Editorial | Issue 21

Editorial | Issue 21

Guest Editorial C-UNIT

Howdy people, Callum the News Editor here with a guest editorial. You may remember me from such educational articles as “The Cumberland Ghost” and “Margaret Mahy: She Dead”. Through a combination of Joe’s sloth and my desire for a propaganda vehicle, I’m writing the editorial this week.

Let’s talk politics. Specifically, I want to draw your attention to the latest buzzwords that are currently in vogue among politicians and their spin doctors. The current crop of buzzwords make Whanau Ora’s mission statement, the former gold standard of utter meaninglessness, look like an oasis of clear, minimalist prose.

The worst buzzwords by far are the deceptive duo of “dialogue” and “conversation”. When a politician says he/she wants to “start the conversation” or “open dialogue” on a political issue, they have as little genuine interest in conversation as someone stuck in an elevator with a member of Student Life. You want to “start a conversation” on becoming a republic? No, you’re a committed republican and all the king’s horses wouldn’t be able to change your mind. Man up and say so.

Next up, “discrimination” is not an inherently bad thing. To discriminate is simply to distinguish and choose between two criteria. People discriminate when deciding what classes to take, who to drink with, and in the government’s case, who should pay the taxes and to whom they should be dished out. Most of the time, discrimination is perfectly legit – it’s only a problem when done on illogical grounds such as race or sexual orientation. So when the government pulls the plug on student allowances or cracks down on long-term DPB dependency, damn right it’s discriminatory – that’s the whole point.

There are some words that should never be used within ten words of “economy”. Think of this paragraph as a restraining order against a bunch of uninvited, creepy and delusional words that are perpetually harassing an innocent and useful descriptive term. Serial offenders include “smart”, “modern”, “high-tech”, and “knowledge”. Flat taxes lead to greater economic growth but also more inequality – so are flat taxes “smart”? Sir Roger Douglas and Professor Jim Flynn, both undoubtedly smart people, would give different answers here, because economic management is primarily based on values, not objective “best practice”.

Talking of “modern”, there are few things more clichéd in the modern age than criticising policies as “tired old ideas from the past” and claiming to not be bound to a particular ideology. Ideologies are based on values, not science, so can never become “outdated” and “obsolete” like the VCR. And in reality, the two ideological poles of socialism and free-market capitalism, as well as a compromise between them, have all had their day in the sun at some stage. Parties that smugly claim to offer an entirely new, as-yet-untested ideology are as delusional as people who believe they’ve invented perpetual motion.

If this editorial contributes to even one of these terms being purged from the political lexicon, I’ll be happy. But really, I just want to start the conversation.
This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2012.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 19th August 2012 by Callum Fredric.