Posts by Rich Lock

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  • Hard News: Show some decency,

    I think people have a lot invested in a certain world view (that John Key is a nice man, that generally people/our leaders are decent and want to do the right thing, etc). It’s difficult to challenge because it effectively means they have to admit they’re wrong, and aren’t as smart, sophisticated, well-informed, etc as they thought. That they had a fast one pulled on them and now they look silly.

    Far easier to resort to the time-worn sport of messenger shooting.

    Take a crumb of comfort from the Nixon analogies: his approval rating was 60% around the time of Watergate, and it took a long time to make a dent in that, but history has not exactly judged him kindly.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought, in reply to BenWilson,

    For instance, my distance from Winston Peters is not really a function of the two dimensions we see there. He’s miles away from me in some racist homophobic dimension you can’t see there. Similarly Peter Dunne is a long way from me on account of his main contribution to politics, drug policy, on which I despise his stance, even though his position is quite moderate on the plotted dimensions. And Colin Craig might look close to National on that graph, but if you emphasized aspects of his religiousity and belief in science, I think the gap would be a lot bigger.

    The trouble with all of those examples you’ve given is that they are effectively one-man bands, so if you’re including them in your potential personal list of candidates, you have to consider the whole person – there’s nothing to temper any elements you may not like. They don’t need to compromise or find consensus within a group.

    Once your party gets to a certain size, then it effectively becomes more of a consensus-oriented vehicle. I have a considerable antipathy to the Greens more ‘woo’ elements, for example, but they’ve managed to minimise and distance the centre of the party from that faction to a considerable degree over the last decade or so. Similarly, I’m fairly strongly opposed to the more centre-right elements of the current Labour party – it’s enough for me to be able to see they they’re there, and that they have a lot more say in things than I’d prefer.

    In a pragmatic sense, it's good enough (well, probably - see below).

    Of course, using a 3-D plot, you’d be able to see the individuals in a group as clusters. You could even add in a spectral analysis over time – red shift/blue shift :)

    Of course, this only really works when you have a multiple-party system and a voting system where the votes aren’t skewed and gameable by local demographics (i.e. not Westminster FPP). We are currently living 50 metres the wrong side of an electorate boundary line. 90% of the goods/services etc that I use are on the other side, but in voting terms I have zero influence on the MP or local councillors.

    You’re right about the questions and analysis though. I was mildly surprised by the fact that 20-30 questions were considered sufficient, and also by the lack of a ‘neither agree nor disagree’ option. Their methodology is also somewhat opaque. Rather like polling companies, the spin, weight and emphasis you give to various facotrs is going to skew your output, and it isn’t clear how they compensate for that.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought, in reply to BenWilson,

    Are those two axes really important to you?

    Well, if you could make sure you plot all the current election and polling data onto the surface of a four-dimensional hypercube in time for all of us to clarify our relative positions and make a properly informed voting decision before the election, we'd be grateful. Ta.

    Important isn't the word I'd use. I personally find the two-axis model more useful, and it's sufficient for my purposes. It effectively divides one's political views into micro and macro: what is of benefit to one personally (plus a small circle of family/friends who you want to see benefit), and what you consider to be of benefit to society as a larger single entity (the economy, basically)*. I'm fairly extreme in my views when it comes to what I should/shouldn't be able to do with my own body: what I put in it, what I like to put it into, and whether I should be able to put it in harm's way for a personal thrill. This tends to align me with Libertarians. However, I'm diametrically opposed to them on any sort of economics issue, which always used to puzzle me. Similarly, I was always puzzled by those of 'the left' who were aligned with, or leaning towards, authoritarianism - I was more in line with their economics thinking, but didn't like being told what I could/couldn't do.

    A two axis model helped explain a lot of that. And I think who you end up voting for depends quite a bit on the relaitve personal balance one takes between the micro and macro portions.

    Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's good enough for me.

    Also, thinking of politics in a single-axis model tends to benefit a two-party FPP system more than a dual-axis MPP system. Various factions wthin each of the parties have to subsume to a large degree in order to stay in the tent (for example, the republican party has two seemingly diametrically opposed wings: fundy religious nutjobs who like telling people what they can and can't do, and libertarians). Two axes are pretty simple to grasp and helps to move away from that sort of unhelpful mindset, even if, as you've pointed out, it's still a hugely crude oversimplification.

    *obviously these aren't mutuallly exclusive, there's considerable shading between the two.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought, in reply to Lindsay Vette,

    Attachment

    Exactly, although Republicans persist in labelling Democrats as pinko liberalists hell-bent on introducing some radical form of socialism, next stop the gulag for all “right” thinking gun-toting god-fearing citizens.

    Tussock beat me to posting up The Political Compass. To my mind, it provides a much better way of looking at things than a traditional left/right analyis, especially given what you’ve noted above. Republicans in the US, and other parties of the ‘right’ in other countries, have been sucessfully scaring the horses by labelling their opponents as screaming loony lefties for decades, all the while pulling the supposed centre-line to the right with all their might.

    I was sourly amused by the stampede of pollies tripping over themselves to canonise Nelson Mandela. If you run the test yourself, you get to see where they think today’s main party leaders sit (see attached). They’re mostly clustered up along the right and towards the top-right corner. Nelson Mandela is down slightly bottom left.

    Personally, I sit more-or-less bang on the Green Party. Which saves me from having to do anything boring and hard like read policy or think about my vote. Thanks, Political Compass!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I think I can see a pattern here and it ain’t no fucking butterfly. More like roadkill.

    Rorschach's journal, September 1st 2014: Whale carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought,

    By the way, I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but a very minor nugget of possible interest:

    As we know, 'Rawshark' is the pseudonym of the anonymous e-mail leaker.

    In Alan Moore's graphic novel 'Watchmen', one of the vigilantes has the pseudonym 'Rorschach'. At one point in the plot, an anonymous tipster call the police and asks if they want to know where to find Rorschach, which is misheard by the detective on the other end of the phone.

    "Raw what? Did you say shark? Raw shark? Why should I want to know where to find Raw shark."

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Why we thought what we thought, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Canon fodder…

    Loose Canons? They do appear to be rolling around all over the gundeck of the good ship National, causing all sorts of chaos.

    Although 'loose Canons' sounds more like something you might get after eating the bad parts of your Curate's egg.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: UPDATED: Media Take: Election…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Via Photoshop. And headed “Leader of the Pack”. In an election period.

    Well, that's a zebra of a different stripe. Details that I wasn't fully aware of.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: UPDATED: Media Take: Election…, in reply to DeepRed,

    Didn’t Russell describe himself as such? Even then, I’m amused when moderate liberals get the Reductio ad Stalinum label thrown at them – I’m looking at you, Redsterbaiter & Mr Loudon.

    Wasn't the point that someone (Russell) on 'the left' can quite happily publicly note when they think someone on their 'team' is out of line, without the sky falling?

    The obvious between the lines reading being that those on 'the right' don't seem capable of doing the same?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: UPDATED: Media Take: Election…, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    What about the cover of the rugby magazine with John Key pretending to be an All Black? It is in every book and magazine shop and dairy across NZ. Surely that is an election advertisement. Much more so than a song or a former MP’s dresses.

    A few election cycles ago, Helen Clarke turned up on the cover of more or less every NZ women's magazine.

    Cuts both ways.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

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