Well at least there's something we can agree on. The view that things are just continually getting worse isn't a new one, of course. Almost every human society, until the 'invention' of Whig history, has looked back with rose-tinted spectacles on a lost past: the ancient Greeks had their Golden Age; the Judeo-Christian tradition has, of course the Garden of Eden; and Garth George has... I don't know, the 1950s? But he's clearly wrong - we all have iPods now.
It takes me anything up to three hours to read the Weekend Herald - quite rightly named New Zealand's best newspaper - but half an hour into it on Saturday I began to wonder just how long we can keep going before our intractable social problems overwhelm us completely.
By the time I reached the end of the Review section, I was tempted to give thanks that I'm as old as I am and might well be gone from this world before they reach that stage.
"...the horse still flow[s] like a river."
It started on page one with news that drug rings are recruiting students at some of our top schools to receive drug parcels from overseas.
And while we know that illegal drugs are just as popular in the wealthier suburbs as they are in the mean gangland streets of the poorer, this indicates a rather large step up in the distribution of these murderous products.
Sure, the police and Customs do their damnedest to stem the flow of illegal substances into this country, but they're obviously fighting a losing battle, and the pot and the P and the coke and the horse still flow like a river.
It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that if there were no customers there would be no demand and that maybe we're looking at this problem from the wrong end.
Anyway, a brilliant idea to focus on reducing demand instead of only focusing on supply. We could start by criminalising possession of drugs for personal use, and then we could launch some sort of public awareness campaign to show people the damage that drugs can do. Why has no one thought of this before?
Let's fast-forward: rampant child abuse; justice system in disarray; "thieving millionaire shysters"; "mirage of easy wealth"... oh, look, Hone Harawira.
And on page five we come to the Harawira affair, probably the most sinister of all the things that should be giving us the heebie-jeebies.Yes, it's far worse than child abuse.
Oh, he's fair and balanced, right? Because Maori hate Pakeha and Pakeha hate Maori! Except that "many" Maori have "an abiding and malevolent [!] antipathy towards Pakeha", whereas Pakeha merely "resent the money, land and special treatment given to Maori". That's why there was no racism toward Maori before the Waitangi Tribunal was founded, right? I just love the idea that "no amount of monetary and land compensation, special treatment and political cuddle-ups" will change the irrational hatred of Maori for Pakeha; maybe some policies that actually move Maori from the top of every single negative social indicator will make them see some sense.
Hone Harawira was born angry, from the womb of an angry woman. And what his latest outburst reveals is that there is among many Maori an abiding and malevolent antipathy towards Pakeha, which is far more widespread than we're prepared to acknowledge, and which no amount of monetary and land compensation, special treatment and political cuddle-ups is going to change.
To make matters worse, there is a corresponding bitter antagonism to Maori on the part of many Pakeha, who deeply resent the money, land and special treatment given to Maori and whose anger grows exponentially with every new concession. This, too, is far more widespread than most people care to admit.
You can hardly blame Harawira, who after all was "born from the womb of an angry woman", for getting a bit upset.
And don't tell me I exaggerate: I have a finely tuned intuition and live in a city where at least a third of the population is Maori.In fact, some of his best friends are Maori.
Yet we continue with a policy of separatism - you might even call it apartheid - the latest example of which is Tariana Turia's Whanau Ora scheme to give Maori sole control of their community services.You might even call it "Nazism". You might even call it "Auschwitz" or "necrophilia" or "Clayton Weatherston". It was only yesterday, after all, that I tried to use a water fountain only to be told that it was "Maori only". And, for God's sake, can you blame Maori for wanting control of their own social services after the shite job that 'Pakeha' services have done? Honestly, how can you write a column that spends half its time bitching about what a poor job social services are doing, and then complain when someone wants to try something different? I'll give you a clue: it's one word, and it begins with 'R'.
As Monty Python used to say: Oh, what a giveaway.
But nine out of 10 of us don't want to know. That's not new. Thousands of years ago God said through the prophet Isaiah: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them."
But those of us who do hear and see and understand might take some comfort from the words God spoke to King Solomon: "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Fat chance, but the offer is still open.