Nazi who?

Last week I made a plea for reason with regards to synthetic drug legislation. If we ban it we lose what little control we can exert, the ends which really matter – less people taking synthetic drugs – will be sacrificed in favour of the symbolic. This week the National party has tried to smear Kim Dotcom – a political poltergeist entirely of their own making – as a Nazi for having possession of a rare signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kumpf. The media (hardly surprisingly) has played it far beyond what it is worth and subjected Dotcom to a few days of harsh criticism.

This is all rather normal for New Zealand politics but the timing of the smear is revealing. It occurred right when Dotcom released an app for the internet party that people may download for free, stay up to date with the party, and most importantly sign up as members. The nazi smear then seems to be an attempt by national to scare potential members away and make it harder for Dotcom to reach the 500 minimum threshold to be formally registered with the electoral commission as a party competing in this election. It may have failed in outright terms – the Internet Party  now has more than 800 members and plans to apply to the commission on Monday – but the smear is enough to put a line in the sand with John Key comfortably occupying the moderate position. If he can paint as much of the left as radical as possible he will be able to sail back to the Beehive on the ballots of middle New Zealand, like 2008 and 2011.

I make a very different plea for reason this week, a plea to the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand to think twice when someone is branded as extremist, radical, on the fringe. Take a closer look at who is doing the branding and ask yourselves whether they have a selfish interest in your conformity to their opinion. That goes to for my scribblings, in fact I would rather you disagreed with me and argued – that means you are yourself now involved.  

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