Can Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ help save the world?

Reposted as requested:

Extinction Rebellion was established in the United Kingdom in October 2018 as a movement that aims to use tactics of nonviolent direct action in order to avert the effects of climate change. Since its formation it has rapidly spread to at least 35 other countries, including New Zealand, who have recently carried a few headline-grabbing protests, with the promise of more to come.

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement are encouraged by the fact that the movement has managed to tap into the sense of alarm over climate change, and mobilised many people not previously involved in protest, and we do not want to undermine the important work that they are doing, but we feel that there is a conversation that needs to be had about some of their demands.

While we support the means of using direct action tactics it is their ends that needs greater examination. Extinction Rebellion is essentially a reformist movement, whose earnest activists lack a real vision of what is needed if we are serious about halting the damage to our environment. Instead, they are pinning their hopes on merely making adjustments to the present system which is destroying our world.

We argue that this isn’t enough, and the only way to effectively campaign to halt climate change is to impart a true picture of a capitalism whose insatiable hunger for profit is not only undermining the working and living conditions of hundreds of millions of working people but the basis of life itself. The future of our planet depends on building a livable environment and a movement powerful enough to displace capitalism.

Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ are guilty of thinking that their demands can create an idyllic capitalism, managed by the state, that can end the destruction being caused to the Earth’s environment They see their role as just needing to make enough noise to wake up political and business leaders. Theirs is a view which sees capitalism moving towards sustainability and zero growth. It is the idea that capitalism can be reformed to become a green system. In this model of capitalist society lifestyles change and infrastructure are reformed while technical green advances are applied. It supposes that all would be well if we all bought organic food, never took a holiday anywhere which would involve flying, and put on more clothes in winter rather than turn up the heating. Green capitalism presumes it will be enough to replace fossil fuels with renewables, whilst leaving the overall system intact.

We argue that such a scenario completely ignores the way capitalism operates, and must operate, and is therefore hopelessly utopian. The present capitalist system is driven by the struggle for profit. The present system’s need for infinite growth and the finite resources of Earth stand in contradiction to each other. Successful operation of the system means growth or maximising profit, it means that nature as a resource will be exploited ruthlessly. The present destruction of the planet is rooted in the capitalist system of production and cannot be solved without a complete break with capitalism. Yet ending capitalism is something that Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa NZ does not appear to be prepared to countenance, they are only attacking the symptoms rather than the cause. They see their green capitalism as a type of capitalism worth fighting for.

We, rather, see the need to create a different form of social organisation before the present system destroys us all. The entire system of production based on wage labour and capital needs to be replaced with a system which produces for human needs. All the half measures of converting aspects of capitalism to limit the damage to the environment, while the fundamentals of capitalism remain in place, are just wishful thinking, and to pretend they could solve our problems is deception on a grand scale.

The fact is that before production can be carried out in ecologically-acceptable ways capitalism has to go. Production for profit and the uncontrollable drive to accumulate more and more capital mean that capitalism is by its very nature incapable of taking ecological considerations into account properly, and to be honest it is futile to try to make it do so.

A sustainable society that is capable of addressing climate change can only be achieved within a world where all the Earth’s resources, natural and industrial, are under the common ownership of us all, as well as being under grassroots democratic control at a local and regional level. If we are going to organise production in an ecologically sound way we can either plead with the powers that be or we can take democratic control of production ourselves, and the reality is to truly control production we have to own and control the means of production. So, a society of common ownership and democratic control is the only framework within which the aims of Extinction Rebellion can be realised. In reality, to achieve their wish of halting climate collapse, those within Extinction Rebellion should be anarchists.

One of the demands of Extinction Rebellion is a call for participatory democracy, and yet they also talk of giving governments emergency war-time powers. It’s not altogether clear what they mean by this. Does it mean, for example, seizing fossil fuel industries and shutting them down? Enforcing new low-carbon, low-travel, and low-meat shifts in consumption? Or imposing sanctions against companies or countries trafficking in fossil fuels? Will it see imprisonment for those whose protest when they feel their interests may be compromised by green government legislation?

In the past, warlike conditions and major disasters typically were seen to justify the temporary abolition of democratic liberties, but how long will they last for this fight, what will be the endpoint, or will the special war-time powers last indefinitely? Would such a suspension of democracy be easy to reverse anyway? These are big questions, and, for those of us that value the limited freedoms we have, they need to be addressed.

Giving more power to the state is also a case of putting all your eggs in one basket as there is no one simple response to fixing climate change. Climate change will bring many issues, those that we can have a go at predicting, but also many unforeseen. Increasing the powers of the state reduces its ability to be flexible and capable of learning from policy mistakes. The fight against climate change must be associated with greater local democracy. We need more democracy, strengthening local and regional capacities to respond to climate change. For those in Extinction Rebellion who think that there can be only one pathway to addressing climate change, the erosion of democracy might seem to be “convenient.” History, however, tells us that suppression of democracy undermines the capacity of societies to solve problems.

Those campaigning with Extinction Rebellion are no doubt sincere and caring people who want something different for themselves and future generations. In their own lifestyles they probably have made genuine changes which are in line with a more ecologically sustainable way of living. So have we, but we are well aware that our individual lifestyle changes are not going to change the fundamental nature of the social system which is damaging the planet. Millions of us might give up using products which destroy the environment, but what effect do we really have in comparison with the minority who own and control the multinational corporations. Just 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of global emissions since 1988. They, and all businesses, have an interest in keeping their costs down, and profits up. If their profits come before the long-term interests of people, who can blame them for sacrificing our needs? They can act no other way.

We do not have faith that capitalists, or their parliamentary representatives, can act in time to limit climate change in a meaningful way, but when we make a call for revolution, the answer we mostly get is that the lesser evil of piecemeal reforms will take less time to achieve than our grand anarchist aims. However, we think it is an ill-advised attitude to take that small improvements are more worthy of support than realisable big ones. There is unlikely ever to be a government passing meaningful green legislation. Governments may pass a few minor reforms to appease green voters, the business owners themselves may realise that some of their brands may be harmed by a lack of environmental concern, and greenwash their product, but ultimately these acts will be a sticking plaster when what is required is major surgery.

If anyone concerned with Extinction Rebellion read this and grasps the impossibility of what they are asking for, then we would say it’s time to keep the methods of direct action that you are advocating, but change the demands. If Extinction Rebellion ever wants their arguments to carry any force, then they need to campaign to abolish capitalism and create a system of grassroots democracy.

In the UK a Green Anti-Capitalist Front has been created to work alongside Extinction Rebellion but with a greater focus on the capitalist roots of climate catastrophe. We feel that such a coalition is needed here in Aotearoa / New Zealand. If anyone is interested in working with us to create such a group we can be contacted via our e-mail address.

http://awsm.nz/2019/03/12/can-extinction-rebellion-aotearoa-nz-help-save-the-world/

10 Step Guide to Detecting Conspiracy Theories & Bullshit

Guest post by Pink Panther (also posted here).


When the Internet made its appearance there was a lot of talk about the information super highway in which people would be able to click on a few buttons and get whatever information they were looking for.

Cue forward to 2019 and the information super highway is looking a lot more like the information rubbish tip. While its undeniable there is some good solid stuff out there, it’s also true that not only is some of the information irrelevant to what we’re looking for (as anyone who has used Google Search can attest to) but it is also unreliable. One of the reasons is the number of charlatans such as conspiracy theorists who have made the Internet their home.

Despite what you might think, lots of different kinds of people can be sucked in by conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, it is becoming all too common for people who should know better, to fall victim to this nonsense. This matters because we can only fight back against the very real material and political problems of the world as it is, by understanding reality. Once we know what is really going on, we will have a sound basis for organising resistance to it. So how can we detect if what we are reading is nonsense or a conspiracy theory? The ten step guide below is what I use to sift fact from fiction or half-truths. When that fails I turn to sites like www.skeptoid.com and www.snopes.com which are both non-partisan debunkers of bullshit, no matter what side of the political spectrum it comes from.

I. Use of Vague Statistics.

Any claim that uses a statistic like “One in three people are…” should always be treated with great scepticism because they’re meaningless. Without knowing anything like the number of people who were studied or surveyed, the terms of reference for the study or research undertaken or the people or organisation who conducted the research, we cannot determine if the statistic is real or made up. More often than not studies which use such vague references are made up or conducted by highly partisan groups trying to convince people that “research” backs what they say.

II. Awe with Percentages.

How many times have you read a poll that claims that “40% of Americans support Trump” or something similar? Most polls conducted by a polling company tend to interview between 1000 and 1500 people over a given time period and are chosen from electoral or other voting rolls. It’s not hard to realise that it is impossible to determine what millions of people think about anything on the basis of what 1000 or so people say. You also have to consider that such a sample excludes people who aren’t on electoral rolls for various reasons. Despite the claims that such polls are scientific no one has been able to explain just what part of the polling process actually involves science. Percentages without context are another problem. Informing us that the average house price has increased by 35% in a particular area doesn’t tell us anything. Telling us that the average house price in that area was $250,000 back in 2012 then telling us that house prices in that area have increased by 35% gives us information that is useful.

III. Emotive Manipulation.

In some news networks there is a lot of pressure to try and get as many people to support a certain viewpoint or to galvanise support for a particular cause. One way this is done is to get a hysterical parent wailing about how her child is a victim of a certain social or other evil in order to rally support for that cause. The problem with such news stories is little, or no, attempt is made to find out if anything the said parent has claimed is true, false or an combination of both. Also, no attempt is made to put things in context.

The problem with anecdotal, human interest and other stories of this nature is they exaggerate the extent of a social evil in the minds of the public.
An example of this is when a child is snatched off the streets and murdered. Parents stop letting their children walk to school out of fear the same thing will happen to their own children. This is despite the fact that crime statistics from the United States and other countries repeatedly show that the chances of anyone, let alone a child, being snatched from the streets and killed by strangers is very rare. For example, according to the New York Times (August 17th, 2016), the FBI reported that only 1,381 of the 11,961 homicides reported within the United States in 2014 involved people who were unknown to the victims.
Emotionally manipulative news items can also have serious consequences. U.S President Donald Trump’s crack down on undocumented immigrants and his so-called “Muslim ban” was largely the result of emotive hysteria whipped up by Fox News about crimes committed by undocumented migrants and terrorist acts by Islamic State in Europe.

IV. The Defying of Reality.

Let’s be blunt. Most conspiracy theories and incorrect news stories are exposed as such because they fail to pass the most basic test of “Is it practical or realistic that such a thing could happen?” The 9/11 Truthers often come unstuck on this one. They would have us believe that multiple American government agencies conspired to murder thousands of their fellow Americans so that George W Bush could justify invading Afghanistan for its oil and gas reserves.
There’s at least four major problems with that:
1. A plot to kill thousands of people would’ve required a degree of co-operation between various government agencies that did not exist at the time – and still doesn’t. U.S government agencies are notorious for jealously guarding their jurisdictions and tend to avoid co-operating unless circumstances or the law requires them to do so. It was the lack of co-operation between government and intelligence agencies that enabled the 9/11 hijackers to enter the United States despite the terrorists involved in the hijackings being on known or suspected terrorist watch lists. It was to ensure better information gathering and sharing between these agencies that the Department of Homeland Security was created. Yet, despite this, co-operation between various government agencies is the exception rather than the rule.
2. American civil servants are required to take an oath to uphold the U.S Constitution. As the U.S Constitution forbids extra-judicial killings (of which plotting to kill thousands of Americans would be an obvious breach of said Constitution) public servants would’ve had the legal requirement to come out and denounce such behaviour.
3. Afghanistan was not invaded for either gas or oil because Afghanistan has neither. It was invaded because George W Bush believed that the Taliban were harbouring the man they believed was responsible for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.
4. Genuine whistle-blowers go to credible news organisations like CNN, ABC or NBC or newspapers like the L.A Times, Washington Post or New York Times. They don’t go to websites like InfoWars or tabloids like National Inquirer.

V. Ignorance of basic facts.

Conspiracy theorists often lack a basic understanding of the relevant fields they are lecturing about. None of the 9/11 Truthers or so-called “Scholars for 9/11 Truth” have relevant qualifications or expertise in the fields that would be most relevant in any investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks such as building demolition, structural engineering, air crash investigation, architecture, disaster management, building and construction or even chemistry. Instead, the 9/11 Truthers are made up of people like celebrities, religious scholars, former intelligence officers, ex-military officers and sports stars. In other words, people who simply don’t have the expertise or knowledge to answer if a building can collapse pancake-style from causes other than an explosion or if molten steel would contain thermite independent of any explosives. That’s why air crash investigators, arson investigators and police detectives don’t just look for one or two things when they suspect damage might’ve been caused by a bomb. They look for many things because sometimes explosive residue can be found at the site of a disaster that has been caused by something else.

For example, explosive residue was found on Partnair Flight 394 which crashed off the coast of Denmark on September 8th, 1989. Many people, particularly in Norway, initially believed it was a bomb because of reports of a loud explosion and because the Prime Minister of Norway had recently flown on the same aircraft. The reason why explosive residue was found on the wreckage was the result of contamination resulting from military ordinance littering the sea floor from various naval battles fought in the area. The cause of the crash was the failure of counterfeit aircraft parts used during aircraft maintenance.

VI. Confusing Authority with Expertise.

Yes, there is a difference between authority and expertise. Authority is gained from one’s position or title within a group or organisation. Expertise is gained from learning, working in and mastering a particular skill, trade or area of knowledge.

Among conspiracy theorists there is a tendency to ignore the experts in their chosen fields in favour of authority figures. The more common authority figures they listen to are celebrities, ex-wrestlers like the former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, former military officers and former police officers.
Few conspiracy theorists see the absurdity of debunking authority figures who have the expertise to back up what they are saying by claiming they’re all in cahoots with the evil, omnipresent government or Big Something-or-other but not the authority figures who go along with their conspiracies.

VII. Playing on prejudices.

They play on people’s prejudices to advance their nonsense. Despite what the moral relativists may claim it’s not necessary to be a white heterosexual male to indulge in stereotyping. Stereotyping is attributing to all persons within a certain group attributes – both negative and positive – that may or may not be held by many people within that group. Some of the more obvious stereotypes are the hard working and well educated Asians who are all work and no fun, the Muslim terrorists who want to impose Sharia law upon us, the lazy drug addicted welfare queen… I’m sure there’s many other stereotypes that one can think of. Stereotyping often comes about as the direct result of selective reporting about certain groups within both traditional and social media that is picked up and used to vilify anyone who belong to those groups. All arguments presented by anyone from those groups will be greeted with comments like “Oh you would say that because you are one of them!” and people who defend those being stereotyped will be attacked with comments like “That’s what we expect from an apologist for these people.”

VIII. Treating the masses with contempt.

For people who claim to speak for the ordinary person in the street or who desire to “educate” them the conspiracy theorists regularly abuse and vilify the masses by labelling them “sheeple”, “muppets”, “ignorant” or “liars”. Rarely, if ever, do they assume the masses might have enough intelligence to work out the facts for themselves. A search on YouTube for anything to do with debunking anti-vaccination campaigns, 9/11 Truthers or Pizzagate will provide ample examples of this contempt in the Comments section.

IX. The Obsession with the word “Big”.

An obsession is prefixing any sector of society they dislike with the word “Big” as in “Big Pharma”, “Big Agriculture”, “Big Business” and “Big Government”. Everything they say and write ends up being about how something prefixed with the word “Big” is behind everything they dislike. Accusing people of belonging to Big Something-or-other is a sure-fire way to try and discredit anyone who challenges the claims made by a conspiracy theorist.

That leads us to the single biggest indicator that something is wrong or a conspiracy theory.

X. Using supposedly “Anti-Establishment” sources because they provide “alternative sources of news”.

A British conservative may be happier reading The Times while a liberal counterpart may be more contented with reading The Guardian but both newspapers contain the same basic content. What separates the two newspapers is their bias. The former is biased towards its conservative readership and the latter is biased towards its liberal readership. Bias doesn’t make a news story fake or the news organisation a fake news peddler or a bunch of conspiracy theorists.
While both The Guardian and The Times are Establishment publications they employ editors, sub-editors, fact checkers, reporters and journalists who actually go out and find out if what is being told to them is true. They usually come back with different interpretations of what has happened but they don’t differ when it comes to the basic facts. They also distinguish between opinion pieces where a writer peddles their viewpoint and the news. Most supposedly “Anti-Establishment” or alternative news sources have none of these things. They don’t distinguish between facts and opinions. They don’t bother to find out if what is being written or broadcast is true or false. They only care that what they produce fits in with their world view. That usually means they cite from sources of like-minded groups and individuals.

‘All’ that most multi-billion dollar media companies want us to do (which is bad enough in itself!) is read stories while they harass us with endless advertising and marketing campaigns that keep the money rolling in for these companies. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is the multi-billion media empire it is because it encompasses newspapers, magazines and websites that have at least some diversity of opinions. That correspondingly brings in at least some diversity of readers and viewers whom Murdoch’s advertisers can harrange with advertising. They have a vested interest to tell us the truth most of the time, even if it’s usually biased in favour of Capitalists and Capitalism.

Don’t be fooled by the news charlatans and conspiracy theorists. They aren’t providing you with ‘alternative facts’ from alternative news sources. They make up what they say and they’re playing you for suckers as they laugh all the way to the bank with the money they got from hacking your personal data when you clicked on their site. You might find it temporarily comforting to believe you’ve been handed the mysteries of the universe via a website run by somebody living in his Mum’s garage. Spending hours listening to podcasts about chem-trails, our alien lizard overlords, the flat earth or the moon-landing ‘hoax’ etc. will perhaps provide psychological distraction from wondering how you’re going to pay this week’s rent. What it won’t do is give you the tools necessary to overcome and struggle effectively against the hard, cold and sometimes ‘boring’ realities of the world we really live in

Is Winston Peters playing the PM on foreign policy?

Guest post from Gezza


Interesting Opinion Piece by Patrick Smellie:

US and Chinese officials met in Beijing this week for the first talks since both countries’ presidents agreed a trade war ceasefire at last month’s G-20 summit in Argentina.

By early March, they need a plan that simultaneously softens the impact on China of the US’s new embrace of protectionism while starting to deal with China’s rampant intellectual property theft and subsidies that make its state-backed corporations unfair global competitors.

In doing so, both leaders will be seeking a win for their respective domestic audiences.

Getting there will be no mean feat. The Chinese ‘long view’ of history is a powerful organising principle for the Middle Kingdom’s global ambitions. Unlike Trump, its leadership is capable of thinking long-term.

I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment. Trump is capable of thinking long-term. He just isn’t capable of seeing other viewpoints and considering them, or of understanding what motivates others, or of adapting his negotiation strategies when it’s evident he could approach things differently. Or of concentrating enuf on details to foresee adverse consequences or opposition that could work against him.

He’s a rich kid who’s always done whatever it takes to get what he wants. And that includes lying, going bankrupt, and paying people to arrange for him to then profit from the misery & poverty that’s sometimes caused others. His narcissism works well for him when he’s in total control & surrounded by sycophants who will do his bidding. Or when he can cheat and lie & get away with it because he can bankrupt less wealthy opponents or victims, and for him the ends (getting what he wants) has always justified any means.

But now he’s not in total control. So he’s often chaotically flailing around in pursuit of long-term plans that he might deliver, but might screw up because he’s so flawed he makes people want to get rid of him to stop the chaos and division and wrecking of America’s standing in the world.

The talks also occur against a backdrop of heightened competition for defence and security influence around the world.

There has been questionable co-ordination between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Foreign Minister and deputy Winston Peters over our relationships with China and the US.
The US-led initiative to keep Chinese-built Huawei and ZTE componentry out of Western 5G mobile networks represents the sharp point of intersection in trade and security tensions.

Nations try to pursue security and trade agendas on separate tracks, but one inevitably bleeds into the other in ways. At best, at a global level, these current tensions may be bad for global economic growth. At worst, they could become the catalyst for conflict, which an American president desperately seeking to project strength might embrace.

For New Zealand, this simultaneous escalation of trade and security tensions between our traditional western ally and our largest trading partner is fraught with the risk of becoming collateral damage in the ensuing contest of empires. As a member of the Five Eyes cyber-spying network, New Zealand sits on the US side of the anti-Huawei fence. But it also seeks an upgraded free trade agreement and legitimately worries that Beijing could turn off the tap on agricultural exports, international students, Chinese tourists – or all three.

Australia has already suffered for its more emphatically pro-US stance.

We should never put all our eggs in one basket. Both the US and the Chinese can punish us economically for simply pursuing our own issues-based foreign policy when they want to bully us into siding with them or opting out in disputes between their economic and foreign policy initiatives and engagements.

Wider free trade with as many other nations as possible is clearly desirable, but trade in what? As other countries are forced by Trade Agreements to become more productive and competitive with our major food exports, what else do we have?

Clearly, the New Zealand government needs to pursue any rebalancing in the relationships to the two biggest protagonists in our region with great care.

Just before Christmas, there were worrying signs to suggest such care is, if not absent, then lacking, with questionable co-ordination between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Foreign Minister and deputy Winston Peters.

The Ardern approach embraces multi-lateralism, ‘progressive’ free trade agreements that do more to protect national sovereignty than in the past, and a new demonstration of leadership on climate change. On the world stage, Ardern has shone as a beacon of optimism and inter-generational leadership change.

That may be how she is portrayed here but apart from US female talk show hosts, who else in the world cares? So she’s a minor celebrity abroad with people who don’t count. What impact will she have on other world leaders? How many other young intergenerational leaders are there who will hearken to her siren song and make the world a kinder place? Isn’t her government rather chaotic and it’s benefits and drawbacks & objectives all rather fuzzy? Could it all just crash and burn? Hope not, but I just don’t know until we know what the werkinggruppes produce for them to make (or justify) policies from – and what they ignore.

Meanwhile, Peters and NZ First Defence Minister Ron Mark have made the running on defence and security policy in ways that are pulling New Zealand much closer to the US.

Mark’s defence strategy paper saw New Zealand explicitly criticise China’s expansionism in the South China Sea for the first time and his announcement of a multi-billion dollar upgrade of air force surveillance capability to include potential for anti-submarine weaponry were highly significant nods to Washington DC.

Peters took that a step further last month. In a speech to an elite US audience on the Pacific region shortly before meetings with deputy vice-president Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Peters said: “We unashamedly ask the United States to engage more and we think it is in your vital interests to do so.”

Time was “of the essence” as “larger players are renewing their interest in the Pacific with an attendant level of strategic competition”. These and other parts of the speech represented serious new lines in the sand for New Zealand foreign policy.

We probably should want the US to engage more in the South Pacific. China’s interest is self-interest. And the degrading of American influence & power is vital to that. But do we want to engage more with the US under Trump? Really? Trump’s interest is American self-interest. Hopefully when Trump is gone – which may be by 2020 – sanity and a more careful, thoughtful President will make them take more of an interest in promoting & protecting the interests of free speech democracies in the South Pacific on both moral & shared interests grounds.

But when asked whether she had read the speech prior to delivery, let alone whether the Cabinet had discussed it, Ardern gave an almost breezy dismissal.

That is deeply worrying.

Regardless of whether Peters is articulating a revised foreign policy stance that the whole coalition government agrees with, such revisions require the active engagement of both the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

Failing to insist on that fuels the narrative that Peters is successfully playing Ardern not only on domestic policy issues, but on foreign policy as well, leveraging his party’s impacts far beyond the mandate implied by its 5 per cent support at the 2017 election.

Ok. Maybe. So what? Is National likely to have any more of a coherent foreign policy or to do anything different?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/109828977/is-winston-peters-playing-the-pm-on-foreign-policy

Free speech battle brews between feminist and trans-activist groups

From Gezza:

A company has pulled posters commemorating women’s suffrage after pressure from LBTGI youth groups who say the feminist blogger behind the poster campaign holds transgender exclusionary beliefs.

Phantom Billsticker’s managing director Jamey Holloway says the company previously hung posters for Wellington writer and activist Renee Gerlich as part of women’s suffrage projects. This year marks 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.  At issue this year were complaints triggered by the tagline “suffragists worked for the female sex – stop rewriting history” that appeared on Gerlich’s posters – a statement some see as denying transgender women’s right to identify as women.


One of Wellington activist Renee Gerlich’s posters commemorating women’s suffrage. The tagline has been criticised by some as promoting the rejection transgender women’s right to identify as women.

Tabby Besley, national co-ordinator for InsideOUT – a group that advocates for young people of minority genders and sexualities – says the tagline displayed a subtle transphobia.

Phantom asked InsideOUT for advice after receiving complaints about Gerlich’s posters. Her understanding was the posters were harmful to trans and gender diverse people. “It’s a platform for what we see as hate speech … her blog is full of incredibly harmful words,” Besley says.

WRITING BY RENEE: https://reneejg.net/
Trigger warning: feminism, women’s rights

Holloway says many posters had been ripped down around Wellington and a “large number of people” had asked the company not to poster Gerlich’s campaign – but there were also calls in support of Gerlich.  Holloway says while it was not his job to “police a fight between marginalised groups” quashing anyone’s right to free speech was something the company was loathe to do.

“It’s an easy decision with clear hate speech or denigration, this is a lot more difficult – and I don’t necessarily think I’m best placed to make the call, but someone has to,” Holloway says. Gerlich had said she would take the matter up with the Human Rights Commission – a move the company welcomes.

The core issue was not the posters themselves, but Gerlich’s blog, Holloway says. In it Gerlich criticises a lack of voices in media from gender critical feminists on gender identity, while saying the promotion of gender self-identification was constant.

Questioning trans-activism often resulted in a backlash especially the use of the label TERF – trans-exclusionary radical feminist. “This slur is today’s ‘witch’ and is often accompanied by other insults as well as threats of violence, ostracism and loss of livelihood,” Gerlich said.

More ….
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106356864/free-speech-battle-brews-between-feminist-and-transactivist-groups
… … … …

For heaven’s sake. The RadFems & The Intersexers collide. I guess Jordan Peterson would have some predictable views on all of this.

Now the latest Gender Fluid fad is starting to run smack bang into the Pro-Fem/Anti-Men fad AND Transgender Rights AND the Free Speech thing!

Gawd luv a duck ! Stop the world. I want to get off.

⚔ Sir Gerald 🛡

“Some idiotic female reporter” versus Winston Peters

From Gezza:


I posted a comment yesterday evening about watching the last minute or two of Winston Peters’ final Monday post-Cabinet Press briefing via Lurchy’s live link. And that all I managed to catch was some idiotic female reporter loudly asking him if whisky should be swilled or swallowed – & his frustrated response.

I thought it was such a pathetic, vacuous question I mentally switched off remembering how it ended & just wondered who the “bimbo” was.

Looks like the “bimbo” might have been a senior Herald poltical reporter, Claire Trevett? And that the whole point of the question was to manufacture a situation where she could provoke him into commenting on Peter Goodfellow’s anti-Peters remarks at the weekend’s National Party conference.

Because she’s chosen to make his response – threatening that if Goodfellow cared to repeat his remarks outside of the party conference he, Winston, would tell everyone why Goodfellow shouldn’t even be the President of the National Party – the highlight of her report from the Press briefing.

It was a classic Winston threat – a ‘hint’ that there might be some dodgy doings or dirt that he will reveal. But which, if it came to it, might in fact turn out to be nothing more than a smart arse personal attack on his abilities.

It still irritates me, though, that this is what a senior reporter for the Herald set up to create a sensationalist headline & makes me despair about how low the bar for the standard of political reporting has dropped.

Has it always been this low – or was he fair game on this this one? Was this really something of political importance we needed to know?

Interested in others’ thoughts.

Claire Trevett: Winston Peters scores himself E for Everything is Awesome

 

We don’t know how lucky we are

From Gezza:


More outrageous injustice from another of Trump’s repressive regime “good friends”

Egypt: Cairo court sentences 75 protesters to death

An Egyptian court has sentenced 75 people to death for participating in a 2013 protest against the overthrow of the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Senior members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation were among those ordered executed by the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday for their involvement with the sit-in demonstration at Rabaa Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The rulings will be referred to Egypt’s chief Islamic legal authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion. Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to the Grand Mufti before any execution can take place.

The Mufti’s decision is rarely ignored by the courts. In 2014, the Mufti rejected a death sentence proposed for the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, who is part of the same case. Badie has since been sentenced to life in prison. A final verdict is expected by September 8.

More…
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/egypt-cairo-court-sentences-75-protesters-death-180728101431551.html

No member of the Egyptian military has even been investigated for the deaths of several hundred unarmed protesters murdered by the Army when its commander El-Sisi seized power. A Middle Eastern Egyptian political commentator on Aljazeera tv described the charges against many of those condemned to death by the heavily politicised Egyptian Court as “ludicrous”, with “no evidence to support them”, as frequently happens with political rivals & prisoners in Egyptian Courts.

I expect that the sentences will all be commuted to life imprisonment, although with Egyptian courts & maybe even the Mufti being simple extensions of the ruling repressive regime – like in most Middle Eastern countries it seems – who knows?

The commentator observed that the Egyptian Courts’ lack of respect for fair trials & the repressive government’s suppression of any questioning or dissent is only likely to continue – & possibly even increase – as El-Sisi is further emboldened by the uncritical, self-serving, ever-increasing, arms sales & support of the US, UK, & other Western European governments. Like Israel’s Netanyahu apartheid regime has been.
… … …

I agree entirely, I thought to myself. But, listening to him, I couldn’t help also thinking that, while I’m appalled at the lack of any evidence of our Western democratic notions of free speech & a fair trial in Egypt & other Middle Eastern countries, Egypt has an ongoing problem suppressing ISIS & other Islamic extremists, & there was a fairly high probability that the Courts under the democratically elected-rule of The Muslim Brotherhood would become increasingly theocratised, &, given how things are elsewhere in the ME, that Muslim attacks on, and repression of, non-Muslims or dissenters would very likely be as, or more, frequent than they have been under the El-Sisi regime.

And that thank my lucky stars I was so blimmin fortunate to have been born & to live in this country, at this time in its history. Where, here, we get to whinge & whine & snarl & scream abuse & hurl mud & sex toys (if we’re loopy enuf, or aggrieved enuf, & we’ve a mind to) at our governments or their representatives, & to protest about real & imaginary injustices – to our hearts’ content – without ever having to fear getting shot, or arbitrarily beaten up & arrested, at any time, for non-violent protest, by ruthless government-sponsored thugs & torturers.

And we also don’t have to worry that some well out-of-date, oppressive, misogynistic, intolerant, savage, inhumane, diabolically awful religion might alternatively determine what our laws and penalties – for example for ‘grievous offences’ like blasphemy, & homosexuality, & starving kids stealing a loaf of bread, & apostasy, or practising or converting to another deluded Abrahamic religion – or just rationality – should be.

Whatever criticisms might be justifiably levelled at the failings of our Justice system, at least critics & political activists here are subject to the law & fairness & natural justice. And those people who our goverments do sometimes try & harass – thru the Courts, via an implausibly deniable wink to the police senior hierarchy, or thru other government agencies unquestioningly doing their political masters’ bidding – they seem to always end up having their democratic rights respected & reaffirmed, compensation often being ordered, & the agencies who stepped out of line – or outside their legal boundaries to try & silence, intimidate, or punish them – being strongly censured by our Courts.

The famous philosopher, Frederick Dagg, put it thus:
“We don’t know how lucky we are, boy. We don’t know how lucky we are.”

Well … Yes, we do, Frederick. And we should never forget it. And it’s up to every one of us to make sure it stays that way.

Latest Lizzie Marvelly rant

From Gezza:


This time it’s another anti-men one – telling women she’s not anti-men.

Occasionally I’ve even been accused of perpetuating hate speech, so perhaps the free speech coalition (or whatever Brash et al are calling themselves these days now that their favourite egregiously offensive speakers have decided not to come to New Zealand) should add me to the list of undesirable rabble-rousers whose free speech rights should be defended to the death.

Although, as I signed Renae Maihi’s petition, I suspect I may fall on the wrong side of the free speech argument, namely as someone whose right to free speech defenders of free speech rather wish they didn’t have to defend.

What the hell does that last sentence even mean?

Recently, however, another accusation of hate has come to light. Apparently, I’m a man-hater. A [male] friend of my partner told her last week that I should write a column about how great men are every couple of months or so to make up for all of the columns I write that give him the impression that I hate men. A kind of “yay for the gents” puff piece to cancel out all of my shrill shrieking would apparently balance the scales.

An old friend of my father also protested to him on the golf course a few months ago that I was being a bit hard on middle-aged white men. Clearly, for some people of the white and male variety, I’ve struck a nerve.

No you haven’t, you are just hearing what a racist, ageist, sexist young bigot you are.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Over the past few years, I’ve heard – from writers much more experienced than myself – that it’s difficult to be a white man these days. “Pale Male Stale is nothing but racism, sexism and ageism wrapped in a pithy phrase,” Jason Krupp wrote in the National Business Review a few years ago.

Oops – there – don’t just take it from me.

Being “an ageing, conservative male” is an “unpardonable sin”, wrote Cameron Slater late last year. People “fair of skin and male of sex” are members of “a despised minority”, Karl du Fresne pontificated in May.

When it comes to pontificating, lady, you leave The Pope in your dust.

It appears that I have added to these gentlemen’s suffering. The least I can do is offer my heartfelt apologies. How challenging it must be to be part of a demographic that is paid more than any other across most sectors, that is better represented than any other in almost every boardroom and in Parliament, and that occupies the vast majority of positions of power in nearly every society.

Unfortunate realities aside, however, I feel that I should set the record straight. I hate inequality. I hate discrimination. I hate sexism and misogyny. But I don’t hate men.

Pull the other one. And the rest of it continues in similar vein.

So this column is for … the good blokes. The ones who support women, who stand up for justice and equality

That’s me 👍🏼

and who don’t interpret advocacy for women’s rights as man-hating.

That’s me too. 👍🏼

Equal pay doing for the same job just as well as any bloke, I’m all for. Should be that way right now. But research & stats actually show that most confident, successful, women are content to be doing what they’re doing, not working 80 hours a week, and not slugging it out in dangerous, so therefore high-paying, jobs, or STEM fields which tend to pay well because they require a high level of training & skill.

But there are plenty of women doctors, lawyers, accountants, and they aren’t sitting on their butts. They’re starting up their own businesses, and standing up for themselves, & busting the boundaries – not just being whining, anti-men bigots, like you.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12095666

Molyneux and Southern in Melbourne

From Gezza:


Melbourne

The Hume Highway was closed after the protesters gathered at La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Somerton, the venue for a talk by Lauren Southern and spilled on to the road. Officers tried to subdue the crowd with pepper spray as they clashed with mounted and riot police.

The Canadian commentator, who is touring with her fellow countryman Stefan Molyneux, is expected to share her controversial views on multiculturalism, Islam, and feminism.

Right-wing activist Neil Erikson filmed protesters before being hauled away from police. He and two other men are charged with affray and riot over an incident outside an event by controversial commentator Milo Yiannopoulos last year.

Ms Southern was expected to cause trouble, with the alt-right YouTube star making headlines since she touched down in Australia. The 23-year-old arrived in Brisbane wearing an “It’s okay to be white” T-shirt, after warning news.com.au she would cause “chaos” with her notorious brand of “free speech”.

The right-winger earlier hit the streets of Melbourne to stir up controversy, although her efforts to generate outrage ahead of her talk tonight appear to have fallen flat.

Even those who bought tickets to the first event of her Australian tour were given minimal detail about where the talk is. In a message to participants, organisers of the event thanked people for their understanding and patience about the secrecy around the location. “The fierce opposition to this event by the extreme left elements of Melbourne has been breathtaking in their determination to make it as difficult as possible for us to bring this tour here,” the message said.

Complicated measures have been introduced to keep the location of Lauren Southern’s talk secret. Source:YouTube

Security around Ms Southern’s talk is reportedly costing organisers thousands with Victoria Police reportedly sending them a $68,000 bill to pay for resources to be used at her show. An email from Victoria Police quotes the total cost as $230,000 but said police would only charge her $67,842.50, News Corp Australia reported.

After violent activists turned Melbourne streets into a war zone during a talk by right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos six months ago, he was also sent a $50,000 bill to cover the heavy police presence.

The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism has organised a protest in Melbourne to “show fascistic ideas will always lose in Melbourne” against Ms Southern’s show. It called her “a notorious racist and Islamophobe”.

On Saturday she appeared on Sky News, making it clear that she was “happy to be white”. “If I were black I could say I’m proud, if I were Asian I could say I’m proud, if I were any other ethnicity I could say I’m proud because that’s how our culture is, but if I’m white and I say I’m proud the media will go nuts,” she said.

More … includes embedded video of protestors swearing, banging on, & trying to stop the bus.

–  Protester rushes stage as activists clash with police at far-right Lauren Southern’s Melbourne event


My take:

She makes a good point & is likely to be sort of correct there, on that last bit about the media “going nuts” if she wore a ” Proud to be white” T-shirt in the US, Canada & Australia. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily true of the UK or New Zealand.

I think “the media” doesn’t actually much care one way or the other that she’d wear a T-shirt saying that. This is sensationalist stuff. It’s clicks and viewers. They are more interested in stirring up & then videoing & showing & reporting on the number & type of violent & abusive “liberal” left wing & Muslim young radicals who will straight away come out, gang up, scream slogans like “Nazis!” & cause mayhem because they hate her.

Because for such people whether all or any of it is true or not doesn’t matter. They don’t like it. They don’t agree with it. They usually can’t just calmly & intelligently dispute or refute it. So they have decided the only thing to do is try & ensure that people mustn’t listen it. That people who do are demonised or scared to do it in case they and/or their property are attacked.

What Southern is doing, like Jordan Peterson is doing, is raising issues like:

  • immigration & border control failures,
  • who should decide immigration policies,
  • what numbers are manageable, and what criteria should be required,
  • whether immigrants should assimilate or not,
  • whether religious or cultural behaviours, beliefs & values of some individuals or groups fundamentally clash with those of Western Europeans & eventually may – or already do seek – to replace Western liberal European values & laws in the areas they dominate
  • what are the costs vs the benefits to the host country of different types of immigrant categories (skills, family, guest workers vs locals)

*Are the increasingly strident claims of extreme, radical, or even now mainstream feminists (whatever that word even means now) that men are suppressing women’s career development & actively or covertly preventing them gaining positions of power & responsibility, access to high-paying jobs, and just basically fundamentally unnecessary as per the famous radical lesbian feminist adage “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” – actually even TRUE?

Increasing evidence now suggests not. And that this now-longstanding criticising & even demonising of “men” appears to be one cause of the growing incidence of confused, anxious & dysfunctional young men & women in places like the US.

As far as I can tell Southern hasn’t claimed that whites are superior to black or brown people.

She seems to saying that – in the face of now decades of constant criticism & verbal attacks on the ‘cultural domination’ of Western countries by white people (who have actually in recent decades been surprisingly ethnically, religiously & even culturally tolerant – compared to, say, the real, legalised, institutionalised, religiously-prescribed & indoctrinated patriarchal misogynism & intolerance prevalent among Muslim people in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia etc) – she is actually Proud To Be A White European – & she thinks approved immigrants should only be those who will contribute, not cost, & will assimilate into her own country’s prevailing culture of one law for all, free speech, & otherwise complete colour blindness.

She draws attention in her movie FARMLANDS to the ongoing & unreported anti-white discrimination, & murders & attacks on white farmers in isolated communities in South Africa.

Somebody should. Mandela would.

There’s no case for moral relativism such as “ha ha it’s their turn now” because Whites segregated & controlled the place for decades before they finally, for many reasons – including international sanctions & condemnation – accepted that it was morally wrong & surrendered power to ‘democracy’. A democracy which has rapidly became astoundingly, but not entirely surprisingly, corrupt under black majority rule.

Any government practicing or advocating discrimination, dispossession without compensation, ignoring, or condoning the oppression, repression, or murder of any group who are no threat to the survival or wellbeing of another group is just wrong. Whoever does it. Whenever they do it.

Molyneux is riding the same wave as Southern. However he is also a conspiracist & in my view a generally more suspicious sort of character because he also pushes false & misleading information. But many of his messages deal with the same issues.

They are all issues which I think DO need to be frequently discussed in a free, open, fair, & still-evolving, generally harmonious, democratic society like ours and other similar countries – which want to remain that way.

Free Speech – are we for or against it?

Post from Gezza:


“OPINION: It seems I’m as Aryan as you can get, with a DNA test to prove it, but I’m less thrilled about it than Lauren Southern, the suitably blonde agitator who wasn’t allowed to speak at the Auckland Council’s Bruce Mason Centre.

The 23-year-old self-described journalist calls to mind an inane pop song once banned by the BBC, Jump Up and Down and Wave Your Knickers in the Air.

She’s white and proud and wants to kick arse about the accident of her birth, for which she has no more reason to preen than the rest of us whiteys. But boy, is she shrill, is she self-righteous, and is she in-your-face provocative.

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

ROSEMARY MCLEOD

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

I’ve taken a dislike to her. In case you wondered. Southern and fellow Canadian Stefan Molyneux are internet identities with a far-Right agenda that would have appalled Bruce Mason, a leading Kiwi playwright and sensible liberal.”

More…

… … …
As I posted the other day, Rosemary McLeod is at it – a classic liberal feminist, playing the “Nazi Aryan Maiden” card, without citing any actual evidence to back up what she appears to have heard elsewhere.

She, like the rest of us, has no idea exactly what these two were going to say, & she is appalled that Don Brash is in favour of allowing people to express “racist” views. I happen to agree with Brash on this.

My take: Molyneux is a sleazy character who, among other fad topics of appeal to the low-IQ North American conservative to far right spectrum reportedly peddles the debunked “IQ is linked to race” theory. I haven’t yet seen him doing this – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does.

if you’ve watched a lot of his 90 -120 minute plus interminable online harangues – as I now have – after half an hour of his superciliously snide side-comments you can quickly write him off as awful to listen to, devious, a frequent distorter of facts & outright liar, whose false claims among the facts are easily disproved and dismissed. Which is what should happen.

So far I haven’t heard him directly advocating that whites are superior, although the hoary old ‘race-based IQ’ revival he is said to promote carries that obvious implication, disguised as it is with the false claim that Ashkanazi Jews are top of the high IQ list and whites are only at third from top in the pecking order.

Southern is another story. She doesn’t lie. She holds strong views about the values of Western European culture & systems & argues against people and groups who practice white racism & have cultural practices, ideas & values that conflict with or are inconsistent with them, & challenges those who allow, support, or encourage people traffickers to keep up the flow of floods of people from such countries into Western countries, where there is evidence of the real & projected adverse outcomes & impacts on the host populations & their own cultures that these sudden massive influxes create.

Both of them seem to have views also on the impact of feminism and its attendant anti-male rhetoric & influence in modern society because of the negative outcome statistics for, basically, emasculated, anxiety-ridden, lost young men – often fatherless – who have grown up indoctrinated by a female-friendly childcare & education system and are now showing up quite prominently in sociological studies apparently believing that being typically male makes them violent, dominating, evil people, & so never become young men & never get out there & realise their potential.

That, contrary to the incessant clamour of strident feminists, stats show that, in the US at least, ‘the system’ is actually now benefiting women far more than men, something which is not known and/or acknowledged by feminazis.

These are valid issues that need an airing & to be discussed in rational debate. I have never heard Southern claim anything about whites or females being superior.

In this article I think McLeod proceeds to display her own intellectual superiority blinkers. I think she rather proves their case that free speech is now actually being suppressed by such people as Rosemary who just don’t want to hear & debate this.

PRAYER FROM AN ATHEIST

Guest post from Gezza

The only way to cure Islam’s ills is to educate Muslims out of believing the Quran. To do that, you also have to educate the Jews out of believing the Torah & the Christians out of believing the Bible.

All of them derive their basis for belief from the first scribblings of unbelievable myth & bullshit in the Jewish Scriptures, & all are demonstrably false.

All of them, & all other supernatural religions, have become interwoven over centuries into the ethnic, cultural & national identities of scores of religious sects & diverse peoples throughout the globe. They have driven land grabs, wars and strife for eons. False beliefs taught to ignorant people of long bygone ages still lie at the very heart of most of the worst tensions & strife between nations & ethnic groups & cultures around the world today.

Of them all, Christianity, while influential in the development of the better aspects of Western civilisation, especially over the last century, has probably reduced the most in direct influence on Westerners, as secular morality has developed & improved on the limits of the so-called 10 commandments, & the Golden Rule. (Even the Golden Rule is reportedly actually quite common to many religions & societies around the globe, or at least between believers or members of the same group.)

Christians forget that making slaves of people from other nations is still sanctioned by God (& Jesus never countermanded Mosaic Law) in the Bible. It is time people looked at the Torah, the Bible and the Quran only as important historical Books.

The Bible played an undoubtedly important part in the development of Western Civilisation & law, but, when you put the pastor outside, clear your mind of the reinterpretations you’ve been fed by the priestly class, & simply read it plainly, end to end, it is instantly revealed, self-evidently, as merely a collection of 3rd 4th & 5th hand scribblings about historically unsupportable superstitions, myths, magic, & logical & scientific nonsense.

It is the story of a savage, jealous, vengeful, murderous, infanticidal, rape & slavery-condoning God who Christians still say – notwithstanding that he ordered and /or committed these heinous acts – MUST be good! Because he is God. And God is good. So he must have had a good reason for such horrific cruelty & immorality. This is just bizarre. Truly daft that anyone can try to rationalise it with pathetic defences about relative morality meaning it was good behaviour from Jaweh for those times, but it’s not now.

Modern, secular society Christians, as empathetic, intelligent, social, human beings whose ideas of morality have now gone well beyond the Bible’s, would NEVER willingly choose to do these horrible things to other people. With the blinkers of highly selective Christian teachings off – the Judeo-Christian God’s actions & commands are actually evil by today’s standards. Jaweh orders the Israelites to commit murder, genocide, rape, infanticide for heaven’s sake. If he came to earth today, he’d literally be in the dock for crimes against humanity!

The same, & new, maybe worse, errors, horrors, pointless, repressive, oppressive, conflicting, bloodthirsty, outdated regulations, bad science, teachings, & beliefs of superiority over others, dictated by a middle-aged Arab warlord, are set out in the Quran & Hadith that Muslims are forced by their theocratic rulers and family & social pressures to believe & take with them wherever they go.

I don’t hate these religions, per se, but I know beyond any reasonable doubt they are false & well out-of-date.

And I DO hate how the contortions & distortions of these ludicrous scripts can be twisted in the minds of gullible believers, who suspend their rationality, & listen when imams & pastors tell them these clusters of confused crap mean something totally different to what they actually say – really, only out of the instilled fear of everlasting torture if they don’t believe it, or the need of desperate or fearful people to call on some hoped-for divine universal power to help them deal with adversity in their daily lives, and give them vain hope of some vague glorious reward of everlasting life & happiness in a hereafter beyond their inevitable expiry date on this earth.

There is NO actual evidence of any such thing. You won’t be seeing your pet dog or the roast lamb you ate for lunch in Heaven either. (Well, I’m an agnostic really. I can’t absolutely guarantee that there is no more existence for our personalities beyond this earthly lifetime, but it’s such a remote possibility that the probability of our death being our complete end of existence would be well in excess of 99.99999%. And it’s an absolute certainty, in my opinion, that in the unlikely event I’m wrong, any existence beyond our earthly one would not be anything like what’s promised in any of these dreadful Holy Books.)

In my view, all children should be given a secular education. They should be taught, first, written language & mathematics, then logic & reasoning, & science, & then told to forget their preachers, & their parents’ beliefs, & be instructed to just read these Holy texts, without reinterpretation, from start to finish. If, by the end, they haven’t figured out:

“WTF? Who can seriously take this garbled rubbish recited to ancient sheep herders & camel drivers as divinely inspired instructions to humanity?”

they should then learn the history of the people who, it is claimed, wrote them, and of how they spread their religions, and warred over them.

That would, hopefully, be the end of the religions, & when their believing parents finally pass away, they could just bury them respectfully, & then just put their Holy Books on the shelves in the Great Myths & History sections of libraries, & focus on establishing or evolving the fairest & most tolerant sets of values, ethics & laws that fit their own ethnic cultures & customs, settle their border squabbles, & renew good relationships with other people & cultures who live in this world – without this bloody religious dogma continually overpowering their reason & humanity & pitting devout, deluded believers & their descendents forever against each other.

Value your separate customs of dress & hospitality, & languages, & other delineators of your cultural & national identities & borders. Live freely in the places your cultures now belong, or have belonged for centuries, & welcome visitors from different lands who respect your customs while there.

If you move to another place, adapt to their culture. If eventually, in the future, we can all meld together with common evolved values & customs & laws & behaviours, so that borders can effectively disappear, there is maybe hope for a true paradise on earth – but that is a long, long way away yet, in my view.

In the meantime, for heaven’s sake, please, read, THINK, & then throw out all the false Gods that tell you you are a special & favoured people, & that all the other gods & their deluded believers are wrong! Humanity MUST outgrow these mythical supernatural rulers if we are ever to evolve the kind of world we really want.

We need to learn to love & live the life we have to the full. It is the only one we have. We need to grow up & face this fact. It is time for us to put away these childish fairy & troll kings – & become better than them.