Monday, April 09, 2007

Gold Against The Soul

Ok. So today was a public holiday in NZ. Due to the prevailing government, employees who work today are taken care of. This is a Good Thing. We get time-and-a-half, plus a day in lieu.

Today's outrage is (drum roll, if you please)— cafés and restaurants passing on the additional cost of opening today to customers, by way of an absurd 15% surcharge on food and drink. If you are reading this, and are the owner of such an establishment, I would like you to go F#ck Yourself.

I don't work in a café or restaurant, but I did work today. I wasn't charging people an extra 15% for Hi-Fi. Neither would it have cost me 15% extra to fill up my car today, if I had one. If I had gone grocery shopping, I would have paid the same price for a tin of beans as I did yesterday, and will do tomorrow.

There are three possible reasons for the greed of café and restaurant owners:
  1. The government put a gun to their collective heads and made them do it; though they begged to leave the prices as they were, the government just wouldn't listen to their pleas. No, that doesn't sound right...

  2. The profit margin keeping the business afloat is so slim that the additional cost of paying staff a little extra will literally fold it like a collapsing house of cards. No, that's not it either...

  3. Good old pocket-stuffin' capitalism: We have a winner

Business owners take note: If you aren't willing to pay your staff the extra money they deserve for giving up their public holiday to earn your business money, you don't have to open. If you do open, you should suck it up as a cost of doing business. Take it from me – an angry engineering student with just enough cash to afford to eat at your establishment – I will avoid any business with the nerve to penalise me for my custom. The money that I'm not spending in your café will be spent at other cafés who appreciate my continued business. Just don't do it!

That is all.

Orwell's Insight

I have been reading George Orwell's '1984': such insight and genius. His commentary on the nature of political thought, written in the '40s, is possibly even more relevant today. From chapter 9:
"Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether or not the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist. The splitting of the intelligence which the Party requires of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an atmosphere of war, is now almost universal, but the higher up the ranks one goes, the more marked it becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for reasons quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralised by the technique of doublethink."

- Winston Smith, reading Emmanuel Goldstein's banned book "The Theory And Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism"

Sound familiar? Instead of "Party", try reading "Church" or (particularly in the US) "Administration".

Friday, April 06, 2007

Religion Strikes Back Against Reason

I caught the tail end of tonight's 'Closeup' programme on TV1, an Easter special on religion and 'fundamentalism' in New Zealand. Having seen only five minutes, I don't know what was said during the rest of the show, so I can't comment on that; however, even in those five minutes the christian presence on the panel made my blood boil. The panel consisted of (as far as I can make out) two christians of differing denominations, a buddhist, a muslim, a rabbi and a representative from the NZ Humanist and Rationalist society. The part of the discussion I did see regarded the difference between 'wrongness on the intellectual level' and 'wrongness on the moral level'. This was mainly between the humanist and one christian, who repeatedly failed to grasp basic logic, and continually twisted the answer of the humanist into garbled nonsense. The christian's statements made absolutely no sense whatsoever. As for the buddhist— well, I don't mind buddhists so much since they at least don't try and push their beliefs up my nose, but her statement made even less sense.

I really can't believe that so many Kiwis fall for this. It's the oldest trick in the book: if you can't convince people through rational, logical, sensible arguments, bamboozle 'em with bullshit and complexity.

On the 'Closeup' programme website, some people have made comments, but this one—which I can only suspect comes from a christian—takes the "I'm an insular, racist bigot" award:
"We have too many immigrants trying to force their religion on New Zealanders and expect us to follow suit. Sure religion is fine but when you come to a new country you follow the rules (for want of a better word) of that country."
- A. Dumbhick

If you are reading this blog from outside New Zealand, or from within for that matter, then hear this: This attitude is intellectually and morally wrong. Whoever wrote that is a dumb hick, and does not represent me as a Kiwi or a Scotsman or a Human Being. Besides, the gaping hipocrisy which the commenter is guilty of is that every single NZ european, christian or not, is—or is descended from—an immigrant into Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. Maori were settled here long before them then, and us now, and whom european christians forced their religion upon at the end of bayonettes and gun-barrels. It is this type of christian who is now trying to have NZ declared a christian nation. Because they are peace loving, tolerant people. Not.

If you want to see some figures on the number of religious nutballs that live in this country, look here.

Did anyone reading this happen to record the whole show? If so, I'd be very greatful to get hold of a copy; please leave a comment.

Once again, I call upon you to Join The Resistance.