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  1. Lefter 50 ~ The Good, the Bad and the Down Right Ugly

    November 27, 2011 by emweb

    Like a lot of lefties, I’m probably not having the best day after the stunning victory for John Key.

    But there are some good things.

    Then we’ll get onto the bad.

    Labour ran an excellent campaign. We now know what Labour stands for. This is a huge relief, as it’s all good things we can believe in.

    But there remains a lot work to do to spread those beliefs. The campaign was too short, thanks to rugby. At least Labour now has three years in which to establish (and sell) its values.

    Phil Goff really proved his mettle. It may have been too late, and he may have looked like he was doing it all alone at times, but at least the party political broadcasts showed a broad spectrum of Labour types, speaking on a broad range of left wing values. I thought they were excellent, compared to John Key’s solo efforts as the mumbling poster boy for New Zealand greed. My admiration for Phil Goff has risen dramatically. Shame the Labour Party once again let National call the shots, letting the Rugby World Cup stop a decent pre-election run. Labour even failed to capitalise on the tea incident. This shows a lack of gumption, frankly – and look what some gumption did for Winston Phoenix – I mean, Peters.

    The Greens did really well. They deserved to. The country deserves some eco sense. Good for them. I am still troubled by Russel Norman’s entertaining of notions of working with National, but they deserve to celebrate.

    However, it’s clear which message most New Zealanders bought.

    No message, essentially – as long as it starred John Key.

    Labour is currently down to 34 seats against National’s daunting 60. Throw in the utterly politically useless John Banks and Peter Dunne, and that’s 62 for the right. A slim majority, for a 120 seat parliament. Hardly comfortable.

    Clearly on the left, we have a bloc of 48 seats, comprising 34 for Labour, 13 Green and 1 for Mana. This may rise to 49 or even 50. Christchurch Central may tick over to Labour after the specials are counted. The tally is currently set at 10,493 votes each for Labour’s Brendon Burns and National’s Nicky Wagner, but 3700 special votes remain to be counted, with a lot of (hopefully) Labour supporters being out of their electorates due to the quakes.

    There are other marginal seats – fingers crossed.

    New Zealand First gained a staggering eight seats out of nowhere. NZF didn’t really figure in anyone’s calculations even three weeks ago. Philosophically, NZF is – well, effectively centre, due to an odd mix of left wing ideals and right wing conservatism. The only good thing about NZF, really, is Peter’s disgust at John Key. This adds a volatile element to the next three years and makes things unpredictable. At least it adds interest.

    The Māori Party has only three seats, but will most likely go back into formal coalition with National. But that’s still a fairly slim majority. Sixty-five seats out of 120. But it’s a majority. The Māori Party has been punished for its dalliance with National and its spurning of Labour and, more divisively, of Hone Harawira. Support for The Māori Party has virtually halved and while Tariana Turia has already stated the Māori Party needs to go back to the people for direction, the most likely outcome is no curb to National’s highly dodgy and unpopular asset sales, but rather an Iwi share in the spoils.

    While this will dilute what National can do with the loot, it doesn’t stop the reprehensible sale of our assets from happening. Which in turn will make Māori look even worse. With Sharples and Turia set to step down, by the next election I predict the curse of coalition with National will be complete (just look at United Future and ACT). Māori will evaporate.

    Tariana must have been blinded by her position in parliament, even as her party ebbs away around her. She said “You can’t make gains unless you’re sitting at the table of the Government” on TVNZ’s Q + A. Really? Māori started out strong. Look at you now.

    This is a shame. When The Māori Party first gained some votes, I thought it a very positive development for New Zealand. Those hopes have been systematically undermined under the seduction of ‘power’-sharing (actually, power-curbing) with National, for whom Māori aspirations are largely irrelevant accept as impediments. Keep your enemies closer, indeed.

    The good for Labour includes Phil Twyford’s decisive win in Waitakere (well done!), a very strong showing in South Auckland (huge Labour majorities in  Manukau, Mangere and Manurewa), the retention of the West Coast despite Damian Connor’s outbursts against the Labour machine, and gains in the Māori seats.


    But there’s lots of bad

    Amongst the bad is the fact that we live in a country where half the population voted for a wealthy, glib trader of the ilk of the people who caused the global recession.

    All they can see is that Key made lots of money. This has been held up as a good thing. So they voted for a wealthy man, fronting an otherwise almost faceless party with no substance and no real policies except for selling some of our assets. This has proved that we live in a country where the majority of people really are stupid (or at least, vote for stupid reasons), and unfortunately also disproving Muldoon’s racist comment that New Zealand immigration to Australia was raising the IQ of both countries.

    With Labour’s failure to elevate young talent far enough up the list, Kelvin Davis and Stewart Nash and others have lost their positions in parliament.

    A real loss.

    Jacinda Adern failed to take Auckland Central back for Labour. As a Grey Lynner, I find this particularly galling. Grey Lynn was Labour from the early 1900s until Nicki Kaye, but the changing demographic of the inner city has favoured National. I hope Adern can soldier on. She ran a good campaign with a great team, and she’s an asset to Labour. (In fact, only 535 votes separates Kaye from Adern.)

    John Banks is in parliament. When you consider David Parker got around the same amount of votes as the margin that separated Banks from National’s Goldsmith, you have to wonder if this was a serious misstep for Parker – and for Labour.

    However, Parker did achieve his personal objective of ousting Brash, for which we can all be truly thankful.

    Labour, every defeat is a lesson. So please take the lesson.


    The Down Right Ugly

    National has been given a mandate to really rip into the country now. To all you fools who voted for National: you deserve it.

    But I don’t. Anyone who cares about people does not. One in five New Zealand children living in poverty do not deserve it.

    Poor schools don’t deserve it. Schools will now be rewarded for ‘achievement’ – this is shorthand for ‘well resourced schools will now get more money’, as all National’s measurements favour white wealthy kids in well resourced schools. It’s going to be bloody hard on lower-decile schools, as if things aren’t hard enough for them already, with many having to feed and even clothe their kids before trying to teach them.

    Also ugly is what might happen in Labour now. Biblically, one little David beat one big Goliath. Now Labour has three little Davids who may well engage in slaying each other instead of that (very aptly) ‘giant Philistine warrior’: John Key.

    I don’t know which one I’d support – David Shearer is a Goff protege. Shearer doesn’t have the long-term Labour experience of the other two, but this may not be a bad thing. Mike Williams thinks this makes him a non-runner, but I’m not sure.

    Of the other two, I admire Cunliffe’s incisive intelligence but a lot of people find him threateningly nasty when he’s in full flight. It doesn’t make him very likeable. And the dumb voters obviously want ‘likeable’, even though I personally find it incredible that anyone finds Key even remotely appealing.

    David Parker is likeable, but I think his participation in Epsom was a mistake. People say he’s on the right of the Labour Party, as was Goff. If this is so, I don’t think this is where Labour should be heading. National is going more right; Labour does not need to. And it has certainly done Labour no favours in the past.

    Is there a non David in the wings?

    OK, being National under a Labour banner worked for a while, with three terms in a row, but Labour has had to differentiate its brand as its identity steadily evaporated. This has now been redeveloped pretty clearly.

    Now Labour has to sell it.

    I feel really critical (as I have often stated) that Labour wasn’t doing enough to promote young talent three or even five years ago. Yes, that’s you, Helen. This has not been good for Labour. We don’t see enough of the progressive and proactive younger Labour people, and we should have. And we should do.

    But there are many good people there. I think the campaign was very good. Just too late, and perhaps not fully supported within the party, despite appearances.

    I would have started last Christmas. I think people fearing the recession but still being motivated by their personal greed when it came to voting has been very detrimental to New Zealand’s prospects.

    But Labour now has three years to sell an excellent message while the world falls apart and National redirects the economy to favour the wealthy even more, while it further dismantles New Zealand education, cultural and social development.

    If Labour can just get its shit together without terrible and acrimonious splits from leadership upheavals, things could go well.

    Labour needs to examine where people who voted for Key got their information.

    May I also suggest a substantial rebranding of the unions to engage with people as they suffer even more from the predations of National (ie the business, land-owning and farming classes).

    In short: To work!

    And here’s a slogan for you: ‘New Zealand Back in the Black’.


  2. Lefter 44 ~ What was wrong with 9/11

    September 10, 2011 by emweb

    In one word: everything. I was as horrified as everyone else when the first plane slammed into the first tower, but my immediate thought was ‘why would anyone do that?’

    Unfortunately, this question didn’t seem to be the reaction of many others.

    The attacks showed genius. I know, cowardly, terrifying, killing innocents etc, all awful things that cannot be sanctioned by anyone – but incredibly effective, powerful, dramatic and attention-grabbing.

    And incredibly cheap to execute, by comparison to what the US has been spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep them in crisis.

    But still, why would anyone perpetrate the 9/11 attacks? The reaction in the States and in many Western countries immediately after – and this, unfortunately, persists – was just to demonise (not that it needed much help) the perpetrators.

    They were just ‘evil’, and labelled with all the other buzzwords that makes it easier for us to hate in return. Some Americans even put it down to jealousy! But does any of this help us understand?

    Certainly not. The depth of feeling in parts of the world against the US, and against the global monetary system that keeps the third world in poverty, has not been publicly explored or acknowledged effectively.

    Meanwhile, the average US citizen can point at the rest of the world as being ‘other’, evil and dangerous. Which hardly amends the States’ outward condition of aggressive isolationism.

    Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden cited US support of Israel, the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Iraq (this was before the invasion of Iraq) as motives for the attacks.

    But while Westerners and others were justifiably horrified on the day, I bet there were hundreds, thousands – perhaps even millions going as far as openly rejoicing.


    And more importantly, why didn’t America ask why?

    Do American policy makers honestly believe anyone would go to the lengths of crashing planes full of guiltless passengers into towers containing innocent victims just because they’re ‘evil’? The notion is ridiculous. Not only that, it’s ignorant and stupid.

    Osama bin Laden may have been a deluded messianic nutcase, but if so, he combined it with a keen intelligence, and he motivated a dedicated cadre. It’s not hard to realise he and his followers knew far more about the US than the US knew about them. And bin Laden was from a privileged background – he was hardly a typical downtrodden and embittered Third World peasant.

    In 1998, Al-Qaeda wrote “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorising its neighbours, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighbouring Muslim peoples.”

    This was, to some extent, true. America did have troops in muslim states, and was definitely benefiting from oil and other wealth. Meanwhile, America failed to realise the injury and indignation this was causing. Whether the intentions of such were uninvited, or willing transgressions against Islam, is a matter of conjecture and viewpoint. (The summary execution of bin Laden and the callous disposal of his body at sea were almost definitely calculated insults. It also meant he could not be called to account. He could never state his case or explain his actions in an international court.)

    What I find incredible is that the US failed to acknowledge, or to even actively consider, the depth of feeling its actions engendered, and continue to engender.

    America has perpetuated a deep-seated hate around the world which it has consistantly failed to acknowledge. This is mostly due to pursuit of profit at any cost and a reluctance to engage with other societies on an intellectual level. Yet this goes with an arrogance that has it meddling, in sometimes the most aggressive way possible, directly in world affairs. The international monetary fund and banking system has been, and is, culpable for perpetuating unequal trading and banking structures to the detriment of non Western societies. The World Banking Centre in New York was its emblem.

    I’m not saying Al Qaeda’s reaction wasn’t crazy, thoroughly reprehensible, disgusting or misdirected. It was all of those things and more. I’m not condoning any of it for a second – and as repulsive to me is using a concept of ‘God’ in any form to justify any anti-human action. (But this goes for both sides.)

    I’m just saying, the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were hardly done lightly.

    Yet US forces appear to remain as misdirected. As does the US State Department.

    As for the converse question, what was right with 9/11?


    But what are we really doing about it? Nothing.

    Yet we continue to spread more inequality. Except outside the US, it’s often spread at the point of a gun.

  3. Lefter 31 ~ Stilicho, Vandals & the fall of empire

    January 10, 2011 by emweb

    As the Roman Empire fell apart, various saviours appeared and failed, were despatched or swept aside.

    As Rome’s aspirations solidified and became moribund, its citizens increasingly engaged in faddish cults and idiotic public spectacles – and it became increasingly difficult to make its citizens fight in the legions.

    So Rome increasingly engaged non-Roman citizens as soldiers, promising them bounty and, more valuably, citizenship at the end of a term of service.

    This was considered worthwhile, even when that term ran to decades.

    As things went on and the empire declined even more, and with many ex-soldiers now subjects in turn producing reluctant ‘Roman citizen’ offspring, Rome resorted, in some cases, to employing mercenaries.

    Mercenaries may be very professional, but even an excellent pay packet is easier to walk away from than a set of firmly held beliefs once the going gets tough.

    Humans can do wondrous things for sets of beliefs; humans also do terrible things for sets of beliefs.

    Around 400AD – when Christianity was starting to really gain a hold – some of these offshoots of Rome’s legionary machinations started gaining office in the struggling Empire.

    Flavius Stilicho was the son of a Vandal father (albeit one who had served as a cavalry officer for the Romans) and a Roman mother.

    His father wasn’t a bloke who tagged walls and broke things for the hell of it – he was a member of a Germanic tribe which famously sacked Rome – hence our modern appropriation.

    (There are other Dark Age Germanic tribal names that have survived into modern times – France is named after the Germanic Franks who took over what had been called ‘Gaul’; the French name for Germany, ‘l’Allemagne’, comes from the Allomanni tribe; the Burgundians were a German tribe resettled, after defeat, in a desolate valley area they turned into the famous wine region; England is named after the Angles – Angle-Land – and so on.)

    Stilicho considered himself a Roman. It appears he was a Nicene Christian like his patron Theodosius I, who had declared Nicene Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

    Stilicho joined the Roman army, was sent as an envoy to the court of the Persian king Shapur III to negotiate a peace settlement, and was then promoted to comes stabuli and later to general (magister militum) in the Roman Army.

    Theodosius was impressed with the half-Vandal. He married his adopted niece Serena to Stilicho.

    By this time, the Roman Empire was assailed from all quarters and was soon to divided into eastern and western halves, with separate emperors, for easier ruling.

    Stilicho helped raise the army that Theodosius led to victory at the Battle of the Frigidus.

    An ally in that campaign was the Visigothic warlord Alaric, who commanded a substantial number of Gothic auxiliaries. The tribe of the Goths (another modern day appropriation for you) was divided into eastern (Ostro-) and western (Visi-) wings themselves.

    Stilicho distinguished himself further, and Theodosius quite wisely saw him as a man worthy of responsibility for the future safety of the Empire. He appointed Stilicho guardian of his own son, Honorius.

    Honorius succeeded Theodosius as emperor of the Western Empire after its division. Stilicho ended up de facto commander-in-chief of the Roman armies in the West and proved his abilities energetically.

    But political manoeuvrings by agents of both imperial courts hindered him.

    I could go on – suffice to say, this mixed-blood general was becoming the great hope of an assailed empire, but he would not be allowed to succeed. Romans resented his power, his intelligence – and his mixed blood.

    Eventually, the resistance mounted to such an extent that someone who was perhaps Rome’s best chance at success was captured, tried without resistance – and decapitated.

    Stilicho was such a believer in Rome that he followed orders and the will of the people, even against his own better judgement.

    Now, if you don’t see the parallels with the US and Obama, I sure as hell do.

    The gunning down of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a first shot, if you’ll excuse so crass an allusion, from the kind of collective ignorance and stupidity that is conspiring to bring down Obama in a centuries-apart mirror to what brought down Stilicho.

    And the world will be the worse for it.

  4. Lefter 30 ~ Truth and Deconciliation

    December 13, 2010 by emweb

    Nelson Mandela did an incredibly brave thing in South Africa, launching the Truth and Reconciliation process after taking power.

    The theory was that people would fess up to what they had done, giving the victims and their families some closure.

    It’s hard to imagine how that worked: “Sorry, I beat your dad to death in a prison cell.”

    The incredible part was that this was supposed to lead to some kind of reconciliation.

    The very prospect that the truth – often incredibly unsavoury in that South African context – could be revealed and then lead, after some process, to any kind of reconciliation is quite an ask.

    The idea seems worthy of a Jesus, Buddha, or a Ghandhi. Or Mandela.

    Actually, it seems superhuman, if not inhuman – the most direct human responses to finding out what tragedy really happened to your family tends to be, immediately anyway, a thirst for vengeance.

    Similar impulses – to confess – have been felt by soldiers. I have heard tearful former Dutch soldiers confessing their atrocities in Indonesia back when it first wanted independence from the Netherlands, and recently Israeli soldier veterans have testified against Israeli army abuses they have witnessed, or even taken part in.

    The urge for retribution at learning such truths is such a powerful and obvious impulse that here in New Zealand, we are suitably awed by Christchurch woman Emma Woods.

    No matter how hard your heart, you have to admire a woman who can spend any time whatsoever with the person she saw kill her son with an out-of-control car. It’s incredibly brave and I can’t begin to claim I would, or could, emulate this.

    But boy, do I admire her. If even just ten per cent of humans were like Emma, I’m sure our past would not be so riven by conflict.

    But I fear the percentage is under one per cent. Oh wait, Christians believe in forgiveness? Yeah, right.

    The Wikileaks phenomenon is something else again. As it turns out (and really, we have been aware of this for a long time), there is much hidden as a matter of course by so-called ‘liberal, enlightened and democratic’ states. Concealed from you and me in the name of so-called ‘public interest’, making it pretty damn clear that we don’t actually live in states democratic enough to let the public make reasonable choices. How can we, with so much wool pulled over our eyes?

    But that’s the intention. If we knew what they really did, we wouldn’t so vapidly vote them in.

    And it’s clear they don’t trust us.

    Which further begs the question – how can we vote a decent government in? They obviously don’t trust us with any real information. They don’t trust us to handle the information. For good reason – the information proves they are amoral and corrupt. We obviously are allowed to know very little about our governments, and/or their actual machinations.

    For example, and admitting this is piddling by comparison to revelations from other countries, it has been revealed that New Zealand’s secret services renewed full contacts with US intelligence counterparts last year.

    You may be forgiven for the reaction ‘so what?’.

    Yet this was facile fact was deemed too sensitive for us to know – even Hilary Clinton was advised not to mention it.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the leaks also revealed our prime minister is a big fan of the US. Personally – he has been too careful to allow this (until this embarrassment) fact out into the public domain in case he get tarred with the ‘bend over and let ’em in’ Don Brash brush.

    To my mind, Key isn’t that US-centric – he’s just a big fan of any established power and money and would fawn all over them alike.

    Oh, that is ‘the Don Brash brush’?

    On TVNZ, Key said “Going out there and saying we’ve resumed that level of exchange of information would then invite a whole lot of other questions which we are not in a position to answer.”

    Which sounds like a clear invitation, to me. What questions and what answers, John?

    This fawning excuse for a government has reaffirmed strong ties with a country which is so habitually and historically secretive, it is baying for the blood of a man who worked to reveal colossally and historically widespread lies and deceptions perpetrated by that government.

    Even in the US, where the death penalty still exists in many places, they don’t kill people for burst condoms. Do they? (Perhaps Assange should be suing Durex?)

    But Americans have plenty of other reasons, both real and imagined, like a global bunch of ignorant yokels – a Tea Party lynch mob is whipping itself into a frenzy.

    Historically? Yes. Here’s just one instance: “Declassified CIA files have revealed that US intelligence officials went to great lengths to protect a Ukrainian fascist leader and suspected Nazi collaborator from prosecution after the Second World War and used him to stir up trouble inside the Soviet Union from an office in New York.”

    This disgusts me profoundly. And I’m not defending the Soviet Union here – I certainly thing the Soviets were worse than the Americans. But I am still revolted by so much that “The land of the free …” actually stands for.

    Behind the scenes, anyway.

    So, I ask you: how are we supposed to reconcile to the fact, plain and simple, that John Key’s government does not trust us?

    I am dissuaded from doing so.

    I am deconciled.

    Put that in lights. Merry Christmas.

  5. Lefter 22 ~ God

    January 10, 2010 by emweb

    The start of a new year and a new decade seems as good a time as any to look at God, and religion.

    I consider religion the result of failures by human beings to acknowledge and do anything about their own problems.

    I flatly reject that we need a Judeo-Christian (or any other superstition-related, artificially constructed) framework to make us, or keep us, morally worthwhile beings. This is a crock.

    Conversely, I consider most religions, especially in their more fundamentalist guises, to be anti-human, as they seek to artificially curb and counter so many frankly human traits we should be embracing. Do we expect tigers not to act like tigers? Cows not to act like cows?

    I am a morally good person. I help people. I am courteous (mostly). I do not lie. I do not steal. I do not lend money for profit. I do not speculate. I am trustworthy. I even let cars in when I’m driving (that’s rare, for New Zealanders).

    I don’t need any God bogeyman to keep me in line. If you do, get some help. It’s pretty clear to anyone with a modicum of perception what is right, and what is wrong.

    And while I have met many, many Christians, I can count the‘good Christians’ amongst those on one hand. Without using all the fingers.

    Typically, Christians in my experience are narrow-minded, sanctimonious, ignorant and judgmental, especially about those things they know least about.

    And the same goes for most other religious practitioners I have met, including all you smug Buddhists who focus on yourselves above all else. And maybe I have just had really bad luck (which I sincerely doubt), but that’s been my experience.

    Christianity at least has something in common with the left. Looking at the Bible, it’s pretty clear Jesus had some left-wing and humanist principles. It’s possible this was made into a religion just to get people to accept it, considering the deep state of ignorance many may have been in a couple of thousand years ago, but wow, did it ever get out of hand!

    Also like the left, it’s been easy to get Christians arguing amongst themselves and splitting up into ever more squabbling and disparate factions.

    Partly this is because the Bible is such a mess – all those different sources, the several translations it’s been through, the clearly schizophrenic relationship between the Old Testament (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth) and the New (love your neighbour, forgive transgressors) which puts them entirely at odds with each other. Not to mention the different takes on even the same stories (try reading the resurrection accounts, for example) … it’s hardly surprising it has been virtually impossible to follow and enact, in any meaningful and consistent way, the Christians’ holy book.

    (I hope you have gathered I have read considerable amounts of the Bible, and books about religion. File under ‘know your enemy’.)

    But even the Ten Commandments, which you’d think even an idiot could follow, have proved impossible to most Christians.

    “Thou shalt not kill” … seems pretty clear. Can anyone misread that? So how can there be Christians in the armed forces? Crikey, there are even ministers in the armed forces. That serves as a great and shining example as to just how flawed Christianity appears to outsiders.

    The commandments start so:

    I am the Lord your God (who is? Fine, whatever.)

    You shall have no other gods before me (how many are you allowed ‘after’? Are they the dollar god and the profit god?).


    1/ You shall not make for yourself an idol (cuts out reality TV, doesn’t it? And calling bit-players on small-country soap operas ‘stars’).

    2/ You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God (define ‘wrongful’. It really depends on your viewpoint).

    3/ Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Sure. Shut the malls, then. I’m all for it.)

    4/ Honour your father and mother (even if they’re child-abusing arse holes? Like hell.)

    5/ You shall not murder (seems fair. But once again, if someone attacks your kids, a human would retaliate …)

    6/ You shall not commit adultery (seems fair, if you married in a Christian church. Widespread evidence to the contrary notwithstanding).

    7/ You shall not steal (I can think of many examples in which stealing would be morally correct).

    8/ You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour (what about the bloke two doors up?).

    9/ You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife (sounds ridiculously difficult in many circumstances. And it excludes women – are they allowed to covet their neighbours’ husbands? Doesn’t sound fair at all!)

    10/ You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour. (But yeah, can’t help thinking their TV is better than mine. Does that make me a sinner? I’m not going to do anything about it. Besides, our entire Western Civilisation’s – and increasingly, the East’s – economic system is built on just that).

    I think it’s pretty clear these commandments have had their (violent, bloody and ineffectual) day.

    Likewise, the Biblical 7 deadlies are: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride.

    Yet if gluttony was a sin, where does that leave the US? The US has huge rates of obesity and consumes most of the world’s resources. Yet if the contender for office isn’t Christian, forget it.

    Lust helped me have kids; did it not work for you?

    Wrath … why did the US invade Iraq, again?

    Sloth – um, what about the ‘holidays’? Originally called ‘Holy Days’.

    Greed and envy fuel the economy of the world. Always have.

    And pride we are told is good – we’re supposed to be proud of our achievements and proud of our kids and proud of our country and proud of our All Blacks and blah blah blah.

    I cannot understand why a civil society like ours can’t have secular aims we should all attempt to hue to.

    Mine would be:

    1/ We should not kill

    2/ We should respect our planet

    3/ We should respect the living

    4/ We should respect the past

    5/ We should endeavour to be honest and fair

    6/ We should value virtue before profit

    7/ We should endeavour to help those in need

    8/ We should not steal the honestly acquired property of another
    9/ We should consider the opinions of others, as they should consider ours

    10/ We should honour and protect these precepts for all humans.

    No God required. And we should learn these at school. And your comments are welcome.