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, June 29, 2014

Euthanasia Debate II: Reply from Chair of NZMA; My Further Response. The Sorry State of Medical Ethics.

In ending, I hope you decide to debate these issues, point by point, and not hide behind NZMA/WMA liturgy, so those of us who live our lives by reasoned humanist principles, and for whom this issue is of great importance, don’t end up having to argue in the upcoming debate around Maryan Street’s Bill, with yet another priesthood, immutable, trying to force on us articles of faith. This debate belongs to all of us; not the medical profession. If your anti-euthanasia views hold against my points, then argue them, and in your own words.

This post is the second in a series on euthanasia, setting out the principles that will be involved in the debate over Labour MP Maryan Street’s private member euthanasia bill, when she tables it again sometime after the election.

Below is the reply from Dr. Mark Peterson, Chair of the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), to an email from myself which can be read here - this post will make more sense if you were to read that first, though the below can be read standalone. Due to the disappointing sparsity of Dr. Peterson’s response I have a further series of questions for him, as well as the restatement of my original points that were not addressed, (most of them.) Below is printed first the doctor’s reply, after that I have posted my further email, particularly questioning the basis of ethics employed in the NZMA statement against euthanasia.

* * *

Email from Dr Peterson:

Dear Mr Hubbard

Your comments and questions regarding my statements on euthanasia have been passed on to me.

When making statements attributable to me in my position as Chair of NZMA my personal opinion is irrelevant – I am stating the position of the NZMA.

I draw your attention to the NZMA position statement on euthanasia which is available on our website:

NZMA is a member of the World Medical Association and our position on euthanasia is consistent with, and based on, the WMA policy on euthanasia. We are not out of step with the rest of the world.

Yours faithfully

Dr Mark Peterson | Chairman

New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA)

* * *

My Further Reply to Dr. Peterson:

Dear Dr. Peterson

Thank you for your reply; needless to say, I find the NZMA and WMA’s position inhumane and – for reasons I shall give in the following - outdated, so given the Association, and yourself, get to frame this debate, I despair. The NZMA's policy against euthanasia is the briefest of documents given the importance of the topic, quote:

The NZMA is opposed to both the concept and practice of euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide.

Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical.

Doctor-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical.

Then some few lines concerning it is okay, however, to give pain relief even if in doses that result in an earlier death for the patient, which is an ethical mess I will cover in my final paragraphs, but for now note in the substantive denial above, no explication of the basis for saying euthanasia is unethical; the public is simply to take it as an article of faith apparently. The World Medical Association Declaration is worse; this is the entire declaration:

Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.

That’s it: again no reasoning whatsoever on the basis of ‘unethical’. And that basis is crucial, for example, the ethics of euthanasia for me, within my philosophy, is simple: I don’t believe in an afterlife, or an arbitrary God who 'owns me', I own my life and thus believe once a certain set of circumstances occur, and my life is reduced to a certain state, which I will know – my wife and I have living wills – then my life ceases to have a value and becomes a painful chore. It is not unethical to end such a life, if that is what I choose. That system of belief in the West which says such a life has value, however, because it contends we don’t own our lives, God does, is Judeo-Christian, a belief system increasingly irrelevant for a large portion of an atheist population, although I suspect the ethical basis of the NZMA position on euthanasia, following the WMA, making their positions little more than an historical artefact circa the twenty first century. The thing is we don’t know because the NZMA and WMA declarations are such deficient documents.

But be that as it may, returning to your reply, the single question you partially answered was one of three, only, and the most minor of my queries, thus I would appreciate answers to those questions which I will repeat again below, and expand on by linking specifically to the matter of rights, as explanation for why euthanasia and assisted suicide are indeed ethical - although first, a quick clean up, reiterating two relevant points unanswered even in the part you did respond to:

1. Has the NZMA polled its members on the issue of whether individual members see euthanasia and assisted suicide services as unethical? What were the results of that polling? This is important given the Association’s policy statement gives no guidance on the nature of ethics, or why euthanasia is unethical.

2. If the NZMA has not polled its members, then why not? Social mores are always changing; the ethical debate here will be evolving over time. Indeed, there are few fields outside medicine where ethics can afford to be less rigid, less debated, yet the simplistic WMA and NZMA statements on euthanasia are basically unchanged.

3. The above two points are further relevant in light of your final 'defence', quote, 'We [NZMA] are not out of step with the rest of the world' ... whereas to the extent you are saying there is a consensus against euthanasia, you are wrong. There is not the world consensus you imply, and hence there are differing interpretations of the Hippocratic Oath. And I’m at pains to point out none of this changes the principle of the individual right involved - I'll deal with that next because you, the NZMA and WMA, avoid it: but first to the matter at hand, how do you explain legal euthanasia in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, and legal assisted suicide in Switzerland, Germany, Colombia, Japan, plus the US states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana?  These represent large populations, large professional bodies, and indicate there is no 'world consensus' that you would have me believe from your email. To sum up, is the NZMA merely slavishly following what it sees (erroneously) as some type inane consensus that ignores completely the humanity of every individual health services user, their uniqueness, and the sovereignty they hold over their own bodies, without continually working this issue through with its members? What is the evidence that you have consensus even within your own Association, given many doctors are unofficially, illegally, aiding voluntary euthanasia, per the original article of my first email, and my previous quotation of Professor Mike Ardagh, who has a PhD in bioethics, that "active voluntary euthanasia was at times the right thing to do", indicating there is plainly no more consensus amongst Association members, than there is world-wide.

Incidentally, interesting the only person in this discussion with a degree in medical ethics believes euthanasia is ethical.  

And so to that crucial clarification regarding the central principle here: this debate is about an indivisible individual right - the ownership of one's body: just because there may be a 'consensus' here, either in your mind, or in the form of a 'tyranny of a professional majority', if that right of an individual to live and die as they wish, so long as they do no harm, is ever breached by the supposed consensus, then the consensus is always wrong. Whatever a world body says, if it overrides my right to die in the manner I wish, with whom I wish present, that world body will always, in every individual applicable case, be wrong, and hiding behind such a consensus is lazy and/or irresponsible. This proposition is unarguable, (plus the more years I put behind me the more I have come to understand that truth in numbers and consensus is a very dangerous assumption, especially in this case where the NZMA and WMA ethical assumptions are never stated or explained so members are in no position to critically evaluate the Association’s position.)

To my further two unanswered questions I would like to repeat and expand on.

Firstly, euthanasia and assisted suicide remaining illegal, dooms every individual in New Zealand who would wish for voluntary euthanasia, to dying in circumstances they would not wish, some scenarios of which will be horrific. Yet for those (many) of us who believe in the right to die with dignity, for those many historically who have killed themselves, often in chilling and tragic circumstances, in the acknowledgement of this right, and for those who will continue to do so regardless of the law and what 'you' think, we euthanasia advocates have no desire to force such practice on those who don't want this, neither amongst the dying, nor the medical profession; that is, it is obviously voluntary, and on all parties involved. Doctors won’t have to provide euthanasia services, only those who (thankfully) will wish to – and I believe some certainly will. So lack of a law such as the one Maryan Street proposes forces a portion of the population into dying in possibly dire circumstances against their wishes; while the presence of such humane law is on the basis only of complete voluntarism, meaning there is no harm to anyone, vis a vis, everyone gets to live, and die, as they wish. Given this, what gives the NZMA, and the law-makers, the moral right to forcibly abnegate voluntary transactions and interactions between consenting adults, pursuing if not their happiness, certainly their dignity and quality of life?

Secondly, my initial question for yourself, and because you personally will be, whether you like it or not, fronting the coming debate, and this issue revolves entirely around individual responsibility, the human right involved attaching to the individual, this is relevant: do you subscribe to any form of religious belief, and religious practice, that influences your interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath, and thus your anti-euthanasia views? Noting your rather sensationalist ‘throw away’ quotation in the article which set this correspondence off that you ‘wondered where euthanasia would end up, killing the mentally ill, et al’ puts you squarely, personally, in the anti-euthanasia camp. Given the importance of your position in this debate as the mainstream media's first 'go-to', I think it important religious affiliation is put on record, and not just for you, but all parties involved in the debate. (Are statistics available on the religious make up, or not, of NZMA members?)

And a final line of questioning, with troubling implications, that arises from Chief Coroner, Judge MacLean's, recent workshops mooting changing the way deaths are certified in a manner that those (compassionate) doctors who have and do effectively provide, albeit illegally, voluntary euthanasia in specific family cases, can be discovered and convicted. Both in your capacity as Chairman of NZMA, and personally as a human being, how are you going to feel about your members being hauled through the legal system and losing their careers, perhaps their freedom, for the only crime of caring? Quite apart from the undesirable situation this will give rise to, when doctors protecting themselves have to stop their 'past humane practice', meaning every individual at the last stages of their life, if unlucky enough to be trapped in the medical system, will have no hope of mercy. And even with the current unsatisfactory situation I have had friends and acquaintances die of cancer over recent times, the last over April gone, and know from this that pain and severe discomfort is not wholly solved by morphine or any existing pain relieving regime; some of those friends had long periods of pain, for no purpose - their lives were over - and that's before we get to relevant individual preferences regarding dignity and how they would have chosen for their lives to end. (Pity also the idiot consensus against cannabis based pain killers; for one of my friends it proved the best ‘medication’.)

Worse, as I intimated at the start of this email, regarding the Chief Coroner's current actions, I would also point out the new death certification process he is looking for seeks to criminalise one of NZMA's chief policies provided as a sop for not allowing euthanasia, namely:

In supporting patients' right to request pain relief, the NZMA accepts that the proper provision of such relief, even when it may hasten the death of the patient, is not unethical.

Bit of doublespeak there, I reckon, trying to have it both ways, plus an ethical mess as it’s that rift of woolly minded nonsense anti-euthanasia advocates often give me - wink, wink, nudge, nudge, in applicable cases in the hospitals euthanasia does happen, doctors mercifully hurry some along, we just don’t know about it, so we don’t need to formalise and legalise actual euthanasia. Seriously, the NZMA needs to take a long hard look at its (anti)euthanasia policy statement: it’s negligent. Unfortunately, I believe you'll now find Judge MacLean is looking to prosecute doctors in just such circumstances of over-medication, meaning pain remediation plans will inevitably become more conservative: and thus the Association's 'out' – duplicitous as it is - for not allowing 'honest, above-board' euthanasia may soon be gone: the alternative to euthanasia may be thoroughly inadequate pain management regimes, and a higher incidence of painful, extended deaths. Will this change the NZMA's policy against euthanasia proper? Has the Association discussed with the Chief Coroner the likely cruel results of his current actions, and how they would appear to be in conflict with your policy document?

In ending, I hope you decide to debate these issues, point by point, and not hide behind NZMA/WMA liturgy, so those of us who live our lives by reason, don’t end up having to argue in the upcoming debate around Maryan Street’s Bill, with yet another priesthood trying to force on us articles of faith – the basis of your policy statement - and like all priesthoods, too moribund to change in line with changing social mores as we leave behind the darkness of an infantile religious mysticism, and embrace a knowledgeable and compassionate humanism. This debate belongs to all of us; not the medical profession. If your anti-euthanasia views hold against my above points, then argue them, and in your own words; albeit to do so you'll have to go back the step before the NZMA statement on (anti)euthanasia, and explain the reasoning behind its use of 'unethical' - that is, why is it?

Please note that I write a blog, and all this correspondence is now in the public domain. I look forward to your further reply.

Yours faithfully

Mark Hubbard

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Euthanasia Debate I: Email to Dr. Mark Peterson, Chair NZ Medical Association.

Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, has been running a series of workshops mooting changing the way doctors certify deaths so as to highlight those cases of voluntary hidden euthanasia that indubitably occur, because:

… as elderly patients are nursed to death, physicians or relatives could mercifully, but illegally, hasten their death and escape without conviction, Judge Neil MacLean said.

It’s par for the course in these brute bureaucratic days that ‘mercifully’ segues so immediately into illegally, then from that to a criminal conviction (for being merciful); and needless to say, if procedure for certifying were changed in accordance with Judge MacLean’s unmerciful wishes, even those ‘merciful’ voluntary euthanasia’s that currently occur via compassionate doctors, will stop. We will then be in a truly hellish situation. I would wish for Judge MacLean to know his efforts in this area are as unwanted as they are barbaric in the outcomes he desires; indeed coroners are quickly joining that brigade of big nosed busy bodies I wish would bugger off ... 


So why, by the twenty first century, are we still denied the right of euthanasia?

I have dealt many times on this blog with the callousness of a political system – the opposite of the minarchy I advocate - where such an important individual right as to die by choice with dignity in the arms of  loved ones, is left up to a conscience vote by our political masters in the Fortress of Legislation. It’s inappropriate because my death is nothing to do with these 120 total strangers, many of them just straight strange, period, worse, many of them mysticism bound Christian conservatives with an eye to a monstrous God rather than flesh and blood, thinking human beings, and not a single member of whom represents many, or any, of my own beliefs. However, leaving that aside, there is a further problem for the New Zealand euthanasia campaign in the form of a medical professional; he appears in this article, plus I’ve seen him interviewed previously, many times, and unfortunately given his position, he inevitably crops up as the mainstream media’s first go-to: that man is anti-euthanasia advocate Dr Mark Peterson, who for all our sins happens to also be Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association.  Quoting him from this piece:

New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) chairman Dr Mark Peterson is an anti-euthanasia advocate who believes it should never be legalised.

If it was legalised for the terminally ill, Peterson feared it could be extended to the chronically ill and then potentially to those suffering mental health conditions "and you have to wonder where it would stop".

Peterson believed euthanasia went against the historic Hippocratic oath.

My regular readers will understand the savagery with which I am currently stabbing my fingers into my keyboard. Below is an email I have just sent to Dr Peterson, via the NZ Medical Association email address.

* * *

Dear Dr Peterson

At the end of this email I have three questions in light of your outspoken anti-euthanasia advocacy, given that your chairmanship of the New Zealand Medical Association allows you a disproportionate influence in this debate over those of us who demand our basic right to die with dignity, including the right to die in the arms of our loved ones, rather than as our spouses and families stand on the pavement outside, or somewhere equally incongruous, while we try and kill ourselves, alone, with a plastic bag over our head, or other equally barbaric method, our last vision after a lifetime of sights, sounds and loving, being the pattern of the wallpaper. That sentence was obviously written to achieve a certain confrontational effect: I hope you were confronted, as I am affronted. Albeit nothing in it was written to sensationalise, as the imagery I used is drawn from various reports of the desperate lengths some have felt they had to go to in their choice to escape whatever the pain or situation was they felt such desperate measures were necessary. For example, the case of Rosie Mott as described in the publication Auckland - quote:

Rosie was suffering from an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis that gave her tremors, making it hard for her to feed herself, incontinence, and made it hard to walk.

She resolved to take her life in 2010.
Mansfield said Rosie needed someone who would listen to her, help her, and not betray her by reporting her to authorities.

He asked the court to consider what it must have been like for [Mr Evans] Mott to have to say goodbye to his wife and leave the house while she took her life, so he could not be charged in relation to the death.

I would ask you to put yourself in Mr Mott's shoes and understand what that must have felt like.

As a further preamble, I understand some of your objections, however, regarding your comment from this Saturday's Press, quote:

"New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) chairman Dr Mark Peterson is an anti-euthanasia advocate who believes it should never be legalised.

If it was legalised for the terminally ill, Peterson feared it could be extended to the chronically ill and then potentially to those suffering mental health conditions "and you have to wonder where it would stop".

As compared to my opening, that last statement is unproven, knee-jerk sensationalism, and I find it alarming reading such hyperhole from the Chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association. Such issues are manageable, proven by those jurisdictions where dying with dignity is legal, the populations of which are not inconsiderable: namely, euthanasia where it is legal in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, but also countries/counties where assisted suicide is legal: Switzerland, Germany, Colombia, Japan, plus the US states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana. Although even this remains wholly beside the point, which is that such issues are to be managed, yes, but just as road deaths do not justify banning driving cars, these points in no way change the important principle that it remains a basic individual right to die in a manner we desire, and it is the right of those doctors who mercifully agree with this, to provide such a service.

Your stated philosophical position is that you are anti-euthanasia because it is against the Hippocratic oath, to which I would add 'as you interpret it', because this interpretation does not appear to be held by all medical professionals. That is, given, as evidenced by this article there are many hundreds of doctors in New Zealand who are prepared, albeit illegally, to help people die with dignity - and they are doing so secretly all the time - and thus as doctors don't see the provision of such mercy as constrained by their Hippocratic oath. And given the quotation from Christchurch Hospital specialist Professor Mike Ardagh, who has a PhD in bioethics, that "active voluntary euthanasia was at times the right thing to do". And finally given that in the countries and counties mentioned above where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, many thousands - at the least - of doctors who ascribe to the same Hippocratic oath feel very comfortable with supplying voluntary euthanasia, or drugs to assist suicide, those services governed by the necessary safeguards, I come to my first question to you which is this:

Do you subscribe to any form of religious belief, and religious practice, that influences your interpretation of the Hippocratic oath, and thus your anti-euthanasia views? Given the importance of your position in this debate as the mainstream media's first 'go-to', I think it important this is put on record.

My second query is regards to the logic involved. Namely, your anti-euthanasia belief, and euthanasia and assisted suicide remaining illegal, dooms every individual in New Zealand who would wish for voluntary euthanasia, to dying in circumstances they would not wish, some scenarios of which will be horrific. Yet for those (many) of us who believe in the right to die with dignity, we have no desire, whatsoever, to force such practice on those who don't want this; that is, it is obviously voluntary. So lack of a law such as the one Maryan Street proposes forces a portion of the population into dying in possibly dire circumstances against their wishes; while the presence of such humane law is on the basis only of complete voluntarism, meaning there is no harm to anyone, vis a vis, everyone gets to live, and die, as they wish to. Given this, how do you morally justify your stance, which arrogantly proscribes your beliefs on others whose lives, and deaths, are no business of yours?

Thirdly, neither in this article, or numerous interviews and pieces I have seen or read of you in, have I seen an indemnity to the effect you are merely giving your own opinion: you seem to be speaking for the The New Zealand Medical Association. Is that correct? Is the official stand of NZMA one of anti-euthanasia? From this, has any polling been conducted amongst the members of the Association regarding their beliefs on legalising euthanasia? If so what are those results? If no polling has been conducted, why not, given the importance of this issue to many New Zealanders, myself included?

I await your reply with interest, and you may have noticed, more than a tad miffed.

Yours faithfully

Mark Hubbard

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Labour Electioneering On Economic Fascism: State Running Private Firms.

Last week I wrote how in New Zealand everything is tax avoidance now, and everything is illegal, hence every citizen is corralled and controlled by an all-knowing command state, even if it doesn’t ‘feel’ that that way because our shuffle into a caring totalitarianism has been so slow. This is why liberty is dead in the West, and Western command economies are failing, our living standards first stagnating, and in those high taxed countries like France, plummeting, as business leaves or shuts its doors.

I’ve not got time to go into the next piece until a blog at least next week, but enough to say that when everything is tax avoidance, then that logically justifies IRD officials, the state, to control and manage the financial plans, by veto, of private firms – noting that when you own a firm’s financial plans, you own its operations. If elected, New Zealand Labour leader, David Cunliffe, will turn this into policy:

Labour has previously indicated it wants to front-foot the thorny issue of tax minimisation on New Zealand revenue by internet-based businesses, rather than relying on international efforts led by the OECD group of developed economies, which is the preferred approach of the National Government.


Today's plan hinges on setting up a special commissioner for tax avoidance who would focus on multinational corporations.

Under that commissioner, a new corporate tax unit would "embed" Inland Revenue Department (IRD) auditors in corporations which have a history of tax avoidance either in New Zealand or abroad.

The embedded IRD officials would review multinationals' financial plans where they may affect their tax bills to prevent tax avoidance from occurring in the first place.


Cunliffe probably thinks this a conciliatory move because it backs off from his Revenue spokesman's earlier threat to ban these multi-nationals operating in New Zealand in total. And I’ve already had one person on Twitter run the debate this is a fine idea, one they’ll obviously vote for.

I despair, and wonder how the hell, with twentieth century social, political and economic history to have learned from, we’ve got to this. For every reader who has not yet understood my point that the tax surveillance state is where the truncheon of the totalitarian state meets our backsides, understand this story.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Response to Tony Molloy, QC; Piketty and our Philosophy Bereft Judiciary; The Desertion of France Under High Taxation.

Tony Molloy, QC, wrote a piece for this weekend’s NBR: I don’t need to parse it here, the title says enough – Opinion: Piketty is Right About Taxing the Rich (paid content).

Below is my comment to that article, posted to NBR under my own name for the IRD data miners on Monday. Following that in update 1 is a clip showing what happens to a country when it follows Piketty's, and Tony's, prescription of taxing the rich; they leave. And the economist's home country no less: as a famous twentieth century philosopher said, you can ignore reality for so long, but you can't ignore the consequences - France, will the last one out close the door please. Well worth a watch.

NBR comment follows.

* * *

Tony Molloy, and his unholy desire for taxing the rich on the false cross of inequality, is an example of why IRD now win every major (and non-major) tax case, and why if you are a taxpayer it is pointless litigating a tax case before our socialist, worse, statist, judiciary.

For the record, Piketty's economics are full of holes, indeed, it borders on the simplistic unto negligent. Perhaps Tony might want to peruse these references: first economic; then philosophic. And many more: just Google.

For myself, could Tony answer to the following:

For him to take the view he does he must assume that wealth/capital is fixed in quantity, that if I take 'some' then that is not available for others, hence the rich ‘are the cause’ of the poor. That is a childish (socialist) viewpoint. For example, can Tony explain to me, if I create, say, $3 million from intellectual property, or from selling widgets, how does that stop someone else making $3 million also? From this, if a rich person's wealth does not explain a poor person's lack of wealth, then what use punishing the rich – who pay the bulk of tax as it is - by destroying their property rights (and with it, their privacy before the state)? If there is no connection, such state confiscation and redistribution, will not help 'equalise' the poor, indeed, via the creation of dependence through the welfare state, it may well just breed the poverty, thus inequality, men like Tony want to fix, compounded by destroying innovation and entrepreneurship and so the opportunities made for employment and increasing our living standards, via a vibrant business sector (with qualification I am referring to laissez faire, not our current crony command economies.)

It is not surprising in current times that innovation in the West is falling rapidly.

Finally, regarding another point made, can Tony cite one country where the overall tax take is down *and* state sector spending is down in dollar terms? It’s certainly not in NZ; every English budget has spent more than the previous year.

Every reasonable human being wants to end poverty, but Tony, as with Piketty, is typical of that socialist ethic that would emote on such issues, without thinking on them. Which is why the Free West has been lost to increasingly Orwellian surveillance states, as an individual’s right to be left alone if doing no harm, has been swept aside with collectivist relish by our state-centric judiciary quite willing to sacrifice every individual on the bloodied altar of the common good, (noting it was always my belief the legal system was supposed to be, historically, our buffer against an out-of-control state.) Not a skerrick of thought to property rights in Tony's piece: he, as with the rest of the judiciary, take it as granted our incomes, wallets and bank accounts - our effort and risk taking - belong to the government. And given this socialist rot, which takes us far from the classical liberalism and individualism that made the West once the pinnacle of civilisation, where the only role of state was to protect its smallest minority, an individual, is so far instilled in the judiciary, I assume there’s no way back. We’re stuffed.

One more thing: regarding Tony’s reference, and perhaps unholy reverence, of FATCA - aka US tax colonialism known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act - by which the US has broken the secrecy of Swiss banking (which even the Nazis weren’t capable of), I would note via the IGA - Intergovernmental Agreement - that implements FATCA in New Zealand, government is using IRD’s police state powers above our Privacy Act to implement what amounts to a surveillance program in New Zealand that has nothing, repeat, nothing, to do with our New Zealand tax take. If one government can misuse IRDs powers in that manner, to cynically, illegitimately override our privacy, so the precedent is set for every future government. What does Tony think about the ethics of that? I've made my opinion plain, and given IRD ignored the submissions against it in their totality, I'd love to see a QCs opinion on New Zealand's IGA from a legal perspective, especially in light of there will soon be a case brought in the US attacking FATCA for being unconstitutional.

This really is an interesting piece, but not in the way Tony intended. Wonder no more why everything is tax avoidance in New Zealand, now, and everything is illegal. And a last thought: perhaps Tony might want to read my piece on the evil that befalls us when we use the coercive state to force equality on a population, because he's playing for the wrong side.

Update 1:

Perfectly timed. A stunning clip just in for Tony: over half of France's young would leave France if they could as they see no future in a country that 'hates the rich' at political level; and French businesspeople are leaving the country in droves in protest at its 75% income tax rate on the rich and its unsustainable addiction to welfare.

Of course, as we know, ahem, Mr Piketty hails from France, a country which has adopted his recommendation to tax the rich to solve inequality. Not working too well. Perhaps his next book should be a retraction :)

 Tax it, destroy it, including countries, where whole populations can become equal in poverty:


Thursday, June 19, 2014

What I Said to Metro … The Context.

Fun Football World Cup piece up on Metro Online today. Yours truly receiving some amount of deserved ribbing from his political foes, not helped by missing a little context. So digging the hole deeper, here was the full email, in all its misanthropy, noting I honestly only half thought it was Steve Braunias - yeah, I know, a bit of 'a chump' - and the below was written off the cuff and quickly, three days into work after a holiday (which may explain the general grumpy tone. Although I'll go for the high ground and say I'm the Daniel Day-Lewis of New Zealand blogging, my method is method, staying in character for all blog related queries.)

See if you can pick why I would never go into politics.

Hi Steve

I know of, follow on Twitter, plus 'like' that acerbic, bookish, anti-authoritarian, contrarian Steve Braunias from watching him on Emily Perkin's sadly finished Book Show, and even have his yet unread NZ Post Award winning Civilisation on a shelf waiting to be read - I've been on a novel stint for some while - but, I can't see how that Steve Braunias would even know of me, or that Metro would be interested in my opinion on anything. Thus, two problems:

1. I'm assuming from my general paranoia this a spam, albeit a detailed one, and I have no idea what the schema is - and yeah, for the hell of it I often reply to spam;

2. As much as I would love to give an opinion to Steve Braunias and Metro on most things, particularly the nature of the Orwellian tax surveillances states we live, and the need for minarchy, if there is one topic I am least qualified to speak on that would be football -which up until this world cup I was calling soccer. I give the sport passing attention once every four years for the World Cup, and that only by a live score screen in my browser of a morning as I work: other than Wayne Rooney, I couldn't name a single other player from any other team, indeed, the nearest other connection I could recite would be Posh Spice. I do think the game is overrated as a spectator spectacle, and aside from my loathing of sitting in stadiums, due in no small part to the extortionate alcohol prices there, wouldn't pay money to watch a game live.

So, prudence would have me say thank you very much for this opportunity, feel free to ask my opinion on something I know anything about, but I probably have to bow out at risk of otherwise looking like a chump. That and I never played team sports unless the strap was the alternative - chess only at high school and university. I hated, unto death, the prospect of being committed to having to do an activity regularly on a weekend when I'd rather be free to do as I wish, and then having to spend all that time with people whom I generally try to avoid, face-to-face at least, (hence in my mid-adulthood trying to live for most of my time at our holiday house in middle-of-nowhere Marlborough Sounds with Mrs H, Daisy Dog, a cinema room, Kindle, wine cellar and martini set.) And given the only way I suspect you can have my email is via my blog, (when I think about it), I would end in noting my views on teams sports are a personal matter, probably unrelated to my Libertarian politics and laissez faire economics - or perhaps not.

I've no idea what you could say in response. Feel free to use the team sports quotation. Or anything.

Kind Regards Mark ... looking forward to Civilisation, even if I don't much care for the actual thing.

(It was only a long time after 'quickly' writing this and sending it off I realised the last sentence of the final big paragraph can be read in two quite different ways, as can much of the email :) There you go, think before you post. But for now, take a dose of smelling salts and good humour: onward and upward.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Everything Is Tax Avoidance Now; And Everything Is Illegal – Totalitaria is Here.

Though not my most read post, I still believe one of my most important was on how our Commonwealth (classical liberal) Westminster Principle in taxation has been destroyed over modern times in New Zealand by a philosophically bereft, airhead judiciary which has no regard for property rights and thus liberty. That post started out on the importance of classical liberalism as the foundation of a Free West:

it is worth remembering our birth right in the West, paid for by blood, was classical liberalism; that philosophy of limited government and liberty of individuals: freedom of speech, markets, religion, assembly, of thought and intellect, and a free press (free to criticise and oppose, without fear of retribution) - the state as servant of the individual, protecting their person and property, not the state as tyrannical master, plunderer by force of property and liberty.

It was this ideal that the ANZACs were fighting for, and died for: men and women. And incalculable more men and women have died trying to escape the state tyrannies they were born in, be it the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, North Korea, et al, to be perhaps capable of the chance of living free lives.

The post then explained the Westminster Principle, the importance of it as regards a classical liberal ethic, and why it has been destroyed:

Within this philosophy the very notion of a compulsory taxation does not sit well, frankly, although if we must have such compulsion forced on us by the state, voted for by a mobocracy looking for the illusory free lunch, then Commonwealth countries have had in legal precedent since the 1930’s a landmark classical liberal principle, referred to as the Westminster Principle, that gave the individual some small degree of liberty from the all-powerful state in its taxing operations, which is the operation of the authoritarian surveillance state:

Every man is entitled if he can to arrange his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure that result, then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow taxpayers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax. (IRC v Duke of Westminster [ 1936 ] AC1 (HL)).

That is, the individual can arrange their affairs vis a vis structuring, estate planning, et al, according to their own rational self-interest - so long as 'artificial' (non-commercial, non-market) steps are not taken to 'avoid' tax - and not pursuant to supplying the maximum revenue, necessarily, for the coffers of the redistributive larceny conducted from the Fortress of Legislation: the individual ascendant, not the state.

It is a disgrace that in New Zealand even this principle has over the last decade been destroyed, and destroyed utterly, in the very courts that were meant to be the individual’s buffer against the tyranny of state. I’ve explained why on this post: the minds of our children have been captured in the classroom, generation after generation, and immured on the treacherous reef of belief in a statist theocracy; 95% of our secondary school teachers belong to that hard Left union, the PPTA, with a similar percentage of primary school teachers signed up the NZEI. These teachers preach the forced sacrifice of the individual’s liberty on that's tyrant's call, the bloodied altar of the common good, and the state as redistributor of private property in a morality turned on its head. Our School Curriculum Document imposes this Soviet ethic into the basis of our very curriculum.

And so this week the logical conclusion whereby the almighty authoritarian state in New Zealand reaches that point where it has, per my previous post, fraudulently legislated itself outside the rule of law, able to rule over us unhindered and unfettered. Compare the civilising effect of the Westminster Principle, with its proper positioning of the individual over the state, to this comment from last week’s KPMG Taxmail newsletter, regarding yet another public draft from IRD on what it considers tax avoidance; the specific cases are unimportant, the conclusions are enough – (my highlighting):

Briefly, the Commissioner considers these are tax avoidance arrangements because there are alternatives which create taxable income. The Commissioner’s analysis is that the avoidance of these alternative tax liabilities was not contemplated by Parliament. 

The Commissioner’s analysis raises a fundamental issue. The basic proposition is that a taxpayer can no longer have due regard to the tax consequences of their actions when determining what to do. In fact, it suggests taxpayers must take the course of action which results in the highest tax payable. That is the most concerning feature of the draft QWBA as it is a significant change in approach.

There is an opportunity to provide comment on the draft QWBA. It should be taken in a real effort to persuade the Commissioner that her conclusions are invalid. Otherwise urgent law changes will be required to allow these transactions to proceed.

Regarding that last paragraph, I surmise, as submitters on the dreadful implementation of the US surveillance program known as FATCA found out, that making a submission will be pointless. Can any accountant reading this remember the last time IRD had to back away from such a position? I can’t, and why would they when they have had compliant, statist-worshipping Ministers of Revenue over the last fifteen years, from Peter Dunne to the current Minister McClay, whom both believe an individual’s income belongs to the state – the horrifying aspect being the first minister only last week was tweeting he was a classical liberal – you moronic buffoon Peter – and the second represents the political party that supposedly represents small government – (insert maniacal laughter here).

And so in New Zealand every business and estate structuring and transaction that doesn’t involve paying the maximum amount of tax is tax avoidance, no matter you may be trying to achieve ends that have nothing to do with the tax take. It’s that point where the pragmatism of IRD bureaucrats mindlessly pursuing their job descriptions, plus judges and politicians who don’t believe in property rights or the Free West anymore, as George Orwell wrote at the end of his nightmare novel 1984, becomes like a boot kicking the face of our liberty forever.

Over the course of writing the above piece, an apt quotation has been posted on Café Hayek, from Bertrand de Jouvenel’s 1951 The Ethics of Redistribution:

The role played by the state in transferring incomes evidently entailed some increase in the volume of public encashings and payments, but this volume has grown out of all proportion to the needs of this function.  Such growth has encountered only the weakest opposition; my argument is that a change of mind toward public expenditure has been induced by redistributionist policies, the greatest gainer from which is not the lower-income class as against the higher but the State as against the citizen.

 What we once almost achieved as that wonderful peak of human cooperation and innovation, the classical liberal, capitalist Free West, where the state was our servant, is no more: there has been a war of ideas, and those totalitarian ideas have won, yet again. Because for there to be the ruling ethic that every transaction is tax avoidance if deemed so by the state, then it must be true that, as John Stossel shows so ably in the below clip, it’s the world where everything is illegal, if deemed so by the state; thus individuals can be corralled and controlled in everything they do like livestock. A few minutes into this clip a man states in such a world ‘show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime’; well IRD can do that also, of late often retrospectively against law once known and followed in good faith, but deemed in this age of authoritarianism avoidance by dint of not taking the highest tax route: that particular evil dripping darkness descends on us from the Soviet Unions, the North Koreas and the Cubas, of the world, not from what millions of men and women fought the last world war for: an individual’s freedom, and particularly freedom from a command state acting beyond the same rule of law its citizens are subject to. Shame.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tax Surveillance is the Heart of the Surveillance State: Snowden; IRS & FBI; FATCA and NZ’s IGA Implemented Today.

Some big signposts this Thursday, 12 June, 2014, pointing past the routine mass surveillance in the West, now, to the tax state at its heart, and the possible permutations of tyranny coming – possible, because the framework for same, the authoritarian surveillance state operating beyond the rule of law, is all in place.

On this day the Fortress of Legislation in Wellington decided to ignore the privacy concerns of its citizens - as evidenced by submissions made - and implement this country’s part in the global mass surveillance program known as the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), via the implementation of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the US, which cynically uses IRD’s authoritarian powers (totally) outside of New Zealand’s Privacy Act for a purpose which has nothing whatsoever to do with the New Zealand tax take, but to spy on citizens for the reporting back of all financial information on same to IRS. It’s appalling, and explained fully in my earlier piece, FATCA – The NZ Officials Report: A Crime that Deserves a Revolution.

Regarding this ruthless tax surveillance state, we must not bypass the hyprocrisy of the Left over this issue: read Cunliffe and the Left’s Glaring Contradiction Redux: GCSB v. IRD v. FATCA.

Digest those two items, then the below, and see if you can join the dots which the Left and authoritarian conservative Right don’t seem able to as regards the disintegration of Western freedom to such an extent, I don’t believe there exists a way back anymore; certainly while huge fiat monied, centrally banked governments remain more and more reliant on equally huge tax-takes to support themselves and the generations of cruel dependency unto poverty they have created.

First an interesting and important piece on Peter Cresswell’s NotPC blog by Julian Sanchez on the lessons learned from Snowden one year on which concludes:

Armed at last with a fuller understanding of the surveillance systems our intelligence agencies have been building, it falls to us to assess whether they are truly so necessary to our security that they justify their inherent risks. And the question we should ask about such systems is the question we should ask about, say, biological weapons: not whether we are satisfied with how (as far as we know) they are currently being used, but whether the consequences of their misuse are so great that, if and when it occurs, it will be too late to do much about it.

And on the same day, in addition to the New Zealand governments ignominious IGA to implement FATCA, along comes the IRS sending confidential taxpayer information (illegally) to FBI, to prove, regarding the above quotation, it’s way too late, already:

This is a strange story to write about, because we’re talking about a fairly clear-cut violation of the law, but we’ve grown so numb to Big Government ignoring its legal restraints – and the Obama Administration abusing power for political purposes – that it reads like the epilogue to a story that never really ended.

What we’ve got - according to a letter sent by House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulator Affairs [for fucks sake – sorry, my interjection] chairman Jim Jordan to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen- is the IRS sending a million pages of information on tax-exempt organizations to the FBI, packed into 11 disks, as part of the Tea Party persecution.


As to any violation of federal law that might have occurred: it’s time for more than just “implications.”  Who broke the law, what was the exact nature of their offense, and when can we expect prosecution?  It’s quite clear that something contrary to the law occurred here; IRS officials will doubtless portray it as a slip-up, and the Justice Department has already played the “no harm, no foul” card by saying nobody looked at the protected information.  But none of that excuses the violation, or the interesting decision to keep it under wraps for so long.  Or should we dispense with the pretense that these restrictions are “laws” in the same sense as the legal burdens government places upon its citizens?

The answer to that final question is the tax surveillance states of the West dispensed long ago with that pretence: our tax states operate outside the rule of law of a free society, and our privacy, our right to be left alone so long as we do no harm, was the first right that had to be destroyed. For those of us who demand the freedom which should have been our classical liberal birth right, our governments have become only burdens. We are at that stage in the Bound West, where only the stupid, the ruling political class and their crony stooges, are not very, very afraid anymore.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Taxpayer Burden of Wowsers: The High Cost of Good Health.

Over October of last year Gareth Morgan was tweeting on his distaste of paying the health bills of the hedonistic unhealthy, and thus of his divine right to lecture and coerce all of us on how we choose to live; advocating taxes on sugar, fat, higher excises on alcohol and tobacco ... the whole wowser routine – he even took time out from his cat killing pogrom to inform us of this. He does actually have a point in that when we have a tax system forced on us then saving taxpayer money is a valid goal, and thus, in this case, seemingly a lever to use to bully individuals on their lifestyle choices  – indeed, this is part of my objection to the tax state. My reply to him at that time was that he was definitely wrong on a philosophical basis:

but the mathematics of food fascism and alcohol wowserism, let’s call it fascowerism is interesting.

My argument against food taxes and alcohol excises will always be the philosophical one of … a tax on food choice is a tax on choice, period; it's an attaxk on freedom.

Then regarding his cost complaint, I employed a completely unstudied, therefore unevidenced, logic hypothesising that it was the healthy who were in fact the drain on our healthcare dollar, for lardarses and big drinkers like yours truly may conceivably be doing the taxpayer a favour by generally dying earlier:

So let’s look at the underlying case for costs Gareth is making. I don’t have to research and answer any of the below questions. But Gareth who wants to raise the cost of living for all of us, including, I suspect disproportionately, a large grouping of society who can least afford the higher cost of food, has to answer these if he wants to make his case for fascowerism on grounds of savings to the taxpayer.

Surmise that by taxing food society ends up with healthier, longer living individuals. Okay, but what is the actual change in health costs? Is it a saving?

People who die earlier of obesity related diseases may well impact on health costs for a much lesser period of time than longer living healthier people who are still going to die of something, as well as being around longer to incur injury or disease, the latter of which with their healthier immune systems they might keep surviving from to be admitted into the health system with something else. Amateur prognosticating, yes, but I think the logic unavoidable surely.

Also, some of the obesity related diseases such as diabetes are no doubt expensive because their duration is extended, however, some of the related diseases such as coronary, which without any facts I’m going to assume to be the bigger ailment from inappropriate eating and drinking, oftentimes will have very quick outcomes. Perhaps just the cost of the ambulance to Accident and Emergency. Whereas aren’t healthier, lingering people more likely to die from longer, lingering diseases such as cancer meaning more public health bedtime, drugs and salaries?

So, cognisant of the trade-offs, are there any studies that indicate what the likely change in the cost of healthcare is from people eating healthier and living longer? It may not be that significant, or even savings at all?

Ahem, if you could see my face as I type this, you would note the overwhelming feature would be a huge smile. For given the above, you’ll understand how chuffed I must be to now find evidence that I am right, not the All-Knowing Fascowerist Morgan.  From the New York Times:

In a paper published online Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, Dutch researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers.


The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.

On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 years and obese people lived about 80 years. Smokers and obese people tended to have more heart disease than the healthy people.

Cancer incidence, except for lung cancer, was the same in all three groups. Obese people had the most diabetes, and healthy people had the most strokes. Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on.

The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000.

The results counter the common perception that preventing obesity will save health systems worldwide millions of dollars.

"This throws a bucket of cold water onto the idea that obesity is going to cost trillions of dollars," said Patrick Basham, a professor of health politics at Johns Hopkins University who was unconnected to the study. He said that government projections about obesity costs are frequently based on guesswork, political agendas and changing science.

So, given there is no justification in terms of saving taxpayer dollars for telling me what to eat and what to drink, and I include in this every academic wanting to tax sugar, fat and thus living, we necessarily fall back onto the philosophical argument which for me - a free man - is leave me alone; I take the consequences of how I choose to live, so it’s none of your damned business. Gareth go back to bullying cats, and academics go find a job that doesn’t include you living on my tax dollars, you patronising fascowerists.