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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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Privacy and the State: Government Intercept Bill (& Yet More Powers for IRD?) Also, Tax Exempt Status: Week's Theme - IRD and IRS.

Another weekly run-down of the police-states being grown in the West.

This is not specifically a post about the increasing erosion of our privacy and right to be left alone by an out of control surveillance state under this Government’s Intercept Bill – others have written on this well enough:

My concern is the further powers this bill will, I assume, be giving to IRD.

I’ve already written on the breath-taking police state powers IRD wields: A Riposte to Jacinda Ardern’s Privacy Concerns Regarding the MSD. (Powers of IRD).

And I’ve written on the invasion of our privacy by the taxing authorities world-wide through their increasing analysis of Big Data: Privacy – Tax Authorities Can Only Be Mining Social Media for Thought Crimes.

In that latter piece I posed the following question about this proposed new intrusion in our lives from the Fortress of Legislation. In response to this from the Minister:

ICT Minister Amy Adams has just released a statement outlining how the government plans to "modernise" the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act 2004

Under the proposed changes, network operators such as phone companies and ISPs "will be obliged [newspeak alert] to engage [newspeak alert] with the Government through the GCSB on network security, where it might affect New Zealand’s national security and economic well-being."

Ms Adams says telecommunications providers are already required to have interception technology in place, to assist police and security agency investigations, under current legislation. The update was designed to make the process easier [newspeak alert].

I asked:

Amy, I don’t want it made easier for the state to share information on individuals, especially our incompetent spooks who've been proven remiss in even knowledge of their own governing legislation. And really, what can’t be justified under ‘economic well-being’? Going after tax evaders, or even those thought to be avoiders? Does this add to the considerable police state powers IRD already have, recourse to New Zealand’s other branches of secret police: GCSB and SIS?

Vikrum’s piece above seems to answer to this concern, with an ‘of course’:

On the application of a surveillance agency (Police, SIS, GCSB, and any government department declared to be a law enforcement agency for the purposes of the TICS Bill) the Minister can require a service operator (or a class of service operators) to provide full interception capability like a network operator. There is a provision for the Minister’s directions to be looked at by a three member review panel but, again, there is unbounded discretion.

When it comes to government believing it essential they have complete access to your life, enough is never enough, and having been brainwashed through the state school system that our liberty must be sacrificed to the bloodied altar of the common good, we're - in the numbers that matter under mobocracy - too stupid to defend ourselves anymore: result: our lives are owned.

And related to the increasing power of the IR’s as the uber-department that governs the country, which profligate politicians and ministers must bow down to and grant their every whim, I initially thought this story out of the US was a bit of a beat up, and it is, but there is an issue in this that reflects a story in New Zealand last week, relevant to every concern I have expressed above: when you hand the power of God to a government department, then everything becomes politicised: just as Family First have had their tax exempt status revoked in New Zealand, so the IRS has been targeting the Tea Party movement in America regarding their tax exempt status in that country. Surely, even the minister can now see that because of this politicalisation, we have to discard the notion of charity, for tax purposes, because it’s too vague: the only acceptable criteria must be if members of whatever group are able to make pecuniary gain from the operations of the group. But that won’t happen, of course. IRD and the state will simply keep assuming those political powers – upon the death of classical liberalism - by which they own your life.

And so to my final link from the MSM this week. Amidst an article wherein another state official now promotes citizen ratting on citizen (as in England, children are being taught to dob in adults to the theocracy of state), we have this further insight to how broad and widely the state now shares information on the individual:

Meanwhile, IRD remains an outlier because it is not allowed to share information. SFO will provide information to IRD, but IRD can't reciprocate.

However, a discussion paper now out could allow changes in that area.

"Our view is, confidentiality and privacy - yes, but not when there is a serious threat to the economy in bribery and corruption. There's a case to lift some of that secrecy."

Which is of course newspeak, Mr McArley, CEO of SFO (Serious Fraud Office), for ‘Our view is, confidentiality and privacy – no.’

These are black times, indeed, for the individual in the West. The state theocracy, fostered in every classroom, inserts itself every day ever more insidiously into The Lives Of Others. That movie, if you follow the link, is perhaps the most important work you have this week, watch it if you’ve not already seen it, for it shows where we are heading, inexorably. The sad thing being we are not forced to that dark place, again, by tanks on the street; we're voting ourselves there because enough of the clueless believe that in the prison cells of state, is the eternal free lunch.


  1. I watched The Lives of Others last night. Sadly, in today's age, due to "Big Data" current governments are able to monitor everyone without even having to wiretap your property.

    I don't know where this is going but it's not going to be good.

  2. Yes. The political will now, despite the lessons from the twentieth century, is only for bigger and more intrusive government. The Lives of Others should be required watching before every session of parliament.

  3. Hi Mark

    Implicitly I agree with your thesis and concerns regarding the increasing power of the State over the individual, however I have a question I hope you can help me with. Alongside the Orwellian State, perhaps the biggest existential threat we face in the west is radical Islam. In the USA I understand that they have between 500,000 and 750,000 names of potential 'terrorists' on their database, where more than 90% of them hold to a particular ideology.

    Now I accept that being on the database was not sufficient to prevent the Boston bombing, however it is still true that many Islamic domestic terrorism plots in the USA are thwarted before they can be enacted, at least one a month is reported through their court system, but I suspect there are many, many more.

    How does any society protect itself from acts of domestic terrorism without some form of surveillance?

    1. This is one of our differences, Brendan, in that you're a conservative, and I'm a libertarian. The first part of my answer below is reasonably clear cut, but then I do get conflicted on some of these issues, as I will explain.

      The clear cut bit.

      You'll note from I hope all of my posts, that my privacy concerns, even in this post, centre around the powers given to IRD and taxing authorities to snoop on, and extort money, from a country's own citizens. So my primary issue is with the state abusing such intrusive powers to 'terrorise' its own citizens, taxpayers, who are going about their business peacefully via the voluntary transactions of capitalism.

      Now to the conflicted aspects, and this next piece also answers your further query below.

      I've stated in this blog, the once, my discomfort with Islam, here:

      Note from that piece I have trouble with all forms of mysticism, including your own Christianity :) Though, as I also point out, quoting myself:

      "Regarding Islam, I do not respect a faith in which you can work side by side with a man, who for years behaved like a good bloke, indeed, with a grace that could convert an agnostic to the notion of a moderate Islam, but then two weeks after he has disappeared from the workplace, find he’s taken his 16 year old daughter, brought up in New Zealand as a Westerner, to Pakistan and an arranged marriage. I think that is barbaric, his daughter treated at best as a chattel, at worst, cattle. And though I have no respect for the Catholics who will form a major opposition bloc to MP Maryan Street’s Euthanasia Bill should it make it out of the ballot, I have even less respect for the [Islamic] faith that is replacing it in this school in Dunedin. Because for all the talk of it being the religion of peace, you must excuse me, because I’ve yet to come across an atheist (or latter day Catholic) Taliban, so I’ll be throwing my lot in with the atheists. The world won’t know the enlightenment of a peaceful, free society, until we can cast off both schools of superstitious mysticism: as Voltaire wisely said, those that believe in absurdity, will always be capable of atrocity, and in that I include every religion."

      But despite that, I don't, as you do, agree with closing the immigration door to Islam: far from it, I believe in open immigration - so long as those entering do not suck off the welfare system that imprisons me, and do not seek to in any way force their beliefs on me, including certainly legislatively, ie, not Sharia law, etc, then all races, nationalities and creeds, no matter how daft, are welcome.

      ½ … Continued

    2. Which finally gets me to where I am conflicted. I believe in the small state minarchy. One role of such a minarchy is certainly to protect its individuals from outside or interior terrorism, so there is a role for spooks. However, our laws now go way beyond what for me is acceptable, both in terms of the privacy we are all forced to trade to protect us from terrorism, and also, to return to my initial point, how our privacy invading laws are not just being used to protect us from aggression, but used by the state for the purpose of aggression on its own individuals - that is, IRD and the police state again.

      But then, delving deeper.

      Some libertarians, whom I was a long way away from, but am starting to orbit more closely, hold that it's countries with big spy networks such as the US that turn themselves into war states, that bring much of the grief on themselves. The argument is if American foreign policy had been a non-aggressive one, and kept out of the Middle East, for instance, there may not have been this issue of inbound Islamic terrorism.

      Which is where I become hopelessly impaled on some contradictions (although perhaps they are not). If we must have national boundaries, and I believe nationalism is one of the biggest evils that has beset man over the twentieth century, then a country is certainly morally enabled to protect itself: on the evidence of the time, in context, I still think the first Bush war against Saddam was legitimate. Despite the chaos in Afghanistan, if I was a woman there, I would thank Rand for the US destroying the cavemen Taliban ... only there's the problem, they're not destroyed, and will be back to take over once the last Western troops leave, which gets me back to the start of my last paragraph above (just read in a loop now; that's my conflict).

      So, I can't answer the real thrust of your question clearly: but the IRD bit is easy, and above all, I would state my final position as being freedom has a price: I would rather have my privacy and a small state minarchy albeit perhaps more vulnerable to terrorism, than the other way around, and I would rather have that because history has taught where increasing state power wielded by the state always leads. I guess I also have this naïve hope that once superstitious creeds such as Islam see the ‘light’ of a rational individualism and the free society, then all the preposterous bullshit of such lunatic belief will be consigned finally to history. In the same manner that the most effective way to overthrow tyrannous regimes such as in North Korea is by trading with its people, and ostracising the tyrants, to foster home grown revolt.

      But ultimately, freedom has a price: a society that trades the privacy and liberty of the individuals comprising it for their safety, ends up a prison every time.

  4. Hi Mark

    The assumption in my above post is that we are way too PC to do the obvious, close the immigration door on Islam, which would be the most rational choice for any people who valued their liberty.

    1. Hi Brendan: please see my two replies above.

  5. Hi Mark

    Thank you for the comprehensive and thoughtful reply. I note your main thrust is the IRD, and fair enough. I agree that the USA has over-reached in terms of its foreign policy which exhibits all of the worst aspects of Empire. This has clearly antagonised the Islamic world, but they are perpetually angry so I'm not sure the entire blame rests with the USA for Islamic terrorism. As if to demonstrate the point, they are killing far more of their own than those of us who live in the West. Interestingly Obama is now doing his best to make amends with Islam by encouraging 'democratic' revolution in the Middle East and handing Libya, Egypt, and shortly Syria over to the Muslim Brotherhood. It's difficult to see that ending well.

    I find no historical precedent that supports your hope that those in the Arab world will embrace a more genial persona should we lift their standard of living through trade and engagement with the West. Islam is an expansionist political ideology wrapped in religious clothing.

    Nationhood is a reality; it's part of our DNA. The EU has attempted to erase it only to discover that the Greeks are not Germans, who are not French etc. Nationhood does not of itself presuppose violent conflict. Hard to imagine Australia declaring war on us, but I accept it was a contributing factor to last century's wars.

    Anyway, good conversation, and thanks for your thoughts.

    Kind regards