Monday, June 23, 2003

ACT spreading hate

OK, so my lampooning of Stephen Franks as a black-helicopter seeing conspiracy theorist is probably a prime example of a member of the "latte set" poking fun at a "rural oaf" - except he's from Auckland, and I prefer a flat white. But seriously, I found his press release troublesome, not least because it's pushing two obvious lies about gun ownership in New Zealand:

  • It's about town vs country: Franks posits a divide between rural gun-owners and urban gun-grabbers (the "latte set"). But how many urbanites own guns? A lot more than you'd think.
  • It's about class or wealth: In Britian, the anti-hunting movement really is about class antagonism - specifically antagonism towards a wealthy rural aristocracy, who haven't had the sense to die out yet. We don't have one of those in New Zealand, and our farmers don't seem to be markedly different in wealth from the rest of us. In fact, gun ownership or enjoyment of sport shooting doesn't seem to be tied to wealth or social class at all. For every Range-Rover driving duck shooter, there's a guy in a beaten-up old Toyota going pig hunting. And (as mentioned above), they don't just live in the country. So what's specific about gun-owners, other than the fact they own guns? Nothing.

Franks is pushing these lies in a deliberate attempt to frighten gun-owners, and to create the very "class-antagonism" he accuses others of harbouring. He wants to create paranoia and hostility towards the government, because that is ACT's chief platform. In the process he's creating hostility towards gun-owner's fellow citizens as well, but what the fuck does he care, provided he gets re-elected?

It's fairly disgusting politics on every level, but exactly the sort of thing I've come to expect from the "party of principle".