Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: The Drugs Meetup,

    In sum, it was was an important affirmation that science is not values-free.

    And yet that is meant to be its main strength. I have long thought that an obsession with value free knowledge as a means to making value judgments and inevitably practical moral decisions is a very dangerous obsession. It means that value discussion itself is tragically weak since it deals with non scientific claims and is therefore derided as having no merit. Which inevitably means that the values of the very people providing the value free knowledge go unexamined and unchallenged and take precedence. And it is very, very difficult for any layperson in their field to unpack where they went wrong since their field is highly technical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: The Drugs Meetup,

    I started to despair of politics and politicians.

    I'm not sure if this makes me happy or sad. I despaired some years ago but misery does love company.

    So how the Minister can stand there with a straight face and claim that he expected a different result is beyond me. There's a name for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    I doubt he really expected a different result. He not insane, he's just a liar. The insanity is in expecting honesty from powerful politicians.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: Cannabis: Who owns Say Nope…, in reply to Marta Rychert,

    Incidentally, we are not criticizing Jacinda Ardern for her position, she clearly explained the rational that she wanted people to decide for themselves, which is reasonable for such a values based issue.

    I think it was cowardly and it led to a bad outcome so I'm quite happy to criticize her for it.

    Of course it wasn't the only factor, The world was gripped by total loss of all perspective on the relative balance of potential harm and the right to a great many freedoms, and it still is. Under the circumstances it was amazing legalization even came close when we had just spent many months making it illegal to go to work, school, to friends, to shops, sports, overseas, to weddings and funerals, even leaving your suburb was curtailed.

    I can't even imagine a sensible debate about harm minimization when we cant even bring up just how far and how extremely wrong the approach can go, as just witnessed. We've got a whole lot more suffering to do first.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: Family Matters: a post about 2020,

    Maybe. Could also just be the passage of time on any group of people. Eventually they drift apart unless strong efforts are made to keep them together. Russell made those efforts for many years, well over and above any call of duty. I'm glad to remember the good times fondly and don't expect them to return.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Speaker: Rewarding competence, in reply to linger,

    since the National support bled out about equally towards ACT (of all lunatic lost causes), it indicates lack of confidence in National rather than a swing to support any particular policy of the Left.

    Well apart from their policy of making Covid 19 the only thing anyone could think about all year, which worked out extremely well for Labour. National had nowhere to go because they were outflanked on the right by Labour. They thought they were the party of harsh measures, but they were amateur hour. So yeah..competence. Be careful what you wish for, because people doing the wrong things with high levels of competence isn't a first in human history and it seldom goes well in the long run. I've never felt less politically engaged, because our democracy showed its yellow stripes big time this year. It's the first time I've felt truly embarrassed to be a New Zealander.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Speaker: Rewarding competence,

    A hell of a lot of people who have voted National for a long time must have switched to Labour. We may eventually have sound evidence as to why this happened, but I'd think that keeping the Greens out of government is a believable motivation for a lot of people. Along with many other reasons, but it would be the world's biggest coincidence if the lion's share of them wasn't Covid-related in one way or another, as Labour's meteoric rise concided exactly with the pandemic hysteria and there has been basically no other news this year.

    Right wing pundits certainly have more than their fair share of idiots. It's a great pity that they are pretty much the only people left that are openly critical of the government any more. I personally would not be singing this government's praise on it's profound left-wing acheivements, most especially not it's authoritarian response to the pandemic, which was a victory for the complete absence of any sensible democratic debate. The ensuing unprecedented destruction of the economy and entire sectors within it is not likely to be fantastic for any left wing spending programme.

    Suggesting that the government is now on the verge of taking major action over climate change is particularly fanciful. They literally do not need to go into coalition with the Greens and pretty clearly are not going to. Climate change is not a major hobby horse of Labour's and it certainly is not a major hobby horse of their new found voter support from NZF and National voters. And yes, I too heard Ardern's loud dogwhistle in her victory speech for that new support base. Expect Covid to be the Government's entire priority for another year. I don't think they'll be able to milk 3 years out of it, though, by which time we will certainly see if any major inroads into anything even vaguely resembling left-wing reform actually have materialized. I'm not hopeful. Not even slightly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: Cannabis: legalisation versus…, in reply to Nick Russell,


    But you'd have to be pretty naive to think legalisation will result in lower rates of convictions or imprisonment for Maori.

    Overall, maybe not, but it would lead to zero convictions and imprisonment for Maori for something that it also leads to few convictions and imprisonment for non-Maori, so that's a win for racial equality. Similarly for official decriminalization. It's this de-facto state of affairs now that allows for that brand of Pakeha hypocrisy.

    But sure, police racism would also be good to tackle more directly.


    Your entire line is not really on topic in this thread. I don't think you'll find many people arguing head to head with you that more assistance for those suffering most from any cannabis related harm is unwarranted - no matter what system we live under, including the current one.


    I just voted yes. Legalization is what is on offer. If decriminalization had been the only thing on offer I'd have supported that, even if I agree with Russell that it's not the right thing to do.

    I do not think the referendum will pass, though. It, and practically every other human concern, have been drowned out by the pandemic hysteria, and I don't anything even vaguely approximately political normality returning until we've got that out of our systems. Right now, people are voting out of fear, and that's not ever good for liberal reform. Labour's near majority is the NZ herd clustering around strong authority, in terror of the big bad world. I can't even bear to watch news any more. I'd feel real bitter about the referendum destruction if it wasn't the tiniest little piece of the overall destruction this years insanity has brought.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: The last – and best – parts…, in reply to Alfie,

    Possibly, in the way that four big macs equate to one decent restaurant meal

    I think it's more like in the way that a nip of spirits equates to a beer when you're getting breath tested. Many prefer beer. Many like spirits but only if diluted in a mixer. And every type of alcohol has generally better and worse brands in the eye of the tasting public. But all (except home brew) clearly identify their strength and it is not legal to sell for consumption pure alcohol even though you could safely water it down and drink it. A line is drawn and it mostly makes sense. If you must drink 90% pure alcohol it isn't that hard to make or acquire.

    That said I think you could argue the high strength stuff is more like spirits or wine and the "pure" is extracts like hashish. I don't knows really because none of can kill you as easily as alcohol so the analogy breaks down on the actual harm measure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: The last – and best – parts…,

    It feels a bit churlish to criticise, but the 15% THC limit feels low as many popular strains currently come in around the 20% mark. That creates an obvious and sizeable niche for the black market.

    I don't think this is much of a problem really. There is a black market for over proof booze now but really, so what? You'll get the same effect from two doses of half strength as one dose of full strength. The important thing is that the dose is known. I don't think strength will long continue to dictate price, as civilized use progresses. Subtler things like taste, smell, quality of experience and brand recognition will demand premiums. The crude idea of stronger is better will just be a tiny niche, like drinking moonshine is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Hard News: Together Alone, in reply to Neil,

    There’s certainly some not particularly good arguments at present for an early end to lockdown but some of the arguments are worth considering, they are appear to be in good faith.

    Yes, whatever the facts of the virus itself are, and time will certainly tell on that, it seems likely to me that opinions are divided over the basic values that lead to decisions as enormous as the total lockdown of society. To write them all off as eugenic is not good faith.

    But I don't think this is the thread for such a discussion, TBH. I'm not even sure this is the site.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

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