Posts by BenWilson

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  • Legal Beagle: Somewhere* it's National…, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    We need a Tardis for a library!

    It’s called the Internet.


    I have books and photos over a 100 years old but none of my earliest ‘digital’ files or hard drives remain extant or viable.

    There's not much left on papyrus either....

    We've got better at backing stuff up digitally. In only a few decades, rather than thousands of years. Of course it's not exactly the same. But it's a whole lot better than nothing at all, which is what pulped books are to their unpulped form.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Reviewing the Election, in reply to izogi,

    Is it always that some people simply don’t understand politics and find it too confusing and irrelevant to bother with or don’t see options they like, or more that they don’t feel a very strong connection to New Zealand and its future?

    There's a third and obvious possibility. They think that their vote doesn't count for much in the big picture. It's a 3 millionth share in not much by way of choice.

    But it's all of these things together too. It all adds up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    You can fix this two ways. One is the Sue Bradford section 59 approach, which is to use an elite consensus to ram a change down peoples throats, or you can work with the government and the medical profession to lay the groundwork for the publics acceptance of the need to replace our broken drug laws.

    The first way isn't going to happen. That was extremely divisive even though it was really quite a tiny change, and elite consensus came down to not wanting to be the one who said horsewhipping kids was OK. But we're talking about meaningful change, and there are plenty of people who think there's nothing wrong with drug dealers and even drug takers languishing in prison and the police being able to pretty much search anyone anytime just by invoking the merest suspicion you have drugs. I don't think class analysis is worth a bar of shit here, but of course you are always going to raise it. There are illegal drugs for poor and rich alike, all banned. The one that's not banned is also something consumed by all classes. Even the homeless.

    So I guess we're looking at the second way. Like we have been as long as I've been alive, with some very small progress having been made in all that time in terms of harm reduction, and a neverending stream of new prohibitions.

    Which is why, I guess, that Russell is asking the question. It's actually hard, at this time, to even envisage what moving toward sanity would look like, it's so far away in the rear view mirror. Indeed the framing of the question begs what I see as half the problem. You frame it as harm reduction, and you're already saying that harm is the most important thing. But no one takes drugs because they're not harmful. They take them to enjoy. And that side of things is past the horizon behind us on all except everyone's favourite little hypocrisy, alcohol. You're setting up a framework that fundamentally does not even grasp the reason for the taking of drugs, built right into it. How sane can it ever be?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It would help, even with retail testing kits.

    What kind of things can they test for? I guess you're meaning this for illegal drugs. Legal drugs should have been tested in the factory and list the ingredients on the packaging, like they do in the chemist, and in foods.

    In which case you're also kind of answering my first question about who you're talking about pursuing harm reduction. If it's illegal drugs, it's not going to be the government, presumably?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A conversation from belief, in reply to Francis Ritchie,

    they believe that the reason most people feel constrained in doing so is because all people are endowed with a morality that is seated in a universal truth set by God (and implanted in various ways, such as culture).

    The comeback is that the universal truth could exist without God's involvement too. Just as 1+1=2 is true whether God agrees or not (but of course God agrees!). God doesn't make 1+1=2. It's true by definition of the parts. God might know what is moral, but it's still quite possible for him not to have made it moral just by saying so. God can't make the immoral moral. God wouldn't! You don't even have to disbelieve in God to detach God from being the source of morality. God could still have perfect judgment about what is moral.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…, in reply to Alfie,

    It’s less harmful than any of the chemical substitutes, and the ‘fatal’ dose has been estimated at about 30 kilos… from a height of ten metres.

    I'm pretty sure I'd survive being hit by 30 kilos of cannabis even from 10m. I'd raise my hands into Hallelujah position and let it rain.

    ETA: Actually I'd like to be the very first volunteer to test that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…,

    And I've yet to see/read a single good report about synthetics. As drugs go, they're down there at the evil end of the bucket.

    Well you don't tend to get news about people not having some terrible thing happen to them on synthetic cannabis. You don't get interviews of Peter Dunne at a rave with kids dancing happily around him. I know of plenty of people who have had experiences they liked on them. Usually, they still said that if it were legal, they'd prefer cannabis to cannibomimetics. But there are some advantages to synthetics even in the effects. Some of them are reported not to have the typical vacant day-after feeling that cannabis has. But the most commonly reported advantage is that you're less likely to get busted. And yes, there's quite a lot of reports of horrible side effects.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…,

    what would a harm reduction strategy look like now? Not in five or 10 years, but now?

    What actions would a harm reduction approach prescribe?

    Can I clarify the parameters of the question? Are you talking about a strategy that the government could follow right now, given that they had already bought into harm reduction, or a strategy that advocates for harm reduction would use to convince people of it's necessity?

    Presuming the first one, are you limiting the meaning of strategy to discussion of what to do about new drugs or is it open to the most obvious ideas of decriminalization of existing drugs? Which harms can be considered? Just the harm from the taking the drugs? Or the harm of police persecution, criminal records?

    Should partygoers be able to safely test their pills before popping them?

    Well that's a bit impractical unless we're talking about giving them all chemistry degrees and access to testing kit suites. But they could at least have an "official" record of what is known about the testing that has already been done and the known consequences in the wild, and very strict laws about the detail that has to be on the packaging. It's going to be a large (but not impractically so), sparse database, though, if we have to treat combinations as separate drugs. It sounds like something a government department could probably manage. Eventually it would start delivering robust information on the most popular individual chemicals and combinations. For anything really bad it should deliver it fast.

    A mobile capable website and/or app would be a handy thing for people puzzling over a box of something barely known. If they were forced to have individual codes, and maybe barcodes to make it even easier for scanning, then it would be that much more likely to be used. This already exists for foods in the supermarket, I can't see why it couldn't work for a legal product. This would also mean it would be a lot easier to trace any bad batches back to the source. I think it would probably put a huge handbrake on the dumping of any crappy stocks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: We don’t make the rules, we're…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Weird yes but I wanted to.

    Not that weird :-). I don't cricket much, but getting in the World Cup final is the kind of thing I might put a riveting afternoon at the office down for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A conversation from belief, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Sometimes it’s a balance of harms, a utilitarian calculus.

    Not also a balance of goods vs harms? Like "he's going to miss out on something small, but she's going to get something big, so that's OK, in balance"? I tend to think we've almost forgotten half of what utilitarianism is about, so successful has the JS Mill version of it been. Especially when it comes to things like drugs. A minor harm might be worth it just because you actually like it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8942 posts Report Reply

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