Hey, but don't worry guys - the government looks set to almost completely ignore the recommendations of the Law Commission report on alcohol. According to JK, "there is literally [??] no appetite for is [sic, NZH] to increase excise taxes".
Good to see a drugs approach consistent with actual harms.
It's interesting, but not ultimately noteworthy, in my opinion. For me, the proof is in the pudding. You don't need to see an internal document to see, for example, that more space was given to 'reporting' the BNZ's 'Closed for Good' marketing campaign than to the implications of New Zealand's largest tax fraud, and you don't have to be a genius to work out why.
Of course, as someone who was (briefly) threatened with legal action by the Herald, it seems like the legal budget might be oriented more toward that than legal defence...
Yeah, and when an acquaintance of of mine has lost her ONE HOUSE because her business has gone under, and three weeks before she was due to have a baby to boot, pardon me if I'm a little short of sympathy for Bruce Burgess. Though to be fair, it appears Burgess was perfectly upfront about his circumstances so I'm not bagging him. It's all very nice for The Herald to admit they got this story badly wrong, but it would have been even better if they'd gotten it right in the first place.
Except they didn't admit they got the story wrong at all. They claimed they were misled by Goff, as if one of his powers as Leader of the Opposition were to put stories in the country's newspapers without the approval of editors.
As much as I - sometimes - have a visceral dislike of Phil Goff, he's just playing the game. No one pays attention to these kinds of policies unless you can put a frowny face next to it. Burgess happened to be a bad pick in this case, but as you say, there are plenty of other people in similar situations.
I find it hard to see how one could see, say, the partition of India apart from its religious component, or the English civil war, or the Shia vs Sunni struggle in Iraq. If we always excuse these conflicts by saying "ah, that's not really religious", then I begin to suspect that we have a definition of "religious" that includes "can't ever be a contributor to violence."
Now, I'd accept that the claim that religion is responsible for more violence than other causes is unprovable, let alone true. But equally, it sure does help.
Substituting 'ideology' for 'religion' seems to me to work better. It neatly evades the common religious comeback that Stalin or Mao's crimes show that atheism is worse than religion.
I'm not entirely sure of the relevance of such observations.
Wouldn't it be more relevant to ask: should we teach children that things fall because of gravity, or because God intervenes and makes them fall?
This seems right. Presumably what we want children to learn in school science class (at least up to a point) is not, say, the structure of an atom or whether light is a particle or wave. We want them to learn something of scientific method, and what the appropriate ways are to work out whether something is 'true' or not.
Hmmm... it would be interesting to be able to probe this a little more deeply, to find out whether people really believe in life after death and heaven and all that schemozzle, or they would just like to believe in those things, because they are comforting. In my cynical moments, I think that many "believers" really believe in the god of pretty things more than any thing else.
I suspect this would be relatively fruitless, although you may get some people to freak out due to cognitive dissonance. That might make it worthwhile.
I thought this survey was largely bogus. But then that's generally what I think about surveys, especially when the Herald reports on them.
I suspect that most of the people who are becoming 'non-religious' are actually just getting high on crystals and chakras instead of 'God'. That doesn't seem to be much of an improvement to me.
It's probably sad to link one's own blog on another blog, but here's what I wrote about the survey when it appeared in the Herald last week: