How we get to hell

“I use plastic bags, they’re very convenient. You know what I do with them once I’m done with them? I just don’t put them in the ocean.”

David Seymour

I will be changing what I do with my plastic bags in the future.  I will be sending them to David.

“This is actually a policy that will mean a whole lot of people who wouldn’t have otherwise chosen to use re-usable bags are forced to use them because there are no other options and that’s when you get problems.”

It was like when the government tried to tell people in America they couldn’t have slaves anymore.  I mean sure, not using slaves would be nice and everything, but don’t force anyone to do it.  Make it voluntary to pay people.  Am I right, David?

David is correct about one thing: plastic bags in the ocean are a tiny problem.  We actually need to ban all single use plastic items, and then go after packaging in general.  On the other hand, if there’s one thing that would signal the end of freedom in the west it would be not having the freedom to buy water in a plastic bottle, drink it in one minute, and toss the bottle in the nearest rubbish bin.  Freedom’s bell should never be silenced.  Not for the oceans, not for Earth, not for the last speakers of a strangled off language.

You need to listen to the context of the word freedom (and its synonyms) very, very carefully.

Like this: “Firearms safeguard freedom”.  The thoughts of the terrifying new president of Brazil, Bolsonaro.

“We’re all the same. There’s no difference between me and you. It doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is, your sexual preference, the region where you were born, your gender. We’re all equal … We can’t take certain minorities and think they have super powers and are different from the others.”

Bolsonaro

“We are saying all New Zealanders irrespective of their ancestry, or when their ancestors came to New Zealand, should have the same political rights, now that’s the opposite of racism. A racist is someone who wants special privileges for some group depending on their ethnicity. We’re saying everyone should have equal political rights.”

Don Brash

Some people probably think I am exaggerating when I talk about people like Don Brash, and David Seymour, but I’m not.  They are on the exact same page as the people overseas that we like to mock or criticise.

There couldn’t be anything clearer than these two quotes side by side.  It is the white supremacist ideology in the language of freedom and equality.  Those words have two meanings though:

Permit

Around the world things are bad.  It should be less of a surprise.  When people with power are challenged they toughen up and lash out.  The catastrophic effects of climate change accumulate elsewhere, and the peoples of privilege are arming and oppressing.  People forget that the Nazis first came to power democratically or the words of that Kristofferson song:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. 

 

 

Don Brash: White Supremacist

“We are saying all New Zealanders irrespective of their ancestry, or when their ancestors came to New Zealand, should have the same political rights, now that’s the opposite of racism. A racist is someone who wants special privileges for some group depending on their ethnicity. We’re saying everyone should have equal political rights.”

Don Brash

Don wanted an apology for this statement in the Auckland University Alumni magazine:

“The tirade was led by Don Brash, in his role as spokesperson for Hobson’s Pledge, a racist and militantly anti-Māori lobby group.”

This was from an opinion piece.  That is, it was the opinion of the author – Professor Stephen May – that Hobson’s Pledge was racist and anti-Māori.  For this Don wanted an apology.  This is the same Don who defended – on the basis of freedom of speech – the right of Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern to come to a council venue in Auckland and denigrate minorities.  For Don freedom of speech means the right to “maintain white supremacy”.

For Don, maintaining the status quo – Māori all live in an ideologically Pākehā world, by Pākehā norms, expectations and rules – is unequivocally fair.  For Don, reserving the privilege of living in a society that matches your culture and ideology for one group – Pākehā – and denying it to another group – Māori – is the “opposite of racist”.  Listen to this absurdity:

“A racist is someone who wants special privileges for some group depending on their ethnicity.”

Which is, precisely, what he wants.  He is describing himself.  As a racist.  He wants special privileges for a group based on their ethnicity.  Don’t be confused by the fact that his group includes many different ethnic groups.  This is not actually relevant although it appears to be.  It is not relevant because none of those groups are asking for anything significantly different from the high status group: the Pākehā.  The British-European basis of our society is the special privilege all these groups seek, but it is the Pākehā who have set the frame.  They line up, if you like, with the Pākehā.

Don has the fanciful notion that the west is the best.  I sometimes wonder if he thinks that is scientifically provable.  I think this is because he confuses technology with culture.  He is fond of doing this.  He says Māori were a stone-age culture who hadn’t invented the wheel.  He mentions cannibalism a lot.  Sounds a bit racist to me.  I mean, without mentioning the utterly horrific penal system of England in the same breath.  Anyway, if we take out wheels and things like that, we are left with cultural practices.  Cannibalism is not attractive.  But neither was public torture and execution.  Checking attitudes to women and sexuality in both cultures is worth doing, Don.  It’s quite complicated.  Once the Māori were introduced to European technologies they embraced them.  Adapted them.  Ideas, too, if they were useful.  Don’s descriptions of Māori culture at contact are offensively simplistic and one-sided.

He also doesn’t understand that having Māori people who support him doesn’t remove the truth of the accusation of racism.  bell hooks has a wonderful way to shift this.  Instead of racism you call it white supremacy.  The ideology of white supremacy is so powerful that even those who are not white can take it on.  Let’s  not forget that the main people driving the Tohunga Suppression Act (1907) were the Māori MPs.

Perhaps, then, Don was sort of right.  Perhaps the line in the article should have read:

“The tirade was led by Don Brash, in his role as spokesperson for Hobson’s Pledge, a white supremacist and militantly anti-Māori lobby group.”

Well, that’s fine.  I’m happy to call Don a white supremacist and not a racist.  Don believes in the supremacy of white culture.  He thinks it is so good that you can impose it on people in other countries and if they don’t like it they are just being either (a) stupid, or (b) racist.  See how great that last point is?  It goes something like this:

Don: My culture’s beliefs are neutral expressions of truth and justice, and we will all live by them.

Someone Else: Well, that’s ok for you guys, but we’d like to keep using our system.

Don: No, you can’t do that.  Doing that would be racist.

Someone Else: Eh?  But you just came here and imposed your own race’s beliefs on us.

Don: Don’t be racist.

[200 years later]

Someone Else: So, things are going pretty badly for us living under your system, can we try some of our ideas please?

Don: Racist.

You’ve got to admire the audacity.

Or condemn the insufferable arrogance.  As he blithely carries on about his business of promoting the maintenance of white supremacy, giving cover to every person who says “I don’t see race”, and trundling along with perfect ease as incarceration rates, educational attainment rates, health stats, and income levels remain dreadful for certain ethnic groups in New Zealand.  Maintaining those results generation by generation is “fair”.

If only Māori would completely assimilate.  If they could simply take on absolutely all aspects of the Pākehā mentality then all the benefits would accrue to them.  All races of the world could live in white supremacist harmony and no one would need “special privileges” like their own language, or systems of belief.

What a wonderful world that would be.

Don Brash is a white supremacist.  Keep saying it.  Don’t apologise.