Political discussions are dangerous territory and increasingly so. I confirmed this unwittingly a few days ago when suggesting to a friend that the US election was more important than the NZ equivalent.
But it was for different reasons there was an issue. His was to expel the incumbent from the White House. A simple "why" produced a list and each point I could have debated, had not diplomacy halted further discussion. In the present environment, that was a winning result.
But, why is it so? Why would a foreign election be more important than our own? What is at stake in each? The answer is cultural and political direction.
Covid-19 has upended everything. The virus has provided opportunity, disguise and cover for agenda advancement. No conspiracy is suggested here; instead the obvious and natural seizing and utilisation of the moment. As a result, some countries, cities and societies have been inflicted with fear. Confined to quarters, fearful of catching an unseen enemy or being caught by agents of the state - for example, Victoria. Fear is a virus of the mind and is easily exploited. Compliance, it is argued, indicates how easily we will surrender our freedoms.
Keeping in mind the relative size of each country, it is disturbing to note the parallels of direction we are both taking, or are in danger of taking, in governance, education, culture and politically.
Should Labour be singularly successful and govern alone, it will unquestionably be more progressive. Helen Clark agrees. We have a referendum on recreational cannabis and, should it fail to pass, the former prime minister refers to effecting change by circuitous means - which once again would show the pointlessness of non-binding referenda.
If Labour is coupled with the Greens, we would feel an even heavier hand of progressivism. James Shaw has status upgrade pretentions. The Greens' wealth tax policy should eliminate their chance of implementing it permanently. Their true colours are on display.
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In the 85 podcasts I've done over the past 21 months, I've interviewed some fascinating people, some with whom I maintain contact. "Follow the science" and "listen to the experts" is meaningless without perspective. I nominate Dr Neil Ferguson from Imperial College, London, as my lead witness and he is not alone.
I gave my one media interview of the week to unherd. 30 minutes, so quite far-ranging. https://t.co/QrYS5z8mM2— neil_ferguson (@neil_ferguson) April 25, 2020
Put it this way, there are many "experts" and they don't all agree, no matter the subject. The danger is exclusion of alternative argument, particularly in times of crisis.
It has long been obvious that America produces, or did, the best of many things including bad ideas. My lead witness is political correctness, or maybe that should be progressivism. The rise in the autonomy of the administrative state is contagious. Auckland Transport is my constant example. I believe AT operates like a local authority in its own right - except it isn't elected, and there are no controls over its day-to-day activities. To me, it is in effect a law unto itself and exercises power accordingly and arrogantly.
The most "progressive" of states in America is California. That of course is progressive in its political sense. The middle class has shrunk. And it's seemingly also why so many are fleeing, particularly to Texas and Florida. California is a "one-party state" and a blueprint for the rest of the country under Democrat rule.
Opinion from some in Australia is that a Trump victory would be better for that country than a Biden presidency. Greg Sheridan in The Australian says that "view is widely, if semi-secretly, held in Australian national security circles, and it is almost certainly right". A Biden presidency "would likely reprise Obama but in a weaker and more woke fashion". Keeping China's military expansion in check is in New Zealand's interest even if we don't contribute.
Before Covid-19, Trump was arguably heading for a landslide victory on November 3. I believe he will still win. With good reason, I don't believe the mainstream polls. Nate Silver and Nassim Nicholas Taleb are engaged in a bitter dispute over polling and predictions.
I do believe that a Biden victory would see America change dramatically for the worse. Mega worse. The Supreme Court would likely cease to be the third branch of government. Packing the court was Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nightmare. I believe the borders will be breached by immigrants as the constitutional rights of Americans will be breached by the state. I believe Modern Monetary Theory will compete with Critical Race Theory for a peace prize. I believe education is threatened: 2+2=5 is gaining momentum. The Mathematical Association of America says mathematics "inherently carries human biases".
It's very easy to see the self-destruction of Western society, in my opinion. Which is why the American election is more vital than ours. Whatever your politics, New Zealand can, if necessary, repudiate its direction more easily. America has its founding principles under attack. And the price is far higher. Welcome to Indoctrofornia.