Tim Wikiriwhi is my Co-Pilot

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Tim Wikiriwhi is joining me as co-blogger!

I first met Tim at the 2006 Libertarianz Party Conference. His speech to the conference attendees was unforgettably, pulpit-poundingly passionate! Just like the man himself. A Christian libertarian cat set among the Objectivist pigeons!

Here is how Peter Cresswell live-blogged it.

Tim Wikiriwhi – Keeping the faith

Tim Wikiriwhi, the christian libertarian. T-shirt reads: “Stand fast in the liberty of Christ.” Christ!

This isn’t a game. This is real. People’s lives are being destroyed, but those people will do so little to help remove the shackles that help imprison them. People’s lives are being destroyed, but so many libertarians themselves who KNOW what’s wrong will do so little to do what they know is necessary.

Organising libertarians is still like herding cats. Why? Why so many ‘useless inert nothings’?

Don’t be pessimists; be optimists. Take it seriously. LIVE YOUR CONVICTIONS.

There is no reason and passion dichotomy: if you’re not passionate, then there’s something wrong with your reason.

Why quit? Why quit when the competition is morally bankrupt to their core, and totally absurd. To quit in the face of such small adversaries is cowardice. We have reason and virtue on our side.

Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Don’t be a quitter. If you are, and you KNOW what the fight is about, you’re shirking what you know needs to be done. God said, the lukewarm will be spewed from my mouth. Don’t be lukewarm.

The socialists aren’t beating us, too many are doing it themselves.

While hundreds of libertarians sit on their arses, the forces of evil are at work. Rust never sleeps. What do you need to wake up?

Being an individualist is no excuse for excluding yourself from activism. An individualist wants to see his values in the world; a christian libertarian who KNOWS that libertarianism can save the poor, the weak and the needy MUST do what he can to make those values real.

Not to attack the enemy is to give them the advantage. Why, when the enemies of civilisation will do everything — even blow themselves up! — will so many libertarians not even support their local Libz candidate?

Libz offers the only real choice between freedom and slavery. Your motivation for activism should be love: love for your fellow man. Individualism need not be anti-altruism.

God bless the Libertarianz.

Welcome, Tim!

Friday focus

Tim Wikiriwhi sent me this. It’s from Fonterra focus, October 2011.

I am the head of sales of a large automobile dealership. A customer is prepared to buy a vehicle from me on the condition that I record the transaction as having been made two weeks ago. It is now 14th January. For tax purposes, the customer wants to have the transaction recorded in the previous year. What do I do?

1. I doctor the accounts in accordance with the customer’s wishes.

2. I tell him that I will not honour his request.

3. In order to buy time, I promise him that I will think about his offer. This will make it more difficult for him to buy from one of my competitors in the meantime.

4. I tell the customer to talk to the managing director.

One reason I post this is because sometimes I “doctor” the timestamps on my posts. This is because my personal posting policy is “1 a day”. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I post just the title of a post and a promissory note, and come back later to finish writing. In any case, built in to WordPress is the ability to write posts and to embargo them so that they are officially published later. Even when you’re dead. When the timestamp of a post bears little relationship to when it was actually posted, I usually indicate that by marking the time as 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM. (You see this when you mouse over the date immediately under the post’s title.) I’m not trying to deceive anyone. Hence this disclaimer. (If you’re really bothered by this, go talk to the managing director.)

Fix reason firmly in her seat

Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object.

In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand, shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy & Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example, in the book of Joshua, we are told, the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. but it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis, as the earth does, should have stopped, should not, by that sudden stoppage, have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth’s motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities?

You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile or death in furcâ. See this law in the Digest Lib. 48. tit. 19. §. 28. 3. & Lipsius Lib 2. de cruce. cap. 2. These questions are examined in the books I have mentioned under the head of religion, & several others. They will assist you in your inquiries, but keep your reason firmly on the watch in reading them all.

Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a God, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are some, however, still extant, collected by Fabricius, which I will endeavor to get & send you.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1787

[Cut into pieces.]

Sermon on the Hill

At short notice, I was roped in to substitute for ALCP leader Michael Appleby at a Wellington Central candidates meeting, held this evening in St. John’s Hall in Karori, Wellington. I was the final speaker. The meeting was organised by Ethne Wyndham-Smith, Coordinator for the Karori Community Centre. Thanks, Ethne!

We’re in a church hall, so I’m going to give you a sermon! A short sermon. A sermon on Prohibition.

There was a song released a few years ago which you may have heard. My kids introduced me to it. It was called What if God smoked cannabis? Well, it’s an interesting question. Of course, God wouldn’t smoke cannabis. He’s sky high, all the time! Let’s bring it down to earth a bit and ask, instead, what would Jesus do? Would Jesus smoke cannabis? I don’t know, but I think the short answer is no. Jesus would not smoke cannabis.

But if you ask, would Jesus smoke cannabis, you’re asking the wrong question! The question is not, would Jesus smoke cannabis, but would Jesus arrest people who do? And the short answer to that, I believe, is also no. Jesus would not arrest people who smoke cannabis. He would not support Prohibition.

The Bible reading this evening is from the Epistle to the Collossians. Chapter 2, verses 20-23. Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about Prohibition.

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (NIV1984)

Paul recognised that Prohibition doesn’t work. Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! Don’t take drugs! These rules lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

There are good people with me up here on the stage. Two particularly good people are ACT candidate Stephen Whittington and Libertarianz candidate Reagan Cutting. Both Stephen and Reagan recognise what Paul recognised, and both support the ALCP’s core policy: legalise cannabis. They’ll join with me in telling you that Prohibition doesn’t work. And they’re right, it doesn’t.

Prohibition doesn’t work. Now think for a moment about that. Prohibition doesn’t work… OK. So, what would it be like if Prohibition did work? What’s Prohibition supposed to achieve? What’s Prohibition for? Prohibition is supposed to stop people taking drugs. Now, ask yourself, why on earth would you want to do that? Is it any of your business if people are taking drugs? How are you going to stop them?

Do you want to stop me taking drugs? If so, how are you going to stop me? Are you going to persuade me that taking drugs is a bad idea? Or are you going to send the police around to my house one day? Would you have them enter my house, against my wishes? Would you have them ransack the place, searching for the wrong kind of plant? Would you have them drag me off to a police cell, and detain me against my will? Would you?

Prohibition is violence! Jesus was not violent. What would Jesus do? I’d like to think that Jesus would give his party vote to the ALCP. This election, I ask you to do the same.

Please, give your party vote to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and help end Prohibition. Prohibition is VIOLENT, it’s UNCHRISTIAN and it’s WRONG!

[Cross-posted to SOLO.]

Amore metallico!

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Brother Cesare Bonizzi is a Capuchin friar belonging to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He was (until recently) also the vocalist for the heavy metal band Fratello Metallo (“Brother Metal”).

“Metal is the most energetic, vital, deep and true musical language that I know,” said Bonizzi, adding that it allowed him to communicate “not religious messages, but themes of faith that have a bearing on life and which are experienced musically in a secular key.”

“Heavy metal has given me the opportunity to meet a world of people of a unique beauty and tenderness,” said Bonizzi. “Metal is the strength of music itself. Metal is a brother.”

Bonizzi blames the devil for his decision to quit two years ago. “The devil has separated me from my managers, risked making me break up with my band colleagues and also risked making me break up with my fellow monks. He lifted me up to the point where I become a celebrity and now I want to kill him,” said the metal monk in his farewell video.

He’s not just a headbanger, though. Bonizzi has an extensive discography, spanning many genres. Catholic tastes? His official website is here.

Hallelujah, brother!

Capill syndrome

Capill syndrome, named after New Zealand’s notorious sex offender and former high-profile politician Graham Capill, is characterised as follows.

  • Shout loudest about that which you fear others uncovering.
  • Those who yell the loudest about something seem to have something they desperately don’t want us to know.

In psychology, Capill syndrome is known as projection. Projection is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people.

In literature, Capill syndrome is immortalised in the Shakespearean line, “Methinks she doth protest too much.”

I wonder about self-proclaimed Christians like Capill, I really do. Had Capill really never read Luke 6:41-42?

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how canst thou say to thy brother, ‘Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye,’ when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! Cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

Judge not, lest ye be judged!

Judge not? Dan Lacich says

What is possibly more amazing than the fact that so many people quote this verse and the concept of not judging, is that so many people could get the real meaning so completely wrong. This is especially true since the context makes it clear what Jesus meant by these words. When Jesus said that we should not judge unless we be judged also, he was not saying that we are to never judge if behavior is sin or not. What he was doing was giving us a caution to make sure that we are willing to be judged by the same standard of judgment. This verse is not a warning against judging an action. It is a warning against self deception and hypocrisy.

The way we know this is the same way that we usually know what the Bible teaches. We look at the context. The verse that immediately follow helps explain what Jesus was saying. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 In other words, if you are going to say that what someone else is doing is wrong then you better be prepared to be judged by the same standard. If you don’t want your life to be scrutinized, then don’t judge others. If you can stand the scrutiny then go ahead. Think of Al Gore telling us that we need to cut down our energy use in order to save the planet and then finding out that he has three large homes and the carbon footprint of Godzilla. He needed to read this verse first.

What Jesus was doing was cautioning us to make sure that we are willing to be judged by the same standards by which we judge others. In other words, “Judge, and be prepared to be judged.” Does that sound at all familiar?

[Cross-posted from SOLO.]

Disengage

One day there will be no more pain, like an opiate wonderland
No more worry, it will all just end
And all of our forward movement will finally cease

The human machine will finally bleed
The human machine will finally cease to be

So set yourself free
And disengage from reality
So set yourself free
And disengage from reality

The grounds will shake and your children will tremble
Soon enough the machine will fall
And we will all crumble
The human machine will finally bleed and cease to be
We’ll finally be set free
Be set free
Be set free

Just be glad you know what life is
Be glad you know
You know what life is
You know what life is

One day there will be no worry
No more pain, it will all just end
And all of our forward movement will finally cease

Disengage
Disengage
Disengage
Disengage
Disengage
Disengage
Disengage

Lyrics by Mitch Lucker.

Objectivism‘s founder Ayn Rand, for all her genius, was a bad philosopher. She, and her successor Leonard Peikoff, attempt to define God out of existence in what maverick philospher Bill Vallicella likens to “a bad ontological argument in reverse”.

It is like a bad ontological argument in reverse. On one bad version of the ontological argument, one defines God into existence by smuggling the notion of existence into the concept of God and then announcing that since we have the concept of God, God must exist. Peikoff is doing the opposite: he defines God and the supernatural out of existence by importing their nonexistence into the term ‘existence.’ But you can no more define God into existence than you can define him out of existence.

Here‘s one example of Rand in action.

Catholicism and communism … Their differences pertain only to the supernatural, but here, in reality, on earth, they have three cardinal elements in common: the same morality, altruism—the same goal, global rule by force—the same enemy, man’s mind.

Note that Rand uses the term ‘reality’ to refer to this world only, excluding the next. Perhaps this use of the term is not so uncommon. Surely, Mitch Lucker had some such definition in mind when he exhorts us to “disengage from reality”.

From a Christian perspective, to disengage from reality is to disengage from this world. This world is Satan’s dominion. Jesus said (speaking to the Jews)

You are of this world; I am not of this world.

and

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

From a Christian perspective, to disengage from reality is to follow Christ. To disengage is also to let go, to set free, to remit, to release, to pardon, to forgive.

Disengage is a song about forgiveness and about following Christ (with lashings of Christian eschatology). Stretching too long a bow? Just be glad you know what life is.

Give me Liberty, or give me Death!