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Entry 1270, on 2011-02-18 at 21:02:55 (Rating 4, News)
In the Herald today I read about two of New Zealand's more well known deluded nutters, both well meaning (at least, I think so) but both also totally deluded and completely dedicated to a their outdated ideologies. One was political and one was religious (with a bit of politics thrown in as well). Both are potentially dangerous but probably at the point where their credibility is destroyed so that they are unlikely to cause any real issues in the future.
So who are these two nutters? First there's out old favourite extreme libertarian politician and the architect of the great New Zealand financial revolution of (ironically) 1984: Roger Douglas. Then there's someone even more out in cloud cuckoo land: Brian Tamaki. Notice that I didn't refer to Douglas as Sir Roger or to Tamaki as Bishop Brian because I don't think either deserve any special recognition of their imagined esteemed position.
Douglas was in the news because he is retiring from politics. Even his right wing mates in National refused to work with him so he was totally ineffective anyway but it is nice to see a symbolic end to the era of oppression he brought to the country. I think it will be a long time before anyone is allowed to pursue such extreme idealistic actions again. Even the far more moderate efforts of the National government are unwelcome enough.
When asked whether he had any regrets Douglas said: "I would have liked to have done a lot more in terms of social policy, the agenda we started in the 1980s carried through to health, education and welfare. There are regrets, but that's life." I'm so glad he has those regrets. It's just unfortunate he didn't have a lot more because I think we are all pleased to see the end of him so that he can't completely screw up those areas of New Zealand life that he never got a chance to change back in the 80s.
Tamaki was in the news because of an attack by conservative commentator Garth George who accused him of becoming a cult leader after rejecting the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. In reply he claims he was misquoted and that he doesn't really reject the idea, although he should because there is no good reason to think it ever happened. Still, if you are going to bother to be a Christian I would have thought that the resurrection is an important part of the mythology that you are supposed to believe.
According to the article, in October 2003, at a church conference, Tamaki received cheers and a standing ovation when he told the gathering: "I predict, in the next five years by the time we hit our tenth anniversary, and I don't say this lightly, but we will be ruling the nation ... I feel very strongly in my heart that the word of the Lord came to me very strong ... that this will actually be the first nation historically in the world to be under the governance of God."
What a nutter! Being under the governance of his hideous god would be even worse than being under the governance of the horrible Roger Douglas. Luckily religious prophecies are about as reliable as... well, I don't know actually because they are all a total joke. If you ever hear one immediately go down to your local gambling agency and bet against it. You'll probably make a bit of money!
Not that it makes any difference to the believers. They just carry on blindly following their leader because the facts are of no relevance to them at all. In fact, the best way to overcome a failed prophecy is to escalate the rhetoric even more. A couple of years ago Tamaki declared he was the church's "spiritual father" and produced a document where he claimed to be "the tangible expression of God" and "God's special and unique representative on Earth". Delusions of grandeur perhaps?
Both of these nutters are very charismatic and are probably quite convincing to the people who take on their message without really examining it for credibility. Both make grand claims but conveniently ignore the failures. Both work more by faith than by facts. And both are living in the past where they haven't realised their belief system has been discredited by more recent events.
Luckily Douglas's Act party seems on a course of self destruction and all but a few New Zealanders were sensible enough not to vote for Tamaki's Destiny Party at the last election. So they are both irrelevant I guess, except to act as a warning about how dangerous the unthinking following of a charismatic (but deluded and nutty) leader can be.
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