The Daily Bork

August 03, 2005

Projection or just foolish?

Jim Traue answers a couple of "Russell asked mes" about some book or another. Somehow he gets sidetracked into beggars and enemies of the people...

I was in my fifties before I saw my first beggar on the streets of New Zealand. The other members of the panel have a different experience, you are young enough to have grown up with beggars around you. I had seen beggars in the great American cities, Washington, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, when I lived there in the mid-sixties, and in London in my few days there. Whenever I saw one I said to myself, thank God I am a New Zealander, we have managed to solve that problem once and for all. That first experience of a beggar in New Zealand was like being kicked in the stomach. First the involuntary tears, then the desire to hit back at those responsible. It was then that I started developing my ideas on the reintroduction of hanging, drawing and quartering for political crimes against the people.


Uh huh. Coming across a beggar in the street and he wants to kill people, nice. Anyway, I've lived in NZ nearly all my life, apart from the last few months and have never been begged from or seen anyone I'd have marked as a beggar. In Sweden I get begged from nearly every week. In America I've never been begged from. In Australia at least a couple of times. What does that tell you? Because it doesn't tell me much. Certainly doesn't inspire a death lust.

Not three paragraphs later he says this

Always in the back of my mind is the example of what has happened in the recent past when people in the mainstream of another country, a nation recently formed from a group of principalities previously divided by religious wars, and believing they had at last found their destiny, were destabilised and unable to maintain their balance in their own country. They turned to a strong man, no great believer in rational argument, and the solution was nasty and Nazi.


Quite clearly the man does not see the glaring connection of what he writes here and his "developing ideas" to kill enemies of the people. He doesn't see that what he had rabbited on about previously is precisely what he sees in the rise of the Nazis, to wit:

First, the welfare/equality consensus that began with the Liberals in 1890, was strengthened by the first Labour Government in the 1930s, and accepted by the National Party when it came to power in 1949, has been shattered. Sinclair, writing in 1963, was clearly convinced that the equality/social welfare consensus was permanent and that it was the secure basis on which a civilization could be built by focussing on quality, what we had been neglecting, in the future. That consensus was overthrown by Rogernomics and Ruthanomics in the 1980s and 1990s.


He is his own enemy, what a fool.

[Also posted at Sir Humphrey's]

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