Do I look that stupid? Don’t answer that on the grounds I might have to clip you around the ear for being cheeky.
Apparently a Washington based think tank (has there ever been a better oxymoron?) seems to think so.
The curiously named Social Progress Imperative has just ‘published’ or rather a compliant and gullible New Zealand media has just published for them, a survey that proudly announces I and my fellow Kiwis are the freest people in the known world.
Now if that was actually true it might be something to be grateful for given the appalling conditions that exist in some countries. But much as I don’t want rain on anyone’s parade – oh alright I do sometimes enjoy damping down some of the more ridiculous shows of misplaced enthusiasm – I feel it is important to take issue with this survey/report/PR exercise.
The first thing that strikes me about such a report is that I wonder what criteria went into assessing whatever ‘data’ they might have collected. Closer inspection reveals that basically 12 ‘categories’ were assessed and given scores, which obviously would have to be subjective guesses (educated or otherwise) by those compiling the report. As that much is really a no-brainer it becomes obvious that placing much reliance upon such a document would be foolish in the extreme. After all one man’s freedom is another man’s bondage and any assessment of this type can only be arrived at in the context of one’s own experiences.
So now that I have rubbished the credence of this report, I find myself turning my thoughts to the purpose of it.
Why would somebody want to produce a report like this, apart from the fact that they managed to get paid squillions of dollars to do so? Somebody commissioned/ordered this report to be done otherwise it would not have happened.
My first reaction is to notice that the report has its origins in the USA. This is a country that churns out many millions of reports each year that they then feed to a keen or compliant press most of whom are owned lock stock and gun barrel by large multi-nationals and who have the resources and the infrastructure to disseminate these pearls of wisdom all over the ‘free world’ in less time than it took me to type the last sentence.
My guess is that this was commissioned (openly or otherwise) by a group of multi-national bodies corporate. Anyone even vaguely familiar with human psychology will know that one of the best ways to get people on your side or sympathetic to you is to flatter them and make them feel good about themselves. Success is almost guaranteed if they are aware that your flattery is based upon some sort of ‘scientific data’ that ‘proves’ to them that they are as fabulous as you have been telling them.
The US Government has been a world leader in propaganda for an extremely long time and their influence stretches far and wide. Countries like New Zealand have regarded them as major allies all along and this is even more apparent when the treasury benches are occupied by those from the right of the political spectrum. It is a rare thing indeed for New Zealand to ever oppose anything the USA does and we so often fall over backwards trying to accommodate them with their intelligence gathering activities and by supporting them either physically or morally in their military endeavours. We also ‘enjoy’ a favourable trade relationship with them – although it doesn’t take a genius to work out who actually gets the most favours from that.
Now don’t get me wrong, any of my American readers; it’s not the American people I am talking about here it is the pond-life that occupy their corridors of power. The fact is that much of our own pond-life thinks the sun shines out of their algae encrusted bums.
So what really is the deal here with this report? Why has it come out now?
I think there are two obvious reasons for this report being released now and my diseased and conspiracy addled brain says the timing of this is no coincidence. This is election year and who stands to benefit from a report that screams in headlines that we have never been so free?
Why that must be our benevolent Government of course; the very same one that has expended so much time and energy stoutly defending our right to privacy, freedom of speech and democracy. Now what exactly have they done to move our freedom forward?
Oh yes, that’s right when more than two thirds of those who voted against asset sales in a referendum last year opposed asset sales they publicly announced even before the results that they would ignore our views if they clashed with their own. The there have been the breaches of the rights of the Tuhoe people and Kim Dotcom, the protection of coalition partners who cross the line on matters of trust and then keeping a Minster in power who has created an apparent conflict of interest during a Ministerial overseas junket. And that is just the tip of an iceberg far larger than any encountered by the Titanic.
Of course this is a potentially good election year present for the current Government who coincidentally (thank heavens for co-incidence) sycophantically adores of the US administration.
But it is also a great distraction. It distracts the attention of the masses from more important matters such as that horrendously disempowering document the TPPA which our (same) Government is so keen to sign up to and which the US administration wants us to sign up to as well (more coincidence).
So while we are busy celebrating our new found status as the bastions of freedom our Government is busy trying to sell those freedoms off to multi-nationals via this cheerily entitled Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which will have us reduced to minor partners in our own resources. This agreement will allow these corporates to dictate what we do in what used to be our country, although even that particular ownership must be under a cloud now. That is because the toothless OIC seems keen to sell up endless tracts of land to off-shore investors while the Government assists morally unsuitable migrants to gain citizenship and buy up properties at ridiculous prices thus making property unaffordable for the locals and the Government keeps selling NZ assets by the pound. The latter is the biggest lie of all when they say they will only sell the majority of shares to Kiwis but then later have to revise that because not enough Kiwis have the dough to buy them.
Oh yes. That sounds like freedom, doesn’t it?
And before I close I should mention that closer examination of the SPI (or spy?) report reveals that all is not quite as good as the screaming headlines might suggest. Our health system is going down the toilet along with our general health and our high suicide statistics and our eco system sustainability is shot to pieces. But we are ‘free’ to experience all that, so it must be alright.
It’s time more people in Godzone woke up and smelled the rat in mi kitchen Come September let’s fix dat rat.