Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dad’s Funeral: My Speech.



Growing up with Dad and my family: the below is the speech I gave in my allotted fifteen minutes :) to a packed Rowley Avenue Church Hall, Christchurch, all seats upstairs and downstairs full. I read off notes, so it’s not as spoken, exactly, but as near as I can reconstruct (including asides.) Fair to say this was the only secular part of the program.



Dad's death is an abrupt stop, then a pause to think about our family and the course of it through the years. More particularly, to take stock of that formative, private family history that Lieuwe, Paul, Henry and Pauline - the marriage imports - are party to by proxy only: it’s that history of the day to day of any family as it grows up, laughs at its own jokes, no matter how corny, of how its members scrap and stoush from time to time over the odd disagreement, the odd adolescent tantrum even, though in our case never to seriously fall out because the glue of mum and dad was strong. Indeed, because of this I have, or hope I do, a certain leeway to give a glimpse of the internal workings of this family Dad was patriarch over.

I started life by dodging a bullet which had been heading through time and lineage with my name on it: after four daughters Mum and Dad had no basis on which to expect a son, so the name picked out for me was going to be Elsbeth: I fear that was going to be a very different life. (Apologies to any Elsbeths' in the room: it's a great ... 19th early 20th century name.) As for we siblings, between the two book ends of Christine the eldest, and myself, youngest, there are, as you will all know, three sisters, Sheryl, Barbara and Philippa.

If recollection serves me correctly, neither Sheryl or Philippa proved to have major behavioural issues nor, therefore, to be particular parenting problems. Relatively calm seas. I’m not saying, Philippa, you were Miss Goody Two Shoes showing the rest of us up, … or perhaps I am :)

On the other hand, Christine …who will be relieved to know there’s not a lot I can disclose, other than hearsay. The thing is, I don’t remember growing up with Christine because of the age gap between us; we’ve gotten to know each other outside the family home, first when I stayed with her and Paul on their dairy farm in school holidays – and I still remember swearing, robustly, at the world on having to get up to milk those damned cows, Paul. Then more so latterly, we’ve become familiars and friends via the both of us being South Cantabrians. But fair to say, by all accounts Christine was a difficult one, cutting Mum and Dad’s parenting teeth early on the barbed wire wrapped rusk of teenage rebellion, through which Dad, who probably would have made a great UN Peacekeeper, yet must have negotiated the family as well as could be, because we're all here, aren't we. Sadly, what he and Mum couldn't have realised in those early days - proving not knowing our futures is a survival feature not a design fault - is via a different iteration on the well-trodden theme, more teenage rebellion was to be heading their way.

Barbara. Stoic, loner tendencies, head in a book Barbara, who, tomboyish, was far more useful helping Dad out on our poultry farm than I ever was; I came up with stoic only as I wrote this, a trait which definitely comes from Dad: stoic, steady, a certain no-nonsense unflappability, which, when I thought more on it, Philippa has too, in bucket loads, and you, Sheryl. (Christine? .... No, you didn't get that, I’m afraid, nor I.) But Barbara had her moments also, her difficult times, including those spent hiding out from the school bus at Greenpark, behind the sofa. We're not much for crowds, us Hubbard's, any of us, and what is a school but a crowd. Her logic was true, as was her choice, no doubt, to homeschool Ben and Josh.

Which leaves me. I guess all I can say is sorry, Dad, and reflect with due admiration on your prudent, casual management style. Dad's imperturbable temperament made it through my growing phases pretty much unscathed: the red hair, the dreadlocks, and the earrings all passed with only the odd wry smile, and no word of condemnation or judgement. Not outright anyway. I suspect he had an opinion, but wisely, against a teenager’s want, had the good sense simply not to bite, (unlike mum, aye). And then there were what I will euphemistically call the religious wars, fought Sunday after Sunday morning over our pet rams made into saveloys, and Watties tomato sauce, from which, regardless, the family again arrives intact to this day, Dad never angry with me, not really, always that even surface of his, wisely prepared to cede short term skirmishes, here and there, his eye to that peace necessary for strong familial bonds in the long run; all worked out pretty well I reckon, there's to be no Osage County after-funeral luncheon following this service – (that's a movie reference if you've not seen it, August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep: word for the wise, don’t watch it anytime close to a parent’s funeral.)

And so out of all that family history, thanks to Dad’s unflappability balancing mum’s sometimes flappability :) we had something that is perhaps rarer today, although, and it's linked, my sisters and their husbands have all provided it for their families: we had a loved childhood, and a stable home, despite the inevitable differences, and how middle class and uncool that was at school. Strange how the mind works, because over the last week I’ve had a lot of scattered, disparate memories about our home life and of growing up with family and friends which in some indefinable how, are applicable to Dad and today … In no particular order:

I remember family caravan holidays with the Lawrys’. You wouldn’t get me on a caravan holiday today, too claustrophobic, bad plumbing, but they were fun. And Norma remains a stalwart boon for mum; thank you Norma.

I remember much time spent with Aunty Yvonne – Mum’s sister - & Uncle Murray. Fun times with  cousin Russ, who we don't see enough of these days.

I remember like yesterday lots of great times with Pam and Maurice Wilson and family; playing pool and table tennis with Randal, Curtis and Bradley in the games-room at Weedons, despite Randal has subsequently tried to burst my eardrum piloting a plane up Mt Cook.

I remember Christmases at Dad's sister, Aunty Audrey, with Neroli, Jocelyn, Jarrod, Roger and Jenny and family, plus that agitated little dog jumping up and down in the laundry.

I remember evenings,  always long summer evenings with lots of tall trees, at Dee-anne and Gordon Field’s, fun times with Bundy, Fliss and Rick though I’ve not seen you all for years … also the story of that little dog that ate too much one Xmas and popped. (Sorry I don’t know why this dog theme has snuck in).

I remember cricket on the lawn at Clem and Claire Lewis. (I've scribbled out my bit on the World Cup final.)

And much more. Nothing stunning, thankfully it was as standard as childhoods should be, perhaps with an overall excess of good. Lazy summers - at least from a kid's eye view - and  family outings etched into memory, Dad driving us there always too slowly, holding up the traffic, in whatever model of Chev car we had at the time.

If I was asked to define the essence of dad, it would be Dad as that quiet, steady and calm stillness sitting in the lounge or the dining room, keeping it and us together … unless my memory plays tricks, and he was more simply bemused, or perhaps just befuddled by us all. Though the reason I don’t think that is because bringing this back to my hair - often pondered now that I’m losing it for I inherited neither Dad's love of tractors, nor, unfortunately, his thick crop of hair - there was the one time I remember cracking that wry smile, and eliciting an actual chuckle from him, namely when I arrived home once sporting three rows of blue spikes in the form of a Mohawk, the tip of each spike painted white, sides shaven. And that wise chuckle from Dad would’ve been brave in the face of Mum’s more disappointed take on the whole venture, no doubt wondering where it was all going to end with her sorry looking son. Sorry to have done that to you mum.

Albeit of course, it all had to end with us here, at some stage, sadly, though not sadly also. Death brings contemplation on past thoughts and deeds, and impresses on us the need of making the most of today and tomorrow, because they are fleeting. Especially as Dad’s days might have been more fleeting than they were. In many ways he was a miracle man, he had his first open heart surgery at 48 years old, and modern medicine and probably in no small part his peaceable nature gave him another 34 useful, valuable years more, and perhaps my one regret for him.

Probably you’re not supposed to cover regrets at funerals, I have no idea, and I admit to being etiquette challenged, but I will nonetheless …

Dad enjoyed his life, I reckon, and just as I truly can't ever remember him angry, certainly not yelly, shouty raised voice angry, ever, that was never his way, nor do I remember him complaining about his lot, or even us lot, not once. This despite - noting I’ve spent the last twenty three years variously telling farmers how much tax they have to pay, or more often, how big the losses have grown to - that a certain bunch of circumstances, in the form of a certain bunch of nutters who shall not be named – well no, Exclusives - conspired against him, directly and indirectly, seeing out his time sheep and cropping farming, which he would have liked. That is regretful. Though he had his vintage tractors, latterly the vintage magazine up to some years ago, and writing his machinery books to keep him occupied and linked to his love of the land. As my final comment on Dad and I, all these topics – vintage, tractors and machinery - are frankly a mystery to me, though not his love of mucking about with words. We had that in common, and pretty much the whole family loves reading and books which must have come from Mum and Dad. And in that milieu somewhere is also Sheryl, Dad, and all those jigsaws. But on Dad's writing, I’ll finally make a promise: as Barbara got stuck with the proofing of it, at some stage I'm going to read his whole 150 ruddy years of Massey Fergusson, or Harrison or whatever they are, those red tractors, and all their history thereof; though probably not all at once; I’ll look rather to reading that book over a 150 months, starting perhaps wine night Fridays to ease the pain a bit.

As my final comment on Dad and family, his death is as it always will be, the end of an age, a good, kind age, because he was a gentle-man, albeit the end of this age is not quite yet the end of the Hubbard name. From all us kids, from me, thanks for doing the Dad thing well, Dad, and fare thee well. Mum, I don’t aim to be doing this public speaking lark in a hurry again, so you need to stick around for a bit, please.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lecretia Searles Takes Her Fight to Die With Dignity to High Court | MIA: Our MPs.



I’ve written on lawyer Lecretia Searles before: she is dying from brain tumours, and though saying she would not necessarily avail herself of euthanasia, she does, however, sanely want that choice, and so in a legal first for New Zealand is taking her case before a judge at the High Court. Unfortunately her case will be particular to her circumstances and not precedent setting, but it may add more impetus for the growing demand to have legislated this basic individual right/choice for all of us. Best of luck Lecretia, let’s hope you get the humane hearing in court that doesn’t seem possible from our law-makers.

On being headed for the courts, the fight for euthanasia will generate plentiful publicity for – hint – a classical liberal party to wear for itself if it weren’t so gutless, Mr Seymour, and it means euthanasia truly becomes the terminally ill elephant in every ante-chamber of the Fortress of Legislation, sitting with a  gun or some such wretched, violent device, knowing it faces no choice other than to blow its brains against a cold concrete wall, or perform the lonely struggle for oxygen with its head in a plastic bag, because our political masters haughtily won't deign to leave aside the mundane everyday matters of their tax-paid careers, currently being entertained on something as irrelevant and unimportant as the Northland by-election and let us not forget, of course, flags – FFS – and grant us the rightful ownership of our lives and deaths.

Everything I said in my previous post stands, there’s little need for me to repeat myself, other than to note the RNZ audio interview with Lecretia on that link is worth a listen, and this one thing more, which is to say it’s a shame, no, disgusting, Lecretia has to spend the last of the time she has fighting for this right in the court system, when she has better things to do: this is a matter that wouldn’t need be in the courts if we had a representative legislature which philosophically understood the nature of rights in a free society, per my earlier post:

…the fickle path of a private members bill [or a court action] is not good enough for a matter so intrinsic to our lives as this is. Assisted dying legislation needs to come from responsible government: John Key has promised this, and his failure to keep to his word damns him. As with his intention to water down Maryan Street’s very good bill.

Although as bad as our MPs are, the Christian monsters of Family First, within an hour of Lecretia’s piece, Saturday, insensitively nailed to the cross of their sadistic brand of inhumanity, a press release commanding we must suffer for their fairy tale god of war and pestilence, and arrogantly – that word so often synonym for ignorantly - proceeded to tell the legal and policy advisor to the Law Commission, 41 year old  Lecretia Searles, she should not be allowed self-management of her own health issues:

Family First NZ says that the heartbreaking situation that Lecretia Seales faces should not be solved in the courtroom or by a change in law, but through the guarantee of the best palliative care that the country can offer her and others in a similar situation.


In this damnable press release, and I'm talking direct to you Bob McCoskrie, is yet another Arrogance of contemptible, arrogant, meddling fools. How dare you use a word like heartbreaking when you have no hearts at all. Just bugger off with your Stone Age faith teaching suffering for no purpose at all, and thinking it’s your right to have your nose in my face and my life, and in Lecretia’s affairs.

Palliative care simply does not work for all, not by any stroke and for some is unacceptable according to their rational value system – even if drug cocktails of palliative care were to mask pain in some type of vegetative or, for them, undignified state. But more importantly, no one has the right to judge another’s unhappiness as these Christian brutes would do here. Those who don’t agree with voluntary euthanasia are not being forced into anything against their volition, so have no right to be heard, and my life must not be handed by Parliament to the cruel cold hands of a dead God: Family First’s press release is the voice of the school yard bully, pulling the wings off Lecretia’s volition over how she wants to live, and how she wants to die, which is no business of theirs.

Footpiece:

[Note about my father, currently in palliative care, redacted, as last thing I would want to do is offend any of my (Christian) family.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Horror Files: StudyLink’s Definition of Income. Students, Debt, Keynes ...



Sitting in a grey, dimly lit roomful of tax (stereo)types at the Timaru TEO 2015 tax updater course last week, a topic came up which caused as much rebellion rumination as I’ve seen; alarming, indeed, to witness the ordered world of double-entry sundered so outrageously with the unsightly uncrinkling of bowed necks and a vigourous nodding of balding heads raised in surprise over document filled desks attesting to lives lost amongst Section, (Subsection), and (Clause; (nested sub-clause)), and the unspoken bored angst of wrong career turns and stunted inner lives. Noting I don’t use a word like ‘vigourous’ of such a gathering lightly. Or stunted. Indeed, it was a matter of such extreme emotion that the course convenor rashly rushed (blasphemy given this context) to judgement of the perpetrator: ‘stupid’.

Regardless of your view on the state in education, and mine is as dimly lit as that room was, students have an entitlement – that’s the contract for their parents paying tax and their own futures doing so - to an allowance which abates according to how much their parents earn. The problem is some of the most deserving of their entitlement are being refused or abated in their allowances due solely to StudyLink’s incompetence in not being able to grasp some basic concepts about the nature of income.

In defiance of accounting definition and any category of good sense, StudyLink class a businessperson/couple’s drawings in excess of their income for a year, and thus loan drawdowns to cover drawings if the owners have no savings, as income.

For example:

Business couple X are struggling: over the year their business only generated a net profit, that is, gross taxable income (akin to a gross wage), of $30,000. Because their personal outgoings were higher than that - paying the mortgage on their house, tax payments on the previous year’s income which was higher, plus provisional tax for current year, also two of their three children still at high school with books, uniforms and school camps to provide for, and extraneous unexpected dental and medical expenses over the year - they had to extract drawings from their business of $40,000. Of course that was not possible out of income, and as they had no savings, the excess $10,000 funds were supplied via their bank overdraft. So at the end of the year they are that much more in debt than at the beginning.

The problem for their third child applying for an allowance to complete her first year of tertiary study, is StudyLink's equation here is parental income equals the $40,000 drawings, not the $30,000 income earned from their business: apparently their additional debt makes them better off than before they drew it down.

In confirmation of this fact, the last StudyLink officer I talked to several weeks ago had rung to ask me if the parents concerned in that case had drawn down any loans over the year, intending to increase their parental income by such new loans. I told the officer this was ludicrous, ‘what the hell was she thinking’ then asked if she had felt rich with a surplus of income the year she pulled down her mortgage … alas, she was renting.

I no longer know how many ways in which to write how fatuous and wrong-headed this is. Albeit I’m willing to admit what a wonderful world it would signify.

Below is one of the most expensive cars money, or love, can buy; it’s called a Maserati.



It’s getting to the stage only $600,000+ incomed and salaried bureaucrats, lawyers and Kim Kardashian can afford them unfortunately, although, in StudyLink’s fantasy world I could, in theory, buy one, and none of that old-time having to chore away at the day job for years first, foregoing current pleasures to save for future goals, because according to StudyLink debt is income, therefore buying the Maserati creates the income required for the purchase.

Brilliant! Who says our bureaucracies aren’t innovative.

What a pity StudyLink’s policy in no way connects with reality. Worse, even more so than the frustration of dealing with ACC, where after the final internal injustice victims at least have recourse to the district court, there doesn’t appear to be a review process for StudyLink decisions. It's impossible to go outside StudyLink to get an independent, knowledgeable, oversight on falsehoods such as this which parents and students are having enforced on them, which will be ensuring some of the most deserving families Parliament meant to have student allowances, will not be.

Although there’s an even funnier twist in the tail of my sorry tale. Essentially, to continue the fantastical theme, this deluded free-lunchism based on an orgy of debt – and the assumption must be on it being income it doesn’t need repaying, (that’s certainly where the Greek socialist Finance Minister is heading toward) - is the basis our Western command economies have been largely managed on for some decades, after the political class have been convinced by that socialist fraud JM Keynes they are the answer to all societal ills. While destroying our literature and arts as a culture of individualistic resistance to unbridled state power, Keynes was at the same time preaching the Big State to those loving the notion of the power to exact it on us, conceiving of economies not as complex structures based on human ingenuity, needs, desires, and voluntary transactions, but a simpleton’s machine with levers that can be manipulated by our all-knowing simpletons in the Fortress of Legislation and Central Banks, while turning the screw to extract taxes to fill the intellectual deficit of fiat money and irresponsible state spending and growth. That’s how the West has become yet another cage, because you can’t live free of your economic self, and it explains the debt leveraged civilised human calamity being wrought, again. We are not the generations living at the peak of a Western Civilisation that was built on self-reliance, freedom and capitalism: we are the generations living in the ruins of it, waiting for the next crony tyrannies which are already bred and well learned in their evil craft of domination and surveillance over my volition.

So, StudyLink warns us of the end of the civilised world: unsurprising. Fortunate the world has this blog. Off to buy my Maserati and a holiday in Greece: see you in debtors court.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Letter to Editor: Euthanasia Does Not Devalue Lives of Disabled.



According to Ken Joblin, Press 12 March, voluntary euthanasia quote, ‘makes people with disabilities feel less valued’. The arrogance of that remark is breath-taking: no person can judge another’s unhappiness. To say an individual must die in agony against their will because a total stranger might feel ‘devalued’ is non-sequitur, offensive and selfish; and this applies even if that stranger is living in similar circumstances of pain they yet find acceptable. The apt word in voluntary euthanasia is ‘voluntary’: it’s only for those who want that option, as many do. Every argument against voluntary euthanasia is the busy-body argument an individual must be left no volition over their own life. Adults self-manage health issues throughout their lives: managing one’s death is merely the end of that grown-up process. The disabled rightly tell the able-bodied to see issues from their point of view: well I’m afraid the opinion voluntary euthanasia devalues the life of a disabled person is as blind as Mr Joblin is partially sighted. No disrespect Mr Joblin, but please remove your opinion from those who have died or are dying in circumstances, sometimes appalling, against their wishes; just over last 12 months to put names to this issue: Rosie Mott, Faye Clark, lawyer Lecretia Searles – who still argues superbly for her right to that option as she manages life with brain tumours - Clare Richards and the list continues to grow, as long as we have no civilised euthanasia law.