Bob Jones on fear of change

August 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

writes at NZ Herald:

There’s an amusing bitter battle going on in Waikanae, an affluent coastal town 60km north of Wellington. It involves two factions, one, “The Friends of The Waikanae River” headed by an 86-year-old, and its rival, led by a 76-year-old dubbed “The Lord of The River”, who, despite his relative youth, leads the conservative faction in the row.

And the issue in dispute? Damming the river? Drawing water from it? Discharges into it? Brace yourself. It transpires that the dopey district council has been ripping out long-standing native plants from the river’s banks on the absurd grounds that a century ago, those particular species weren’t there.

This has the whole-hearted support of the Lord of The River and his followers but brought cries of “eco-terrorism” and “botanical ethnic cleansing” from The Friends of The Waikanae River (I’m not making this up). Unsurprisingly, it’s also backed by Te Papa’s Curator of Botany, doubtless bearded, who has described The Friends as not true conservationists but gardeners.

Truth is stranger than fiction!

Such is the depth of anger; the next step will be a full-scale shooting war with much loss of life which won’t matter because the protagonists are not making much use of theirs anyway.

That said, if I was to bear arms and join in the bloodbath then it would be alongside The Friends, consistent with my life-long detestation of fanatical conservatism, whether in politics, religion or anything at all.

When some of our more adventurous simian ancestors first dropped from the trees and attempted to stand, you may be assured it would have been to a background gibbering protest from the tree-bound and always-present conservative elements that have dogged human progress ever since.

All human advancement has been marked by conservative resistance. The most stultified period in mankind’s history; the thousand-years Dark Ages, was conservative church-prescribed while today ultra-conservative Islam fanaticism costs the world billions annually in holding its evil efforts at bay.

Political conservatism fought democracy, universal suffrage, votes for women, free education, weekend shopping, free trade and, indeed, every progressive step, big and small, towards our present civilisation. 

Well said Sir Bob.

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33 Responses to “Bob Jones on fear of change”

  1. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    It’s good that we are taking more care to protect our native bush and native flora generally, but Bob Jones is right, there is a fanatical side to this.

    In Christchurch, for example, there was much pride in the weeping willows on the banks of the Avon in the centre of the city. They have been there for a very long time, and the history or urban myth is that they were indirectly grown from trees near Napoleon’s initial burial site on St Helena, a port of call for the French and German settlers bound for Akaroa.

    There was a drive by the ultra conservative environmentalists to tear these down and replace them with flax and native trees. I think they felled some and replaced them with toi-toi and falx.

    Strange how these fanatics are usually multiculturist when it comes to human beings, but isolationist in environmentalism. NZ is so geographically isolated that it’s flora range is pretty narrow, and fairly bland. IMHO, the glory of gardening and parks is to bring colour and plants from round the world – from Japan, the Caucasus, Africa, wherever.

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  2. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    LOL – an elementary logic flaw here

    Premise 1: Change is good
    Premise 2: This is change

    Conclusion: Therefore this must be good

    But civilizations have died before and they died because the forces of progress didn’t listen to the voices of the conservatives

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  3. Albert_Ross (311 comments) says:

    Not sure that I agree with your very last point, Jack5 at 2:15. If all parks and gardens were to bring in colour and plants from round the world, then all parks and gardens would look the same all round the world. Would that really be better?

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  4. Bob R (1,393 comments) says:

    ***Strange how these fanatics are usually multiculturist when it comes to human beings, but isolationist in environmentalism. ***

    Haha, very true.

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  5. nasska (11,827 comments) says:

    ” Fanatical conservatism”….now that’s a subject our resident fruitloop will be able to get his gums into.

    Com’on Baity. :)

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  6. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Re Albert Ross at 2.20:

    I disagree. There is so much botanical diversity in the world that every single human theoretically could design a different park, garden, or whatever.

    Would you shut out our spring daffodils, our Japanese blossom trees, the scented Australian gums, because they aren’t indigenous?

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  7. Odakyu-sen (755 comments) says:

    The trick is knowing when to change.

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  8. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    I understand that at least one, if not both, of these groups receives ratepayer funds for their activities.

    Call a halt to this sort of madness – vote Gavin Welsh 1 for mayor in Kapiti

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  9. wiseowl (939 comments) says:

    Yes the bureaucrats have been taught that eco sourcing is required. ie only plant trees reproduced in the area in question.

    I say bolllocks.

    At one stage I grew hundreds of native trees and sourced seed from all over the show.

    Hope common sense prevails.

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  10. Frankie Lee (12 comments) says:

    “The most stultified period in mankind’s history; the thousand-years Dark Ages, was conservative church-prescribed ”

    Not so. The “Dark Ages” saw major advances in agriculture, architecture and warfare, as well as the beginnings of market capitalism and higher education.The standard account is a myth and survives mostly because it’s such a crucial part of the arsenal of anti-theists.

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  11. hj (7,067 comments) says:

    We think that change in the environment is just like redecorating but there is more to it than that. Lyttelton Harbour used to have clearer water, oyster beds and zostra grass on the mudflats. Apparently the fishing was good anywhere in the harbour.

    Back in the old days there were native bats under Christchurch bridges.

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  12. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    But civilizations have died before and they died because the forces of progress didn’t listen to the voices of the conservatives

    Civilizations have died because people refused to change when the situations changed. Or to put it another way, they refused to listen to progressives.

    And I say that as a well-established conservative.

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  13. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    Isn’t Sir Bob getting his definitions a bit muddled? If the “Lord of the River” is IN FAVOUR of ripping out the existing fauna – i.e. in favour of CHANGE – how can he be said to be “conservative”? Aren’t conservatives in favour of maintaining the status quo?

    I think Sir Bob is trying to say that the Lord of the River is a reactionary; someone who wants to turn the clock back….but then I am just being pedantic…a bit like Sir Bob often is…Or have I missed something?

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  14. Griff (8,203 comments) says:

    Its an interesting conundrum between trying to keep the environment genetically original or increasing the genetic diversity available in the local gene pool.

    Ecosourcing and environmentally sound planting is often a requirement in the building consent process in more protected areas of NZ. Personally I think that distributing possible genetic diversity of our natives has more value for the future than a futile wish for a genetically pure environment.
    As the effects of climate change intensify much more stress will be placed on our unique flora. With the decline of many forest species due to introduced browsers and the kauri die back a radically altered north land forest environment is already an unavoidable reality. Genetic diversity has more chance of preserving such plants as the Metrosideros rātās and pōhutukawa.

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  15. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    Bullshit.

    The Dark Ages weren’t dark.

    His progress to democracy and universalism has led to over spending, debt and almost failed states in the west.True conservative values would have prevented that.

    Ironically the anti conservative “progress” he talks about has led in Europe to potentially an Islamic take over!

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  16. Albert_Ross (311 comments) says:

    Not exactly, jack5 at 2:25. What I’m saying – and we probably don’t really disagree here – is that it would be good to seek to preserve at least some areas that are pure New Zealand (!) rather than having an international mix everywhere. This is the only country where that’s possible, which represents both a privilege and a duty for those who live here.

    Put another way – if we like diversity, then we have to allow individual units /not/ to be diverse. For if nothing’s allowed to be purely black or purely white, then everything’s grey; and there’s no diversity in that.

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  17. flipper (4,241 comments) says:

    What Bob says is true.
    But it all comes back to the RMA. and its conflicting objectives.

    The following is the text of an email from Bryce Wilkinson of the New Zealand Initiative sent to me earlier this week.
    On the basis that he copied it to a few others (including DPF) I feel confident hat he would have no objection to being quoted here;

    *** “Insights last Friday had another article by me aiming to rebut the common refrain that to better protect New Zealander’s property rights is to favour economic development at the expense of ‘the environment.

    As I see it at the moment, these are the two real battlegrounds to win in the public debate over the RMA:

    1) its purpose should be to promote the wellbeing of NZ’ers, not to sacrifice it; and

    2) economic development in the sense of productivity growth (or real GDP per capita growth), is not intrinsically at the expense of ‘the environment’, and was not in fact in the 20th century amongst the western world where the big shift has been from manufacturing and agriculture to services, and it is a myth that National intended the RMA to be anti-development; (to the contrary Simon Upton sold the Nats this pup on the grounds that it was permissive once his infamously unlimited environmental ‘bottom lines” were protected regardless of the cost to NZers wellbeing).

    Far too many environmentalists see property rights as the enemy of that which they hope to achieve rather than a crucial instrument for achieving conservational and environmental goals of a non-absolutist sort.

    In my view, the biggest impediment to improving the RMA is the ambiguity of its purpose statement (section 5 of the RMA). As long as its purpose statement is ambiguous, no one can tell what the problems are for private arrangements which it purports to be the remedy and therefore there is no accountability for success in the pursuit of its multiple purposes and, in indeed purposeful management is impossible. Any decision consistent with any one aspect of the purpose statement is formally as good as any other decision consistent with any other aspect. The choice between them depends on who wields the most power, case by case.

    Regards

    Dr Bryce Wilkinson
    Senior Fellow …. ” ***

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  18. gump (1,664 comments) says:

    The dark ages weren’t dark?

    It looks like some of you might have been wagging school when they covered the “Enlightenment”.

    Here’s a hint – why do you think they call it the Enlightenment?

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  19. iMP (2,422 comments) says:

    Bob, Adolf Hitler was very progressive. Out with the old, in with the new. Shiny bright-eyed blondie things they were.

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  20. iMP (2,422 comments) says:

    This is typically what Christchurch looked like before we drained it.

    http://envirohistorynz.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/swamp-area-around-manawatu-river-1904.jpg

    Let’s go back!

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  21. Jack5 (5,167 comments) says:

    Re Albert Ross at 3.48:

    I pretty much agree with you then.

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  22. hj (7,067 comments) says:

    @ flipper
    I see your Dr Bryce Wilkinson is a member of the esteemed NZ Climate “Science” Coalition.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/puppets-on-a-string-us-think-tank-funds-nz-sceptics/

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  23. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Heartland granted US$25,000 (NZ$32,000) to the NZ Climate “Science” Coalition,

    hj, LOL :)

    Compared to the multi billion dollar budget of the alarmists ? Get real, you are taking the piss.

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  24. Griff (8,203 comments) says:

    Why would they lie about there funding ?

    http://climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=510
    ICSC FUNDING

    To date, the vast majority of donations to ICSC have come from private individuals in:

    Canada
    The United States of America
    The United Kingdom
    New Zealand
    The Netherlands
    Denmark
    Australia

    The identities of all donors are kept strictly confidential to protect their privacy and safety.

    Since its formation in 2007, ICSC has never received financial support from corporations, foundations or governments.

    Yet it is excepting funding from Heartland according to verified tax documents.

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  25. Kea (13,359 comments) says:

    Griff, we are still waiting to hear some facts about the alarmists funding ?

    (Psssssst …Griff thinks oil companies make money from “denying” not form selling oil :) )

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  26. Griff (8,203 comments) says:

    Who are these alarmist you refer to kea?

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  27. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    FFS how did this thread turn into a “climate Change debate”?

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  28. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    Bob Jones is confused, he’s actually talking about ideologues, not “conservatives”.

    Conservatives are an essential component of any healthy society, you just don’t want them to be the only component, but that holds true for ‘progressives’ too.

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  29. willtruth (243 comments) says:

    People can get carried away with ecological fundamentalism sometimes for sure, but I think that people often miss the point when they criticize the motives for favouring locally occurring flora and fauna. The main reason why reasonable conservationists often favour local species is not xenophobia or ideological purity. It is about preserving global biodiversity . Now you may not think it matters if we reduce the overall biodiversity of the planet. You may think that the planet losing unique species for ever is not a big deal. But if you think it’s a good thing to try to preserve at least some of these unique species then you should favour local species where possible and within reason. The local range of a species may be the only place on the planet where that species occurs, so if it disappears there it disappears from the planet. And it may be supporting other species which also only live there. I don’t know enough about the exact situation in Waikanae to know if the council are being loopy or not. Maybe there is a globally unique ecosystem there with globally unique species. Maybe not.

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  30. Left Right and Centre (2,997 comments) says:

    There’s nothing ‘natural’ about this country post colonialism…. and so arguing one way or another what to do in some windblown tinpot waiting room that was ripped up decades ago is comedy.

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  31. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    The most stultified period in mankind’s history; the thousand-years Dark Ages, was conservative church-prescribed…

    I think Bob needs to consult a historian. The Dark Ages were the few hundred years between the fall of the Roman empire and the medieval period – 4-500 years max- and the Church pretty much kept what remained of civilisation in western Europe intact during it. He’s spot on with this bit though:

    Political conservatism fought democracy, universal suffrage, votes for women, free education, weekend shopping, free trade and, indeed, every progressive step, big and small, towards our present civilisation.

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  32. Rufus (677 comments) says:

    Though I like reading Bob’s pieces, he’s quite wrong on an important point, as has been pointed out.

    The whole “Dark Ages” myth as we know it today was dreamed up by some effete Italian to make him feel better about himself.

    It wasn’t dark, and it didn’t last 1000 years.

    We know a shed load more about the period often called the “Dark Ages” (varies), than we do about other time periods – such as classical Greece, or early Rome. No one would call those times “Dark”.

    The times Bob scorns were times of great technological invention and cultural advancement.

    And the term “Dark Ages” also focuses far too narrowly on Western Europe. Bob conveniently forgets Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire.

    No fool like a (rich) old fool.

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  33. flipper (4,241 comments) says:

    Rufus..
    Not too bad.. until your final, tell-tale jibe.

    hj and Griif….

    As always, fuckwits.

    Apropos funding. Whatever the source it was stolen from hard working folks. Perhaps you would care to attempt to justify those billions of taxpayer funds poured into a political education exercise. No? Just continue with the lies.
    Those billions would have been better spent on real science or dragging the fourth world up by its non existent bootstraps.
    But never mind about real issues, you and your flat earth society followers, will continue the serial lies, will you not?

    And Bryce Wilkinson – a respected economist with an international reputation, highly rated by Treasury, the Reserve Bank, Business and Government.

    Dismissed by fuckwits.

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