Friday, February 4, 2022

How this revolution differs from the last one

We’re already more than a month into 2022, but I’m only now coming out of holiday mode and trying to rev myself up for the year ahead.  As readers of this blog may have noted from my silence, this annual adjustment has taken longer than normal.

For this I blame the lingering sedative effect of a holiday in Nelson, where my wife and I spent 10 days in our caravan with two teenage grandsons.

Nelson has never been an ideal vantage point from which to assess the state of the world. It’s relatively isolated, barricaded as it is by sea and hills. My family and I spent four very happy years there during the 1980s and I know from experience that it’s easy to retreat behind those barriers and forget that the rest of the world exists.

Like Gisborne, another charming provincial city, Nelson isn’t a place you drive through to get somewhere else. Socially and culturally, it’s a cul-de-sac. Such towns tend to develop their own distinctive character, uncontaminated by outside influences (a point of difference magnified, in Gisborne’s case, by the fact that the population is 50 percent Maori).

When I lived in Nelson I likened it to living in a warm bath; so comfortably soothing that you don’t want to get out. There’s an insularity and sense of other-worldliness about the place that becomes even more accentuated if you head over the Takaka Hill into Golden Bay.

That’s one of the qualities that for decades has made the Nelson region an appealing bolt-hole for alternative types wanting to fashion their own way of living. Nelson has always attracted idealists, non-conformists, arty types and cultural refugees from Europe and North America.

Two of my uncles settled there. One became a potter, the other a pioneering winemaker; you don’t get much more Nelson than that. And it’s surely no coincidence that the Lower Moutere Valley was the location of New Zealand’s first commune, the Riverside Community, established in 1941 by Christian pacifists and still functioning today.

We struck Nelson at its glorious best. The sun shone every day and the entire population seemed to be engaged in healthy and invigorating outdoor activity: paddle-boarding, surfing, running, fishing, kayaking, cycling or walking the dog. We took a drive to Kaiteriteri via the inland (Moutere) route through golden, glowing countryside. We enjoyed the company of old friends and the relaxed vibe of the camping ground, where no one took the slightest notice of signs sternly warning that people not wearing masks in the kitchens and bathrooms could be asked to leave.

For 10 days it was easy to ignore the state of a world where there’s little to engender much hope in either domestic or international affairs. If there’s any place where it’s possible to believe – in the famous words of Professor Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide – that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, it’s Nelson in the height of summer. But now I’m home again and can deny reality no longer.

That reality, unpalatable though it is, is that New Zealand is in the grip of a full-blown cultural revolution that was initiated without advance notice and with no mandate from the voters.

Politically, 2021 was the most transformational year in my lifetime, and not in a good way. Some people say New Zealand has been through political paroxysms before. Many point to the 1981 Springbok tour protests as a high-water mark of conflict and discontent. But that event was a one-off, the consequences of which receded into history after the removal of Robert Muldoon from power. As divisive as it was, the tour never threatened to result in a foundational change.

A more apt comparison is with Rogernomics. As is the case now, a relatively small but influential political clique launched an unheralded revolution that fundamentally changed New Zealand society. Even the Labour Left, pre-occupied with nuclear ships and apartheid (and before that, the Vietnam War), never saw it coming.  Decades later, the impact of those changes is still keenly felt and the arguments still reverberate.

Those on the Left who felt powerless to stop Rogernomics (much of which I supported, though I disliked the manner of its implementation and could see the harmful social dislocation that resulted) must have experienced the same sense of despair and impotence as those on the centre-Right now feel as they witness the rampant pursuit of a radical ideological agenda driven by a determined cabal with no popular mandate. The boot is well and truly on the other foot, and it’s no consolation that some of those on the Left who fought Rogernomics are just as alarmed by what’s happening now.

But there’s at least one crucial difference. Rogernomics faced spirited opposition across a broad front – not just from unions and the traditional Left, but from academia, the media and even from saboteurs within the machinery of government. In contrast, perhaps the most frightening aspect of the current revolution is the extent to which the key institutions of government and society, including a craven business sector, have meekly fallen into line. Compliance with the political agenda is total. Dissenters are marginalised and denounced, as in totalitarian regimes; watch for new “hate speech” laws to provide statutory validation for this shutting down of opposition.   

The mainstream media, to their shame, now function as agents of indoctrination. They have abandoned their role as rigorous monitors and critics of those in power and in so doing, have betrayed the confidence of the public they supposedly serve. I no longer trust the industry in which I spent my working life.

The speed with which all this has happened has been breathtaking. Like Roger Douglas and his cabal in the 1980s, the drivers of the current cultural revolution have adopted the tactics of the blitzkrieg, or lightning war: strike hard and fast, so that potential opponents are overwhelmed before they know what hit them.  

As in the 1980s, the over-riding political issue – as Matthew Hooton points out in his New Zealand Herald column today – is social cohesion, which is being insidiously undermined by the promotion of an ideology that sets New Zealanders against New Zealanders – and more specifically, treats those who identify as Maori (and who would prefer that we forget the inconvenient fact of their European heritage) as having needs and interests that are different from the rest of the population, and therefore entitled to rights and privileges not available to others, even to the extent of being granted co-governance powers over vital public assets such as water infrastructure and the health system. The most fundamental tenets of democracy – that we all enjoy the same rights and the will of the majority prevails – are under attack.

It’s hard to find reasons for optimism amid all this. On one hand the political polls indicate the tide is going out for Labour. After earning the country’s gratitude as a unifying figure through the Christchurch mosque massacres and the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic (and being rewarded with an unprecedented election victory), Jacinda Ardern has morphed into a polarising force. The mood of the country has turned sullen and the “team of five million” now sounds like a bad joke.

On the other hand, I place no faith in Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. National is a party devoid of charisma, daring, moral courage or original thinking. Its leader came from the corporate sector, which values conformity above all, and he seems incapable of doing much more than spout glib jargon and slogans.

It’s surely a measure of the country’s desperation that Christopher Luxon is seen as the Great White Hope, if I can use that expression without being visited by the police. The best we can hope for from a National government in 2023 is that they might be slightly more competent managers. But thinking of the harm that might be done to New Zealand in the meantime is enough to make me think of moving to Golden Bay and closing the door on the world.


Paul Goldstone said...

I agree. The big division will be between those who want an "Aotearoa" based on various identities having special rights (esp. Maori) over others versus those who still believe in a "New Zealand" based on the liberal concept of individual rights and our fundamental equality and Kiwi egalitarianism. On the one hand, the "Aotearoans" control academia, education and the media. But the intellectual foundation that Maori are a special people deserving privileges is based on an extremely tenuous interpretation of Treaty "principles" - do not accept that the Treaty is a partnership, then the entire construction collapses. And the woke elite are at best 5% of the population and in every opinion poll their policies turn out to be deeply unpopular.

Zoroforever said...

Great to have you back Karl, keep up the good work. Your articles are like a ray of hope in a very dark NZ landscape. Oh for someone with a backbone like Margaret Thatcher. Love or hate her she stood up for what she believed in.

Unknown said...

Intermarriage goes back generations in New Zealand - to the point where it is unlikely that there is anybody left who can claim to have 100% Maori DNA or indeed anywhere near it.

However perhaps I should just thank my Maori great-grandmother and line up for handouts.

Punch said...

Like you Karl, I am despairing of the state of New Zealand media as this insidious revolution now progresses while most of the population daydreams. Even ZB, part of a corporate which accepted $2.2 million from the Public Interest Journalism Fund, has now meekly fallen into line. Sure Hosking may attack the government over various aspects of the Covid response such as the MIQ debacle, but where is his probing and questioning of the abandonment of democracy's building blocks like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and bodily autonomy? I've already made up my mind about life in the mainstream. You're considering Nelson. I've upped sticks and moved to rural Central Otago. Property prices here suggest a few thousand others have made the same decision.

Odysseus said...

Welcome back Karl.

I share your feelings of despair and revulsion, particularly for the media.

However, we must resist at every step: Three Waters, "Hate Speech", whatever is sent against us by this extremist cabal foolishly voted into power by the bewildered and the hysterical.

My wife and I took part in our first demo, in my case for 40 years, (Groundswell) last November. I must say the Police managed things well, making clear our right of protest to the risible counter-demonstration of XR loonies who tried to impede us. We will be there when the going gets harder.

Andy Espersen said...

In our MMP environment your concept of "Her Majesty's loyal Opposition" really exists no more - and in your article you do not mention the ACT political party with David Seymour as a political factor to be increasingly reckoned with.

Doug Longmire said...

Great to see you back Karl,
Like you, I am appalled at the fast track destruction of democracy which is taking place in New Zealand right now.
The obsession with racial division, racial superiority by part Maori separatists is being pursued by this socialist revolutionary government.
Looking forward. I can see nothing good about this. The inevitable result will be a stirring up of racial resentment and eventually a pushback, which will cause racial division and aggression, and probably violence. There is no good that can come of this.
Does this government really want a civil war ??? Because it looks like that is what they are planning.

Doug Longmire said...

your comments on "hate speech" laws, or intended laws are also very relevant.
We should be aware of what sort of ludicrous situation can result from such laws. e.g. in England a young man was arrested for telling a mounted police officer that his horse was "gay" That's hate speech laws.
Another lady was arrested for posting on social media her opinion that there are only two genders. That's hate speech laws.
A number of posters with the words "It's okay to be white" were posted around a town in England. The police attended and last I heard were investigating this as a "hate CRIME". Makes one ask - would it be a hate crime if the poster had said "It's okay to be brown" ?

Hiko said...

I think that many of our citizens believed that most of us valued democracy, equality of citizenship one person one vote etc etc It has come as something of a shock to be confronted with reality that that is not the case . Germanys democracy was easily undermined in the thirties and we are now seeing our own longstanding one being whiteanted in front of our eyes

swordfish said...

Recent One News Polling:

One News Colmar Brunton Poll (Sep 2021): "What do you think the Country should officially be called ?"
New Zealand 58%
Aotearoa 9%
Aotearoa New Zealand 31%

[NOTE: Based on the partial ethnic breakdowns provided in the official CB Poll Report … I'm guessing that close to half of Māori [possibly a little more than half] want to stick with New Zealand]

One News Kantar Poll (Jan 2022): Long Question on: Support or Oppose Three Waters Reform
Support 26%
Oppose 40%
Never heard of it 13%
Don't Know 22%

Be nice if they measured attitudes towards the idea of Co-Governance ... & Health 'Equity' where access to / speed of health services is predicated on Ethnic affliation.

Brendan McNeill said...

Golden Bay has my vote.

We spent three weeks there having only just returned to Christchurch. There is a visible stand for freedom every Friday lunchtime on the Village Green, with speakers, poetry and music. There is also an alternative free library run out of suit cases, and I might add there are alternative social gatherings taking place in community halls for those deemed unfit to enter licensed establishments.

All very encouraging.

Martin Hanson said...

Martin Hanson, Richmond, Nelson
I have a strong feeling that Karl is hinting at things he dare not say explicitly. If that be true, I fully understand.
My confidence in the mainstream media (MSM) evaporated when, a couple of years after 9/11, I read “The New Pearl Harbor” by David Ray Griffin. That book, together with others that followed it, turned my ‘world view’ upside down and back to front, dismantling the effects of decades of conditioning by the MSM. Though our present situation is, on the surface, quite different from 9/11, the latter is a pre-requisite for coming to terms with the former.

rave dout said...

Wars and discord have happened throughout history due to one lot trying to seize what the other has and often has in the background nationalistic, racial, cultural, or religious overtones. Think China with Taiwan and the 5 dash line, Israel and Palestine. They both hark back to historical rights. The world needs to move in the direction of one people living and working together, otherwise, the problem that we have will lead us more down the route of self-destruction. I am often surprised by the number of new immigrants working long hours driving taxis and when you ask them about their families, most will state that their children are studying at University. They recognize that the path to progress is through education. Provide children with safe warm uncrowded houses, in deprived areas send the best teachers even if you have to pay them double, because the social outcome for Maori will far outstrip what is proposed by 2040. Often people who have had a poor educational background pass on these attitudes to their children and this cycle needs to be broken

Unknown said...

Lucky for me I have only 28 good years to endure it. This latest generation of labor lovers have decades of pain to suffer... Well done