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King Canute’s 21st century acolyte


History repeats itself as we so often see. Labour’s Future of Work Commission for example and the Luddites, of which more later.

This post is more concerned with, in a NZ context,  the most recent evocation of King Canute:-

The story of King Canute and the waves is an apocryphal anecdote illustrating the piety or humility of king Canute the Great, recorded in the 12th century by Henry of Huntingdon.

In the narrative, Canute demonstrates to his flattering courtiers that he has no control over the elements (the incoming tide), explaining that secular power is vain compared to the supreme power of God. The episode is frequently alluded to in contexts where the futility of “trying to stop the tide” of an inexorable event is pointed out, but usually misrepresenting Canute as believing he had supernatural powers, when Huntingdon’s story in fact relates the opposite.

Adam’s mind was drawn to this story when he saw the piece by some person called Paul Charman on the effort by NZ Post to remain a sustaining entity.

Mr Charman seems to think that the tide of progress can be held back by government fiat, much as Canute’s courtiers also thought. A parallel is perhaps the current Labour Party, but Angry Andy is no Canute, rather he  is a somewhat pathetic King Harold with John Key as the Duke of Normandy.

Charman’s 5 reasons to subsidise NZ Post, at taxpayers expense are absurd. When a key reason is the romance of mail you know your adversary has lost the plot. Other reasons ‘supporting’ Charman’s ‘case’ such as it is are equally risible.

REading this article Adam had cause to wonder was he reading an item drafted before the Industrial Revolution in the first half of the 19th century by a Luddite.It is the cas eas well that Charman misunderstands the permanence of email and thus assumes it is transient, when that is not the case. Not only a Luddite, but an ignorant Luddite.


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