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Ignorance, Greed, Liberalism

Entry 1386, on 2012-05-10 at 12:16:26 (Rating 4, Politics)

Things really are getting interesting in politics around the world, I think. It's odd the way I used to be so disinterested in this sort of thing - when I was a student I didn't take the slightest notice of it. I still think a lot of politics is trivial and pathetic, but I also find it amusing to watch the battle lines, I appreciate the inherent humour, and am amazed at the incredible corrupt self-interest exhibited by many of our political leaders (although, as you will know, I have no greater admiration for business and many other leaders).

The three words in the title of this entry refer to three events I want to comment on here. The first, "ignorance" is in reference to the newly discovered (by the media) Conservative Part of New Zealand. The second "greed" refers to the Talleys company and possible ways to combat their incredible arrogance. And the third "liberalism" refers to the first sign that maybe Obama really does have some liberal tendencies (instead of those just imagined by his political opponents).

So let's get started: ignorance. Well conservatism and ignorance are just about synonyms in many cases. People follow a particular political line for many reasons: habit, conformance, laziness, etc; but ignorance would be fairly high on the list for many. I don't want to say that only conservative people are ignorant but I suspect if a study was done on political allegiance and knowledge of basic facts about the world a trend would emerge!

The leader of the Conservative Party in New Zealand has managed to get himself a bit into the news recently (which is quite impressive since the party has no representation in our parliament) but not always for good reasons. Even his natural ally, John Key, has distanced himself from this nutter. Of course, he doesn't always seem as nutty as he really is and when he makes the effort he can seem quite reasonable, but like all conservative and religious people, in the end the crazy stuff comes out.

His latest blunder is a statement regarding how promiscuous New Zealand women are. Really? He chose this subject to make a comment on? To be fair, he did quote some real research but I have two problems with this: first, finding one piece of research which supports your preferred belief while ignoring other facts isn't fair; and second, why do this at all? Even if it is true (I'm not saying it is) why would you even make this point? Didn't he learn from what happened to that other crazy, Alasdair Thompson? (see my blog entry "Period Problems" of 2011-06-24)

So that's the ignorance, what about the greed? Well you could take any big corporation and accuse them of this offence but in this case it is Talleys who have caused the most outrage. Like all companies they are not all bad: they employ a reasonable number of people, they contribute to our economy in general, and they produce some good products, but (contrary to the belief of most large companies) that doesn't give them an excuse to treat their workforce unfairly (or abuse the environment, exploit their position to gain excess profits, or anything else).

Hone Harawira, the leader of the Mana Party (and a politician who I alternate between despising and admiring) has suggested a "Talley-ban" against the company because of the unfair way they are treating meat workers in the North Island. Good idea. I will certainly be taking part in that ban. I will avoid buying their products, even if they do relent on their current unfair treatment of unions. I've heard local people suggest that the Talley family are barely one step above criminals. Even if that isn't technically true they are clearly immoral.

So moving on to liberalism. Barack Obama has recently announced his support for gay marriage. While I don't really care too much one way or the other on this (who cares about marriage any more anyway?) it is a landmark issue and one where liberals and conservatives clearly disagree. It puts Obama into the more left-leaning camp where he should be. I know his opponents have labelled him a liberal or socialist in the past but that (unfortunately) has not really been true.

Maybe, assuming he wins the election, his next term as president might more represent the values the Democrats should be representing. Currently the US has a right wing party (the Democrats) and another party (the GOP) which is so far off in the distance of insanity that they can barely be described in any conventional political terms!

So these are interesting times and I haven't even mentioned the victory of the left in France and the upcoming battle with the right in Germany (wow, that's a scary image), the near anarchy in Greece, the decimation of the conservatives in the UK, the new tax regime in Australia, etc. And that's ignoring the Middle East completely! Yes, things are getting interesting all right...

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Comment 22 (3136) by OJB on 2012-06-08 at 15:36:22: (view earlier comments)

Did you actually read what I said? We agree the reaction of news media (and everyone else) depends on the person making the comment being reported on. That is normal and fair. I just commented that both sides of the political spectrum complain fairly equally about their treatment, showing the media are equally fair (or equally unfair) to both sides. it was nothing to do with left versus right.

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Comment 23 (3143) by SBFL on 2012-06-14 at 10:23:59:

Okay, so we agree that the media have reacted inconsistently depending on the respondent (original Durex = haha, consertavive view = tsk, tsk)? ...even though the message is the same?

But you uphold that the respondent is key (their level of influence etc).

But I will say that this holds no water (even despite the cold hard fact that Colin Craig holds almost zero influence anyway) because it is not a matter of politics but a matter of principle.

In our society, can we trust our media to be impartial? It seems not. They seem to favour liberal views.

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Comment 24 (3150) by OJB on 2012-06-14 at 23:37:09:

The media acted inconsistently if you expect similar comments from very different people to be treated the same. I have said this is not a reasonable expectation.

Colin Craig holds little influence now but his party are a logical choice as a partner for National when Act completely disappears. The Nats must be getting fairly desperate by now!

I think the left and right both think the media has a bias for the opposite view. To me this indicates that they have the balance fairly well right.

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Comment 25 (3162) by SBFL on 2012-06-16 at 08:54:34:

Bottom line is that we have inconsistent responses from our media commentators and this has been shown out by the timing - thus, we can't trust them.

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Comment 26 (3166) by OJB on 2012-06-16 at 11:51:49:

Yes, OK, we agree. Media responses are inconsistent. And whether we can trust them or not is debatable. I would say we can't trust anyone. Everything should be viewed with suspicion and verified where possible.

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