Tuesday, 15 February 2011

‘Slave Ship,’ by J.M.W. Turner

tursla J.M.W. Turner, “The Slave Ship (1840),
a.k.a. “Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhoon coming on."
Oil on canvas. 90.8 × 122.6 cm

Turner saw an inhospitable malevolent universe, and he painted it. Like no-one before or since.

Give Simon Schama sixty minutes, and he’ll explain why the crusty old geezer could muster so much power.

People power? [update 2]

I’m struggling to understand why everyone’s so happy about the outcome in Egypt.

For nearly sixty years—ever since Lieutenant-Colonel Nasser’s nationalist “Association of Free Officers” overthrew the monarchy promising to establish a parliamentary democracy—Egypt has been ruled by military strongmen in Nasser’s nationalist anti-Islamist image.

DeFreedom For three weeks Egyptians protested in Tahrir Square, demanding a change in that succession. They called for the dictator of the last twenty years to step down. And after three weeks of getting his money out of the country, he complied.

To be replaced by another military strongmen aping the long line already preceding him: to whit, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the former Minister of Defense, Military Production, Deputy Prime Minister, Commander of the Presidential Guard, and chief of the Operations Authority of the Armed Forces. A man who is “aged and change resistant,” and “committed to the status quo.”

Is this really the “new-found freedom” people died for?

Now they’ve begin to disperse, courageous protestors still mopping up after their victory might still insist they

_Quote will not give up on Egypt as a civilian state, not a military state. If things move away from our demands, we will go into the street again, even if we have to die as martyrs.

But they have just cheered the coming to power of a military ruler who will have quite specific ideas about how to use that desire for martyrdom.

And I’ll wager good money it won’t be to set up a constitutional republic and then resign—any more than his predecessor some dictators ago did.

So this is not a victory for individual freedom—more’s the pity.

And neither is it a victory for democracy.  And thank goodness for that. Because by contrast to a constitutional republic, a democracy (i.e., majority rule; i.e., a counting of head regardless of content) would not have delivered freedom and individual rights to Egyptians, but instead a government responding to the the one-out-of-every-five Egyptians who thinks suicide bombing can be justified; and the four-out-of-every-five Egyptians who would stone people who commit adultery, cut limbs off people who steal, and put to death those who leave the Muslim religion. [See Pew survey here.]

Muslim Egypt is not secular Turkey—where they understand the dangers of Islam playing a large part in politics, and have at least begun to put some rights beyond the vote. It’s a place where nineteen-out-of-every-twenty people think it would be a good thing for Islam to play a much larger role in politics, with everything that implies for individual freedom—or lack thereof.

No wonder the Muslim Brotherhood are coming round to the idea of democracy. For one election, anyway.

And the Brotherhood’s own statement about the “historic victory” gives a clue to where exactly they would like an Egyptian democracy to go, were such a thing ever to be allowed:

_Quote_Idiot The victory scored by this revolution is in the first place directed against the United States, which so far sponsored the toppled regime, and wanted it as a strong ally and defender of the Zionist entity, and an enemy of the Arab jihad and resistance movements.

So should they ever get near the seats of power (something both Egyptian monarchists and nationalists have been trying for over eighty years to avoid) that would mean big ticks by the Brotherhood to Egypt being a strong enemy both of Israel and the U.S. (and presumably pretty much everywhere else in the west who trades, supports or visits these places), and a strong ally and defender of jihad.

So much then for the cry for freedom.

UPDATE 1: Quoting Olivier Roy, Matthew Iglesias argues that people in Tahrir Square were marching for real freedom,

_Quote“This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and
concrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late
    1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say
    that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political
    ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.”
    This [says Yglesias] is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.”
    The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth.
    People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.

Hat tip Dim Post, who points out that “revolutions do have a tendency to get derailed…”

UPDATE 2: Historian Niall Ferguson explains some uncomfortable truths about the outcome of the Egyptian revolution—and of the Obama Administration’s handling of it. [Hat tip reader Michael]

Welcome Great Pumpkin

GreatPumpkin-771480

How much would you pay for one pumpkin?

The question is academic: you’ve already paid for it. It cost you $317,278.

A Community Max scheme for a Far North vegetable garden [set up by Paula Bennett’s ministry]reaped only one pumpkin, it was alleged last night. The four-acre project – pitched as employing eight unskilled young workers with two supervisors – was … given a $317,278 subsidy to employ 24 workers… The ministry had said the garden was providing food to the elderly but, when 3News visited, there was only one pumpkin.

It gets better.  There are hundreds of these make-work projects around the country, from a sewing circle in Kawerau allegedly repairing clothes for second-hand clothes shops (of which none could be produced), to a bunch of mobile phone users in Wellington allegedly texting defendants remind them to show up in court (of which no texts .

All up, around 4500 folk around the country “employed” in hundreds of programmes like these were paid $38 million dollars to do things that nobody ever checked were done.

paula-bennett-600But why should anyone even bother to check? The intent of the multi-million dollar scheme was not to get things done, Minister Paula Bennett told 3News last night, it was to get unemployed people learning about “getting up every morning,” about “showing up to work on time,” about getting a regular pay cheque. 

It was, in short, to teach them a “work ethic”—an “ethic” based on getting a pay cheque for producing nothing, paid for by duping naive politicians.

These are the “outcomes” this programme is buying, according to Minister Bennett.

Minister Bennett is happy with the scheme—just as Sir Humphrey Appleby’s administrators were with their award-winning hospital that served no patients.

So too of course will Keynesians be happy, those advocates of big-spending who measure industry not by how much it produces by how much it consumes. (“Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth” said Keynes, if nothing better comes along. Like pumpkins.) The only beef these alleged economists would have with these schemes would be they haven’t consumed enough.

Taxpayers however won’t be so happy. There are things they could have produced with that money, including jobs, if it hadn’t been taken instead to give to non-workers to produce nothing.

Someone should hollow out that pumpkin and put it on Bennett’s desk to help remind her whose money she’s spending, and on what.

Racism doesn’t come cheap

The Auckland Council's new race-based Independent Maori Statutory Board, set up under Rodney Hide's super-sized city council legislation to "advise" the new Council, is instead going to take it to court—demonstrating concisely the role it plans for itself in the new structure: as an expensive race-based thorn in the side of Auckland’s new body politic.

Board chairman David Taipari—who had clearly been looking forward to disposing of of $5.4 million over twenty months will instead have to manage on only $3 million—insists that Rodney Hide’s law requires that ratepayers “meet the board's reasonable costs.” The first cost ratepayers will begin meeting is the cost of the board’s lawyers.

Marvellous, don’t you think?

But it gets better.

An outraged John Tamihere, who’s scored himself the lucrative role of Funding and Planning Committee Chairman for the new super-sized Council, told Morning Report this morning this was “the first time Maori had the right to participate in a council,” and it would brook no dissent—saying the Maori Board was determined if necessary to “relitigate” the legislation setting it up.

Tamihere is a self-serving fuckwit.

This is not the first time Maori have been given racial preference in law to interfere with a council’s business. The Hamilton and Porirua City Councils and the Marlborough District Council all have set up mechanisms by which racial interference can be effected, and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council has since 2001 reserved three race-based council seats for Maori.

And the sorts of threats Tamihere and Taipari are throwing around make it clear the sort of role they see for the un-elected Board.

And that’s not simply to issue “advice,” is it. No, this is, for them, a real race-based power grab. One for which money (yours) is no object. Mike Lee explains the issue, in case you’ve missed it:

_Quote_Idiot Mike Lee … said what happened would influence the constitutional development of the country.

This issue is that important.

Yes it is.

He does mean it.

So let us pause for a moment to thank the legislators, politicians and intellectuals over many years who have so naively made it all possible.

And thank especially those braindead morons who wrote this recent legislation.

Monday, 14 February 2011

‘Perpetual Blue, by Horacio Cardozo

Perpetual-Blue-Oil-16x24-inches

by Horacio Cardozo, an Argentine artist now resident in Sydney. Check out more of his work at his website—including this cunning wee canvas. [Hat tip Julian D.]

History’s biggest bastard

maofaminebook I don’t know about you, but  I’m constantly amazed at the frequency with which Chinese friends and acquaintances use words to describe Mao ZeDong like “great,” “heroic,” and “he saved China”—when you and I would be more inclined to use words like “murderer,” “thug,” “butcher,” or “history’s biggest bastard.”

Frank Dikötter [via Bryan Caplan] reminds us that instead of all those pictures of Mao that are still hung up around China, the fat genocidal megalomaniac should instead have been hung himself by the nearest lamp post, and at the earliest opportunity.

Mao enslaved hundreds of millions, and killed by the tens of millions.  At least 45 million by forced starvation. At least 2.5 million beaten or tortured to death.  That’s death both by direct order and by depraved indifference.

That people still call this stain on the twentieth-century a hero some thirty-four years after his death is a tragic indication of how well state indoctrination does its job.

Global warming quips. Get acclimatised!

That’s the way to treat those skeptics.

Hat tip Prodos.

“The planet is fine … ”

Hippy wisdom from George Carlin.  He sure has his moments.

Oh, don’t turn it up too loud if your boss is around. She might get a few surprises.

Friday, 11 February 2011

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The ‘Fire in Cairo’ edition [updated]

All eyes this week, and especially today, are on Cairo . . .

  • This is what we’d all like to think is happening in Cairo [hat tip Marcus B.]:
  • MubarakMustGoMore realistically, however . . . “Egypt is [still] a nation in flux, and on its way to somewhere worse.”
    Egypt’s “Sense of Nationhood” 
    – Scott Powell,  P O W E L L  H I S T O R Y   O N L I N E, 2008
    Middle East Watch: Egypt
    – Scott Powell,  P O W E L L  H I S T O R Y   O N L I N E , 2007
  • In case you missed it, here’s the most recent, most comprehensive summary of the Muslim Brotherhood, in its own words.
    The Muslim Brotherhood - in its own words: Jihad is the way by Mustafa Mashhur, Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1996-2002
    – P A L E S T I N I A N  M E D I A  W A T C H
  • Some people still haven’t read this “popular” work however. The idiot head of US National Intelligence, for example, who’s on record declaring that the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular and eschews violence."  Go figure. [Hat tip Jeff Perren]
    There's wilful blindness & then there's wilful stupidity – N R O
  • It’s easy to overstate Egyptian enthusiasm for democracy. “Middle class Egyptians want free speech and fair elections. But the middle class in Egypt is very small. There are more than three times as many illiterates as there are college graduates…
        "’A population that was convinced just two months ago that sharks in the Red Sea were implanted by the Israeli Intelligence Services is hardly at a stage of creating a liberal democracy in Egypt,’ Egyptian student Sam Tadros said in an email to Clarice Feldman of the American Thinker.
    "’Egypt lacks the sort of political culture that can sustain a liberal democratic regime,’ Amr Bargisi, a leader of the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, told the Wall Street Journal. "Without knowledge of the likes of Locke and Burke, Hamilton and Jefferson, my country is doomed to either unbridled radicalism or continued repression.’"
    High prices, high risk – Jack Kelly,  P I T T S B U R G H   P O S T - G A Z E T T E
  • And in any case . . .
    Democracy is not freedom: An Egyptian case study -  N O T  P C
  • And as of today:  Mubarak may be about to step down, as demanded by the people in Tahrir Square. But it seems with army leaders saying the military would “make sure all their demands are met,”—topmost among these being the now-achieved [will he, won’t he?] removal of Mubarak—that a military coup may already be a fait accompli
    A Military Coup in Cairo? – Andrew Sullivan, T H E  A T L A N T I C
    Military Coup in Egypt? Mubarak May Be Stepping Down – T I M E
  • UPDATE, 12:30pm: Egypt now, in two tweets [hat tip Rachel Maddow Blog]:
  • Mohamed ElBaradei, before President Mubarak's speech today.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, after President Mubarak's speech.

  • And after taking the wrong line on the Iranian people’s uprising, at least the Obama Administration has been decisive this time . . . Mark Steyn summarises: “The official U.S. position is that (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak needs to go immediately, he needs to stay indefinitely, he needs to stay for a bit and then go, he needs to stay for a bit longer and then go sooner rather than later, unless he decides to stay until September . . .”
    Transcript from Mark Steyn’s opening first-hour monologue on 7 Feb – Mark Steyn

_Quote The most compelling explanation for the marked shift in the fortunes of
the poor is that they continued to respond, as they always had, to the
world as they found it, but that we — meaning the not-poor
and un-disadvantaged — had changed the rules of their world. Not of our
world, just of theirs. The first effect of the new rules was to
make it profitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways
that were destructive in the long term. Their second effect was to mask
these long-term losses — to subsidize irretrievable mistakes. We tried to
provide more for the poor and produced more poor instead. We tried to
remove the barriers to escape from poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.
- Charles Murray, Losing Ground [hat tip Anti Dismal]

  • “The childcare needed to get people off the DPB or more accurately doing something productive needn't be more costly.”
    National, do some lateral thinking about childcare -   L I N D S A Y  M I T C H E L L
  • Liberals everywhere talk about helping "at risk" youths, but they’re most quiet about the most at risk. Frankly, it doesn't get more "at risk" than being a youth in a culture of militant Islam…
    “It was a suicide attack by a 12-year-old bomber in school uniform,” top police officer Abdullah Khan said on the early morning attack [in which] thirty-one Army personnel were killed and 40 others injured . . .
     31 Pakistani soldiers killed in ‘schoolboy’ suicide attack – I N D I A N  E X P R E S S
  • Here’s a decent BBC podcast for weekend listening: “Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a mere failure of policy? Over two weeks, Analysis investigates two schools of economics with radical solutions.
        “This week, Jamie Whyte looks at the free market Austrian School of FA Hayek. The global recession has revived interest in this area of economics, even inspiring an educational rap video….”
    Radical Economics: Yo Hayek! – B B C  A U D I O
  • Global business analyst Richard Maybury takes a contrarian (and sometimes conspiratorial) look at the ongoing effects of several years of malinvestments, which Ben Bernake’s Fed are resolutely  refusing to let out of the system—with implications from Europe to the US, and Cairo to Beijing. [Hat tip Louis Boulanger]
     Richard Maybury on the Collapse of the Anglo-American Empire and What It Means for You -  Richard Maybury,  D A I L Y  B E L L
  • It’s not easy being a contrarian investor however. . .
    It's Not Comfortable Being Contrarian -  C A P I T A L I S T  P I G
  • Paul Walker’s been looking at the empirical evidence on privatisation. See:
    Empirical evidence on privatisation – A N T I  D I S M A L
  • Roger Kerr’s been taking on the many myths about privatisation.
    The Truth About Privatisation: Blog # 1 – R O G E R  K E R R ‘ S  B L O G
    The Truth About Privatisation: Blog # 2- R O G E R  K E R R ‘ S  B L O G
    The Truth About Privatisation: Blog # 3 - R O G E R  K E R R ‘ S  B L O G
  • “Partial privatization seems unlikely to be worse than the status quo - it just seems insufficiently better to be worth the hassle. If Key's going to take flack for any use of the P-word, it would have been nice if he'd have gone just a bit farther with it.”
    State versus Private Ownership – E R I C  C R A M P T O N
  • Q: How do you decide whether or not it’s worth going to uni?
    A: Always look to the margin – E R I C  C R A M P T O N
  • Q: If government creates one job you can see, how many others are lost that aren’t seen?
    What Happens When Economists Skip Econ 101 – T H E  F O U N D R Y
  • Speaking of uni and Econ 101, we’re looking to kick off the Auckland Uni Economics Group again soon, and we’re sorting out the syllabus for the year—a much fuller one than last year.  Here’s one that might be nice to follow:
    My Undergraduate Austrian Economics Syllabus 
    - Steven Horvitz,  C O O R D I N A T I O N  P R O B L E M
  • Speaking (again) of Econ 101, Hillary Clinton recently declared that the United States can't legalize drugs "because there is just too much money in it." Apparently, Clinton doesn't understand that there's so much money to be made selling illegal drugs precisely because drugs are illegal. . .
    Reason.tv: The Dumbest Thing Ever Said!...by Hillary Clinton, about the Drug War 
    – R E A S O N  T V
  • Oh, and while China ‘s propping up the whole economic world, you might have thought it’s been taking it easy on the money printing front.  Sadly, however . . .  [pic from Zero Hedge]
China QE
  • Brian Edwards goes on the front foot against bullying lawyers (are there any other kind?)
    Lawyers for the Sunday Star Times threaten me with an action for defamation – but the threat is “not for publication." – B R I A N  E D W A R D S  M E D I A
  • How do you explain a culture? How do you explain a successful culture—and at the same time the reason for that culture being so widely despised?
        “Imagine a relatively small culture brimming with influential intellectuals (Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Baruch Spinoza, etc.), ground-breaking scientists (Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Jonas Salk, etc.) and highly successful businessmen (David Sarnoff, Michael Dell, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, etc.) And then imagine the punishment of that culture not for its faults, but for its values and virtues. It is punishment that occurred not just once, but throughout time. It continues to this day…
        “It sounds like the backdrop for an Ayn Rand novel. But this is not fiction, this is history. It is the story of the triumphs and tragedies of Jewish culture -- and their causes….”
    The Ultimate Cause of the Triumphs and Tragedies of Jewish Culture 
    – C H A R L O T T E  C A P I T A L I S T
  • Meanwhile, back in the Collapsing States .  . .
    Four in 10 Americans Believe in Strict Creationism – G A L L U P
  • If you’ve ever watched a modern American television show, you can’t help wondering about all those corpses lying around and wondering, “What would it be like to play a corpse?” A WSJ journo finds out.
    Playing Dead on TV Can Keep a Career on Life Support – W A L L  S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
  • Here’s a couple of songs for all you Creationists [hat tip Autism and Oughtisms]

.
  • One for Stephen Fry [hat tip Sally O’B.], from a young woman desirous of his seed. (Yes, she does know.)
  • And finally, one for long-suffering Aussie cockies, from a Scots Aussie import . . .

 

Enjoy your weekend!
PC

PS: And finally, if you’re not Stephen Fry, take a look at the mathematics of finding a woman . . . [hat tip Kenneth I.]
180474_183532058351788_100000849850611_378325_5500761_n

Lying Muslims and Useful Idiots

_jeffrey-perrenGuest post by Jeff Perren

Some Muslim Brotherhood spokesman named Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fotouh has been given a megaphone by The Washington Post to lie magnificently declare:

_Quote  For Muslims, ideological differences with others are taught not to be the root cause of violence and bloodshed because a human being's freedom to decide how to lead his or her personal life is an inviolable right found in basic Islamic tenets.
Uh, huh. Tell that to the relatives of the dead 14-year old girl in Bangladesh who was whipped to death by authorities for the 'crime' of being raped. Oh, wait. They won't care, because it was one of their own who perpetrated the crime, then informed the authorities about her 'sin'.

The heroic Andrew C. McCarthy tells the story as an example of how sharia operates in the real world, no matter what its apologists might say.

_QuoteIn Bangladesh a 14-year-old girl named Hena was raped by a 40-year-old man, Mahbub, who is described in a report as her “relative.” Apparently — the report is not clear on how this happened — the matter was brought to the attention of the sharia authorities in her village of Shariatpur.
    You’d think this was a good thing … except, in Islam, rape cannot be proved absent four witnesses — i.e., it’s virtually impossible to establish that what happened happened. That’s a dangerous thing for the victim — deadly dangerous in this instance — because if she has had sexual relations outside marriage but cannot prove she has been raped, she is deemed to have committed a grave sin.
    In Hena’s case, the sharia authorities ordered that she be given 100 lashes. The young girl never made it through 80; she fell unconscious and died from the whipping.
Sure, it would be easy to dismiss this incident as just another savage act by the savages who occupy an unfortunate amount of land in the world. That's not the point, at least not the main one. The point is that there is a deep – but by now very obvious — connection between barbarism like this and the ideology that makes them possible.

So long as useful idiots like those at The Washington Post continue to provide a neutral platform for these thugs, and for both parties to be allowed to pretend we all just have reasonable differences of opinion, this sort of thing will continue to plague those far outside Bangladesh.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Hone and Hide have a point

Hone Harawira and Rodney Hide may both have a point.

Both of them are at odds with law they’ve given their vote to. And both are blaming being in coalition for the problem.

Hone is complaining that what the Maori Party has got in return for going into coalition with National government isn’t worth what they’ve given away—and, specifically .  Now, Tariana herself responds that Hone “has no respect for this [MMP] environment. He doesn’t have any respect for the coalition agreement that we all signed up to and that we all agreed to.” And she points out that when the Maori Party has only two ministers around a cabinet table of 22, then they will always have to give something away—as they did with the parts of the Foreshore and Seabed (Replacement) Bill that has got so far up Hone’s nose.

And Rodney? Well, he’s right in the gun as Minister for Local Government for delivering to Auckland legislation that allows Len Brown’s Auckland Super-Council to hand power to a $3.4 million board of 38 unelected Maori. How does Hide respond? His law but not his fault, he says. Echoing Tariana he argues that with only two ministers around a cabinet table of 22, there was nothing he could do to stop his law being changed. (Echoing his excuses when he said he had no choice about siding with John Key when the PM attacked one of Rodney’s own MPs.)

Thus do minority ministers become lapdogs.

What Hone and Hide and Tariana are all describing is the process whereby minority coalition partners under MMP are buried when in Government—as virtually every coalition partner under MMP has been.

The Maori Party may escape the curse of the Alliance, NZ First, Mauri Pacific and Te Tawharau because even if they implode over the rumblings from Mt Harawira the Maori Party itself will always get deluded racists to vote for them in the racist seats in which they stand.  But for the ACT Party, oblivion now beckons as inevitably as it did for its predecessors who made lapdogs of themselves.

But is it inevitable that minority parties under MMP will always face oblivion?

Not if they don’t go into coalition it isn’t.

It’s argued by the uninformed and unthinking that coalition and “confidence and supply” are necessary to give “stability” to government. These agreements  work, these people say. Minor parties have to sign up to them.

What crawling, abject, self-serving nonsense.

If “confidence and supply” agreements have “worked,” then they have worked only for the larger party, which in every coalition formed to date has chewed up, swallowed then spat out its minor partners.

And they’ve hardly worked for New Zealand either, since some of the worst law we’ve seen in the last fifteen years has been either the product of a minor party (Sue Bradford’s tail wagging everyone’s anti-smacking dog, for just one example); been used to make  a beard of the minor party (as Hone recognises has happened  with Chris Finlayson’s Marin & Coastal Bill);  or has been foisted on a minor-party minister in the hope and expectation that if things do go wrong it will bury them and not the major party (Auckland’s super-sized bureaucracy, for example, in which Rodney Hide invested his party’s dwindling political capital—and which he’s now lost altogether).

We’ve ended up in short not with good law, but with law that often even the law’s authors won’t stand behind.

So in that respect, signing up to coalitions and “confidence and supply” agreements are bad for New Zealand, bad for New Zealand law, and disastrous for the minor coalition partners themselves. 

But still the dumbarses keep signing up to take the (short-term) baubles of office.

Is that they only thing a small political party can do?

No, it’s not. Instead, they could stand on their principles—if they had any.

Instead of signing up to either coalition or “confidence-and-supply” agreements,” they could make the cast-iron promise that as a party they would vote en bloc for any measure that moves in the direction of their principles without any new measures moving the other way.  In the case of the Libertarianz, for example, they could promise support for any measure that moves  towards more freedom (however small the move) just as long as there is no new coercion involved.

That would stability without the need for lapdogs,  and more stability than we’ve seen in the past 15 years.

Because that’s a cast-iron promise that any major party could take to the bank-or, at least, to the Treasury benches. It would work as a “ratchet,” moving the country towards the minor party’s principles more effectively than having two ministers enjoying the baubles (and blame) of office.

And it would have every politician and every political journalist in the country assiduously studying what the minor party’s principles actually mean, so they’d understand enough about what was being promised to at least sound knowledgeable.

It’s a win-win for everyone, especially for minority coalition parties for whom coalition is just a death warrant for .

If they have any principles, they should stand on those instead.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Public building, in Bisaccia, Italy, 1983 – Aldo Loris Rossi

148453_122212171174022_122209537840952_147348_4331036_n

More on the architect here.

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Worthless pledges & no-go neighbourhoods

Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week: worthless pledges, no-go zones & failing to please the Electoral Commission

  • NZ HERALD: “Key Pledges State Service Shake-upThe Prime Minister suggested he wants to cut government spending and borrowing, and address the welfare dependency problem . . .

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Finally, ten months out from an election, after two full years in government, John Key thinks it might be an idea to start delivering on his previous election promises.
    True, if the figures mentioned in this news article are accurate then Key has reduced public service numbers by 5%. A reasonable start, but that’s only about a 1.5% drop per year. And Key is asking government bureaucrats for advice on “streamlining the public service’s performance.” Does anyone really believe any self-respecting bureaucrat will suggest that his own department be downsized?  (Do turkeys vote for Christmas?)
    The Prime Minister fails to ask this question of each and every government ministry, department, office, and ant farm: Does this arm of the state really need to exist at all? That gets to the heart of the matter. The purpose of the departments, offices and ant farms is not employment of drones—if that is the best argument the defenders of the grey ones can muster, then every over-staffed ant farm must go.
    A few years back the Libertarianz Party did an analysis on hundreds of these little empires and concluded that most of them can just be quietly shut down and wouldn’t even be missed. So do it, John!
    Why not start by giving all employees a twelve-month holiday to find a new job—and to see if anyone notices their absence. The one-off cost would be worth the long-term gain!

  • DOMPOST: “Pomare Turning Into A Ghost TownA crime-ridden gang-infested Lower Hutt slum owned largely by the state is being abandoned as people move out to safer and better suburbs . . .

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Margaret Thatcher had the answer to this problem: sell off the state’s housing at a heavily discounted rate to the people that live in them, thereby encouraging pride of ownership.
    The Libertarianz Party would go a few steps further: privatising the streets in favour of residents—allowing formation of secure communities that can shut out undesirable elements such as gangs and welfare parasites.
    In the meantime, Housing Minister Heatley should immediately sell the 53 vacant state houses in the area, even if this means moving them off site. He should also sell the tenanted homes out to private landlords who will be less tolerant of vandalism and neglect of their property.

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Oh dear. How sad. Never mind. Seriously though, this brings to mind the unfortunate error which prevented the Libertarianz Party from contesting the party vote in 2002 (showing up at the Electoral Office at the appointed time with forms and signatures, and cash, cheques and credit cards to submit them—but not the required bank cheque drawn on the party account. Bugger.)
    Because of that balls up, I almost feel sorry for the Greens – except that as Whale Oil points out, the tosser concerned (one Richard Leckinger, who will never be allowed to forget this) was not using either public transport or a bicycle made out of recycled cardboard to move around the electorate desperately seeking a signature, but a private vehicle powered by the despised emissions-spewing internal combustion engine!!
    Oh, the irony!

"Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important
as a wild and
healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people
are part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line — at about a billion years
ago, maybe half that — we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have
become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. . .
   
" Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of
us can only hope for the right virus to come along."

- David Graber,
research biologist and greenie,
relating his vision for the future of the human race

Advance Australia Not-So-Fair

Recent events suggest Australia’s money-back guarantee has expired.

Accordingly, a new map of the formerly lucky country has been issued. [Thanks to readers Marion & Hayden]

Fucked

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Broadford Farm Pavilion, Idaho, by Lake|Flato Architects

broadford-farm-pavilion-1

Architect's website here, with more photos.

Article on their SunValley, Idaho, pool and pavilion here, with even more photos.

Hat tip In the Name of Good Architecture. Who knows where you might find it!

1295470003-broadfordfarm-00-407x500

Democracy is not freedom: An Egyptian case study [updated]

I keep being told by people “in the know” that the coming of “real democracy” to Egypt will bring real freedom.

Rubbish.

The whole idea is premised on the idea that what “pro-democracy” protestors want is what you and I want. That democracy is a synonym for freedom.

It’s not.

Democracy is simply a synonym for mob rule.

It’s a counting of heads regardless of content.

It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.

It’s three wolves and a sheep voting for dinner.

It was what George Bush and his neo-cons wanted to export to the Middle East. Their “Forward Strategy for Freedom” called for the exportation by force of democracy to the Middle East.

They succeeded.

And the people of the Middle East turned out in droves to vote for the wolves.

Democracy, said the neo-cons, would bring freedom and security to the Middle East. Instead, it unleashed a whirlwind.

Democracy in Iraq gave the people an Islamic constitution and a regime that favours Tehran.

Democracy in Palestine delivered a landslide victory to the Iranian-backed Hamas—who began establishing a totalitarian Islamist regime and unleashing a wave of suicide bombings, before collapsing into a civil war with Fatah.

Democracy in Lebanon handed control of Lebanon to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah--who almost immediately started launching rockets into Israel, beginning a month-long war.

And what will democracy in Egypt bring    Well, guess . . .

gettycrowd595 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has already called for Egyptians to rise up and install an Islamic state.

Would a regime mandating shariah law and genital mutilation represent “freedom” for Egyptian men and women?  Would its installation bring “security” to the Middle East?

Egypt is a country where the “all-encompassing and explicit system” of totalitarian Islam is widely supported across the spectrum—where stone-age barbarism is still the prevailing attitude, and more than 50% support the militant Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitors of Al Qaeda, and the only organised political opposition in the country.

Would their installation—or the installation of a “beard” for the Brotherhood like ElBaradei—would that represent freedom?

Egypt is a country with (thanks to the US who supplied them) the world’s tenth-largest military, and a population in which even the so-called “moderates” are violently anti-Semitic. Would a government giving expression to that violence increase security in the Middle East?

Democracy is not a synonym for freedom.

And the “Forward Strategy for Freedom” was a Forward Strategy for Failure.

Mob rule in Egypt will be one more sign of evidence of that failure.

What are the options for Egypt?

The plight of Egypt — like that of much of the region — is intellectual. The protestors who genuinely do want a better future face no good options.”

Monday, 7 February 2011

Great news for the unemployed!!

Q:  What do you do when you have a whole lot of things left on your shelf that you simply can’t sell?

A:  You raise the price.

If that sounds counter-intuitive, or even dumb, that’s because it is.

Yet that’s precisely what New Zealand’s sellers of labour have just gone and done. At a time when unemployment is going up and more and more would-be labourers are being left on the shelf, they’ve gone and raised the price of their labour. Or rather, they’ve had it raised for them.

Because try though they might, their government has once again made it illegal for them to agree to sell their labour at anything less than the govt’s own chosen rate—which minister Kate Wilkinson has just put  up, being raised today by this National-led imbecile of a government to a minimum legal wage of $13/hour in the same week that figures were released showing unemployment continuing to rise.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

It’s not like they raised it by mistake, either. They did this before, right at the very start of this Great Recession, right along with the abolition of Youth Rates—leading to the truly unsurprising result that unemployment among those looking for unskilled work or “starter jobs” has continued to rise, with more than one-in four youngsters aged 15-19 now unable to get started on the employment ladder; more than one-in-six Maori; and more than half of the single parents.

Well done John Boy. Well done Kate Wilkinson. You dumbarses.

Not only do you make it more difficult for low-income job-hunters to get the start, by raising costs to the country’s employers (or, equally, by reducing the number they can employ for the same money) you also make it more difficult to raise productivity. Which is where real wage rises really come from, not from wishful thinking rubber stamped by half-wit politicians.

Now if Hone had any balls, or any brains, instead of several more weeks of grandstanding he’d be hammering this racist imposition on Maori employment for all he’s worth. He’d be pointing out

One of the more insidious effects of minimum wages is that it lowers the cost of racial discrimination; in fact, minimum wage laws are one of the most effective tools in the arsenals of racists everywhere.”

That he won’t be is a measure of where his true interests (and brains) really lie.

Is there any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?

Is there any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?

I ask because, in its formative days, ACT’s founding members talked about the importance of upholding the interests of consumers and taxpayers; they made loud noises about drastically shrinking government, both central and local; they enshrined found principles (now long forgotten) declaring “that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities, and that the proper purpose of Government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities.”

Now? Not so much.

We don’t hear such things from that quarter anymore. We hear stories instead about dancing partners and mid-life crises; arguments about law-breaking and lost defence papers. We see their MPs voting for more borrowing and bigger government (and then delivering it as ministers). We hear them waffling about “stability,” and supporting the ongoing nationalisation of oil, silver, gold and uranium.  And we watch them going to parliament to eat their lunch.

We heard that 2011 would turn all that around.

We hear instead this weekend that the candidate chosen by the ACT Party for the high-profile Botany election, one the Party machine is taking “very seriously,” wishes it to be known that she is somewhere “to the left” of the National candidatea youth who at 25 is already a career politician, one who believes infrastructure should be funded through taxation, and who ranks his greatest achievement as building a new athletics track for his local club, paid for (naturally) by ratepayers.

This is the entity whom ACT candidate Lyn Moore doesn’t think goes far enough in his support for government intervention. 

And the candidate whom the ACT Board thinks best expresses its principles.

You can almost hear the bell tolling for ACT, saying “Your time is up.”

Which leads me to ask:

  • Is there really any reason for the ACT Party to still exist?
  • Or is it time to kick the bums out?

Perhaps before answering the question you could concentrate your mind  by considering the following multi-choice proposition:

The chief reason for the Act Party to exist is (tick one):

a) to keep the buggers honest be a paid lapdog of the ruling party (“it’s our job to provide stability”); or
b) to be perk-busters deliver the baubles of office to its MPs, and MPs’ Wives and Girlfriends—especially taxpayer-funded trips to London to see grandchildren and attend weddings (“Ministers 'entitled' to dip into tax purse” – Hide.  “I was entitled!” - Douglas); or
c) to reduce the size of government deliver to Auckland the largest local government bureaucracy this country has ever seen; or
d) to elicit taxpayer-funding for Roger Douglas’s otherwise unpublishable books; or
e) to give the occasional day out to artistically gullible and socially dysfunctional youths; or
f) to give employment to otherwise unemployable adults—and to the journalists who get to investigate their past convictions; or
g) to be a party of soap operas; or
h) to be a “party of ideas” . . .
 

The answer must surely be one of the above?

Because it couldn’t possibly be “to be a party of principle.”

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Why not celebrate One-Law-For-All Day instead? [updated]

IT’S WAITANGI WEEKEND AGAIN. The time when, by long tradition,  blowhards and bludgers gather in the Bay of Islands to pontificate about this country’s history, and use what’s called its “founding document” as a club to beat each other around the head.

P I C   B Y   M O T E L L A A day that should be something to celebrate is instead a national embarrassment. And no wonder. The traditional celebrations often involve the widespread dissemination of pictures of the Prime Minister variously crying or holding Titewahai Harawira’s hand, or ducking as wet T-shirts and clumps of earth are flung at them.  [UPDATE: And it’s started again already this year.]

In recent years, the sport of watching Hone avoid his erstwhile colleagues, and stories of  journos bleating about having to pay to gain entry to the Te Tii Marae have both been added to the “celebrations,” all of which just conceal deeper rumblings underneath.

With the Maori Party is still in harness (almost) the usual arguments are (almost) still in quietus this year, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone away. While most of the professional grievance industry can now be found inside the tent pissing out instead of outside the tent pissing in--as they used to—the eruption of Mt Harawira earlier this year is an early warning sign that stuff (beaches, land, “compensation”) isn’t being thrown into the laps of tribal leaders as quickly as the grievance industry would like.

And even if they were given all they wanted, like Oliver Twist they’ll still be back asking for more, sir.  Such is the culture to which modern Treatyism has delivered us: one of separatism and race-based welfare—one in which government is the referee in disputes between free individuals, but instead the great, all-encompassing deliverer of goodness. And the Browntable to whom the goodness is delivered (in the form of cash and goods and large tracts of the North and South Island) are sparing indeed when handing on the cash and goods and large tracts to those whom they claim to represent.

Which brings us back to the reason for this particularly fractious season. And we might ask ourselves, was it something in that simple document drawn up by Governor Hobson that has caused this annual and ongoing farce? Or something that’s been made up since?

It’s the latter, of course.

What the Treaty contained was just three simple clauses and a preamble written in haste by a moderately-educated British-Irish sea captain to bring British law to these islands. That it  has become one-hundred-and-seventy years later a charter for separatism and a regular income for a ‘Browntable’ aristocracy is a measure by which the meaning of those clauses has been distorted, and the ambit of the agreement stretched.  

What the Treaty actually promised was the introduction of good law and of equal rights before the law – in other words, good colour-blind law. In its new incarnation as a “living document,” however, it has become a charter for more nationalisation of land, of seabed or of foreshore—for demands from moochers for the unearned—for eternal grievance and the rise of ohanga-to-poka welfare and brown feudalism. 

But what was promised in that short document was, very simply, the introduction of British law to these islands—which at the time meant a legal system in which what we own is protected, in which real injustices could be proven swiftly and without great expense, and where justice can be done and be seen to be done.  That was what the Treaty actually made possible.

The disappointment is that the promise has not always been the reality.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment for the future, however, is to reflect that for all the time spent on Te Tiriti in New Zealand school rooms, there's so little understanding of what it means, and of the context in which it was signed.  Teaching real history is no longer fashionable.  Teaching myths is. Myths like . . .

Partnership?

Despite the fiction that has been put about in recent years to give Browntable leaders access to the trough, the Treaty did not promise 'partnership' of the form now espoused -- neither word nor concept appeared in the document. It was not a Treaty offering permanent welfare to moochers, nor a tax-paid gravy train for looters.

In three short articles it simply offered the introduction of British law, and the rights and protections that were then protected by British law.  That was it. 

Biculturalism? 

The Treaty which was drawn up and signed talked neither about race nor culture.  Like British law itself at the time it was colour blind.  What it promised was not the politics of race but the same protection for everyone, regardless of race, creed or skin colour.

Would that today's law be so blind.

* * * * *

AT THE TIME IT WAS SIGNED, the context of British law really meant something.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, British law -- which included British common law -- was the best the world had yet seen.  It was what had made Britain rich, and what still makes the places where British law was introduced or emulated some of the most prosperous places in the world in which to live today.

From the perspective of one-hundred-and-seventy years later, however, when individual rights and property rights are taken for granted even as they're slowly expunged, it's easy to take the framework and protection of British law for granted.  Looked at in the context of the history of human affairs however it was a tremendous achievement: the first time in which individual rights and property rights were recognised in law, and protected in a relatively simple and accessible framework.  Perhaps history's first truly objective legal system

The introduction of British law to the residents of these Shaky Isles at the bottom of the South Pacific, which at the time were riven with inter-tribal warfare, was a boon -- and those who so eagerly signed up knew that.  The immediate perspective of all involved might have been short-term – of the British, to forestall a feared annexation by France; of the warring chiefs, to gain a foothold for trade and to secure territorial gains made in the most recent inter-tribal wars -- but there's no doubt that all had at least an inkling that life under British law promised greater peace in these isles than had previously enjoyed, and a much greater chance at prosperity.

"He iwi tahi tatou"

'He iwi tahi tatou.' We are now one people. So said Governor Hobson to Maori chieftains as they signed the Treaty that has become the source of so much division. But are we really 'one people'? Not really. No more than our ancestors were then. But nor are we two, three or fifty-four peoples -- do you have a people? -- and nor does it actually matter, since what Captain Hobson brought to New Zealand with the Treaty along with British law (which then meant something) was Western Culture—which, uniquely, makes it possible to see one another not as 'peoples,' not as part of a tribe or a race, but each of us as sovereign individuals in our own right.

That was A Good Thing. A Very Good Thing.

But unfortunately, despite the coming of western culture and the introduction (or at least the aspiration) of colour-blind law, we still don't see each other as sovereign individuals so much, do we?   The tribalism is still there (albeit the warring parti4s now hurl lawyers at each other instead of spears) and the myth-making about 'partnership' and 'biculturalism' is just one way to avoid seeing it.

A charter for objective law

To be fair, the Treaty itself isn't much to see. What Hobson brought was not the founding document for a country but a hastily written document intended to forestall French attempts at dominion (and the Frank imposition of croissants and string bikinis), and which brought to New Zealand for the first time the concept of individualism, and the protection of property rights and of an objective rule of law.

    “The Treaty of Waitangi should be commemorated [says Lindsay Perigo] because it bestowed upon Maori the rights of British subjects, thus introducing the notion of individual freedom within the rule of law to gangs of tribal savages who hitherto had been cannibalising and enslaving each other. But it has become a de facto constitution in the absence of a formal one, a brief for which it is woefully inadequate,” argues Perigo.
    “The five-paragraph, three-point Treaty is silent on many matters with which a constitution must deal. Moreover, there are ongoing arguments about what it really meant and which version is authentic. The best thing to do is scrap it and start over.”

The five-paragraph, three-point Treaty was short, spare and to the point. It was silent on many matters with which a constitution must deal because what it relied upon was the context of British law as it then existed.   The Treaty's three short clauses promised little in themselves -- as everyone understood, the intent was to point to the wider context of British common law and say 'We're having that here.' 

But that understanding is now clouded with invective, and the context of British law and common law as it once was is no longer with us. British law is not what it was, and there's a meal ticket now in fomenting misunderstanding of what it once promised.

The Treaty signed one-hundred-and-seventy years ago today was not intended as the charter for separatism and grievance and the welfare gravy train that it has become - to repeat, it was intended no more and no less than to bring the protection of British law and the rights and privileges of British citizens to the residents of these islands --residents of all colours. That was the context that three simple clauses were intended to enunciate.

And one-hundred-and-seventy years ago, the rights and privileges of British citizens actually meant something -- this was not a promise to protect the prevailing culture of tribalism (which had dominated pre-European New Zealand history and underpinned generations of inter-tribal conflict, and which the modern myth of 'partnership' still underpins), but a promise to protect individuals from each other; a promise to see Maoris not as part of a tribe, but as individuals in their own right; a promise to protect what individuals own and what they produce by their own efforts. That the promise is sometimes seen more in the breach than in the observance is no reason to spurn the attempt.

The Treaty helped to make New Zealand a better place for everyone. Especially those native New Zealanders whom it liberated.

Liberation, and protection

Life in New Zealand before the advent of the rule of law recognised neither right, nor privilege, nor even the concept of ownership. It was not the paradise of Rousseau's noble savage; force was the recognised rule du jour and the source of much barbarity (see for example 'Property Rights: A Blessing for Maori New Zealand').  Indeed just a few short years before the Treaty was signed, savage inter-tribal warfare reigned, and much of New Zealand was found to be unpopulated following the fleeing of tribes before the muskets and savagery and cannibalism of other tribes.

Property in this war of all against all was not truly owned; instead, it was just something that was grabbed and held by one tribe, until it was later grabbed and held by another. To be blunt, life was brutish and it was short, just as it was in pre-Industrial Revolution Europe, and - let's face it -- it was largely due to the local culture that favoured conquest over peace and prosperity. As Thomas Sowell reminds us:

    "Cultures are not museum pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives."

Pre-European local culture was not working well for those within that culture. Let's be really blunt (and here I paraphrase from this article):

    “In the many years before the Treaty was signed, the scattered tribes occupying New Zealand lived in abject poverty, ignorance, and superstition -- not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included). The transfer of Western civilisation to these islands was one of the great cultural gifts in recorded history, affording Maori almost effortless access to centuries of European accomplishments in philosophy, science, technology, and government. As a result, today's Maori enjoy a capacity for generating health, wealth, and happiness that their Stone Age ancestors could never have conceived.”

Harsh, but true. And note those words before you hyperventilate: "not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included)."   Some one-hundred and fifty years before, the same boon was offered to the savage, dirt-poor Scottish tribesmen who were living then much as pre-Waitangi Maori were.  Within one-hundred years following the embrace of Western civilisation, Scotland was transformed and had became one of the centres of the Enlightenment.  Such was the cultural gift being offered.

The boon of Western Civilisation was being offered here in New Zealand not after conquest but for just a mess of pottage, and in return for the right of Westerners to settle here too. As Sir Apirana Ngata stated, "if you think these things are wrong, then blame your ancestors when they gave away their rights when they were strong" - giving the clue that 'right' to Ngata's ancestors, equated to 'strong' more than it did to 'right.'

Who 'owned' New Zealand?

It's said that Maori owned New Zealand before the Treaty was signed, and that while the 'shadow' of sovereignty was passed on, the substance remained.  This is nonsense.  Pre-European Maori never "owned" New Zealand in any sense, let alone in any meaningful sense of exercising either ownership or sovereignty over all of it. 

First of all, they had no concept at all of ownership by right; 'ownership' was not by right but  by force; it represented taonga that was taken by force and held by force -- just as long as they were able to be held (see again, for example' Property Rights: A Blessing for Maori New Zealand').  Witness for example the savage conflict over the prosperous lands of Tamaki Makaurau, over which generations of Kawerau, Nga Puhi, Ngati Whatua and others fought.  There was no recognition at any time that these lands were owned by a tribe by right -- they were only held as long as a tribe's might made holding them possible, and as long as the fighting necessary to retain them brought a greater benefit than it did to relinquish them (and by the early 1800s, with so much fighting to be done to hold them, all tribes gave up and left the land to bracken instead).

Second, even if the tribesmen and women had begun to develop the rudiments of the concept of ownership by right (the concept of ownership by right being relatively new even to 1840 Europeans) they didn't own all of the country -- they only 'owned' what they owned.  That is to say, what Maori possessed were the specific lands and fisheries and foreshore and seabed they occupied and farmed and fished and used.  This was never all of New Zealand, nor even most of New Zealand. The rest of it lay unowned, and unclaimed.  They only ‘owned’ what they owned

Third, prior to the arrival of Europeans, Maori did not even see themselves as 'one people'; the word 'Maori' simply meant 'normal,' as opposed to the somewhat abnormal outsiders who had now appeared with their crosses and muskets and strange written incantations. The tangata whenua saw themselves not as a homogeneous whole, but as members of various tribes.  This was not a nation, nor even a collection of warring tribes.  Apart from the Confederacy of United Tribes -- an ad hoc group who clubbed together in 1835 in a bid to reject expected overtures from the French -- there was no single sovereignty over pre-European New Zealand, no sovereign entity to cede sovereignty, and no way a whole country could be ceded by those who had never yet even laid claim to it in its entirety.

Our 'Founding Document'?

So the British came, and saw, and hung about a bit. The truth is that some of the best places in the world in which to live are those where the British once came, and saw, and then buggered off -- leaving behind them their (once) magnificent legal system, and the rudiments of Western Culture. See for example, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course (as noted in obituaries of former governor John Cowperthwaite) Hong Kong. We lucked out.

What the Treaty did do, for which we can all be thankful, was to bring British law to NZ at a time when British law was actually intended to protect the rights of British citizens, and it promised to extend that protection to all who lived here. For many and often differing reasons, that was what the chieftains signed up to.  To become British citizens, with all the rights and privileges thereof.

But as we’ve been at pains to day already, the Treaty itself was not a founding document. No, it wasn't. On its own, with just three simple articles and a brief introduction, there was just not enough there to make it a document that founds a nation. As a document it simply pointed to the superstructure of British law as it then was and said, 'let's have that down here on these islands in the South Pacific.'

The treaty's greatest promise was really in its bringing to these islands those rights and privileges that British citizens enjoyed by virtue of their then superb legal system; the protection of Pax Britannia when those rights and that protection meant something, and when British power saw protection of British rights as its sworn duty. The result of this blessing of relatively secure individual rights was the palpable blessings of relative peace, of increasing security, and of expanding prosperity.

Sadly, British jurisprudence no longer does see its duty that way, which means the legal context in which the Treaty was signed has changed enormously, and the blessings themselves are sometimes difficult to see. Law, both in Britain and here in NZ, now places welfarism and need above individualism and rights. That's the changing context that has given steam and power to the treaty-based gravy train, and allowed the Treaty and those who consume the Treaty's gravy to say it says something other than what is written in it.

The truly sad thing is that the Treaty relied on a context that no longer exists -- and the only way to restore that context, in my view, is with a new constitution that makes the original context explicit.  To restore the original legal context, and to improve upon it with a legal context that protects and reinforces an Objective rule of law -- as British law itself once did -- one that clarifies what in the Treaty was only vague or was barely put. And in doing so, of course, such a constitution would make the Treaty obsolete.

Thank goodness.

The Dream

Waitangi Day comes just two weeks after Martin Luther King Day. The contrast is spectacular. Perhaps we should remind ourselves of King's dream for the future of his own children:

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character..."
Perhaps we will one day celebrate that same dream down here -- not as a dream, but as reality.  Celebrating our national day not as a charter for grievance that continues to poison discussion, but instead with real joy.  Shaking off the gravy train of grievance, and celebrating that the colour of a man's skin is of no importance compared to the content of his character. 

Perhaps one day we will actually celebrate the birth of this great little country, instead of seeing its birthday as an annual source of conflict.

Wouldn't that be something to really celebrate?

* * * * *

Linked Articles: Unsure on foreshore: A Brash dismissal of Maori rights? - Not PC
Do you have a people? - Not PC
Property Rights: A Gift to Maori New Zealand - Peter Cresswell
Education & the Racist Road to Barbarism - George Reisman
What is Objective Law? - Harry Binswanger
No Apology to Indians - Thomas Bowden
Superseding the Treaty with something objective called "good law" - Not PC
All hail the Industrial Revolution - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Individualism - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Rights - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Need - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Welfarism - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Ethnicity - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Government - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism:Constitution - Not PC
Cue Card Libertarianism: Property - Not PC
A Constitution for New Freeland - The Free Radical