the USA at least, the rise and rise of the Greens on the left, and the libertarian party on the right.

          Some of the best anti-trump stuff I’m seeing is coming from the libertarian party, really clever, and very cutting.

          Conversely, most of the best criticism of clinton is coming from the left.

  5. As the leaders of France and Belgium are finding, it’s less and less likely that unconstrained liberal freedoms will remain unconstrained if you can’t sit in a cafe without risk of being machine-gunned or walk down a boulevard without being purposely run down by a truck, by anti-liberals who enjoy the full freedoms of liberal society.

    Astonishingly, it turns out that allowing mass immigration by adherents of a virulently illiberal ideology isn’t good for a liberal society. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing and it’s a bit late to do anything about that earlier mass immigration now, but we could at least start recognising that liberal society has its enemies and welcoming them into liberal society isn’t a good idea.

    • aerobubble 5.1

      Rubbish, flight or fight, fundanuts fight, not migrate. The astonishing thing about the caliphate is two fold, first there are so few of them second most jump to get drone striked in Syria, and the few remain expose themselves by suicidal acts. Sure it aint good if you buy that death lottery ticket but realistically its going to burn itself out, less of course we change and so reward terrorism, i.e islamist suicidal cultists died for a new draconian law attacking liberal values called anti-terrorism.

      THey could not have stopped a young man driving a truck down the beach side road in Nice. Sure think about better securityand invest in marriage counsellors for muslims men, but reality is shit happens, no use shitting more when it creates more shit.

      It aint the terrorists, its those that stress how some are losers and society should accept this, a muslim breaks up, has a identity crisis, uses his work truck to make a statement more about how happy families enjoying bastile day… …than terrorism.. …more about why this sad man was pushing his family away by lashing out than Isis

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.1

        Mass immigration into Europe by adherents of a virulently illiberal ideology was happening decades before Da’esh showed up. Fuckwits like Truck Guy are merely a recent and more extreme symptom of how toxic that is for liberal society.

    • Puckish Rogue 5.2

      Who’d thunk it?

    • mauī 5.3

      Careful, a lot of us wouldn’t be here without mass immigration.

      • Psycho Milt 5.3.1

        Me, for instance. Fortunately, few immigrants here have been followers of illiberal ideologies. European countries aren’t so fortunate.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.4

      Astonishingly, it’s more the decades of racism towards North African migrants and other migrants in France and other EU countries, and their ongoing maltreatment in those countries that has created the fertile ground of people angry at their situation.

  6. DoublePlusGood 6

    “Young people, however, are more interested in Warcraft, Farm Heroes and Pokemon, let alone ISIS or Occupy, than in sustainable renewal within established political party frameworks”
    What a silly straw man argument, to compare those very disparate things. I’ll fix it to something like a reasonable argument:
    “Young people, however, are more interested in Warcraft, Farm Heroes and Pokémon, than they are in the leisure pursuits of their parent’s generation that involved more structured social interactions.
    Similarly, they favour new forms of political engagement like ISIS or Occupy, rather than trying to achieve anything in the established political party frameworks of traditional politics”
    Then at least we’re not comparing Pokémon with trying to get renewal in the Labour party. If we have to compare Pokémon with Labour, the way to succeed would be to throw Pester Balls at entrenched Labour MPs until they get enraged and attack so you can capture them, or Lure them with comfortable NGO sinecures so they leave parliament.

    • weka 6.1

      It’s a good way to reframe it, but do you think that political engagement is the same quantity as it was in previous generations?

      • DoublePlusGood 6.1.1

        Oh, it’s definitely not – there’s lower election turnout, especially in local body elections and fewer members of political parties.
        There have been some large protests over the TPPA, so perhaps it is not all in a comatose state and people just aren’t keen on the parliamentary stuff?

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    My message is a defensive one about altering our mindset. We must remove from our minds the remaining idealist speck of an assumption that the liberal society is expanding and will overcome all, or is even at a plateau just catching its breath.

    Who the heck still maintained this delusion in their minds? Did brown people or black people? Or poor people? Or the people in Ferguson? I very much doubt it.

    By the time the first couple of months of Snowden revelations appeared, and then NZ’s role in the FVEY mass surveillance network became clearer, it became obvious that not only do we live in a highly managed democracy, but the people who run the game aren’t even bothering to hide that fact any more.

    The Western Empire of Chaos grants you some privileges and some liberties if you join up and play their game.

    Otherwise, your community, your town, your industry or your country gets fucked over. Sometimes the system will fuck you over anyway because it suits it.

    • Ad 7.1

      Indeed, although I am sure you’d admit that you have been reasonably pessimistic about the world for a while.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        and I’m on a better than typical NZ income.

        If you asked those on the minimum wage, any long term beneficiary, anyone trying to find rental accomodation for their family at under $400 pw in Auckland, anyone laid off from the railways and hasn’t been able to find skilled work since, I am quite sure you will find that their illusions of the ‘onward and upward’ path of liberal democracy were smashed a long time ago.

        But yeah, to the well paid liberal intelligentsia who had secure income, liberal values were no doubt on the up and up. Marriage equality, etc.

        Right up until we are surprised that the barbarians are right at the gate – how did we miss that and why didn’t they buy into our nice liberal narratives about human rights and universal equality?

        14 people have been injured after an Afghan teenager armed with an axe and a knife attacked people on board a train traveling between Wurzburg-Heidingsfeld and Ochsenfurt,
        German police confirmed that between 10 and 15 people were injured in the attack. Meanwhile local media reports suggested that up to 21 people could have been hurt.
        The Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.
        Hermann told public broadcaster ARD that the teenager appeared to have travelled to Germany as an unaccompanied minor
        The refugee is said to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. He was “shot” by officers as he tried to flee the scene.


        Meanwhile the liberal left continues to happily piss take people who don’t share their views. (Republican Circus Convention anyone?)

        • Ad

          That’s what I would like to get to at some point – there has to be a way of talking about that stuff here without as TRP has done over the weekend simply dismissing the whole of religion altogether.

          It’s certainly not the only challenge to liberal society – but it’s growing.

        • red-blooded

          A couple of comments in reply, CV:
          1) I find it deeply ironic that you are so angry about people piss-taking when discussing ideologies they don’t agree with. I’m just going to leave that there and let you think about it.
          2) “Right up until we are surprised that the barbarians are right at the gate – how did we miss that and why didn’t they buy into our nice liberal narratives about human rights and universal equality?” How does your dismissal of angry, alienated (&, let us note, religiously indoctrinated) people as “barbarians” fit with your deep concern about inequality and commitment to the right of religious belief?

          If we simply dismiss people as other-than-us (& lesser) then we won’t interrogate the reasons for their feelings and actions, & if we never do that then we have no way of turning the tide.

          • Colonial Viper

            Do you see how the neoliberal pro-establishment careerist rot in the UK based home branch of the Labour Party franchise has now been exposed to all? The Scots cottoned on in a big way to it first. But they’re certainly not going to be the last.

          • Ad

            We’re a bit gone beyond feelings and otherness now.

  8. Ralf Crown 8

    What about New Zealand, the rulebook are getting thicker by the day, and the role of the police seems now mainly to be the tool of the mighty to implement what the leaders have decided. In China I see another development. Towards the end of the Mao regime in the 70s China was developing into an autocratic society, but they have managed to turn that around. Today the police work for the common man, not for the power, they go unarmed, no protection vests, no pepper spray, nothing, just light blue shirts and pants. For the most, they do not patrol at all, it is not needed. The police station in my neighborhood was closed after the police complained for years, there was nothing to do. “Dissidents” trying to stir, instigate violence, spread false rumors, seditionists, provocateurs to violence, and so on, don’t have an easy time. There is no forced “equality”, everyone has the right to decide for themselves, and live their own life without provocations from activists or ideologists. Food, clothes and homes are reasonable, no wild “chain letter” speculation that drives prices out of reach for the young. It is like New Zealand once was in the 70s.

    • ropata 8.1

      Yeah it’s heaven on earth that’s why the wealthy 1% are trying to park their ill gotten gains offshore and then emigrate asap. And you can’t even see the sun in Beijing because of smog. And they are facing a water quality crisis. And they are yet to hit peak population.

      Every Chinese expat I have spoken to (the older ones who aren’t indoctrinated) hates the Chinese Army and how they run the country for the benefit of themselves and the ruling dictatorship.

      • Ralf Crown 8.1.1

        I don’t speak to the expats in New Zealand, speak to the real Chinese in China and have done so for decades. Beijing is 1.5% of China, it is not “China”. The rest of China is cleaner than New Zealand, which is according to UN figures the third most polluting nation on earth, per capita. The Chinese army is highly respected and loved in China. I have seen officers rise in a restaurant and continue to eat standing, to give their seat to older people. You don’t see that in New Zealand. China has no water quality crisis, but the water is in the wrong place, so they planning to transport it. From 99% of rivers, you don’t even need to clean it. You see more of a “ruling dictatorship” in New Zealand than in China. No other nation in the history of earth has raised their population from poverty to wealth as fast as the Chinese. How is Mr. Key living these days, in his luxury mansion, and how are the people in the cars and tents doing, not to mention the homeless and the young looking for an overpriced home.

        • Colonial Viper

          China has no water quality crisis, but the water is in the wrong place, so they planning to transport it. From 99% of rivers, you don’t even need to clean it.

          Hmmmmm you need to understate your claims a bit for your propaganda to be taken seriously.

          I just found this on a Chinese website:

          Water pollution is one of many critical environmental issues plaguing China today.

          An estimated 280 million people in China are without safe drinking water, the Ministry of Environmental Protection revealed in a report in March this year.

          In March, the government vowed to spend over 70 billion yuan ($11.25 billion) to implement a clean water action plan, strengthen the protection of drinking water sources and prevent water pollution in key river basins.

          Global Times has rounded up the nine biggest water pollution disasters in recent years in order to rouse awareness among the public and officials of this impending threat to our environment.

          Hopefully you can learn something about China reading this.


          • Ralf Crown

            The first thing you must remember is that China is nearly a quarter of the world population while New Zeeland is 0.08%. If you put all that together in figures and consider the water contamination in New Zealand vs the problems in China, you will find that New Zealand is far worse off than China. Out of the total number of water sources in China 98% is safe and the water is used without purification. The figure is different if you instead, as the anti China propaganda machine do, consider the volume of water, including the massive rivers Yangtze and Yellow River. Water pollution IS an inherited problem in China, but China is very successfully getting on top of it. With “safe” water they refer to “tested guaranteed safe” and when people take their water out of a river or mountain well, the water is not tested as safe. If you want to learn something about China, come here and live for a while, instead of practicing word acrobatics from downumder to get the false impression you are seeking.

  9. adam 9

    I like it Ad, I may disagree with sections, but I like it.

    My take, if you will – is not over democracy, but that democracy – as presented, is not working. Democracy is not something in a vacuum you can turn off and on every three years, or whenever there is an election.

    It requires a few things.

    A educated, participating society, one who is invested with what democracy will bring them. A open media, civic society, and I’d argue – the freedom not to starve.

    We simply don’t have that anymore. Our media is held in the hands of the few. Education is slowly become a privilege commodity. What participation in society, who has the time working 2 to 3 jobs just to pay the rent? And investment…

    The list you offer of what to invest in, will appeal to some, it will turn off others. But for many, the daily struggle and the grid means they can’t, or won’t want to think about what this all means.

    It feels like those with money and privilege know the Post-Antiquity era well. They know that the majority of the masses, strive for nothing more than to be safe and secure, and will give up freedom to feel that safety and security.

    So my question to you Ad, what can we do to make people feel safe? Secure? Offer then some time to be reflexive, and most of all what can be done to help the majority feel invested in society? Because as it stands, liberal society is a empty shell, devoid of hope and even the possibility to offer people the basics with which to survive.

    • Ad 9.1

      Good God that’s another post entirely.

      I’ll see what I can come up with, but for me I think it would start pretty much with accelerating the death of the MSM, living a highly connected life with believe it or not lots of analogue dinner parties, and activating in at least four NGOs including political parties.

    • gsays 9.2

      hi adam, good points re democracy.
      i would add there is something undemocratic about lobbyists/lobbying as it occurs now-a-days.

      as to your last question, ” what can we do to make people feel safe? Secure? Offer then some time to be reflexive, and most of all what can be done to help the majority feel invested in society? ”
      a ftt funded ubi, at around $250-$300 minimum a week would be a great place to start.

  10. McFlock 10

    I think that one thing we’ve seen in nz and globally is the concept of “swings and roundabouts”.

    Yes, we have wide ranging surveillance now, but at least it’s not based on having informers in every household. And there’s some pushback on that and the policymakers who support it.

    Yes, we have a tory government now that follows the philosophy of the 19th century, but I reckon there’ll be pushback on that soon, too – and more than lab5.

  11. Observer Toke 11

    . As wiser people knew millenia ago, Greed is the Devil brazen and naked.

    . As Jean Jaques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 pointed out:
    “The Fruit of the Earth belongs to everyone. The land, sea and sky of earth belongs to no one.”

    As fewer and fewer people own more and more Resources and Wealth; and thence Power, then we must seek to equalise wealth and give back Equilibrium to all people.

    In short, GREED needs to be a major crime with major Punishment. It is beyond even Murder in its grossness and ghastliness.

    A modest Dwelling; a modest use of Land; abolition of Shareholdings and other unnecessary Third men. Should any man destroy any Land; or who poisons the air; or denudes the oceans of food – will be treated as a Greed man. And Punished severely.

    For no man should believe that his wealth makes him more entitled than any other man. Money never made any man better or wiser or worthwhile.

    Not just fairness can be returned to society. Honesty will return. Happiness will emerge again. Except for those who will not Strive and who will Destroy themselves with wine and drugs, the Homeless in New Zealand are made homeless simply and solely by the Wealthy.

    • Ad 11.1

      Rousseau hadn’t gone through The Terror at that point. Rousseau I think would struggle with whatever might be called liberal society now.

      • Observer Toke 11.1.1

        . Hi Ad

        . Rosseau realised that the great majority of people were effectively in chains.

        . Equality, liberty and Fraternity – still seems hard to beat as a goal for modern Human Kind.

        . People preventing it should be dealt with.

        I might add that Rousseau valued Religion (both Catholic and Calvinist). There are so many fine features to his thinking. He was also a gifted Composer. “Daphne & Chloe” being a very important work.

  12. Smilin 12

    The very powers that have been created since WW2 – Israel the UN Nato Seato the EU now defunct Anzus are the cause of the problem They are /were all just vehicles for the new NWO, ie banks the CIA Oilygarchs yes I meant to mis spell that ,to take away the sovereignty of small nations and potential problem nations so that the military industrial complex of corporation which rule every one including the US is able to infect the world with any form of death it chooses
    In short get rid of the weapons then we can start fixing the mess or those who take their lives now are probably the truly sane and enlightened ones
    So long as we refuse to see what Bernie Sanders is banging on about the world as we know it will be gone to hell in a hundred years and it will be the end for the billions now who are at the mercy of these arsholes who own the world
    And if we dont every leader will be at risk of being shot if you arent a puppet of the Corporation
    If you are old enough and can remember the 50s and the 60s you will know the Military Industrial complex is the power behind all this evil funded by the private banking cartel of the Fed and nearly every govt bank in the world These people are the corporation of corruption that rules .
    Just a little joke to finish. Anus still working cos we are, under Key just New no Zealand, uno New Aust, New USA New SA New Chile New China New India New Asia New Arabia New Europe even New Russia
    Pity we didnt KNOW that before Key got in

  13. Kriss X 13

    The militant and intolerant left have collapsed liberal society. There is nothing liberal about angry hateful zealots demanding alternative views and thoughts be silenced.

    • Ad 13.1

      From my definition of liberal society spelled out in the first paragraph of the post, can you show how the “militant and intolerant left” have collapsed it?

  14. AlZ 14

    The rescue package so far looks similar to this. ( food for thoughts).
    1. Government must become the issuer and controller of all money (value) types.
    2. Electronic referendums to replace adversarial parliamentary politics / ians etc.
    3. A consumption based tax system replaces all taxes (ie single transactions tax).
    4. A Unconditional basic income. UBI @ livable level’s ($350 – 500/wk)
    5, Laws to prevent greed, excessive profit, wealth and accumulation. (ie tax dodging)
    6. Laws to prevent damage and pillage of the commons (air, water, soil and sea)
    7. Detox the biosphere, re tree & diversify productive land.
    There are two paths into the future, one based on selfishness and aggression (the current trajectory) and the other on sharing, co-operation and peace seeking. Neither will last if enforced. like freedom, it must be chosen, and chosen again.
    I would argue that the later is civilization the other is not.

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