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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Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Comment on the Childishness Surrounding the Debacle over Jamie Whyte's Incest Statement

As I've commented on Carrie Stoddart-Smith's intelligent and challenging blog post on this topic:

Unfortunately because Jamie’s an honest guy, he can easily be ambushed by every such question, from this to p use. Just because you believe all drugs should be legalised given prohibition doesn’t work, and freedom can only rest on individual responsibility, doesn’t mean you’re advocating p use.

What the haters are hating on this one, the Left particularly, is the concept of responsible adulthood free of the state (ie, the prison of each others minds).

The one good thing is this will set a cat amongst the pigeons in ACT. I like Jamie, but believe ACT is still a stalwart of conservatism I’d have no interest in voting for.

When the incest question was put to him, Jamie allowed sway to his natural instinct for academic honesty by repairing to the first principles of classical liberalism: good on him for that. His later retraction indicates there was political naivety involved, but in that retraction is a problem, being he's already being turned by the mincing machine of party politics into that thing I despise: a politician.

Never lose the principled honesty, Jamie. Don't let an intelligent conversation with the electorate fall to its opposite: electioneering.

Final Clarification.

On another blog I've just seen a Tory announce that Whyte 'wants to marry his sister'. Showing again that the civilised society will not be found from either the blinkered, bigoted Left, or the blinkered, bigoted Right.

The inane agenda-led conclusions this issue has brought about confirms for me that democracy is not in the interests of freedom. (Watch that statement get taken out of context.)

I can state the principle involved here no clearer than this:

Jamie made it very clear he in no way agreed with incest; the classical liberal principle that he was enunciating, and it's a bedrock of a free society, is that it is not up to the state to police incestuous relationships unless there is the initiation of force involved, and thus no consent - remembering that minors, as with those of unsound mind, are not capable of giving consent, so relationships with them, incest or not, will always be criminal behaviour.

Now apply that principle to everything, including taboos and behaviours you (and I) might find repugnant, and that's classical liberalism, the only basis on which consenting adults can transact free, fulfilling lives.


  1. I disagree with Jamie on this particular subject, but let's at least be civil about this...

    Craig Young

    1. Your argument is no doubt correct, Craig, however, my point, and Jamie's, is that matters such as incestuous relationships are not up to the state to police, unless initiation of force and non-consent is involved.

      Cheers for reading.

    2. "unless initiation of force and non-consent is involved"

      Mark, it's not just physical force within the family, it's years of emotional manipulation, and soft psycological coercion that comes into play. There is no court in the land capable of dealing with the compexity of the human dymanics involved here.

      That's the primary reason why civilized nations ban incestious relationships, quite apart from the Biblical injunction which I might add, recognizes theses dynamics.

      To reduce these relationships to one of 'simple consent' is to over simplify the reality of human experience as it is played out in the family context.

      This is one more example where the ideology of libertarianism falls short of recognising the complexity of human experience as it is lived by mere mortals.

      Utopian ideology applied to the hard scrabble of complex human experience simply doesn't work.

    3. Firstly, you are not dealing with the principle, Brendan. Regarding your first paragraph, courts in the land are all the time dealing with issues of consent, or not, that do have that level of complexity, quite definitely so. It's not optimal, but part of the human condition, that law has to deal with complex human behaviour, and that in no way changes the classical liberal principle of the state not involving itself in the lives of consenting adults.

      I'll take libertarian principles and enjoy the hell out of living complex human experience over the simplification and bigotry of Christian injunction, which also damns same sex relationships ... yes?

    4. Hi Mark

      Always good to exchange views on matters of substance. The principal is simply this - family members need to be protected from preditory emotional and psycologial manipulation in the home. Children who have been subject to manipulation grow into adults, but if the stage has been set a decade earlier, how free is 'adult' consent in that context?

      We both know it's not, and that's why the libertarian position on incest falls short in practice.

      Re your 'insights' into Christianity, I think most Christians take the view that not all sinful behaviour deserves to be considered criminal by the State, homosexuality included.

      What Christians object to is the 'mainstreaming' of homosexuality in the public square; the subsequent demand that 'diversity' become ruthless conformity, and to hell with individual conscience.

      In my experience, no one group has a monopoly on bigotry.

    5. And in the instance you give, laws against incest patently don't stop those cases we have seen of criminal fathers abusing their children. That is criminal behaviour of the worst kind. Conversely, if the state removes itself from the consensual acts of adults, are you, therefore, going to jump into bed with your sister? (because I'm not.)

      And those homosexuals are still ordered by God into eternal damnation, right?

  2. Mark, you've stated your principle. Minors "are not capable of giving consent, so relationships with them, incest or not, will always be criminal behaviour."

    Brendan's principle seems to be this. Family members are not capable of giving consent to incestuous relationships, so any such relationships between family members will always be criminal behaviour.

    If that's Brendan's principle, then it's symmetric to your own, and you can't fault it on libertarian grounds, since it respects the principle of consent. It's "no consent, no sex" in both cases.

    You could fault Brendan's principle on grounds of truth, and simply declare it false. But Brendan has at least given a reason for thinking that family members are not capable of giving consent to incestuous relationships. Whereas you haven't given a reason for thinking that minors are not capable of giving consent to any sexual relationships at all.

    I take it that your view is that consenting children can transact free, fulfilling lives - but not when it comes to sex.

    I take it that Brendan's view is that consenting adult family members can transact free, fulfilling lives - but not when it comes to sex with each other.

    Both views are consistent with the classical liberal principle of the state not involving itself in the lives of consenting adults.

    1. Hi Richard

      Thank you for your helpful contribution.


      I'm beginning to think you are more fixated by homosexuality than the average Christian. *chuckle*

      First up, the theology of 'eternal damnation' is difficult to substantiate from Scripture. Many Christians like myself who know something about the character of God have asked ourselves if he could throw a party for us in the lounge while torturing many of our friends in the basement?

      The short answer is 'no'.

      I won't go into the detail but there is reason to believe from Scripture that there is annihilation for the unbeliever, rather than eternal punishment. While you might not consider that to be great news (there is good news remember) it's consistent with the views of your garden variety Athiest.

      Second, while God does not engage in eternal punishment for homosexuals, Paul does say in Romans 1:27 that they 'do recieve due penalty for their errors in their own body'. When AIDS first came on the scene, many Christians considered this to be fulfilment of this Bible passage.

    2. Richard.

      To answer to one part of your post, my thinking on children is they have no rights per se - don't take that out of context - as they don't have the experience or formed minds to exercise judgement. That's the role of parents, and where the welfare state has chiefly broken down. Parents have to exercise adult judgement on behalf of their children. This means that children are not in a position to give consent.

      At what age a child becomes an adult, responsible for themselves and able to give consent, I don't know. It would change from child to child, but that complexity doesn't negate the principle.


      Re your last paragraph, do you count yourself as in the 'many Christians' who consider AIDS was God's punishment on gays?

      Because you realise you have a huge problem in that God is the most evil creator/user of all those biological weapons of mass destruction that have been wiping out humans, indiscriminately, regardless of sexual orientation or age - including Christians - since humans walked the Earth, from bubonic plague, to smallpox, measles, malaria, et a? Perhaps all those other diseases are just practising while he tries to get his aim right :)

    3. Richard, I forgot in post above to ask what you think of Whyte? Would he get your vote away from ALCP?

    4. Hi Mark

      Sin has consequences.

      STD's and AIDS are just two obvious examples, however they say nothing of the emotional hurt and harm that humans encounter when they follow their lusts and refuse to engage in a 'life well lived' as exampled by Jesus and outlined in the Scriptures.

      The plague was carried by fleas, malaria by mosquitoes and those other diseases by air or water borne bacteria, not by God or his angels. The Bible makes it clear that we live in a 'fallen' and imperfect world brought about by human rebellion and dissobedience. There were no reports of plague in the garden of Eden.

      You also appear to ignore the thousands of acts of human compassion and selfless care of others at the time of the plague, often motivated by the Christian faith in caring for victims, building the first hospitals, and providing comfort for the dying at great personal risk.

      The ideology of Athisitc humanism is essentially passive, requiring nothing other than 'do no harm' to others. No compelling ideological reason to help others there. Jesus on the other hand commands us to do for others what we would have them do for us. It is a proactive faith that demands engagement on the basis of love and compassion.

      Raging against God is as effective as defying gravity. You have momentary illusions of success. :-)

    5. We've got to Tolkien country pretty quick Brendan :)

      Reality has consequences by what is sin? So if I sleep with a woman out of wedlock it is sin and I deserve disease?

      What about when an unfaithful partner passes the STD to their spouse, did they deserve it?

      Re the rest of you post, your argument is that unless God deals out pain humans can't show compassion. No. Flat wrong.

      I will never understand how Christians can believe in the fantasy of myth-making, but we'll never convince the other of the Truth.

      Final question, you say there is nothing in atheistic humanism that requires me to show compassion, yet two nights ago I donated to that couple who lost their house on CampbellLive: why did I do that then?

    6. Tolkien was a believing Christian, so I guess that's why. ;-)

      Mark, I imagine that we can both be thankful that none of us gets what we deserve. Sometimes people get bad things they don't deserve, and that's part of the crap that happens in a fallen world. Our sin does affect others, just as you point out in the example you gave.

      Now I didn't say humans who are not Christians cannot show compassion. That's nonsense. We are all bearers of His image, regardless of our beliefs, we are all capable of compassion, selfless love, moral choice.

      My point was that secular humanism has no 'good Samaritan' narrative to animate its beliefs. You can fulfill the dictacts of secular humanism by sitting on your bum watching TV. It is an entirely passive belief system. The fact that people sometimes behave better than its dictates require is beside the point.

      You might like to reflect for a moment on the village of Eyam in England. In about 1665 the plague struck, and under the guidance of the Christian minister, the entire village volunteered to quarantine itself. That is, no one was to enter, no one was to leave.

      These villagers volunteed to stay and risk death in order to preserve the lives of strangers outside their village.

      Can you imagine a group of cheerful athistic humanists making that same choice? There is nothing in their ideology that remotely suggests they should.

  3. On another blog I've just seen a Tory announce that Whyte 'wants to marry his sister'

    No, you saw an AngryTory say that "all that has been in the media is that Whyte wants to marry his sister". Of course Whyte didn't say that, that's not the point.

    The point is that incest is what everyone is talking about - rather than Labour appointing the most left-wing chief of staff since Massey's Cossacks a hundred years ago.

    Whyte badly needs just one policy for ACT, and it needs to be a policy that will win it votes, and that National will find hard to swallow. A 1% cut in the top tax rate for every percent of the party vote.

    And every time someone asks him about dope, or incest, or gun control, Whyte should simply say "I'm here to remind you that New Zealand has the highest mean nett personal tax burden in the world. Less than ten percent of Kiwis pay pretty much all the income tax in the country. That's why ACT's nonnegotiable policy is to cut the top tax rate by one percent for every percent of the party vote".

    1. I realise the wise route is to allow himself to be blandified toward the tyranny of the centre. That's why ACT, as much as I like Jamie, is just another party taking us the detour route to serfdom.

      I don't do tactical voting anymore, so I can't see any party getting my party vote this election, albeit if Jamie was candidate in my electorate I'd probably give him a tick.

    2. Oh, like your tax policy idea however.

  4. Mark:
    Here's a short look at the Stuebing versus Germany case, which does raise some real questions about 'consent' in the context of 'consensual adult incest':

    As a consequence of family violence, Patrick Stuebing was adopted out of his birth family as a child. As an adult, he was reunited with his family origin and started living with his mother, since remarried, and his adult but dependent and learning- disabled sister, Susan Karolewski. After their mother died in 2001, Patrick and Susan began a sexual relationship and had four children as a result. Of them, Eric and Sarah have severe physical and intellectual disabilities, and Nancy had a heart malady at birth, since remedied. All three older siblings are in foster care and only the youngest, Sofia, still lives with her parents. Under Paragraphs 153 and 173 of the German Criminal Code, Patrick served a two year sentence for committing incest with Susan (2005-2007).

    In 2008, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court upheld the legality of Paragraphs 153 and 173. Stuebing and Karolewski have had no more luck with the European Court and Convention of Human Rights, which similarly upheld Germany's aforementioned anti-incest laws, on April 12, 2012. Stuebing complained that the Federal Constitutional Court and Paragraphs 153 and 173 violated Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, his right to form a family and privacy rights. The ECHR rejected this argument.

    However, the ECHR noted that Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, San Marino, Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary and the United Kingdom had all criminalised 'consensual' adult sibling incest.

    Based on the above German case law, it does not seem advisable or desirable to decriminalise consensual adult incest in our own national context. Indeed, the case points to the risks inherent in doing so. Can Susan Karolewski be said to have 'consented', given her learning disabilities and personality disorder? And what about the severe intellectual and physical disabilities experienced by Eric and Sarah as a result of parental incest?

    What should New Zealand do? If I were the Ministers of Health and Justice, I would convene an interdisciplinary medico-legal working panel on GSA and determine what appropriate criminal penalties should result, with provision for GSA preventative and remedial psychotherapeutic care mandated within the sentence duration. Either amend Section 130 of the Crimes Act to include a new clause that deals with 'consensual adult' incest within a seperate set of criminal charges, or create an altogether seperate and new section of the Crimes Act to deal with 'consensual adult' incest. However, CAI should not be decriminalised.

    Stubing Versus Germany (European Court of Human Rights: 2012):

    1. Thanks for posting this, it is interesting, however, let me again repair to first principles.

      I used to flat with a woman who worked in the Civic Creche up to and during that infamous trial. I *know* how complex issues of consent are, especially when you have a Jesuit detective on the case, however, complexity of consent doesn't change the underlying classical liberal principle that the state has no place in the lives of consenting adults. Courts deal with complexity all the time, that doesn't change anything.

  5. Mark, I see from your right-hand sidebar that my blog feed is broken. I'd better fix it!

    Meanwhile, please check out (you, too, Brendan) my co-blogger Reed's latest post on the Sanctity of Life.

    Wrong post, I know. ("Yes, but I came here for euthanasia!!" "OH! Oh! I’m sorry! This is incest!" "Oh! Oh I see!" "Aha! No, you want room 12A, next door.")

    1. All of which is why I like the three wise men of Eternal vigilance, Richard, albeit their views must be representative of about 0.00001% of Christians. Still, numbers don't mean the truth :)

      Yes get your feed fixed, because I use my menubar over breakfast to read the blogs I follow, so thought you'd had no new content for three weeks.

    2. Blog feed is fixed now. :-)

      > Richard, I forgot in post above to ask what you think of Whyte? Would he get your vote away from ALCP?

      The time is NOW for cannabis law reform, Mark. Tick, tick!

      But my loyalties are to my values, not to any particular political party. I'll be sure to re-assess my options post-election. That said, in the ALCP I'm in the company of some very good, very talented, very liberty-minded people. Who smoke weed. Chances are I'll be staying put. :-)