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The difference between the left and the right

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, January 10th, 2015 - 250 comments
Categories: blogs, David Farrar, Deep stuff, Dirty Politics, john key, national, The Standard, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Remember after Dirty Politics broke and John Key and others insisted that the left, including the Standard, were just as bad as the right?

In August last year Danyl McLaughlan summed the situation up really well with this post which included the following passage:

John Key did a media stand-up yesterday about Dirty Politics in which he mentioned the words ‘left-wing conspiracy theorist’ about twenty times, and insisted that everything in the book is a lie, and that the real dirty politics comes from the left.

From a communications point-of-view that’s a sensible approach. His audience is not the journalists at the stand-up, but rather the television viewers who haven’t read the book and who will see excerpts of the statement and be reassured by the PMs words.

But some of the reporters listening to the PM have read the book. And when Key insists that the real dirty politics comes from the left, I think, or hope, that they’ll reflect that no one on the left is publishing the addresses of journalists online in the hope that someone assaults or murders them in revenge for writing about tax-havens, which is what Cathy Odgers, Cameron Slater David Farrar and Matthew Hooton discuss on page 91. Also, no one on the left is going around brothels trying to find out whether journalists have visited them, so they can be blackmailed, which is what Cameron Slater, the Justice Minister’s close friend, and long-term collaborator with the Prime Minister’s office is up to. No one on the left runs smear campaigns against attempted rape victims, or publishes graphic affidavits describing their political enemies having sex. There’s no one comparable to Slater on the left of politics, or blogging. He is a phenomenon unique to the National Party.  Key can insist that this is all just a lie, just a conspiracy story, but people who read the book know that this is simply documentation from Slater’s emails and that the Prime Minister is lying to their faces.

Key’s claim that the left was just as bad was designed to urgently address the damage being caused by the revelations in Dirty Politics.  What was disclosed in the book was that bad that all stops had to be pulled out.  And it took a couple of days to focus group a response.  They ended up with “the left is just as bad” which on the scale of things must be the last useable defence for the right because it acknowledges immoral behaviour on their part.

The allegation that left blogs are just as bad as right blogs is a meme that gets trotted out regularly.  But it is incorrect and if you want evidence to confirm this there is plenty about.

As an example compare the Standard’s treatment of the Charlie Hebdo killing to Kiwiblog’s.

On the right David Farrar at Kiwiblog put up a post soon after the incident occurred at 3:42 am.  At the time of writing this post 439 comments have been made.  I will bullet point some of the more extreme but reading the whole list is distressing, both for the lack of humanity and for the intent to punish a whole religion for the actions of a couple of extremists.  The comments, which were mostly the most popular comments made, included:

  • “[B]etter would be for every town and city council in the west to erect a large billboard insulting Islam in a prominent location, preferably on the outside of Mosques and perhaps inside as well, and make it permanent …”
  • “When are we going to stop importing them?”
  • “The Islamic Fascists have already won. Start knitting a prayer mat for your grandkids – they will need it.
  • “[N]uke the whole area of Iraq and Syria which is currently held by these animals.”
  • “Repatriate the bastards from every western country, they are neither use nor ornament and I don’t want my taxes feeding, housing, and supplying them with money.”
  • “[It] seems that the left (who are nothing more than scum) will use any tragedy for their own political gain.  What this tragic event does show is that multiculturalism is indeed a massive failure.”
  • “What more proof do we need of the VILE and BARBARIC nature of Islam?”
  • “Be careful what you say even here my friends. The local scum leftwing Muslim cuddlers will be flat out petitioning DPF to strike out of existence those not drinking the multiculturalism Koolaid.”
  • “Ban ALL immigration of muslims.  Export ALL non-citizen muslims, be they tourists, refugees, visitors or immigrants.  License ALL practicing muslim citizens.  Ban preaching of religious seperatism (of any kind).  Start treating anyone convicted of terrorism-type offenses the way they treat their victims (public death and dismemberment).  Ban ALL trade with any country overtly (or proven to be covertly) supporting islam in any form.”
  • “One religion started this, is it too much to ask that our “leaders” recognise that whether we like it or not, a war *has* been started and we either win it, or start chopping our carpets into prayer mats? In any war, there are enemy combatants, enemy non-combatants, neutrals and allies and I simply don’t see any Muslims in that last category.”
  • “All the apologists should be sent to talk to the various islamic terror groups.”

I could go on but I am sure that you get the picture.

Pete George had a comment hidden because of negative clicks.  It said “[a]ttacking and ostracising innocent Muslims is not dissimilar to terrorists attacking people. Both show a lack of tolerance of others.”  A response “PG: Get your head out of your arse . . . you are the type these scumbags gain their support from” received considerable support.

Whaleoil was similar.  I will not list the details although a recent post had the following text “[H]ow many more people are they going to have to murder before everyone understands that Islam is the religion of peace?”

Meanwhile on the Standard Karol posted about the news at 7:30 am on the day it happened.  At the time of writing there have been 581 comments.  Reading these confirm to me how utterly different the left is to the right.  It is as if we are two different species.

Anyway some of the more interesting comments which displayed a wide variety of beliefs and considerable disagreement and debate include the following:

  • “This attack is also another warning from Europe to us – don’t allow mass migration from Muslim countries to NZ unless we are absolutely, 100% sure we have the jobs and systems to fully assimilate them into a secular, western, modern nation.”
  • “Free speech already has state protection. Ubiquitous surveillance is toxic to free speech. Wingnuts (even the beige ones) have gone from condemning the STASI to mimicking them in less than thirty years.”
  • “[T]he Muslim community here are very proactive in informing the authorities of any radical behaviors going on.”
  • “Similar with the man who took and killed hostages in the Lindt café incident in Australia. Muslim organisations had reported that man to authorities multiple times in the last few years. Yet they are still tarred with the same brush.”
  • “The terrorist against these journalists, is indefensible. However I think its important we show respect and tolerance for others beliefs (unless they are hate beliefs e.g. Nazism).”
  • “Violent extremists will always find a way to justify their violent extremism within the scope of their culture/religion/background.”
  • “Murderers use anything to dress up their acts, to create meaning for themselves for their violent disgusting acts and religion is well up there. Time to take the debate deeper rather than spin the surface.”
  • “[F]eel free to believe [in a religion], but not in my parliament, not in my schools and not as a shield to proper challenge.”
  • “The reasons that religions get tax breaks etc isn’t ‘just because’. There are very tangible reasons for why they do, and trying to reduce it down to people who believe in imaginary friends getting special treatment for no good reason doesn’t help.”
  • “Personally I am against all spying and surveillance. The cost to our society is too high, the risks of abuse too great. And I don’t care (other than being interested in other views) what the ‘majority of contributors’ think – I think for myself and don’t require external reinforcement for what I believe in”.
  • “In 2001, Al Quaeda was a campsite. Thirteen years of anti-Muslim propaganda and surveillance, and now it’s a country.”
  • “[R]especting the memory of a person doesn’t mean the work of that person should be reproduced if, frankly, it’s offensive. Respecting that people have a right to live without fearing for their lives despite being offensive doesn’t mean agreeing with what they say.”
  • “The calls to publish the cartoons more widely – just like after the Danish cartoon incident – seem to be motivated by a juvenile “ha ha, we’ll show you!!!!” attitude.”
  • “To my mind, publishing these cartoons is just an expression of a sense of cultural superiority from the dominant group in a particular society. They have a sense of infallibility and impunity, and just like Slug Boy hiding behind FJK to abuse people, they are juvenile cowards. Not worth a death sentence, but also not something I’ll be bothered defending.”
  • “Until widespread poverty in the Muslim Arabic world is solved,their will be no shortage of martyr’s”.

Interestingly Matthew Hooton agreed with many of the comments.  Who would have thought that a libertarian would be respectful of human life and of freedom of expression would agree that notions of freedom should apply to everyone.

Reading the comments in Karol’s post it is clear that the discussion was much more diverse and covered such areas as belief in a higher deity, whether or not there should be any state support for that deity, the difficulties with cultural integration need to be addressed, that we should reserve judgment on the issue until more facts emerged and that the initial response was simplistic.

The discussions were like chalk and cheese.  One (Kiwiblog’s) was certain and rigid and superficial and any dissenting view was ridiculed.  The other (the Standard’s) was multilayered, explored a number of different aspects of the incident, was robust in parts but was certainly informative and educational.

There is a difference between left and right blogs.  The evidence is startlingly clear.  Next time John Key says the left is just the same he should be asked for specifics.

250 comments on “The difference between the left and the right ”

  1. JanM 1

    My personal experience is that people of the right persuasion have much lower emotional IQs.

    • Saarbo 1.1

      Agree. Fascinating post to highlight the differences between “left” and “right”.

      I think you sum it up Micky with this quote about the comments from the “right”

      lack of humanity

    • Rosie 1.2

      Hi JanM. Your personal experience aligns with the findings of studies of low IQ, or should I say, less developed IQ and it’s link with conservatism. Furthermore, emotional intelligence evolves from cognitive patterns that are more fluid and abstract, not rigid. Rigid thinking is a trait commonly found in conservatives.

      This is just one article of the gazillions you will find on the internetz that discuss reduced cognitive functioning and the tendency towards conservatism.


      • Kevin 1.2.1

        What a sanctimonious load of claptrap!!

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Try this critique, it’s probably more to your liking.

          It is important to emphasize that the authors do not posit an independent direct causal connection between low I.Q. and more reactionary attitudes towards race and homosexuality…

          …this sort of research is essential and insightful.

        • JanM

          I rest my case!

        • Jimmy

          Im with you Kevin, I think I am going to move away from reading political blogs, both left and right blogs are full of people that have let an ideology, get in the way of a decent life.
          Sorry guys a ridiculous discussion, and sadly some of you actually think that right wing conservatives are somehow less intelligent as a group than lefties.
          Get outside a bit more, turn the puter off, thats what im doing.
          Lifes for living not thinking about this stuff.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.2

        If progressives want their ways to be respected in society then they better be able to show that their leadership can deliver demonstrable and positive change for the bottom half of society.

        It’s not happened for a very long time.

      • Wow. Staggering stuff. Psychology Today – it blows me away. You forgot to cite The Sunday Star Times or The Women’s Weekly. Does it make you feel more worthy, or more convinced of your own ‘rightness’ to suggest that people who don’t view the world in the same terms as you have lower IQ. Are you old enough or even educated enough to know about the fallacious studies that showed Africans had lower IQ’s than Europeans? You are on the same treacherous ground here.

        • One Anonymous Bloke


          Read the study that PT quotes, then read what its authors have to say for themselves, before judging them by what PT says.

          Hodson was quick to note that the despite the link found between low intelligence and social conservatism, the researchers aren’t implying that all liberals are brilliant and all conservatives stupid. The research is a study of averages over large groups, he said.

          “There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals,” Hodson said.

          • Once was Pete

            Not nonsense. As other researchers have elaborated the concept of conservatism is not properly defined/understood and it has been posited that the relationship might be more closely related to extremism. In other words people with extremely conservative views on both ends of the political spectrum might be of lower intelligence.
            It is so little understood that no sensible statement can be made on the matter one way or the other. That is what I objected to. This study just cannot be used to support the statements made.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              At least you read the article.

              Other researchers have made similar findings, as linked in response to Kevin above.

              There is plenty of work on cognitive styles and political orientation. Recently it is moral foundations from Jon Haidt. Earlier you had George Lakoff’s models. Neither of these focused on general intelligence, the raw CPU power of the mind. Rather they surveyed moral intuition and personality profiles (for example, there is some evidence that those with a greater bias toward “openness” are more socially liberal).

              Looking at the General Social Survey I too have found at a correlation between higher intelligence and social liberalism. On the other hand a good objection to this is that my estimator of intelligence, WORDSUM, was verbal, and liberals and conservatives may exhibit different cognitive profiles. This study takes that into account, adding spatial I.Q. tests to the mix.

              In the New Zealand context, read Kiwiblog for a large body of anecdotal evidence.

              • Just a couple of points and then I am happy to let this go. Firstly the catholic, working class, union, labour environment I grew up in was ‘chocka’ with social and political extremists.
                Secondly, I am a regular reader of blogs on both sides of the spectrum, including Kiwiblog and The Standard. Everyone has a frame of reference they apply to a subject. With the greatest respect some of the commenters on this blog are equally rabid, and extremist over a variety of topics.So you could use the same yardstick and apply it to them, but I would have the same problem with it. It just depends which way you lean!

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There is also the matter of facts. “Extreme” can often be more in the eye of the beholder than a realistic observation. There isn’t a middle ground between ideological cak and evidence-based policy, and then there’s the matter of reality’s Liberal bias…

                  PS: pretend equivalence all you like, and I don’t see Standard commenters calling for pogroms.

                  • i think an important factor left out in these equation-comparisons..

                    ..is the sense-of-humour bye-pass most rightwingers are born with..

                    ..if you are unable to laugh at the human condition..you are unable to laugh at yrslf..

                    ..and that breeds that bigotry/a sense of superiority so redolent in so many on the right..

                    (as has been noted above..read the kiwiblog comments..for current evidence of that rightwing-ignorance/bigotry/hatred…)

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Wingnuts are perfectly capable of laughing at the human condition. Other people’s misfortunes, mostly.

                    • yes..i should have qualified that..

                      ..the only humour they seem to enjoy/’get’..is where they get to laugh at/look down on someone else..

                      ..it is a hard/brittle/nasty version of ‘humour’..

                      ..and lacking the general intelligence of that genre..

                      ..which is why i tend to disqualify it..

        • Rosie

          “Are you old enough or even educated enough to know about the fallacious studies that showed Africans had lower IQ’s than Europeans? ”

          Yes I am both old enough and educated enough. I have a pysch diploma so am well aware of the shonkey “studies” of racial IQ which were nothing more than flakey theories in a time of extreme prejudice and ignorance. Early psychology exercised it’s belief in it’s own cultural superiority well enough.

          Mickey’s post, to me highlights the way in which different groups think and their different approaches to analysis of a situation. One group is reacting, their anger springing from their primal fear of “other” – in this case the Moslem community.
          Another group is breaking the situation down and looking at the individual pieces closely, seeing how events and outcomes are connected by threads, reserving prejudiced outbursts, whilst demonstrating empathy for the victims.

          IF you need any proof of a group that collectively have poorly developed cognitive abilities and a low emotional intelligence just head over the stuff.co.nz comments section. The difference between left and right goes well beyond having a different set of values.

          The good news is that empathy, understanding and rational analysis can all be learned. The mind can be elevated. Nothing is set in stone.

          • Anne


            You put it so well Rosie.

            • Rosie

              Thank you Anne.

              Seeing as emotional intelligence is a side topic, I thought I’d add the definition, for the sake of clarity, from Weiten’s 7th edition Psychology: themes and variations. p. 365 (Sorry, not the correct APA referencing. I’ve had sleep deprivation for so many years I forget stuff).

              “Emotional intelligence consists if the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion and regulate emotion”.

              The paragraph goes on to say “people need to be able to regulate their emotion so they can dampen negative emotions and make use of positive emotions”.
              I think this is something RWer’s struggle with when it comes to conflict, hence the abusive comments aimed at the Moslem community in Mickey’s examples above.

              That text book was published in 2007 when the concept of emotional intelligence was still considered fairly new. There may a more developed definition available now days.

    • Murray Rawshark 1.3

      Interesting that you said “emotional IQ.” I have known some right wingers who are extremely bright in conventional terms. They use their massive intellects to justify what I consider to be ridiculous beliefs. They are great at sorting out their own logic, but empathy doesn’t seem to come into it at all. They have all, without exception, been weirdos socially. Even worse than me, and my IQ has been measured as being in the top 50%.

      • Rosie 1.3.1

        I wonder if emotional IQ is more influential that cognitive ability in the liberal/conservative divide. It certainly seems to be a strong feature of it.

        I know alot of right wingers and have been around them all my life. One thing they just can’t grasp is empathy for the struggles of another, or if they do feel anything it is conditional, based on whether that person “deserves” their sympathy. “If it doesn’t affect me then it’s not a problem” is a common view.

        One RW friend of mine is very smart. She’s a quick thinker, a speedy problem solver and needs to think in a technical and clinical way for the type of work she does. Yet her bigotry, her callous attitude towards those who are suffering and the way she is stuck in her ethnocentric mould is really quite something.

        Like Data, from Star Trek, they seem to be missing their emotional chip.

        • Anne

          I recall a former colleague who was extremely bright and competent at his job. He was however deeply religious and totally rejected the evolutionary process. He believed God created the world in ten days about 10-15 thousand years ago. Nothing or nobody could shake his belief.

          If he’s still around, I imagine he would be a vehement Climate Change denier.

    • Juana 1.4

      A video well worth viewing. Bill is a very well know Liberal in America.

      • Anne 1.4.1

        Well Juana, he is dangerous because he is making sweeping statements that will almost certainly be taken the wrong way by many Americans. This comment below the video sums it up quite well:

        He said “they chop heads off in the square of Mecca, well Mecca is their Vatican City” That is an outright lie, they don’t do that in Mecca. That’s why I don’t like Bill, he’s right on some things but he always lies and exaggerates to get his point across. When you’re making these claims to ignorant people who believe what you say you can’t be lying like that.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          joe90. “Anti-vaccine loon”???

          Sorry mate but aside from Maher having a grumpy migrainy day, there have been enough serious vaccination fuck ups around the world over the last 50 years to warrant at least a degree of caution before blindly accepting medical treatment orthodoxy like you do.

          • TheContrarian

            What a pile of shit. Are you seriously an anti-vaxer?

          • joe90

            In 1957 my cousin contracted polio, and very nearly died and continues to suffer lifetime effects, while myself and the rest of my large extended family lived in fear until we received the oral vaccine in 1960 and pertussis has caused my brother life long health problems.

            So yes, personal experience means I’m going to be blindly accepting medical treatment orthodoxy.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              I accept that some drug treatments are very useful in some circumstances.

              But I do not go along with your ‘reasoning’ that that means that all drug treatments are very useful in all circumstances.

              Especially now, when $$$$$ is a major motivator for the mega-marketing of drug treatments cf. the 1950s.

              • Gareth

                Putting aside “drug treatments”, which is not what vaccines are, would you give your children the MMR vaccine?

      • Rosie 1.4.3

        I thought what he had to say was unhelpful and inflammatory.

  2. karol 2

    Excellent bit of research, micky. Well explained.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      I agree totally. There is a fair bit of work in creating a post that details its argument like that. Well done and thank you micky.

      It makes for a pretty good summary of an otherwise very long thread.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2


      And am so glad that I didn’t have to go wander through all of the filth on either Kiwiblog or Whaleoil.

    • Lanthanide 2.3


  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Key won’t give any specifics mate – give him any kind of media access and he’ll just deliver tailor-made spin over the top of any line of questioning. So much for the systemic integrity of Westminster descended democracies – a bare-faced liar with no sense of honour renders all the checks and balances moot. It will require something more robust to shift him, and to deter emulators.

  4. Ad 4

    Thanks for taking one for the team reading through the sewers of the collective id Mickey.

    Not always easy to clear the cobwebs of media strings and remember parts of the modernist project that the modern state has helped sustain:

    – The public sector will to integration
    – The secular public realm
    – The idea of diplomacy to suppress war
    – The high tolerance for individual offense

    It’s populist cynicism and right-political corrosion of this modernist state that enables our dark side to flourish.

    The left flourishes however when we show what the good (modernist!) ideals look like when they are put into practice.

    Raise The Standard.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    The right wing blogs are instantly reminiscent of Hodson & Busseri 2012.

    …cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice.

    Possibly explained by Kanai et al’s finding that greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala.

    Add Piff’s conclusion that personal wealth is inversely proportional to personal ethics, and we have a ready made constituency for unscrupulous money to exploit.

    • Rosie 5.1

      You beat me to it OAB. Replied to JanM on a similar theme with the same study referenced in the article I linked.

  6. Pete George 6

    I agree with you on this Greg, there has been a sharp contrast between The Standard on this between Kiwiblog (commenters, not Farrar) and Whale Oil (Slater, Juana plus commenters).

    They are in full flight at KB again today:

    But this is just one issue. The whole left versus right thing can’t be judged on it.

    TS is not immune from “rigid and superficial and any dissenting view was ridiculed” (at other times but note ..p..ure and weka on OM).

    Another important thing to note is that the views expressed on Muslims at Kiwiblog are from a small minority of the right who consider key’s National led Government is left wing.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1


      Not “any dissenting view” – beige drivel.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        But when I look where the trend to extremist polarisation takes you, everyone competing for attention with their outrage and anger – maybe there’s something to be said for PG’s shades of neutrals after all.

        PG successfully annoys everyone with his beige middle of the road.

        • Ad

          No, Pete George is wrong about anger.

          He is essentially a quetist.

          Think about the things in the last century that people had to get really angry about before any change occurred:
          – Aramoana Smelter
          – Racist Rugby tours
          – The obligations of the Treaty of Waitangi
          – The right to vote
          – The unemployed and poor in the 1930s

          Rage is sometimes the right energy for the right reason at the right time.

          I wouldn’t call myself a revolutionary.
          But it’s wrong for example to simply write off all the marchers in Europe right now as mere xenophobes.
          They have measured their society and found it wanting. And they express their rage -largely – without taking up AK47s.

          Rage within the bounds of civil society does what it should do: build the political demand for reform.

          • RedLogix

            Real rage I have no problem with when it’s focussed and disciplined. Those are all fine points Ad.

            But rage as a way of life – clogs the arteries of far too many blogs.

          • OhMyGodYes

            I concur, completely.

            Anger is virtually criminalised in New Zealand, thanks largely to a widespread cultural fear of disapproval, which means that as a naturally occurring phenomenon in humans, it remains largely shunned, suppressed and thoroughly misunderstood in this country.

            A perfect example of how our cultural fear of anger has been so cynically exploited for political purposes is National’s chosen angle of attack against Andrew Little, with John Key and other National MP’s consistently portraying him as having “anger issues” for simply standing up in Parliament and telling Key to “cut the crap”.

            Personally I thought AL was being kind with that statement, but either way, Key and Co have milked it for everything it’s worth, playing up to the Kiwi cultural cringe about not being seen to get too upset about anything.

            This is a country where you can be victimised in all sorts of ways, but the moment you get upset about it, you give the perpetrator(s) the perfect opportunity to blame you for their actions toward you in one second flat.

            And we wonder why our alcohol abuse and domestic violence statistics are among the worst in the developed world.

            If anger management, which is essentially learning what it is, and how to channel it and express it appropriately/wisely/safely, was taught in high schools as core curriculum, New Zealand society would change dramatically for the better in one generation.

            Until then though, the sins of the father and mother will go on being copied and repeated, as we keep disapproving strongly of anyone who dares to stand up or speak out with any passion or emotion.

            The Kiwi clobbering machine is still very much alive and well, completely unaware that it is fuelled largely by our cultural fear and misunderstanding about anger.

            • Ad

              I think it’s a skill that Andrew Little has from being a union boss and having to deal with major employers acting like complete c**ts all day.

              There’s a real skill that only a few politicians have mastered – channelling their emotion to display with precision.

              There are populist demagogues, of course. LIke Huey Long in full flight.

              But Elizabeth Warren does focussed rage really well.

              I hope AL has really got it.

            • Rosie

              +1 OhMyGodYes. Well said.

            • weka

              that’s good insight OMGY.

              I would add a couple of observations.

              One is the dynamic where women who are angry get specially singled out, or where women are strident/uppity etc and anger gets used a label to undermine them and their points.

              The other is class. Looks to me like there is still a big gap between what’s acceptable to the middle classes and what’s normal for the working and underclasses. Swearing is one example. Being loud and agitated is another. eg you get in any kind of meeting with middle management and raising your voice or saying fuck makes the middle classes in the room start to feel nervous.

              I too think anger can be an amazing force for change. If you’re not angry at some point you’re probably not paying attention to what’s going on.

              • mac1

                It’s called ‘righteous anger’, I believe, Weka. it certainly energised me in my activism.

                There is another, suppressed, anger which leads to depression. There is an anger which reveals itself in passive/aggressive or aggressive forms.

                Then there is assertiveness. A good space to act for change.

                And don’t bullies hate assertive people, which is why partly the Right have attacked Little’s assertiveness.

            • Wendigo Jane

              I tried, with far less coherence and elegance to say this some weeks back when everyone was all “rah rah, Little will be great” etc. I said the tactic of labelling him as angry/crazy could prove successful, because New Zealanders cling to a sort of beige outward affect, which the PM exploits – “not too concerned” etc. I also mentioned that while clinging to the “laid back” performance, we have serious mental health problems, etc. I got accused of “psych 101” and it was implied I cannot possibly know what goes on in the average Kiwi’s head. I’m pleased I’m actually not alone in my observations about why the “crazy angry man” angle was chosen to attack Little. The passionless people strikes again.

              • OhMyGodYes

                I have sat around campfires and dinner tables with more tourists and immigrants than I care to remember, and lost count of the number of conversations that become more animated as they discover that they are in safe company to be able to be passionate in their language and expressions.

                Immediate exposure to Kiwi cultures causes a lot of them to fall into a stunned silence, unsure as to what constitutes a safe way to express themselves here.

                When given permission to say how they really feel, many of them become quite animated, allowing much more authentic dialogue than is possible with many New Zealanders, in my experience.

                Ours is a culture and society that frowns upon the expression of emotion or passion.

                I have lived in 9 different countries and cultures now, but spent most of the last 35 years in New Zealand, and New Zealand is by far the most conformist, least passionate, and most disapproving culture and society I have ever been immersed in.

                I must say that my love affair with this country has much more to do with the land than the people.

                Most Kiwi’s I know have little or no idea of the degree to which these aspects of the Kiwi psyche are regularly exploited by politicians here.

                It is a young culture in the context that Victorian England was transplanted here, when compared to other cultures which have histories that go back many thousands of years.

                If societies and cultures were measured in human years, then I would say New Zealand’s is somewhere between puberty and adolescence.

                The product of harsh, punitive, and emotionally unavailable parents (authority figures).

                There is a lot that is good about New Zealand society, but there is still a lot that is sick and dysfunctional about it too.

                Just look at the delight Key’s supporters get out of the punishments he dishes out to all their fellow citizens who belong to the marginalised groups they love to hate.

                It’s disturbing.

                Bullying is regularly exonerated here, and as soon as someone loses their rag in response to it, they give the bully or bullies the perfect opportunity to portray them as the perpetrator rather than the victim.

    • Once wasTim 6.2

      “I agree with you on this Greg”
      How bloody magnanimous of you @PG. Now that you’ve come across as fair and reasonable, we’ll prepare ourselves for you next – which is likely to be a complete load of ‘right-sized’ kaka.

      Edit: Ah, I see it starts almost immediately below

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      But this is just one issue. The whole left versus right thing can’t be judged on it.

      Yes it can especially when it’s not just one issue but right across the board.

      • Psycho Milt 6.3.1

        Also: “this is just one issue” equals “this is the presentation of just one piece of evidence.” Yes it is, Pete. Got any substantive response?

  7. coaster 7

    I was amazed with the varied views and ways of lokking at things on here.
    the narrow minded views on whaleoil often seem like comments made at the pub after 6 beers. Sadly what was once simply thought of as being rude and impolite is now ok, and if you point out its rude your accused of being pc.

    somehow it has become cool to be an atheist boofhead who only listens to 10 second soundbites.

    personally, I dont let people know im a labour party member, or a christian as you judged negatively because of this.

    • Murray Rawshark 7.1

      Some of my best friends are Christians. Whalespew is not one of them.

      I know what you mean though. Kiwis have built a clobbering machine which hits anyone slightly different, and too many of us won’t stand up against bullies. I had to learn to protect myself physically because I got to level 7 (maybe 8) spelling when I was 8. I couldn’t understand why I got bashed for it, but I eventually put a stop to it. That was Whangarei in the 60s.

      I think I’m around the left edge of the TS community and I have a very critical view of the Labour Party, but that doesn’t make me think less of anyone who is a member. Mostly they are people who want change for the better.

      As for rudeness, I blame the internet. When we communicated more face to face, people were more careful about what they said. I don’t think it was censorship. It was being aware of the possible consequences.

  8. disturbed 8

    Have the right become just animals?

    I don’t condone any religion preaching radicalism and this includes my religion Christianity.

    If Islam is found to support radicalism there should be ways to shut the venue down be it a hall or a mosque or any assembly.

    Global Governments elsewhere do shut down other radical groups around the globe, when they show radicalism, so right wingers wake up and use your brains.

    Why does the right embrace control methodologies such as using their favourite word “compliance” on all of us in every corner of our lives today but hold themselves to other standard?

    I am comfortable being so called “left” and a compassionate fellow human being also.

    Lead by example if you are in Government or pass the candle to others to make our future more peaceful.

  9. b waghorn 9

    “In 2001, Al Quaeda was a campsite. Thirteen years of anti-Muslim propaganda and surveillance, and now it’s a country.”
    That is the most important comment to keep in mind IMO.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      Thanks. Weka et al’s arguments for tolerance and inclusiveness are at least as valuable.

    • And …
      The americans arming and training the likes of Al Quaeda and ISIS, and funding sources from some middle east states (I’m looking at you Saudi Arabia) might have something to do with it.

      And …
      America invading two middle east countries – only one one of which was justified. And even then they should have been out of Afganistan within a year (hunt and kill Bin Ladin, leave country), two at most.

      And …
      No one has been held accountable for the multitude of abuses by soldiers and murders by contractors

      And …
      Americas programs of rendition and torture.

      And …
      No interest in holding those responsible for starting the Iraq war which has led to the documented deaths of over 150,000 civilians. Other studies show a body count of anywhere from 750,000 to over a million.

      How is it that Bush and his team, and Blair and his are not in prison, nor in the Hague awaiting trail?

  10. gsays 10

    while a little to the side of the topic of this post…
    my son asked, around election time, what is the difference between the left and right of politics.
    my answer was that socialists love/care about people and capitalists/conservatives love/care about money.

    • Pete George 10.1

      It’s sad that you teach generalisations like that. There are very significant examples of socialists not loving/caring much about people, for example in the USSR, China and Cambodia.

      And suggesting that all capitalists/conservatives love/care about is money is money is insulting to most capitalists/conservatives.

      • gsays 10.1.1

        hi there pg.
        there are many sad things in this world but the generalization about left/right doesnt make the list.

        i was talking about people as opposed to reigimes. although you could add usa and uk to your list of uncaring states

        more importantly he has been shown the need to look for the universal in us. sometimes that can be hard to see.

        south canterbury finance bailout to me makes a mockery of:
        “And suggesting that all capitalists/conservatives love/care about is money is money is insulting to most capitalists/conservatives.”

        ask a tory how to improve the life of the have-nots most will reply the economy/trickledown etc.
        never “i could share some of my surplus wealth” (there is enough money, just not distributed well enough)
        contrast that with the people i have volunteered with in social agencies, a lot of which dont have 2 brass razoos to rub together.

        hope this helps.

        • Bea Brown

          But wasn’t it socialists in other words Helen Clark’s government that guaranteed the South Canterbury bail-out in the first place?

          I cling to the hope that good education spares us from these unintelligent generalisations which are, after all, what too many people are making about Muslims.

          We can easily find examples of philanthropic conservatives, materialistic socialists (actually by definition), nasty lefties and saintly right-wingers. We all know of loving National Party families and hopeless Labour ones – and vice versa.

          gsays – perhaps your children deserve better from you than bigotry and prejudice.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Bill English knew that SCF did not qualify for continuation in the government bank guarantee programme, yet re-signed them into it. You should look there. Clark and Cullen were long gone when he did that.

          • RedLogix

            I had the chance to talk directly with Dr Cullen on this.

            1. It was not Labour who actually signed SCF into the scheme. It was National.

            2. On the other hand it is true that SCF did apply for the scheme while Labour were still in power. At the time various authorities were quite reluctant to include them. That tune suddenly changed when Bill English became their boss.

            3. In terms of the scheme as a whole – Dr Cullen was very unhappy about the need for it at all. He publicly warned that it would have “unintended consequences” in an interview with Kim Hill on RNZ at the time. But given the global situation, most governments believed they had no choice – that it they failed to act and became the odd country out – this would directly and immediately collapse their entire banking sector.

            In other words a choice between maybe bad tomorrow, or really bad right now.

          • gsays

            hi bea,
            “But wasn’t it socialists in other words Helen Clark’s government that guaranteed the South Canterbury bail-out in the first place?”
            no. and it is a bit laughable to call labour (nat lite) socialists.

            to me the scf is another example of privatizing profit and socializing loss.

            “I cling to the hope that good education spares us from these unintelligent generalisations which are, after all, what too many people are making about Muslims.”
            i take it you wouldnt be a fan of the tory enthusiasm for charter schools rammed into the system by that beacon of tolerance, john banks.

            “We can easily find examples of philanthropic conservatives, materialistic socialists (actually by definition), nasty lefties and saintly right-wingers. We all know of loving National Party families and hopeless Labour ones – and vice versa.”
            while i dont know about easily, yes there are examples as you say.

            one persons bigotry is another persons experience.

      • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.2

        PG I think the division you are looking for is that between the 0.1% power elite, their top 10% professional enablers/enforcers, and everyone else.

        In this way of looking at things, you are correct in that it is not so much a question of Left vs Right, but more a question of power and influence.

        In a capitalist society, clearly it is those who own and direct the capital who have the greatest hold on power and influence.

        • Pete George

          In a capitalist society, clearly it is those who own and direct the capital who have the greatest hold on power and influence.

          Does that include all the small business owners in New Zealand?

          The more small capitalists there are the less power and influence rich capitalists will have.

          But we do benefit from quite a bit of rich capitalism. For example the devices and infrastructure that new media utiltises that allows many more of us to express ourselves publicly.

          • Sacha

            The internet is built on the back of huge public sector investment, notably the US universities and military. Like many other ‘private sector’ success stories.

          • Macro

            Does that include all the small business owners in New Zealand?

            Of course it doesn’t! How many small business owners own their business outright? In most cases they are beholden by mortgages to banks, Effectively they work for banks, and in the end – hopefully – will have enough capital to release themselves from the bondage.

            The fact you do not seem to grasp PG is that our current economic system is structured in such a way that inevitably wealth will flow from the powerless to the powerful. This has been so since Locke formulated the philosophical basis for Capitalism in 1690, and until the fundamental errors of that are addressed no amount of tinkering around the edges will make it any better. The current situation is now so bad that only a handful of people control almost all the wealth of the western world.

            Wealth is so unevenly distributed, that you need just $3,650 (less debts) to count yourself among the richest half of the world’s population. A mere $77,000 brings you among the wealthiest 10%. And just $798,000 puts you into the ranks of the 1%—within the reach of many white-collar urban professionals in the West.

            And it is getting worse by the day.
            Sadly things will only change when the “comfortable middle class” wake up to the fact that they have been horribly shafted by the wealthy few will any action be taken. Hopefully not along the lines taken by the bourgeois in France 1789

            • RedLogix

              Sadly things will only change when the “comfortable middle class” wake up to the fact that they have been horribly shafted by the wealthy few will any action be taken.

              A point that Labour should take good note of. The middle class in the USA are rapidly becoming well aware of this, but it is the right-wing and proto-fascists who are exploiting that energy.

              This false working class vs middle class divide – is purpose built for to keep us helpless.

              • Macro

                A point that Labour should take good note of. The middle class in the USA are rapidly becoming well aware of this, but it is the right-wing and proto-fascists who are exploiting that energy.

                This false working class vs middle class divide – is purpose built for to keep us helpless.

                Yes Red I am well aware of this aspect.

                I read only recently – unable to find a link sorry – that the middle class in the states which used to carry the most “wealth” world wide have now handled over that mantle to the middle class in Canada. I can well believe that to be true too, having just returned from a 2 month sojourn in North America. Of course the neo-libs have the treasury by the short and curlies in the States – even more so than anywhere else. And the results are becoming plain to see. vis Roads are falling into disrepair – apart from the tolls and major highways. We were there just before elections – where people get to vote on whether they will fund roads and schools; and almost everything else, we here, take as a fundamental common good, to be directly funded by local or central government, (and questions asked when they are not)! Begging and the plight of the unemployed was everywhere Particularly Detroit. The countryside in Michigan and Ohio was simply stunning this fall – such a beautiful part of the country – and just a amazingly beautiful as Quebec, Ottawa and the Lakes where we had Canadian Thanksgiving, but over all it hides a festering sore.
                I flew from Toronto to Vancouver with a woman who was the first female railroad engineer in the country – she loved her job – but couldn’t wait to retire. On the news at the time we were there was an ongoing story on the increasing number of fatalities and accidents on the Canadian railroads. She explained that this was a direct result of the new working conditions on railroad employees for CPR whereby the new CEO has reduced the workforce to the barest minimum and increased train sizes to almost double. Employees are on call with no real roster so they are tired from the time they commence their 8 hour shift (always on standby and never knowing when they will be called does not help for rest). Just one example of the working conditions now prevalent in North America. The plight of retail and other low paid workers in the states is even more depressing.
                This is the path upon which Labour set NZ in the mid 1980’s and did little to change in the Clark govt. Of course Bridges has just continued down the road at a quicker pace.
                I do not hold out much hope for this country until Labour really wakes up to the task that it has to do. Fortunately for the “lucky country” where I gather you now reside – the strength of the Unions has not been undermined as much as it has here, and working conditions have been preserved to some extent – despite the worse efforts of the abbot.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Does that include all the small business owners in New Zealand?

            Not really.

            There is a vast gulf of privilege and power between most small business owners and the corporate rentiers in this country. It is two completely different classes of scale and privilege in the business world.

            The majority of the self employed/owner operators/small business in this country are in hock to the bank, have to use their overdraft occasionally to cover cashflow holes, find it almost impossible to get business credit at reasonable rates, and struggle to get clients to pay their bills on time.

            TL/DR: Small business owners do not hold the balance of power in this economy. The corporates and the banks do.

            edit – I see Macro explained this better than I did 🙂

          • RedLogix

            Does that include all the small business owners in New Zealand?

            In my book no. Most small business owners are really people who have just brought their own job. And some may hope to make a bit of capital gain to retire on.

            The difference is plain when you consider the question of how much ‘power and influence’ they wield. For sure they wield some influence over their employees – but highly moderated by employment law.

            But that’s about the extent of it.

            For example the devices and infrastructure that new media utiltises that allows many more of us to express ourselves publicly.

            While it’s true that private enterprise plays a vital part in our present economic models, what most left-wingers object to is the completely wrong characterisation that it plays the ONLY useful part. All we are really asking for is a proper recognition of the role government and the collective public good also play.

            Because it is equally vital.

    • The lost sheep 10.2

      Anyone who really believes that blogs represent a valid sample from which to extrapolate generalisations about the overall nature of the Left or Right needs to spend a hell of a lot more more time in the Real World.

      In fact, I’d venture as a rough rule of thumb that the more time an individual spends reading and commenting on a political blog, the LESS likely they are to be representative of either simplified mainstream division of the population into left and right groupings.

      • tinfoilhat 10.2.1

        This !

      • Ad 10.2.2

        You saddos still thinking analogue space is real

      • Naturesong 10.2.3

        You do realise that the opinion is about left and right blogs, and that comment #10 by gsays was a (flawed) generalisation about left and right people that did not draw its conclusion from blog behaviour.
        This makes your comment (with which I largely agree) a non-sequitur.

        Conflating two separate issues even though they are in the same area (in this case left / right politics) only confuses the conversation and wastes peoples time as they need to unpick the thing before discarding it.

        Also, I wouldn’t consider WO or KB to be representative of conservative though.

        WO is a blogger for hire (actually, that does make the blog right wing – for sale to the highest bidder) and the place for hate speech in New Zealand. Both are organs of the National Party.
        Neither site discuss conservative values or policies in any meaningful way nor their value to society.
        They are attack vehicles for a political party, nothing more.

        • Naturesong

          Typo: Also, I wouldn’t consider WO or KB to be representative of conservative thought

        • Pete George

          WO still promotes ‘hate speech’ via posts but the comments have been very sanitised for the last few months, being little more than a sanitised and managed fan club.

          Comments at KB have become worse as a result as the worst of WO find an outlet for their rants and attacks.

          But I don’t think either are ‘attack vehicles for a political party’. While they have well known associations they operate independently.

          The WO ‘tipline’ from National has all but dried up, it was made clear to National MPs (and presumably their staff) to keep a distance, and they seem to have toed the line. Since that happened WO has broken far less political news.

          WO looks more like of an organ of the Freed project.

          Farrar has very good party sources and has an obvious interest in supporting and promoting National agendas but there’s no evidence KB is an organ of the National Party.

          • Naturesong

            Farrar has very good party sources and has an obvious interest in supporting and promoting National agendas but there’s no evidence KB is an organ of the National Party.

            He works with the National party on a daily basis polling everything from policy to whether JK should fire a Minister.
            He’s right in the heart of the beast.
            And his livelihood is literally dependant on the National Party.
            That doesn’t mean he’s always wrong, however it does mean that his blog is part of his business model.

            But you think he’s an independant right leaning political blogger?

          • RedLogix

            Naturesong has covered it off mostly – but I should add that Farrar derives a very significant part of his income directly from his companies contracts with the National Party.

            While this does not make him a official organ as such, this close and dependent economic relationship scarcely qualifies Farrar as an independent voice either.

            There is of course nothing especially wrong with Curia’s long-standing and deep connection with National – but Farrar himself has long been in the habit of not declaring or being evasive about this plain commercial interest when he works as a commentator in the media.

            • Pete George

              Yes, his relationship via Curia puts him in a unique position. But it’s two edged – while it gives him information about National internal polls he will have to be very careful not to breach commercial confidentiality. From what I’ve seen he manages this well.

              Farrar himself has long been in the habit of not declaring or being evasive about this plain commercial interest when he works as a commentator in the media.

              What makes you think that? I don’t agree. As far as I’ve been aware he has openly disclosed his commercial interests.

              I am also a Director (and Chair) of the (.nz) Domain Name Commission Ltd, DPF Group Ltd and Curia Market Research Ltd.

              I am a Councillor for the Republican Movement of New Zealand, now known as the NZ Head of State campaign.

              I co-founded and serve on the board of the NZ Taxpayers’ Union.

              I was on the (executive) committee of the Market Research Society of New Zealand. I am a member of The Research Association of New Zealand, as is Curia.

              Curia’s clients have included newspapers, political parties, Government Departments, corporates, lobby groups, local body candidates and non profits. Commercial and professional confidentiality prevents clients being listed without their permission, but a commercial relationship with Curia does not stop me from expressing my opinion on a client or issue should it be relevant.

              I can list clients that have on their own initiative revealed they use Curia. Curia never objects to such release – it is entirely up to clients. Clients who have used Curia publicly are the New Zealand National Party, The Parliamentary Office of the National Party Leader, Northern Advocate, the Wanganui Chronicle, Family First, Department of Internal Affairs, NZ Association of Convenience Stores, the Republican Movement, Hon John Banks, Exceltium, Olivier Lequeux, Independent Liquor (NZ) Ltd, NZ Computer Society, Pfizer, the Bankers’ Association, Microsoft, Riverstone Holdings Ltd, Foodstuffs and The Nation.


              I’m fairly sure any media he commentates for will know he blogs and will be aware of all this if they want to be.

              It’s up to media to disclose what they want about commentators to the public.

              I’ve seen the occasional possible lapse via his blogging but generally I think he handles commercial confidentiality very well, and as he is very well informed and connected politically he is a useful commentator.

              Most of the public won’t know any details about what he openly discloses. But most of the public won’t know anything about him nor will they be listening to him, they won’t have heard of Curia or Kiwiblog.

              Media can’t include full disclosures with every sound bite.

              Most of the public don’t know who most of the MPs are so won’t have any idea about their political affiliations if hearing them comment.

              Do you have specific problems with what Farrar says as a media commentator?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                specific problems

                That’s what you and Naturesong and Redlogix have been discussing. Perhaps if you took some time to think about Farrar’s conflict of interest you’d be less likely to describe him as a media commentator.

                On the other hand, I suspect you’d like his job.

    • Coffee Connoissuer 10.3

      Rightwingers are focused inwardly on looking after themselves and their immediate family. They see taxation, big govt and the need to support others as a burden on them and something that makes it harder for them to do this by taking from them.
      Left Wingers are focused outwardly. They see the problems that people in society face. They want the problems fixed and would fix them themselves if they had the power and the resources to do so. They don’t and see it as the role of central govt to fix these problems.

      This also goes someway in explaining the differences in the responses from both sides to France.

      • Naturesong 10.3.1

        FIFY: They (left wingers) want the problems fixed and would fix them themselves if they had the power and the resources to do so.
        They don’t and see the role of central govt as a proxy acting on behalf of every member of society

        Which goes some way to explaining why many on the left get outraged by things the government do that dont immediately personally affect them; it’s being done in their name.

  11. By treating Key’s utterance as a mistaken claim about the facts, you’re missing the point, Mickey.

    When John Key says “The left are the real dirty politicians”, he is not making a claim about reality – hence, treating it as such a claim is inappropriate. Key is engaging in postmodern politics, where whatever he says is true for him and his followers, and by making it so, he creates a political fact that people and the media have to deal with.

    As Karl Rove said:

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Pointing out that Key made an error of fact, or that the right wing blogs are the ones that are authoritarian and racist is to accomplish nothing, because facts are subordinate to interests.

    You may well have seen this:


    • mickysavage 11.1

      Thanks Tom the post was motivated more in the hope that it may help persuade some in the media not to accept this line the next time that Key says it. He will continue with the line I am sure. Post modern politics Rove style will continue until there is an adverse consequence for its practice.

  12. Wayne 12

    Nice to see the Left’s smug superiority complex in play.

    • dv 12.1

      As compared to the right’s smug superiority

      You surely didn’t miss the point of the post Wayne?

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.2

      I’m sure you can do better than a “the peasants are revolting” kind of comment, Wayne. Maybe something specific on the post would be nice.

    • mickysavage 12.3

      What do you think about the comments on Kiwiblog Wayne. They are pretty out there …

      • Wayne 12.3.1

        Some are, but that is also true of this site.

        • RedLogix

          Until you can point to a similar string of specific anti-Islamic hate speech here at TS – in similar quantities to WO or KB – then your claim is wrong.

          On the facts.

          • Wayne

            Meant more as a general comment.

            • Draco T Bastard

              A generally wrong comment which means that you had another purpose in mind. Considering source I’d say that purpose was to bolster Key’s lies.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yes, Dr. Mapp, because giving you shit for failing tr*ll 101 is exactly the same as inciting human rights violations and civil war. Yes sir.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Oh, did you mean something else? You said that in “a general” sense comments at The Standard and Kiwiblog are equivalent.

                  So, where are the comments at The Standard that foment human rights violations and civil war the way Kiwiblog does?

    • We’re not perfect. Occasionally we can’t help but mock the afflicted.

    • North 12.5

      My God ! From Wayne of all people – “smug superiority complex…….”

      He forgets that for years we observed him at play in Parliament.

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 12.5.1

        @Wayne: “Nice to see the Left’s smug superiority complex in play.”
        Tim Groser and Chris Finlayson are lefties?

    • Once wasTim 12.6

      see Wayne, now there’s a trick ‘the right’ are experts at: grubby potties calling slightly smudged kettles black – it’s what Crosby Textor and their ilk were set up to do.

    • newsense 12.7

      You sir, are a wanker! Again, your response is to insult and not address any issues in the post. I’m not a good leftie like the others.

      I think you can join Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and the rest as

      [RL: Deleted. Grow up.]

      Are you happy with the Liberal party having a guy arrested for wearing a I’m with stupid t-shirt?
      Are you happy with the Liberal party directly involving itself in NZ elections?

      There seems to be a lack of principles in much of the current right, and as for superiority the use of the blogs and tactics above is tacit approval. Still it will be nice when a left government is eventually elected and the GCSB can be used to ensure taxes are paid and that none of our deep blue elite have private lives they don’t want in the media- right Wayne?

    • Murray Rawshark 12.8

      Yes, how dare we take examples from your mates’ blogs and compare them to ours!! There’s more smug superiority in your comment than in all those from the left above it.

  13. Bill 13

    I wonder how many commenters on ‘the standard’, compared to commenters on the other sites mentioned, have in-boxes dripping with feed of anti-Islam hate mail? I didn’t know such spam existed until fairly recently and was gobsmacked at its vehemence and frequency as well as peoples’ willingness to forward.

    Maybe it’s a factor?

  14. I agree there’s a difference, although not as flattering a difference as you portray.

    Kiwiblog’s comments threads feature a great many angry retards, who mistake the laying out of their prejudices for thinking about a subject and presenting an argument on it. This topic attracts them more than most, and the thread was accordingly psychotic in tone.

    The Standard’s comments threads feature very few angry retards, but a great many sophists. So left-wing comments have presented themes like “But what about [insert murders not carried out by Muslim nutcases here]”, or “America/The West is to blame because [insert irrelevant bad stuff done by America/The West here], or “Let’s be clear, there is no justification for this barbaric killing. [Insert several paragraphs justifying this barbaric killing here].”

    The angry retards are certainly a lot more unpleasant than the sophists, in fact some of them come across as more of a potential violent threat to the community than any of the Muslims they rant about. But that doesn’t make the sophists great people to have on a comments thread.

    • Colonial Rawshark 14.1

      Sophists…a great term that one.

      Also, ‘ordinary kiwis’ are no fans of complex intellectualised concepts based sophistry. Which is another reason that the ‘political Left’ has lost touch with them.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        I was going to ask PM what he thought his definition of ‘sophist’ was. 🙂

        But yes its a fair argument. I guess people who live too much in their own heads are prone to it; and typing as a substitute for action probably doesn’t help.

        • Psycho Milt

          “Sophists” is a bit of a stretch, true. I’ve assumed (as a courtesy to them) that the people presenting the irrelevant and unconvincing arguments in my examples are aware that they’re poor arguments but are offering them in the absence of any better ones to back up their gut feelings about this issue. For my money, that’s sophistry. Assuming the alternative (that they’re under the genuine impression these are worthwhile and compelling arguments) would be even less polite than calling them sophists.

          • RedLogix

            I’d argue that the difference between left and right blogs comes mainly from a different emphasis on values. (Apart from the angry boofheads that is.)

            Without re-hashing a list of those values, it’s useful to note that values are essentially self-referential or subjective. We try and dress them up with objective argument and evidence – and some people are definitely more fashionably dressed than others – yet it is still passion and gut feelings which animate our words.

            I fear few of us will ever rise to your standard of rational excellence PM.

            • Psycho Milt

              I tend to be pretty good at spotting other people’s irrational output – performance is less satisfactory when it comes to identifying my own. A “development opportunity” if ever there was one…

              • Snap!!

                I am aware of the same flaws within myself.

                When any irrationality of mine is pointed out, it takes real effort to stop and not react. Then dissemble the criticism to see if there are valid points within it, and then revise or update my information sources / opinion / whatever the error on my part was.

                The real difficulty happens when you encounter evidence that invalidates an idea or thought upon which other mental constructs are built.
                If a person is mentally flexible enough, they can handle the change, and reorient their thinking incorporating the new information.

                I’ve come to realise that the majority of people I met do not cultivate their critical facilities and openness to new information (information sources to be rigorously vetted).
                This means that upon receiving new information with directly threatens their world view, rather than analyse it, they simply reject it due to the internal conflict it produces.
                I first noticed this at secondary school, and at the time assumed that I was simply ahead of the curve and those peers that had a tendency toward knee jerk reaction would catch up.
                I was wrong. If anything, I’ve found that people are even less willing to confront truths that make them feel uncomfortable as they get older.

                This is probably the single most frustrating thing I find in dealing with people, whether it’s designing infrastructure (my current job) or discussing how public money is spent and raised, or any other facet of life.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I think the history of science demonstrates that confirmation bias – the difficulty of distinguishing between truth and familiarity – and ignorance are inescapable without peer-review, and a distinct possibility with it.

                  Mit der dummheit kämpfen götter selbst vergebens.

            • Tom Jackson

              That’s not really true, and is more reflective of a peculiar stage in the history of western thought than it is of what people actually do.

              Part of making yourself a better person is training yourself to change your feelings about things. People often do this, not because of other feelings they have, but because they wish to emulate others or for some other reason that isn’t easily reducible to an emotional response.

              Case in point, homophobic people who find themselves in social situations where homophobia is punished, often find that their feelings of disgust towards homosexuality vanish over time.

              “Subjective” is a misused word in any case.

              • RedLogix

                Part of making yourself a better person is training yourself to change your feelings about things.

                True – but at the same time if we did not have an emotional responses and investments, if we did not care – would be bother to think or speak at all?

                While we can usefully distinguish between the rational and the emotional – I do not think we can ever divorce the two.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Perhaps it’s a false dichotomy.

                  • RedLogix

                    Yeah – most of the time we fool ourselves about how much our biological and emotional wiring drives our choices and actions.

                    The neo-cortex is a very recent evolutionary development.

                • It’s possible. But “emotional responses” is a vague and catch all term. I’m not sure that my desire not to make mathematical mistakes is of a kind with my desire for their to be less cruelty in the world.

                  The idea that morality is subjective and emotional is not really different in principle than the idea that it is a matter of objective fact. It’s just an attempt to shoehorn our moral reasoning into a paradigm that serves certain purposes. But it’s pretty absurd when you try to apply it to our actual moral judgements.

                  For example, our emotional responses to acts of murder vary widely in intensity depending on how we feel at the time or about a particular case, but it would be absurd to suggest that I therefore must think that the murder of my wife is more morally wrong than the murder of some other random person, just because I feel differently about it.

                  Almost all human beings are capable of giving and receiving moral reasons. There doesn’t have to be a single source for this: it’s just something that we all do, that results in judgements that are mostly the same and, if not, almost always at least intelligible. Trying to theorise about the practice is necessarily posterior to it, and often not very helpful.

                  We care about things for all sorts of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the way we feel at a particular time.

          • weka

            “Sophists” is a bit of a stretch, true. I’ve assumed (as a courtesy to them) that the people presenting the irrelevant and unconvincing arguments in my examples are aware that they’re poor arguments but are offering them in the absence of any better ones to back up their gut feelings about this issue. For my money, that’s sophistry. Assuming the alternative (that they’re under the genuine impression these are worthwhile and compelling arguments) would be even less polite than calling them sophists.

            Except when we look at the recent discussions, there have been multiple examples where you have assumed an interpretation of what people have written, and have had a go at them for your interpretation, rather than checking out what they actually meant. Criticising people for what they didn’t say, is that sophistry?

            • Psycho Milt

              There are certainly instances of you claiming that I misrepresent what people have written, but I don’t accept those claims. I’m as susceptible as anyone else to occasionally misreading or misunderstanding a comment, but in the cases you’re referring to the meanings were clear.

            • Murray Rawshark

              +1 weka.
              Almost all of us need to stop and ask questions now and then, rather than jumping to conclusions.

      • weka 14.1.2

        So is Psycho Milt a sophist?

        I think the ordinary kiwi meme risks being sophistry too.

        • Sanctuary

          He isn’t a sophist, he has just an iconoclast with a reasonable set of opinions, some of which align with the general Standardista’s received wisdom and some that do not.

          One of the key indicators of intelligence isn’t grammar or an insufferably boorish punch card set of predictable beliefs, but rather to have a well formed and informed opinions built on a set of coherent and organised values that allows for for other people to disagree with you without feeling personally threatened or denigrated.

          The anti-intellectualism of the right and the general conformist and provincialist tendencies of New Zealand society means neither left or right can withstand much iconoclasm without reacting like a petulant child, but the left is rather better at dealing with it because, on the whole, they are more polite and respectful people as individuals.

          • weka

            Ok, so he’s not a sophist because what he does isn’t intentional. That applies across the board. But the reason I asked is that he’s running a line that is fallacious and deceiving. It’s that line that prevents the conversation going any deeper, and then come the accusations of boorish, predictable, superficial beliefs.

            I don’t mind him being an iconoclast, I just wish the comments didn’t end up being cul de sacs quite so often.

            • Psycho Milt

              If I’m running a line that’s “fallacious and deceiving,” it should be relatively straightforward to point out these fallacies and deceits. Have you considered doing so? And by “doing so,” I don’t mean assert that they’re taking place, I mean actually demonstrate their existence.

              • weka

                I already did, at the time. Can’t be bothered going back and finding the comments just to repeat myself for no reason. You seemed to know what I was talking about upthread.

                • You already did assert that they took place, yes. Multiple times. Like I said, I don’t accept your claims. If you can demonstrate the truth of your claims, do so – otherwise, stop making them.

                  • weka

                    Yeah, but as I said, you’ve already accepted the reference to what I was talking about and stated you disagree. So I’m pretty sure you know which conversation I am talking about (and still can’t be bothered going and finding the link because I don’t believe you have any intent of doing anything other than ‘you’re wrong, I’m right’).

                    Disingenuous much?

                    The difference between the left and the right

                    • Disingenuous how exactly? I’m aware of the comments you’re referring to, it’s comment sequence 35 in the Charlie Hebdo thread. My point is that I’m not going to just accept that my comments there are “fallacious and deceiving” on the basis that you say so. I repeat: if you can’t demonstrate how I’ve been fallacious and deceitful, stop alleging it. It’s a reasonable request.

                    • @ p.m..

                      “..if you can’t demonstrate how I’ve been fallacious and deceitful..”

                      ..yr interactions with me..where u whipped up me (and others) into being apologists for the murders in paris..

                      ..was most certainly ‘fallacious and deceitful’..

                      ..how was it not..?

                    • weka

                      Disingenuous is asking me to provide links to a conversation when you already know exactly what I am talking about. Thanks for confirming that.

                      As for the rest, I would have been happy to engage, but honestly, you’re too much about the clever dick and I can’t be bothered. Just be upfront with me at the time and I’m much more likely to reply and respond to requests for things like demonstrating why I believe you are misrepresenting views.

                    • I wasn’t asking you to provide a link to a comment, I was asking you to substantiate the allegation that I’m fallacious and deceiving. Which you still haven’t.

                    • weka

                      Yes I haven’t, and I’m not going to because this conversation has gone round and round for too long and completely unnecessarily. I still don’t get a sense of good faith from you, hence my reluctance. Next time this happens, just be upfront and direct. When you stop valuing clever dick over good communication, I’ll give you more respect.

        • phillip ure

          t think both p.m..and (esp.) p.g…are total sophists..

          ..p.g. mainlines sophistry..

          ..and p.m has shown in recent threads..

          ..that he does exactly the same stuff..

          • Psycho Milt

            Oh sure – asking you to provide some evidential basis for your assertions is the very essence of sophistry,,,

            • phillip ure

              heh..!..there u go..!

              ..doing it again..!

              ..as weka pointed out..go back and look at the threads where you were ‘corrected’..

              ..and it wasn’t just me..

              • I’m aware of the comments in question. My pointing out the unpleasant implications of your and other commenters’ apologia for extremist violence certainly seemed to annoy you, but it didn’t misrepresent you.

                • see..!..there you go again..!..classic..!

                  ..’your and other commenters’ apologia for extremist violence ‘..

                  ..plse show where i or others did the above..

                  ..see what you did..?..you took any questioning of this magazines’ ‘right’ to spew hatred and bigotry..(in the name of ‘free-speech’..)..

                  ..and re-worked that critique/questioning of what ‘free-speech’ actually means/should mean..

                  ..into something that suited you better..

                  ..that is completely false..

                  ..that you then use as yr attack-base..

                  classic sophistry/p.g..!

                  • I can see how Pete comes to feel disgruntled at people claiming he makes threads all about him. Still, you did ask – here are two quotes from your comments on the Charlie Thredbo thread:

                    Number 1:
                    there is also the not small issue/matter of what the magazine published..

                    ..to invoke this barbarous response..

                    You’ve posited a direct cause/effect relationship there. You may not like people pointing that out, but you should own what you’ve written.

                    Number 2:
                    obama has now killed more with drones than died in 9/11..

                    ..with most of those killed innocent men/women/children..

                    ..this milestone was reached recently.

                    I queried the relevance of this to a thread about Muslim extremists shooting people in France. You replied:

                    no..that’s right..drone-killings have nothing to do with attacks like

                    this..silly of me to think so..really..

                    You just posited another direct cause/effect relationship there. It’s a particularly awful one, because it implies that attacks by radicals from a particular group necessarily result in revenge attacks against the entire group. You became very agitated when I pointed that out, but again I didn’t misrepresent your comment. You may fail to understand the implications of your own comments, but that’s not my problem.

                    • of course there is cause/effect..had they published cartoons showing how to grow vegetables in pots..

                      ..this wd not have happened..

                      ..are u saying u r unable to see any cause/effect there..?

                      ..number 2 was a response/footnote to anothers’ comments..

                      ..and once again..u can see no cause/effect from the military actions of the west against muslims..driving attacks such as this..?

                      ..ok..so how about u tell us why the attackers attacked..

                      ..if not for that suite of reasons/triggers..

                    • You really are an irrationalist. Your first cause/effect is of the “if she hadn’t worn that short skirt she wouldn’t have been raped” variety, ie thoroughly offensive, and your second one assumes that revenge attacks against ethnic groups you perceive to have wronged you is normal, ie even more offensive.

                      .ok..so how about u tell us why the attackers attacked..

                      Because they were testerone-laden, violent criminal losers who’d taken up with a murderous totalitarian ideology and acted on it. Seriously, it’s not rocket science.

                    • p.m..everything just happens in isolation..eh..?

                      ..how can we not conclude..?..pm..putting the simple in simplistic..

                      ..for a very long time now..

                      ..so..murderous ‘testerone-laden, violent criminal losers’ who stuck a pin in a map one morning..eh..?

                      ..and that racist-rag was it..?


                      ..no other reasons/cause/effect..

                      ..and you aren’t mistaking/identifying/conflating cause/effect recognition..with support 4 those actions..r u..?

                      …i am trying to figure out why this is such ‘rocket science’ to you..?

                    • ..so..murderous ‘testerone-laden, violent criminal losers’ who stuck a pin in a map one morning..eh..?

                      ..and that racist-rag was it..?

                      I’m sure that, if you lay off the drugs for a week, come back to this thread and think really, really hard about the above comments, you might be able to figure out that the non-random way in which murderous followers of a totalitarian ideology chose opponents of that ideology as their target, does not equate to the opponents having “caused” the attack. It can’t be that hard to figure out, surely.

                    • i am quite puzzled u r ranting at me..

                      ..what i am saying..re the content of that racist-rag..is not much different from that being said by many others..

                      ..u r the outlier..here..

                      ..lining up alongside the racist/rightwing scum taking this as an excuse for their islam-bashing..

                      ..and cd u plse link us to yr comments linking the actions of andre brevik..to his christianity..?

                      ..(he was..after all..hoping to ignite a race-war..that wd see muslims driven from norway..)

                      ..consistancy is all..after all..eh..?

                    • Congratulations! With “But what about Breivik?”, you’ve scored a clean sweep of the three types of sophist responses to this that I listed in comment 14.

                    • so..once again..

                      ..u r nuance-free..

                      ..the nazis were mainly catholic..

                      ..the seprtation of india saw hindu butcher moslem..and vice-versa..

                      ..the list goes on..

                      ..the ira were mainly catholic..

                      ..the buddhists in sri lanka are kicking the crap out of the moslems ‘up north’..

                      ..in none of those conflicts..has the religion of the perpetrators been ‘held to account’..

                      ..so why should it be the case for the muslims..

                      ..in this case..?

                      ..and yes..if u r branding a religion in this way..

                      ..the comparison/question re brevik is totally relevant..

                      ..did you demand christianity be held to account..?

                      ..if not..why not..?

    • What’s also quite unpleasant is comments full of abuse targeted at people with mental illnesses or disabilities. Pretty sure the English language offers plenty of words for “people I don’t like” beyond “retard”.

      (I humbly await the ‘splaining of the “but they ARE retards because they’re DUMB and CRAZY!!!” variety)

      • Psycho Milt 14.2.1

        Oh, yes, I forgot the other big difference: left blogs feature a great many volunteer word police, who provide correctional services against the use of slang terms they deem inappropriate. Right blogs tend not to have these.

        • Ad

          What we have here is the demand for more precision.

          So yes if you feel policed, that’s because people are forcing you to raise your game.

          And it works.

        • The Al1en

          “Oh, yes, I forgot the other big difference: left blogs feature a great many volunteer word police, who provide correctional services against the use of slang terms they deem inappropriate.”


        • Colonial Rawshark

          The NZ left likes to deem its own languaging as consistently morally superior to what most Kiwis might relate to or speak themselves in day to day life. Yet this same languaging consistently fails to convincingly communicate the values and beliefs of the left.

          Its also why John Key spinning a BS yarn on talkback does so well connecting to ordinary working class New Zealanders in work places and pubs up and down the country, and why the Left sounds so completely alien to those same people.

        • Oh god, how terrible, you’ve been asked to reconsider the use of words which (a) encourage social stigma around mental illness and (b) minimise the actual grossness of the Kiwiblog commentariat.

          Truly, you understand oppression, PM. It must be a daily struggle for you, being occasionally asked to think about the impact of your actions. 🙄

          • Psycho Milt

            Just pointing out another difference I’d noticed. See, we’re both performing a public service – it’s a win-win.

          • Tom Jackson

            If you think that people who call someone “mental” or “insane” in the colloquial sense are denigrating people who actually suffer from mental illness, then you are misunderstanding their speech acts (probably on purpose, I would guess).

            I mean, if you seriously think that someone who calls their workmate an “idiot” is using that word in the (somewhat antiquated) clinical sense, then you deserve to be mocked. Are you a robot trying to pass the Turing test?

        • phillip ure

          @ p.m..

          “..Right blogs tend not to have these..”

          ..and those spewers of hatred/bigotry..wd no doubt argue as the defenders of the cartoons do..

          ..that such hatred/bigotry is just them exercising their right to free-speech..

          ..the argument in both case is sophistry-on-steroids..

        • phillip ure

          these must be difficult time for those who on the one hand..fully support the magazines right to free-speech..no matter what vileness they may publish..

          ..and yet who on the other hand tend to be more vigilant than others in the matter of p.c. in speech/words…

          ..trapped between two beliefs…as it were..

      • Rosemary McDonald 14.2.2

        Thank you Stephanie.

        This is the type of language that will drive the most oppressed away from these conversations.

        Is this the love/caring of the Left?

        • greywarshark

          @ Rosemary McDonald 1.30 pm
          I fail to understand your comment. Perhaps you in turn failed to understand Stephanie Rodgers’ comment?

          Who in turn I fear wishes to crop our descriptive terms of obloquy of each other to sterility. But may be not. For instance if I want to comment on fat Gerry I think that’s okay, and I might like to call him a retard. I think the sensitive are fibromyalgic about it. That word names a painful condition I’ve used as a description – is that disrespectful to the sufferers? Am I bring blind and crippled
          in my mind?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            To the people it affects it just sounds cruel and thoughtless, and there are far more effective terms and methods.

            For a start, play the ball. Gerry Brownlee’s arrogance is far more offensive than his shape, and don’t get me started on the crap he votes for.

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              But OAB, if people can’t just say “LOL GERRY BROWNLEE IS FAT LOLOLOLOL” they’ll actually have to engage their brains to form complete sentences and that’s haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Don’t be snarky 😉

              • Sanctuary

                Well, he is pretty fat. You MUST have made a Billy Bunter Brownlee joke at some stage, if only in private.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  That made me laugh out loud. Although about Brownlee or about your masochism, I am not 100% sure.

              • But when someone says that Gerry Brownlee is fat, it’s because he’s actually fat. When they call him a loony, they don’t mean that he actually suffers from a diagnosable mental illness.

                Again, are you a bot?

                • weka

                  They’re not calling Jerry fat though. They’re using his fatness as a way of demeaning his politics and him as a person. Myself, I don’t understand the connection between his body shape and his politics.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  OK Tom, do you have any overweight friends?

                  Perhaps you’d like to think about being in the same room as them, and venting about ‘fat’ Gerry Brownlee, and how you might bite your tongue and apologise immediately afterwards.

                  If not, carry on.

            • phillip ure

              i am guilty of brownlee fat-jokes..

              ..i think much of that comes from a feeling of powerlessness/impotence..

              ..it’s his glaring weak-spot…

              ..and given those power-imbalances present..

              ..it is one of the few routes of attack..

              ..logic and politics don’t work on him..

              ..and his post-lunch going on the nod in q-time..can’t help but drive the mind to wonder just what quantity of food he chowed down at lunchtime..

              ..(and i at least try to make them funny..not just nyah! nyah! yr fat!’..

              ..and have you seen his mini-me..?..

              ..and..and..bellamys’ should have food-police..(tasered-up..)

              ..’step away from the buffet!..jerry..!’

              ..see..!..i can’t help myself..!..

              ..and f.f.s..!..it is his all his own handiwork..

              ..he has no (quite valid) excuses of poverty driving him to only being able to afford to buy cheap/crap food/drinks..

              ..with the inevitable outcome..

              ..i don’t think it is his being fat that is being laughed at..per se..

              ..it’s more aimed at his weakness..his obvious lack of self-discipline..

              ..especially when he is the one preaching ‘restraint’ he to those in chch..

              ..essentially..with his powers..he is their god..

              ..and many feel he is not qualified for that role..)

          • weka

            “Who in turn I fear wishes to crop our descriptive terms of obloquy of each other to sterility. But may be not.”

            I don’t think so. Stephanie’s got a mean turn of phrase most places I’ve seen her online. Nothing sterile about how she uses language.

            “I think the sensitive are fibromyalgic about it. That word names a painful condition I’ve used as a description – is that disrespectful to the sufferers?”

            It’s a problematic analogy and coining. FM is one of the illnesses that gets disrespect and prejudice, both personal and institutional. The implication in your comment is that the person hearing the insult is the focus of the problem because they are too sensitive, which mirrors the prejudice against people with FM (they’re too sensitive). So yeah, I would say in the context you used it, it would be disrespectful (and just too bloody complicated).

    • newsense 14.3

      The overwhelming narrative pushed through our media is of evil Islam attacking the pure democratic countries. Providing context is not sophistry, and nor is speculating on the motives of those behind the attacks and differentiating them from (from our country of 4 millionish) the vast and plural Muslim world of 1.5+ billion people.

      I note, unlike the careful work of MS above, you haven’t provided any evidence or linked to any posts or comments.

      • Psycho Milt 14.3.1

        The overwhelming narrative pushed through our media is of evil Islam attacking the pure democratic countries.

        I’m a reasonably extensive consumer of our media and so far I’ve yet to see an example of this. Are you perhaps confusing “our media” with “right-wing blogs?”

        I note, unlike the careful work of MS above, you haven’t provided any evidence or linked to any posts or comments.

        And kudos to Micky for putting in the lengthy amount of time and significant cognitive effort it must have taken to compile those excellent examples. Buggered if I’m up for it, myself.

        • Naturesong

          Are you perhaps confusing “our media” with “right-wing blogs?”
          There does seem to be a bit of an overlap of normal media with right wing blogs.

          In fact it’s one of the main struts of Dirty Politics.

          Want an example.
          Have a look at the attacks on David Cunliffe over the last 3 years.
          The Lui letter is probably the most egregious example where you have the Minister, the PM, WO, KB and the Herald working hand in glove.

          • Psycho Milt

            Well, yeah, I agree, but I was looking for substantiation of the claim that “our media” is peddling the view that evil Islam is attacking democratic countries.

  15. coaster 15

    The left needs to find a way to put its beleifs into 10 second sound bites.

    and before anyone says thats due to a short attention span of the masses, it has more to do with a lack of free time to listen and think about anything other than work and making ends meet, and volunteering at kids sport, school activites etc etc.

    I like the the left love/care about peolle and the right love/care about money, its simple, short, makes sense, isnt judgemental and I can use it to explain things to my kids.

    • Once wasTim 15.1

      “I like the the left love/care about peolle and the right love/care about money, its simple, short, makes sense, isnt judgemental and I can use it to explain things to my kids.”
      +1 (Except in my case, my kids, now adults, worked it out for themselves)

    • Colonial Rawshark 15.2

      And where is this people caring/people loving parliamentary left?

      The right now how to change society, remake the economy and alter the course of a country. The Right are still at it now and they have a clear vision and agenda. What about the left?

      • Naturesong 15.2.1

        The parlimentary left has mounted as much opposition as they can over the last 6 years. And have had some wins.

        Unfortunately the parlimentary left consists of about 1/3 of the labour party MP’s (the remainder being equal parts right and centre), and the Green party.

        Theres only so much you can do with 25 ish MP’s.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          The parlimentary left has mounted as much opposition as they can over the last 6 years. And have had some wins.

          One had hoped that they had actually underperformed in the last 6 years; if you are saying that they did as well as they possibly could under the circumstances, we might be in trouble.

          • Naturesong

            With only 25 ish left leaning MP’s out of 120 in parliament, I think they’ve done pretty well under the circumstances.

            I suspect we’ll do better once the Labour party finally rejects it’s 1980’s experiment and becomes an actual left wing party. You know, by representing it’s membership!!!

            For a clear perspective on the political landscape in NZ, consider this;

            – Hands up those who think that the government should be reduced to as small as possible and free up businesses to grow the economy and lift the standard of living for all (pure laissez faire)
            – Hands up all those that belive that the state should control all means of production.

            You will find in the main that the spectrum from left to right in New Zealand political representation and and public discourse goes from centre left (Green Party – clearly documented social democratic policies) and the far right (ACT and a sizable proportion of National Party MP’s).

            That centre right and far right is in reality the middle of the political spectrum is repeated on a daily basis by the Herald, Stuff, TVNZ and TV3.

          • Murray Rawshark

            I took more from Naturesong’s comment that the actual left is much weaker than it seems at first glance, due to the high numbers of impostors in Labour. It’s a sentiment I agree with.

  16. Anonymous Coward 16

    It truly beggars belief the amount of people (obviously from the right) who are choosing to ignore the sacrifice of a muslim man to try and protect the cartoonists.
    Instead they call his religion violent and that it needs to be wiped out.
    He was protecting people who were belittling his religion.
    He is a bigger man than ANY of those people will ever be.

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1


    • Murray Rawshark 16.2

      Some people are saying “Je suis Ahmed”. I think plenty of left people have forgotten about him as well, happy to frame the argument as freedom of speech vs murder. Thankfully, the world is analogue, not binary. That’s for computers.

      • Ergo Robertina 16.2.1

        It’s those focused on sincerely arguing against the offensive content of the cartoons who are falsely framing this as freedom of speech vs murder.
        To me the limits of editorial expression argument is relevant right now in the sense of a response to the misguided campaign to have the Guardian et al publish the cartoons in defiance.
        In respect of the murders, it misses the point and victim blames; as the second stage of events showed the cell also targeted those with no links to journalistic/artistic expression.
        Who is forgetting Ahmed? I have seen a lot of comment commending what he did and what he stood for – the right for people to live safely even if you disagree with everything they stand for.

        • RedLogix

          Yes – at one level this attack in Paris is just a plain vanilla criminal matter. (Horrifying and tragic all the same.) And for the most part that is where it should rest. I agree with you that the whole ‘freedom of expression’ thing is a false framing.

          Yet the reality is – as massive threads on social media all over the world testify – there is more to it than this. Because I think many people sense we are approaching a point where simple tolerance between the Islamic and Western worlds is no longer going to be a sufficient and workable plan. The blame for that situation can be parsed and parceled out whichever way you want – but it doesn’t change the calculus much.

          And that is a very uneasy confrontation to be thinking about.

          • Ergo Robertina

            Red I didn’t argue it was a plain vanilla criminal matter. Of course it’s political. But I’m expressing my own political view which is that no matter what anyone writes or says, there is no justification for murder or any form of violence.
            As I said, the freedom of editorial expression argument is relevant in addressing the aftermath.

            • RedLogix

              Fair enough. In general I would argue that the best response to almost all terrorist matters is to treat them as ordinary criminal matters. For a start all the necessary enforcement and legal frameworks can routinely and competently handle them. For a second it minimises the oxygen of publicity, hype and fear which is the perpetrators ultimate goal.

              And yes there is zero moral justification for political violence. But at the point where politics fails is the point where violence takes over.



              I’m frankly unsettled by the trajectory here.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              But I’m expressing my own political view which is that no matter what anyone writes or says, there is no justification for murder or any form of violence.

              That is an admirable sentiment, but there is also a very simple problem. The West has shown the Islamic world over and over again that it doesn’t actually believe that. It has show every person in the Middle East, every ordinary citizen on the Arab Street, that there is always justification for the application of advanced western military violence in Muslim lands.

              And even when it is clear that excessive and lethal force has been used by the west for no reason – like the Blackwater mercernaries under contract to the US State Department shooting up a streetful of Iraqis – absolutely no one will be held accountable.

        • Naturesong

          I would add, free speech is the legal right to speak without fear of state sanction.
          There’s been no evidence so far that indicates that France will legislate to further restrict speech in that country.

          This event is not about freedom of speech, it’s actual terrorism (as opposed to say, the sydney nutter).
          Namely: an independant actor/organisation using violence to create an atmosphere of fear and anger in order to alter peoples behaviour in specific ways.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            I would add, free speech is the legal right to speak without fear of state sanction.
            There’s been no evidence so far that indicates that France will legislate to further restrict speech in that country.

            But you can bet that French law enforcement is going to be cracking down on certain kinds of speech online and in Mosques.

    • and as has been noted elsewhere..people weren’t demanding christians line to to apologise after that brevik madman in norway killed all those teenagers..

      ..why is this demand being made of muslims..?

  17. greywarshark 17

    A quote from Mickey’s post above:The discussions were like chalk and cheese. One (Kiwiblog’s) was certain and rigid and superficial and any dissenting view was ridiculed. The other (the Standard’s) was multilayered, explored a number of different aspects of the incident, was robust in parts but was certainly informative and educational.

    There is a difference between left and right blogs. The evidence is startlingly clear. Next time John Key says the left is just the same he should be asked for specifics.

    One important aspect of the worst RW blogs is that they immediately get caught in the heat of hate and condemnation, and stay that way. The expressions are to commit punitive, violent response to the harm that has occured. There is no cooling down, no question of what did this spring from. The tracking and apprehension of the offenders dominates the discourse. How much better are the best RW blogs in comparison? Someone else might like to grade them.

    There is no interest in being informed of the fuel that started the drive to destruct. There is no acknowledgement that understanding is needed to prevent future attacks There is no willingness, no attempt, to think why and go beyond simple aggression – bash them, destroy them, revenge, vengenance, punish, hurt them and all their sort.

    And LW blogs widen their comments to take this all in, though just as angry and upset as the noisy army of vehement and scary maniacs operating on primitive brainwaves.

  18. OhMyGodYes 18

    The right wing people I know are almost exclusively externally focused, meaning their sense of who they are and their self worth is based almost entirely on externals, such as image, material wealth, social status, and the approval they receive from others for it.

    This is why I believe Nicky Hager named one of his books “The Hollow Men”.

    It was this aspect of human conditioning to which he was referring.

    I use the term human conditioning (learned behaviour) as opposed to human nature,

    They are not the same thing.

    John Key, in my observation, is extremely externally focused, to the point of being barely able to disguise his narcissism. It appears that he employs teams of people to help him maintain a carefully constructed public image, which came under considerable threat from the exposure ‘Dirty Politics’ received.

    The man is clearly allergic to criticism.

    The public response to the book revealed another very ugly side to Key’s personality, which is his thinly disguised extremely vindictiveness.

    His vindictiveness is an aspect of his personality that he also employs teams of people to try and keep hidden with PR and media spin.

    A good example was the Police raid on Nicky Hager’s home.

    It was utu for the embarrassment Hager caused Key, no more, no less.

    Other hollow people aspire to be like Key as well.

    Their whole sense of themselves, their whole ability to feel successful, is based almost entirely on how they think other people see them.

    They are generally not self referring.

    They simply do and say whatever they think will make them look good and make them popular with other people.

    Hollow men and women indeed.

    It’s all about image.

    Feelings are ignored, overlooked, suppressed, feared, hated, denied and/or avoided – and so are any other people who experience or express them.

    Such people are considered “weird”, “heavy”, “negative”, “self obsessed”, “self absorbed”, “cheesy” etc.

    Hollow people generally base their views on minimum information.

    A headline accusing someone of something is all the proof necessary to confirm the accused’s guilt.

    No further examination is needed.

    They are also inclined to only listen to, hear, adopt and consider information which supports their own prejudices, desires, biases and beliefs.

    Any information which makes them experience any feelings of discomfort is immediately dismissed as “negative”, without further consideration.

    The pursuit of their next pleasurable sensation, at any cost, whether to other people and/or the environment, is usually their highest priority.

    While these observations do not entirely exonerate all of the left wing people I know, many of whom regularly display at least some of these characteristics, it is fair to say that the characteristics I have summarised here describe most right wing people rather well.

    • RedLogix 18.1

      The right wing people I know are almost exclusively externally focused, meaning their sense of who they are and their self worth is based almost entirely on externals, such as image, material wealth, social status, and the approval they receive from others for it.

      Called materialism. In the Western world it is the primary curse of the modern age. It is defined as “an inability to see the inner realities of things”.

      Contrast for example with the Koori people of Australia – a society almost entirely devoid of material aspects and centered in the spiritual.

      But when you consider the political and economic dominance of the Western world it is not terribly surprising that the non-materialistic mindset is discounted and diminished at every opportunity.

      And thus we are blinded by our own vanities and fleeting successes.

    • Naturesong 18.2

      They are also inclined to only listen to, hear, adopt and consider information which supports their own prejudices, desires, biases and beliefs.
      This is part of the human condition, all people of all races, religions, world view, politics are prone to this.

      • OhMyGodYes 18.2.1

        In my experience, as a general rule, more left wing people I know are at least more likely to self refer, to examine their own consciences on issues than the right wing people I know do.

        The requirement to adhere to a sense of fairness and to ensure that fairness is a guiding principle in decision making does appear to be far more prevalent among left wing people than right wing people, and I think it is fair to say that 🙂

  19. I find that the actual and the virtual watering holes of the Less Evolved Ones are best avoided – their behaviour is disturbing to any person of conscience.

    I once tried to discuss the use of bits on a US equestrian web site and was called a ‘rabid PETA whore’ by a person who threatened to kill me if I ever set foot in the USA.

    On Twitter recently I upset someone by disagreeing with him. I did so in my usual formal and polite way and before he blocked me he called me a ‘fuck stain’ who gave him ‘thrush’ and made him ‘vomit blood’.

    The former was a right winger but the latter would probably see himself as a progressive. An overactive amygdala / under active anterior cingulate cortex is not confined to the right wing – there are also some extremely illiberal lefties.

    However, research does suggest that, overall, liberals are more open to new ideas and more accepting of difference.

    Low effort thinking – reliance on the known, the traditional, following a ‘strong’ leader etc – is common in times of danger or stress. In simple terms, it’s flight, fight or follow mode.

    High effort thinking – relativism, intellectual curiosity etc – is what drives progress.

    We all use both modes, switching from one to other depending on our individual inclinations and circumstances. Some are locked into low effort mode and seldom break out of it; some are almost perpetual high effort thinkers.

    When the more primitive parts of the brain are in charge, our behaviour is being influenced by a flood of hormones that are preparing our bodies to meet a threat. How quickly and effectively the more evolved parts of the brain kick in to moderate that and begin to restore homeostasis is vital to survival because running on adrenaline is not just energy intensive, it exposes us to greater risk of disease and injury.

    People who are constantly angry, anxious or fearful are at far greater risk of harming themselves as well as others and, because we are such highly social animals, high stress anger/ fear in one person can cause it in other people they connect with.

    The mob can and does do unspeakably vile things that any one individual would probably never do. It can also display other irrational behaviours -eg amplified grief over certain strangers in certain situations – the Diana Syndrome.

    • RedLogix 19.1

      The mob can and does do unspeakably vile things that any one individual would probably never do.

      My partner and I are both acutely conscious of this. We both tend to avoid large crowd situations – not because we are anti-social or don’t enjoy the company of other people – but because we cannot shake off an unease that if something went wrong we would find ourselves helpless in the face of that vile unreasoning energy.

      This is something humanity is going to have to face eventually. The history of religion has a great deal to say about the sanctified individual, it’s future must address the nature of a sanctified society.

      • Colonial Rawshark 19.1.1

        And of course, the exact opposite has happened in the last 30 years. There is no such thing as society, only the markets. Our political leaders always speak of “maintaining confidence” – but they don’t mean the confidence of society, but the confidence of those same markets.

    • greywarshark 19.2

      The person who swore at you without restraint, was the sort of person who has no self control, is a bully, does not have respect for others, and cannot be regarded as a citizen or a mature, enlightened being. In the levels of the Maslow pyramid up to self-actualisation there doesn’t seem to be a rough careless approach that gradually is worn down to reveal the fine individual. I get the impression that the ability to conduct oneself with restraint starts right at the bottom. Probably that is essential for getting to the top.

      It is interesting how often cavemen and primitive societies are speculated on, lately here and also in the media, often by so-called scientists. So one has to be careful not to ‘westerrnorse’ them. But it seems they had to live in mutually sustaining groups. So probably there was more ‘civilised’ behaviour than can be seen by such as on Twitter venting what is close to psychosis.

  20. One Anonymous Bloke 20

    Reading the comments quoted from Kiwiblog, some of which are clamouring for war, ethnic cleansing, and summary execution of Left wingers, makes me wonder when the appropriate authorities will be applying for a warrant to have a closer look at some of the authors.

    • Colonial Rawshark 20.1

      Of course the answer is never, regardless of which government is in power.

    • RedLogix 20.2

      More likely the authorities will be investigating us as potential ‘pacifists’, ‘conchies’, ‘sympathisers’ and ‘fifth columnists’.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 20.2.1

        I was feeding my cats, President Bomb and True Believer, and sporting my new #jesuisahmed T, when there was a knock at the door…

      • phillip ure 20.2.2

        vegan/animal-rights folk are high on their target-list..deemed to be economic-terrorists..

    • Murray Rawshark 20.3

      Some of the authors may already be the appropriate authorities. It’s frightening what police and military people have been found twittering and blogging in Brazil and the USA. Probably down under as well, but I haven’t seen them exposed yet.

  21. Colonial Rawshark 21

    So we’re still on this bent of picking on each others choice of words to try and establish a pecking order of superior morality. WTF. Wayne this morning made a snarky remark about the Left’s inherent smugness with itself. Maybe he was right.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      Agreed. Totally.

      Morality stands apart from us frail humans. We taint it when we try and take ownership of it for social climbing purposes.

      Fortunately morality has the likes of Wayne to defend it from us pretenders 🙂

      • Colonial Rawshark 21.1.1

        I find the politically oriented left ends up arguing about random trivial shit because it has no power and no resources to enact real change in society and or to actually change peoples lives for the better.

        It’s like WINZ staff pushing beneficiaries off the cliff, but the letters which announce that the benefit payments are being permanently discontinued will be much more sensitively worded.

        • Pete George

          “it has no power and no resources to enact real change in society”

          That sounds defeatist. Never have we (everyone) had more opportunity to exert some power. It’s a matter of learning how to do it (in a rapidly evolving political landscape).

          There are ways – small influences for sure. And you have to accept that many attempts will achieve nothing on their own. But many small influences add up.

          Complaining about a lack of power and putting to much time and energy into infighting and interfighting is holding you back more than lack of power.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Sorry mate, but when is a sobre and realistic assessment (NB I am not “complaining”) of the tactical and strategic situation considered “defeatist”. It is in fact an absolute pre-requisite for victory, rather than some kind of pollyanna positivity.

            And I already pointed out why I believe there was all this “infighting” and quibbling over BS. It is because the Left lacks the capital and the resources to exert power and influence over matters of substance.

        • Murray Rawshark

          I broadly agree with you that the descent into political correctness was an admission of defeat by middle class progressives who sucked at changing society, so settled to changing a few words. On the other hand, respect is basic and you won’t see me using some very well known words. Not ever.

    • Macro 21.2

      Generally I agree with your comment here CR – but words can be very powerful. Sometimes they are used to dehumanise – and this is in my opinion is wrong.
      I give as an example the common use these days of “Human Resource Management”. Nothing could be more dehumanising than to refer to people as a resource – akin to steel, or plastic, or some other inanimate object, that can be cast aside when no longer wanted. But that is its intended purpose. To make people just another “resource” that can be “managed”.
      Therefore I believe that while some of the “discussion” we have been witnessing is about trying to win or score a point, (and could those on both sides please stop!) I also feel that there is merit in seeking to find ways of expressing that do not denigrate or dehumanise. Leave that to the sewer at WO.

  22. whateva next? 22

    If I were really cynical, I might think the behaviour of the some of the disenfranchised actually suits the right wing agenda, in the bigger picture. Everyone looking over their shoulders, not looking up for fear of what will happen next…
    It has nothing to do with religion, but loss of hope and a good connection in this life, so looking for a better one somewhere else, i.e up there

  23. Murray Rawshark 23

    What I saw as food for thought, and found saddening, is that PG had almost as bad a reception here for his post. The details were different, but I basically agreed with what he said and saw no need to attack him. As with my opposition to the Queensland anti-biker laws, I think people should be attacked for what they do, not for who they are.

    • Colonial Rawshark 23.1

      If someone has undermined their own online credibility consistently enough and deeply enough, it will colour peoples future reactions.

      • Murray Rawshark 23.1.1

        Even with the most lost of the sheep, incidents of good behaviour should be rewarded 🙂

  24. Very good post Mickey. Yes Mr Key should be asked for specifics when he gives sound bite answers. The so-called journalists are always one question away from finding out anything.

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