Today, all being well, Transmission Gully opens to traffic. I look forward to driving along it for the first time this weekend.
I thought it opened yesterday, when I read the headlines on Google News. But then I remembered that we live in the post-truth era. “Officially opened” just means opened to government officials, in particular, opened to the current Prime Minister and her cronies. Plebs like us have to wait until the very early hours of this morning.
The official name of the new road is Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata. Te Rangihaeata was a Ngāti Toa chief and nephew of the Ngāti Toa warlord Te Rauparaha. In August 1846 he led the Ngāti Toa forces at the battle of Battle Hill, which overlooks the new road roughly halfway between Paekakariki and Pauatahanui. Te Rangihaeata is also famous for having been a signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi in June 1840, and for his involvement with his uncle Te Rauparaha in the Wairau Affray in June 1843. During the latter confrontation, which was the first major skirmish of the Land Wars, a stray bullet killed Te Rangihaeata’s wife, Te Rongo. In an act of vengeance, Te Rangihaeata bludgeoned to death the nine special constables of the New Zealand Company who had been taken prisoner. Later, the newly appointed second Governor of New Zealand, Robert Fitzroy (former captain of the HMS Beagle), investigated the incident and exonerated Te Rangihaeata and Te Rauparaha, on the grounds that the New Zealand Company had attempted an illegal land grab.
These days New Zealand is a less bloody interesting place, but still a place blighted by corporate grift, government graft and endemic low-level corruption. Here’s a timeline of the Transmission Gully project’s 103-year history. Have a read of the history of the project, especially since construction commenced in 2014, paying particular attention to the steady stream of delays, build errors, cost overruns, and silt running into the harbour. I think it’s hardly plausible to deny that some of those involved are on the make.
Someone once said, never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. But why not both?
I just dropped in to proffer an explanation of my absence from this blog for the past 18 months or so.
In a word, depression. I have been beset with mental health problems my entire adult life. I have at least four diagnosed DSM-5 disorders. Of these, depression is the worst. It is, quite literally, a life-threatening illness. Fortunately, amongst other things, my life is not mine to take. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Things took a turn for the worse about 18 months ago. Amongst other things, the full implications of having recently been belatedly diagnosed with adult ADHD were sinking in, winter was coming, and my usual coping strategies of injudicious drug use and abnegation of personal responsibility were failing me. But what really got me in a tailspin was when the state started bankruptcy proceedings against me, for alleged failure to pay taxes. I saw my GP about my predicament and he had no hesitation in giving me a medical certificate for WINZ. The upshot is that, since last autumn, I’ve been on the sickness benefit. Yes, that’s right. I’m a ward of the welfare state. So you can see what condition my condition is in.
But that’s enough about me, I don’t want to make this post all about my personal woes. In time-honoured fashion, I want to make it about this country’s political woes. This post will be about the government’s role in providing mental health services and, in particular, it’s role in NZ’s high rates of depression and suicide.
Straightaway, let’s get one thing straight. The government doesn’t actually care. The present National government doesn’t even want to know. Why else would it re-brand what was formerly the sickness benefit as “job seeker support”? A sickness beneficiary already has a job, and they know it! Their job is to get well. Well enough to seek, find, and then hold down a permanent paid position. All of which is easier said than done for the chronically mentally ill. Some of whom should, and do, end up on the invalid’s benefit.
The government doesn’t actually care. Certainly, the neoliberal government we’ve had in this country since 1984 doesn’t give a damn. To begin with, take the fact that the suicide rate for New Zealand males aged 15-19 doubled in the course of three years from 16 per 100,000 in 1985 to 32 per 100,000 in 1988. While trustworthy statistics aren’t easy to find, it would appear that this alarming increase in NZ’s youth suicide rate has held up. I see no reason to dispute the claim that NZ now has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.
Former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall makes a couple of especially pertinent points (notwithstanding his dubious analogy to climate change).
The critical fact is that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. This excess of young people’s deaths in New Zealand when compared with other OECD countries must be a result of local factors.
The statistics show that whatever these factors were, they began to operate from 1985 to 1988. That was a time of social turmoil in New Zealand. The economic restructuring that was sweeping the world was imposed faster and deeper in New Zealand than elsewhere.
“No pain, no gain” was the catchphrase of Rogernomics. What it meant was that it was expected that the structural changes would be painful but they would be worth it in creating a more robust economy.
For young people, the changes were rapid and painful indeed. Suddenly, finding a job was not guaranteed and bright future prospects dimmed for many. A reduced welfare safety net meant that many were not sufficiently helped and inequality widened.
I don’t think that we can say for sure what aspect of neoliberalism is to blame, or even that we can definitively blame neoliberalism in the first place for the sustained rise in youth suicides. But it’s certainly a prime suspect.
As ever: what is to be done?
Officially New Zealand has focussed on mental health and mental health services as a means of dealing with the problem. Mental ill-health and lack of mental health services cannot explain the sudden doubling of youth suicide from 1985 to 1988.
Not surprisingly, then, this approach has failed. Mental ill-health undoubtedly has a part to play in many youth suicides, but there is no reason that this should be more of a problem in New Zealand than in other countries.
It is comforting to believe that young people will be safer if our mental health services are improved but it is largely a false hope. Saying so will, no doubt make me unpopular, but so be it.
So be it, and I agree.
Sadly, throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to help much, if at all. In fact, I submit that a big part of NZ’s current mental health crisis is down to excessive reliance on the state to fix the problem. A bigger part is due to state intervention in the first place. It is completely wrong, for example, that the state treats the simple administration of a proven cure for depression as a greater crime than rape or armed robbery, and instead busies itself funding a lolly scramble of often worse than useless placebos.
Whereas I don’t think more government money is going to fix the problem, I do think it’s downright criminal to cut funding to mental health services in a time of mental health crisis. And that’s what this National government has done. My point is that where the state has taken on responsibility for the provision of mental health services, it must honour that commitment in the meantime. Until such time as we can successfully devolve this responsibility to families, friends and support at the local community level. Faceless bureaucracy never made anyone happy.
At a time like this, it is utterly appalling that the government saw fit to cut funding to Lifeline, one of NZs biggest and long-established suicide counselling lines. And instead, allocate that funding to a “new, preferred supplier” called LaVey. All very well, perhaps, except for the six-month hiatus between Lifeline’s funding being cut and the new provider stepping in. Oh, and the fact that Bill English’s wife is on the board of LaVey! Nepotism doesn’t get much uglier. (LeVa, LaVey. Whatever.)
Wait just a moment! Take another look at take the load off. What on earth is that woman friend using to get her mate Dan out of his pit of depression? That’s right, it’s a hangman’s noose.
Sure, it’s supposed to be a lasso. But seriously, what sort of subliminal message are they sending to the suicidal? The people at the agency that created this plagiaristic monstrosity sure have a sick sense of humour. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same outfit responsible for Colin Craig’s election campaign material last election.)
I’m glad that I also have a sick sense of humour and can appreciate it. I hope you do too. To all my depressed friends out there, I say, life is very much worth living, no matter if it seems like a sack of shit right now. Hang on in there!
My day got off to a bad start when I fetched today’s Dominion Post from the end of my mum’s driveway and read the headline. (See above. You can click the image to read the whole thing.) Three blatant lies in large print is excessive even for the Dominion Post.
A life cut short by P
FALSE. A life cut short by an unconfirmed number of police bullets.
Shot gunman had private education and good business – but lost it all to addiction
FALSE. He wasn’t a gunman. According to his girlfriend, who was present, he was unarmed. And, while he may (or may not) have lost the family business to an illegal drug habit, he lost his life to the War on Drugs.
Shooting unavoidable, say police
FALSE. There was no need for the police to break into a private residence unannounced and shoot a man dead just as he was about to sit down to have dinner with his girlfriend.
But Marshall’s girlfriend, who was there at the time of the shooting, insisted he wasn’t armed.
Kendall Eadie lived with him at the mechanic workshop.
She said the pair had just been about to have dinner when police stormed into the residence and immediately fired three shots at Marshall.
“The police executed a warrant on my place and murdered my boyfriend,” she said.
Three vicious falsehoods, and then my day got worse. While my mum read the paper, I went online to read the article. I searched for the headline, “A life cut short by P” to find it. But this is all that Google returned.
Two links to a review of a biography of Edgar Allan Poe. When I did find the online version on Fairfax Media’s stuff website, the main headline now read
Hamilton police shooting victim Nick Marshall sank into addiction
and I became agitated. So much so that my long-suffering mother, who is well accustomed to her visiting son’s political rants, had to tell me to calm down. This before I’d had my morning meth or even a cup of coffee. 🙁
Why was I agitated? Because I realised immediately that readers of the print version, who (on average) are an older demographic who vote more, would not read the more truthful headline presented to readers of the online version, who (on average) are a younger demographic who vote less. The demonisation of methamphetamine continues apace deviously as the police ramp up their ongoing persecution of drug addicts (essentially all of whom are addicts due to unresolved psychological trauma—yes, drug addiction is a mental illness) this time by way of an extrajudicial killing. FTP and the MSM they rode in on!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, loud and clear. LEGALISE P. Or, at the very least, medicalise it. Make methamphetamine available on prescription. This is not in any way, shape or form a radical or irresponsible proposal. It’s simple common sense and compassion. It’s a no-brainer, and if it seems otherwise to you it’s because, sadly, you’ve been brainwashed. Actually, let’s be frank. If you think methamphetamine is inherently dangerous (Jim Anderton once called it “pure evil”) then you’ve been duped. Methamphetamine is safe enough to prescribe to children.
Desoxyn is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Desoxyn may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.
Please realise that methamphetamine is only a methyl group (“meth”) different from amphetamine. Chemically speaking, methamphetamine and amphetamine are closely related, and in terms of subjective effects, even veteran speed freaks find it difficult to tell the two apart. Please know that amphetamine and its chemical cousin methylphenidate are routinely prescribed in New Zealand for the treatment of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that long-term treatment with ADHD stimulants (specifically, amphetamine and methylphenidate) decreases abnormalities in brain structure and function found in subjects with ADHD. Moreover, reviews of clinical stimulant research have established the safety and effectiveness of the long-term use of ADHD stimulants for individuals with ADHD.
Pretty much all the (wildly overstated) harm associated with methamphetamine use is due to improper dosage (yes, you can have too much of a good thing), improper route of administration (don’t snort it or smoke it), and (mainly) its illegality. What are the odds that the late Nick Marshall had undiagnosed ADHD and his methamphetamine use was as much self-medication as addiction? Suppose that he’d been able to see his doctor and get a prescription for P. Fully funded by Pharmac, he’d burn through $10 a month instead of frittering away the multi-million dollar family fortune in a few short years. (If, indeed, that’s what he did. I shouldn’t be making such an assumption. People with ADHD make notoriously bad business managers.) With the help of his doctor, he could reduce his methamphetamine use and wean himself onto the perhaps more forgiving amphetamine or the even more innocuous drug methylphenidate. And today Nick Marshall would still be alive and successfully managing Marshall Transmissions.
In conclusion, the War on Drugs is the Holocaust of our times, the editors at the Dominion Post are propagandist scumbags, and the blue-uniformed thugs are murderous Sturmabteilung.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)
As is his wont, my King James Bible believing Dispensationalist libertarian Christian co-blogger Tim tagged me in his post (of the above image) on Facebook. 🙂
Be sure to get your doctrine from the Bible, not the traditions of man! (Colossians 2:8)
I really do appreciate the pro-tip. It’s just that there’s a whole lotta problems with this instruction. At least one of which renders Tim’s advice utterly useless!
One problem is that the cited verse, Colossians 2:8, does not even mention the Bible.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (KJV)
See! What this verse is really saying is be sure to get your doctrine from Christ, not the traditions of man! I agree! But let’s be clear. There’s no mention at all of the Bible in this verse. And I’ve made it quite clear in previous blog posts what my view is. It is that Jesus is inerrant, but the Bible isn’t. The Word of God is inerrant. His scribes, not so much. Yes, that’s right. I basically equate the Bible with “the traditions of man”. I don’t equate the Bible with Christ. The Bible as we know it hasn’t even been around a couple of thousand years yet. Whereas
In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (DARBY)
Believe it or not, another problem is that the KJV mistranslates this particular verse. And don’t believe it or do, so does the NIV. But of course! 😉
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. (NIV)
See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ (YLT)
It’s clear that “spoiled” is a KJV mistranslation of “spoil”. Yet at least the NIV has the good grace to provide a footnote (see above) to the effect that it has construed “the basic principles” (rudiments) as “the elemental spiritual forces” of this world.
But here’s the fatal flaw with Tim’s advice—be sure to get your doctrine from the Bible, not the traditions of man!—which renders it useless. Which Bible?
Tim’s telling me to be sure to get my doctrine from the Bible, but which one? As we all know, Christians (e.g., Protestants vs. Catholics and Orthodox Christians) can’t even agree on which books belong in the Bible, let alone which translations of the canonical books are themselves canonical.
Which Bible? Tim will, of course, answer the Authorized King James Version of 1611. Which is a fair answer to a fair question. But if I accept this answer, one thing’s for sure. I’m now getting my doctrine from the traditions of man, and from the traditions of one man in particular, viz., my co-blogger Tim Wikiriwhi! And not necessarily from either the true Bible (if, indeed, there even is such a thing) or Christ.
It comes down to this. When all is said and done, we must decide—each of us individually must decide—in what and/or in whom to trust.
I trust in Jesus, the Son of God, whom I know from the first-hand accounts of his ministry by the original gospel authors, from his work in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ, from his work in my own life, and from personal encounter.
I trust in the deliverances of my own God-given moral compass when (not often, just occasionally) they conflict with what’s in the Bible.
So the Bible. What’s it good for?
Why, it’s profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, of course! 🙂
A Christian anarchist is … one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.
I don’t know the history of the word ‘libertarian’, who first coined it, or what it originally meant. But today there are at least three senses of the word. In a broad sense, a libertarian is someone who advocates more freedom and less government. In a narrower Randian sense, a libertarian is a minarchist. Someone who asserts that the legitimate role of the state is restricted to maintaining law and order, administering justice, and defending the realm. In the increasingly common modern-day sense a libertarian is a selfish asshole.
I’m still a libertarian in the broad sense, but no longer call myself such, because of the modern-day sense of the word. We owe its rise to Ayn Rand and her followers and to the liberal left who seize upon such opportunities as are provided by libertarians promoting “the virtue of selfishness” to tar us all with the same Objectivist brush. Its the very same statists whose successful attempts to perniciously redefine the word ‘liberal’ meant that we had to relinquish that particular label in favour of ‘libertarian’ but now that label too has become more trouble than its worth for true freedom fighters. Rand herself was adept at pernicious redefinition (it’s a key ingredient of her philosophical fiction) and we are now reaping the grim rewards of her linguicidal legacy.
Am I still a minarchist? No. (But I’m still a monarchist. Thy kingdom come.)
There’s a universal human tendency to latch on to appealing doctrines and dogmas, often at an early age, and then to fall prey to confirmation bias. We all do this, and typically we spend the rest of our lives with blinkers on, rehearsing and attending to information that supports our own settled opinions. And we give succour to inner demons who prowl around our minds like roaring lions looking for anomalous data points to devour. A typical example is that of a child who is raised by overbearing parents in a puritanical Christian household and who in adolescence is introduced to Ayn Rand’s novels and fictional philosophy. No doubt such is a liberating catharsis. But theirs is a sad fate. They throw out the baby Jesus with the religious bathwater of their parents but lose none of their parents’ zealotry which they take up in service of a seductive but ungodly cause, personal liberty that knows no master but the self. Most tragic of all, however, is the ongoing damage that the mistress of pain inflicts on their already injured minds. Rand both corrupts the soul and rots the brain. Objectivists and other assorted new atheists delude themselves that they are freethinkers yet the truth is that they have shaken of the shackles off their religious upbringings only to straight away submit to mental slavery in a different guise.
The mind of a true freethinker knows no bounds. At will it soars the celestial heavens of human cognition or traverses the valley of the shadow of brain death unscathed. What the mind of a true freethinker does not do is roam only throughout the earth, going back and forth over the same old ground, expecting to revise its worldview according the same old data every time. That’s insanity.
All of which is by means of getting around to saying that I’ve recently reviewed my political belief system and found minarchism wanting. The unexamined belief is not worth believing. Have you ever stopped to question your fundamental minarchist tenets? Minarchists assert that the state should have a legalised monopoly on violence and that it is good and proper that the citizenry should subject themselves to the authority of a gang of armed thugs whose ostensible duty it is to protect us from criminal aggression. But wait. Isn’t that the job of private security companies? How much protection is the state supposed to afford us anyway? Our tax dollars already pay for signs chiding us to lock our vehicles whilst blaming the victims of car thefts for the consequences of their own laxity. Shouldn’t the state extend this protection to subsidising deadlocks for our front and back doors? State agents could install them at the same time as the (soon-to-be if not already) mandatory insulation in our ceilings and wall cavities, while Nanny checks to makes sure we’ve shut all the windows before we go out.
Here’s what surely amounts to a strong case for anarchism as the only moral system of government. Ayn Rand hated it. She had this to say about the Libertarian Party of her day.
For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with, and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called “hippies of the right,” who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultanteously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs.
A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called “competing governments.” Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists—who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business—the proponents of “competing governments” take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business, it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses.
Remember that forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer. Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean.
One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms “competition” and “government.” Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately. One illustration will be sufficient: suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, Mr. Jones, a customer of Government B, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones’ house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith’s complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then? You take it from there.
Very well, then. Let’s take it from there. A weird absurdity called “competing governments”? It’s what the world has now and has had since the dawn of civilisation. A number of different governments in the same geographical area? Yes, that’s how the habitable surface of the planet has always been carved up. Nor can one call it a floating abstraction? No, let’s call it God’s green earth, a glorious gemstone floating in space. Cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately? Third rock from the sun.
Rand’s objection to anarchism amounts to no more than a description of the state of global politics. Terra firma is today divided up into a relatively small number of nation states, all controlled by governments that oppress the citizenry to a greater or, thankfully, lesser extent.
Why shouldn’t every citizen be free to “shop” and to patronise whatever government he chooses? Standard libertarian thinking is that borders should be open to peaceful people. So why don’t we have open borders globally? Because, as Rand rightly observes, forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer!
Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean. It would mean anarchy. Which is what the world has now. Except that size does matter. Anarchists support there being a relatively huge number of nation states. Fragments of what used to be. The only limit to the number of nation states on the planet being the number of sovereign individuals.
Now consider what it is that Rand inadvertently (yeah right) is actually advocating. She’s advocating a single, monopolistic world government. That tyrannises the entire world, erasing all and any borders for inmates of what is now a prison planet to flee across. Welcome to Ayn Rand’s new world order.
Ask yourself what no competition in forcible restraint would have to mean. It would have to mean one world government, a statist hell on earth, and one head of state. And all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour would now be his.
I missed the deadline for an Easter Sunday blog post, partly because, unlike Jesus, I’m not an early riser, and partly because I got a bit carried away studying scripture. I might have to lay off the Bible study for a while, because I’m starting to see things that aren’t really there. Or are they? Incipient psychosis or hidden meanings in scripture?
So I was listening to my favourite metal band, Slayer. In particular I was listening to my favourite track on their Christ Illusion album, Skeleton Christ. And reading the lyrics. And I got to wondering, is Slayer, in fact, a crypto-Christian band and their lyrics also the product of supernatural engineering?
Psychosis. That’s what you’re thinking. But bear with me. The idea is not as crazy as it might at first seem. A strong case can be made that the band who gave birth to the entire heavy metal genre, Black Sabbath, was the first Christian rock band. If Black Sabbath is a crypto-Christian band, then why not too the undisputed (by me) masters of the genre, Slayer?
Here’s a verse from the Second Epistle of John.
many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (NIV)
And here’s an excerpt from the lyrics to Skeleton Christ.
You’ll never touch God’s hand
You’ll never taste God’s breath
Because you’ll never see the Second Coming
It’s all a fuckin’ mockery
No grasp upon reality
It’s mind control for compulsory religion
And the Skeleton Christ
What if this song is not the attack on Christianity it superficially appears to be, but an attack on corrupt organised religion (“mind control for compulsory religion”) and the false gospel of the antichrist and those he’s deceived into worshipping a false Skeleton Christ? A skeleton, you see, is not “coming in the flesh”, it’s all dead bones, such as you might find in a whited sepulchre. It’s worth a thought, don’t you think? Feel free to take it cum grano salis.
Speaking of sepulchres, back to the main story.
I got to pondering the symbolism of stone in the Bible, and found this verse.
Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ (NIV)
You see where I’m going with this? Jesus is the stone. It’s no wonder the women couldn’t find Jesus in the tomb. He’d been rolled away! But by whom?
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. (NIV)
Please understand that I do not deny that it was “an angel of the Lord came down from heaven” who rolled away the stone. That is the plain meaning of this passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
But please do consider the possible hidden meaning in the possible alternative scenario I’m sketching.
Who would roll Jesus out of the way, so that his own disciples couldn’t find him, finding instead a decaying soon-to-be-Skeleton Christ? One of the Devil’s angels, for sure, if not the Devil himself.
Here are a couple of clues.
[Jesus] replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (NIV)
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (NIV)
The angel’s appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow … like an angel of light or, indeed, Jesus himself transfigured. And, in a final coup de disgrâce, the angel then sits on the stone, making the Devil’s most feared enemy a buttstool for his sulfurous butt.
It’s a complete inversion of Bible truth. Which is, of course, the Devil’s calling card.
Beware of false prophets and false messiahs. And the Skeleton Christ.
Mana MP Hone Harawira … said drug retailers should be killed.
“If there is one law I could pass, it would be line up the guys who are making the most money out of this legal drug stuff, put them on TV and then publicly execute them, and then introduce a law to say the next bastard that does it is going to get the same treatment,” he said.
I don’t doubt that Harawira said this.
Let’s be clear. He wants manufacturers and retailers who are going about their legal business to be publicly executed. He would like the State to kill manufacturers and retailers who are licenced to manufacture and retail legal highs under legislation that was passed near unanimously by Parliament in July of last year.
By now, everyone knows that Hone Harawira’s addicted to hate. How should we respond to his latest not-even-barely-concealed homicidal exhortations?
Hey, Hone, here’s an idea. Instead of executing the manufacturers and retailers who are operating within the regulatory boundaries set down by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, let’s execute the 119 MPs who last year voted for the new law instead. Oh, wait, that includes you, Hone! (Do as I say or I’ll kill you? Do as I say *and* I’ll kill you!)
Bad idea. Repaying hate with hate is what’s made Hone the hateful man he is today. He bears a grudge against the majority of his fellow kiwis and their ancestors who behaved badly. “White motherfuckers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit.” (Puritanical bullshit? This from the man who wants to close down legal high shops. Right.)
There’s no mana in calling for the judicial killing of law-abiding citizens. (And none, of course, in calling for a dictatorship under John Banks.)
Here’s a better idea. Let’s treat Hone Harawira with kindness. Let’s listen to his legitimate concerns. Let’s even consider shutting down the legal highs industry, at least until such time as its products have been properly tested and have passed the safety tests that the industry itself is promoting.
In what I just said, I may sound like anything but a libertarian … but I’m still very much a libertarian. (Got that, Tim?!) God knows, I’m all for legal drugs! But I don’t want to see New Zealand’s bold regulatory experiment be judged a failure and I very much fear that I’m witnessing a train wreck in slow motion. It would be a smart move on the part of the legal highs industry to voluntarily remove its products from the shelves. Because, next to the unfortunate few (or not so few) who have suffered physical and psychological harms as a result of consuming the industry’s products, those whom the implementation of the interim period is hurting (or is going to hurt) the most … is the industry itself. IMHO.
In the interim, opposition to the legal highs industry is only going to increase between now and September’s general election. New Zealand’s most influential political blogger is increasingly vocal in his opposition. Things look set to escalate up another notch early next month when the anti-synthetics brigade takes to the streets on Saturday 5 April in a coordinated nationwide protest. How is it all going to end?
All will be well that ends well if we legalise cannabis. And do so as soon as possible, i.e., now. From a public health perspective, it’s literally insane that the safer, natural alternative to the synthetic cannabinoids remains illegal while untested, synthetic substitutes are given the State seal of approval. And if we’d legalised cannabis a decade or so ago or never criminalised it in the first place, we wouldn’t be dealing with the current situation. I told you so … 🙁
I’d rather see them play a set out front than picket it!
Me too, bro. But I suspect that news article’s a hoax, anyway. So let’s have another ridiculously over-the-top Slayer fan video instead. 🙂
Just a note on Slayer. Slayer’s lyrics are sometimes anti-Christian, due in large part to the fact that guitarist Kerry King is a notorious atheist douche-bag. Notwithstanding that some heavy metal bands (whom I won’t name) are genuinely anti-Christian, Slayer is not really an anti-Christian band. Art is art. It’s just an image thing.
It’s not that these people believe in this stuff. It’s just … a cool imagery that goes along with the music …
Slayer is just a bunch of guys having fun. Metal is fun! Keep it metal!
God loves us all. As vocalist Tom Araya makes clear, “He doesn’t … God doesn’t hate.”
God loves us all. He loves fags, Fred Phelps, Slayer, the Schadenfreuders … and you. Repent!
Repent now and accept God’s gift of eternal life.
RIP Fred Phelps. (Goodbye and thanks for all the good excuses to post more Slayer.)
You know Fred Phelps. You loathe Fred Phelps. You despise everything he stands for, like his family members’ infamous protests at soldiers’ funerals with their awful “God Hates Fags” signs. They’ve been a symbol for many years of the religion-based animosity against the LGBT community — to the point that they’ve been labeled a “hate group” and even the most fundamentalist Christian groups denounce his church’s activities.
Nate Phelps … is Fred’s son and a former member of Westboro Baptist Church. He left the church, and therefore the core of the family, in 1976 when he was 18 years old and has since come out as an atheist, but he still keeps in touch with some of his extended family members, many of whom have also escaped from the church.
Tonight, on Facebook, Nate posted this:
I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.
It seems that Fred Phelps badly misconstrued the meaning of
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (KJV)
As for Phelps and fags … sure, if you truly believe that people are destined for eternal conscious torment in hell, then arguably it is a loving act to warn them as loudly as you can of their impending doom, but I don’t think Fred Phelps really understood or practised the second great commandment. Do you?
I found reading his son Nate’s Facebook post incredibly sad but I find reading the reactions that news of Phelps’ impending demise has engendered even sadder. Here are some typical reactions I’ve seen on (or linked to from) Facebook.
Fuckin hate this cunt with a passion !! If he needs help gettin over that edge Holla !!!!
Someone give him a shove, and maybe stab him in the back a few times
sweet i so hope he lingers on in utter pain and has to spend the remainder of his miserable existence being hand bathed slowly by a FLAMING HOMOSEXUAL 3 times a day
To the people who spew such venom, I’ve simply got to ask. What did Fred Phelps ever do to you? Did he picket your funeral? Did he personally come and pee on your rug? Seventy times seven, peeps. And don’t you think you’re getting a bit overwrought over something that’s essentially a clown act?
Hate breeds hate. Luckily, I don’t loathe Fred Phelps and never did, but so many people do. Phelps bred hate and spread more than a little hate worldwide. And I’m guessing he might even have inspired some of heavy metal band Slayer’s lyrics. 🙂
No reciprocal hatred from me. Just a wish, in the spirit of yesterday’s St. Patrick’s day, that Phelps’s is “a quick death and an easy one.”
There’s no doubt that Dunne is a shrewd political operator. When he saw trouble coming, he resigned from his office of his own accord, then patiently waited to be reinstated. (Perhaps that’s exactly what the Vice President of the ALCP is up to, too, only time will tell. 🙂 )
Is this the arch-fiend returning to the scene of the crime, to make sure the ongoing chemical warfare on our nation’s most vulnerable is waged with all the conscientiousness of an Adolf Eichmann?
Or is this the author of a well-intentioned, albeit flawed, piece of legislation returning to put things to rights and make sure the continuing story, which has totally lost the plot, at least has a happy ending?
Let’s make sure to keep in mind the following two salient facts.
As promised, we are reversing the onus of proof. If they cannot prove that a product is safe, then it is not going anywhere near the marketplace
None of these products will come to market if they have not been proven safe.
Secondly, here‘s what Peter Dunne said on his personal blog not so long ago, after he’d stepped down as Associate Minister of Health.
Just over a couple of months ago, the Psychoactive Substances Act of which I was the principal architect was implemented. It provides for the first time for a regulated market for the sale and supply of psychoactive substances, based on the level of risk they pose to the user. It is attracting interest from around the globe, as an innovative solution to an international problem, and, after a few not unanticipated teething problems, seems to be settling down quite well.
Now, here is where I have been thinking. Although the Psychoactive Substances Act was intended to deal with that issue only, and not to have wider application, it does occur to me that, if after a period of time, it is shown to be working effectively, it could well become the model by which narcotic drugs, currently controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, are regulated for the future. The yardstick of level of risk – based on sound pharmacological and toxicological evidence – would become the determinant of availability, not public sentiment or prejudice.
I am not suggesting a revolution, but simply observing that the regulatory regime introduced for psychoactive substances could well have wider application and that we should not be averse to that possibility. After all, most experts now concede the so-called “war” on drugs has failed, and new initiatives are required.
I think we should do all we can to encourage Peter Dunne’s new thinking about cannabis (which, surely, is the drug he had in mind) and hold him to his earlier promise that other psychoactive products will not come to market if they have not been proven safe.
I think Peter Dunne should take the following Goode advice (and make good his promise).
Herbal cannabis should be given immediate interim product approval under the Psychoactive Substances Act says Dr. Richard Goode, Vice President of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.
“Let’s legalise cannabis now, so the Ministry of Health can have all the time it needs to get its act sorted, and cannabinoid connoisseurs can continue to get high on the real deal,” Dr. Goode said.
Some politicians I’ve never much liked. Including Peter Dunne who stalled cannabis law reform for years, and John Banks who knifed his running mate Don Brash in the back over the cannabis law reform issue. But Banksie came good before he took his final bow. Will Peter Dunne yet surprise us all? I sincerely hope so.