Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some June Internet Wading

I always see far more things on the Internet than I can ever comment on, and I’ve been too busy to do one of these Internet Wading posts lately. Well, here’s one:

About ten days ago I posted about Pew Research’s 2012 American Values Survey. I was focused on the electoral side of the survey, but today I saw that Talking Points Memo was interested in numbers indicating “Belief in God Plummets Among Youth”. The headline refers to the fact that “only” 68% of “millennials” agree with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God”, while 31% disagree. But two-thirds of them still believe in God. While the previous three generations are all above 80% in belief, and that IS a significant difference, it’s not like millennials have all gone atheist. In fact, it’s a continuing trend that’s mirrored in the population generally (88% agreed in 1987, gradually declining to 80% today). As with so many studies, the devil—well, lack of god, anyway—is in the details.

New Zealanders have been shocked—shocked I tell you—to learn that the National Party-led government has been labouring in secret to sign away New Zealand's sovereign rights to gain the “Trans Pacific Partnership” trade deal with the US, among others. The New Zealand Herald reported today on leaked documents spelling out how awful this agreement would be for New Zealand, and Gordon Campbell laid out further evidence—including how awful our Trade Minister, Tom Grosser, really is—who’s he working for again?!

Meanwhile, The Listenter’s Toby Manhire describes “John Key’s worst week as PM”, seven days that began with the government’s backdown on increasing class sizes and ended with the Auditor-General’s office announcing it was looking into Key’s trading pokies (gambling machines) for a convention centre. The Herald’s John Armstrong said that “Even the mere hint of anything remotely dodgy will be a huge blow to his credibility—and quite possibly a lasting one.”

Here in Auckland, self-appointed frontrunner to be the rightwing candidate for Mayor of Auckland next election (yeah, right), Cameron Brewer, is upset that Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development has approved $100,000 in sponsorship for the two-week Auckland Pride Festival and Parade next February. He thinks that business groups could have paid for it instead, despite all the evidence to the contrary and a persistently weak economy. Personally, I thought it was funny how he tried to sound all ordinary-people-championy while making subtle anti-gay comments (the term for that, by the way, is “dog whistle politics”). The festival should be a money-maker for Auckland, which is reason enough to do it. However, if National’s local government attack “reforms” go through, Auckland will be forbidden from spending money on future festivals, so Cam needn’t worry his Tory little head about it. Actually, that’s ironic since the whole thing was basically a National Party idea in the first place.

And that’s enough for now.


Roger Owen Green said...

I dare say that more people doubt the existence of God than people will admit, even to themselves.

Arthur Schenck said...

I think you're absolutely right, especially in some locales where it may not be safe to be open and honest. I also think that maybe the "Milennials" are just a bit less concerned about what others think, which is reinforced by their positions on a lot of public issues, actually.