The Hypocrisy of Hate

Written By: - Date published: 4:07 pm, January 11th, 2015 - 223 comments
Categories: cartoons, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, Ethics, Europe, International, john key, military, national/act government, news, Politics, twitter, uncategorized, war - Tags:

Last night I sat down to watch the TV news. First up was an horrific item about the slaughtering of over 2000 innocents in Nigeria by Boko Haram. The reporting of it lasted approximately 1 minute, with no commentary other than the item itself. Next up came the coverage about the ‘terrorist’ attacks in France, the news item lasting a good 10 minutes, with numerous external commentators putting in their two cents worth about the senseless shooting of 17 people.

Now, I don’t want to down play how awful the attacks in Paris were, but I do think that the coverage of these two tragedies says a lot about the huge divides between the peoples of the world. We seem unable to view our fellow human beings without categorising them and ranking them in importance. For a start, coverage of disasters in Africa (and other developing countries/continents) are always covered with less naval gazing and hand wringing than in Western (read ‘predominantly white’) countries (think Ebola, which only got coverage because the West were scared it would spread) – so there’s a racial/cultural element at play in where we are supposed to place our sympathies and loyalties – playing to the tribalism of our natures. Then there is the economic/‘developed’ divide, again always framed by our politicians and mainstream media as a ‘them/us’ issue. There’s also the male/female dichotomy – a divide that is always a subset of every other issue. And, lastly, of course, is the religious divide – where fundamentalists on both sides have drawn boundary lines around their beliefs and are willing to police these boundaries with militant fanaticism.

On a smaller scale, we also have the divide between the so-called Right and Left (often merely fancy-dress terms for the Haves and Nots, either economically or in terms of wielding power.) Nowhere is this more evident than the Twitterverse, where bile is distilled into 140 characters and spewed across the ‘opposition’ like lethal poisoned darts. Comments on blogs offer another fertile outlet for articulating this putrid bile. We even enshrine it into our political system, by allowing those who govern us to play an adult version of school-boy bullying in Parliament’s debating chamber.

What sits beneath all this posturing and divisiveness is an unhealthy appetite for hate, fed by fear of the ‘other’. And ignorance. And a determination by those who hold the power not to let it go. Oh, we can dress it up – say that it’s an issue of free speech or freedom of expression – but the truth is that acts which incite the silo-isation of certain members of a community are bred in the cesspool of suspicion and selfishness.

Let’s look at the Paris attacks as an example. Of course I don’t think people should be slayed for drawing a cartoon – but (and I feel defensive just writing this!) what did those cartoons really set out to achieve, other than a one-fingered salute to another’s dearly-held beliefs? If you know a certain group in a society has very strict rules around the depiction of their prophet, and that any breaking of these is considered the very worst of offences, why would you do it? To what end? To prove that you are somehow above this kind of tribal law? To make some statement about cultural superiority? To show up hypocrisy? To lampoon faith just because you can?

I once spent a very disturbing two and a half hours at the Jewish Museum in Vienna (the birthplace of my half-Jewish father) studying an exhibition of the Nazi propaganda used against the Jews in the 1930s and 40s. Cartoons and other gross caricatures made up the bulk of the attack. The images made me feel physically sick, not so much because I related to them as a person of Jewish ancestry (although it gave me much to think about on a personal level), but because the hate that spewed out of them was so visceral and ugly it was hard to believe that anyone could have looked upon them and not been appalled. But as politicians the world over have discovered, the first step towards the annihilation of another group is to demonise them, in order to absolve oneself of guilt. There’s none so overtly righteous as those who have climbed to their dominant position on the bleeding backs of others.

This righteousness is particularly galling, especially given the tensions of our current political times, when East vs West has morphed into Islam vs Christianity. In our predominantly pro-Christian/Jewish discourse, the Islamic fundamentalists are evil incarnate, with no right to be pushing their agendas onto other people. I agree with this, in as much as I agree that no one has the right to push their religious agenda onto anyone else. And herein lies the dilemma, for Christian fundamentalism has colonised and slaughtered on an equally ugly scale across the centuries and is, today, as outrageous in its rhetoric as the Islamic propagandists – and with equally repressive and controlling outcomes.

Look, for example, at the current Republican push in the US to eliminate Planned Parenthood funding permanently from the US health system, desiring to end (in the words of a recent petition attempting to stop it) ‘vital services for the 5 million women and men nationwide who depend on public family planning providers every year. Birth control. Cancer screening. STD testing. Prenatal care. GONE. It’s especially heinous considering Planned Parenthood health centres are often the last resort for women seeking healthcare in low-income communities (1).’

A huge part of it is a push by the Christian anti-abortion lobby ( see New Congressional Bill Would De-Fund Planned Parenthood Abortion Business) – a moral stance that forgets Christian doctrine is about one’s personal relationship with Jesus/God, one’s own conscience, and each person should have the right to choose their own path and make their own decisions, based on their own relationship with their religious beliefs and personal code of ethics. The fact that the US prides itself on the freedoms enshrined in their Constitution (and that the GOP harp on about this in relation to such issues as bearing arms, freedom of speech etc.) makes those who would withhold the right of women to choose their own reproductive behaviour hypocritical to the extreme.
I put it to you that if this had been reported as a proposal mooted by the Taliban, for instance, it would be viewed as the dangerous repression of women’s reproductive rights (and human rights) that it really is. But because it’s framed within the context of a supposed ‘civilised’ Christian country, it is somehow seen by huge swathes of the population (in the US at least) as acceptable – and desirable.

This is, of course, led by the Christian Right, who have worked tirelessly in the last few decades to increase their power and leverage in the US policy-making process. If you don’t believe me, watch the terrifying documentary “Jesus Camp”  ( or THIS  for some of the more extreme ‘highlights’). Here you will see motivational pastors asking hyped up kids if they are ‘willing to give up their lives for Jesus” (much hand waving and hysterical crying), “we’re going to break the power of your enemies in government”, “we can’t sit back and accept corrupt govt; I believe God wants to put godly righteous people in government”, “take these prophesises and do what the apostle Paul said and make war with them” …

The hysterical and carefully orchestrated scenes depicted in this documentary are no different from the clips of gun waving Islamic militants we are subjected to day after day on TV news programmes. But where we condemn the latter (and it fills us with fear) we either condone or ignore (albeit perhaps in a perplexed way) the same fanaticism in our own tribes. And where it causes real outbreaks of violence (it’s impossible not to mention Israel’s persecution of the Palestinian people here) we still don’t speak up against it very loudly if the perpetrators are seen to be on our ‘side’.

pie graph

What is really frightening is that those at the top know, cynically, how good war is for business and bottom lines. Yes, the general populations will suffer most hideously, but businesses will prosper. The weapons industry is estimated at over 1.5 trillion US dollars annually worldwide (2.7% of World GDP) (2) , then there are chemicals, uniforms, food, infrastructure… on and on. And, wouldn’t you know it? The world’s ten largest arms industry companies are all either US or European (3). War is propping up their economies. War is their bread and butter. Their default mode.
With our Prime Minster, the (un)Honourable John Key, noted as saying after the Paris attacks that “[t]he targeting of journalists going about their daily work is an attack on the fourth estate and the democratic principles of freedom of speech and expression, which must be strongly condemned” (see the excellent John Key on Media Freedom) one would hope that he would champion the rights of people to express their concerns over Government moves to restrict our freedoms and privacy, and our involvement in overseas Crusades… (sorry, had to take a break here to recover from cynical laughing) … but it is now increasingly dangerous for ordinary citizens to speak out against those at the top.

Deployment of internet trolls, designed to intimidate those who are vocal against such hypocrisies, is now deemed acceptable (‘Oh, everyone does it’), and the name-calling, mud-slinging, vitriolic slurs and abuse dealt out is the very kind of dehumanising behaviour that lies at the basis of all our troubles – the alienation of those who are suppressed by the moneyed power elite. This kind of behaviour is like the drip that, if ignored, turns into a tsunami of hate. The poison that kills over time. The wilful twisting of reality that turns ordinary people into the kind who will hand their neighbours over to the Brownshirts.

That our leaders condone this casual hatred is distressing and worrying indeed. True leaders, visionary leaders (who care more about the people they are representing than their own bottom lines and power), rule through modelling ‘right’ behaviour. If we are now seeing a rise in hate speech, demonising of dissenters and outsiders, silo-isation and disengagement from serious political and ethical debate, then look first to the people who are at the top. They are our role models. They are the people gutting independent commentary. They are the ones undermining our democracy, and turning off whole younger generations to political engagement via their cynicism and ugly attack politics. We deserve better.



(2) World Military Spending. as at June 30, 2013

(3) The information is based on a list published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for 2013

223 comments on “The Hypocrisy of Hate ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    …what did those cartoons really set out to achieve, other than a one-fingered salute to another’s dearly-held beliefs? If you know a certain group in a society has very strict rules around the depiction of their deity, and that any breaking of these is considered the very worst of offences, why would you do it? To what end? To prove that you are somehow above this kind of tribal law? To make some statement about cultural superiority? To show up hypocrisy? To lampoon faith just because you can?

    This question has been answered so many times. Gouaille: attitude insolente.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the current depiction of Jewish people in nominally* Muslim countries. I think it’s simplistic, to say the least, to simply accept that rage against drawing the prophet is anything other than rank hypocrisy in such circumstances.

    I expect the truth is that warmongers threaten peace everywhere no matter what political or religious mummery they adopt.

    *in much the same way the USA is a “Christian” country.

    • mhager 1.1

      I don’t disagree – just saying that, IMHO, if you know something is going to offend a large group of people you need to have a pretty good reason for proceeding or it’s just gratuitous sensationalism

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        How about “the death sentences on Salman Rushdie and Kurt Westergaard” for a pretty good reason?

        You’ve seen the rabid warmongers attack your brother? He “provoked” them too.

        • weka

          You don’t see a difference between telling the truth about something and poking at someone via ridicule?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            No, I’m calling attention to the similarities between the targets.

            In terms of provocation, it’s a bit rich to cite some drawings, considering the context ie: US foreign policy and death sentences for literature.

            • tracey

              in the desire to bring down the monarchy in France, cartoonists distributed pamphlet showing Marie-Antoinette having sex with her household pets and with women.

              we need to be very careful about where we put our line in the sand.

              How many “followers” does a movement have to be to be immune from offensive drawings or words?

              john tamihere and others have been offending women for years and he gets radio slots to do it.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        I’m offended hugely by what is actually written in many religious texts like the Quran.

        Quarnic verses such as 5:51 “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.” are to me examples of extreme prejudice and have no place in the modern world.

        Should Muslim’s and other religious people censor their own religious teachings because I find it offensive?

        • mickysavage

          You should take this up with the writer of the Quran.

          • Gosman

            The people killed in France were mainly responsible for publishing and promoting the cartoons as =far as I am aware. This is no different to Religious people publishing and promoting the texts I find so offensive. Hence if we are arguing people should be careful about do so in relation to cartoons why not in the religious views?

            • mickysavage

              There are a number of passages in the old testament I find offensive. I do not expect Christians to recant these particular passages, nor to I consider that Christians believe these particular passages are appropriate even though they generally accept the bible.

              • Gosman

                That is correct mickeysavage. There are a number of passages in the
                Old (and New) Testament which are also offensive to me. All religious people should take steps to purge their material of such passages.

                This is the same logic that MHager seems to be applying to the offensive Cartoons published by the Frech satiral magazine.

                As for whether Christians believe or not the offensive passages, I’d suggest more do so than you seem to think do. It would explain the strong opposition to same sex marriage by many religious people.

                • mickysavage

                  I do not read her post as a request for a purge of offensive language, rather that she is urging those at the top to be respectful of others at least with the choice of their language. To say something is wrong is not to say that a particular means of dealing with it is right.

                  • Gosman

                    Do you agree then that religions should purge their disrespectful language and views then?

                    Surely it can’t just be one side of the discussion that needs to look at curbing activities the other finds offensive.

                    • Bill

                      ffs Gosman.

                      1. – Anyone anywhere can say whatever the hell they like.

                      2. – Whether you or I approve or disapprove of what they say is an entirely separate matter.

                    • Gosman

                      I agree that people should be allowed to pretty much state what ever they want so long as it isn’t incitement of violence or likely cause harm in some meaningful way when it isn’t accurate.

                      However one of the points raised here is how people need to be mindful of offending others and therefore look to self censor anything that could inflame differences. I think this is ridiculous idea myself and as I pointed out this seems to only apply one way in many cases.

                    • weka

                      I think this whole focus on offence is a red herring, or at least a distraction. It’s not so much about offence as it is about power, respect, and context.

                      Compare Muslims in France to Caucasians in France, and look at the power differentials, including historical.

                      The context is the global problem the world has with fundamentalist terrorism. Is upping the ante a good strategy? Or should we be trying to create peace?

                      Respect is follows on from that. CH or the Christians publishing the bible have their right to freedom of speech, but let’s look at how that contributes to equality and peace.

                    • Bill

                      Mindful of offending others, or mindful of the potential arrogance and stupidity the offense might ride on and betray?

                      I said it before, you can slam your own culture. You can slam illegitimate power. You can slam a whole host of things, but when you begin slamming cultures that are not yours, and in deliberately inflammatory ways to boot, then fuck, you might do well to expect a reaction.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah, nah. “Don’t draw the prophet” is a bit like “don’t eat the apple”.

                      Sooner or later they’re gonna eat the apple.

                      h/t to Douglas Adams.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      People in Muslim lands would probably be more tolerant of Western cultural BS if our power elite didn’t keep bombing them, militarily occupying them, economically marginalising them and supporting/arming the dictatorial regimes ruling over them.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Consider the context of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie: how the Shah of Iran came to hold power for so long, and what it was that eventually replaced him.

                    • tracey

                      perhaps the new measure or yardstcik will become

                      – if someone or someones will go and kill others because of something you say or write or draw then we must prevent the publication –

                      i wonder what the side affect might be?

                      I also wonder why the danish newspaper wasnt the first target?

                    • tracey

                      Bill, how do you explain the Boko Karam victims? No drawings, no writing, no anti mohammed speeches, just victims of maniacal (predominantly male) killers.

                      It took well over 24 hours for MSM to focus on these acts which began about ten days ago.

                      “Religion”, imo, is the excuse and the red herring but not the fundamental cause. by far the overwhelming majority of practising muslims offended by the cartoons got on with their lives.

                    • Bill

                      “Don’t draw the prophet” is a bit like “don’t eat the apple”.

                      I disagree. ‘Don’t eat the apple’ might better equate with ‘don’t push the big red button’.

                      Meanwhile, a religious rule of a religion I have nothing to do with, and that does me no harm whatsoever; that has no impact on my life or psychology, is none of my immediate concern and causes me no angst whatsoever.

                      If there was a religious practice in the deepest Amazon that seemed peculiar to me, it would similarly mean nothing to me, and so I’d feel no compulsion to target adherents of the practice with pointed ridicule.

                    • Gosman

                      Who decides if something is contributing to equity and peace and why choose these as a determining factor in deciding if something is deemed acceptable or not?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The point being, that if eating the apple carries a death sentence, what does that say about people who eat the apple?

                      Nothing whatsoever; about the person who hands down the death sentence, however, it speaks volumes. Like, for example, they want way too much arbitrary power and control for their own good.

                      Such people tend to meet with resistance no matter what.

                    • Bill

                      @ Tracy. I agree that religious belief is, at least on he face of it, being used as a vehicle of convenience by extremist bastards (some in western, offices of power).

                      But it gets complicated when you consider decades worth of deadly repression aimed at proponents of certain political analyses (the history and fall out of colonisation) and then consider how else people might explain or make sense of injustices they feel.

                      As you say, Muslims were offended by representations of The Prophet. Why do that?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I think the death sentence part may be just a teensy bit on the provocative side.

                    • weka

                      “Who decides if something is contributing to equity and peace”

                      We all do. Not saying we’re particularly good at it, mind.

                      “and why choose these as a determining factor in deciding if something is deemed acceptable or not?”

                      Because they’re one obvious solution to war and violence.

                    • weka

                      ““Religion”, imo, is the excuse and the red herring but not the fundamental cause. by far the overwhelming majority of practising muslims offended by the cartoons got on with their lives.”

                      Tracey, do you mean that religious fundamentalists don’t really believe but use religion as an excuse to perpetuate their violence? ie their main motivation is violence?

                      I think it’s more about using ideology (hence violence from atheistic ideologues). Not sure how much you can separate out the violence from the ideals though.

                    • tracey


                      I am saying that to be drawn into a situation where you will strap a bomb to yourself or slaughter other people you have a BIG lack of something in your life that religion, and fundamentalism fills.

                      To be prepared to kill doctors and nurses performing abortions in the name of the sanctity of life is more than just aboit believing that a particular god with a particular set of rules is supreme.

                      As long as we stop at the religious fanatic part, and dont go back even further, we are unlikely, imo, to find the root of the problem. People without hope have nothing left to lose.

                      It is much easier to stop at the condemning of mulsims or jews or whatever group you dont like, politically as well, than delve deeper.

                      I have read stories, dont know if they are true, of people becoming suicide bombers cos their families will get 10USDk cash. That is th etransaction of a person without hope or future, not a religious fanatic (IMO).

  2. Jenny Kirk 2

    Thank you for writing this, Mandy H.

    I’m going to have to re-read and re-read your writing to fully absorb it – but from my first read-through you have pinpointed in a nutshell my own disquiet over what people say re Twitter, and other publicly-seen avenues, the rightousness about defending free speech no matter what it is nor how offensive it may be to someone else, and finally – the relentless war-mongering going on via the USA to keep their economy going.

    I’ve often thought that in another “venue”, some of the stuff which people say via Twitter could almost represent a lynch mob, it is so nasty and ongoing. And its no going trying that old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” because words can be insidious, bullying, pyschologically damaging, and enticing into actual physical hurt.

    So – thanks again, Mandy, for opening this up.

    Oh, and by the way, I do hope Nicky H is well on the way to getting his files/computers back again.

    • mhager 2.1

      Thank you. With regards to Nicky’s files etc., progress is slow and frustrating, as I’m sure the Govt. wants it to be.

      • disturbed 2.1.1

        Mandy, Thanks for this insight.

        Gossman has so much to say but miserably fails to address the hatred that US and their allies have shown to Islam as Gosman shows.

        Also while we discuss the intolerance issue shouldn’t we remember that Religions must all show tolerance?

        I am a 70 yrs. old that was taught Christian scriptures and am appalled with current so-called Churches around the globe that profess to represent the words and messages of God as his messenger.

        The Churches have long been silent on the war mongering US and all other countries that profess to be Christian, but are using the religion to keep the “Moral High ground” while denouncing all other religions at the same time.

        Not a very good example of “Tolerance” is it?

        Until church leaders stand for leadership and tolerance instead of offering silent support for yet another war currently awaiting a beginning we are Christians outside alone without a true church which represents the word and meaning of God.

        We to hope and pray for Nicky and his return of his property by the police/Government.

        Perhaps we all can start an information string to feed to Nicky meantime?

        • Gosman

          Why must Religions show tolerance? I’d suggest that the very nature of most religions are intolerant of other beliefs otherwise why try and promote a specific path to God/Enlightenment if all are equally valid.

        • philj

          Not a card carrying Christian, but concur with your sentiments. M Hagar has fire in her belly! So refreshing these days of ‘ too scared to call it out’. The Churches should be speaking out more. The current Pope is stirring the pot.

  3. Philip Ferguson 3

    Back when she was simply a reactionary academic, well before she became US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice wrote an article in ‘Foreign Affairs’, the US policy shonks journal, criticising Clinton for getting the US bogged down in interventions in other countries and not focussing enough on the US itself.

    She was particularly staunch on the idea that the US could not and/or should not get involved in nation-building or civil society-building projects in the Third World (I can’t recall exactly which of the terms she used).

    She argued for US power to be fully used where necessary – ie necessary to protect US imperialist interests (although, of course, she didn’t use such terms).

    Less than a decade later her beloved Bush administration was completely bogged down trying to remould not only one civil society (Afghanistan) but another (Iraq). Indeed, they were not only trying to create Afghan and Iraqi civil societies, but also new states there – states and civil societies subordinate of course to US imperialist interests.

    Obama has continued the work begun by Bush and we are now into a very long war – indeed, ever-expanding and apparently never-ending.

    There’s a good analysis of this by US socialist Alan Maas that we put up over on Redline not long ago:


    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      The billion dollar industry lobbies always end up getting to everyone over there in the end. Also the neocon hawks who had been moving around in DC circles for literally decades…

    • mhager 3.2

      Thank you – an excellent link

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    Not so sure about the view on why should follow the Islamic view on depictions of the prophet – hes definitely not a deity!
    Its not common in Shia to display images or drawings of Muhammad but it does happen. It seems to be a no no only in Sunni, and when you get to wahabi they take that to the extreme.
    To me it seems the REASON for Islam not having any images, was so that Muhammad wasnt worshiped , that was only for god.
    Hebdo cartoons definitely dont make Muhammad a god.

    Once christianity could only allow, music , literature and art that was about the glory of god, everything else was taboo. In non secular societies we cant start rolling back these things to the dark ages.

    France had a very strong anti -clerical phase last century to remove the influences of the catholic church – all though the French President still appoints two catholic bishops through an historical anomaly in Alsace and Moselle- and this was part of the background to the laws against the veil.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Every. Word. Perfect. Thank you Mandy.

    There is no question the world is being led with a wilful, sinful blindness into an insane confrontation – the manufactured cultural chasm between the fundie fanatics (and I’ve been absolutely consistent here for years on this point) on both sides – is the most immediate danger we all face.

    There is no moral high ground for any ‘side’ to posture from.

    The only ‘side’ left to be on is that of humanity. The whole fucking, squalling, squabbling, disgusting, inspiring mess of all of us. That is the side future historians will judge to be in the right.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      My current fear is that we are being marched to a military showdown between Russia and the USA in Ukraine. Russia will not allow the Ukraine to become a NATO base any more than the USA will allow Cuba to once more become a home to Russian nuclear missiles.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Such a military showdown is highly unlikely, for the very reason you state. Russia is a nuclear power.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          I do hope you are correct, Wayne. You’ll remember that last year Russia ran some large ‘long scheduled’ military exercises where they fired off practically every missile platform in their arsenal, and then put the whole thing on YouTube, just to remind us of the fact. As well as starting to run regular strategic bomber and strategic sub patrols again.

        • mickysavage

          Do you think Wayne that mutually assured destruction is the best way to conduct international relations between two super powers?

          • Gosman

            Did it not provide a degree of stability for 50 odd years?

            • tracey

              nah, the war turned on the poor, again.

              • Gosman

                No major war between the major powers in the World for over 50 years. That is quite an achievement considering human history.

                • greywarshark

                  @ Gosman 1.10pm
                  What about the minor wars. The victim is just as dead from a minor as a major. And considering the world could have been annihilated in WWW2 and the situation was desperate, your comment is once again facile and ridiculous.

                  An achievement for human history is not the use of DU Depleted Uranium.
                  The powerful figures in the countries using it are prepared to gamble with people’s lives, health and the health of the food producing soil and water we use. Wikipedia says – and the science is hard to understand but leaves me uneasy.:
                  The use of DU in munitions is controversial because of questions about potential long-term health effects.[5][6] Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and numerous other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because uranium is a toxic metal.[7] It is only weakly radioactive because of its long radioactive half-life (4.468 billion years for uranium-238, 700 million years for uranium-235; or 1 part per million every 6446 and 1010 years, respectively). The biological half-life (the average time it takes for the human body to eliminate half the amount in the body) for uranium is about 15 days.[8] The aerosol or spallation frangible powder produced during impact and combustion of depleted uranium munitions can potentially contaminate wide areas around the impact sites, leading to possible inhalation by human beings.[9]
                  The science is fascinating. Pity we will all be dead before the effects of the radiation completely dissipate.

                  Then scientific weapon in another minor war – Agent Orange. The engineer and designer Kalahnikov ended up being sorry he dreamed up his fine gun so used around the world. Every war produces some foul weapon and behaviour thereby fuelling retaliation and more of such behaviour. The thousand men and boys killed in a minor skirmish in the Balkans. Add the minors and the whole is greater than its parts.

                  And these terrorists. They should be called revengists. Even a pink-blooded apologist like you Gosman would feel anger against people who invaded your homeland and destroyed it and your family.

                • tracey

                  We are not all dead Gosman, we are the pinnacle of achivement. 🙄

                  How many between major powers and non major powers?

          • tracey

            it’s how brothers sort themselves out in adolescence

    • tracey 5.2

      agree with you RedL. paragraphs all.

  6. mickysavage 6

    Thank you Mandy. Superb post.

    Meanwhile Slater in a post titled “This is War” has suggested that Kim Dotcom, Martyn Bradbury and Russel Norman “continue to attempt to undermine New Zealand’s security using the Trojan Horse of personal privacy erosion”.

    Who said there was no difference between the left and the right?

    • tracey 6.1

      And the Jewish Council called for increased security measures by our Government following the deaths in Paris citing the kosher supermarket event as a sign of increased anti- semitism (according to RNZ yesterday)

      “Not only does this vile and cowardly terrorist attack represent an attempt at stifling freedom of speech but it is also yet another painful example of the murderous results of unchecked anti-Semitism.”

      The Lebanaese hezbollah fighting alongside the leader of Syria condemned the attacks as being worse offence to Mohammed than the cartoons.

      “Meanwhile, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah group says Islamic extremists have insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad more than those who published satirical cartoons mocking the religion.

      Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah did not directly mention the Paris attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, but he said Islamic extremists who behead and slaughter people – a reference to the IS group’s rampages in Iraq and Syria – have done more harm to Islam than anyone else in history.

      Nasrallah spoke Friday via video link to supporters gathered in southern Beirut.

      Nasrallah’s Shiite group is fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar Assad.”

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    I commented this on the Murdoch post this morning:

    Glenn Greenwald: very easy to defend free speech denigrating Muslims when you don’t like Islam

    Glenn Greenwald makes a distinction between defending free speech and defending the content of that speech. To him, the value of free speech is only realised when you are willing defend the expression of things that you do not like.

    He includes a bunch of cartoons targetting Jews and asks who would be willing to defend THAT free speech…

    • Bill 7.1

      He includes a bunch of cartoons targetting Jews and asks who would be willing to defend THAT free speech…

      Damned few.

      Now, I know that Greenwald was only essentially saying ‘I’ll see your bullshit and raise you a cart load’… but remember the outrage on this blog over ‘Bombers’ (unfortunate?) use of a particularly Jewishly/Fagan caricatured Father Xmas? Hmm?

      btw. I was among those who fucked Bomber over via comments on the use of that image. But then, I’d do the same over the Charlie cartoons. The difference is that Bomber was an idiot who, perhaps, didn’t recognise the implications of the image he used. The ‘Charlie’ cartoonists have no such defense.

      My point is, that I wonder how many who critisised ‘Bomber’ here, unquestionably condone ‘Charlies’ cartoons in the interests of ‘free speech’ but who would then simultaneously seek to shut down and ban some neo-nazi rally?

      Not so ‘damned few’.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        I think Lynn has summarised the argument nicely.

        You get the right to say pretty much whatever you like within legal limits. You should be free to speak to truth power without hindrance or silencing.

        But it is not an absolute, unfettered right. You also get to be responsible for the consequences. A lot of people may well criticise, shun or otherwise ostracise you if they really do not like what you are saying and you fail to make a valid case in your defense.

        The valid consequences however do not include being gunned down, banned or censored.

        • mhager

          Thank you – that is it, with sublime clarity.

        • Bill

          You can’t be shunned for free speech – not by anyone who believes in free speech. But the hypocrisy exhibited by many supposed proponents of free speech (maybe not looking not a million miles away from people on the standard) towards those assuming to speak when the particular speech doesn’t suit them, well….

          anyway, as a post script (and not connected to your comment per-se) – fundamental Muslims and Christians surely, by definition, take their respective religious beliefs back to core basics and so are proponents of love, not hate. But sure, I reckon it’s a really good idea, for the sake of clarity, to adopt the twisted meaning afforded the english language by our extremist overlords.

          As a second post script (and very much connected to your comment) – torture is legal; surveillance is legal; bombing wedding parties is legal; fuck legal and your ‘whatever you like within legal limits’.

        • lprent

          The valid consequences however do not include being gunned down, banned or censored.

          Sure and the law is pretty stiff on those in the public sphere. It will take a great deal of effort after you are silenced or dead to punish those doing it. It will usually happen a few years afterwards.

          Essentially legal frameworks can’t stop people from attacking you. They can only try to deter them from doing so based on consequences. It sometimes doesn’t work and every satirist, blogger, journalist or whatever should be aware of that or they they’d have to be complete fool. The ones who aren’t fools are aware that it is a risk that they choose to take.

          • RedLogix

            Yeah I guess that’s politics all over – there is always this gap between principle and practise.

            Being honest about it is probably the only safe way to manage it.

            • lprent

              Anyone who says that the law is about preventing crimes or who goes and talks about something being ‘made illegal’ clearly doesn’t understand it.

              It doesn’t stop anyone from doing something because it isn’t a natural law in the way that physics or chemistry is. Those sciences and their derivatives define the limits of what is physically possible under defined environmental conditions.

              Human law is all about trying to deter people from performing actions that are all too possible, but are deemed to be bad for society in in principle and/or practice. But human law cannot stop people from performing those actions. This becomes obvious to anyone who drives because is is all too easy to let that car speed climb up 10 or 20kms per hour above the “legal limit” and therefore become an outlaw.

              • tracey

                most laws are only as effective as the enforcement and the desire of individuals to be contained by it. Laws are a system, inanimate, people determine their effectiveness or otherwise, hence a previous vice president of the NZ law Society, while an MP took no action when told that the police had leaked evidence relating to the Ururewa raid charged to Slater. When someone goes from that position, to minister of Police, to Minister of Justice and her bottom line is

                “is it illegal”
                “will i get caught”
                “will it advance my goals”

                we cannot expect frontline police officers, justice employees, ACC employees to have much empathy or moral compass.

          • tracey

            By taking his electonic storage, Hager has effectively been censored by this Government. It could move to pressure the police to release them if it was minded. They, the police, could, have(??) copied it all by now…

            We have censorship in NZ but not enough with the balls to call it that.

            If you missed it a great “political panel” on RNZ this morning, featuring university academics speaking truth to power…

            next week i assume it will be the Sooty and sweep show a again… Hooton spreading the muck and Williams sweeping it under the carpet.

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    “… the name-calling, mud-slinging, vitriolic slurs and abuse dealt out is the very kind of dehumanising behaviour that lies at the basis of all our troubles – ”

    “The poison that kills over time. ”

    “They are the people gutting independent commentary. They are the ones undermining our democracy, and turning off whole younger generations to political engagement via their cynicism and ugly attack politics. ”

    Thank you, Mandy.

    Those bitterly decrying the state of our nationand the world should be mindful that if anything positive is to come out of all this ‘discussion’, it HAS to be built on foundations of integrity. We have to be able to look back and say, “Yes, when we were trying to change the status quo back in 2015 we debated ideas and ideologies with respect for each others differences.”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      The argument is as old as the hills and already has a foundation of integrity.

      All it needs now is more people (myself included) to pay more than lip service to it.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Me too.

        I thought Mandy’s post was perfectly timed in terms of what’s happening on ts recently.

        In the broader sense it does beg the question of how to respond to people that have no intention of debating with integrity. Am thinking of things like WO’s post about specific lefties being threats from withing during a time of war.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Cameron Slater – like the National Party voters at Kiwiblog – wants a civil war, not a debate.

  9. I agree the gun-waving Islamic militants in Nigeria should get more air-time, because the more footage the media shows of ruthless homicidal maniacs waving shahada flags and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” the better. Keeps us focused on which ideology is the problem.

    Of course I don’t think people should be slayed for drawing a cartoon – but (and I feel defensive just writing this!)…

    Oh, you should. You really should. That first clause really is completely invalidated by putting a “but” after it, and far too many people have been unable to resist putting the “but” in there.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      The ideology that is the problem is fundamentalism.

      Islam itself – at least in the first thousand years or so – was in the context of its era a remarkably liberal and tolerant religion. When Europe was still full of squalid little dark age fiefdoms – the Middle East had flourishing cities with miles of paved and lighted streets. The oldest University in the world is where?

      But yes it is really easy to see to havoc being caused by Muslim fundie fanatics. They are after all the outsiders. Not so easy is seeing the hatred and damage being caused by the fundie fanatics that we like to think are on ‘our’ side.

      The reason why fundamentalists are so damned dangerous is simple. They are materialists who are blind to the inner reality of the faith they profess to believe in. All they really are clinging onto are the man-made outer forms of the faith, it’s symbols, rituals and cultural dogmas.

      For this reason when someone puts a condom over a Madonna, or draws a satirical cartoon of their founder – they sense an attack not just on their religion – but on something around which they have built their entire identity.

      Someone whose faith is centred on the inner, ethical, symbolic and spiritual purposes of their faith isn’t much concerned. These worldly distractions cannot touch what is important to them – justice, compassion and purity of heart.

      • Psycho Milt 9.1.1

        When Europe was still full of squalid little dark age fiefdoms – the Middle East had flourishing cities with miles of paved and lighted streets. The oldest University in the world is where?

        You write as though Muslims built those things. They just conquered them. Islam was never a liberal or tolerant religion, even in relative terms. It explicitly instructs its followers to kill unbelievers or conquer and subjugate them. The fact that most of its adherents have preferred to ignore such instructions doesn’t alter the nature of the instructions.

        • RedLogix

          I realise what you are saying is what we have been generally taught to think about Islam in the West. They are pretty much the same ideas I grew up with.

          Then in the 80’s I lived and worked in Israel for two years.

          • Psycho Milt

            I lived in Kuwait for three years. The people were great, but the country’s ruling ideology sucked a big one in every way. I’d previously had some sympathy for Islam from a couple of religious studies papers at university, but close proximity to it as a dominant force in a society filled me with a deep and lasting loathing for it. It’s inimical to every good thing the Enlightenment and its descendants delivered us.

            • mickysavage

              Psycho milt is one of my most favourite righties. Way more nuanced and thoughtful than any other that I can think of.

            • RedLogix

              but close proximity to it as a dominant force in a society filled me with a deep and lasting loathing for it.

              Same response here. There were many incidents that left the same lasting impression on me. No quibbles at all.

              On the other hand I was also fortunate to be working alongside a group of scholars who had a very fine understanding of it’s history. It’s not how it got painted to us at school.

              • Jim in Tokyo

                Basing your opinion of lived Islamic ideology on your experiences in Kuwait (or pretty much any of the gulf states currently under the sphere of Saudi Wahhabist influence) is a bit like basing your opinion of Christian ideology on your experiences in Baptist Kansas. Indonesia (for all its problems) is a much more interesting – and representative example to consider.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes – that makes complete sense.

                  I’ve always tried to maintain the distinction between the historical Islam which from what I was told was a remarkable and largely tolerant faith which contributed quite substantially to the Renaissance in Europe and the same faith now distorted and disfigured by a virulent fundamentalism.

                  Consider for instance the Christian period of the Inquisition. No sane Christian of the modern era would attempt to justify what happened. While it was done in the name of Christ – and was an utter repudiation of everything He stood for and stands as a shameful, humiliating stain of the reputation of the Church – nonetheless it says nothing about the truth and values Christ taught.

                • Basing your opinion of lived Islamic ideology on your experiences in Kuwait (or pretty much any of the gulf states currently under the sphere of Saudi Wahhabist influence) is a bit like basing your opinion of Christian ideology on your experiences in Baptist Kansas.

                  I don’t believe so. The question is, what does your ideology call on you to do? It’s easy to make a case that any right-wing fundamentalist Christian group is going way beyond anything Jesus had to say (eg, he expressed no opinions on the things that really exercise those people – homosexuality, abortion, recreational drug use, dressing modestly, evolution, the defence of ‘Christian’ territories against other religions etc), but just about everything obnoxious about living in Kuwait came from using Islam entirely as directed.

                  Indonesia (for all its problems) is a much more interesting – and representative example to consider.

                  The fact that most Indonesians are content to ignore a fair bit of what Islam tells them to do speaks well of them but says nothing about Islam.

        • Malconz

          Not quite true, Psycho. Just one example: if you were mentally ill in the Middle Ages and lived just anywhere in Europe you would be flogged, purged, and maybe even killed to end your demonic possession. But if you lived in Moorish Spain you would be sent to a mental hospital!

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Only because your illness manifested itself as a religous experience, as would be expected in a religion dominated society.

            Nowdays hardly anyone with a mental illness thinks they are Jesus, Elvis maybe or the state is telling them what to do after putting transmitters in their their teeth fillings.

        • Olwyn

          That is unfair. The golden age of Islam produced great philosophers, Ibn Rushd (Averoes) and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) among them, and made significant advances in mathematics.

          • Murray Rawshark

            Ibn Sina was one of the greatest minds of all time. The west were rediscovering his ideas (by translation) and taking credit centuries later.

        • Murray Rawshark

          The University of al-Qarawiyyin was built in 859 AD as a mosque. Where did the Jews persecuted in Spain go? Do you know the history of Salonika?

          Kuwait is a shithole because it is pretty much a feudal monarchy with a few modern trappings. They have a parliament but they talk about a parliament and a government.

          Avowed Muslims kept science going forward when it was totally lost in Europe.

          Armenians were fairly comfortable in Turkey during the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Their Holocaust happened with the secular Kemal Ataturk, applauded in the West as a great moderniser. In Turkey, he may not be criticised.

          One of my best friends is a Muslim. He has never tried to kill me, despite my total lack of belief.

          • Psycho Milt

            Sure. For a long time, the civilisations that Islam conquered made it look a lot sharper than the backwaters of western Europe. Islam had its effect over the long term, though – after that first few hundred years, there’s just about nothing significant in the field of science, technology or philosophy to be had from Muslim cultures. It’s inimical to those things, too.

            Kuwait is a shithole because it is…

            …a consciously observant Muslim country. I base that on direct personal experience, and doubt you can say the same for your own view.

            One of my best friends is a Muslim. He has never tried to kill me, despite my total lack of belief.

            Gosh, what a surprise. That completely refutes my points above. /sarc

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Thats so NOT TRUE. The Armenian pogroms started well before the end of the
            Ottoman empire. The Sultans and high officials were mostly of Caucasian descent by then.
            As was Ataturk, he was born in Salonika what is now Greece and his grandparents were from Macedonia

            • Murray Rawshark

              OK, it was only partially correct. The Holocaust continued into the 1920s. Armenians spit when they say Ataturk’s name.

  10. Wayne 10

    It is typical of the Hard Left (and Mandy certainly is in this category) to believe that western leaders are just itching for a war, any war, since “War is propping up their economies. War is their bread and butter.”

    What nonsense.

    In fact whenever US defense expenditure gets down to around 3%, as it did with President Clinton and now with President Obama, the economy takes off. Somewhat the opposite with George Bush, when defense expenditure peaked at 5.5%.

    And President Obama is hardly itching for a war, which is not to say he never uses military force. But if he followed Mandy’s advice he would say about ISIS for instance, “not my problem – who cares if it becomes a terrorist haven.”

    The default mode of the Hard Left would be for the US to become completely isolationist and to avoid all military alliances. It would have probably lead to a Soviet takeover of some/much of Western Europe.

    Would have Asia prospered in the last three decades if most of it had become communist in the 1950’s and 1960’s? Not so much a domino theory as that an isolationist United States would have meant there would have been no countervailing influence in places such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea to prevent internal communist insurgencies taking over, since they would have had unrestricted support from China and the Soviets.

    Which is why the Right fundamentally disagrees with the Hard Left. We have a fundamentally different view in what constitutes the essential interests of the West. Which view I might note is by and large shared by the moderate Left, as represented for instance by David Shearer.

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Hard left

      Way to poison an argument with a strange phrase Wayne. Mandy is right about the Arms Industry. I heard a podcast today talking about ISIS and it mentioned they had surface to air missiles and my first thoughts were who manufactured them and how the hell did ISIS get its hands on them.

      And why should a preference to spend our resources on anything but war be considered to be an extremist view?

      In fact whenever US defense expenditure gets down to around 3%, as it did with President Clinton and now with President Obama, the economy takes off. Somewhat the opposite with George Bush, when defense expenditure peaked at 5.5%.

      Agreed. Perfect reason why we should minimise expenditure on war. Everyone, from kids in the third world to citizens in the first world benefit.

      The default mode of the Hard Left would be for the US to become completely isolationist and to avoid all military alliances. It would have probably lead to a Soviet takeover of some/much of Western Europe.

      Who said? I for instance prefer that the US uses all of its resources to help countries in need. Best way ever to ensure that they improve and the US is held in high regard.

      • tracey 10.1.1

        Wayne and the “Right” will always resist the removal of the threat of war, the building of war machines as a means for peace because one of the things about the Right is they predominantly support the status quo. It’s always been done that way and either too hard to change or it worked. Even when it patently hasn’t worked for the millions who have died over the centuries and the numbers still in poverty.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          It’s not really about the right and the left. It is about oligarchic rule over an empire. And the ambitious, well paid, professional lackeys, servants and corporals jostling for position therein.

    • The Murphey 10.2

      Q. Do you believe that governments are ‘in control’ ?

      Q. Are you gullible ?

      Q. Do you feel you have contributed in a positive way to the betterment of humanity or do you feel your life as an ‘academic theorist’ in the fields you have participated in is as asinine a contribution as one could ever make ?

      Q. Why do you believe Mandy Hager to be ‘hard left’ and what was the purpose of your comment ?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2.1

        The fields Dr. Mapp has participated in include being New Zealand’s Minister of Defence. In case you didn’t know.

        • KJT

          That is what is so scary.

          And, I happen to think that Wayne was sane, compared with many in our current Government.

    • weka 10.3

      “And President Obama is hardly itching for a war, which is not to say he never uses military force. But if he followed Mandy’s advice he would say about ISIS for instance, “not my problem – who cares if it becomes a terrorist haven.””

      oh ffs. I’m getting really sick of this bullshit. I don’t agree with you and so I’m going to put my own inaccurate slant on your politics in order to make you out to be a total dick.

      Are you really so clueless to think that the only alternative to war is to abandon caring altogether? I think that says way more about your rightie views than it does about Mandy.

      • RedLogix 10.3.1

        That’s a really good example of binary thinking from Wayne you’ve hit on there. It’s often easier to see when other people do it.

        • weka

          Red if you want to have a go at me about something, do it in the appropriate thread. I didn’t engage in binary thinking, I just responded to what I thought you said. As I’ve stated I ended up not know what the fuck you were on about, so the ball’s in your court re communication and clarification.

          • mickysavage

            Read it again. RL was complimenting your comment.

            • karol

              The first sentence is a compliment. The second sentence is ambiguous.

            • weka

              @ micky, yes, and he’s also having a dig at something that happened in another thread (his second sentence), where he suggested I had engaged in binary thinking. Seemed an unncessary comment given all that’s gone on recently. All of my comment above is about that, not about this thread.

              Just to put this in context, I responded to someone who is a ts moderator who intentionally set out to teach me a lesson yesterday by using a gendered slur and followed it up with ridicule and then making out that my reaction was just about me not liking something as if there were no relevant politics involved.

          • RedLogix

            Binary thinking is the bad habit of only allowing for two possible options in any given situation.

            For instance you had a go at Wayne for saying that “that the only alternative to war is to abandon caring altogether”.

            Dead on – of course there are more options than this. By only allowing for either total war or total isolationism – neither of which are desirable – Wayne is making a very common thinking mistake.

            I trust that so far this is clear.

            Similarly when we were talking earlier about the ethical responses a Muslim might make to the violent jihadism being committed in the name of their religion I suggested an analogy with an ethical challenge I had to make a year or so back around working in the coal industry.

            The practical response I made to it was not to take the job. Although part of me really bloody wanted to. Doing nothing and just going along and pretending there was nothing wrong with digging up coal was not an option I could live with.

            I then outlined the reasons why leaving their faith was not a realistic response for most Muslims. My argument is that similarly pretending there is nothing going wrong in their faith and doing nothing, was not a valid option either.

            In fact many are doing something. Many do take responsibility for condemning the fanatics at considerable personal risk. In my book these really brave people deserve every ounce of support we can offer.

            I trust this establishes the case for Muslims in general having a responsibility to respond to the outrages committed in the name of their faith. In practise it gets a little trickier.

            If I were a Muslim clergyman in Melbourne I would quite probably feel able to clearly condemn what happened in Paris. There might be some fanatics in Australia who don’t like me saying it – but that blowback is a consequence I’d have to live with.

            If I lived in Yemen – I would remain silent. Being assasinated by fanatics is a very real possibility. I’m maybe not that brave.

            If I was a 15 yr old Muslim girl anywhere – yeah no.

            • weka

              Honestly, I’m not interested at this point in time. I’m guessing by what’s just happened that you still feel it’s ok to be having a go at me for my behaviour, albeit in a much milder form. I’ve already offered to have a direct conversation with you about that, which you haven’t taken me up on. Now I’m asking you to both back off and take more care in where and how you direct your barbs. Crossing into another discussion is not ok for me, it just makes it look personal.

              If you want to go into detail about your views on the Muslim thing, maybe you could put up a post. There are probably others here who can follow your arguments better.

              My apologies to Mandy, this strikes me as being off topic and I’d rather not be having this conversation at all.

              • RedLogix

                so the ball’s in your court re communication and clarification.

                I had hoped that my answer above was going to be clear enough. But I can see that this isn’t the issue at all.

                Fair enough I’ll leave it here.

                • weka

                  That’s fine Red, but why do the clarifying here in a thread where you’ve just had another jab at me and that has nothing to do with the other conversation? It’s off topic and it’s the completely wrong context.

                  • RedLogix

                    Earlier when you were saying that I was making no sense – I suggested that the problem was binary thinking.

                    You had imagined that I was arguing that the only two choices for Muslims to respond to jihadism – were to either do nothing (and become passively complicit) or leave their faith.

                    Well of course that makes no sense. Neither option is desirable – and there are far more options than just these two.

                    Then a few moments later you are quite vehemently having a good old jab at Wayne for exactly the same thing. As I said its a very common and unhelpful thinking mistake. It leads to all sorts of misunderstanding and strife on blog threads like this.

                    But like so many mistakes we all make (including me) it’s usually way easier to spot them when other people are making them – than when we make them ourselves.

                    I hope that clarifies that it was not a personal attack of any sort.

                    • weka

                      “You had imagined that I was arguing that the only two choices for Muslims to respond to jihadism – were to either do nothing (and become passively complicit) or leave their faith.”

                      No, I didn’t. By that point in the conversation the communication was so poor that pretty much nothing useful was happening. You decided it was binary thinking, but we haven’t had a conversation about that, so it’s all your own stuff at this point. I don’t believe you understand what I saying. I had asked some questions which you haven’t replied to, and other comments you replied by changing the focus instead of addressing the point, and eventually I just walked away because the whole thing seemed like a waste of time.

                      “Then a few moments later you are quite vehemently having a good old jab at Wayne for exactly the same thing.”

                      No, I had a go at Wayne for making deliberately misleading statements. I didn’t see it as binary thinking. That’s your thing. Talk to him about it if you want to, but why bring up something you think I did somewhere else that has nothing to do with this other than some theory you have about people’s thought processes. Honestly, if it wasn’t about pointing out what I had done wrong why even bring me into it?

                      Who cares if my comment was quite vehement or not? It was just an expression of frustration. That you want to make this about my behaviour is where the bullshit is IMO, because this is the lesson you apparently were trying to teach me yesterday.

                      Maybe it is all a mistake on your part, but I have asked you to back off and you haven’t.

                    • RedLogix

                      First of all I did offer to back off and then you continued your attack on me. It leaves me confused as to what you really want.

                      When you were telling Wayne above:

                      Are you really so clueless to think that the only alternative to war is to abandon caring altogether?

                      I could not help but observe that this is a perfect example of binary thinking – the unhelpful habit of trying to confine the conversation to only two choices.

                      And I agree completely with you when you say it’s misleading and annoying. You expressed that quite clearly.

                      Now effectively you were doing the same thing to me when you wrote earlier:

                      Maybe someone else can make sense of that, because I can’t.

                      The only clear thing I’ve got is that you seem to think that Muslims could resign from being Muslim and that this would stop terrorism. (The implied other choice being to not resign and do nothing.)

                      And just above I explained why of course that made no sense because you had limited the conversation to just two choices. One of which was not feasible for most Muslims.

                      Blog threads can be like that, one person expresses something poorly or clumsily – the other skim reads too fast or misinterprets and suddenly there is no useful communication happening.

                      But clearly this conversation is not about any of this.

                      You are still fucked off with me from yesterday. I have explained that the word ‘trollope’ was intended as the feminine case of ‘trole’ – with a bit of an undertone of ‘bad behaviour’ thrown in. That should have been obvious from the context.

                      I simply don’t have a history of randomly calling women sluts and there was no reason in the context of that thread to do so. Continuing to claim otherwise is an unjustified slur on me that I have responded to calmly and with respect towards you.

                      Now I tend to treat people by the way they behave themselves towards others. For instance above you wrote to Wayne:

                      I don’t agree with you and so I’m going to put my own inaccurate slant on your politics in order to make you out to be a total dick.

                      Maybe I’ve gotten this way wrong and please correct me if I am – but the words “total dick” look like a gendered slur to me. So when I see you dishing them out it rather surprises me that you find it an such an issue when you feel that you are on the receiving end of one. (Even one that was simply not intended.) Can you see how that confuses people?

                      Otherwise this time – although feel free to respond – I will leave it here.

                    • weka

                      Yeah, nah. That conversation (about whether Muslims are responsible) went on for at least half a day and you had plenty of time to clarify what you were meaning but didn’t.

                      “Maybe I’ve gotten this way wrong and please correct me if I am – but the words “total dick” look like a gendered slur to me. So when I see you dishing them out it rather surprises me that you find it an such an issue when you feel that you are on the receiving end of one. (Even one that was simply not intended.) Can you see how that confuses people?”

                      I don’t think many people are confused here, except maybe you.

                      In the context of the hypocricy of you saying that trollope isn’t gendered but me saying total dick is, and all that that position entails, I’m not willing to have a conversation with you about gender politics. There are plenty of others here that get the politics who can do that with you.

                      As far as I can tell, you think you are a victim here, and that you’ve done no wrong. And that I’m someone going round attacking people, including PG and you, and that you feel the need to give me a slap down in a teach her a lesson kind of way because of my behaviour.

                      To be clear, I’m not attacking you here in this thread. You came here to this thread and had a jab at me out of context. I called you on it. Since then I’ve kept on calling you on it each time you defend yourself. As far as I can tell you see nothing wrong with what you are doing, but experience my calling you on it as an attack.

                      One reason I don’t buy the ‘I just treat people the way they treat others’ thing is that the comment I made that started all this was not a part of a pile on on PG, it was the opposite. It was me making an observation about a trole fest that was just starting up for the day and about to ruin that thread. IME naming troling behaviour early on can make people stop (not PG of course).

                      It’s also unclear to me why you’ve chosen me out of all the people that post robustly/rudely/aggressively on this site.

                      It’s fine that ts mods and admin largely leave it up to the community to moderate itself. But then that means we have situations like this. As I’ve said to you a number of times now, if you have a problem with my behaviour eg re PG, I’m open to you talking to me about it in a respectful way. That’s true of pretty much everyone. What’s not ok is for you to do what look like passive aggressive tactics to teach me a lesson, or to bring this argument across different debates.

                    • Pete George

                      the comment I made that started all this was not a part of a pile on on PG, it was the opposite. It was me making an observation about a trole fest that was just starting up for the day and about to ruin that thread. IME naming troling behaviour early on can make people stop (not PG of course).

                      Other people ‘trole’ and other people pile on ‘troles’ while you just add ‘observations’ in the threads?

                      Perhaps other’s don’t buy your “naming troling behaviour”. I don’t, that’s why I usually ignore your attempts to shut me out. I think your behaviour is more like troling than mine.

                      Your behaviour is being named and you don’t like it. Fair enough. But denying that you’re possibly a part of the problem while being one of the active ongoing participants seems to be lacking either genuineness or perceptiveness.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Weka, your behaviour is infinitely better, which is an easy hurdle to negotiate in this context.

                    • weka

                      Thanks OAB. Am still trying to figure out what to make of the arch trole calling me more of trole than he is 😀


                      “Other people ‘trole’ and other people pile on ‘troles’ while you just add ‘observations’ in the threads?”

                      No. I was talking about one specific comment, in context. I’m the only person who knows what my intent was with that comment, and I had already made the decision that day to not engage and not pile on.

                      Don’t know if you are being dimwitted or disingenous in trying to extrapolate my description of the comment as observation to the whole saga.

                      “Your behaviour is being named and you don’t like it.”

                      On the contrary, I’ve made a public, open invitation to anyone to talk to me about my behaviour. The whole point is that Red didn’t talk to me, he just engaged in trolebaiting and a smackdown.

                      I specifically asked him to tell me what it was about my behaviour that he objected to. He hasn’t done that. All he has done is name call (bully-like, mob etc). With you, I’ve provided explanations and examples so that people, including you, know what I am talking about when I call you a trole or whatever eg when I call you a DP apologist I explain what I mean by that. That’s the difference between engaging politically and just being mean for other reasons.

                      My conclusion is that Red thinks it’s more important to teach me a lesson and hurt me than it is to get me to change my behaviour.

                      The other obvious difference here is that my treatment of you comes at the end of a very long history of problems centred around you that many people have observed and commented on, not just here but across the political blogosphere. Yet Red goes starts with a smackdown. What does that say?

                      “But denying that you’re possibly a part of the problem while being one of the active ongoing participants seems to be lacking either genuineness or perceptiveness.”

                      You’re really not paying attention are you? I was looking at my own behaviour well before Red’s attempted smackdown, and had already consciously altered what I was doing before that. That’s the irony of Red’s actions, he missed that, and had a go at me when I was actually backing off from my hard out criticisms of you (that’s another reason why I think this is personal). I also think the community had changed.

                      I’ve been thinking about my role in the various stupid shit things going on here for a while, and trying to figure out what I can do differently. Some of that’s even been successful. Conversations I has having with other people prior to Red’s smack down were having an effect, as was listening to other people.

                      I’m also willing to bet that if you go back and look at the last couple of weeks of threads you will see that there is very little of the behaviour Red claims, and that mostly people are engaging you in debate. That includes me except for the days when I was ignoring you. There’s one day where Anne, the epitome of non-troling, starts a conversation about how you effect the site, but mostly people are either avoiding you or debating. Isn’t this what you want?

                      This is why my request for Red to point to specific behaviour and what was wrong with it is important, and why it’s interesting that he hasn’t done it.

                      Tell you what though, how about you point out the behaviour as it happens and name what’s wrong with it. Leave me out of it for the moment, and just point to where the pile ons are happening by the so called mobs. I’m curious now.

                    • karol

                      Very good explanation, weka @ 11.18am, 13 Jan..

                      I do like the way you describe the process of doing some self-critique, and then attempting to change some of your behaviours as a result.

                    • RedLogix


                      Imagine this conversation:

                      karol: “I can see that t-word was intended the way you claim and that meaning does make sense. At the same time can you also see that a lot of other people misread it as a nasty gendered slur. In the end it didn’t really help at all”.

                      RedLogix: “Fair call. I appreciate that you have taken me at my word and intent. I really did mean it as a bit of a tease. And yes in hindsight I had a couple of other choices that would have been a lot better. I was pissed with what I saw as a continued mobbing of PG and I didn’t think through how other people might react.”

                      How does that work for you?

    • Jenny Kirk 10.4

      Perhaps, Wayne, you’d be better doing a bit more research rather than just resorting to mindless name calling in your efforts to dismiss Mandy Hager’s well written essay on hate-mongering and war. But that is typical of National Party behaviour – describing people in contemptuous terms so others won’t take any notice of them.

      Be careful that such behaviour doesn’t come back to bite you.

      But meanwhile, how about you look up some of the references Ms Hager has provided us with and educate yourself a bit more – note for instance that the US alone accounts for over two-fifths (or 39%) of the world’s military spending, and not only that it also hasn’t paid its United Nations’ dues for its peacekeeping work, for quite a while – owing 80% or thereabouts of what is owed by countries in arrears.

      Maybe if the USA concentrated more on its peacekeeping initiatives and less on building war machines the world scene generally would be a better place.

      • + 1 Good points especially to wayne

      • Wayne 10.4.2

        Well I reckon it is pretty obvious that Mandy, not just in this post but in others as well, is well to the Left of the Labour Party. I appreciate Labels are a convenient way to characterize people but lack nuance. She is probably actually a pacifist Green. But that usually means being opposed to the way western alliances work.

        As it happens I think the alliance system has been essential ingredient to tie western nations and their partners together. As my primary post indicated NATO was an essential bulwark against the Soviets, and the framework of alliances in the Asia Pacific kept communism at bay in many of the Asian nations, to their great benefit. But the Hard Left has consistently opposed these alliances, as I suspect you do as well.

        As you know one of my goals in office was for New Zealand to have a more normal defense relationship with the US, within the context of the New Zealand nuclear free policy. Not allies as such, but partners. This was well signaled and seems by and large to have been accepted by New Zealanders.

        Of course military alliances is not the only way to deal with problems, but for some things it is pretty much the only option. For instance the 1990 Gulf War to get Iraq out of Kuwait. And I would also put Afghanistan in that category. As you know the support by Helen Clark for the Afghan mission blew the Alliance apart. And the left of the Alliance meets my definition of the Hard Left.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Normal defence relationship”.

          So many lies in three words.

          • Wayne

            Lies? we were upfront about our intentions. Though I appreciate it will not have the endorsement of the Hard Left.

            As I noted if you oppose a normal defense relationship you must also be opposed to NATO, New Zealand’s participation in RIMPAC, membership of the FPDA, the Canberra Pact, the involvement in Afghanistan.

            But then that is exactly the position of the Hard Left, which is why National and the Hard Left never have a common purpose on national security matters, or indeed most other things to do with foreign and trade policy.

            The Greens accurately reflect the views of the Hard Left on all these things – opposed to all security legislation, opposed to any form of defense relationship with the US, opposed to TPPA and to all other free trade agreements.

            • mickysavage

              Wayne this is the ninth time in this post you have used the phrase “hard left”. What do you mean by that phrase?

              • Gosman

                No different to when someone here posts RWNJ. It is a generic term for people who posit views from the left wing fringe of the NZ political landscape.

              • Wayne


                This is a fair question. Just as the left would characterize ACT as Hard Right, so does the the Right characterize anyone to the left of Labour as Hard Left.

                I agree the term lacks nuance. Many Green MP’s for instance would not see themselves as Hard Left, which would be label better attached to the once was Alliance Party. The term has whiff of the communist left, which is a bit unfair on the Greens. Though I am sure Russell Norman’s communist background has had some longterm impact on his world view.

                As I see it the Greens propose more of a neutralist, pacifist alternative, which I can see has a lot of appeal. But it has the result that the votes and speeches by the Greens are invariably against the entire foreign and security policy that is generally put forward by the Nats and by and large accepted by Labour. So it is on this basis I use the term Hard Left, even if it has limitations.

                • The Murphey

                  Q. How much destruction would you say is acceptable in a ‘normal defense relationship Wayne ?

                  A. Human lives (lost and destroyed including sanctions)
                  B. Environmental

                  Q. What is your perspective on the ‘war machine’ and self perpetuation and where might NATO fit into that descriptive ?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It wasn’t that long ago that a Republican president warned the world about the dangers inherent in the military industrial complex.

                    Dr. Mapp just wants to know whether he has to pay for his own lubricant.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              1. War without end is “normal” now is it Dr. Mapp?

              2. Defence? Are you mad? How much of a threat was Al Quaeda back in 2001, compared to the entire right wing country that has emerged from the wreck you right wingers made of Iraq?

              3. Relationship. The NSA boasts about owning the entire NZ Vodafone network. Are you suffering from Stockholm syndrome?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              As for your list of NATO etc., the point went sailing right over your head, eh.

              When incompetent right wing warmongers get to make foreign policy, everything turns to shit, like it is in Syria and the Levant right now.

              Not that you’ll take up arms yourself. Leave that to the workers whose lives you destroy.

        • KJT

          “kept communism at bay in many of the Asian nations, to their great benefit”.

          This is nonsense. It shows a view of the world which hasn’t advanced from watching Star trek as a child. Common to way to many right wingers, who seem to only read “get rich quick” books

          How would the corrupt fascist Dictatorships that the “Alliance” supported, in Indonesia and Vietnam, to name just two examples, have been a better alternative than the independent, so called, “Communist” Governments that we tried to remove?

          Allende’s Chile compared to Pinochet’s?

          Today’s Burma compared to what could have been?

          The US and Britain caused their own problems in Iran, and many other countries. Removing popular, even democratic Governments because they were, “too socialist”. Translated means that they helped their own people so that US companies were not allowed to extract all the profits from them.

          Are you even aware, Wayne, where, and how, the term “Banana Republic” originated.

          New Zealand’s record on supporting the US on their Imperial adventures is shameful.

          That you consider the Alliance, or the Greens opposition to the destruction of human hopes in the USA’s many wars and the latest attempt at imperialism by stealth, the TPPA, “hard left!” shows a Dictatorial and inhuman right wing view, totally opposed to the New Zealand tradition of fairness, fair go and democracy.

          • Wayne


            You should assume that I am well read when it comes to history, including a diversity of writers such as John Pilger and Noam Chomsky. So yes, I do know the origins of the term “Banana Republic”.

            To take the example of indonesia, despite its many faults it has been a democracy for the last 15 years, unlike Vietnam. The outcome of the last 30 years has been better for Indonesia than it has been for Vietnam.

            Burma has not been propped by the west, quite the reverse in fact. Its main support for the last 40 years has been China.

            But any event less about history and more about the future – what is the best response to ISIS?

            At least for me allowing ISIS to stay in place is the wrong thing to do. ISIS has to be defeated. But I cannot imagine the Hard Left would consider that a good idea, since it is only going to happen with a NATO led response. And for the Hard Left anything that NATO does is wrong.

            And I might note that there will be a very large number of New Zealanders who will share my view on ISIS.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              for the Hard Left anything that NATO does is wrong.

              You hear that everyone: we just need a little more bombing and killing and everything’s going to be ok, courtesy of the fuckwits who created ISIS in the first place.

              “Defeated” – what does this even mean? Germany was “defeated” in WWII – and it’s still there.

              What does “defeat” mean in this context, Mapp? It means they’ll ensure the flow of oil, and you’ll turn a blind eye to slavery, eh.

              • Wayne

                By defeating the ISIS state, I mean that that the ISIS leadership and militants are removed from control of the territory they occupy. So for Iraq that means the Iraqi government resumes control, perhaps with the Kurds.

                A lot more difficult in Syria given the civil war there. If the ISIS militants are defeated who takes control?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The only credible force in the area are the Peshmerga. You destroyed what passed for the Iraqi government and it ain’t coming back any time soon.

                  As for the Syrian “government” they’re not much different from the Caliph.

                  I doubt the Kurds have much of an appetite for anything beyond protecting their own borders, certainly not to further US interests.

                  Once you’ve tested enough weaponry you’ll sit down with the Caliph. Just like you did with Saddam and that Opthalmologist.

                  It’s obscene.

                • Tracey

                  I nominate you

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    He’s too busy manufacturing excuses for incompetence and hoping like hell he didn’t torture anyone by proxy.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Seriously, what are you afraid of, that if you stop bombing and killing people it might turn out to be a solution and then you’ll be shown to have less of a clue than the Hard Left?

              • Wayne

                Well as I said above that is the Green solution, just ignore ISIS and hope they go away, or at least that they stop attacking the west.

                Of course it was the ISIS public slaughtering of hostages that caused the current response to them. As I noted at the time on The Standard, if ISIS had simply taken over the region and run it as a theocracy, without shooting prisoners, killing people of other faiths and such like they would have been largely left alone.

                As for Syria, it looks very tricky – do the moderate opponents of Assad have any influence left? They did once, but when the west largely abandoned them more radical elements (ISIS) took control.

                I think we will soon find out the response of Hollande, Obama and perhaps Cameron, plus some others, especially among the newer members of NATO.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  “Ignore ISIS and hope they go away”.

                  Are you so lame you have to resort to strawmen?

                  You aren’t discussing this with the Green Party, and even if you were, you can’t articulate their position very well, which calls into question your understanding of the issues altogether.

                  It was the USA’s lunatic adventuring in Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, that caused ISIL. War without end. The Shah of Iran, Ayman Al Zawhiri being tortured in an Egyptian jail, global weapons sales.

                  The willingness to engage in proxy wars rather than confront actual global rivalries like grown-ups.

                  Haven’t you had enough of giving war a chance? If not, when are you going to start paying some attention to actual military philosophy and strategy, instead of letting trite wingnut gobshite run riot?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Oh, and Dr. Mapp, I hope you haven’t done anything that would make you a war criminal the way Bush and Cheney and Blair are.

                  After all, if the Serbians can hand theirs over we can do the same for New Zealand’s.

                • KJT

                  Where did the Greens say “ignore them”?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    They didn’t. I checked. UN mandate all the way. Foster civility and do our bit to be good global citizens.

                    Uncontroversial stuff.

                    • KJT

                      It says a lot about today’s National party that they consider a party made up largely of professional people, small businesspeople and skilled intellectuals, a “communist” “hard left”, threat.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  if ISIS had simply taken over the region and run it as a theocracy, without shooting prisoners, killing people of other faiths and such like they would have been largely left alone.

                  They wanted to drag the west back into the failing Iraq quagmire that was created by wasting hundreds of billions of American tax payer dollars, and the west dutifully followed.

                • The Murphey

                  Q. Wayne what is your position on Israel regarding the genocide being carried out against the Palestinians ?

                • Hi Wayne,

                  I think your comments (and the responses to them) show an important difference between a right wing analysis of geopolitical issues and a more left wing analysis.

                  Put simply – and despite your claims to have read a great deal of geopolitical history and anaylysis – your own framing of the issues is all in the currently dominant myopic terms, and in the ‘here and now’.

                  I realise that such a narrow perspective on geopolitical issues is often cast as a ‘practical’ and ‘hands on’ virtue by many on the right (you know the attitude, ‘It’s all very well to talk about history but what are you going to do about what’s going on now??’).

                  But from other perspectives it looks, at best, as an inexplicably weak analysis sure to lead to far more problems than it could ever solve – Exhibit A being the past dozen or so years of Western ‘policy’ as it has been acted out in that region (not to mention the previous 150 years).

                  The ‘problem’ of ISIS from this extremely constrained, even ‘knee jerk’, perspective is defined almost entirely in terms of beheadings and burnings and sporadic incidents of small scale terror that it appears to have ‘inspired’ (in very uncertain ways) in some Western countries.

                  We are asked to believe that Western leaders simply cannot tolerate such behaviour (anywhere?) in the world and that it arises de novo as a result of religious beliefs or some such.

                  Do you not see how laughable such an analysis appears to anyone familiar with the history you claim to be au fait with?

                  And I think it is simply incorrect that, as you claim, ISIS would have been “largely left alone” if they hadn’t done the atrocities. Their crime is not beheadings it is their uncontrollability by those powers that like to ‘police’ the world. That’s why Iran remains a ‘problem’, and Syria. It has next to nothing to do with their ‘moral behaviour’.

                  And surely, a historical analysis emphasises, amongst other things, the way in which previous interventions (not to mention Western diplomatic, political and intelligence strategies over numerous decades) have played far more than a cameo role in the current problems.

                  Yet, this obvious ingredient in the problem always seems to be discounted by right wingers as if it were almost irrelevant.

                  All the current focus, to put it bluntly, is on ‘The Hun eating Belgian babies’ and how we can’t possibly stand aside while such atrocities are happening. Once again, can’t you see how thoughtful people might be sceptical that another military adventure with our ‘family’ is going to put things right?

                  And even you must admit that this sudden official horror over atrocities is extraordinarily selective – which doesn’t make it wrong but makes it very revealing of motive for anyone with even the remotest amount of curiosity about these matters.

                  For me, the issue is less about pacifism than it is about wilful – and perhaps convenient – ignorance of the way that such actions in the past have been part and parcel of the problem.

                  Tell me Wayne, with all your reading, do you understand the origins of ISIS and who is supporting them?

                  If you do, wouldn’t that knowledge be a useful starting point for determining current policy?

                  Or is it just a case of having to go ‘over there’ and ‘save people’? Seriously?

            • KJT

              Who said anything about ignoring ISIS. We just think there are better ways of dealing with them, than manufacturing more terrorists by bombing the crap out of a few more million civilians. It has worked so well, so far.

              The US supported Indonesian Government has murdered how many people? So far. I suppose that is “Doing better”.

              Like the, Neo-Liberal, Pinochet experiment in Chile. “But the economy did better”. Pity about the poor, the disenfranchised and the “disappeared”.

              Of course Burma had nothing to do with US actions to destabilise the region for their own ends. Yeah right!

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Yep. Thanks for the context KJT. The lack of which, basically a kind of ahistorical amnesia, the proponents of Empire thrive on so that joe public does not remember how our leaders of Empire contributed to the current rolling fuck up.

                Plenty of western countries and western allies (like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey) helped funnel arms, money, intelligence, training and fighters to the anti-Assad groups that got the cute made for PR label the “Free Syria Army”.

                Many of these Islamist groups would eventually create ISIS.

                It seems to me that Wayne would also like us to forget the longer historical context of the last 12 years of Iraq War: how the US empire illegally and permanently destroyed the country once known as Iraq under false pretexts, and how it supported a failed, corrupt, sectarian regime that eventually created the perfect conditions for the Sunni extremist phenomenon known as ISIS.

            • Stuart Munro

              What’s your take on Indonesia’s debt Wayne? A few irregularities there.

        • Paul

          The Labour Party has been a right wing party since the 1980s.
          If you look at the policies of 1970s National Party, they are to the left of the present Labour Party.
          Overton’s window….heard of it?
          Guess you’re trying to move it even further to the right.
          Soon Thatcher and Reagan will seem like bleeding heart liberals.

      • Gosman 10.4.3

        It is unlikely the world would be a better place I would suggest. You just need to look at what happened in the former Yugoslavia to see that. The Europeans went in with the idea of peacekeeping and all they achieved was to embolden the Serbs. It was only after the Serbs were confronted militarily that the situation stabilised and peace was achieved.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The Europeans went in with the idea of peacekeeping and all they achieved was to embolden the Serbian right wing. It was only after the Serbian right wing was confronted militarily that the situation stabilised and peace was achieved.


          • Gosman

            Except they were largely members of the Serbian Communist led regime.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I don’t care what they called themselves. I know a jingoistic racist when I see one.

              • Gosman

                Of course left wingers like yourself are keen to distance themselves from unsavory left wingers, I can understand that. But redefining people you don’t like doesn’t mean they are not what they claim to be.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Of course right wingers like yourself are keen to pretend that racism and sabre-rattling are not indicative of right wing brain syndrome.

                  • Gosman

                    Is this some sort of official scientific term or did you just make it up?

                    People on the left and the right are just as capable of acts of appalling brutality and prejudice as each other.

                    Just because you don’t think they are doesn’t make it so.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Large sample sizes reveal physical differences in brain structure and statistically significant differences in cognitive ability. Summarised as “right wing brain syndrome”.

                      Your argument that all “communists” in single party states can be defined as “Left” is a case in point: I’m sure you find it compelling 🙄

                    • Gosman

                      Evidence please.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Evidence includes, and is not limited to:

                      Hodson & Busseri 2012, Kanai et al 2011, Zamboni et al 2009.

                    • Gosman

                      For a start the definitions in the papers you reference are between Liberals and Conservatives rather than Right versus left wing.

                      The first paper is deconstructed here.


                      The second one makes no reference to difference in intelligence nor claims that the conservative people are inherently more inclined to be racists.

                      As for the last I can find no relevant study in relation to the difference between left and right wing brain structure or intelligence.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Single author self-published blog advanced as evidence of “deconstruction” by right wing person.


                      Perhaps you should read what Hodson had to say on the subject – he articulates your criticism of drawing such extreme conclusions far better than Briggs’ inept flailing – before trusting some random blogger who couldn’t get published. Google is your friend.

                      The three papers are not cited as supporting one another – merely the completely uncontroversial observation that there are differences between right and left wing brains.

                    • Gosman

                      You think that is uncontroversial ?!?


                      “”They’ve pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics”


                      “The obvious question is, should we take this research seriously, given its highly controversial nature? “

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Calm down, amygdala-boy.

                      “It’s very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions…more work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude.”

                      Ryota Kanai.

                      Further reading…

                      Molecular geneticists, often working in tandem with political scientists, are quickly moving beyond twin studies to identify the specific suites of genes and biological systems that predict variation in core political preferences, whatever labels those preferences might be given in a particular culture at a particular time…

                      I’m sure there’ll be some denial of these observations; calling it “controversy” brings to mind the teaching of evolution in schools.

                    • RedLogix


                      Love the droll language in that abstract. Sure you didn’t write it?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I’m still laughing at the fact that one of Gossie’s citations supports my position 🙂

                  • vto

                    Bigotry and prejudice are not the entirely exclusive domain of the right wing ……….. pretty close though

    • Thank you for such a brilliant illustration of my point

      • tracey 10.5.1


        Thanks for a thoughtful post.

        The need to put people into labelled boxes fascinates me. It is as though if they didn’t labelpeople, how would they know who they are better than. 😉

    • Murray Rawshark 10.6

      Why don’t you stick to portraying your own philosophy instead of misrepresenting ours? We’re quite capable ourselves of saying what we believe.

      Like most right wingers, you always start from the present situation, as if it came into being by divine proclamation. You have no interest in the historical roots of a situation. Iraq became a terrorist haven after Halliburton invaded. Why on earth would another invasion make it better? When the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat every problem as a nail. And you are definitely a tool.

      • greywarshark 10.6.1

        @ Murray
        If in critical mode to an individual why not put that person’s name at the top. I am 99% sure its Gos you mean but anyone elses in between like Tracey’s interrupts the flow.

        • Murray Rawshark

          No, it was Wayne. The numbers tell that, but the flow does get interrupted. I’ll try to do better in future.

    • tracey 10.7

      Interestingly it is the Democrats that reduce spending in this way and the economy performs better. The corollary being the republicans ignore the obvious benefits and do what isnt as good for the country?

      Do you consider China has prospered in the last 30 years?

      It is fascinating to me that you still view the world as East versus West. I suspect therein lies one of the roots of the problem, the Right’s need for opponents and sides, presumably to determine who is “right”? and bugger the enormous collateral damage.

      • KJT 10.7.1

        It must really irk right wingers that they have to borrow from the “Communists” to maintain their economy.

        Mind you, China is as Communist as the USA is Democratic.

        Both are ruled by self appointed wealthy oligarchies.

        Both are terrified that “ordinary people” will demand a fair share of the wealth they produce.

        • tracey

          it’s why the distinction is laughable and Hoots still calls people commies as a slur…

          mind you, no problems comparing Clark to Stalin’s Russia (Helengrad) but dont dare compare Key to Hitler’s Germany

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.7.2


        the Right’s need for opponents and sides,

    • Paul 10.8

      Hard left.

      Your language seems somewhat hyperbolic.

  11. nadis 11

    Interesting study on where ISIS is getting their ammunition from:

    Actually that’s not strictly correct, more where it was manufactured.

    • KJT 11.1

      The West could help solve the problem by stopping their own countries selling, or giving away arms, to anyone?

  12. heather 12

    Thank you Mandy.
    The situation in Nigeria is similar to the terrible past killing of innocent people in Rawanda and the Congo.
    There will always be people profiting from war and killing and it will go on some continue to profit from endless greed.

  13. Murray Rawshark 13

    Good article, Mandy. Clear thinking is lacking all over the place on this topic.

    Charlie Hebdo’s garbage reminded me a lot of Julius Streicher’s crimes. But what worries me more at the moment is the inability of so many people to have a reasonable discussion. Maybe twitter has contributed to this. I have never been tempted to use it, but I think the internet certainly has a lot of responsibility. When I was an angry young man, many of the comments I see on the internet just weren’t made unless someone was looking for a fight. I assume that people on blogs don’t really want to step outside and smash bottles over each other’s heads, but I have real trouble understanding why they act as if they do.

  14. … what worries me more at the moment is the inability of so many people to have a reasonable discussion.

    Says the guy who just compared the victims of this crime to the Nazis…

    • Murray Rawshark 14.1

      Wow, I’ve got another stalker. And yeah, apart from those who are attacked, the cartoons remind me very much of those published by Streicher. If you don’t think that’s reasonable, how about saying why? I know “Look Nazi, not allowed” is much easier, but give it a try.

      • Psycho Milt 14.1.1

        Here’s why (although I would have thought it was obvious why “these Charlie Hebdo guys are just like the Nazis” was unreasonable):

        The cartoons Streicher published in Der Sturmer were part of a propaganda campaign aimed at demonising a particular religious/ethnic group. Accordingly, the caricatures offered weren’t just identifiably members of that religious/ethnic group, they portrayed the group as sinister, greedy, just downright evil in fact, and illustrated lies about that group favoured by anti-semites.

        The only genuine similarity between that and Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons is that the caricatures are identifiably religious figures. Other than that – no similarity. By saying that this one similarity causes Charlie Hebdo to remind you of Der Sturmer, you’re falsely implying a similar intent to demonise a particular group, similar portrayals of that group as sinister, greedy etc, and similar illustrations of racist lies about that group. That’s what’s unreasonable.

        If you want to see cartoons genuinely reminiscent of Der Sturmer, have a look at the anti-Jewish cartoons published in much of the Arab Press – they could teach Streicher a thing or two.

        • Murray Rawshark

          We’re not going to agree on this. I saw the cartoons as inciting certain people against Muslims. Just as not everyone acted against Jews because of Streicher’s cartoons, not everyone will act against Muslims. But a significant number of French people will, and have. You’re defining “remind me of” as identical. They’re not, with one reason being that the stupid French magazine wasn’t an organ of a political party. There are similarities.

          As to Arab anti-semitic scribblings, I find them pretty foul as well.

  15. saveNZ 15

    Great article. It is sad that so many despicable people have so much power and influence and many politicians are just conduits to lobbyists now. Tolerance needs to go both ways, likewise freedom of speech and in particular ability to listen to people without much power. At the moment it is the opposite. Marginal people are silenced and powerful have all the say from politics to media.

    I totally believe that power corrupts and it is best to limit the amount of power anyone has. Also the rise of the ‘corporate right’ is very concerning i.e. the arms companies, ‘food’ companies (like Monsanto etc), lobbyists that are getting away with literally murder. I just hope they go down the way tobacco does by their evil deeds being bought to justice. My concern is that the justice system and laws are also being corrupted and altered against the main principals of the right to a lawyer and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and the right to be interrogated without torture.

    For the Slater’s out there……

    “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

    ― Benjamin Franklin

    • Gosman 15.1

      “Tolerance needs to go both ways, likewise freedom of speech and in particular ability to listen to people without much power”

      And this is the major point of departure between some people on the left and others here.

      For many lefties free speech has to be couched in terms of the power dynamics that exists in society. Hence the cartoons that were deemed offensive should not really be allowed to be published because Muslims in France are a ‘presecuted’ minority.

      Ironically the only place where this sort of mindset would allow the publishing of such caroons would be in a country where Islam and Muslims are in a dominating position. These are the very countries where the publishing of such things IS illegal.

      • vto 15.1.1

        gosman, you can’t take left principles and apply them equally as it often leads to uncomfortable outcomes, don’t you know that?

      • saveNZ 15.1.2

        I believe in the right to the cartoons to be published even if they offend Muslims. What I am saying is that cartoons and freedom of speech should be going both ways and Muslims should be able to also have offensive cartoons. (or anyone else). My concern is that the current suppression of freedom of speech of Muslim culture in Western countries is falling into the trap of censorship and going worse making it a crime to question or even think about their point of view.

        It is not just religion – now journalists are being oppressed and suppressed for just their job i.e. Nicky Hager and Bradley Ambrose for reporting anything seen to question people in power.

        Accountability of individuals is on the rise and accountability of politicians and corporations is on the decline due mainly to complicit MSM and aggressive and dirty attack politics.

        • Gosman

          I agree that Muslim’s should be allowed to offend as well as to be offended. I believe they do have this right in most Western nations. The very fact they can publish and promote the Quran (which I find extremely offensive) is an example of this. The question is when their right to offend becomes more an incitement for violence against others. This is where the line should be drawn in my view.

          As an aside, what in your opinion is the ‘Muslim point of view’

          • Murray Rawshark

            The Koran is not deliberately designed to offend anyone. I find many of your comments offensive, yet you’re allowed to make them as long as you stay within TS rules. Maybe you could protest against this censorship by boycotting us?

            • Gosman

              I disagree. It was deliberately designed to offend non-Muslims. It’s purpose is to try and convince them to become Muslims otherwise they will suffer a terrible fate.

              • Murray Rawshark

                You really have no need to keep proving your idiocy. Everyone is already convinced of it.

  16. Colonial Rawshark 16

    In fact whenever US defense expenditure gets down to around 3%, as it did with President Clinton and now with President Obama, the economy takes off.

    Wayne, whatever you are smoking/drinking, I want some.

    US spent 20% of Federal Budget on ‘Defense’ in 2011

    2015 US defense spending will be approx 4.5% of US GDP.

    Bear in mind that these figures likely exclude the covert black budgets that the Pentagon and other organisations uses.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 16.1

      You have to discount the big share of ‘defence spending’ that the US spends on pensions for Veterans and their large healthcare system for retired and injured veterans. We wouldnt count this as ‘defense’ on other english speaking countries like NZ, Australia.
      in 2013 the VA spent $40 bill on heathcare alone and its climbing. Your website shows total Veterans spending is just under 1% of GDP.

      You could say the US military consists of Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines and Veterans

      • Colonial Rawshark 16.1.1

        Fair enough point. Having said that, $40B out of a ~$800B defense budget still leaves a $760B spend…

  17. Wayne 17

    Well, perhaps I was being a bit in advance of the 3% (more like 3.5%) actually occurring, but the trend is clear enough. The defense budget is going down. The “black budgets” are within the overall vote, not outside it. Mostly they exist within the procurement part of the budget, and in terms of current operations within Special Forces Command.

    Of course the CIA and NSA budgets are on top of the Defense budgets, but since they do not involve building trillion dollar jets (F35) or aircraft carriers and submarines, they are much smaller.

  18. disturbed 18

    Wayne said in blog # 5.1.1

    “Such a military showdown is highly unlikely, for the very reason you state. Russia is a nuclear power”.

    Gosman then approved Nuclear war by his reply as follows;

    “Did it not provide a degree of stability for 50 odd years?”

    These bloggers profess to adding constructive insights to this blog site but instead are suggesting now for a solution to all the world problems by advocating for a nuclear war.

    God help us all.

    • Gosman 18.1

      I never stated I approved of Nuclear war. The most my comment could be taken is agreeing with the view that the Nuclear deterrent seemed to do what many stated it was designed to do i.e. stop a major war between the Nuclear powers.

      • RedLogix 18.1.1

        The evidence is that MAD has indeed worked to prevent direct confrontation between the major powers. Which is a good thing.

        But it has come at the cost of an escalating number of proxy wars that have engulfed many smaller nations. That is not a good thing but arguably the lessor of two evils.

        Because the next question is – does anyone believe MAD is a stable state that can be maintained indefinitely into the future? Or will we eventually need to devise a better way of preventing war?

        • tracey

          and the cost, oh the cost. Imagine where else the moeny could have gone…

          TWAT gobbled up well over a trillion already.

        • Gosman

          Depends on whether you think the proxy wars wouldn’t have happened without the deterrent factor of nuclear weapons existing between the major powers. I think that this is unlikely given most were post colonial conflicts.

          • RedLogix

            Post-colonial alright, but with the close involvement of the major powers as a rule. Most would have fizzled out pretty quickly without vast amounts of money, arms or troops poured in from variously the US, Russia and China.

            The point is – MAD has not actually prevented warfare, merely shifted it’s scale and locale.

            But that was not my question. Do you think that the MAD ‘equilibrium’ is stable in the long-run? I would argue probably not.

    • Wayne 18.2


      Quite the opposite. Nuclear powers don’t go to war against each other. Deterrence may not be an ideal way to keep the peace among the great powers, since it leads to tremendous arms build ups and a lack of trust – it not being easy to really like someone who at least putatively is threatening to blow you up.

      But on the evidence of the last 70 years it has kept the world from world war 3. But it does not stop smaller wars. And some (many) would say it encourages them.

      • Anne 18.2.1

        But on the evidence of the last 70 years it has kept the world from world war 3.

        That’s fair dinkum Cold War thinking there Wayne. I would venture to suggest that it had as much to do with the virulent anti-nuclear protests throughout the western nations from America, Canada to Europe, Britain and a very healthy top-up from NZ and Australia. Like the massive protests against the Vietnam War, ultimately democratically elected governments have to take notice of their citizens. The backlash against the nuclear insanity was so huge, even the eastern nations were stopped in their tracks in part by their own citizenry.

        The warmongers on both sides of the fence should have been tried by an international court and dumped somewhere in an isolated prison for the rest of their lives. Their crass stupidity nearly saw the end of civilisation as we know it.

      • tricledrown 18.2.2

        Empires througout the ages have been involved in minor or major wars!Todays empires want to test(as in testosterone)their conventional waring capability to see if they can sustain a major war. So the skirmises at the edge of Empires a good foor testing Military hardwares technology,techniques,and that stategies are up to date.
        So Civilization is still locked iyear nto The strongest will survive.
        Bullying Basically!
        National are our biggest bully on the block at home and have aligned us with the US.
        National are a US Drone turning us into the little madel US breaking down universal healthcare free education destroying the egalitarian society we once were.
        Thebiggest Bully on the block is always letting others know who’s the boss,while the pretenders to the throne are always pushing the limits with the most powerful to establish the pecking order.
        Wayne we as a country are at the bottom neutered by Nationals cuddling up to the biggest bully on the block!

      • Colonial Rawshark 18.2.3

        Quite the opposite. Nuclear powers don’t go to war against each other.

        You say that like it is a universal law, because of our experience of 40 years of Cold War. But even then there were very numerous near misses – the Cuban Missile Crisis, and also the very many mistaken almost launchings which have quietly been detailed in recent years (an early warning system mistaking the rising moon for a nuclear missile attack???)

        And now we also have China, India, Pakistan, Israel in the nuclear fray.

  19. Poission 19

    the cost of Jihad ism in November was one death every 8 minutes ,the majority being civilians especially in Nigeria.

  20. Cantabrian 20

    I am surprised that a literate man would use the term ‘Hard Left’ to describe Mandy. There is no ‘Hard Left’ in New Zealand. Such a term would describe Maoists in India or in Nepal who advocate the overthrow of government with arms. Describing peaceful activism as ‘Hard Left’ is nonsense.
    There are branches of Islam that are peaceful – Sufism or Bahais are peaceful. More emphasis should be made on the differences that exist within Islam and how ‘jihad’ is defined.

  21. miravox 21

    I agree the cartoons in the Vienna Jewish museum are appalling and denigrate an entire group of people. I was in a similar state of disgust when visiting the Topography of Terror exhibition in Berlin and reading about the process of manufacturing hate. I also find the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in general incredibly distasteful. However, I feel it’s equating the Charlie Hebdo cartoons with 1930s falls down in several ways

    1. The manufacturing of hate towards Jewish and other very specific groups of people in the 1930s was a collusion between media an politic power. Taken as a whole, Charlie Hebdo cartoons are not produced to demonise one particular group of people, nor are they produced to advance State power, or eliminate dissent against that power.

    2. The targets of the 1930s cartoons did not have rights or resources to counter the attacks by the State and the media. The targets of the Charlie Hebdo are cartoons are free to make public their dissent.

    3. The 1930s cartoons attacked and demonised ordinary people. Charlie Hebdo cartoons mock the symbols of power and the people who use these symbols to wield power.

    I’m inclined to go with the Voltaire maxim of disapproving of the Charlie Hebdo muslim cartoons, but defending their right to produce them. We must be able to criticise, to mock, and to express anger at the symbols of power and the wielders of that power (whether they be State, religious, cultural or financial) through pictures, words of sounds. It’s not a question of ‘taste’. I realise there are ‘slippery slope’ and ‘lines we should cross’ arguments here. In an open society we can at least, and should, argue the toss.

  22. One Anonymous Bloke 22

    You attack the Islamic State. We attack you…It’s totally legitimate, given what they are doing.

    Amedy Coulibaly.

    Or is it Dr. Wayne Mapp?

    One of these weasel justifications is just like the other one.

  23. Colonial Rawshark 23

    Next Charlie Hebdo cover: a crying Mohammed holding up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign

  24. philj 24

    Geez Wayne, are you seriously suggesting that you having a loaded gun pointed at me, and me a gun at you, is what keeps us nice to one another?

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