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The Standard

On Freedom

Written By: - Date published: 6:51 am, July 5th, 2008 - 122 comments
Categories: greens, labour, progressives, Social issues, workers' rights - Tags:

It is time for the Left to take back the language of freedom. At its heart freedom, power for the ordinary person, is what the Left is about.

  • – Freedom from unemployment,
  • – Freedom from crappy wages that mean you have to work 60 hours a week to make ends meet,
  • – Freedom from having to bow to the boss’s demands and risking your job if you demand fair treatment,
  • – Freedom from big businesses being allowed to pollute our water, our land, our air,
  • – Freedom from the fear that getting sick will mean you lose your income and need to borrow to pay for treatment,
  • – Freedom from having your opportunities determined by the education your parents can afford to buy,
  • – Freedom from the social pressures that see the fate of those at the bottom of the heap repeated by their children.
  • – Freedom from having our schools, our hospitals, our public assets owned by foreign banks who only want to make a profit out of us.

That’s real freedom; that’s what the Left stands for. Politicians of the Left should be proud to say it.

122 comments on “On Freedom”

  1. pinetree 1

    I’m having a Hayek moment…

  2. AndrewE 2

    I’d agree with most of those principles but then I’m a nasty centrist. :)

    I think the last one is not necessary myself as sometimes the private sector (with SLAs) can normally do things more efficiently.

  3. Way to go Standardistas.

    Captcha: change contrast, Sometimes I feel this gizmo is trying to tell us something. LOL

  4. Monty 4

    Good work – also please add some other freedoms those on the right want for all people.
    Freedom from nanny State
    Freedom from over taxation
    Freedom from smears and personal attacks
    Freedom of choice in workplace insurance providers
    Freedom to choose school for children
    Freedom to select most appropriate health provider
    Freedom to live is a safe community (especially South Auckland)
    Freedom to enjoy security of supply from electricity companies
    Freedom to be able to individually negotiate a wage that reflects your particular skill set instead of getting lumped in with underperformers
    Freedom to have you voice heard in election year.

  5. Monty 5

    why am I on moderation this time?

    [lprent: not sure – there has be a lot of it this morning. But almost all of them were ‘lists’. I suspect that the anti-spam code is looking at the lists and saying “thats suspicious”.]

  6. Blar 6

    The “ordinary person” vs the straw man of the “boss/business/big business” line is nasty, divisive politics no different from the Iwi/Kiwi style of politics sold by Crosby Textor.

    Anyway, on the substance (I use the term loosely) of your post, essentially all you’ve done is list a bunch of negative freedoms in a creepy sort of way. The thing is, all of your freedoms necessitate the intervention of the state to enforce an economic or social order. I think conceivably you are promoting a form of freedom within that social order but that is essentially freedom only within that order, not the freedom to change it. It’s a false sort of state-defined freedom at the expense of another group – the ‘boss’ – that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

    I just don’t think it’s right to making people slaves of the state is a reasonable response to a perception that people are slaves of some ill-defined social elite.

  7. MikeE 7

    One thinks that you don’t actually understand the cost of freedom at all.

    Just what the **** is “Freedom from unemployment”

    There is no such thing as “Freedom” from unemployment, what you are actually saying is “Someone MUST be forced to provide me a job” regardless of whether I add value to their organisation.

    This adds to noones freedom whatsoever, but does impose an obligation on somone.

    The same goes with every example you give, none of which increase freedoms, all of which impose obligations.

    good on you for a fine example of orwelliean doublespeak however. Big Brother commends you.

  8. Work 60 hours a week to make ends meet – sheesh – Mrs Inventory and I do that every week; in fact for her, it’s more like 75 hours – and we OWN the business!! And we actually pay ourselves well below “market” rates so that we can pay our teachers and support staff at above “consenting parties” rates in our industry. But then again, I’m just a rightie, so WTF would I know??!!

  9. Ari 9

    I think you forgot a lot of freedom TO statements.

    Specifically the ones that centre around the freedom to be yourself.

  10. Shaun 10

    I’m genuinely interested – could you tell me how the state taking half of my money and regulating almost every aspect of my life makes me “free” – I really can’t see it. Thanks!

  11. Lew 11

    Steve: Bravo. You’ve given voice to a bunch of ideals with which few reasonable people can easily disagree. I have several critiques.

    This notional world you describe is not in fact `real freedom’ as you claim – together these negative freedoms broadly constitute societal risk from want and fear, and are therefore only the beginning of freedom. I quoted Arendt on this blog a week or two ago on this topic, and I’ll do so again:

    “All these liberties, to which we might add our own claims to be free from want and fear, are of course essentially negative; they are the results of liberation but they are by no means the actual content of freedom’ (from On Revolution).

    Blar’s observation that these freedoms are negative is correct, as is MikeE’s – that freedoms or rights are defined by the obligations they place on others. These two broad lines of attack both stem from the fact that by constructing freedoms as negative you cede orthodoxy to those who oppose you. By refusing to cede orthodoxy both arguments can be won.

    Citing a bunch of negative freedoms and framing the person or group who is notionally preventing those freedoms from being exercised marginalises your position. Marginalising one’s position is useful for fomenting a revolutionary mindset in your polity, but I think that to do so in the strong liberal and social democracy we have in NZ would do more harm than good to your cause. To prevent your message and your principles from being discredited as extremist backlash, it’s important to frame them as positives: freedom to work, as opposed to freedom from unemployment. These definitions should work together with the negative definitions: the two sets are mutually inclusive.

    Blar: “The “ordinary person’ vs the straw man of the “boss/business/big business’ line is nasty, divisive politics no different from the Iwi/Kiwi style of politics sold by Crosby Textor.”

    Partly true: it is a wedge, but all it is is the same wedge used in a different point in society: instead of being used to separate `hard-working kiwis’ from those who, by exemption, clearly aren’t hard-working, (or the `wealth generators’ from the … what … `wealth destroyers’? – etc.) it separates those who by and large do the work from those who require that it be done. As far as logical separations go, this is a much less arbitrary split: this split progresses along normative lines based on occupation: there are by necessity more `ordinary people’ than there are `bosses’, whereas `hard-working kiwi’ is so nebulous a term it can be used to make the split between almost any two groups the splitter wants to separate.

    MikeE: “good on you for a fine example of orwelliean doublespeak”

    Steve redefined a bunch of terminology. Your rebuttal smear is a nice example of the propaganda machine well at work: `Orwellian doublespeak’ is characterised by redefinition of terms to include a logical contradiction. None of the above contain one, because it’s not at all axiomatic that nobody should ever be obliged to provide something for someone. You frame this as compulsion, whereas in fact there is a duty to care for one’s fellow woman incumbent upon everyone in society. You believe in society, don’t you?

    You have a nice safe essentialist position of believing your terminology is inherently the Truth. However, this is not science, or mathematics, or religion: there is no definitive Truth – in these cases, Truth is defined by usage.

    L

  12. Freedom to eat what you like.

    Freedom to drink what you like.

    Freedom to drive the car you like.

    Freedom to watch/read/listen material what you like.

    Freedom to own a gun.

    Freedom to buy shares and sell them to who you want to

    Freedom to Hire/Fire who you want if you own a business

    Freedom to say what you want for/against a political party

    Freedom to speak out against the impact of manmade climate change

    Freedom not to worry about your socalled global footprint

    Freedom from higher taxes.

    Freedom to make your own decisions and live by them

    Freedom to walk the streets with law abiding people

    Freedom to say what you like, without the fear of some jackass getting offended

    Freedom to play sport against what country you like

    Freedom to live your life with as little as government interfernce as possible.

    All right wing values.

  13. Unfortunately Labour is not a left wing party; nor do they understand the business model of New Zealand. 75% of the labour caucus have never even been employed by a traditional business.

    The reality is 20% of the workforce are employed by businesses that have less than 10 staff. That excludes the sole-trader who makes up a further 15% on the NZ workforce.

    These are the businesses and sole traders make up nearly 90% of the enterprises in New Zealand.

    They are the businesses being hampered by and persecuted by “baby and the bathwater” bureaucratic policy that increase the owners working hours. They are the ones that keep the economy ticking along.

    Most businesses owners that run these businesses are not rich. They are just making a living; and getting on with life.

    When the far left understand that in NZ, these businesses owners are not the enemy, then we will see some adequate and sensible policy that does not just target a mere 1% of the enterprises in NZ.

  14. Principessa 14

    The Freedom to work in a smokefree environment and not contract lung cancer from second hand smoke.

  15. Ed 15

    Some of the Freedoms above are fairly basic freedoms – freedom from want – the freedom from starvation, freedom from being homeless etc. In a society that (at least currently) provides that these can be reasonably taken for granted – even if disaster strikes, we have indeed moved to also be concerned about other freedoms. I believe that the freedom to develop according to abilities and skills and personal hard work, regardless of the financial position of your family, is important. Most New Zealanders do not like the arrogance of privilege; we see ourselves as egalitarian and not a class society; we do not want some jobs reserved to those who attended an expensive school, or who have inherited wealth.

  16. And for those that think I am being melodramatic about “businesses being hampered by and persecuted” I suggest you go down to your local district court on “I.R.D. prosecution days”.

    You will see average men and women with a fear in their eyes like you will seldom see. These are guys who have lawn mowing rounds – their accounts are scrawled onto rough paper stuck in their back pocket. Or the home-worker doing sewing who didn’t realize she had to pay her own tax because she just though she was doing a few home jobs for pocket money. The business owner who got behind on tax because his accountant gave him the wrong advice. The business owner being bankrupted because I.R.D. felt they came ahead of putting a roof over his head.

    The fear from these people being treated like scum by the bureaucratic engine can be tasted. (now that is a bit melodramatic)

    The left, right and all parties need to understand that these people are not the enemy. Just because someone is in business does not mean they are taking advantage of someone else or are rich pricks or are less worthy of ACC or hardship grants when it goes horribly wrong.

    We are a nation of small business, and everyone needs to respect that. Hard left (or right) policies do not work for these businesses.

  17. vto 17

    Classic.

    Love the long list of Brett Dale’s freedoms and Karl Rohdes post. Both spot on.

    FFS, wouldn’t we all love to be free from the restrictions and fate of life on planet earth. Don’t think its just one part of society that gets squashed by life – that would be quite naive.

    Gotta watch out for idealogoues like you Mr Pierson. Its people with passions (obsessions) like that who crush so much when they get too near the reins of power.

  18. Gosh, well that’s that sorted then.

  19. higherstandard 19

    Ed your comment intrigues me

    “Most New Zealanders do not like the arrogance of privilege; we see ourselves as egalitarian and not a class society; we do not want some jobs reserved to those who attended an expensive school, or who have inherited wealth.”

    Can you expand and let us know what you’re alluding to.

  20. How can you have “freedom” in New Zealand when you have various government departments actively progressing unlawful gender discrimination?

  21. Blar 21

    Partly true: it is a wedge, but all it is is the same wedge used in a different point in society: instead of being used to separate `hard-working kiwis’ from those who, by exemption, clearly aren’t hard-working, (or the `wealth generators’ from the what `wealth destroyers’? – etc.) it separates those who by and large do the work from those who require that it be done

    This is a very nebulous area. What about so called mum and dad share holders in public companies? What about people whose Kiwisaver programmes involve investment in companies? These groups of people clearly requiring work to be done in order to receive a dividend but aren’t exactly a social elite. Steve’s post is based on a bizzare 19th century view of the world.

  22. rave 22

    So it comes down to greed or need defining freedom.
    Greed says I want, need says our wants.
    Greed says my freedom, need says our freedom.
    Greed says my choice, my rights. Need says our choice, our rights.
    Greed says private ownership, need says collective ownership.
    Greed says private responsibility, need says collective responsibility.
    Greed says the individual is sovereign, need says the people are sovereign.
    Greed says market, need says society.
    Greed will destroy the planet, need saves the planet.
    Greed is self-serving, self-defeating, need is humanity-serving and surviving.
    Greed is boring, tiresome, stupid; need is alive, challenging, wise.

  23. outofbed 23

    In the words of an old Redgum song “meet your needs not your greeds”

  24. greed:
    excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves

    need:
    A condition of poverty or misfortune

    Amazing how words can be used.

    Saying anyone who wants a little bit of individuality or niceties of life is greedy (which rave, your text strongly lends itself to) is very Protestant and completely unrealistic.

    Ice Cream is not “needed” – lets get rid of it, it’s just making some shareholders rich. Pity about the several hundred people who just lost their job; guess they better go out and work the land to live like good Protestants – don’t forget the hair-shirts.

    The balance between need and greed is not black and white, history has proven this time and again.

  25. The PC Avenger 25

    Monty and Brett, most of the values and freedoms you cite are, at best, incongruent with the actions of right wing governments, politicians, political pundits and the supporters of the former.

  26. Snelly Boy 26

    Didn’t anyone else notice the irony of yesterday’s trucking protest.

    A nationwide protest that despite one’s personal thoughts about its motives, everyone has been universal about their right to freedom of speech.

    But hello. I thought due to the EFA we were in the grips of Mugabe like supression of any dissenting voice.

    Perhaps the Road Transport Forum is in fact in breach of the EFA advocating a non-vote for Labour? Imagine the squeals from those sad, miserable individuals from the right if this had been an anti-National protest?

    The RTF certainly would have ‘spent’ more than $120k yesterday Are they registered as a third party?

  27. santi 27

    Above all: Freedom from socialism!

  28. Felix 28

    Brett, I really, really hope you haven’t exercised your “freedom to own a gun”.

  29. Felix 29

    Inventory2,

    The validity of your comment hinges entirely on the phrase “to make ends meet”.

    Pc Avenger,

    Don’t tell them that, they’ve worked so hard to become right-wingers…

  30. Nope, I would never own a gun, but if someone wants to buy one, if should their be right, just like if the hippies want to smoke dope or if people want to take party pills, then that is their right.

  31. monkey-boy 31

    Snelly the only irony I noticed was that a blog (This one) which purports to support the Labour movement was opposed to the industrial action on the basis that it was probably a right-wing plot, while a right wing blog which is supposed to be the stomping ground of ‘rich-pricks’ and nasty capitalists was largely supportive of an industrial action by the truckies on the basis that ordinary folk are sick of being taxed to the hilt.
    Again, wouldn’t it be ironic that on a post about ‘Freedom’ on a blog about “The Labour Movement’ that anyone would advocate that a political protest undergo prosecution by the state because it might have the audacity to criticise the government?
    Who should be fined, or put in jail first would you suggest?

  32. vto 32

    what about the right to own a mini nuclear device?

  33. Bill 33

    There is an easy tried and tested way around the negativities of Steve’s post. It is true that if the freedoms are to be provided by the state then a degree of thralldom is implied.

    Workers co-operatives address some of the objections voiced in comments. When the workers co-ops or collectives are tied into housing collectives then all the objections become addressed.

    I lived in such a scenario. 12 adults + children. 20 houses. 1 business. Average hours involved in renumerative work…about 8 hours per week.

    This was adequate to pay off the mortgages and provide for material comfort.

    Legally, we were (nominal) shareholders. There was no vertical division of labour.

    We controlled all aspects of the business and our social environment. Our limitations were those imposed by the overarching legal oconstraints of the nation state and our own imaginations.

    Nobody was unemployed. All work had value attached. For example, if one person doing childcare or domestic work allowed others to contribute to the business side of things, it was fully acknowledged.

    Crappy wages were not paid. In fact, no wages were paid. We decided collectively how business profits were spent. (x% reinvestment, x% for building maintainence and so on.) Personal monies were taken from whatever was left after all expenditures were covered. (The only personal expenditure needed was for social activity…seeing a band, going to pictures or whatever)

    There was no boss. We were all ‘the boss’.

    Big business polluting the environment? Okay. We had no control over that…only our own waste. We had our own sewerage treatment and tended towards non polluting behaviour.

    No loss of income through sickness or injury.

    No loss of opportunity because of lack of money. (You didn’t ‘buy’ your way in to the collective.)

    Economically determined social pressures negated.

    Schools and hospitals were out side our control as were a number of factors, but where practical we had the wherewithal to determine our own social/work environment and at least ameliorate the effects of some of those factors we could not control.

    We had some trading arrangements with other collectives and managed to achieve, in a sea of conventional business practice, a large degree of autonomy and self empowerment.

    In an environment where most business/ social activity followed the collective model, the state as we know it and experience it would become irrelevant and disappear. Big business…the global corporates…could not exist. They rely on strict hierarchy which is the exact opposite of worker cooperation.

    It’s all mind set. We can have freedoms. The state cannot provide them. Anything given by the state can be taken away by the state. But when we give ourselves the freedom….

  34. Lew 34

    Brett Dale: “Freedom to (lots of things)”

    Brett, this is the single most lucid comment I’ve seen from you.

    There’s one problem, though:

    “All right wing values.”

    No. They’re all Libertarian values. Ask any Libertarian whether they consider themselves a right-winger: most will reject the paradigm outright; a few will make a qualified agreement.

    It’s OK, though – while you’ve mistakenly engaged in a left-right ideological debate, these are all laudable (even if some are arguable trivial) freedoms, and although many of them are posited on the Libertarian idea of `I’ll do what I like and the rest of you be damned’ they’re all arguable.

    Now – if you’d like to argue ’em, I’m sure a few people on here have strong views on what’s wrong with libertarianism.

    L

  35. higherstandard 35

    vto – I’m open to the idea as long as the fallout is minimal and it’s detonated in very close proximity to parliament.

  36. Lew 36

    Blar: “This is a very nebulous area. What about so called mum and dad share holders in public companies? What about people whose Kiwisaver programmes involve investment in companies? These groups of people clearly requiring work to be done in order to receive a dividend but aren’t exactly a social elite.”

    I don’t see how any of Steve’s freedoms impinge upon this in practice.

    “Steve’s post is based on a bizzare 19th century view of the world.”

    Now here’s a valid point of debate. Do you have any arguments to support it, or are we to take it at face value? Like Brett’s Libertarianism thing above, I’m sure there are a few people here who’ll argue that the fundamental distinction between capital and labour which Marx identified in the C19th still broadly holds true today.

    L

  37. Lew 37

    HS, I never picked you as an anarchist!

    L

  38. higherstandard 38

    Lew channeling a colleague in Wellington……..

    “A nuclear device on the Ministry of Health would have too much fallout for the good people of Wellington, but it would make me feel a lot better. I used to sit in the offices of the Cancer Society, which overlook the Ministry of Health, and imagine the effect of setting up a mortar or a heavy machine gun and traversing through the health department. It made me so happy but I must not even think these things.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/4455535a20455.html

  39. bill brown 39

    Brett Dale

    Why didn’t you save all that typing and instead write:

    Freedom to steal from others to gain advantage?

    Basically that’s all you said through a whole lot of examples.

  40. higherstandard 40

    Bill

    If you’re that twisted you could ask the same question of SP.

  41. vto 41

    Freedom to roam over any land you want, provided no harm caused to those who live in the particular locality.

  42. Lew 42

    Bill: “I lived in such a scenario.”

    You use the past tense. Why did you leave?

    L

  43. Bill 43

    I sometimes ask myself that question.

    I thought there would be a reasonable number of similar scenarios in NZ, so I came here.

    I was wrong.

  44. vto 44

    freedom to restrict.

    (sorry fullas and fullesses, bit bored in this snow storm)

    [lprent: the freedom to moderate ? Damn I need to find the devil smiley 8) ]

  45. higherstandard 45

    Lynn

    Apparently >:)

    http://elouai.com/yahoo_smiley.php

    vto agreed weather is cak although sun has just come out up here.

  46. vto 46

    ha ha, they are one and the same Iprent. High five.

    HS Snow on the lawn and not letting up here. And we are by the beach.

    Freedom to splash in puddles sounds like the one. Later.

  47. Edosan 47

    Freedom from unemployment?

    And here I am always striving for freedom from employment.

    Guess I’m out of touch.

  48. lprent 48

    Try this

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?page_id=2417

    It hangs off the FAQ page :mrgreen:

  49. infused 49

    Thanks Karl Rohde. You’re on to it. As a business owner myself, I agree with everything you’ve said. We aren’t rich, and I spend around 60-80hrs a week and most weekends working in or on my business.

  50. At its heart freedom, power for the ordinary person, is what the Left is about…

    Steve, at its heart, your litany of so called ‘freedoms’ are nothing but a call for freedom from the demands of reality. Which, as Bill says, above, us just the freedom to steal from others.

    Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence?

    Have you ever understood what the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of property and happiness really mean?

    Do you care?

  51. Rave
    I really liked your post so I hope you don’t mind if I put it on my blog. It’s poetry.

  52. Contrast “freedom from” with “freedom to.”

    “Freedom from want” is not equal to “freedom to pursue one’s own happiness.”

    The former requires enslaving others to provide one’s sustenance.

    The latter simply requires that you each recognise the other’s moral space to pursue their own values.

    It is this real freedom — the freedom to be oneself, to pursue one’s own ends, within one’s own moral space — that the left truly despises.

    The only thing the left has done with the language of freedom is to pervert it.

  53. Bill 53

    Peter
    the real freedom to be one’s self (a misogynist and a rapist), to pursue one’s own ends (rape), within one’s own moral space (no moral qualms with rape)!?

    Morality is a social construction. Individualism sits at odds with the reality that we are social animals living within constraints of our society. The norms developed by society are not always positive, but individualism is never positive and can too easily be entirely negative.

    Freedom (if it is to mean anything at all beyond the exercise of power) must be negotiated and be accountable to the larger social context within which it exists.

    Oh…unless you want to have the freedom to flap your arms and fly off a building, the freedom to breath under water and so on.

  54. Bill 54

    And the ‘pursuit of property’? That’s got nothing to do with substantive freedom. That really is a licence for theft!

    You pursue property at whose expense? That land. Who used it, lived off of it? They had no concept of ownership so you have the right to ship them out and own it?

    Or maybe exterminate them in the name of property rights, of civilised progress.

  55. monkey-boy 55

    Why is it that anarchists only use teabags?

    Because proper tea is theft!

    They can take our land, but they can’t take our FREEEEEEEEDOMMMM!!!!

    sorry, thought we were doing ‘Braveheart’.

  56. Doug 56

    Over Ten Thousand in people in Botany Downs crying out for freedom from crime. Hope Helen takes note would be the largest demonstration in years may be all time.

  57. jbc 57

    Steve, your list of freedoms is not a list of freedoms. You need to find a better word because freedom does not make sense in those cases.

    Start with the first one: Freedom from unemployment. Can’t see how freedom has anything to do with that. “Freedom from employment” would be closer to making sense.

    Freedom from unemployment basically means someone must be forced to employ you.

    If I have more work than I can do and decide to hire someone then I would like the freedom to choose whoever is best for the job. That might turn out to be nobody. Similarly, if I have already hired someone and they turn out to not have the capacity to do the job (despite saying so in an interview) then I would like the freedom to let them go look for something else.

  58. J 58

    I agree with freedom from being unemployed. A work for the dole scheme would do wonders for the work ethic of those on the benefit. They could be engaged in minor gardening duties, befriending and helping the elderly, painting over graffiti and other community orientated services which are currently lacking.

    And excellent idea

  59. Felix 59

    jbc,

    Government policy can result in an increase in unemployment (as we saw in the late 80s/early 90s) or a decrease (as we’ve seen more recently).

    Therefore a policy (or set of policies) which involve driving unemployment up in order to put downward pressure on wages and cripple the bargaining power of workers could certainly be framed as impacting your right to be free from unemployment. The inverse is also true.

    Can you give an example of the scenario you describe in which someone (presumably the gummint) forces you to employ someone against your will? One which is relevant in a contemporary setting? I’m having trouble making much sense of that to be honest.

  60. jbc 60

    Lew: I’m sure there are a few people here who’ll argue that the fundamental distinction between capital and labour which Marx identified in the C19th still broadly holds true today.

    Sorry to crash in on this, but this comment got me thinking. Is the capital/labour distinction as relevent today as it was 100+ years ago?

    I have many acquantainces who don’t fit that distinction – and I think that that situation is becoming more and more common.

    For these people (call them small businesses) the only capital they need is what is between their ears. No land and no factories. They can work from home or gather with a few similar people and rent a small office.

    A lot of tradespeople are in a similar situation albeit they might need a small amount of capital in their tools and utility vehicle.

    I think a lot of the arguments of the left ignore small business and self-employed – or they pretend they do not exist because they do not fit their world view (workers shackled in coal mines, shipyards, cotton factories).

    Sure, there are still some classic examples of the capital/labour distinction however I’d argue that overall it is no longer black and white. Those who stick with that mindset are dinosaurs.

  61. Edosan 61

    I think we could safely patch this up by saying ‘freedom from unemployment should you choose to be employed’. Since choice does seem to be a rather essential part of freedom i thought it was implied, but perhaps not.

    Needless to say, i don’t agree with compulsory work for the dole schemes.

  62. Sure, there are still some classic examples of the capital/labour distinction however I’d argue that overall it is no longer black and white. Those who stick with that mindset are dinosaurs.

    jbc – I think you’ll find the vast majority of New Zealanders earn their living by supplying their labour to someone else – generally someone who owns the means of production. I suspect you have fallen into the trap of mistakenly extrapolating your own experiences across the whole population. To be fair, you have been encouraged to do so by a twenty five year campaign of neoliberal “entrepreneurial nation” rhetoric.

  63. I think both left and right has lost it’s way in the modern world.

    You can have “individual” goals and aspirations without causing society to be neglected. They are not mutually exclusive.

    Wanting a nice car, nice house or an annual holiday is not nor should it be considered in any way a crime against the better good. Wanting a nice piece of artwork doesn’t make you selfish, despite it costing you $25,000.

    The fact that someone has positioned themselves and made decisions to obtain certain material gains does not make them a monster.

    An ACC system that excludes self-employed. A revenue collection service that treats small business with disdain but allows big business absolute leniency. A health system where you have to pay $21 for a 3 year old because you live in a “rich” area.

    These are all under a so called progressive government for the people. That is monstrous.

    It smacks way too much of Animal Farm. In a true socialist regime, everyone is equal. You pay your tax, you get the same benefits as everyone else. Don’t say we can’t afford it. It just requires efficiency in government.

  64. Yes Karl – efficiency in government. Strange that nobody has actually produced any hard evidence of how that efficiency could be achieved.

    I suggest you read animal farm (it shouldn’t be too hard even for you) if you think it’s an apt metaphor for a system to look after the less fortunate in society. Really mate if you’re going to try to make literary allusions you should stick to books you’ve actually read though I’m not sure how “rich dad, poor dad” or any of the other self-improvement bullshit you read would have any value to the conversations here…

  65. jbc 65

    Felix,

    We may be more in agreement than you think. My argument is not about the sentiment of the post, but simply that ‘freedom from unemployment’ doesn’t make sense to me. Employment requires at least two people: employer and employee. Both have to be willing.

    Someone above made a distasteful remark about freedom to rape in an attempt to discredit the meaning of the word in another post. Of course freedom to rape is not about freedom at all – when you look at both sides. Same goes for (un)employment.

    Freedom to seek employment. I can understand that.
    Freedom to employ. I can understand that too.

    I’m not just trying to be pedantic. Freedom is good. Freedom is something that I argue about (but usually confined to software, patents, etc)

  66. I have read Animal Farm, many times. It is a statement of what happens in a socialist society when through human nature some people have higher status that others due to need or responsibility despite best intentions.

    My father was in the merchant navy at the age if 14 and never finished school. My mother was a blacksmiths daughter and worked in a bakery during the second world war in occupied Denmark. I am obviously from a very privileged background. None of my 6 other siblings nor I have been to university, or have had free tertiary education. When my parents got their first house, it was a shack with paper lining.

    I could not read until I was nearly 8 – but the first book I read from cover to cover after remedial reading classes was…. The Lord of The Rings. Not a small feat for someone who could not read 12 months earlier.

    I may only have fifth form English, but I am still capable of reading and understanding. In fact, I currently know about 20 languages if you include the various computer programming languages I have learnt over the years, and am currently teaching myself Spanish.

    As the adverts say… know me before you judge me.

    And as for “any hard evidence of how that efficiency could be achieved.” I suggest you read “The Yellow Brick Road”. Works for corporates, NoPs, NoGs, Governments Depts, SOEs and pretty much every else.

    And on the matter of freedom:

    Freedom
    the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like.

  67. jbc 67

    ‘sod: you miss my point. Sure, most people supply labour to someone else. I do too. I also have a shareholding in my company and sign my own pay cheques. So am I capital or labour?

    Sometimes “owning the means of production” is as simple as buying a secondhand PC.

    I think you’ll find a hell of a lot of people in NZ work for, or own, a small business. I don’t have the stats handy but I’m pretty sure that the employment landscape today isn’t quite the same as it was in the time of Das Kapital.

    I’m not spouting propaganda, just speaking from my own encounters.

  68. bill brown 68

    When my parents got their first house, it was a shack with paper lining.

    Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!

  69. Bill 69

    Seems to me that the Marxist analysis of class misses out on one very important class; the managerial or co-ordinator class. These guys get well renumerated; do not own any means of production and essentially maintain the status quo that rewards them so well.

    As for small business owners. I do have some sympathy for some, though not all, of them.

    The market is geared to benefit big business and that means that conventional small businesses will be disadvantaged on a range of fronts.

    So why follow convention when setting up a business? There are other business set up models.

    Having set yourself up in the conventional way and slaved your guts out for the first year or more to stay afloat, it is not legitimate to then use that experience as an excuse to shaft future employees – as many do.

    ‘You’ could have used a more equitable set up model for your business and avoided or lessened the effects of the stresses many small business owners experience in the initial stages (extraordinary long hours, bugger all financial return, worry over consequences of failure such as loss of house etc, struggling with new skill sets such as IRD reporting, H&S compliance etc etc)

    That ‘you’ didn’t is nobody’s fault but your own. Looking to exercise any ‘god complex’ resulting from having survived the trials outlined above and somehow expecting the freedom to act as judge and jury on your employees is not legitimate.

  70. outofbed 70

    and you try telling the kids of today that………..

  71. Bill 71

    jbc
    I was discrediting the idiotic notion of individualism masquerading as freedom…not freedom.

    An obvious if distasteful illustration to highlight a distasteful concept perhaps

  72. “I think you’ll find a hell of a lot of people in NZ work for, or own, a small business.”

    Try 90% of all 290000 enterprises in NZ have less than 10 staff or are considered sole traders – that essentially means 290,000 people of a workforce of 1.8 million are self employed and 300,000 people are employed by these enterprises. (2006 stats)

    That is not a small percentage. Are they all “rich pricks” as some misinformed so called lefties seem to think. Do they all treat their staff like shit. Nope. They are just the same as the cobbler, the wainwright, the blacksmith, the farrier of 300 years ago.

    The only difference is these working class people of old focused on bettering their craft, improving their lot in life. They had skills. Their society saw them as valuable not a scourge.

    Capitalism in it’s purest form is not bad, in the same way as Socialism in it’s purest form is not bad.

    The problem is people. Let’s get rid of them. They are just cluttering up the world anyway! Actually – why not just focus on business owners. All leave now.

    Lets see how long the “underdog” survives and how quickly new owners appear. NZ would then truly see what poverty and hardship was.

  73. santi 73

    Bill, your attempt failed miserably, ergo, you didn’t discredit anything at all.

    Individualism is still the most powerful force driving human beings, to the dismay of the left (socialists and totalitarians of all colours).

    Don’t try to rewrite history. It’s a futile effort.

    [lprent: I’ll check moderation. I suspect you’re still in the file, but you shouldn’t be (at present)]

  74. Bill 74

    Karl
    Unlike cash strapped or unskilled workers, ‘successful’ business owners (ie, those who have made a mint) can go anywhere they want and waltz through immigration policies no sweat.

    Which would be a nice freedom…freedom of movement of people. Ah. but that would impact on corporate profit margins. So we can forget that one too.

  75. Before anyone corrects me – when referencing Animal Farm I actually meant it is a statement on Communism. Although it still applies to socialism to a large degree.

  76. Bill 76

    santi, individualism is a political ideology predicated on the absurd notion that society does not exist!

  77. The ultimate goal of socialism is to have a workforce that is not disenfranchised from the means of production.

    The easiest method for this is to have a small business “model” where the employer (leader/manager) and employee have a close relationship. Co-operatives still need leaders/managers, someone to take “ownership”. Leaders tend to work longer and have more responsibility.

    Most business owners in NZ barely make ends met. They work hard and they have good relationships with their workers. The only ones we seem to hear about are the exceptions.

    Unfortunately the attitude of current socialist orientated government and most of the people who run down small business owners (predominately so call socialists) seem to forget this.

    Leadership implies more responsibility. By very nature (long before industrialism) more responsibility granted you more privilege.

    There is only one nations in the modern world that tried not having a hierarchy. It’s called Anarchy. It lasted a matter of months in Spain. No one took ownership, there was no direction and they were unable to gain ground because they were disorganized.

    Funny enough the other direction didn’t work either. Fascism has never been sustainable either.

  78. Bill 79

    “Co-operatives still need leader, leaders tend to work longer and have more responsibility.”

    This is fundamentally untrue.

    If one person has essential skills in a collective that no-one else possesses, then the collective is doomed. Apart from the resulting skewed social dynamics, what if that person dies? That is why collectives have a commitment to skill sharing.

    Responsibility is collective and is easily maintained by a simple rule of thumb…Is what I am proposing to do going to impact on others?. If so, then I must communicate with those people and that collective determines whether the action goes ahead.

    Your comment about Spain is also wrong. What about the swathes of industry and sections of community in Argentina, Venezuela and other South American countries being run autonomously? It is true that it may all come to an end at the point of a gun as in Spain.

    But even then, there will remain the pockets of worker run enterprises and resident run housing collectives( not uncommon throughout Europe)…some with quite long histories. And that, in spite of an overwhelmingly hostile environment to such ideas and practices

  79. Felix 80

    jbc,

    I think I see where you’re coming from.

    I too found the original post a little clumsy in that all the examples were stated in negative which can easily lead to absurd conclusions, even when agreeing with the sentiment as you put it.

  80. Hmmm… neither Argentina or Venezuela are anarchies. What is your point?

    Your statement of co-ops indicates leadership is not necessary.

    Fundamentally wrong.

    I am talking about lack of leadership, not socialist ideals. Anarchism is the most extreme socialist position. Guess what… Libertarian is pretty close on the other side. Both wish the removal of state and leadership.

    Co-Ops do need leadership, as does society and anything the produces or nurtures anything.

    Co-Op A and Co-Op B both need 200 bushels of grain to survive the winter. Neither have reserves as last couple of seasons were bad. This year, winter looks to be early and harsh.

    Co-Op A is based on consensus – they have no leadership, and make decision based on group decisions. Co-Op B has a leader, someone who was both accepted and willing to take the role.

    The bottom line for both Co-Ops is they need food or they will not survive the winter.

    I will keep you posted on which Co-Op survives the winter with the least attrition.

    To have 10, 20, 200, 10,000 people working all to the same goal long term can only be achieved through leadership. Take away leadership and society is reduced to anarchy.

    “If one person has essential skills in a collective that no-one else possesses, then the collective is doomed.”

    This is fundamentally untrue. Everyone has skills that are unique. Some can read the weather, some are handy with a bow and can hunt, some can produce wonderful crafts for the betterment of all. Some of these skills can not be taught. A co-op needs diverse skills to survive. Everyone can’t know everything – and if you try, no one would survive. They need organization to achieve goals and make the most of their unique skills. That requires leadership.

    Leadership can not be taught, you are either a leader or you are not. Without some form of leadership, society can not survive.

  81. Draco TB 82

    Capitalism in it’s purest form is not bad, in the same way as Socialism in it’s purest form is not bad.

    IMO:
    Capitalism in its purest form is one person owning everything. I’m pretty sure you can see how this would be bad. There certainly wouldn’t be any freedom.

    Socialism in it’s purest form is everyone have having equal opportunity. This would, of course, bring about the greatest freedom as everyone would be able to choose what they want to do to produce value and have access to the resources and the support to do it. It falls down in that we live in a finite world with finite resources (Yes, this is also an argument against our present system).

    Take away leadership and society is reduced to anarchy.

    No it’s not – it’s reduced to democracy.

  82. Bill 83

    “Your statement of co-ops indicates leadership is not necessary.”

    Nope. A leader is not necessary. Neither is a leader desirable. Leadership is not necessarily embodied within a single individual and is therefore different to talk of leaders.

    ” Anarchism is the most extreme socialist position. Guess what Libertarian is pretty close on the other side. Both wish the removal of state and leadership.”

    Libertarian IS anarchism! Right Wing theories which appropriate the term libertarianism do not wish to see the removal of the state. The right wing wants to minimise the social aspects of the state (welfare and other programmes)and emphasise the controlling aspects (police, army etc). It’s the only way that free market ideology can survive….by means of oppression.

    “To have 10, 20, 200, 10,000 people working all to the same goal long term can only be achieved through leadership. Take away leadership and society is reduced to anarchy.”

    Everyone having the same goal? How horribly homogeneous and stunting. Authoritarianism writ large. Some broad goals will be naturally held in common…health, well being etc

    But I think you misunderstand the fundamentals of anarchy. In pop culture it is equated with chaos; a nonsense. An anarchist society is the most highly organised and inclusive of all socio/political entities.

    ” A co-op needs diverse skills to survive. Everyone can’t know everything – and if you try, no one would survive. They need organization to achieve goals and make the most of their unique skills. That requires leadership.”

    Absolutely agree with you here. And the ‘leadership of ideas’ and inclusion of individuals in decision processes ensures the organisational wherewithal. You do realise you are advocating anarchy?

    “Leadership can not be taught, you are either a leader or you are not. Without some form of leadership, society can not survive.”

    Oh dear. Then you lose it again by confounding leaders with leadership. But if the opposite of leadership is subservience and subservience can be overcome ( which it can), where does that leave your concept of leadership? Shared by all perhaps? So leadership, but not embodied within an individual leader. Welcome to the far left ;0)

  83. Democracy is the authorized leadership of one or more individuals. Take away leadership and you have anarchy.

  84. RedLogix 85

    Alternatively Draco, you might want to consider democracy as a mechanism that allows the ordinary people the ability to hold leadership to account.

    Besides the term leadership is a code word for political authority and power. There is nothing innately wrong with power. It is a tool. The question throughout history has been, to what purpose is power being used?

    Is power being used for the benefit of the whole of society, to maximise opportunity for everyone, or just a privileged few at the top of the social hierarchy?

    Is power being used wisely for achieve sustainable long-term goals, or is it being used for short-term gratifiation?

    Is power being used to in the spirit of service and humility, or to further and agenda rooted in personal ambition and self-aggrandisation?

    Is power being used openly and transparently, or are the real motives hidden and opaque?

    Age old questions. Still worth asking.

  85. Bill 86

    Democracy is the right to have meaningful input in decisions that are likely to affect you. Leaders (authorised or otherwise)are the short path to Authoritarianism/ Totalitarianism. Take away leaders and you have a chance of meaningful democracy

  86. Draco TB 87

    Democracy is the authorized leadership of one or more individuals.

    Government of the people, for the people, by the people. Doesn’t say anything about leaders.
    The reality is that there are many forms of democracy. Our representative democracy is just one of those forms and not necessarily the best.

    Take away leadership and you have anarchy.

    After reading Bill’s posts I think I’ll go for the anarchy thanx. Anything that allows me to have responsibility for myself and my community instead of having some ‘leaders’ tell me what to do has got to be an improvement over the effective slavery that is the capitalist system.

  87. Ari 88

    “Freedom to drive the car you like.”
    What’s stopping you, minimum safety standards? Labels that inform consumers about energy efficiency?

    “Freedom to watch/read/listen material what you like.”
    Actually, the Right tends to be a lot more keen on censorship than the Left, especially if it’s in the name of Community Decency and other trojan horses. I think this one ought to be an ideal aspired to by both.

    “Freedom to Hire/Fire who you want if you own a business”
    I notice the word fairly is missing before hire/fire. You do not have a right to make unfair business decisions that are not related to the merits of the people involved. You largely have the right to make strictly business-related decisions, but there’s some quality-of-life checks thrown in: You have to pay at least the minimum wage, you have to meet health and safety guidelines, you have to offer certain amounts of leave, and so on. I don’t think those are too much to ask.

    “Freedom to speak out against the impact of manmade climate change

    Freedom not to worry about your socalled global footprint”
    Right, the freedom to be a hypocrite. Not one of my favourites- if you’re going to speak up about climate change, you need to do SOMETHING to reduce your contribution to it.

    This is why the principle of opportunity is so important – if you have the “freedom” not to worry about your own global footprint, or resource use – then if you take more resources than the average amount available per person, you’re necessarily limiting someone else’s opportunity to use those resources. That’s hardly consistent with allowing people to achieve their own success. If we don’t end up using all of the world’s resources at exactly the rate they’ll replenish- so what? More for our kids.

    “Freedom from higher taxes.”
    Freedom from public services, too, apparently. 😉 If you’re a capitalist, you can’t both demand more performance from the State and less taxes, unless you want the entire Parliamentary term spent busting inefficiency- which trust me, is boring, and tends to axe or downsize valuable programs along with reducing waste.

    “Freedom to make your own decisions and live by them”
    I think this is a principle the Left and Right both agree with, even if their agreement doesn’t overlap very well. The Left tends to get this better on social issues, and when they don’t take a page from the right-libertarians, the Right tends to do okay on economic issues. Unfortunately, National is neo-liberal and Act is libertarian, so the party of economic freedom in New Zealand is actually a bit of a tie between the Progressives (who are the REAL centre party in New Zealand, fyi) and Labour.

    “Freedom to say what you like, without the fear of some jackass getting offended”
    …Protecting you from others being offended is not freedom of speech. Freedom of speech also includes the responsibility of coping with nonviolent opposition. It’s not the Government’s job to stop you from having to deal with the consequences of your actions.

    Saying anyone who wants a little bit of individuality or niceties of life is greedy (which rave, your text strongly lends itself to) is very Protestant and completely unrealistic.

    I would say individuality- and I don’t mean the consumerist type- is a need, not a want, for that very reason. I don’t mind niceties- so long as people are leaving enough for other people to try and get some, too. :)

    The former requires enslaving others to provide one’s sustenance.

    The latter simply requires that you each recognise the other’s moral space to pursue their own values.

    Freedom requires equality. Equality requires equal access to the necessities of life. This necessitates the community working together to provide that to everyone. It’s not so much slavery as common decency. Either everyone is equally free, or nobody is free enough.

    Not giving bread to a starving man when you have plenty is only slightly different to chaining him up and stopping him from eating.

    I agree with freedom from being unemployed. A work for the dole scheme would do wonders for the work ethic of those on the benefit. They could be engaged in minor gardening duties, befriending and helping the elderly, painting over graffiti and other community orientated services which are currently lacking.

    And excellent idea

    Sure, I’m with you in principle, at least for those on benefits that aren’t designed for people who can’t work. While WINZ generally does a good job of trying to get people into work, I think they undervalue getting people some experience first in a few cases, and there are people who just have difficulty with formal employment that this could really help. Will we be paying them the minimum wage though now that we require them to work? 😉

    Trying to get people to work for say, the sickness benefit would be laughable, and if you’re setting DPB mothers in your sights here, you should think again.

    ‘sod: you miss my point. Sure, most people supply labour to someone else. I do too. I also have a shareholding in my company and sign my own pay cheques. So am I capital or labour?

    Sometimes “owning the means of production’ is as simple as buying a secondhand PC.

    I think you’ll find a hell of a lot of people in NZ work for, or own, a small business. I don’t have the stats handy but I’m pretty sure that the employment landscape today isn’t quite the same as it was in the time of Das Kapital.

    I’m not spouting propaganda, just speaking from my own encounters.

    Let me put it this way- if you knew someone was going to take care of it, and you’d be able to get it back before you really needed it, would you lend them your hammer? That’s basically the premise of eliminating capital. Everyone should be able to get what they need to work- and that is actually FACILITATED by removing capital ownership- because when one person runs out of ways to use a tool, or a computer, or a factory, another person can start using it. Essentially, the idea is to destroy ownership, not destroy property- but for that to happen, you need an excess of property compared to your population. You need to be a sparsely populated society, or you need to be very resource efficient, or you need to take more than your fair share of resources. 1&3 are currently the only possible ways for that to work.

    I certainly agree that stopping people from using hammers at all would be ridiculous. But that is a strawman, even in the case of the most extremist revolutionary communist.

    Seems to me that the Marxist analysis of class misses out on one very important class; the managerial or co-ordinator class. These guys get well renumerated; do not own any means of production and essentially maintain the status quo that rewards them so well.

    Yeah, I think so too. That said, there’s still room for managers in a Marxist society- it’s just nobody is contractually obliged to listen to them, so they have to be persuasive too, instead of merely getting the job done.

  88. Bill said “but individualism is never positive and can too easily be entirely negative”

    Of course not, indeed the high prophets of that view were never entirely negative were they? Take:
    – Hitler
    – Stalin
    – Mao
    – Pol Pot
    – Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
    – Mussolini
    – Lenin
    – Ceausescu

    If individuals have no rights then there are no rights. Morality has a rational basis in reality, in that individual freedom is fundamentally necessary for human beings to live, grow, flourish and realise their potential. The greatest real limit on this are the parasitical desires of others to take from them, to assault, threaten, murder and rape.

    The freedoms talked about on this post ARE freedoms from reality – freedoms from the fact that if you want food, someone has to produce it, someone has to apply their minds to the resources they have to acquire or produce and distribute it.

    Human beings cannot survive on instinct alone, they must use their brains to seek out, produce and trade for food, shelter, clothing, warmth and the like – the idea that we have a right to that, is the idea we have a right to not bother applying our brains and bodies to achieve those bogus “rights”.

    After all, if everyone woke up tomorrow and decided not to go to work and demanded their rights to everything listed above, nothing would happen – everything would fall apart. However a society where rights consisted of everyone controlling their own bodies and property and being able to enforce contracts, torts and other basic rights surrounding the boundaries between the relationships of people – would simply be free for people to flourish and choose to do as they wish, whilst respecting the rights of others to do the same.

    From that of course the benevolence of human beings can also flourish, with the compassion and generosity of those willing to give their time and money to help others.

  89. Bill 90

    libertyscott
    your being an ass. From the comment where you chopped a segment of a sentence……..Freedom (if it is to mean anything at all beyond the exercise of power) must be negotiated and be accountable to the larger social context within which it exists.

    So there goes your Pol Pot, Hitler, Lenin, Pinochet et al.

    And ‘individualism’ too, which is inherently selfish and will not negotiate or be accountable. As soon as it does the results are individual freedoms:not ‘individualism’.

    And one quick look at the world today is evidence enough that compassion and generosity are treated as liabilities not attributes that attract reward; they happen in spite of the world view you support, not because of.

  90. “Government of the people, for the people, by the people.”

    The Gettysburg Address was an interesting speech. Pity you show zero understanding of it and use it for your misguided personal mantra.

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    I am quite disgusted that you used it out of context.

    A government by it’s very nature indicates leadership. The Gettysburg Address does not detract or exclude leadership, nor alienate the power of the people unless the people allow it to.

    In fact, this was a founding statement for the powers of democracy, free speech and individual direction. It was a statement that slavery was not OK, that the right of all men (and women – that came later) were free to choose their own direction in life, and that the state or other individuals had little say in their life unless they chose to allow it.

    The fact that you used this Draco TB, in your context, is somewhat insulting to all the men and women who have died fighting for freedom and democracy.

    Without some form of leadership, elected by the people, you can not weather the storms, you can not have law, you can not have order, you can not put food on the table and you can not have a community who honors and respects each other.

    Even the Bible and Koran teach this, even Buddhism teaches this.

    The only two modern proponents of not having leadership are Libertarianism and Anarchism, and at face value Taoist beliefs.

    The only reason Taoist fits this category is the belief that you act on what you have direct and immediate influence over and let everything else wash over you. Like the primo advert… go with the flow.

    I don’t often get insulted, but Draco TB, you have actually managed it.

    Abraham Lincoln for all his faults was a great leader, and died for it. Your misuse of his speech and his intent for his speech shows your complete ignorance.

    And “anarchism” is as far left as you can get Bill… best check your research. In fact it goes almost full circle to the right, but it is definitely Left.

    When I was in my late teens someone once told me that to learn, you need to forget everything you have been taught and learn how to learn.

    It became obvious one time when I was 48 hours from bankruptcy. The mindset that there is only one way to do things is what holds back society and the individual.

    We can label things left, right, middle, Christian, Islam, Hindi, Marxist, Stalinist, anarchist, libertarianism, Protestant or even Jedi. It makes no difference.

    We have to look at what mistakes that have gone before and try to use what knowledge we have now. Focus on the individual’s strengths, and be aware of their weaknesses. Work on the betterment of the community and through that strengthen the community.

    Until we get past our political and socio economic labels we can never be the best we can be while ensuring the community can be the best we can be.

    The Gettysburg Address was solidarity against slavery, bastion of democratic leadership and you are now using it as an argument against leadership.

    Shame on you I say.

    Without leadership, strong leadership, America would be enslaved still, Europe would be under the Fascist regime and NZ and Australia would be speaking Japanese.

    Leaders are powerful, but they can also be evil or misdirected. But their power is given by the people. It is the people who allow a corrupt leader, not a corrupt leader who takes advantage of the people.

    Without leadership we would flounder, we would become disenfranchised. We would become the exact society that the people arguing against leadership seek to avoid.

  91. ak 92

    FREEDOM! LIBERTE! LIBRE! AMANDLA!

    The ultimate, supercharged sound-bites of the ages – infused with and born of the suffering of countless millions oppressed for millenia – single words that resonate with terrifying power. The power of inspiration, ambition and deliverance from aeons of unspeakable misery: the unifying, clarion, rallying scream of last resort, assertion of humanity, and call to arms that has curdled the blood of the exploiting strata and their despotic enforcers forever.

    Nice post Steve and you’re dead right – “FREEDOM!” not only belongs to the Left, it is its essential and abiding raison d’etre: for without an oppressor, “freedom” has no meaning. Without the despots, dictators, colonisers, tyrants, torturers, Trujillos, Montenegros, Pinochets and Sheriffs of Nottingham, there could be no mass aspiration for the incredible social progress and deliverance from misery that we enjoy today – from the grinding satanic mills to Hel’s genial kitsch-inn.

    The Right recognise the power of the inevitable progression: power is, after all, their very own raison d’etre, and hence their earnest attempts at appropriation of the concept, most succinctly epitomised by the the early anti-abolitionists’ grotesque call for the “Freedom to use slaves”. So-called “Libertarianism” is merely the pitiful, moribund remnant of the same doomed and desperate attempted hi-jack of history’s most potent symbol.

    I read somewhere today (opposable thumb blog) that Ryman Healthcare (Resthome moguls) had delivered to shareholders a billion dollars in 5 years, while their workers average $13/hr. And John Key has $50million in his silk pocket while 17,000 kids die of hunger every day. Plenty of freedoms to fight for yet brothers and sisters – who’s ya hero, Judas or Jesus?

  92. Draco TB 93

    Without some form of leadership, elected by the people, you can not weather the storms, you can not have law, you can not have order, you can not put food on the table and you can not have a community who honors and respects each other.

    Yes, actually, we can. We don’t need people to tell us what to do. All we need is the agreement to do it. Such agreement comes from community discussion and participation. That’s why it’s called participatory democracy.

    The mindset that there is only one way to do things is what holds back society and the individual.

    As you say, the mindset that there is only one way to do things is what holds us back. But it is this mindset that you’ve been spouting this entire thread. It’s also the mindset that was enforced several centuries ago, the mindset of kings and queens. Capitalism itself is just a small advance on it as it maintains the same hierarchical system as the aristocracy that it replaced. We’ve actually grown out of that paradigm, have been doing so for the last few centuries, and it needs to be replaced. We evolve and things change. Some people don’t like those changes though and try to stop them – they’re called conservatives.

    Captcha: but Richmond – Yes, even Bill Gates has moved on.

  93. Felix 94

    Without leadership, strong leadership, America would be enslaved still, Europe would be under the Fascist regime and NZ and Australia would be speaking Japanese.

    Do I even need to point out the incredible dishonesty of this statement?

    Really??

  94. jbc 95

    Draco TB: you type your message on a capitalist computer while sitting in capitalist comfort.

    I guess you can say for capitalism what Churchill said for democracy: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    Capitalism sucks, but everything else sucks more.

    Capitalism is fundamentally about private property. It means that the fruits of your labour are yours to exchange for anything you deem to be of equal value agreed with the party that you wish to trade with. If you have only cows then you can exchange for fruit and vegetables at the market. Markets have existed for thousands of years and are a natural result of the concept of possessions and the desire to exchange them.

    Capitalism has best captured the instincts of human nature to progress with positive reinforcement in whole populations.

    All other schemes that have been tried on large populations have failed to feed themselves (without enforced labour). My own guess is that without capitalism the personal motivation is removed from a big part of the populace.

    If you want to break it down into sins then I guess it is better to foster greed than sloth.

    Sure, you can get a bunch of like-minded people together and share your efforts – but this is rather artificial. Try to make it work with a true cross-section of any population and I dare say the results would be not so harmonious. Eventually someone will want to push or bargain with the non-performers and dissenters. If they opt for bargaining then the seeds of capitalism are planted.

  95. djp 96

    sorry steve, this sounds more like the communist manifesto then anything to do with freedom

    you should read the US declaration of independence

  96. RedLogix 97

    jbc,

    So if your capitalism is so wonderful, how come it keeps failing?

    Have you not noticed the spectacular crisis in the global fiscal machine?

    Have you not noticed how resources are being stretched to the limit and prices are rising?

    Have you not noticed that markets are dismal failures at delivering things like education, health and infrastructure?

    Have you not noticed that capitalism while delivering a limited and variable degree of prosperity to the world, has concentrated much of it into the control of a very few uber-rich elite, an elite largely hidden and unnaccountable to the rest of us. (Fully half of the assets in the world are controlled by fewer than 100 people.)

    Does this mean that I want to demolish all trading markets and impose rule by regulation? Of course not. It simply means that on their own the notions of private property and trading markets are effective and useful tools, but are not a whole and sufficient answer. This is why throughout history all political systems have sought to moderate the action of the markets by various means.Many such attempts have been failures in themselves. They have either distorted the markets, over regulated it, or been captured by vested interests in ways that have been counter-productive, but at the same time there is no such thing as a free market… markets are always limited and managed to meet the political imperatives of the day.

    As I posted above; the real question is; what purposes are being served? Political power will always exist, it is a tool just as the market is. And like all tools it can be both used and misused.

    The great paradox of ‘freedom’ is that it is not to be found in absolute personal liberty. Nor is it found in absolute collective sovereignty. Genuine, authentic freedom is rooted in moral equality, equity of opportunity and socially just outcomes.

  97. Freedom’s just another word for “nothing left to lose”

  98. Pascal's bookie 99

    djp

    http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/index.htm

    Declaration Of Independence. Great enlightenment left wing document. (if you want to quibble about this remember that the left right dichotomy dates from that century, and is to do with a persons postion vis a vis reform of the monarchist system.)

    Sod all in there about property rights, certainly as libertarians understand them. There is a little bit about taxes, but the problem they had was that the King was levying taxes without representation from the taxed. That was their gripe. He was not allowing his subjects representation or input into their governance. They were not opposed to taxes per se. Indeed they felt that the governemnts sole purpose is to promote and protect the well being of it’s citizens, and that the King was not doing this.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Nothing in there about absolute property rights. Governments have a duty to set conditions in society such as that all (or as many as possible) of the people are unrestricted in their pursuit of happiness. This could easily include Steve’s list. The founders of the US were very careful to talk about frameworks and goals, and leave policy detail to actual governments. They deliberatly established what today we would call a living document. One that lays out certain defining principles, the application of which will change as society changes.

    What do you think they would think about, for example, the idea of a natural rate of unemployment that should be targetted by the government to prevent inflation? How does that square with the natural rights listed in the DOI?

    The American founders were smart guys. they knew that property rights are a construct, that ideas about how those rights are constructed are utilitarian.

    A claim of ownership is essentially a negative claim against another persons natural right to use the ‘property’. Justifiable in many cases on utilitarian grounds, or in many cases moral grounds, but to raise it up to an absolute right is stupid. That’s why no libertarian society has ever really been attempted. Unlike social democratic systems which developed in the 1930’s and have seen the biggest and most widespread explosion of wealth and health in human history. Yay social democracy!

    I’m still waiting for all the Lib’s to run off and start their utopian little hideaway. I promise that if they do so, and if it works, and if those of us that are left behind all start to starve and atrophy because the great and the good have left us, then I will not only listen to their ranting egotistical blather, I will try not to laugh so much.

    But they seem to more interested in whinging about things than actually doing stuff. So . meh.

  99. Ari 100

    The freedoms talked about on this post ARE freedoms from reality – freedoms from the fact that if you want food, someone has to produce it, someone has to apply their minds to the resources they have to acquire or produce and distribute it.

    … More like they’re based on the principle that the economy should provide what people need before it moves on to providing what people want.

    Why should we have people speculating for millions of dollars when they could spare a just a few first and feed the hungry? How is not giving a really, really small portion of your income to make sure everyone has the basic necessities of life unfair? Don’t you think they have some responsibility to allow their fellow people the same opportunities they had- even if those people live in a different part of the world, or didn’t get the chance to make choices as well as the rich?

    Without leadership, strong leadership, America would be enslaved still, Europe would be under the Fascist regime and NZ and Australia would be speaking Japanese.

    Hah. Leadership is implied in a democratic model, sure, but it is never explicitely stated as a leadership of one, or that any authority actually leaves the people during democratic elections. Our Prime Ministers are the caretakers of our country, not its elite. They have had authority delegated to them to leave New Zealand in a better condition than they recieved it, or at least dampen the impact of any large problems that come up during their term.

    I disagree that we necessarily need centralised leadership to thrive, however, and especially disagree with the concept a powerful central executive authority. Democracy generally functions best when the most local decision-maker practical executes the law. (although there are good reasons to centralise legalislative authority, especially in a country as small as New Zealand) Now, strong moral conviction, national-level goals, and persuasive representatives? Sure. But those don’t necessarily need to be united in one charismatic leader. In fact, many of the totalitarian dictators and autocrats whose damage has been infamous were charismatic leaders in the sense you seem to be proposing- familiar examples would be Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe and George W. Bush- all who started out by fixing similar “problems” for their country, but then refusing to let go of the power they had gained by doing so, and used their supporters to bully, intimidate, and oppress the rest of the population to different degrees. (note: Hitler was a totalitarian, Mugabe and Bush are merely autocrats. All three of them have various elements of (neo)facism in their politics, relying heavily on national identity, shared religion, shared enemies, external threats, etc… to justify their extreme power)

    Just because someone has the power to wield your nation like a fist doesn’t necessarily make it the best course of action.

  100. I see there is some remarkable Left wing extremism appearing in the comments section here. Geez and people talk about the kiwiblog right….sigh.

    “A claim of ownership is essentially a negative claim against another persons natural right to use the ‘property’..”

    So private property rights don’t exist! Yippy! Lets all become like Africa and Zimbabwe! Right I’m off to do some serious looting!
    On the way I might set fire to the homes of some people less well off than myself because they’ve got no private property rights to stop me and I’m bigger and stronger than they are! Alright anarchy!

    see ya!

  101. higherstandard 102

    Ari

    George W Bush, Adolf Hitler and Robert Mugabe …..totalitarian dictators and autocrats……. ?

    While George is a turd I don’t quite think he’s in the same class as Adolf and Mad old Bob Mugabe.

    Oh and RedLogix ….(Fully half of the assets in the world are controlled by fewer than 100 people.) got a link for that sounds fascinating.

  102. Ari 103

    HS- Keeping prisoners without habeas corpus in defiance of the rules of the Geneva Convention, anti-socialist and nationalistic political tactics, wholesale violation of the constitution in favour of expansion of the president’s executive authority whenever it comes to fighting terrorism, the first president to actually “line-item veto” laws so that they can only be interpretted the way he wishes, and attempting to pass a law providing retroactive immunity for telecom companies that participating in his program of warrantless domestic spying?

    I think that qualifies him as an autocrat who wants to centralise government control around the Presidency. Even if you disagree that he’s an autocrat in absolute terms, he is by far the closest that a modern democracy has gotten to an autocrat while still maintaining a democratic framework.

    (fyi, this is one of the reasons that although I’m a Republican, I don’t support an executive presidency in any shape way or form)

    edit: Oh, and Richard Hurst?

    So private property rights don’t exist! Yippy! Lets all become like Africa and Zimbabwe! Right I’m off to do some serious looting!

    I think there’s a happy medium where you can deal with the problems that come about from capital property rights without destroying the concept of ownership or property altogether. “How do you deal with property?” is one of those key questions for leftists, to the point where you can place someone’s left-wing ideology with remarkable accuracy by how they answer it. :)

  103. Pascal's bookie 104

    So private property rights don’t exist!

    Never said that Dick. I said that property rights are constructed rights. That fairly directly impies that they exist. The point is that they are not rights that would exist without some form of government. They are not natural rights. If the only rights that we had were rights that we have by way of our nature, then life would be nasty brutish and short. Just as you allude to.

    Our natural right to go around doing whatever the hell we feel like is constrained by a whole bunch of other constructed rights, both moral and legal. The benefit of these negative rights that constrain our natural rights is that our lives are less brutal nasty and short. These rights may or may not include property rights in some form or another.

    Did you not read the sentence after the one you quoted:

    “A claim of ownership is essentially a negative claim against another persons natural right to use the ‘property’. Justifiable in many cases on utilitarian grounds, or in many cases moral grounds, but to raise it up to an absolute right is stupid. ”

    You sure slayed that strawman but good though Dick.

  104. Yes, actually, we can. We don’t need people to tell us what to do. All we need is the agreement to do it. Such agreement comes from community discussion and participation. That’s why it’s called participatory democracy.

    Unfortunately the Co-Op who spent their time trying to decide on what to do about the shortage of food through their participatory democracy died.

    The other Co-Op, while suffering great attrition survived the winter. They were able to focus resources, apply people’s specialist skills effectively. They also came across during their search for food a group of frozen bodies huddled around an extinguished fire that had run out of fuel (guess they were too busy talking on who should go out to get the wood).

    Being pragmatic, the elected leader decided to ask the people what do with the bodies, and after a vote; they carved up some of the bodies and used them for an additional food supply to see out the rest of winter.

    All we need is the agreement to do it.

    In a crisis, you need leadership; it’s human nature. The alternative is anarchy.

    Re: Felix
    Do I even need to point out the incredible dishonesty of this statement?

    Hmmm… so; how exactly would New Zealand have defended itself from an organized military force using participatory democracy?

    By the time they sorted out what to do; they would have been running around like headless chooks as they were shot dead.

    I’ll say it again; you need leadership so everyone is pulling the same way. By very nature we are individuals. We have different levels of skill, intelligence and aptitude. Some things can be taught; some are natural and can not be taught.

    Without a cohesive common direction, nothing would ever get done; and you would have anarchy.

    Anarchy is the furtherest left you can get; and it won’t work.

  105. Pascal's bookie 106

    Ari, good stuff re Bush.

    One minor quibble about the ‘line-item-veto’ though. It’s actually worse than that. What Bush is doing is using ‘signing statements’ that he attaches to the legislation as he signs it into law. These statements say that the president will interpret the law in such a way as not to limit his behaviour, no matter what the law says.

    If he was vetoing the relevent lines that would be one thing, but he is in fact signing the lines into law, and just saying that he won’t obey them. A claim essentially that the law does not apply to the President, err, monarch.

    Did you see the stuff last week about the torture slides used for instructing gitmo staff? Lifted directly from a document detailing Chinese methods for eliciting false confessions, (though they changed the heading that said exactly that).
    Details and links here

    Yeehaa.

  106. lprent 107

    I see there is some remarkable Left wing extremism appearing in the comments section here.

    We get the full spectrum. They just have to be prepared for argument rather than simply making assertions.

  107. Felix 108

    Ok Karl, just for you: The 3 brutal and oppressive regimes you alluded to all provide examples of very “strong leadership”. The incredible dishonesty of your position is that you seem to be willing to espouse the virtues of “strong leadership” when talking about their defeat but are (amazingly) unable to acknowledge the central and enabling role of “strong leadership” in their very establishment and flourishing.

    Your story about the two co-ops is hilarious by the way. I’ve got another one for you:

    Once upon a time there were three orange monkeys and three pink monkeys. Each monkey was given 2 bananas for lunch. What do you think happened at lunchtime? Let’s see!

    Well, after lunchtime we see that the orange monkeys are happily resting in the shade, having eaten their bananas. The pink monkeys are still hungry because they threw their bananas at each other and wasted them!

    What does this show? Not a fucking thing of course – just like your story, it’s just a bunch of shit someone made up. Do you think we’re all five years old and in sunday school?

    I really, really hope your comments here are actually some kind of satire, cleverly poking fun at semi-retarded historically illiterate hard-of-thinking right wing idiots. If not they’re just very, very sad.

  108. Swampy 109

    The so called “freedoms” are very wishy washy and depend on taking away other freedoms that are much more important.

    How about
    – Freedom to send your children to any school you please without financial penalty.
    – Freedom to receive healthcare from any provider without added cost.
    – Freedom from anti competitive monopolistic behaviour by the government.
    – Freedom to start up your own business without bureacrats imposing huge costs and form filling requirements.

  109. jbc 110

    RedLogix:
    So if your capitalism is so wonderful, how come it keeps failing?

    Notice I said capitalism sucks. It’s certainly not perfect.

    Have you not noticed the spectacular crisis in the global fiscal machine?

    Been watching and expecting it for years. I believe the worst is yet to come. What bugs me most is that the architects of the crisis and the conmen who profited from it are not the only ones who will suffer.

    But it has not blinded me. I just hope that this time the lesson results in some changes. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

    Like the drunk driver with 20 prior convictions – we still forgive them and give them their keys back in a few months…

  110. Robinsod 111

    Like the drunk driver with 20 prior convictions – we still forgive them and give them their keys back in a few months

    Forgive??? We buy them a new car to replace the one they wrote off and then apologise for our families getting in the way of their swerving:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=axlw8G3iaFLo&refer=home

  111. Draco TB 112

    Unfortunately the Co-Op who spent their time trying to decide on what to do about the shortage of food through their participatory democracy died.

    What really happened went like this:

    The democratic Co-op decided, during a meeting that took a single night, how many houses were needed to shelter the co-op and the food they would need. These needs were voluntarily met by those willing to do them. At the end of the meeting the Weather-Watcher stood up and said “I have been watching the winds and the clouds and believe that this winter will be long and hard and that we will need to put more stores aside to survive”. The co-op knew the Weather-Watcher – he could neither gather or build but he knew the weather and if he said that the winter would be long and hard then it would be best to listen to him. To this the gatherers said “It is simple enough to gather a little more grain each day but we will need somewhere to store it.” to which the builders replied that such storage would be built (Friendly competition between the builders resulted in two silos being built both of which the gatherers were more than happy to fill).

    Over the long winter the democratic co-op most of their time singing Kum-baiya and drinking Wild Grain Mead (The surplus grain gathered had to be put to some use) in the town hall that the builders had built in their spare time while teaching some of the younger co-op members how to build. Not only was there no attrition but a couple of children were born which, everyone agreed, was a good excuse to drink more mead.

    Near the end of the winter the gatherers cam across a small group that hadn’t weathered the winter so well. One of them, fatter and well clothed compared to the rest, called himself the ‘leader’ went on at some length about about what ‘he’ had done to keep ‘his’ group alive over winter. Most of which seemed to be getting someone else to do the actual work while he did nothing. The group, seeing how much better off the democratic group was, left the leader wholesale when offered a place. The leader, seeing the loss of his authority, left in a huff while mumbling something about loyalty, individualism and property rights.

    Nobody really knows what became of this ‘leader’ although a few years later a rough camp in the woods with a single skeleton was found. Some of the items there were identified from people who were once part of the leaders group as belonging to the leader.

  112. Bill 113

    Best laugh this weekend Thankyou Draco ;0)

  113. jbc 114

    ‘sod: wasn’t sure if you were writing literally or metaphorically there for a second… :) Such is the state of things.

    But yes, what you point to is what bugs me too. I can understand the rationale behind propping up retail banks/finance – but where to draw the line. I would not want to be anywhere near that mess.

    Perhaps we’ll see more of this. If enough of them end up behind bars then… lessons learned.

  114. Bill 115

    BTW A wee thought for the ‘righties’. Since ‘individualism’ is all about the inalienable right of the individual to follow their own moral compass, how the hell is it that you all tend to want ‘lock em up and throw away the key’ solutions to crime?

    In a world of ‘individualism’ there cannot logically be any crime. And if you are an aspiring ‘individualist’ in today’s world then you obviously cannot recognise crime…criminals are just being ‘individualists’ with an inalienable right to act as they do.

    Any answers?

  115. jbc 116

    Well Bill, that’s some ‘individualist’ straw man you’ve drawn there. I can’t say I’ve heard anyone allude to anything resembling that.

    The closest would be those who regard criminals as the real victims. But then the people that think this way are not individualists – quite the opposite.

    I think if you want to draw the mythical ‘individualist’ stereotype a little more accurately then here are some pointers:

    1. They believe they are individually responsible for their own actions – and should be held to account for them.
    2. They believe in their own individual safety and that of others.
    3. They believe in individual (personal) property.

    So putting those together I guess that they consider actions against persons and property to be a crime is fairly logical. But then again; this is just a straw man. Set it alight if you wish.

    In a world of ‘individualism’ there cannot logically be any crime

    Curious to know where that idea came from. Sounds pretty crackpot to me.

  116. In political philosophy, the individualist theory of government holds that the state should take a merely defensive role by protecting the liberty of each individual to act as he or she wishes as long he or she does not infringe on the same liberty of another.

    So criminals don’t fit this criteria. They, by there very nature, have breeched the very basis of individualist society.

    Essentially a criminal is part of a counter-culture, which will always occur regardless of your social and political infrastructure.

  117. Bill 118

    JCB, it was stated by Peter…”It is this real freedom — the freedom to be oneself, to pursue one’s own ends, within one’s own moral space…”

    ANyway, you say;
    1. They believe they are individually responsible for their own actions – and should be held to account for them.

    Held to account by who? Themselves, or society? Can’t be society since individualism denies the existence of society and therefore any role for it.

    2. They believe in their own individual safety and that of others.

    Believing in your safety can be a terrible delusion depending on the circumstances.

    3. They believe in individual (personal) property.

    Which in the real world has meant and means the right to lay claim to lands and resources. With, as history shows, the backing of state supplied armed force of course.

    .

  118. r0b 119

    Karl / Wikipedia: In political philosophy, the individualist theory of government holds that the state should take a merely defensive role by protecting the liberty of each individual to act as he or she wishes as long he or she does not infringe on the same liberty of another.

    So Karl, when you steal intellectual property by quoting without attribution from Wikipedia, should the government take a defensive role and lock you up? Or does your law apply only to those that steal a loaf of bread…

    Pity you didn’t carry on from Wikipedia – here’s what it says a bit later on: For example, individualists oppose democratic systems unless constitutional protections exist that do not allow individual liberty to be diminished by the interests of the majority. So can we take it from this that you oppose democracy in NZ Karl?

  119. Ben R 120

    “Why should we have people speculating for millions of dollars when they could spare a just a few first and feed the hungry?”

    That is going to be increasingly difficult Ari as Sub-Saharan Africa’s population doubles or more to between 1.5 and 2 billion by 2050. Unless the Catholic Church changes their message, or aid agencies help improve education about contraception use, there are going to be more and more hungry..

    “A parallel factor at work is fecundity, equal to or higher than 5 children per woman. This is two to three times higher as in the rest of the world, an important factor being that four out of five African women live in countries where there is little access to contraception. Indeed less than 20% of women use modern contraceptive methods, as against 60% or more in Latin America and Asia. The fact that the use of contraception is progressing very slowly contributes to the strong population growth…

    The prime effect of this exceptional, continuing population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is its role as a major handicap to economic and social development of most of the region’s countries. The conclusion from the research is that if the African nations want to take up the double challenge of their demographic transition and reduction of their poverty, development policies must be completely rethought. It is by the adoption and implementation of policies hinged on combined actionsinvolving education, prevention of mortality, equitable access to health care and to family planningthat changes bringing advances and improved living standards could be generated in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-01/idrp-sat010808.php

  120. From reading the explanations and backtracking that Ari (and PB?) have done I assume they both accept private property rights DO exist. Well there’s a relief!
    Damn, now I’m going to have to return all that stuff I looted yesterday! Bugger I’ll have to pay for those houses I burnt down as well and go to court.
    Why? Because absolute private property rights for everyone are real and are the plank on which our civilization functions and survives.

    Absolute private property rights protect people in law from having their rights abused by others, whether that’s individuals acting alone against someone else, or the ‘group’ in the grip of a charismatic megalomaniac leader or collectivist ideology who wants to destroy the private property rights of selected individuals.
    What’s yours is not mine, and mine isn’t yours unless I want to voluntary help you/me, we have exchanged value for value or I have agreed that contributing some my property to the ‘group’ in some way helps me.
    E.g. Tax used to pay for roads or the education of others kids etc. The trick with that is striking the balance via the democratic system and the freedom to be left alone by the ‘group’ as much as is practically possible or as much as an individual wishes.

    Oh.. have to stop the police have arrived to arrest me for my previous looting etc. I was planning on using the comments on this blog as my defense, but since you’ve made clear property rights exists I’m buggered now :)

  121. Pascal's bookie 122

    Richard. Fair enough.

    We appear to agree about the utility of property rights (why it’s useful to have them), and the fact that they are rights defined by law, and constructed through a political process.

    We probably disagree about what sort of property rights a society should ideally construct. Probably not by much, given the range of options that have been tried throughout history (stalinism, tribalism, monarchism, feudalsim, fascism, unbridled capitalism, capitalism with some bridles on, etc).

    But that’s ok, it’s a different discussion.

    I think some confusion may have arisen, seeing you accused me of not believing that property rights exist.

    1/ ‘absolutely having private property rights’. True in any society that I think think of, (though how those rights are defined obviously varies).

    and

    2/ ‘having absolute private property rights’. Not sure what this would mean. If I own a gun I can do whatever I like with it?

    No need to apologise for accusing me of backtracking, (if that’s what you did?).

    If you need a witness at court, just ask. 😉

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    On Wednesday, John Key visited the southern Coromandel area with local National MP Scott Simpson and was challenged by citizens who spontaneously organised protests against the Government position on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). I went down to Waihi… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • John Key: where is your conscience?
    The Prime Minister’s refusal to raise the refugee quota in the face of an international humanitarian crisis shows a lack of empathy and moral leadership, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “There are times in politics when you are faced with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Report highlights National’s poor funding decisions
    The Government’s poor coordination between its transport strategy and the needs of the regions has been highlighted in a new report by Local Government New Zealand, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Local Government was forced to write its Mobilising… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government wakes up to Opotiki Harbour
    John Key is expected to finally announce Government support next week for the Opotiki Harbour development, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. "While it is astonishing that it has taken seven years for the Government to commit to this… ...
    3 days ago
  • New figures show speculators rampant
    New figures released by the Reserve Bank show there’s been an explosion in mortgage lending with most of the growth going to property investors, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank data shows mortgage lending was up 6 per… ...
    4 days ago
  • Spring is here – not pollen your leg
    It’s the first day of spring, and many people will be thinking about getting stuck into the weeds in the garden ready for planting. This year September is also Bee Aware Month. While there is a lack of movement from… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Government must do more to help global refugee crisis
    John Key must urgently increase our refugee quota and let New Zealand play its part in helping address the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding around the world, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The refugee crisis in countries like Lebanon and Austria… ...
    4 days ago
  • The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives
    ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    5 days ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    5 days ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    1 week ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    1 week ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    1 week ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    1 week ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    1 week ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    1 week ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    2 weeks ago

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