Saturday is April Fools day, and more fool the workers. If you get money from the state, you’re in luck. Benefits, student allowances, Super, and also the minimum wage. If you get money from activities like working, saving, or investing you get to pay more tax to pay for more transfers.

THE HAPS

Saturday is April Fools day, and more fool the workers. If you get money from the state, you’re in luck. Benefits, student allowances, Super, and also the minimum wage. If you get money from activities like working, saving, or investing you get to pay more tax to pay for more transfers. The cost of living crisis is ultimately a crisis of values. New Zealand was built on hard work but Government policy is more focused on dividing than growing.

ALL LIFE IS PROBLEM SOLVING

So said the late great philosopher Sir Karl Popper, and if he’s right the last week of debacle surrounding Posie Parker is a bad sign for New Zealand. A little-known woman can’t come and give a speech without being chased out of town by a mob. The country looks like a primitive backwater, and the world is noticing. As a foreign ex-pat told Free Press last month, “15 years ago New Zealand was cool, now people wonder what you’re up to.”

More important than what foreigners think, mob rule doesn’t problem solve very well.

Like most places, most of the time, this country has problems. Solving them takes the best of us: Creativity and cooperation, the civilised exchange of ideas. Comparing different solutions and generating new ones. That’s how problems are solved, but the way that media, academics, and Government Ministers have acted in the last week, things don’t look good for problem solving in New Zealand.

At Albert Park on Saturday, mobs shouted down their opponents instead of debating and persuading. When some resorted to actual violence, they were cheered on by professors. One who benefited from academic freedom all his life made lame jokes, “may the sauce be with you”, to celebrate physically attacking a speaker with tomato sauce.

That after a week of media coverage out of all proportion to a foreign visitor who draws crowds in the low hundreds at best. One outlet published an op-ed by a trans activist called Shaneel Lal. Lal started out by saying Parker was “coming into my home.” It seems very unlikely Lal would ask her over, or Parker would visit, but truth went out the window in paragraph one.

Lal continued: “We must look at this event in the context of the rise of violence against queer people in Aotearoa. Last year, Rainbow Youth was burnt down in an arson attack.” The judge who presided over that case said it was not motivated by malice towards the LBGT community, and that the choice of the building was incidental. He went on to say the offenders were a “long way from being fully mentally capable.”

This unreality seems to be a recurring problem with trans activism. The truth doesn’t matter but the ends justify the means anyway. Now, there are people who feel their biological sex at birth is wrong. They should be listened to and accommodated wherever possible, but the likes of Lal want more.

They want any questioning of gender identity silenced, by whatever means necessary. You cannot ask whether women’s prisons, women’s sports, women’s changing rooms, and so on, should be for people born with biologically female bodies, or anyone who identifies themselves as a woman. These are obvious practical questions that people have a right to ask and discuss.

For the Lals of the world, even questioning whether being a woman might be a biological concept is denying trans people's right to exist. Apparently we must all use the term ‘chestfeeding,’ so that women without mammary glands aren’t excluded from feeding infants. We are not making this up. Now, humans are mammals because the female members have mammary glands that make milk, like all other mammals. You are not allowed to point out this obvious biological fact, because it’s ‘violence’ against trans people.

There’s also a lot of confusion about what violence is. Ideas that make some people uncomfortable, that may be deeply offensive and insulting, are not violence. In fact they’re an inevitable result of people thinking freely. If people think freely, they will think differently. If people think differently, they will conflict. In an enlightened society that’s an opportunity for discussion and debate. In a primitive society, violence takes over until everyone thinks the same.

Lal went on to rave about people who question trans identity as being like Nazis and any debate of trans rights being like the Holocaust. We wish we were making this up. Lal is probably ignorant that the actual Nazis’ falsely accused their opponents of arson for propaganda purposes. This is what happens when identity and grievance matter more than facts and logic.

Then the Government got involved, with an extraordinary outburst by Immigration Minister Michael Wood where he injected his personal views into the administrative decision to grant her a visa, saying “I condemn her inflammatory, vile and incorrect worldviews...” Her visit was legal and he’s the Minister, but he couldn’t stop himself from joining the pile on.

That turned out to be a minor infraction compared with Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Minister Marama Davidson’s bizarre rant where she got her own job title wrong “I’m the prevention violence minister… I know who causes the violence in the world, cis white males." It’s a breach of the Cabinet Manual, but does anyone think a Minister so unhinged can solve the very real problem of family and sexual violence?

Meanwhile, back in the real world. Families face a cost-of-living crisis, that is really the result of a productivity crisis. 100,000 kids are chronically absent from school, too many of them ram raiding instead of learning, so it’s not safe to run a dairy. A country that is practically uninhabited has a shortage of homes for people to live in, because the rules around planning, funding, and financing infrastructure make it nearly impossible. There is a serious and sensitive question around what the Treaty means.

Unfortunately, the Albert Park debacle shows a culture that can’t solve problems. A major paper prints absolute falsehoods by a person who goes on to lead an out of control mob, to the celebration of academics and even a Government Minister. Against this backdrop, ACT is campaigning for enlightenment values. Reason, logic and universal human rights so New Zealanders can get back to solving some real problems.


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