Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The highs and lows of modern life

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The all-male cabal that runs NZ Incorporated, Key, English and Joyce assure us that the rock star economy is still rocking despite declining dairy prices and a falling dollar. It’s a line they must take to keep our spirits up whether it represents the real position or not.

This is not how governments normally operate. Famed cultural critic and satirist H. L. Mencken reckoned the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Meanwhile serial protestor Claire Bleakley, who cut her teeth on expostulate action earlier this century opposing the use of 1080 and is president of GE Free NZ, recently led her fellow dissidents around the metropolitan streets of Featherston protesting against the elusive Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Mr Groser, who sounds and looks like someone right out of the kids card game Happy Families, assures us he won’t sign the dreaded document until he’s convinced it’s in New Zealand’s best interests.

The populace has often been unnecessarily alarmed. In 1970 Hal Lindsay wrote the best seller The Late Great Planet Earth warning us that we would never get to see the dawn of the new millennium. Not long after that international think tank The Club of Rome said we were about to run out of oil and the end result would be catastrophic for the world.

We now know the world is awash with oil and at a new low of $40 a barrel American petroleum barons are laying off staff and plugging their wells until the price gets back up to a level where they consider it is worth extracting.

Last week The Wall Street Journal warned of another recession looming as the Dow Jones plunged and said the US, with a balance of payment deficit in the trillions, has no money left to stop the outcome really biting hard this time around.

I’m starting to sound like The Club of Rome myself and H. L. Mencken will have thought that I should have gone into politics, but I suspect the real threat for the world today is the propensity for some very clever people to hack into significant computers. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, now both living in forced exile, have done so to devastating effect, but the real risk lies with ISIS types breaching the world’s banking system.

And already would-be adulterers are running scared because the Ashley Madison website has been skilfully sabotaged.

Twenty-two thousand New Zealanders are said to be implicated, many of them Aucklander’s who are probably wanting to emulate the antics of their meandering mayor.

Apparently 85 per cent of adultery aspirants are men, but only 15 per cent are of the fairer sex. Just how Ashley Madison was going to achieve partnership pairing is a mystery, unless the ladies were going to be asked to do multiple shifts.

American comedian Dave Barry once asked his audience: “Do infants have as much fun in infancy as adults have in adultery?” It was a rhetorical question, but if asked, I would have said, “No, they probably don’t.”

“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” -Edmund Burke


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