Why do middle aged politicians think saying what they were doing in the 60s or 70s answers the question of whether or not they smoked dope?
When asked if she had smoked marijuana Helen Clark replied she’d been a student at Auckland University in the 60s.
When asked a similar question her successor, Phil Goff, has given a similar answer, “I was a child of the 60s and 70s“.
I’d asked a perfectly straightforward question: Was he a dope-smoking hippy? And the rest of his reply was: “I was a child of the 60s and 70s.”
I said that of course the answer was “yes”, and he said “I’ve given you the answer” and I said “yes”, and so on.
Smoking dope might have been normal for Goff and his friends in the 60s and 70s, but that doesn’t make it the norm for everyone.
I was a child of the 60s and early 70s and a student at Otago University in the late 70s but I never smoked dope.
I’m not making a judgement on the presumption that Goff did smoke dope in the past. We all did things in our youths we might regret in hindsight and wouldn’t do now.
But his answer does remind me of the definition of unintentional arrogance at Open Parachute:
“The assumption that the way we define reality is necessarily the last word.”
We all have different realities, formed and affected by our experiences.
Failure to understand this is not just arrogant it’s ignorant and, especially in a politician, it’s dangerous because it blinds them to a variety of possibilities for both causes and solutions.