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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Greens not left but left

Jeanette shows us how to construct a Nelson Muntz stlye "ha ha" at the Alliance and ACT, using some severely lame metaphors. Weirdest of all,
Well, simply, because we are not on anyone's flank - we are a different dimension in politics. You can't describe us just by where we are on the left-right spectrum, though we are clearly left in terms of the use of public resources for public benefit, and the need to care for those least well off in our society.
See, we are on a different dimension (granted) so we are describable neither as left or right. Except we are on the left. Come again?
Amazing where a coffee pot can lead you.
Yeah... coffee pot. That's what it was.

Last time I venture onto the pollie blogs at Stuff. Why the hell don't they have links to individual articles??
ยท Linked Article

Posted by Chefen | 8/31/2005 10:12:00 PM

20 Comments:

Blogger peterquixote said...

news for jeanette, knock knock to the right of NAT is ACT who win EPSOM, and thereby bringing plus 5 centre right MP to parliament, and like we know that she out of dimension

8/31/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Whaleoil said...

they are friggin watermelons, green on the outside and deep pink in the middle.

9/01/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Tane said...

I think Jeanette made a good point (but then, I would wouldn't I....) The Greens are on the left of the spectrum, in economic terms, but we see things changing in such a way that 'left/right' will no longer be an accurate reflection of where parties stand. Even the political compass, with it's 'left/right' and 'libertarian/authoritarian' deliniation is not entirely accurate.

I firmly believe that we are about to enter a time of the most profound change. And it won't be very nice either. We're about to find out that the Club of Rome was right, if not in it's exact predictions, then in the broader sense. As you know, I'm convinced in the Peak Oil event, and that it's going to happen soon, within 10 years, probably within 5, maybe within 2. Add to that our current massive overpopulation of the globe, and our drawdown on the world's resources, and humanity will face a massive, and unsolvable, problem.

While there is no answer for humanity, small groups (like New Zealand) can ride out the storm. But to do so, and to ensure that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past, we need to totally reorient our society. This will be partially directed from the top, but mainly driven from the bottom. We will need to localise everything we do, and become far more self-sufficient. We will need to ensure that in doing so, and in supporting our population, we do not destroy New Zealand's envirnoment; something needs to be left behind for the kids after all.

It is here that the Greens are trailblazers. Socialism and capitalism both rely on ready access to cheap energy and resources. Neither will be available in our future, so we need to find a new way. The Greens don't have the answer, or the blueprint for this new way, but they are on the right track. Either we will find it, or some other party will move in the same direction and do so. Politics is about to lurch away from the 'left/right' divide, not overnight, but in 10 or 20 years, I think the move will be obvious.

OK, now that I've talked a good talk, I have to admit that my evidence is slim to non-existant (about the shift in politics; Peak Oil is a reality). It's more a gut feeling I have. I think environmentalism, in all it's various guises, is about to become the true measure of NZ politics.

9/01/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Well, Tane, the fight is on then. Environmentalism is against life. The cry of "overpopulation" proves that environmentalism does not value human life or value those (women) that create human life. Environmentalism is another guise of the old Bolsheviks that re-invent themselves time and time again hoping people don't see them for who they really are.

9/01/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Tane said...

I'm sorry, but I fail to see how environmentalism is the same as Bolshevism. I'm not advocating going out and killing people, and I'm pretty sure most Green parties around the world don't include genocide in their manifestos. If anything, they tend in the opposite direction .

I'd like to discuss this issue, but I don't quite get where you're coming from.

9/01/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

DDT and malaria ring any bells?

Bolshevism was never about going out and killing people. That was just an unfortunate side effect of aiming for Utopia. Bolshevism too, had the view that there were too many people.

The hard left has reinvented itself multiple times over the last few decades, using many vehicles for it's attempts to dominate the world. Environmentalism is perfect for them in it's semi-religious nature.

9/01/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

So you're saying that banning DDT turned out to be case of unintentional genocide, due to the increase in malaria, yellow fever etc, etc? I can't answer that one, as I don't have any information to argue the point.

There are no doubt many such examples where it is possible to argue that environmentalists have harmed humans, through misguided or even intentionally stupid acts. You can also point out the many examples when industrialists and capitalists have done exactly the same, merely to raise profit margins. This is not a field where either side is spotlessly clean.

My point is that the world is about to run into it's limits, that the human population can only consume so much before it passes the ability of the earth to sustain it. I think that point has been passed, and that we, as a species, are literally living on borrowed time.

We will be forced to adapt ourselves to the realities of this new world, like it or not. It will mean that us Westerners must realise, for the first time in probably 8,000 years, that we can no longer take more than what is sustainably possible from our natural resources. We must realise that our economy and society are a subset of the whole environment, not the other way around, and not seperate and discrete. Harm to the environment will in most cases be harm to ourselves and our children. If we do not learn this lesson, and alter our society accordingly, then us Kiwis may well continue on for another 1,000 years, but our descendants will be living in dust. Look at Iraq, and tell me how that can still be 'the Fertile Crescent'.

I am not advocating having some sort of Green Priesthood running New Zealand, with all that that implies. I am looking forward to the day when environmentalism is deeply embedded in our culture and psyche, when it is taken for granted, the same way we currently take cheap petrol and clean water for granted. The Green Party is the first to step down that path. I think that the way the world will change over the next 10-30 years will force the likes of Labour and National to move down that path too. The writing is on the wall, and it's ugly to read. But read it we must, and we must heed what it says. Environmentalism must be our future, or we really do have no future at all.

Oh, and some guns to fend off desperate foreigners might come in handy too.

9/01/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm
There you go Tane--environmentalists are responsible for millions of deaths.
And for scare after scare based on the same junk science. Is it any wonder that they're viewed with scepticism?

9/01/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

And despite your long, long comments which are no more than greens propaganda dressed up as opinion, engineers and scientists will continue to find solutions to our problems.
Environmentalism is no more and no better than a fashionable middle-class crank cult.

9/01/2005 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

Keith,

Thanks for being so pithy and to the point. You obviously know how to encapsulate a complex subject in a few short lines. I wish I had your gift. Sadly I don't and am stuck with long, long comments

I find it amusing that you consider Greenies to be quasi-religous, while you have an unshakeable faith in the market and technology to solve all our problems for us. Change market and technology to God and Jesus (or some similar pairing) and you might do well as a mullah, priest, rabbi etc.

It will take 20 years to see who's right here. It may be a bit early for you to sneer at me just yet.

9/01/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

I think the environment has been part of our thinking since way back. Nothing like a challenge to produce a solution.

We've irrigated, cross-bred, crop rotated, forested, species protected, fined polluters, set standards, engaged breeding programs, cut emissions, changed and reduce lead based products, cut out CFCs, purified, recycled and all sorts of positive things to the environment.

Agreed, we've also been damaging it at a greater rate of knots, but the thoughts of conservationism and environmentalism are not new, and they grow steadily year by year.

What has happened however is that a group of people are totally unsatisfied with the rate of progress, and another group of people have politicised the issue. Then there is an overlap across all those groups.

This issue is being inflamed by groups with a strong ideological bent to gaining control over priorities and the means to the ends. That's basically politics in a nutshell I suppose - the argument of who gets what, and how much of a limited resource and who controls it.

The resources aren't as limited as we are told to believe. We've always had enough to feed the world's people - I grew up being told famines existed because there were too many people.

Things change and we will adapt. However, that does not excuse the ardent environmentalists from preventing a less painful process.

A couple of hydro damns will change the environment, but not destroy it. It isn't a case of getting people to live without electricity because a small area gets a man-made lake.

When the parties of the right articulate their energy efficient solutions as part of their strategy for improving the living conditions of all Kiwis, the fun will begin.

We'll see holistic approaches with the preservation of individual rights without the baggage of the doom and gloom left wing "pinko" radicals.

Many have infiltrated the genuine environmentalists and done their best to promote people as "human cockroaches" requiring authoritarian control. We can do it without them.

And Mother Nature is a lot tougher than she looks.

I agree about the guns though :)

9/01/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Tane, I have faith in engineering and science to solve problems because they have demonstrated again and again an ability to do exactly that. I've no idea why you equate that with a faith in the existence of an almighty god who--as far as I know--cannot be demonstrated to exist.
As a sneer, it's a timeworn if juvenile tactic.
You don't mention the millions of deaths caused by the ban on DDT, I noticed. Which is another typical environmentalist tactic--ignore the evidence that doesn't fit your views.
I remember seeing a bunch of greens protesters take off from their protest site (agains gold mining, I think) in cars to head off to town to buy supplies.
Cars! Burning all that fuel. Which about sums it up for me--hypocrisy.
When I see greenies dressed in loincloths, grazing on (native) grasses and walking everywhere, I may take what they have to say more seriously.
I assume the plastics your computer is made of came from renewable resources?

9/01/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

Keith,

Hate to shatter your illusions mate, but I'm not some dreadlocked hippy, strung out on organic tofu, yearning for some mystical return to a primeval existance consisting of hunting, gathering and totally respecting my empowered sisters-in-equality. And I'm not into dancing naked around oak trees at midnight either.

I drive a car, wear synthetic fibres, eat imported food and do a whole lot of other unsustainable things. I drive to Green meetings, don't you love the irony?

While we have cheap energy, and our current systems, that's what I do to get by, and hey, why the hell not? I'm not saying we should stop using oil because it's bad. I'm saying we should prepare for the day when it runs short. That day is fast approaching, and you know that our current systems are straining when a storm in the United States pushes up petrol prices here in NZ immediately.

Our living arrangements are about to change. Preparing for that change, and all it's catastrophic effects might be a good idea. I was taught in the Army to always dig a shell scrape overnight, in case Johnny Ugly lobbed a few mortar rounds at us. Same thing here, except we're about to get a lot more than a little bit of 82mm hate.

Your faith in science and engineering is entirely understandable, given the awesome accomplishments of humanity over the last 500 years. I believe it is also based on a mis-reading of the situation, as all that technological and engineering innovation was only possible because of the bonanza of easy energy provided by cheap coal, oil and gas. That bonanza is about to end, and our scientists and engineers will have their work cut out replacing a system built with prodigious amounts of energy.

Energy is the key to the problem here. I think we should make some preparation, on the off chance that either the scientists fail to develop something, or more likely, we lack the energy to implement it.

Energy is the issue here. Not human ingenuity. Smart and cunning as we are, I think we will figure out something. But not in a way that will involve some painless transition to a post-oil utopia. Our species will adjust to the circumstances. There is no physical law stating that we must do it in a painless and convenient manner.

ZenTiger, I'd like to answer your post too, but as has been pointed out, I waffle, and this one is long enough. Glad you agree about the guns idea though. 200,000 TF soldiers would come in handy too.

9/01/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Tane, we do have an answer to at least part of the energy problem (I don't for a minute pretend that there isn't going to be a shortage).
Nuclear power. France already generates something like 60% (? not sure about the figures) of it's electricity requirements that way and as far as I know they haven't had a major nuclear accident yet.

9/01/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

Keith,

Like any good Greenie, I'm a bit sceptical about nuclear power, mainly about our inability to get rid of the waste (though Australia has miles and miles of miles and miles to put it in.......). The French use them extensively, and this will be a real bonus to them over the next couple of decades, as natural gas from the North Sea peters out, and the Russians hold Europe by the scrotum.

My main concerns with it are that it will take too long to build here in NZ. Not just because of my Green brethren chaining themselves to the bulldozers and lodging endless court injunctions. Building one of those things is a massive undertaking, worthy of the title 'Think Big'. It'll take years to design, site, build and test, years in which oil will rise in price (barring global depression) greatly increasing the cost of the whole project.

Scale is also an issue, as someone smarter than me pointed out (can't remember who) that they produce gigawatts of power. One station could provide 60-80% of our needs. But they have to go offline fairly frequently for maintenance, so we would in fact need to build two to provide adequate coverage.

Uranium is another limited resource that will face it's own depletion peak. And as it relies on oil to extract it, the cost will rise with oil, and it may in fact become impossible to mine, if wars or breakdowns stop or impede global distribution of oil.

It also fails to address the shortage of transport fuels, the main issue with Peak Oil. Unless you use the excess electricity to produce hydrogen, and then you need a fleet of fuel cell vehicles.

For better or worse, nuclear energy is not an option for NZ I think. We're stuck with wind, hydro, passive solar geo-thermal and maybe coal for electricity. Transport will have to be met with
bio-fuels, NZ oil, trains, ships and a massive amount of 'demand destruction'.

We can come through the hard times ahead, I have no doubt about that. I simply think it's going to be a rough and rocky road.

9/01/2005 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Er Uranium is plentiful. Very plentiful. But, for obvious reasons, carefully watched and regulated (at least outside of Africa).

I'm very bored with this oil fetish. It is not the oils fault if humans don't build enough oil platforms and refineries to extract at the required rate, thus driving prices up as demand meets or passes supply. It is also not the oils fault if the Chinese have suddenly decided they all wish to drive cars in a short period of time. And it is also not the oils fault if Shell executives faked their oil prospects to jack up their share prices, thus fooling the market into thinking there was more confirmed oil prospects than there actually is. And it is also not the oils fault if Putin is re-introducing state control over Russian oil and gas producers. And it is also not the oils fault if members of a political movement cannot understand that commodities fluctuate in value all the time, due to various reasons. It is also not the oils fault that New Zealand neglected its own oil and gas prospecting for a couple of decades, except for the Taranaki Basin.

As you can see, most of the problems are indeed caused by humans, which I pigeonhole in categories of "stupid", "shortsighted", "corrupt", and "state control".

9/01/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I should also add - its not the oils fault the worldwide 'environmental movement' stands in the way of natural resource exploitation. That responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of people like Green Party members.

9/01/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

Exploiting natural resources is fine provided you don't base your entire civilization on their extraction, and then proceed to use them at a rate that guarantees their eventual shortfall and/or demise. Or if the waste products of that resource cause damaging levels of pollution (coal smoke in 1950s London for instance. Or CO2 for that matter).

This isn't a great problem if that resource can be substituted when it runs short, like coal replaced wood in 16th century England. But oil cannot be replaced, not by any alternative available today. Maybe we will find something else. To me, the prospects are slim, and getting slimmer every day.

I didn't block the use of the internal combustion engine; I was born into a world already dominated by it, and a fantastic world it has been (even the Romans would've been impressed). I am trying to say that it looks like oil is about to fall short, and that we should try to wean ourselves off it. Because wean ourselves we will, whether we like it or not.

As ZenTiger said above "...Mother Nature is a lot tougher than she looks." She'll wean us all right, and we won't like it. It might be easier if we do some of that ourselves.

9/01/2005 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

The Greens are on the left of the spectrum, in economic terms, but we see things changing in such a way that 'left/right' will no longer be an accurate reflection of where parties stand. Even the political compass, with it's 'left/right' and 'libertarian/authoritarian' deliniation is not entirely accurate.

Political compasses are not perfect naturally, but. The Greens are classic leftists in every way. Economically they are collectivist and protectionist. Socially they are authoritarian and collectivist. They have a utopian vision to save the world from its current fallen state. Environmentalism has become dogma about which they build their policies. Their morals are derived from what they decide is environmentally correct, despite flawed science. We've seen this type of thing before of course.

9/01/2005 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Psycho Milt said...

I turned up a bit late for this one, but just in case anyone's still reading:

The Greens certainly aren't classic leftists, because socialists have faith in progress, science and technology, which the Greens certainly don't. And socially they tend to be anything but authoritarian - check out the candidate questionnaires filled out by Green candidates on No Right Turn - most of them have a libertarian streak that should put National thoroughly to shame.

There'll be a need for environmentalists as long as there are people like Lucyna who think that environmentalism is anti-life. If we all bred like the Pope and the Mullahs think God wants us to, there really would be an overpopulation crisis, although not before we'd eradicated every mammal larger than a rat that we weren't farming for food. If there is a God, I can't imagine him being chuffed with that resource management style.

9/02/2005 04:24:00 AM  

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