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Speaker: The Re-Branding of Maxim

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  • rodgerd,

    For someone professing concern with language you seem to be remarkably loose about conflating the relgious right with the neoconservative movement.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • plum,

    I think I agree with rodgerd: I'd be interested in seeing what you understand by the term "neoconservative". As I understand it, it's basically someone who naively thinks democracy can be spread through military means. In the US, it seems to attract an awful lot of lapsed liberals.

    But in the New Zealand context? What military power do we have? There might be a case that neocons here still are resentful that we never got those F-16s, but you haven't made that case.

    Also, what link is there between neocons and the religious right in NZ? Sure, the fundies are cynically manipulated for their votes — in the States — but again, you haven't made that case for NZ. (I'd also add that our demographic structure and high voter turnout would make the classic Rovian GOTV strategy — which itself depended on a 30-year strategy to create an alternative media — problematic here, to say the least.)

    There isn't even the sense that our media, for all their faults, are shills for (social) conservative interests. (On the other hand, I don't have a TV, so don't really feel confident about this last. Correct me — please!)

    Wellington • Since Feb 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Whatever one thinks is the rationale behind this bill, it is an anti-smacking bill.

    Even if no parent is invesatigated, let alone charged following light smacking.

    Even if CYFS never consider taking a child from a family because of this bill, and none of the other doomsday scenarios come close to fruition.

    Even if, this is still an anti-smacking bill.

    It may be a bill designed to send a message that it is not good to use force against children. Or that there are better alternatives in disciplining one's children.

    Sue Bradford is anti-smacking, she wants everyone else to reconsider smacking, because she believes that it is wrong. She has proposed a bill to send a message that children are precious and should not be smacked. Whatever the legal effect, even if all this bill is is a legislative message to parents, that message is anti-smacking, and the bill is anti-smacking (it certainly isn't pro-smacking, and it's difficult to view it as neutral, either).

    And when many bill supporters have taken to calling those who oppose the bill "pro-smacking", or "child-beaters" they probably aren't in too great a position to complain.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Rebranding Maxim? you mean it's NOT a brand of condoms ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Whatever one thinks is the rationale behind this bill, it is an anti-smacking bill.

    I'll just restate Grant's point in his preface in different language.

    The Crimes Bill was the anti-smacking bill, because that's the law that made it assault and illegal. There's nothing in current law which allows smacking, reasonable force has simply included it under case law.

    In light of Grant's excellent comments about language framing the debate, I'm starting a very late run on having it called the 'positive parenting bill'. Because clearly it's about changing parenting attitudes and skills and providing a legal framework which discourages the assault of children.

    I could just as easily, if Graeme calls it the 'anti-smacking bill' call it the 'anti-assault bill'. Which if we look at the legal terminology (ie, smacking doesn't appear in the Crimes Act, assault does), is much more accurate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Kyle - you could call it the anti-assault bill, however, that wouldn't stop the bill being a legislative expression of Sue Bradford's desire for parents to reconsider smacking, which she considers a bad idea.

    There are many things this bill can be accurately called - and the positive parenting bill is a great one - but just because it could be called these things doesn't mean "anti-smacking" is inaccurate. It is accurate, along with a number of other epithets that could have been, or are being, applied.

    Perhaps we can now have another debate - is Helen Clark a New Zealander, or a long-time member of the Labour Party? Careful, you can only pick one.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Robertson,

    my point is not that Maxim are what most people would consider neo-cons, but that this kind of appropriation of language is what neo-cons and the religious right in the US have done.

    and while I could have dropped in an "and" between neo-conservative and religious right, the links and combined activity between them has been the defining dynamic of American politics for the last decade or so, I would have thought.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Grant:

    Remove the pseudo-academic verbiage, I really have to wonder whether there are too many people on both the left and the right who view politics as (to paraphrase the late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel) a secular religion, with it's own pantheon of unquestionable dogma, saints and devils, and heresies that must be terminated with extreme prejudice.

    Rather than bitching about the Maxim Institute 'stealing' you language - like some horrible child touching your toys - I'd like to see some hard questions asked and answered about why the pro-repeal campaign resembled a pack of wide-eyed evangelists rather than rational adults putting a case.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • plum,

    I think the dynamic between neocons and the religious right in the US is that the neocons are cynically exploiting the Christian vote through its heavily think-tanked message campaigns. At a personal level, I don't think they share the core social conservative beliefs at all. (You can be sure a neocon would arrange for an abortion if his daughter "needed" it. And if a gay was on board the neocon project, there would be a place for him or her, guarantee it.)

    The question is who parallels neocons in NZ. Libertarians?

    Wellington • Since Feb 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Just to confuse things, the new 'Real Issues' from Maxim, mostly publicising the book, doesn't bother mentioning smacking at all.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0703/S00400.htm

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "the neocons are cynically exploiting the Christian vote through its heavily think-tanked message campaigns."

    Nah, I think that the neocons (which I think of as free-market hawks with an imperialist bent) AND the fundies have both been duped by a rather smaller group who believe in nothing but the party, and couldn't give a rats' about policy at all. Hence the wailing starting to appear from neocon pundits who are disappointed in Bush's conduct of the war, and from conservative Christians who are realising that Bush has done little for them and their policy either.

    I think we're fairly protected from such unholy alliances (you should pardon the expression) here because MMP makes it too tempting to form new parties rather than join a "big tent" party if you have a real policy axe to grind.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    good post, you have obviously hit a bit of a nerve with the Nats - they always get really pissed when their nasty little games are exposed.

    who parallels neocons in NZ

    umm, take another look at The Hollow Men

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Robertson,

    to be absolutely clear- the reference to Section 59 in the first para of the post was merely an example of how one group has framed an issue (quite successfully I might add). Not making any link to Maxim on that debate. In fact their submission on the bill was more of the amending kind.

    The link to Maxim is that I think they are in the business of doing a bit of re-framing and re-branding on 'social justice'. Its a concept that's important to me and my politicial philosophy, and the transparent attempt to highjack it from its common/traditional meaning is the issue I am raising.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    the neocons are cynically exploiting the Christian vote

    Wasn't it Strauss that came up with the idea of using religion to keep the population in line and distraction them. He was jewish and didn't care what religion was used. He had issue with letting the masses have a say on what is going on.

    As for neocons wishing to spreading demoracy.
    The spreading demoracy was just an excuse introduced once the WMD threat in Iraq fall through.
    The goal was extend power and capitalising on the Cold war 'victory'.
    One would normally use the word imperialism.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    but there's no mistaking the ongoing links between National and the fundamentalist rightwing churches, despite their best attempts to pretend they don't play with the Exclusive Brethren anymore.

    check out this from pro-smackers Friend of Family NZ
    http://www.pureintimacy.org/gr/homosexuality/a0000061.cfm

    or this from Family First


    i would've thought after his '40 Below Getting Pissed with the Kids Party' with special guest Matt Bowden that John Key had cottoned on to the problems of having fundy churches openly supporting you. i guess not. can't be easy being all things to all people.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "Wasn't it Strauss that came up with the idea of using religion to keep the population in line and distraction them. "

    Plato, dude.

    But yes, the Straussian influence on the neocons has been remarked.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    using religion to keep the population in line and distracting them

    yes but in a secular society we now have corporate sponsored Sport to do that

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • plum,

    The question about framing that Grant raises is one that won't go away. I'm interested in the way the progressives in the s59 debate have been forced to play catch-up in the message battle.

    Now, I figure progressives are always going to work under a disadvantage because of the policies we back. "Anti-smacking" fits so much better in a headline than "removing the reasonable force defence for hitting children" -- nuance doesn't play well to people too busy or otherwise disinclined to carefully unknot the details. But surely we can get better language framers? (Or can we? Isn't it a running joke among journos that PR flacks have sold out to the dark side?)

    I also think conservatives have spent years gearing up a strong alternative message machine. Not just talk radio but blogs, too. Look at how many posts DPF puts out each day. Here on public address there are days when there's nothing. Yes, I'm saying quantity beats quality.

    Another systemic disadvantage progressives have to work under is that fear and outrage produce Pavlovian responses in the heartland. DPF is still banging on about the s59 "lies". (Go to Whale Oil for worse, but only if you have a strong stomach.) But that's a whole other topic, I guess.

    Wellington • Since Feb 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "removing the reasonable force defence for hitting children"

    /coughs, produces megaphone:

    NO ex-CUSE for CHILD ab-USE!

    You're welcome.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    <echos chant>

    NO ex-CUSE for CHILD ab-USE!

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    Plato, dude

    Yeah you got me, I was only thinking of modern thinkers and mentioning Strauss, since he is considered the granddaddy of neocons.

    As for the right here, they should have had a bit of practice fighting bills (civil union, prostitution etc). They were bound to figure out an effective strategy. At some point.
    And unfortunately most people don't look to deeply into an issue and seem to have been sucked in.

    Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble accessing this site to day?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    But have the right shifted popular opinion much?

    I would love to see some polls from a few months ago to provide some evidence for or against that.

    Personally I think it's fairly obvious that there is a disconnection between the stated aims of the bill's advocates and the language of the bill, and you don't need to be a member of "the right" to be concerned about that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    A small organised group will always be able to dominate the discourse. This isn't a monopoly of the political Christian "I'd love to have a culture war" Right, in fact the first time I ever really saw it in action was in Dunedin, when I was a student there.

    Back in Dunedin during the late 1990s-early 00s the International Socialists were the most consistent in their ability to have something to say about nearly every important issue (whether it be Kosovo or the St David St road bridge). I have no idea how many people their organisation had, but they seemed to work pretty hard at getting their view across. Sure Dunedin / UO is quite a narrow example, with some advantages - like a homogenous centralised community and a very apathetic polity (I don't think student voting rates for elections ever beat 20% while I was there, and the SGMS (lunch time votes) were nearly always close to failing through a lack of a quorom. But this isn't so removed from normal political life in NZ - the media is rather centralised here, and if one can get their talking points picked up by one of the majors then national coverage is guaranteed. Then the other(s) will pick it up as well (got to fill that looooong 1 hour news period somehow right?).

    I would suspect that any group of people with ability to make a website, issue press releases, make cute myspace videos, make posters/newsletters, write letters to influential people, has an articulate spokesperson, turn up to Select Committees, and that can plan a coherent campaign would be able to get significant media attention in NZ if they worked on it. To be fair to the Christian groups they have been trying for some time.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1022 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Personally I think it's fairly obvious that there is a disconnection between the stated aims of the bill's advocates and the language of the bill, and you don't need to be a member of "the right" to be concerned about that.

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou.
    Thats what I've been trying to say, but not nearly so well.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Personally I think it's fairly obvious that there is a disconnection between the stated aims of the bill's advocates and the language of the bill, and you don't need to be a member of "the right" to be concerned about that.

    Yes, but also remember the bill's advocates, didn't write the language in the bill currently. It was re-written (badly I think) by the law commission and the select committee.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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