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, November 28, 2013

Anarchism (Or) Libertarianism Cannot be Reconciled with Socialism. (Or Each Other, But Ignore That For Now.)

Some time ago on Twitter I made the statement that anarchism and socialism are opposites and cannot be reconciled. Since then I’ve noted it tweeted by Left Anarchists as some type of ‘in joke’ amongst themselves, however, over time, no Left Libertarian, nor Left Anarchist, when I’ve challenged them, has been able to succinctly reconcile the two: the last time one did try I received a contradictory mish-mash of nonsense that held no understanding of economics, or philosophy.

So, I can do little normal blog posting until the new year, my day job is too busy, thus I’m opening this post up to the implied challenge. Here is the definition of socialism by the Free Dictionary:

1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

In comments I invite any Left Anarchist or Left Libertarian to reconcile anarchism or libertarianism with these definitions of socialism. It needs to get directly to the heart of the matter, and I’m not interested in links to the whole Internet. The reconciliation will need to importantly contact the above definitions particularly around the following words used:

‘Owned collectively’

‘Centralised government’

‘Plans and controls economy’

‘Dictatorship of the proletariat’

That is, for me, classical liberalism, libertarianism, et al, are founded, as they must be, in individualism, and the non-initiation of force principle, before all else: that was the West’s true inheritance from the Enlightenment. So reconcile the freedom that arises from the civilising acknowledgement of the absolute sanctity of the life of a single human being going about their business, forcing themselves on no other, to the force necessarily connoted with collectivism on which socialism is based, where that individual's volition must be sacrificed to the mob, be that via centralised ownership or the state (which are the same).

Perhaps by this means I may finally understand -albeit, I doubt it - the ludicrous sight of those fools wearing anonymous masks conducting street protests, and more often than not, riots, to destroy the single economic system consistent with freedom: laissez faire capitalism.

Go …

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Even Conservatively Speaking, Colin Craig is a Disappointment.

I think Craig is a moral conservative only, not remotely an economic or political conservative, and a vote for the Conservative Party will be a vote for even more authoritarian statism than under National. And that’s a disaster for those of us who believe in the small state, laissez faire, and are moral liberals, some of whom will be tempted to vote tactically for the Conservative Party. Plus it’s a devil’s choice for National as a coalition partner.

On last week’s NBR Ask Colin Craig (Conservative Party) Anything, I asked how his promise to forcibly purchase land from developers he deemed weren’t building fast enough reconciled with those two basic tenets of conservatism: sacrosanct property rights, and the small state. This was his reply:

Other reforms such as land zoning (free up existing land use restrictions) and RMA (exempt residential housing and improvements) need to happen first. Also Govt needs to lead by example and better utilise it's large land holdings.

If the above fails then writing to a few land bankers (not developers with relatively small holdings) is a valid step toward solving the housing crisis. Interesting to see the UK Conservatives have had to do similar.

I don't see this as a breach of Conservative principles, legislation does empower government intervention, I consider it a last resort but better to use it than have a dysfunctional market like we have now.

No. His conservatism, proper, ended at ‘If the above fails …’ I wrote the below retort, but sent it over the weekend, and with NBR’s nanny moderation policy, with no one working on Saturday, it either was lost in their barb wired, or … whatever:

Colin, you can scope legislation to have the Fortress of Legislation intervene and interfere  in any areas of our lives politicians want it to: doesn't make it right; worse, that is the problem with the Big State you should be standing against as an upholder of small state conservative principles. Further, markets become dysfunctional precisely when the government intervenes.

Untrammeled property rights should have been your line in the sand, but you're not even bringing it to the negotiating table.

Disappointed. You never had my vote because of your moral, illiberal conservationism, and the liberal in classical liberal is important to me,  though I realise you have made a statement that you were never trying to get the Libertarianz vote: it’s just that I don't see how you can get even the true conservative vote with this answer, other than those, of course, voting tactically.

I should have added to the above that land-banking is only made profitable by state regulation that limits the supply of land. The fact that Colin understands this in his answer, yet still threatens to impugn property rights, regardless, shows him as, already, another populist prepared to lose what should be the abiding principles of a conservative movement, for a vote. Although I've never understood the contradiction of a conservative movement that believes in the small state, yet will use that state to check an individual's rights on grounds of - bigoted - moral conservatism.

Worse have been Craig's successive appearances:

In a further NBR piece he excuses state ownership and thus sees a place for it.

On The Nation last weekend he reminded me he is an economic xenophobe, wanting regulation around foreign ownership (which means limiting foreign investment).

Then last night on Campbell Live the unforgivable that lost him the vote of Mrs H he almost certainly had: he wants to double alcohol excise tax. At the time we looked at each other over our wine bottle – the couple who drinks together, sits (within arms length of the bottle) together – and were in unison: ‘He’s a bloody prohibitionist.’

So yet another wowser, state bully enters the pantheon of New Zealand Big State politics. No party that believes in the small state believes it can tell me what to do with my body. Craig has shown he will not hesitate to have the state bully on property and civil rights from a developer’s land ownership, to my martini intake. Get between the Hubbards’ and a martini, you’re yesterday’s story, Colin.

Add his already infamous quotes against the gay community and equal marriage, I can guess where he stands on legalisation of cannabis (NO), legalise euthanasia (NO), freedom of the individual to do as they like so long as they harm no one (NO).

The fact that Craig came into politics on the back of the leaky buildings issue, probably tells free, voluntary society voters everything they needed to know about him: for Craig, the state is the answer, not the problem. And that’s the problem with every party likely to make it back into the Fortress of Legislation 2014.

I think Craig is a moral conservative only, not remotely an economic or political conservative, and a vote for the Conservative Party will be a vote for even more authoritarian statism than under National. And that’s a disaster for those of us who believe in the small state, laissez faire, and are moral liberals, some of whom will be tempted to vote tactically for the Conservative Party. Plus it’s a devil’s choice for National as a coalition partner.

I continue giving my vote to Libertarianz, the only political party in New Zealand that will deliver unfettered, un-muddied property rights, and that will not compromise its principles for the evil that is pragmatism. I realise that society it traveling the opposite direction to the voluntary society, although perhaps from Liam Dann’s final tweet below, there is just this tiny squidgeon of hope:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

David Cunliffe & Pike Mine Compensation. Immoral, Emotive Politics Again.

I’m aware of the vilification I’ll get for this, but some small-stater has to ask the relevant questions of Labour Leader, David Cunliffe. The relevance to this blog is that there will only be the voluntary and free society, entirely dependent as that is on a small state, if individuals and families take responsibility for themselves, and strive for self-reliance. This includes the range of planning from prudent family size, through to sitting down with a broker once a year to construct an appropriate insurance package to deal with changed circumstances such as death of a breadwinner. Pike also surely shows the need of a system of (natural) justice where the legal benefactors of people  killed by negligence can sue, rather than New Zealand’s government regulated no-faults system which is allowing negligent employers ‘off the hook’.

David Cunliffe has promised that the government will pay compensation to the 29 Pike Mine tragedy families:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has said a government led by him would pay compensation to Pike River families.

He said he would seek to recover the money from Pike River's parent companies.

His comments come on the third anniversary of the tragedy in which 29 men were killed.
"We will then seek to immediately recover the money from the parents' shareholders and directors of Pike River Coal Ltd", Mr Cunliffe told reporters this morning.

"We believe the Government has let the families down, that it has a moral obligation…

The compensation is to be something in the range of $100,000 per family.

We all have empathy for the Pike 29 families, however, if David wants to prove himself responsible to run a country, then he’s got to start thinking through issues such as this wisely, rather than emoting about them to the public press. There are two distinct aspects to what he is proposing.

Firstly, over the year concerned there were 257 road deaths, and including the Pike 29, something like 100 workplace deaths (I can’t find an exact number for this, only that the average for the last five years is around 100 workplace deaths per year). However, although David has announced the Pike 29 will be compensated by government, none of these others are to be so compensated. Why? The initial question he must answer is, how, other than the fact of next year’s election, is the grief of a Pike family, different from that of every other family that has lost a loved one in the workplace, on in a road accident?

I suspect David well knows the answer: money. The taxpayer could not afford this: which is why it remains so important for individuals to make their own arrangements. If all 357 deaths from 2012 were compensated the similar amount, then the cost to the taxpayer would be $35.7 million. That would involve the entire tax take of 1,500 taxpayers who earn $100,000 per annum, or over 5,000 earning the average wage of approximately $47,000. (Indeed, given many families below $60,000 are paying no net tax, after transfers, then the tax take from this group probably couldn’t cover this, and we would be again looking to that 12% of top income earners whom are already having to shoulder 76% of the total tax burden to afford governments $70 billion annual budget). Keeping this simple, regarding the average wage, this would require the total tax take of a town twice the population of the one I’m writing this in, Geraldine, every year.

So not remotely affordable. Which brings the question back to: why are just the Pike families to be compensated?

Secondly, I know David will find a lot of sympathy for going after the parent companies and directors: I probably agree with him, but does he mean law changes away from our no-faults system? If so, good, let’s get rid of ACC and go back to private provision and ability to sue for negligence for all such victims, not just one visible, symbolic group in an election year. That’s government playing favourites in a sick way.

Although I disagree with David about going after Pike’s shareholders. He’s got to think prudently and intelligently about a precedent set, over political expediency. To create a precedent of removing company limited liability and making shareholders responsible for the obligations of companies will destroy New Zealand’s investment markets and see a capital flight from the country. The NZX would be crushed. It’s important for an investor that though they are risking their (direct) capital invested in any firm, they are not putting up as guarantee their homes and private assets. It’s hard to think of a precedent more damaging to our economy.

So, David needs to explain the selective compensation being applied here, and how it is not just cynical, shameless, emotive electioneering. How is the grief of the Pike families, (or the value of the lives lost), different from every forestry death so far this year?

And none of the above is a slight on the Pike families, whom to my knowledge have not asked for such compensation, just fair restitution from the company and directors concerned (natural justice).

Finally, to those who rightly say on Twitter if we can give $35 million to the America's Cup why not compensate the Pike 29? I agree, why are taxpayers forced to subsidise that sport of the rich: yachting. Again, compensate Pike families, then it’s got to be everyone, which no country could afford, nor should it. Let’s just stop treating the hard working taxpayer like a bank for every appeal or political dream.

Update 1:

From comments section below, regarding the fair point made by a respondent that “The government has a moral obligation to pay because … it was partly to blame.”

My response:

I have sympathy with that view to a point, however, the fault in the legislation is surely the no-faults system? The taxpayer has paid once already: per RNZ two days ago, $7 million ACC, with another $20 million over time to the families (from memory).

Plus the private trust that was formed of roughly $5 million.

Although in principle the private gifting is irrelevant, taxpayers have paid once, that payment under a no faults system: to break that by a second payment from taxpayers pockets via a moral obligation caused by being at fault, sets a further precedent that undermines no fault proper. I’m more than happy to go that way, and wind up ACC, but I’m not happy about continuing with no faults, while being forced to pay twice in this instance.