Comparisons are odious


We shouldn’t diss other people’s drugs. 🙁

But we should compare other people’s drugs with our own. 🙂

The bar chart above is from the paper Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis which was first published in The Lancet in 2010. The paper’s lead author, Professor David Nutt was formerly the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which is the British government’s equivalent of New Zealand’s Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD).

As ACMD chairman Nutt repeatedly clashed with government ministers over issues of drug harm and classification. In January 2009 he published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology an editorial (‘Equasy – An overlooked addiction with implications for the current debate on drug harms‘) in which the risks associated with horse riding (1 serious adverse event every ~350 exposures) were compared to those of taking ecstasy (1 serious adverse event every ~10,000 exposures). In February 2009 he was criticised by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for stating in the paper that the drug ecstasy was statistically no more dangerous than an addiction to horse-riding. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Nutt said that the point was “to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life”. Jacqui Smith claimed to be “surprised and profoundly disappointed” by the remarks, and added: “I’m sure most people would simply not accept the link that he makes up in his article between horse riding and illegal drug taking”. She also insisted that he apologise for his comments, and asked him to apologise also to ‘the families of the victims of ecstasy’.

Nutt’s persistence in his heretical view that illicit drugs should be classified according to the actual evidence of the harm they cause eventually lead to his dismissal from his post by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Nutt’s dismissal became a political scandal. There was a slew of resignations of high profile government scientists in its wake. The government’s Science Minister Lord Drayson was quoted as being “pretty appalled” by Johnson’s “big mistake” in dismissing Nutt without consultation.

Nutt went on to fame and fortune.

Fortune enough to start his own independent drug research body called the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) which was launched in January 2010. In November 2010, the ISCD published the aforementioned paper Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. (Read a summary of the paper here or read the full paper here.)

Fame enough for Nutt to be invited by the New Zealand Drug Foundation to give a talk in Wellington late last year. I was lucky enough to get to go along and hear what he had to say. (I’d mostly heard it before, of course. Nutt rates a mention in the Libertarianz Party’s Transitional Drug Policy, which is to legalise all drugs safer than alcohol. 🙂 )

Here’s a challenge to my readers. (Especially those with a conservative perspective.)

Listen to Nutt’s talk and then tell me that the War on Drugs™ is not evil and stupid.

No takers? Didn’t think so.

The Kim Dotcom Party


The fat German narcissist Kim Dotcom is to launch a new New Zealand political party on Monday.


On Twitter, Dotcom says

My new political party won’t be named Mega Party. We are the Internet Party. Here’s our logo for the first time.


I find it ironic that the initials of the new party are IP, given that Dotcom is fighting extradition to the US on internet piracy charges. (Perhaps that’s why he neglected to register the domain name Instead, the party’s soon to be unveiled website is to reside at

Like most of Dotcom’s all-too-frequent narcissistic antics (only yesterday, Dotcom gets jail apology was splashed all across the front of the Dominion Post), this latest one annoys me. Sure, he’s been treated very badly by the New Zealand government, and the US government unjustly wants his scalp, but that’s no excuse to lash out and create a new political party.

Without a doubt, Dotcom’s party will leach votes from other smaller parties with legitimate reasons to exist. I’m thinking in particular, of course, of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, but also of the Pirate Party which is already well established and likely has near identical policies to those of the new party. (We don’t know what the new party’s policies actually are yet, of course, but I expect one of them will be not extraditing Dotcom to the US.)

Here are my predictions for the party’s fortunes. They’ll peak about election time, possibly giving the Internet Party seats in Parliament, then plummet soon after Dotcom’s extradition to the US.

See graph below.


Post-mortem Docetism. Dear sister, desist.


A Facebook friend of a friend on Facebook recently posted the following comment.

Jesus never “came back to life again” – at least, not in the same human form or the kind of life that he had or that we live. That is actually an incorrect message that is passed on in ignorance. If you read the Bible you will see that he only ever appeared in spirit form following the resurrection, in the same form that angels appear(ed) and possess. And I (and many millions of others) have indeed seen this exact same form for ourselves in our own lives at very different and unexpected times and in very different and unexpected places. There are literally thousands of normal and perfectly sane people who for some unknown reason have been presented with this vision. I and many of the people whose books I have read or youtube accounts I have watched were not even Christian at the time. But there is one thing that each of us has had in common: the spirit form is a shimmering white form with a human-type head. It is like us. 🙂

Now, she’s a jolly good fellow Christian an’ all, but this is a heinous heresy! It’s post-mortem Docetism!

Jesus was resurrected in bodily form. We read in the Gospel of Luke how, after Jesus’ body was reported missing from the tomb, two of his followers met Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. …

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. (NIV)

That “he disappeared from their sight” does not necessarily mean that Jesus vanished like an apparition. If Jesus had appeared to the two followers as “a shimmering white form with a human-type head” I think they’d have noticed, don’t you?

Later, Jesus appeared again, this time to a group which included the eleven remaining disciples.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. (NIV)

Jesus himself denied being a ghost! He was “flesh and bones,” not “in spirit form”. In fact, he was hungry, and ate a piece of fish! Ghosts just don’t do that. Jesus certainly did come back to life, and in the same human form he had before his crucifixion.

In fact, this belief, in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, is Christianity’s central tenet. Paul certainly seemed to think so. He says in 1 Corinthians 15

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (NIV)

Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.” (NIV)

What’s the bottom line? Keep it Biblical.

Having highlighted someone else’s heresy, what of my own? I think of the coming Resurrection of the Dead in terms of software and hardware. It’s the software that matters, not the hardware. Same program, different machine. Doesn’t matter, as long as the software licence permits installation on more than one machine. Or does it? Somebody called Eric says

I think it is very important to address 1 Corinthians 15, especially in regard to Chuck Smith. According to Paul, those who deny the bodily resurrection at the last day are divisive and enemies of the faith. Unfortunately, Chuck Smith clearly denies boldily resurrection, and instead teaches an innovative heresy of bodily replacement.

According to the Apostle Paul, doctrinal error that is held to at all costs by those not willing to be corrected causes division. He relates this specifically in his second letter to Timothy to the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which is the crux of the good news God has called him to preach. (2 Tim. 2:8) There is no other issue more important. No other issue demands our sobriety and clear-thinking and prayer as Christians as does the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ. If he did not resurrect, if His selfsame body did not leave the tomb after three days bearing the scars of crucifixion, then we are doomed and we have no hope.

Selfsame body or replacement body? Is the latter heretical? If it is, at least it’s “innovative”!

But does it really matter? I think the authors of the comic strip Coffee With Jesus have it right.

Coffee with Jesus - I'll be resurrecting the dead, Joe

Dunedin turns on a nice day

[Reprised from Wombaticus Ad Nauseam, October 2007.]

Unexpectedly nice weather caused havoc in Dunedin yesterday, as temperatures soared to 18 degrees.

As local radio stations advised local residents to stay inside, police fielded a number of calls from people alarmed at the presence of an intense ball of fire in the sky. “We assured them it was only the sun,” said a police spokeswoman.

By lunchtime, Dunedin hospital’s Accident and Emergency department was overwhelmed by dozens of bald-headed men with sun-burnt scalps. “Their pallid pates are particularly susceptible to the sun’s ultraviolet rays,” said a doctor, adding that most of the patients had not heard of sun-screen. “We never bothered to take our ‘Slip Slop Slap’ campaign that far south,” a spokesman for the Cancer Society acknowledged, when contacted for comment.

Emergency services were stretched to the limit as scores of pedestrians around the city succumbed to heatstroke. The Fire Service were called in to attend one casualty on St. David St., a middle-aged woman who had to be cut free from several layers of polypropylene. The Mayor reacted quickly to the sudden crisis, appealing to those in other parts of New Zealand accustomed to sunshine to send teeshirts, shorts and light cotton garments.

Fortunately for the people of Dunedin, the crisis was short-lived. By early afternoon it had clouded over, and by late afternoon the temperature had plummeted to normal levels. By evening Dunedin was being lashed by a cold southerly bringing heavy rain.

See also Area Locals Exposed to Terrifying Force of Nature: Government Refuses to Help.

Heroin may be deadly but it shouldn’t be illegal


Government lacks the authority to prohibit the selling and usage of drugs and this is the reason why drugs should be legalised including harmful ones.

In political discussions focusing on the harm aspect of drugs takes the discussion from a principled discussion to a pragmatic discussion. Pragmatism is to accept wrong hoping that good may result.

Accepting that government may protect us from harm is to argue in support of nanny-state-ism and to accept that our relationship to government is similar to an adult-child relationship.

Acting beyond legitimate authority is to act unjustly.

It is unjust to punish others for using drugs.
It is unjust to punish others for buying drugs.
It is unjust to punish others for selling drugs.

The Iron Law of Political Parties

The Iron Law of Institutions states

The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

The Iron Law of Institutions is a sad indictment on human nature. So is this.

Membership of many institutions is voluntary. I’m thinking of charitable organisations, political parties and any other organisations whose goals are deemed worthy by their membership, and whose stated values it is that are the reason people became members in the first place.

What is it about so many people that, after having joined, they come to care more about personal aggrandisement than the values of the voluntary organisation they belong to?

Christianity is an antidote of sorts. A good Christian seeks to do God’s will. Nothing he does is for himself. It’s all for the greater glory of God.


The Iron Law of Institutions bites hardest when the members of those institutions are selected on the basis of psychopathy. Of course, not all politicians are psychopaths. But the successful ones usually are.

A successful politician who wasn’t a psychopath was Nandor Tanczos. He famously described Parliament as a “toxic hellhole” and was glad to see the back of the place.

Here’s a remarkably forthright piece from a Facebook friend of mine who’s also an aspiring politician.

A career in Politics basicallly consists of a career in attempting to get other people fired.

If you’re an MP, then you are trying to get other MPs fired. If you are not an MP, but are a candidate, then you are trying to get MPs fired so that you may become one. If you’re in Opposition, you want Ministers fired. If you’re a Nat Minister, then you want your workforce fired. (c.f MFaT restructuring) If you’re in ACT, you want most of the state sector AND your predecessor as Leader fired.

And if you’re in a political party (just about *any* political party), you will be spending considerable and capacious amounts of time attempting to get your own comrades, workmates, underlings and overlings fired.

So, in sum … Parents, if you want your offspring to grow up happy, healthy, of sound mind and secure prospects … don’t let them get into politics.

But if you want them to grow up to be bad wo/men, dangerous men , sad men, paranoid men, and vituperative, vindictive, and vexatious men … men who are, in short, entirely unbothered by playing merry hell with the lives of others for points of personal, political, or principle … then tell them to become Politicians.

And proud.

Is Curwen Ares Rolinson too honest ever to make a career in politics? Am I?! Time will tell.


This is the video documentary that, in the past 48 hours, has been viewed by 1 in 10 New Zealanders.

Won’t somebody please think of the children? That’s the question I’m asking. Because somebody needs to do something. But that somebody is not the government, and that something is not making legislative provision for tighter regulations, harsher penalties and harder-hitting advertising campaigns. Not at all.

“Only in fucking Fairfield.”

Not only in the suburbs of Hamilton, unfortunately. As the YouTube uploader says, “Time to reveal one of the BIGGEST issues in New Zealand, under-aged drinking.”

“He’s allowed.”

How did we get to this? For the answer to that, I suggest that readers take a while to follow some of the incisive and insightful social commentary at blogs such as Brendan McNeill‘s and Lindsay Mitchell‘s. Do so, and the root causes of New Zealand’s problems with drinking, drug use and delinquency ought quickly to become all too glaringly apparent.

“Bro, yous got a problem, bro? … He’s Maori, bro, he’s different. … Bro, he’s Maori. He’s a Maori, bro. Bro, we drink at any time, bro.” (“It could kill him.”) “It doesn’t matter, bro. … I been drinking since the age of 9.”

As ever: what is to be done?

Somehow, we need to return to Christian family values (commitment and fidelity—the child is from a broken home) and repair to parental responsibility (neither parent knew where he was, and an aunt, allegedly, had provided the alcohol – “He’s allowed”). Long-term, we need to bring about a cultural sea change.

In the short-term, the NZ Police are trying to have the clip removed from the Internet. Good luck with that.


“Fuck drinking, smoke weed.”

It’s good advice, but not to a 9 year old.

“I do smoke weed.”

This is where I say a few words about our drug laws.

A common objection to cannabis legalisation is that society already has enough problems with alcohol. We don’t want to add another mind-altering drug to the mix. We already have 9 year olds turning up drunk to skate parks. We don’t want them turning up drunk and stoned.

Well, guess what? At the bottom end of society, neither regulation nor prohibition can stop New Zealand’s two favourite drugs, alcohol and cannabis, from falling into the hands of minors. Over the rest of us, regulation can provide government with some measure of control. But to regulate is to legalise.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party‘s policy is for the sale and use of cannabis to be strictly R18.

There’s one factual error in the documentary.

“You can’t ride a scooter when you’re drunk and 9 years old.”

The video evidence says otherwise.

To conclude, in the words of the YouTube uploader, “You may think this video is funny, but there’s a point where it becomes serious as alcohol intake can cause serious impalement and damaging to the brain.”