Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Only random if you can’t see that he’s operating from the political center.

    I don't see that and it's not the only source of his randomness. I think his supporters are less centrist than Labour and National supporters. Only UF support is more centrist than they are. I think he's about as far from the center as the Greens are in the main left-right dichotomy, and about as far on the opposite side of the center as they are on the next most important direction, which is similarly hard to characterize, but it's associated with views on immigration and social liberality. On that dimension, Labour, National, UF and ACT supporters are all basically the same (bang in the middle), making them "pure" left-right parties.

    This battle in the other dimension divides and fragments the left. But the issues are important to those people on the left. Perhaps they're more important than the other dimension, even. They're not to most people, but they may be to those sub groups.

    Whether Winston himself actually takes views representative of his support is the part I consider random. He's one person, can change his mind, and seems to frequently do so. His own personal position in the resulting government is a big bargaining chip of personal importance to himself, which he doesn't take anyone else's counsel on (unlike the leaders of National, Labour, and the Greens).

    So yeah, he's unpredictable. He doesn't so much straddle the center of political opinion as he holds the only truly transmutable political position of importance. Dunne is there but he's only one guy and basically completely unimportant now. The Maori Party are there too, and are also transmutable. Their support is obviously closer to Labour, but again, a lot of it comes down to what the actual people are offered in a government.

    The Green support could be transmutable. They could offer to National to be in power to keep Winston out. But they don't, probably on the belief (which is probably true) that their support would desert them. They are a party of policy and democratic engagement with their supporters, so such deal making is very difficult for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’d say we’re seeing a realignment globally (certainly US and UK) from left/right to rational/irrational.

    I pretty much don't even think of left/right in terms of any fixed set of views. It's just "the axis along which the bulk of the opinion of the population is divided". I like this because it will stand the test of time, shifting as the population shifts. It does mean that the numbers on each side will always be approximately equal, even if the way they vote could be skewed from that. It's not the only way to do it, but it is a way that doesn't immediately stall on "how can you claim that's what leftists think? That ain't the left, the left is what I say the left is! Show me your evidence that this is the correct meaning of left!".

    Personally, on my way of looking at it, I do find myself on the Left, but that's not the only direction I deviate from the center on. I'm not committed to agreeing with Leftists because I happen to be on the Left. Quite the opposite, it enables me to discover in what way I am not like the others on the Left. Our differences do not invalidate their being on the Left, or me being there.

    The choice of which direction along this axis is actually the Left was not hard. It's the side Labour is on, and the other side has National on it. In fact, the centroid of Labour voters is right on this axis, and the same for National, which is hardly surprising since between them they account for 70% of the voters. The other left centroids are quite close to Labour, and NZF is included in that, as are the Maori Party. UF sits on the center, and ACT is on the far side from National.

    In this analysis, the only Right wing parties are National and ACT. That they have managed to rule comes down, IMHO, to the Left's fragmentation, that NZF and the Greens leadership dislike each other more than their actual respective memberships disagree with each other. They think they are more enemies than their actual opinions would suggest. Winston is still a basically this huge random element whose opinions are imposed over the quite large number of people who support him. Whatever he thinks matters after the election will dictate our next government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Carol Stewart,

    You think you can exclude Winston from the right bloc, Sacha?

    Well he's not in the right bloc that currently holds power.

    I'm not sure where Winston himself sits, but his support is, IMHO, mostly on the Left (if we define position by political opinion and how the population differs on that). It's actually hard to tell it apart from Labour support by professed opinions - the differences are more likely to be demographic.

    This probably explains Labour's immigration stance. It's probably a reflection of things their actual supporters have said, when captured anonymously and examined statistically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Peter George is running the idea that it was all too smooth

    If that's the calibre of what they're up against, I suddenly have a wild sense of hope.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: That escalated quickly ..., in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    and (as is conventional) resigns the next day

    I hope that ends. It's annoyed me since Goff did it, just when I was warming to the bugger, and it's been chaos since, stilled only by the competent but uncharismatic hand of Little, which has to go down as his legacy. That he threw his support behind Ardern speaks of a tactical vision that put his ego to one side.

    I'm so stoked both for and about the Ardern/Davis ticket. It's like X-Gen in NZ is finally getting it's shot, well before I expected to see it. I'm less fussed about Ardern being a woman, that's not a political unknown in NZ, been done twice before, both well and horribly. What I like about Ardern is her Ardern-ness, frankly. We met once and I didn't know she was a politician, and would never have worked it out without asking. It does go down as one of those muppet moments in my life, asking the future Leader of the Labour Party, and hopefully the country, at a party, "so, what is it you do for a living?".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I get

    You get nothing more than Good Day, sir. We will never see eye to eye and I don't care to waste any more time with you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Remove the medical profession from this bill and I’d be happy.

    Me too, but that is not going to happen so I would not oppose this bill just to prove some obscure point about how it doesn't go far enough, any more than I would oppose a civil unions bill because it is not a full legalization of gay marriage bill. It's not the bill I'd have put forward, but to oppose it for not going far enough? I'm not that addicted to my personal standards of proof and ideal legislation to deliberately opt to argue for continue harm of those who might benefit from this increment.

    That said, the fact that we're having this discussion at all goes quite a long way to my enduring dislike of incrementalism as a framework. That a bunch of apparently liberal people who actually favour the idea of full legalization of cannabis would oppose a bill that partially achieves that is hardly surprising to me. It's the history of this approach, getting bogged down in arbitrary pissly concerns about due process, and any objection anyone can think of any time about anything. The production is not controlled!! Ahhhhhh! No, I won't have it! Tens of thousand of cancer patients can just suffer on it for 10 more years while we do clinical trials!! The police might get upset! Labour might not get elected!!!!

    TBH, I can understand Tom Semmens POV more. At least it's a consistent position of completely missing the point that medical cannabis doesn't get you out of it at all, and takes the typically authoritarian line of a staunch communist in seriously entertaining the idea that by banning pot we've saved kids from drug abuse, and ruing only that it can't also be done for alcohol.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…, in reply to Neil,

    Presumably you get a license to sell the product and seeds, seedlings etc, which is where the quality control comes in. After that, it's hard to see why it's needed at all. The user gets a prescription that effectively allows them to buy some, and keeps it in case they get hassled about the plants. We aren't talking about producing some industrial chemical. It's non-toxic plant that can be taken in a variety of ways, with dosage being pretty much left to the person using it. You can massively overthink this on behalf of the medical profession. But it's not actually about the medical profession. Their rights to have high standards are hardly the concern being addressed.

    Fortunately, this is a democracy. Doctors have influence, but not total control over something that has been banned for moral rather than medical reasons. It becomes a tool in the kit that they can use as they see fit to the full limit of their right to protect their industry's standards. Or not, depending just how precious they are about something that has not had a recorded death due to toxicity in all of human history, and how much they think it might be worth a shot for someone suffering severe pain and nausea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Genter's Bill: Starting at…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But trying to introduce into medicine the idea of “prescribing” random plant material is a big step backwards.

    I'm not feeling it. Sorry man, I just can't internalize looking after the medical profession so hard that I can buy what amounts to a concern troll against an incremental movement in the right direction. If doctors don't want to prescribe it, they don't have to. But the law change makes it possible, something that it currently is not. The evidence for why it should not be possible is even more weak than the evidence about why it should be. The harm caused by the prohibition is real. Yes, there may be some harms from stopping it too, but I am pretty much convinced that they are considerably less. We are literally talking about elective pain relief that has been blocked because of the war on drugs started half a century ago in a country that has since begun to wise up.

    Doctors aren't gods, for heavens sake. We don't have to preserve the holy sanctity of their profession for them. Most of them do it fine all by themselves. I literally don't give a flying fuck if the processes and procedures by which doctors come to their conclusions aren't fully nutted out in Parliament. I don't trust Parliament to do such a thing, and I never have. They're the reason we're here in the first place. I just don't see any reason to continue this stupid charade of pretending that a continued prohibition of medical cannabis is somehow in the interests of the general public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Blockchain, what is it?, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    As expected (and I think I documented this someplace many years ago) this is likely to lead to rampant deflation – which is of course just as much a problem to anyone attempting to use the currency as rampant inflation would be.

    You'd probably have to tease that out. To me it looks like a major reason to buy the currency, because its value is rising rapidly. But therein lies my complaint - it's literally a reason to burn electricity for the purpose of mining Bitcoins, which in themselves are not really valuable at all. It's like we've invented a far, far more energy intensive way of creating the medium of exchange than a mere printing press (or the simple entering of a number into a ledger the way most money is created), and we've allowed everyone to have one. I don't think this is a boon to humanity. On an individual basis, they're compelling to have. But on a societal level, or a species level, it's literally nothing but a massive drain on a valuable resource, to do something that we actually already did more efficiently. That's late stage capitalism cray, a natural end game to the endless human and other energy and resources that we have already thrown at the diminishing returns of the knowledge economy. A product that takes electricity to do nothing, simply because it is costly to do so, forming a marker of our relative power to simply burn down something of value to show our own value.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10469 posts Report Reply

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