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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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fran O’Sullivan, Youth Unemployment & Another War in the Pacific.

Fran O’Sullivan’s mind may well cause another war in the Pacific, and possibly a pan-European war. Fanciful? Note I’m attacking Fran’s ideas, not Fran – on Twitter she has a great sense of life, plus is something rarer and rarer these days, polite: I like her. However,  it’s ideas, philosophy, that makes a society what it is, so let me join the dots from her piece this weekend on youth unemployment, though noting the road signs first.

Other than for clarification purposes I am largely going to stop employing the Left versus Right political tagging system in this blog. A former US president, the last one that had a clue anymore, Ronald Reagan, said the health of a society did not come down so much to Left versus Right, but up versus down, or, more significantly, freedom versus statism.

And so the first dot: Fran has the mind of a statist, with all the contradictions that entails. Fresh from advocating the nationalisation of private property for the ‘common good’ of the Christchurch rebuild, now Fran is advocating we continue the nationalisation of our youth in order to solve youth unemployment.

Of course, I’ve written on how our youth are already nationalised by a state education system where the state demands it be the alpha and omega in every child’s life, despite the ideas of their parents, but the contradictions in Fran’s piece demonstrate why Western civilisation is now falling apart at the seams on its headlong rush to the statist gulag, again.

I have no dispute with the opening part of Fran’s analysis:

It is truly bizarre that the number of unfilled skilled jobs is increasing at the same time as we have record youth unemployment and many graduates find themselves working in jobs that don't pay them enough to get on top of student debt and have enough over to save for their futures.

They have been sold a pup.

Many have been brought up on a "follow your dream" diet only to find out too late that just following dreams doesn't always result in a job. An injection of realism is long overdue.

The problem, and the first contradiction, is Fran then sees realism as not coming from the free market, that real world expression of the complex needs and desires of every individual in society finding voluntary resolution without the force of the state gun; rather, she finds realism as coming from the artifice of the state gun itself:

Key could start by cancelling the top personal tax break and "reinvesting" the hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise have gone into Bill English's Treasury coffers into a massive state-backed scheme to train young people in the skills needed for today's workforce.

First contradiction clearly stated:

Fran rightly refers to the current disastrous state-devised bums on seats ‘follow your dream’ tertiary funding system, which in her own industry is probably turning out ten media graduates for every media job. However, her solution is to fix this by more of the same: keep higher taxes, taking away the earnings and choices of private firms, so the state can train youth in the skills required by those private firms. Well if the state couldn’t get the skills match right with the current iteration, why are they going to the next time? Evidence shows bureaucrats are the last group to be entrusted with such an important task.

The real problem with Fran’s solution is it avoids the elephant in the WINZ queue: the welfare state that is so huge it has become a cushion obstructing the view from the market signal of skills needed, to those who need the skills. And that cushion is so huge because it’s been embedded for so long, and growing every year – even in every Bill English budget, the government dollar spend has continued to increase. Indeed, I am a prime example of the long term nature of the dilemma.

I finished high school, Form 7, in the early eighties, and because I liked reading and writing, with no thoughts to a job at all - I didn’t need to, after all, because my education was ‘free’ on the effort and risk taking of businesspeople and workers who were being forced to pay for it – I went straight into an Arts degree, English language and literature, at Canterbury University. I got my degree and had a great time, on the whole, but then found first year out that with no experiences to write about, and a bestseller novel in New Zealand considered to be 5,000 copies sold, ie, a hobby, I had no way to earn money other than teaching, and I couldn’t stand children. At that stage I had the option, which I suspect is the most taken one now, to simply puddle around on welfare, ‘doing my thing’, however,  I chose, based on my upbringing, to find work, and of all things - yeah I have many regrets at the particular choice - to first work part time at IRD, then a CA firm, while gaining undergraduate and Honours degrees in Accountancy from Massey University, which Mrs H and I paid for. My point being here, that the disconnect caused by the welfare state in the market for jobs, existed way back then and if anything it’s worse now.

Fran’s miss here is shown by another of her contradictions. She says that the state needs to train our young rather than employers relying on immigration to get the right skills at the right price, using the example of our dairy industry:

… as with the dairy industry - farmers would rather import low-paid but highly skilled workers from the Philippines who will work long hours, rather than set up an optimum working environment for young Kiwis.

In an attempt to not misrepresent Fran too badly, yes, she writes that many employers complain Kiwi kids come to the job interview not wanting the job, rather just a tick to ensure the ‘WINZ cheque keeps rolling in’, and on that note she’d finally cracked the reality of it, saying families of such children needed to take responsibility, but then, when so close, took instead the road to my serfdom of saying that responsible families couldn’t be relied upon, at least that’s the inference I must draw from her recommendations, thus the state must step in with my tax money, missing the point that the welfare state is what is destroying families, self-responsibility and self-reliant communities. Youth unemployment in New Zealand and the mis-match of skills is not down to something so simple as ‘training’: it’s systemic.

To prove my point, there was a fascinating documentary on New Zealand telly last week about smart animals. The most interesting segment on it was about two birds from North America; they were the exact same breed of bird, but one was the offspring of a bird that lived in the hostile, cold, north of the continent, the other offspring of a bird from the south of the continent where food was plentiful and the weather mild. Each of the birds was given the same task of getting food out from under glass: the bird born of the harsh environment found the job easy, the bird from the soft south couldn't do it, and would’ve starved. The harsh environment had led to the bird from the north being far more innovative and intelligent, and remarkably, this was hard-wired into it.

Now, join the dots to that bird from the harsh north and ‘highly skilled workers from the Philippines who will work long hours’, and figure out why far too many Kiwi children wouldn’t have a bar of being away from their iPads to get up at four in the morning to go milking. Many of them are not employable, and that has little or nothing to do with 'skills', but attitude and what I would call 'nous'. Or put simply: the ability to get out of bed each morning, not just when you feel like it, and go to work. Surprisingly, this stuff’s not hard.

Here’s the solution of a free man. Get rid of the minimum wage, get rid of welfare outside anything other than a safety net in-extremis, get rid of the government cheque that ensures too many children are not being born of love to prudent and the sensible ‘families’, instead, get the state out of lives, stop the profligate, irresponsible spending of other peoples money by politicians so incompetent I wouldn’t trust most of them walking my dog, so we can start building responsible families, again, that will keep their youth at home if required and pay for their keep while their child transacts voluntarily with employers willing to put their own resources into training them for their jobs, including paying for any tuition needed specific to those jobs, through the trade-off of a low wage early on in order that both parties are availed of opportunity.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear the bleating already at what I've just written. Before traveling to the wars this statist mindset is about to cause, let me first close off the statist complaints to what I have just said:

The statist will say this will lead to child slavery: employers will take the cheap labour, then cast them adrift? Yes, some will, but very few: most employers want to build their businesses and their profits long term, thus such bad behaviour will be counter-productive to them. More, most employers I know are simply nice people: statist’s would be surprised looking beyond their own cynicism at just how nice most people are, if left to their own pursuit of happiness.

The arty statists will say but what about culture if training and education is not paid for, planned and directed by the state? The realism of that is, despite an A+ grade average across stages two and three in my arts degree – um, stage one I’d met women for the first time after a country high school - do you know what I remember, or additional thing I have taken from it? Nothing. If I had not done that degree would I still love reading books? Yes. Would I still be doing my personal writing projects and blogs such as this? Yes. In fact, I’m just one chapter away from finishing a novel I’ve been working on for two years now in my spare time. Culture just is, and it’s a travesty to promote any other notion of it that is dependent on tax slavery of one stranger to another.

I say all the above in earnest, because looking at the world around me, with the brutal and huge Western surveillance states we’ve built, disregarding the lessons of the twentieth century, the world now teeters on the verge of violent conflagration, arising from the economic conflagration that has already occurred on the back of big-Keynesian-statism.

Japan’s economy, stifled in low growth for the last three decades by one of the biggest government debt loads in the Western world, coming in at a staggering debt-to-GDP ratio of 229% (compared to Greece on only 120%) has always been, as the phrase goes, a bumblebee in search of a windscreen: well, unfortunately it’s just found the driver, and already he’s got his foot on the accelerator to build an ever larger Keynesian hubris of debt that may well finally destroy the heroic Japanese saver, leaving no one to buy their government debt. That driver is new Prime Minster, nationalist war monger, Shinzo Abe who is right now embarked on one of the biggest government spending programs that country has seen, as well  as the type of null-minded nationalistic brinkmanship that may well see war in the Pacific again.

If you had told an European in 1935 that in just four years their world would be in a vicious war where the big state would set about the wholesale slaughter of civilisation, by which I mean, people, they would have laughed. I put it to you who’s to say Europe is not at 1935, again, with the Nazi Golden Dawn – a party up to half the Greek police force voted for - marching the saluting fist in Greece; and the far right in the Austrian parliament demanding a written register of Jews in that country. And who’s to say the Pacific at the hands of big state Abe, is not back already to 1939 waiting for its next Pearl Harbour? Hell, the ships already are on the way.

Could all of this have been avoided? Yes, by having fostered a classical liberal, individualist, based ethic, of the society that set about only protecting the rights of its smallest minority, the individual; and that ennobled the voluntary contract and the voluntary trade, rather than the big gun of state running every damned thing. Instead welfarism has become so pervasive, that well-spring of the arts, creativity, and innovation in business, individualism, is now confused by generation airhead with a selfishness that must be erased under state redistribution.

It's always about philosophy, and it’s the ideas in Fran’s mind that are the cause of all this. I’d buy Fran lunch at any winery in Marlborough, but she must not mention the state once as the solution for anything other than the means to enforce a contract, or police my personal safety.

Statism vesus freedom.

We were the free West, once; we almost had it, but look where we went instead: what were we thinking? …. Sorry, I’ve covered this already; we weren’t thinking at all, were we - that was the problem.

Right, I'm taking Daisy Dog kayaking. From pretty soon, I'm onto sixty and seventy hour working weeks, until the end of March, so until April blog entries will be thin on the ground.

Footnote: I meant to work in this important piece on Greece versus Latvia, but ran out of time. Recommended reading regardless: Latvia Gives Greece a Lesson in Austerity.


  1. Absolutely correct on the subkect of yoputh and stsism.
    Dissapointed in Fran as she and I had a brief conversation on Kiwiblog about this. Afraid she missed the point.

    1. Thanks for that. Do you have a link to the Kiwiblog item?

  2. The statist will say this will lead to child slavery: employers will take the cheap labour, then cast them adrift?

    Who gives a shit. If they won't work they don't deserve to eat - and let's face it. most Kiwi kids are so useless even if they do work they don't deserve to eat.

    Any so-called "welfare reform" in NZ that doesn't have at least 100,000 bludgers starving in gutters within the first year just isn't real reform.