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  • rmacculloch

Is Ardern now bigger than Jesus? Her message is "Love your neighbour". Where have we heard that before?

The Beatles had to make it in America to make it big. And, of course, they did. Nothing much has changed. To make it big, to become "bigger than Jesus", as John Lennon once so eloquently put it, Ardern also must make it in America. Even though she has ripped apart America's approach to gun control, abortion, lack of regulation of the Internet, its economic policies which, in her view, have created a great evil of inequality, and most other things the US stands for, Ardern will not to be deterred. She found a sanctuary behind the ivory walls of Harvard, where like-minded folks have provided her a support group & therapy sessions in the form of academic seminars. She has had time to hone her message. On that note, Ardern has just announced she will head a new think tank called Field that, in her words, "will seek to support and connect global political leaders who embody .. the strength of kindness and empathy; who will speak to people with hope and optimism rather than fear or blame, and want to unite, rather than divide".

What is "empathy"? It's nearly indistinguishable from the message of "love thy neighbor", espoused religious leaders. So how can Ardern's message possibly be dangerous? Because we need competent leaders who run nations in ways that make them prosperous and which protect the rights & freedoms of the citizens, who should be left to decide on their own moral values & how best to seek fulfillment. Politicians need not have led particularly virtuous private lives themselves. That's the point. We don't want Popes, Imans, Monks, Rabbis or Archbishops leading countries on the basis of claims that they have higher moral virtues. We need leaders who run the economy well, allow us to flourish and let us choose our own beliefs. This forms the basis of separation of Church and State. It was only when this break-through was made that economies were able to progress & well-being flourish. Due to the decline in religious attendance and beliefs, our former PM is, in my view, trying to replace the prophets of the past, by copying and rebranding their messages, like empathy toward fellow humans and to love one another. But that is not the job of political leaders. Enlightenment philosophers like John Locke warned of the dangers of politicians exercising authority in the realm of individual conscience. Ardern seems to think that copying the "comms" of the world's Great Religions, relaunching & marketing them as her own brand, can bring her global appeal. The world should be wary.

What was Ardern's record in NZ in terms of healing division and getting Kiwis to love one another? Isn't she the leader who turned vaccinators against anti-vaxxers, who fired nurses whose personal beliefs led them to not want to take "the jab", who labelled those who disagreed with her for not wanting to be part of her own team of five million as folks best ostracized from society, whose policies resulted in an unprecedented violent occupation of Parliament's grounds, who turned farmers against environmentalists, poor against wealthy, who presided over a rise in burning anger in NZ society that burst open in an epidemic of youth crime, who sent race relations, which had been on the mend, back a hundred years, who left the country in a state of economic & social collapse that will take a decade to fix, who precipitated over an unprecedented exodus of Kiwis from their homeland, whose government printed & spent endless amounts of money leaving us only with high inflation, a pile of debt & broken infrastructure, who promoted incompetent people into high positions because other factors took precedence over meritocracy, and who then personally bailed out of NZ when her own popularity ratings plummeted to shack up at Harvard & lecture the world about how much Kiwis loved her and how much she loves us? Give us a break.



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