Would Nats introduce work-for-the-dole?

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 am, July 21st, 2008 - 290 comments
Categories: john key, national, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Judith Collins, who has made it her mission in life to attack benefits at every turn, has been meeting with Mission Australia, the largest private ‘work-for-the-dole’ scheme provider in Australia. This is a clear indication that, in contrast to the moderate, modern approach Key says he espouses, National will be returning to the failed policy of work-for-the-dole.

Work-for-the-dole was introduced in the dying days of the last National Government. It was cancelled by the incoming Labour-led Government in 2000. A report on the scheme concluded it had failed unemployed workers by shortening the length of time they had to find suitable work before either losing their benefit or being conscripted into work-for-the-dole. Work-for-the-dole resulted in higher unemployment than it otherwise would have.

Proponents of work-for-the-dole argue it helps long-term unemployed get off benefits. There’s no proof that’s the case, it’s all ideology. Moreover, the number of long-term unemployed is tiny and has fallen in recent years, not due to work-for-the-dole but because of a full employment policy that invests resources into getting people into decent work.

(source)

Work-for-the-dole is a nice sounding slogan but it doesn’t work in practice. As with ACC and the 90 Day No Rights policy, National is following ideology, rather than doing what makes sense.

[for those who will inevitably claim Labour has moved people from the UB to sickness benefit – the facts]

290 comments on “Would Nats introduce work-for-the-dole?”

  1. infused 1

    The only reason people have come off the dole was because of the economy. You will see this change very much over the next 12-18 months. If you haven’t found work after 3+ months you really have no excuse so I would support this idea.

    Being on the dole a good 2 years all I did was sit around on my ass. At least this way you’re out there doing something.

    The govt should have a look at more ideas like the enterprise grant. Got me where I am today.

  2. vto 2

    Is it not more like making a contribution back to the community that is helping the unemployed out?

    I increasingly like the sound of this Universal Entitlement Benefit, which I read somewhere. A dollop of money for each and every person for basic living costs, whether employed or not.

  3. Stephen 3

    Hmm…so The Standard, you wouldn’t support a Work for the Dole for long-term unemployed (whose numbers are very small, yes), like infused suggested? In principle it sounds good, and saying ‘it’s only ideology’ doesn’t really cut it, I feel.

    Also, using the definition of long-term unemployed on the UB as FOUR YEARS+ is not very helpful. That stats page records those who have been on for <1, then 1-4. I would have used ‘4 years and less’.

  4. Stephen 4

    I should have said ‘Steve Pierson’, not ‘The Standard’, sorry.

    [lprent: thank you]

  5. BeShakey 5

    Infused – hopefully you realise that things that have worked for you may not work for everyone (and the evidence suggests that work for the dole doesn’t work for many people and has a net negative effect).

    Stephen – if you read the post properly the point isn’t simply that the Nats support of work for the dole is that its ‘only ideology’ its that GIVEN THAT IT DOESNT WORK the only reason to support it is ideology. The fact that it doesn’t work is fairly central to the argument so don’t ignore that bit eh?

  6. Stephen 6

    BeShakey, I should have said that I agree with the reasons cited in the original post for it not working *generally* (less time etc), but does that really apply to those who have been unemployed for say, a year or more? (I still REALLY take issue with the definition of ‘long term’ as >4 years!)

    I haven’t seen the report, perhaps it has a commentary on the matter of the scheme and the long-term unemployed..?

  7. higherstandard 7

    SP

    Do you know who conducted the report on the scheme or even better a link to the actual report.

    I’d like to have a look, as on the face of it I can see no reason why a well run work for the unemployment benefit isn’t something that should be seriously considered.

  8. Rob 8

    I don’t think work for the dole will work any more in New Zealand as Ruth Dyson and her cronies have moved a lot of people off the dole to the Sickness Benefit.

    This was obviously done to understate dole numbers. I can hardly see National putting in work for the sickness benefit.

    I do believe they need to visit each person on the sickness benefit and see if they are legitimate or not as at the moment there is a lot of doubt about Ruth Dysons numbers.

  9. RedLogix 9

    The problem is that these types of schemes have a way of looking good on paper, but a long history of being humiliating, exploitative, or just plain pointless in practise.

  10. infused 10

    What about more schemes then? The enterprise grant is the best thing ever. They almost canned it. I didn’t even get the grant but continued in starting my own business anyway. It taught me a lot. It was a course for the motivate though.

    They also send people on that camp, outward bound. Another awesome thing that hopefully doesn’t get axed.

  11. vto 11

    I suspect these schemes will continue to arise for many years to come. Fpr the simple reason that people (voters) resent getting up early in the cold dark winter mornings to go to work when much of their hard work (pay packet) goes to long term unemployed (sleeping in on those same mornings perhaps). And how can anyone be long term unemployed?

    So dont expect that this grinding of two sectors against each other will stop.

  12. randal 12

    what do they mean by work. time serving, free services for national supporters, training? if people work then they are entitled to pay. who is going to pay for unneeded wirk?
    sounds like being convicted of a crime without being charged with anything to me

  13. RedLogix 13

    Rob,

    Or another way of putting it, is that a lot of people on the Unemployment Benefit were really there because they were not fit to work, but under National the Sickness Benefit criteria were set too high.

    My brother has something charming called Ushers Syndrome. It means he is both severely deaf AND is loosing his sight in middle age. Yet during the 90’s he could not get a Sickness Benefit and struggled to hold down various jobs. Often he would hurt himself as a result. Under this Labour govt his position has improved markedly. He still works, but in a subsidised role that is carefully managed. It made no sense to have him on the UB, it was totally wrong category to place him in.

    The process of obtaining a Sickness Benefit is not trivial. We rely on medical professionals to act as the gatekeepers, and while they may not be perfect at it, I’m wondering who else you think would be better at it?

    But if you want to visit very person on the SB and re-evaluate them feel free, but don’t go moaning about waste of taxpayers money and the bloated bureacracy needed to do it.

  14. r0b 14

    don’t think work for the dole will work any more in New Zealand as Ruth Dyson and her cronies have moved a lot of people off the dole to the Sickness Benefit.

    Sorry Rob (cool name btw), but this just makes you look like a fool. See the data (up to March 2008) from the Ministry of Social Development:

    Unemployment benefit: Five year trend

    The number of clients receiving an Unemployment Benefit at the end of March has decreased from 101,000 to 19,000 between 2003 and 2008.

    Sickness benefit: Fiver year trend:

    The number of working aged clients receiving a Sickness Benefit at the end of March increased from 38,000 to 46,000 between 2003 and 2008.

    Over this period Labour took 82,000 people off the unemployment benefit and the sickness benefit increased by only 8,000. So I guess the idea that Labour just moved the unemployed to the sickness benefit is pretty much just empty spin then. The increase that has occurred in the sickness benefit has much more to do with our aging population base than to “Ruth Dyson and her cronies”…

  15. Rob 15

    RedLogix

    I agree with you in terms of your brother its obvious where he should be. My question is why wasn’t this addressed from bureaucrats from both governments prior to this. That is what they get paid for.

    I will give you an example I have a Brother in Law who has been on the dole for 20 years!!

    Nothing wrong with him but wont get off his arse and work. He got moved from the Dole to the Sickness benefit he thinks its great because he is safe now. I have seen his pride his get up and go diminish totally since he has been on the Dole / Sickness Benefit. I believe inherently where we can Humans are meant to be working it does nothing for them when they aren’t and in fact medical research shows they die younger.

    People need a sense of purpose sitting round collecting the dole week after week does nothing form them Psychologically and if they have kids it affects them even worse.

    I believe if they were working for the dole on community projects it would be a good thing for them the community and their families

  16. Great idea, but we already have it, expect labour calls it work experience, just go into any winz office, its good for people who have been out of work for a while to get back into.

  17. Rob 17

    rOb

    Sorry we have the same name I was born with mine and don’t want to hide behind false names.
    Labour didn’t take those people off the Dole lets get real any Government in would have had the same results or even better.

    The World economy took off commodity prices were at record highs and we rode the economic wave.

    When National get in and there are a lot of people going on to the dole because of redundancies and business closure it will all be their fault!!

    I would like to see Labour get back in and see how the Govern in tough times what they do with their ever ballooning Government spend and bloated bureaucracy.

    See their excuses but no unfortunately National will have to pick up the Sucker pass and put things right again just like they did last time.

  18. Anita 18

    I’ve never understood why people moving from the UB to the sickness benefit is seen as a bad thing. If they’re too sick to work they should be on the sickness benefit – to me it seems like an indicator that MSD is looking at people on the UB as individuals and finding out the underlying problems and then dealing with them, which has got to be good!

    Way back when, I was on the sickness benefit for two years, and it wasn’t a “soft option” in any sense; I had lots of contact from them (were they WINZ back then? or DSW?), lots of encouragement and support to find part time work, and lots of encouragement and support to make sure I was getting good health care. If I’d wanted a soft ride I would’ve switched to the UB 🙂

  19. BeShakey 19

    Rob – I don’t think anyone here is arguing that people working is a bad thing. The issue is whether work for the dole helps people get into good long-term work, and the answer seems to be no.
    In terms of Labour getting an easy run, English said that anyone claiming to be able to get the unemployment level under 4% was a liar. The line about Labour having it easy has been trotted out on a range of issues, but it doesn’t really hold up. The unemployment levels probably would have improved regardless, but the improvement has been pretty dramatic under Labour (to the degree that in ’99 the Nats claimed that success of the kind Labour has achieved was impossible).

  20. Strings 20

    Gents [and ladies. SP]
    Good discussion here – I’m enjoying it.

    I have two brothers-in-law, both on the dole since they left school, both also moved to sickness benefit (which pays a bit more it would seem. The diagnosis in both cases is depression. The way it came about is really interesting.

    They went to a school in a good area (thanks to my wife and I buying their mother a house that saved us a lot of travel). The school like most in the 70s (I am told, as I finished school in the 60s) didn’t believe in ‘comparing’ or discussing ‘position in class’ or any of the other basic ‘performance’ measures we took for granted. All the kids were “doing fine” and no one ‘failed’ anything. They finish school, and head off to the job market. (By a quirk of nature they are less than a year apart in age and ended up in the same class and year.)

    After a few weeks of applying for jobs, they got a few interviews and eventually the “no thanks’ letters started to arrive. They decided to confront a couple of letter writers, and (cutting the story short) get told they weren’t “the best person for the job”, “there were other applicants who fitted our needs better”, and similar.

    The result – DEPRESSION! They stopped applying for jobs, drew the dole, got married, had kids, kept drawing the dole, and now draw sickness benefit! All because the education system didn’t believe in telling them the truth or preparing them for the real world they would have to live in.

    I believe we currently have a second generation going through this system, and are rapidly approaching a time when full employment will suffer the effects of recession and these two generations will find themselves without jobs. I wonder how many of them will end up as life-long dependents!

  21. r0b 21

    Sorry we have the same name I was born with mine and don’t want to hide behind false names.

    Yep, pretty brave of you to post under your real name, not many “Rob”s about. My online name is spelt with a “0” (zero) not an “O” anyway, and it’s a tribute to Rob Muldoon, the man who inspired me to get active politically.

    Labour didn’t take those people off the Dole lets get real any Government in would have had the same results or even better.

    Speaking of let’s get real – my claim was a whole lot more valid than yours!

    But of course our governments are only part of the picture, as we are a small economy adrift in a stormy global sea. Events good and bad are only partially a result of government actions. However, even taking this into account, the Labour led governments can take some credit for positive developments. We have done better than comparable economies during the “good times”: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2162

  22. hs. the report is referenced in the Herald article. I feel confident in relying on that

  23. Julie 23

    What I always find weird about work-for-the-dole as a policy is that basically it is an excuse to bash all beneficiaries while making very little actual difference (other than having to deal with all the hate of course) to the vast majority of those on the dole. It’s a niche policy, one that only impacts on a very tiny number, yet it always gets big media coverage. Kind of like tougher sentences for the very worst offenders I guess. It paints a picture of a Strong Party who are decisive and stern, competent and frugal. Which I guess is what National needs when they have a leader who tends to mis-speak on a regular basis, and little in the way of policy detail.

  24. “The result – DEPRESSION! They stopped applying for jobs, drew the dole, got married, had kids, kept drawing the dole, and now draw sickness benefit! All because the education system didn’t believe in telling them the truth or preparing them for the real world they would have to live in.”

    So instead the school needs to tell them they are failures so they can skip those couple of job applications and go striaght to the dole?

  25. higherstandard 25

    SP

    That must be the first thing you’ve been confident on relying on ex the herald. =)

    If I find the original this evening I’ll send you a link through.

    Have a good day …… and don’t put up any more videos of yourself !!

  26. higherstandard 26

    SP
    I think this is the report on the effect of the work for the dole last time around although not in depth it looks interesting.

    http://executive.govt.nz/minister/maharey/ctf/ctf.pdf

  27. monkey-boy 27

    work for dole is not a good idea. However, providing incentives and training which is paid for and in concert with an employer – this is a good idea. Interestingly enough, in my experience I have rarely seen any public-sector industries take up this kind of proposition.
    Usually it is small to medium sized employers (who often are villified) who pick up the cudgels and give a longer-term beneficiary a hand.
    Would it make sense for unions to get involved in encouraging employers, WINZ and potential employees to accept in-work training?
    from my own experience as an -‘in-work’- trainer, ‘back-to-work’ trainer in WINZ as a case manager, I am sorry to inform some of you that there is a hard-core of people out there who have no desire to give up the lifestyle they have chosen – ie not to have a ‘job’ however, often the ‘jobs’ they do have tend to be under the radar.
    I have seen non-union members who get wage rises fought for by unions as ‘scabs’ ‘parasties’ etc. but somehow there is a kind of blindness to the issue of long-term beneficiaries who are actually there by choice. In my book, they are ‘scabs’ too. Anita, your experience as a sickness beneficiary is typical, however, sadly, there is also a ‘hard-core’ of people who ‘graduate’ to SB because they are unmanageable, and there is no means to coerce them to take on employment even though they could if they wished.
    This is not an attempt to support ‘work for dole’ but I get angry that my folks who have worked hard and paid their taxes support some spoilt rich kid with an arts degree in Mt Eden who hasn’t worked for eight years, and thinks working in McDonalds is ‘below him’. Or a fifty-something ‘budding actor’ who hasn’t worked for twelve years, and who can’t be arsed to even attend training when it is set up and paid for by the state.

  28. G 28

    Great news!! Now that “the number of long-term unemployed is tiny,” with drastically fewer dependent on the ‘wealthy’ for a living, perhaps it’s time to remove the 6% income tax increase they’ve shouldered since ’99!

  29. Tane 29

    That’s a 6% marginal increase, G. Not a single person in this country pays 39% income tax.

    If you earn $61,000 a year you’re only paying the higher marginal rate on the last $1,000 of your income. That’s around $1.15 a week extra, from those who can most afford it.

    There’s also no need to put inverted commas around ‘wealthy’. The top tax bracket only targets the wealthy by definition. Right now that’s around 14% of income earners, and due to fall away quite rapidly as the thresholds move over the next few years.

    It’s quite distasteful when those at the top of the heap adopt the language of the oppressed to justify their privelige.

  30. “I get angry that my folks who have worked hard and paid their taxes support some spoilt rich kid with an arts degree in Mt Eden who hasn’t worked for eight years, and thinks working in McDonalds is ‘below him’. ”

    Sorry but that statement makes me seriously doubt your earlier claim that you worked for winz. You sound like your just here to troll using very old and very disproven sterotypes. Please Fuck Off.

  31. lprent 31

    G:

    with drastically fewer dependent on the ‘wealthy’ for a living, perhaps it’s time to remove the 6% income tax increase they’ve shouldered since ’99!

    Perhaps you could give an innovative way of reducing the increasing number of people on superannuation?

    Looking at the projections I’d say that taxes should being increased rather than reduced to cover the forward costs of the superannuation system. Of course that is one voting block that is hard to marginalise.

    That is a polite way of saying that you should use your brain more often.

  32. G 32

    Tane: “It’s quite distasteful when those at the top of the heap adopt the language of the oppressed to justify their privelige [sic].”

    I don’t understand, Tane; why do you find it distasteful when someone at the top of the heap asks for an end to the extra 6% marginal rate he’s been paying for 9 years, but think it’s entirely tasteful for you to demand he keeps paying it?

    After all, it is his money, right?

  33. G 33

    Oh dear, Iprent; I’m sure you could’ve made your point without being catty.

  34. randal 34

    g no its not his money. it was created by society and can be given and taken away. money is only a lien on future production unless its in the possession of a NAT who then thinks it is necessary and sufficient reason for anyone without it to kiss his butt. haw haw haw.

  35. DS 35

    “After all, it is his money, right?”

    For the 1,347,567th time: taxes are part of the social contract. Without the social contract you’d have no money at all (or do you think that the social and economic infrastructure that enabled people to earn what they do suddenly popped out of a hole in the ground?). Given this, tax levels (who pays and how much) become a matter for society as a whole to determine.

  36. r0b 36

    After all, it is his money, right?

    The money belongs to him/her in the same sense that the taxes belong to society.

    “Ownership” is a social and legal convention, just like “taxation”. Nothing more, nothing less. Society has decided that people can own stuff, and that they pay progressive tax (and has decided other things too which lead to the specific marginal tax discussed above).

    Or in other other words, the rights of ownership and the duty to pay tax have exactly the same practical and moral foundation (in social conventions).

    (Righties like to bang on about the first half of this equation and try to ignore the second half.)

  37. G 37

    Randal, let me get this straight: you’re suggesting that when a man sweats all day to earn a buck, and gets paid that buck in exchange for his sweat, it was society that did the actual sweating?

    How absurd.

  38. higherstandard 38

    Randal

    “No it’s not his money it was created by society and can be given and taken away”

    What ?

    Have you been staring to hard at pictures of Winston again ?

  39. G 39

    DS, can you name a contract that would hold up in court without the signatures of both parties?

  40. Tane 40

    After all, it is his money, right?

    Spare me the libertarian rhetoric. All property rights are a social construction. Remove the state and see how long your property rights last.

  41. G 41

    Rob: “Society has decided that people can own stuff, and that they pay progressive tax…”

    That a false statement, Rob. You’re inferring all of society made that decision, when in fact it did not. Quite a large portion of society thought it was a shit idea. Or don’t those earning in the higher bracket count as citizens?

  42. G 42

    You’re right, Tane, anarchy wouldn’t work – it’s barbaric.

    But you haven’t explained the matter of distaste.

  43. r0b 43

    That a false statement, Rob.

    Ahhh no it isn’t. I didn’t say that society had unanimously decided – that would be silly.

    You’re inferring all of society made that decision,

    No I’m not.

    Or don’t those earning in the higher bracket count as citizens?

    Of course they do.

    If you think that society hasn’t decided that taxation is a Good Thing then you better take a careful look around at the real world some time.

  44. Tane 44

    But you haven’t explained the matter of distaste.

    Because we have a social system where most of the world’s wealth is concentrated in very few hands, and this is caused overwhelmingly by class privelige rather than merit.

    The balance is already well in favour of the wealthy, so to hear the wealthy whining about how badly they’re doing and demanding an even greater slice of the pie at the expense of the poor is, in my opinion, distasteful.

  45. higherstandard 45

    r0b

    Of course society has decided that paying taxes is a good thing that is not as you know the point that G was fomenting mischief with it was purely a throw away comment about the top marginal tax rate.

    Tane it’s not the wealthy in NZ that are whining it’s the vast bulk of what one might call “Middle NZ”

    In terms of your second paragraph what are you suggesting that everything is nationalised ??

  46. G 46

    We’re not debating taxation, Rob, we’re talking about the extra 6% that the majority enforced the minority to cough up.

    In future it would be more accurate for you to say “most of society” so you avoid lumping me — who did not make any such decision — in with your blanket claim.

  47. G 47

    Tane: “The balance is already well in favour of the wealthy, so to hear the wealthy whining about how badly they’re doing and demanding an even greater slice of the pie at the expense of the poor is, in my opinion, distasteful.”

    They’re not demanding a greater slice of the poor’s pie, Tane; they’re asking for the return of the extra slice of pie they made by their own sweat, which was taken away from them.

  48. r0b 48

    We’re not debating taxation, Rob, we’re talking about the extra 6% that the majority enforced the minority to cough up.

    Actually, where this took off, and what we are discussing in the broadest sense, was your comment about “ownership”.

    In future it would be more accurate for you to say “most of society’ so you avoid lumping me — who did not make any such decision — in with your blanket claim.

    OK, sure. And when you make claims about the wealthy please make it clear that you aren’t speaking for all of them, you’re speaking only for a small subset of the wealthy who whine about taxes. Many of us are very happy to pay taxes as is our social duty. Don’t lump me in with your blanket claim.

    Edit they’re asking for the return of the extra slice

    There you go again G – you are asking – not all of us.

  49. Tane 49

    G. You have an incredibly simplistic view of how a modern industrial society works, as well as the basis of property rights.

    As r0b has already explained,

    “Ownership” is a social and legal convention, just like “taxation”. Nothing more, nothing less. Society has decided that people can own stuff, and that they pay progressive tax (and has decided other things too which lead to the specific marginal tax discussed above).

    Or in other other words, the rights of ownership and the duty to pay tax have exactly the same practical and moral foundation (in social conventions).

    The reason you’re allowed to own a virtually unlimited share of society’s resource as property, have this property protected by state violence and then use that property to employ staff whose labour you turn into personal profit is because society lets you. The tax you pay (including the 6% marginal tax above $60k) is your end of the bargain.

    Feel free to try and lobby your fellow citizens to renegotiate the social contract, but don’t pretend you’re oppressed or hard done by.

  50. G 50

    What blanket claim, Rob? I was talking about the minority who didn’t want to pay it. And quite a large minority it is.

  51. r0b 51

    What blanket claim, Rob?

    This one G:

    They’re [the wealthy] not demanding a greater slice of the poor’s pie, Tane; they’re asking for the return of the extra slice of pie

    I’m wealthy, and you don’t speak for me, or the many others like me, who are happy to pay taxes.

  52. DS 52

    “DS, can you name a contract that would hold up in court without the signatures of both parties?”

    Mate, you signed the social contract the moment you were born (an event which likely took place in a hospital paid for by … taxes).

    Mind you, if you don’t like it, you could always go and live on some uninhabited island. No-one’s stopping you. Just get used to living without sanitation, economic infrastructure, government-enforced property rights, or any of the other benefits that civilisation provides through taxes. Let’s see how much money you make then, eh?

  53. G 53

    So what you’re all saying, Tane, Rob et al., is that you agree with Randal: the guy who sweats for a buck, and gets paid a buck, doesn’t actually own the buck.

  54. G 54

    DS, you’re quite mistaken: I didn’t sign anything when I was born, in fact I was unable to sign my name for about three years, and much older still when I actually signed my first contract.

    Or are you suggesting I was born to serve society?

  55. r0b 55

    So what you’re all saying, Tane, Rob et al., is that you agree with Randal: the guy who sweats for a buck, and gets paid a buck, doesn’t actually own the buck.

    Speaking for myself only, he (or she) owns the buck in exactly the same sense that society owns the tax on the buck.

    He would not have earned that buck without (as DS points out) the hospital he was born in, the schools that educated him, the roads he drives (or cycles!) on, the laws and structures of society that protect him (and his employer). For all of that, he pays his taxes. Some do it willingly, some whine about it.

  56. Tane 56

    G. The buck wouldn’t exist without society. It’s that simple.

    Society has to create the context in which that buck is earned. In exchange it asks for a share of every buck earned.

  57. G 57

    Again I ask, what blanket claim, Rob? As I said, I was talking about the ‘minority’ who didn’t want to pay it; not the ‘wealthy’ as a blanket whole.

  58. G 58

    Society didn’t create anything, Tane: individuals did. There is no such entity as society.

  59. r0b 59

    As I said, I was talking about the ‘minority’ who didn’t want to pay it; not the ‘wealthy’ as a blanket whole.

    Well then G you need to learn to express yourself more clearly.

    There is no such entity as society.

    OK, you’ve crossed over into raving looney territory. Pick up a dictionary some time, you’ll find “society” listed under “S”. Bye bye G.

  60. Ben R 60

    In theory requiring people to work for money they get paid seems a good idea. Just basic reciprocity or fairness, rather than a one way entitlement.

    On the other hand it would need to be supported with social safety net to ensure children still have structured activities if their parents are working; ie universal pre-kindergarten/kohanga reo; funding for after-school programs etc.

  61. G 61

    I don’t have to clarify anything, Rob, since I made no such statement. You made an assumption.

  62. G 62

    A Society is a grouping of individuals, Rob, millions of them; and the fact is, that grouping never got together – every one of them – and created a single thing.

    I don’t need a dictionary to know that.

    [edit: feel free to give me an example if you think I’m wrong]

  63. Tane 63

    Society didn’t create anything, Tane: individuals did. There is no such entity as society.

    Channeling Thatcher there, G?

    Clearly society does exist. The problem is you’re imagining it as some giant monster that comes down from the hills at night to steal your earnings. It’s not. It’s a concept used (among other things) to describe the social relations between individuals that make civilization possible.

    Good to see you agree your ideology is sociopathic though.

  64. Pascal's bookie 64

    Seeing you’re into talking crud g, I just took a buck of my pocket and it’s got a picture of the bloody queen on it. What’s up with that I thought, and investigated further and lo and behold all ‘my’ money has got pictures of the queen on it.

    Funny that, it’s as if something is going on.

  65. r0b 65

    G: As I said, I was talking about the ‘minority’ who didn’t want to pay it; not the ‘wealthy’ as a blanket whole.

    G: I don’t have to clarify anything, Rob, since I made no such statement. You made an assumption

    G some minutes before: with drastically fewer dependent on the ‘wealthy’ for a living, perhaps it’s time to remove the 6% income tax increase they’ve shouldered since ‘99!

    That’s a blanket claim about the wealthy G. And you are kinda pathetic trying to avoid owning your own words.

    Really goodbye, I’ve a meeting to get to.

  66. G 66

    Tane, as I said, ‘Society’, that is to say the grouping of individuals in a country, never together created a single solitary thing. Instead, individuals and groups of individuals created things — but those grouping are not called society: they’re called inventors and companies.

  67. monkey boy 67

    “I get angry that my folks who have worked hard and paid their taxes support some spoilt rich kid with an arts degree in Mt Eden who hasn’t worked for eight years, and thinks working in McDonalds is ‘below him’. ‘

    Sorry but that statement makes me seriously doubt your earlier claim that you worked for winz. You sound like your just here to troll using very old and very disproven sterotypes. Please Fuck Off.”

    well ‘killinginthenameof’ I’m sorry, but that situations described were directly drawn from personal experience as a WINZ case manager. I don’t know what you imagine case managers are like – what/ all lovely and sympathetic, there to ‘make a difference’? well, maybe at first, but those stars soon leave their eyes. Actually, if you were to listen to some conversations that case managers have about some of their lovely clients, I dare say you might be quite shocked.

    I think you need to get out more.

  68. Matthew Pilott 68

    Pascal’s Bookie – splendid!

    You’re right, Tane, anarchy wouldn’t work – it’s barbaric.

    A Society is a grouping of individuals, Rob, millions of them; and the fact is, that grouping never got together – every one of them – and created a single thing.

    Spot the incoherency.

    (cap – ‘while horizontally’… captcha goes for the ‘adult’ crowd)

    Tane, I’m not sure if it was channelling as much as paraphrasing Thatcher: “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.

    I wonder if Thatcher thought families are the largest organic social structure. G would probably think so. Or maybe not even that…

  69. Tane 69

    G, we’ll have to continue this later. I have an appointment to make.

  70. Tane 70

    MP, I’m still waiting for him to come out with that other great libertarian standard, “The smallest minority is the individual.”

  71. G 71

    Rob writes: “G some minutes before: [quotes me] ‘… with drastically fewer dependent on the ‘wealthy’ for a living, perhaps it’s time to remove the 6% income tax increase they’ve shouldered since ‘99!’

    That’s a blanket claim about the wealthy G. And you are kinda pathetic trying to avoid owning your own words.”

    Rob, that is not a blanket claim. Or are you saying the poor don’t depend on the wealthy for a living? If they didn’t (and it sounds like only a tiny number these days still do) then there’d be no need to demand the wealthy pay the extra tax.

    And that neatly brings us back to my original point.

  72. Jane 72

    Whilst accusting ‘G’ of holding simplistic views, Tane, R0b etc are stereotyping ‘G’ to suit their own ends.

    People who ‘whine’ about tax may not be ‘whining’ because they don’t think they are part of a greater community and shouldn’t have to pay anything.

    Some people whine about tax because they pay a lot and don’t feel that they are getting value for money.

    When you are paying 1/3 of your income in tax, one way of looking at it is that you work 4 months ‘for the government’. Now if I am working 4 months not for myself, but for the taxman, I am going to make damn sure my money is being spent wisely, on roads that don’t need resurfacing every year, on people that genuinely need the benefit, rather than career beneficiaries, etc. And why shouldn’t I? It’s my money that I am earning, and as a resident of NZ I am obliged, and happy to pay tax.

    Being told that the money I work for is not actually mine, it belongs to ‘society’ is ludicrous.

    Also, I am a 30yo female living in Auckland and earning $46k in an administration role so I am not a rich prick. I get annoyed that ‘society’ tells me that I would be better off financially if I start having babies and get on the DPB and get working for familes and a part time under the table job.

  73. G 73

    I don’t spot the incoherency, Mr. Pilot, could you expand on your confusion?

  74. djp 74

    Tane, so we are all in servitude to big bro..**AHEM** I mean “society”?

    Jokes aside keep up the good fight G.

    It is sad if we have progressed from:

    “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”

    to Tane’s:

    “All property rights are a social construction.”

    —-
    <scribble scribble>
    …down with big brother…
    </scribble scribble>

    🙂

    [lprent: Ahem – I can’t resist.

    I don’t quite get the point of comparing the two quotations. I can’t see any mention of property rights in the former.

    However, of course around here I am BIG BRUV (and the other one found that out a while back).

    So what do we have here – sedition? Bugger – they’ve removed the death penalty for sedition… In fact sedition seems to be gone… Bugger.

    I want the good old 18th century with mandatory floggings for trivial offences. Just like the period that djp’s quotation came from. 🙂 ]

  75. G 75

    Tane: “The tax you pay (including the 6% marginal tax above $60k) is your end of the bargain.”

    When you come back, Tane, perhaps you could explain to me where, when and with whom I got to bargain. This extra tax was foist upon me without my agreement; without a contract signed — the very things that separate the civilised man from the barbarian.

  76. higherstandard 76

    DJP

    Indeed the arguments are even more bizarre then usual at the Standard, just last week I was called a liar for disagreeing with someone on a comment that we had the 2nd best health system in the world based on a survey of 6 health systems in which we were ranked third equal with Australia.

    Not sure what’s next at times perhaps a post explaining how Winston’s recent behaviour is actually all John Key’s fault ?

  77. G 77

    You make some excellent points, Jane. Indeed, if we must work for Society for half the year (and that’s where it sits when you include all the hidden taxes), then we shouldn’t have to wait to get a life-saving operation. I personally know of three families destroyed by loved ones dying from misdiagnosis and delays in the system.

    And thanks, djp. 🙂

  78. Matthew Pilott 78

    G – I thought it was pretty self-evident. Society is the order individuals have created out of anarchy.

    DJP – you’ll notice life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t exclusively entitle you to property as such, which is exactly what Tane is pointing out.

    Jane – that’s one way of looking at it I suppose, but a very short term one. If you were to continue working I’d happily assume you’ll progress to a point where WfF and such wouldn’t provide such financial benefits over your full-time employment. You are actually wrong on one point, you mention an under-the-table job. If you mean committing tax-avoidance, well, society as codified in New Zealand Law certainly doesn’t say to do that.

    And if you want to be positive, isn’t it nice that society, in recognising the financial burden that having a child is, has sought to make it as viable a choice as possible for those who choose to do so? And have even incentivised working after having had children with WfF… Best of both world, one could argue.

    HS – this is what happens when you let a Libertarian loose on a left-leaning forum.

  79. Draco TB 80

    djp:
    Every one but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious; I do not mean, that the poor of England are to be kept like the poor of France, but, the state of the country considered, they must (like all mankind) be in poverty or they will not work. by Arthur Young

    Same time period as the piece you quoted. Hmmm.. What was it JK said, oh, that’s right “we would like to see wages drop”.

    G:
    The reason the poor are dependent upon the rich is because if they weren’t then the rich would be as well off as everyone else. Capitalism requires poverty as the above quote stipulates otherwise people won’t work to make others rich.

    Jane:
    The idea of paying people to have children also comes out of our mercantilist past:
    The people are the riches and strength of the country. Nicholas Barbon
    Is not that country richest which has the most labour? Josiah Tucker
    That the strength and riches of a society consists in the numbers of the people is an assertion which hath attained the force of a maxim in politics. Henry Fielding

    But when you’re working assiduously to keep said labour poor then Adam Smiths when the cost of labour is too cheap then it will die out (paraphrased) comes into play and so it behooves society to pay people to have children.

    One day we will break away from the mercantilism that’s destroying our economy and our society.

  80. Dean 81

    r0b:

    “I’m wealthy, and you don’t speak for me, or the many others like me, who are happy to pay taxes.”

    Really.

    Dr Cullen would like to have a word with you. He called people like you “rich pricks”.

    How does it feel to be a member of a political party where the Minister of Finance classifies people as such, r0b? You always seem to dodge this question and I’d be greatful if you could find the time to answer it.

    My money is on you being a hypocrite about it, but I’m prepared to be pleasantly suprised.

  81. Dean 82

    Draco:

    “Same time period as the piece you quoted. Hmmm.. What was it JK said, oh, that’s right “we would like to see wages drop’.

    It’s a little bit late in the piece to be quoting what Key has said when you’re conveniently ignoring some of Clark’s clangers.

    Would you like a refresher course on her flip flops or her “slips of the tongue”, or shall we just agree to call her “slippery”? I hear thats a word you might like to use now and then, in reference to Key of course.

  82. Dean. He called Key a rich prick – he did not say all rich people are pricks or that all pricks are rich.

  83. Dean 84

    SP:

    “Dean. He called Key a rich prick – he did not say all rich people are pricks or that all pricks are rich.”

    Would that be like called Don Brash cancerous and corrosive?

    Actually this raises an interesting point, seeing as how you’re defending it. How much money does one have to have before the Minister of Finance is allowed to call you a rich prick? How much makes one a rich prick? Can this be divided amongst property, trusts or bank balances in some way to avoid the Minister of Finance for New Zealand being able to label someone a rich prick?

    Do Clarke’s multiple properties count?

    I’d be interested in your thoughts.

  84. Tane 85

    G.

    Firstly, are you seriously arguing that nothing has ever been achieved by society working collectively? I’m not sure where to even start on that, it’s so absurd. Perhaps you would care to clarify your statement and how it relates to our argument.

    Secondly, the ‘social contract’ is not a contract that you can opt out of, short of going bush or leaving for a different society. Humans are social animals and each society has rules that govern it. That’s just a fact. The beauty of democracy is it gives you an opportunity to have a say on what these rules are, and to try and persuade your fellow citizens to come around to your side. If you don’t like the ‘contract’ as it stands then go start a lobby group or join a political party.

    djp.

    Don’t confuse my descriptive statement that property rights are a social construct with a normative statement that property rights should not exist. Property rights certainly have their uses, I’m just pointing out that they’re as much a social construct as taxation, and you can’t call one illegitimate without likewise abandoning the other.

    You should also be careful not to conflate private property rights with freedom. It’s crude and inaccurate.

  85. Rex Widerstrom 86

    By the time I find a spare moment to come here we’ve abandoned the main topic and started in on Econ 101 I see ;-P

    Well I’d just like to point out that:

    1. I have, in the past, been unemployed for more than 3 months, vto & others. Not for want of trying.

    2. I turned up at WINZ with my folder of rejection letters and other evidence I was seriously looking for work and was told they weren’t all the interested in seeing them, actually.

    3. I was then sent a summons to, first, attend a course which would tell me how to prepare a CV and why it was important not to wear jandals to my interview. I responded that, though this vital information was indeed ommitted from my postgrad study, I was fairly certain I’d picked it up somewhere.

    4. I was therefore sent a further summons telling me that if I did not show up to work for the dole at some local marae (where, other participants informed me, most of the day was spent smoking – an activity in which I do not indulge) my benefit would be cut. Again I declined on the basis that if I wished to learn how to inhale tobacco or indeed grub weeds I could do so during the hours when potential employers weren’t actually available to call, meet with etc.

    Thank goodness a sane WINZ case officer got me out of the impending s**t fight… but he basically did so by lying, cheating, or somehow fooling the system into leaving me alone. I heard he’d been caught helping people such as myself once too often and shifted to Head Office. He certainly disappeared from the local branch. Can’t actually be helping people, now can we?!

    The story had a happy ending – I started my own business and contributed vastly more in taxes than I’d ever taken in benefits.

    But RedLogix has it nailed when s/he describes it as “humiliating, exploitative, or just plain pointless in practise”.

    Work for the Dole as a policy + Christine Rankin as a candidate = goodbye to any credibility National might hope to have.

    (Work placements with a real employer, however, which I used when managing a work skills training scheme… now that’s another, altogether better, story).

  86. Isnt calling someone “A Rich Prick” a form of racism? at the very least its bigoted against people who are wealthy.

    [you can only be racist when discriminating against someone on grounds of race. If I say you’re thick, it’s not racist, it’s just insulting. And, for the last time, calling Key a ‘rich prick’ does not mean all rich people are pricks or all pricks are rich. SP]

  87. r0b 88

    I’m kinda busy with a poorly documented program tonight Dean, so I’m not here to chat, but since you ask:

    Dr Cullen would like to have a word with you. He called people like you “rich pricks’.

    No he didn’t, he called John Key a rich prick. Are you misinformed, or are you deliberately lying?

    How does it feel to be a member of a political party where the Minister of Finance classifies people as such, r0b? You always seem to dodge this question and I’d be greatful if you could find the time to answer it.

    Feels great to be a member of the Labour Party thanks Dean. It ain’t perfect, but it works for the people of NZ, and that works for me. Occasional stupid comments by leaders of the party are regrettable, but they don’t change what they Party is for and what it achieves.

    So what party do you support Dean? You made a big song and dance a while back about not being a Nat. So who do you support?

  88. Pascal's bookie 89

    DJP wrote:

    It is sad if we have progressed from:

    “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’

    to Tane’s:

    “All property rights are a social construction.’

    Let’s see where the author of the DOI went from the where you stopped quoting him:

    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.

    Sounds like he’s saying that we have these things called governments, and that they have a whole bunch of powers, unspecified. Seems to me he was talking about some sort of, I dunno, let’s call it a social contract whereby we give the government some powers and in return it uses those unspecified powers in a way most likely to effect (our) Safety and Happiness.

    What’s odd though is that no one has ever signed such a contract, as many here have so ably pointed out. I guess the author was a bit of a thickee. Should probably have thought about things a bit harder. Or maybe he was describing how society actually is, rather than making up a fairy story about how it began.

    Hmm what’s that bit in the middle again:.

    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

    Seems clear enough. If you don’t think your government is acting in a way that you feel most likely to effect your happiness and safety you have a right to change or or abolish it. Wow. Maybe we should have some sort of way where the government can be changed periodically depending on the aggregate views of the governed. If such a mechanism could be constructed that would answer most of the problems I see being raised here.

    If we can’t construct such a mechanism, I guess it means violent revolution is our only recourse. Seems a bit silly over a 6% difference in marginal tax rates but hey ho.

  89. Brett’s comment reminds me of this http://www.qwantz.com/archive/000981.html – ‘that’s horse racist’

  90. Dean 91

    r0b:

    “No he didn’t, he called John Key a rich prick. Are you misinformed, or are you deliberately lying?”

    I see you dodged the actual question. What a suprise! Utterly unlike a Labour party member.

    I’ll repeat it for you, seeing as how you like to continue to avoid it.

    How much money does one have to have before the Minister of Finance is allowed to call you a rich prick? How much makes one a rich prick? Can this be divided amongst property, trusts or bank balances in some way to avoid the Minister of Finance for New Zealand being able to label someone a rich prick?

    I’m not entirely sure you couldn’t be more sycophantic with your replies if you actually tried, r0b, but then we get this:

    “Feels great to be a member of the Labour Party thanks Dean. It ain’t perfect, but it works for the people of NZ, and that works for me. Occasional stupid comments by leaders of the party are regrettable, but they don’t change what they Party is for and what it achieves.”

    It’s OK to call someone cancerous and corrosive, as well as perform numerous, rubber-spined flip flops, as long as they’re Labour. Well, I guess that about wraps it up for your objectivity, r0b. As if you had any in the first place.

    “So what party do you support Dean? You made a big song and dance a while back about not being a Nat. So who do you support?”

    I’ll leave that to your “Labour = Good, National = Bad, NZ First = let’s just pretend they don’t exist” philosophy to work out. It ought to keep you amused for a while, when you’re not defending people who liken a person to a disease that kills people. At least we know where your principles are – as far down the food chain as Trotters. Victory at all costs eh, r0b?

  91. r0b 92

    Oh – and while we’re quoting from the founders of America…

    Thomas Jefferson defined a republic as: “a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority”.

    John Adams defined it as: “a government, in which all men, rich and poor, magistrates and subjects, officers and people, masters and servants, the first citizen and the last, are equally subject to the laws.”

    John Adams again: “Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics.” and “…public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society.”

    So there you have it – governments are sovereign, and private desires are subordinate to the rights of society (which G does not believe in), even to the founders of the good ‘ol US of A.

  92. So Steve, say if I called someone “A unemployed poor prick” you wouldnt have a problem with that?

  93. I guess racist is the wrong word too use, how about Bigoted???

    Surly calling someone a rick prick is being bigoted against wealthy people?

  94. Dean 95

    SP:

    “[you can only be racist when discriminating against someone on grounds of race. If I say you’re thick, it’s not racist, it’s just insulting. And, for the last time, calling Key a ‘rich prick’ does not mean all rich people are pricks or all pricks are rich. SP”

    Once again, as you’re avoiding it like Clarke does with someone wearing a scarf who goes to church.

    How much qualifies a person as a rich prick?

    How much, Steve?

  95. Dean 96

    Brett:

    “I guess racist is the wrong word too use, how about Bigoted???

    Surly calling someone a rick prick is being bigoted against wealthy people?”

    It’s A-OK when a Labour MP calls someone a rich prick. They can’t be bigoted, because theyre a Labour party member.

    QED.

  96. r0b 97

    I see you dodged the actual question. What a suprise! Utterly unlike a Labour party member.
    I’ll repeat it for you, seeing as how you like to continue to avoid it.

    Nope, answered the question. But keep trying to rephrase it and pretend I didn’t.

    How much money does one have to have before the Minister of Finance is allowed to call you a rich prick? How much makes one a rich prick? Can this be divided amongst property, trusts or bank balances in some way to avoid the Minister of Finance for New Zealand being able to label someone a rich prick?

    According to my Little Red Book the exact amount is $45 Million, and it can be divided any way you like. (There you go Dean, I’d certainly hate to be accused of dodging a question by saying it was a stupid question that didn’t need an answer, which was my first instinct here).

    “So what party do you support Dean? You made a big song and dance a while back about not being a Nat. So who do you support?’

    I’ll leave that to your “Labour = Good, National = Bad, NZ First = let’s just pretend they don’t exist’ philosophy to work out. It ought to keep you amused for a while

    Why Dean, you’re dodging the question! What a surprise!

    Which party do you support Dean?

  97. Dean 98

    “According to my Little Red Book the exact amount is $45 Million, and it can be divided any way you like. (There you go Dean, I’d certainly hate to be accused of dodging a question by saying it was a stupid question that didn’t need an answer, which was my first instinct here).”

    Your answer would be amusing if it wasn’t so typically condescending. As usual, someone from Labour says something utterly bigoted and reprehensible and you’re willing to write it off in the cause of the greater common good, and actually excuse people behaving like spoilt children.

    No wonder you haven’t said anything about NZ First. How embarassing that must be.

    “Why Dean, you’re dodging the question! What a surprise!

    Which party do you support Dean?”

    I don’t support any, except possibly for the Greens and the Maori Party. My mind isn’t made up yet, but one or both of them are likely to get my vote this time around.

    You remember the Maori party, right? “Last cab off the rank” and all that – yet ANOTHER of Clarke’s stupid statements? Haters and wreckers, right?

  98. Pascal's bookie 99

    I think he said he was tossing up betwixt the maori Party and the Greens r0b.

    It’s because they don’t use harsh rhetoric and our Dean is nothing if not a delicate wee flower.

  99. r0b 100

    PB – I think you must be right. Unless perhaps Dean is a Progressive? Bit surprising that he’s afraid to answer the question himself, really, when he is so aggressive about having other people answer his. Still, there’s nowt as queer as folk, as my old Gran used to say.

  100. Dean 101

    “I think you must be right. Unless perhaps Dean is a Progressive? Bit surprising that he’s afraid to answer the question himself, really, when he is so aggressive about having other people answer his. Still, there’s nowt as queer as folk, as my old Gran used to say.”

    Sorry, r0b, I’m in moderation. You’ll have to get back to that pesky API and wait I suppose.

  101. r0b 102

    Sorry, r0b, I’m in moderation.

    You don’t need a link to answer the simple question Dean – which party do you support?

  102. Dean 103

    “You don’t need a link to answer the simple question Dean – which party do you support?”

    It’s not a link, r0b. My previous two comments are in moderation, and neither have links in them.

    I’ll repeat it, and hope I don’t get caught in moderation again.

    I don’t support any, except possibly for the Greens and the Maori Party. My mind isn’t made up yet, but one or both of them are likely to get my vote this time around.

    You remember the Maori party, right? “Last cab off the rank’ and all that – yet ANOTHER of Clarke’s stupid statements? Haters and wreckers, right?

    [lprent: Looks like the misspelling of Clark. I seem to remember getting annoyed about it a few weekends ago, along with the misspelling of various other names (including mine). I figured that people who like misspelling names should go and stand in the corner for a while.

    Of course the more you go into moderation, the more the system thinks that you should – I like these nice little learning algorithms. But hey, I never claimed to be nice – in fact I always enjoy the opportunity not to be. ]

  103. Dean 104

    Sorry, r0b. I tried to paste in what I’d said – no links – and it caught the comment in moderation again.

    I guess we’ll both just have to wait.

  104. Felix 105

    Why? Surely you could just type it. It must be less than four words unless there are some parties I haven’t heard of with very long names…

    Or perhaps you don’t actually know? That’s ok, just say it. Is that why you said “both” just have to wait? Because you don’t know?

    Nothing to be ashamed of.

  105. Matthew Pilott 106

    Dean, in case you forgot, to be a rich prick you also need to make a few personally offensive comments in parliament. Whether Cullen read too much into them is an objective call, but I wouldn’t want to suggest for a minute that you’re trying to downplay that.

    Perhaps “rich” was a simple observation (and a correct one, by most standards) and “prick” was a quality assessment (also correct? I better not answer that, but then Key isn’t flinging a few nasty comments my way is he?).

    Now tell me, do you think chanting “pay it back” day after day is a positive and constructive way to lead the Opposition? Do you remember the minor parties almost ready to walk out? Do you remember Orewa? “Cancerous and Corrosive” was pretty harsh, but he’d gone a long, long way from “Honest Don” by then, don’t you think? I don’t think it’s a comment to be having such a protracted cry about, as the Right have been doing for nigh on three years anyway!

    Brett Dale, you’d be right if Cullen said all rich people are pricks. He didn’t. A BMW almost cut me down at a crossing the other day. I said a few choice words to the driver after he slowed down, including a comment along the lines of his wanky BMW 318i being a Corolla with a $15,000 badge (it had mirror tints and was lowered with cut springs, but apologies to other 318i drivers), and suggested the owner shared several of the qualities of his car.

    So, I guess I think all BMW owners are wankers right? I better call up some of my mates and apologise.

  106. Dean 107

    “Why? Surely you could just type it. It must be less than four words unless there are some parties I haven’t heard of with very long names

    Or perhaps you don’t actually know? That’s ok, just say it. Is that why you said “both’ just have to wait? Because you don’t know?

    Nothing to be ashamed of.”

    Rant all you like, Felix. You’ll see when the comments are out of moderation.

  107. djp 108

    Matthew Pilot:

    I have heard the statement “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is derived from the works of John Locke who had a similar concept (“life, liberty, and estate (or property)”) and also said “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”.

    In any case I know the statement does not specifically address property but I just wanted to contrast socialism and classical liberalism.

    Drako TB: I am not giving a blanket endorsement to every quote from the 1700s

    Tane:

    I believe you see some use for property rights.

    What I rail against is the concept that “society” confers these rights, for what is given can be taken away. I like the way the US founders put it with “unalienable” rights and a constitution (sadly not adhered to these days otherwise the US probably would not be in iraq) that supersedes govt.

    You should also be careful not to conflate private property rights with freedom. It’s crude and inaccurate.

    Well I actually do believe that property rights are a significant portion of freedom. If I don’t have my own property with which to feed myself, clothe myself etc… then their are certain freedoms that I do not possess.

    Pascals Bookie:

    I wasnt trying to say that all govt should be abolished. I simply am suspicious of all govt and statists.

    What I like about the DOC and the US Constitution is that it puts significant limits on govt (although it seems as if they are not adhered too these days).

    lprent:

    I want the good old 18th century with mandatory floggings for trivial offences. Just like the period that djp’s quotation came from. 🙂

    Well I guess there are some positives in the last 200 years of progression.

    ….actually wait a minute I think they have just switched to tasers instead of the floggings 🙁

  108. Dean 109

    “Perhaps “rich’ was a simple observation (and a correct one, by most standards) and “prick’ was a quality assessment (also correct? I better not answer that, but then Key isn’t flinging a few nasty comments my way is he?).”

    Then why didn’t he just call him a prick?

    The answer is of course that Cullen and Labour detest anyone worth a lot of money. To them it is an insult along the same lines as the word prick.

    Stop trying to explain it, Matthew. It’s quite obvious and you’re simply trying to make excuses for a stupid thing (r0b’s own words) the Labour Minister of Finance said when he was under pressure and spoke his mind. You and I both know the politics of envy is alive and well within the Labour caucus.

  109. Swampy 110

    It’s not ideology to say that people who do not have proper work habits, would not benefit from having to meet some of the expectations of normal employment and that is where WFD is quite valuable.

    LTEs are a very disadvantaged group in the labour market and may have little opportunity to get the skills needed for moving into an actual job without the accountability that WFD implies.

  110. G 111

    Okay, tough keeping up with the full-court press, but here goes:

    Matthew: So those are the only choices with which you’re familiar: a socialist society and anarchism? What about a constitutional republic that recognises the rights of the individual by limiting the powers of the state and the majority.

    Mr. TB: You say Capitalism wouldn’t exist without the poor. Prove it.

    Tane: ‘Firstly, are you seriously arguing that nothing has ever been achieved by society working collectively? I’m not sure where to even start on that, it’s so absurd.’

    I said society hasn’t created anything, Tane. Society is not a group of people within the total group: it is the total, and the total has never created anything. If it’s so absurd, name me just one invention that can be attributed to the total.

    Secondly, a democracy that does not protect the rights of the minority is worthless nay, dangerous. We all know the untold evil that has been committed under the banner of majority rule.

    Rob, I notice you haven’t yet established this so-called ‘blanket claim’ I’ve made, but rather dismissed me as being unclear. I say again, it is not for me to establish that which I have not stated.

    If you’re going to quote the genius Jefferson best you don’t remove the thrust of the man’s great ideal — the constitutional republic. Jefferson, perhaps more than any other great political thinker, was entirely cognisant of democracy’s shortcomings: “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.’

    Among his greatest concern lay with the minorities in society: “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.’

    And apropos to our debate regarding taxation: ‘ To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.’

    Socialism, which compels men to subsidize all manner of things abhorrent to them, is the epitome of tyranny.

    Rob, you said, “So there you have it – governments are sovereign, and private desires are subordinate to the rights of society (which G does not believe in), even to the founders of the good ‘ol US of A.’

    Governments are indeed sovereign, but good government does not have the right to chain the individual to it or society. That’s why they wrote the constitution, a charter enshrining the rights of every individual to work, earn, and keep what they earn — with minimal taxation: the good ol’ US of A did not impose income tax until 1861: 3% of all incomes over 600 dollars.

    Finally Rob, you stated: ‘Speaking for myself only, he (or she) owns the buck in exactly the same sense that society owns the tax on the buck.’

    If your premise holds, and you believe society owns the tax I pay, you believe society owns my wages also, which means you believe society owns the profit of my labour; and since my labour is my time, and my time is my life, what you’re suggesting here is that society owns me.

    Very 1984 of you.

  111. Robinsod 112

    GOd you people are so boring! Especially you G – if I read one more dullard using Orwell as a metaphor I’m just gonna puke.

  112. Matthew Pilott 113

    Then why didn’t he just call him a prick?

    Why didn’t I just hassle the BMW driver, instead of knocking his car? Do you think I must hate every BMW driver? Think that means I must be envious of them? Or are you just spinning a wee yarn?

    You and I both know the politics of envy is alive and well within the Labour caucus.

    Dean, I don’t know that, and you clearly don’t know much at all.

    You honestly think that Labour caucus is jealous of John Key’s wealth…! You’re running a wee joke here right? I think you got me there for a sec.

    P.S. yeah, I think it was a stupid thing – but I’m not stupid enough to take your interpretation (out of interest, if it was just a stupid thing to say, how can you also be taking so much out of it, and extrapolating that Many Senior Labour MPs Are Jealous Of The Wealthy? Wee contradiction there maestro). I think the envy is on your side, but people are often jealous of those in power; I won’t call you up for it too often, if you don’t make it so obvious in future…

  113. G 114

    Robinsod, instead of a lefty knee-jerk, perhaps you could address the point that preceded the reference, for it neatly summates the central premise of Orwell’s great novel: the subjugation of the individual to society.

  114. djp 115

    Get over it Robinsod… to people like me Orwell was a political prophet 🙂

  115. G 116

    Hear hear, DJP!

  116. Matthew Pilott 117

    G, merely pointing out that society has done a whole lot more than you give it credit for. Or do you think there’s a patent out for Democracy? Some punter must be raking it in…

    djp, socialism is not exactly summed up by the statement “all property rights are a social construction”; nor is that statement untrue. I might as well have a punt at summing up the classical liberalism with “f..k the rest of you”. To be blunt.

    Socialism, which compels men to subsidize all manner of things abhorrent to them, is the epitome of tyranny.

    G, a quick poser – talking your latest comment a bit further, let’s say that the only thing everyone could agree on is the police, judiciary and the defence forces; there would be no point in having an elected government to administrate any of this stuff. And even then, there would be people who object to the few civil organs remaining (anarchists, pacifists). You’re arguing that democracy, and pretty much the entire core of civlisation, is abhorrent. And you fail to make any distinction between socialism and, say liberal representative democracy.

  117. Dean 118

    “Why didn’t I just hassle the BMW driver, instead of knocking his car? Do you think I must hate every BMW driver? Think that means I must be envious of them? Or are you just spinning a wee yarn?”

    It’s Ok that MPs behave like children and hurl insults across the floor then is it Matthew?

    Speaking of wee yarns, what’s your take on the Peters debacle, maestro?

    You see, more than one person can start trying to behave like a condescending twat, but in the end you just appear to be precious.

    “I think the envy is on your side, but people are often jealous of those in power; I won’t call you up for it too often, if you don’t make it so obvious in future ”

    Oh, of course. You’re absolutely correct. For instance, Clarke is not rich by any average definition of the word. Only Key.

    Matthew, your comments on this matter shine a new light on the phrase ‘double standard’.

  118. r0b 119

    Rob, I notice you haven’t yet established this so-called ‘blanket claim’ I’ve made, but rather dismissed me as being unclear.

    After a certain point G I stop banging my head against a brick wall, and I’m quite content to let the record speak for itself.

  119. Felix 120

    Didn’t mean to be rude, it just seems you have no trouble posting now so why not just answer r0b’s very simple question?

  120. djp 121

    Matthew Pilot: Maybe not, but it is a scary quote and it seems to be a concept that you lefties subscribe to.

    You say classical liberalism is summed up by “f..k the rest of you’ but that is not the way I feel at all. I believe in compassion and aid to the needy but I don’t believe in forcing others to my view.

    G: good thoughts, like your thinking

    Everyone: good nite

  121. G 122

    A pacifist can’t — and shouldn’t — be forced defend himself against a tyranny, but he has no right to tell the rest of us to drop our weapons; anarchists can ignore the law at their own peril, as long as they don’t threaten the lives or livelihoods of others.

    The democratic process of electing a government to take care of those essential services is an ideal and fair method. I am not an anarchist; I do not believe we should privatise the police, the courts or the military. Moreover I think there would need to be an objective oversight mechanism for all those departments.

    I support democracy wholeheartedly — underpinned by a constitution that protects the rights of minorities, and individuals.

  122. G 123

    You really have a hard time admitting you’re wrong, don’t you, Rob?

    PS: Anything to say about your tax/wages syllogism?

  123. RedLogix 124

    G,

    The ideas you are regurgitating had some attraction when I was a horny, spotty teenager reading Heinlein.

    With the benefit of forty odd years hindsight I can only laugh at my younger self for being so easily seduced by it.

    [lprent: I’d chastise you for a personal attack, but I’m not sure he’d know exactly what the attack was. Hell – it echoed out of my past (and I still read those books on the odd occasion).]

  124. G 125

    Pity you haven’t learnt to construct anything more than a feeble refutation in all that time, Mr. Logix. I left the “You’re wrong — No I’m not — Yes you are — No I’m not” method on the playground before I had spots. 🙂

  125. r0b 126

    You really have a hard time admitting you’re wrong, don’t you, Rob?

    Sorry G, you’re off the list of people who can goad me into debate. The record is above for all to see.

    Anything to say about your tax/wages syllogism?

    Yup. It wasn’t a syllogism.

  126. G 127

    Not trying to goad you into anything, Rob, just trying to get you to man-up and admit you made a false assumption.

    My syllogism, your premise:

    “Finally Rob, you stated: ‘Speaking for myself only, he (or she) owns the buck in exactly the same sense that society owns the tax on the buck.’

    If your premise holds, and you believe society owns the tax I pay, you believe society owns my wages also, which means you believe society owns the profit of my labour; and since my labour is my time, and my time is my life, what you’re suggesting here is that society owns me.”

    I take it you think society does own me.

  127. r0b 128

    Not trying to goad you into anything, Rob, just trying to get you to man-up and admit you made a false assumption.

    As above.

    My syllogism, your premise

    G honey, you’re using big words that you don’t understand. My statement was not a syllogism (it’s under “S” in the dictionary, look it up). The chain of reasoning you try and build on my statement is about as valid as your grasp of vocabulary.

  128. G 129

    Rob: “My statement was not a syllogism …”

    G: “My syllogism, your premise.”

    Care to comment on your premise and my syllogism?

  129. r0b 130

    Care to comment on your premise and my syllogism?

    Do you own a dictionary G? Look it up in Wikipedia. Neither you nor I has stated anything with the logical structure of a syllogism. Only one of us even knows what the word means. And that one is getting bored…

  130. G 131

    You made a statement that contained two premises; I used deductive reasoning to take your premises and arrive at a conclusion, which I know is rather disturbing, and I can see why you’re strawmanning this to get out of addressing the point.

  131. r0b 132

    Sorry G, it’s not really fair of me to tease you about this any more. Just in the future, if you’re going to throw around the terminology of logic in debate, you really should learn to use it properly. Start with syllogism (it’s still under “s”).

    I used deductive reasoning

    Ahh no, I hesitate to suggest what I think you used, but it certainly wasn’t “deductive reasoning”. Deductive reasoning won’t get you from “If … you believe society owns the tax I pay” to “you believe society owns my wages also”.

    Goodnight G, sleep well.

  132. G 133

    … hang on a minute…

    1. A man owns the buck in the same way:
    2. Society owns the tax on the buck;
    3. Therefore… actually you’re right, Rob — one can’t make this into a syllogism: your statement and your premises are utterly nonsensical.

    What on earth are you trying to tell us?

  133. G 134

    Okay… got it.

    What you’re saying is: the man owns some of the buck, but not the portion society carves off the buck in tax. Now, since society determines what portion of the buck they will own in tax (which could be as much as 100% if the majority so decides), they in effect have control of ALL the buck.

    Which brings us back to:

    1. Society controls/owns the buck;
    2. The buck is the sum of the man’s labour – his time – his life;
    3. Society controls/owns the man.

    Okay. Care to comment on that? Which is your classic 3-part Aristotelian syllogism.

  134. Pascal's bookie 135

    1. is uncontroversial. Property rights are a construct. Without some sort of govt with such powers, private property cannot exist beyond that which you can protect. The US founders knew this, which is why they abandoned Lockes silly claim of a natural right to property.

    2. is simply false. The buck is something that he chose to exchange things for, knowing that the govt has claims upon it.

    so 3 is not proven.

  135. G 136

    Mr. Bookie:

    1. Property rights are jealously protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    2. Be specific: the ‘things’ he exchanged for the buck were his labour, his time, his energy, his sweat, himself. The buck is simply his labour — his life — converted into an inert form for the ease of future exchange.

    So 3 is proven.

  136. Pascal's bookie 137

    Nonsense.

    1.Firstly, I was talking about the DOI, rather then the Constitution but no matter. The constitutiion, in the section you quote proves my point.

    What do you think ‘without due process of law’ means?

    It means the govt can do it, but they have to obey the law. They can’t do it arbitrarily. They have to obey the rights as they are constructed by the law.

    Which means that if the govt passes laws saying they can do it, and follows those laws, then guess what? It’s constitutional. If they meant to say that the governemnet couldn’t deprive people of personal property, they wouldn’t have qualified it.

    Do you reallyu think that the US constitution does not allow the govt to compel the paying of tax?

    2. Those things are what they are, they are not ‘himself’. They are things that he has done or produced. He then chooses to exchange them for money. Bully for him. He doesn’t have to, but he finds it convienient to do so. It benefits him.

  137. r0b 138

    Okay. Care to comment on that? Which is your classic 3-part Aristotelian syllogism

    Well it’s close enough for the sake of argument I guess.

    1. As per PB is uncontroversial. The quote you add from the 5th ammendment strongly supports this – “without due process of law” and “without just compensation” are very strongly asserting the role of society, it’s agreed laws and concepts of justice.

    2. Is just silly. My job and my “money” is a small part of who and what I am. Much of what I do I am not paid for.

    3. Not via your flawed reasoning, but I happen to believe that 3 can be true. Society can in theory decide that it owns individuals. But it usually applies this to subsets of individuals, and it calls them slaves. Slavery has been common enough in human societies over the years. Thank goodness we do not currently live in a society which has made such a decision eh G!

    Lots of meetings today (unpaid volunteer work – fancy that), so bye for now.

  138. djp 139

    It is interesting how the statist views the US constitution as a springboard that the state can use to dive into the affairs of an individual and the liberal views the constitution as a wall that limits the reach of the state.

    dont forget the context from which the constitution was born, the boston tea party and all that. Some of you seem to want to divorce the American Revolution from the anti-statism that fuelled it.

  139. G 140

    Mr Bookie writes: “2. Those things are what they are, they are not ‘himself’. They are things that he has done or produced. He then chooses to exchange them for money. Bully for him. He doesn’t have to, but he finds it convienient to do so. It benefits him.”

    Try and follow this, Pascal (and Rob): his labour is his time, time spent on planet earth — his life: to own the product of his labour is to own his life; to own him.

    If he exchanged his labour for a couple of pigs, then exchanged one of those pigs for rent, he’d be housed and fed by the fruits of his own labour. Indeed, the best way to get your hands out of his pocket is to bring back barter.

    Rob, if you’re failing to understand that the right to own property is the cornerstone of liberty then you’ll never understand the genius of the American Constitution, and further debate on this point will be fruitless.

    With regards to slavery: what’s stopping you? Could you tell me what mechanism is in our own Bill of Rights that would prevent the majority from creating your Marxist ideal, where property rights are abolished and the people are slaves to the state?

  140. G 141

    Precisely, DJP! It was a tax revolt!! Time for another *Tea Party* I say!!! 🙂

  141. Pascal's bookie 142

    You clowns are hilarious.

    Like your 5th amendment point you introduce the tax revolt, which again proves mine and r0b’s point.

    Yes it was a tax revolt, it’s all there in the DOI. What was the famous cry?

    “No taxation ever! Unrestricted private property rights!”

    No. Because they were not bloody idiots, the cry was:

    “No taxation without representation!”

    So, what were they complaining about, the existence of taxation or the lack of representation? (Hint: it’s the latter, read the DOI.)

    I’m starting to see a pattern here, where you see the words ‘no taxation’ or ‘the govt must not’ or whatever and then ignore the qualifiers that destroy your argument. You should probably stop doing that.

    You seem to think that when I say that property rights are a construct I am saying that they don’t exist. Not so. I am saying that they are constructed by a framework of philosophy or laws or what have you. A good thing too. It doesn’t make sense to talk of them in any other way.

    Anyway I’m busy, might respond tonight, depending on family commitments, and whether or not you lift your game. 😉

  142. r0b 143

    Rob, if you’re failing to understand that the right to own property is the cornerstone of liberty

    Is it? Says who? Where does this right come from? Who, or what, confers this right?

    then you’ll never understand the genius of the American Constitution

    The constitution, 5th amendment, as quoted by you above, e.g. “without due process of law’ and “without just compensation’ are very strongly asserting the role of society. As are other statements from the founders of the constitution, as quoted by me above: “public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society.”

    It is you that fails to understand “the American Constitution”. America was founded on slavery. The authors of the constitution? Right into slavery. James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and slave owner, as was Thomas Jefferson and others. The original constitution contained four provisions that allowed slavery to continue. America didn’t get around to abolishing slavery until the 13th Amendment in 1865. How about them slaves – what property rights did they have G?

    and further debate on this point will be fruitless.

    This debate has been fruitless for quite some time now G.

    your Marxist ideal, where property rights are abolished and the people are slaves to the state?

    Not my ideal at all G. It is you, not I, that worships a constitution founded in slavery. I want nothing to do with slavery thanks.

  143. Ben R 144

    “that worships a constitution founded in slavery. I want nothing to do with slavery thanks.”

    Isn’t that like criticising evidence that smoking is bad because the Nazis identified it? I think you need to look at the Constitution on its own merits or otherwise.

  144. G 145

    Pascal: “You seem to think that when I say that property rights are a construct I am saying that they don’t exist. Not so. “

    Where, pray tell, do property right exist in your world?

    Rob: “It is you that fails to understand “the American Constitution’. America was founded on slavery.”

    No, Rob. It was founded on the idea of freedom, and during the 1800s they tightened the Constitution to make property rights the cornerstone of liberty.

    It’s foolish to ignore the times in which the DOI and Constitution were drafted. To apply modern thinking to history is idiotic. Despite this, as you know, Jefferson (notwithstanding his own embarrassing failures in this area) worked tirelessly to abolish slavery. Among his greatest achievements include:

    > Introduction of a bill in 1769 the Virginia legislature to abolish the importation of slaves into that state.

    > Inclusion of an anti-slavery provision in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

    > Initiated the Congressional ban on slavery in all federal lands in 1784 (his effort to extend the act to the 13 states lost by only one vote).

    > In 1808, as President, he signed into law a bill banning the slave trade with Africa.

    He, more than any man in America, paved the way for Lincoln to abolish it altogether. And who eventually destroyed slavery in America? The feudalist southerners? No – it was the capitalist northerners.

    Now, I ask again…

    With regards to slavery: Could you tell me what mechanism is in our own Bill of Rights that would prevent the majority from creating your Marxist ideal (for it is clear you do uphold Karl’s idea that society should control the wealth — not the individual), where property rights are abolished and the people are slaves to the state?

  145. G 146

    By the way, one and all: I note that nobody has yet been able to name a single thing invented by the group called ‘Society’.

  146. Pascal's bookie 147

    “I note that nobody has yet been able to name a single thing invented by the group called ‘Society'”

    Just quickly then:
    Civilisation.

  147. Matthew Pilott 148

    Not that it’s worth bothering about (after all Dean has admitted to being a ‘condecending twat’, though I’ve yet to see evidence he knows what condecending means) but…

    It’s Ok that MPs behave like children and hurl insults across the floor then is it Matthew?

    Speaking of wee yarns, what’s your take on the Peters debacle, maestro?

    You see, more than one person can start trying to behave like a condescending twat, but in the end you just appear to be precious.

    No dean, as the saying goes, it’s not ok. What Key said wasn’t ok and nor was Cullen’s response. I assume this will be the last time you pretend Cullen’s comments occured in a vacuum.

    Peters? Will be interesting to see if he’s done anything wrong. I somewhat doubt it, but then we’ve got “perkbuster” on the caae so I’m sure it will all come out. Poor attempt by the way.

    Oh, of course. You’re absolutely correct. For instance, Clarke is not rich by any average definition of the word. Only Key.

    Matthew, your comments on this matter shine a new light on the phrase ‘double standard’.

    Thank you, Dean, for showing the absurdity of your previous accusation, that the Labour caucus are envious of Key’s wealth. Talk about looking like a twat. Oh, nice non-existant ‘double standard’, perhaps you can check a definition after taking a peek at ‘condecending’.

  148. DS 149

    Since we’re throwing around eighteenth century quotes, here’s one to add to the collection:

    “Natural rights are nonsense on stilts.” – Jeremy Bentham.

    Or in other words, could those claiming that property rights are not a social construction please demonstrate precisely where these rights come from, if not from a social consensus?

  149. G 150

    An honest attempt there, Pascal, but I’m afraid civilisation is not an invention or a thing: it’s a collective term for all that was invented by individuals in advanced industries. But thanks for playing.

  150. G 151

    DS, property rights stem from your unalienable right to life. No-one and no group has a right to take your life, or those values you pursue and gain in your life.

    Totalitarians disagree. They believe you don’t have a right to exist for your own sake. They believe you are born to serve the state and/or society.

  151. Vanilla Eis 152

    G: Why do we have an ‘unalienable right to life’? Why humans? Why not lions – perhaps then daddy would stop wolfing down the cubs?

    I’ve been reading this thread all the way through, and I’m really struggling to grasp where you’re coming from, although DS etc seem to be quite clear.

    So, please: Why do you have an inalienable right to life that other species don’t seem to have? Is it because of our societal structures make the taking of life taboo?

  152. G 153

    Vanilla, the matter here is a question of morality, something which separates us from the animal kingdom. The Right to Life is not a concern for the animal, it automatically, without consideration, just gets on and lives its life in a day-to-day struggle for survival. Unlike animals, Man must choose to survive. The role of morality is to determine the rules by which we maintain our survival, individually and together as a society.

    Clearly the first rule for humans is thou shalt not take a human life. If one was a hermit this would not be a rule that needs stating. But the moment the hermit gets a companion they must agree upon a strategy that safeguards their respective lives.

    As a principle, the Right to Life stipulates that one man cannot deprive another for his own benefit.

  153. r0b 154

    No, Rob. It [America] was founded on the idea of freedom, and during the 1800s they tightened the Constitution to make property rights the cornerstone of liberty.

    You’re living in some kind of teenage cartoon version of History G.

    America exists because of the annexation of Native American lands. What happened to their property rights G? America was founded in slavery and the constitution perpetuated slavery as described above. Where were the slaves’ property rights? Women didn’t get the vote until 1920 – what about their rights? Racial segregation was enshrined in American law until the 1960’s – what about blacks’ rights? Slavery arguably continues in America to this day, with an estimated 50,000 women and children brought against their will to the US for sexual exploitation each year (CIA estimate).

    In short, Dear G, America was founded on the idea of freedom and property rights for rich white males (and even then it incorporated equally strong concepts of social obligation). It is a model of Libertarian freedom only in your (ill-informed) dreams.

    property rights stem from your unalienable right to life

    Says who?

    The question you are unable to answer G, is who or what confers these “rights”. A right by definition is granted by some agent. Who or what grants the right to life, and the right to property?

  154. Dean 155

    Matthew:

    “No dean, as the saying goes, it’s not ok. What Key said wasn’t ok and nor was Cullen’s response. I assume this will be the last time you pretend Cullen’s comments occured in a vacuum.”

    I don’t think I ever said that Cullen’s comments were ever said in a vaccuum, Matthew. If I did, can you please show me where I did, because I will apologise unreservedly for being unfair.

    I hold as much contempt for National as I do for Labour. I can understand your confusion though, given your self-professed Labour = good, National = bad way of thinking.

    “Thank you, Dean, for showing the absurdity of your previous accusation, that the Labour caucus are envious of Key’s wealth. Talk about looking like a twat. Oh, nice non-existant ‘double standard’, perhaps you can check a definition after taking a peek at ‘condecending’.”

    Um, yeah. I really don’t think you get it, do you Matthew? See my previous comments regarding National, cross reference that with Clarke’s own wealth, compare that to your own unwillingness to define exactly what a rich prick is and why Cullen is allowed to call someone that, add in your defence of such envy, and what are we left with?

    Labour = Good, National = Bad.

    Please try harder next time, Matthew. I know you’re capable of more rational debate. If only you could rise above petty, “it’s my chosen camp” politics.

    [lprent: in my usual pedantic style, I’ve put some common mis-spellings into the moderatiion queue. I see you’ve found one 🙂 ]

  155. Pascal's bookie 156

    An honest attempt there, Pascal, but I’m afraid civilisation is not an invention or a thing: it’s a collective term for all that was invented by individuals in advanced industries. But thanks for playing.

    It wasn’t really an honest attempt g, it was trite. Which is what I thought the question deserved.

    Your response however is just silly. Civilisation isn’t a bunch of widgets. It needn’t be industrial, and it needn’t be advanced, however you wish to define that.

    Civilisation, in my view, stems from the root word civil. It means something like ‘a large bunch of people behaving in a sustained civil manner, maintained by following some culturally defined rules for living’. Pretty informal and obviously needs some work, but good enough for starters. This sort of thing is produced by a society. It can only be a collective effort.

    If you wanted to contrast ‘civilisation’ with it’s absence, what would you use? In modern political terms I guess we’d say “failed state’.

    Funny how that works, everything you bring up, ends up proving my point.

    You’re right though I was just playing.

    Where, pray tell, do property right exist in your world?

    I’m not sure what you are asking. Every society has some form of property rights. (They are very useful things). The type of property rights vary wildly depending on the society.

    Most societies equal or larger than city size have had a ruler, usually a Monarch or Oligarchy of some form, that owns or can take control of, most everything should the need arise.

    Our own culture has recently developed representative democratic checks on this system to promote other rights. (Yay us). These are very important and grand and are what the US constitution and DOI are about. Even more recently we have begun to use the taxation and legal systems to prevent the rise of super-wealthy powerful elites (aristocracies). We do this through monopoly busting, death duties, progressive taxation and redistribution, consumer protection laws, public education and health systems and so on. The result has been unprecedented growth in health, wealth and freedom over the last 70 to 100 years. But again I’m just playing with you.

    On a more serious note, I’d like to ask you a question, since I’ve been so forthcoming with answers:

    We don’t see many societies that define property rights as absolute at the individual level. I can’t think of any in fact, so help me out G. What society past or present has recognised property rights properly in your view? We’ve already found that the US didn’t in our conversations about the DOI, the 5th Amendment and the Boston Tea party. So where has it been tried, and was it any good?
    (Non-fictional answers preferred).

  156. G 157

    Pascal, let me rephrase the question so that I may get a more succinct and definitive answer: according to you, what property is an individual entitled to own?

  157. G 158

    Rob, the vast minority of North American Indians were land owners, the rest were nomadic, and when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed. And before you get on your moral high horse, I accept there were savage atrocities on both sides. But as I recorded in my post on the other thread — to which you promised to return and didn’t — capitalism ultimately benefits everyone, including the native americans in ways they’d never have independently achieved in several thousands of years.

  158. G 159

    I’ll try and get back tomorrow to answer some of the broader questions posed here.

    In the meantime, Rob: “The question you are unable to answer G, is who or what confers these “rights’. A right by definition is granted by some agent. Who or what grants the right to life, and the right to property?”

    A right, by definition, is a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral. My Right to Life does not need your approval — or a court’s for that matter; I may justly and morally claim it for myself. The only requirement from you is that you respect it.

  159. Pascal's bookie 160

    An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised the society she is a part of determine is hers.

    Obviously.

    Property is determined and defined by rights, which are in turn constructed by societies.

    Now answer the question I posed.

  160. G 161

    “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised the society she is a part of determine is hers.”

    Thank you, Pascal, and I will try to answer your question when I get back tonight.

    But first let me point out that if she does not have control over her property, she has no property rights at all. The power of its disposal in this instance rests entirely with society, for there is no limit to the powers society has over ALL her property. If society determines she should have zero property (as is the case of communism), then she shall have none.

    As proof, think of it like a mortgage. You don’t technically own your property until your loan is all paid back. In your world, the people hold the title in perpetuity.

  161. r0b 162

    So that’s it then G, in my summary of the concept of property rights in the founding of America you have only one point to disagree with:

    Rob, the vast minority of North American Indians were land owners, the rest were nomadic, and when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed.

    Seriously G, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You’re about the fourth Libertarian I’ve had versions of this discussion with, and every one of them has turned out to be profoundly ignorant of history (particularly American history, and all have turned to America as their beacon). I’m starting to think that profound ignorance is a requirement for Libertarian ideology.

    Where to begin. Well, here’s a map of Native American lands circa 1600. You’ll notice that 99.99% of America is inhabited and claimed. European Westward expansion pushed the Native American people out of these lands – for a very short summary see this Wikipedia page under the heading “Removal, reservations, and forced assimilation”:

    In the nineteenth century, the incessant westward expansion of the United States incrementally compelled large numbers of Native Americans to resettle further west, often by force, almost always reluctantly. Under President Andrew Jackson, United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the President to conduct treaties to exchange Native American land east of the Mississippi River for lands west of the river. As many as 100,000 Native Americans eventually relocated in the West as a result of this Indian Removal policy.

    The most egregious violation of the stated intention of the removal policy took place under the Treaty of New Echota, which was signed by a dissident faction of Cherokees but not the elected leadership. President Jackson rigidly enforced the treaty, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. About 17,000 Cherokees — along with approximately 2,000 black slaves held by Cherokees — were removed from their homes.

    Conflicts generally known as “Indian Wars” broke out between U.S. forces and many different tribes. U.S. government authorities entered into numerous treaties during this period but later abrogated many for various reasons.

    Now, why was forceful relocation and an “Indian Removal Act” of Congress required if these lands were not occupied G? Why the very detailed maps of the lands involved? Sounds to me like Native American Indians had lands and property rights don’t you think? Sounds like these were taken from them, and that is why they went to war.

    But history is a bit dry by itself don’t you think? Sometimes we should just listen to the voices of the people:

    “This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things… This war has come from robbery – from the stealing of our land.” – Spotted Tail

    “We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have for our land, we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go, to let it go it will be like throwing away (our) mother that gave (us) birth.”. – Letter from Aitooweyah to John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokees.

    “The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.” – Mary Brave Bird

    And so on, and so on, and so on and on and on.

    Tell me G, do you wish to reconsider your claim that “the vast minority of North American Indians were land owners, the rest were nomadic, and when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed.” ???

  162. DS 163

    “DS, property rights stem from your unalienable right to life. No-one and no group has a right to take your life, or those values you pursue and gain in your life.”

    Okey-dokey. Suppose I buy up all the land around your house, and assert my property rights by refusing to let you cross my property. End result: you starve to death. What comes first – your “right” to life, or my “right” to property? Under this scenario, the two are incompatible.

  163. Matthew Pilott 164

    Dean, if it’s not your chosen camp, why the insistence on portraying Cullen’s comments as such? Take your comment that you don’t think you said Cullen’s comments occured in a vacuum. You’re taking his comments, applying no provocation or context and then using them as the basis of a viewpoint on the entire Labour caucus’ view of rich people, inferring hypocracy and assuming we’re left with “Labour good, National bad”. You need to think through it a little more (or, for the Love of God, read into it a little less!), if that’s all you can come up with.

    This conclusion of yours, Labour good – National bad, totally and completely negates the “politics of envy” you so assuredly stated was alive and well in Labour earlier.

    Perhaps you would like to take another shot at it, but I hope not, dead-horse flogging isn’t pretty.

    To be honest, I won’t try harder when you present such arguments, what you’re putting forward is pretty easy to ridicule, since it’s a combination of mind-reading and illogical conclision. Not worth the effort.

  164. Pascal's bookie 165

    Thank you, Pascal, and I will try to answer your question when I get back tonight.

    I’ll look forward to it.

    But first let me point out that if she does not have control over her property, she has no property rights at all.

    Errr, no. She has as many property rights as are conferred by the framework society constructs. A more accurate version based on what I said would be:

    ‘if she does not have absolute and ultimate control over her property, she has no property rights at all’.

    Which I think you would agree doesn’t sound like such a strong argument.

    The power of its disposal in this instance rests entirely with society, for there is no limit to the powers society has over ALL her property. If society determines she should have zero property (as is the case of communism), then she shall have none.

    Except that by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere. It may be a lot, in may be very little.

    Say you manage to convince me, and then we set out and convince the rest of the nation together. We establish a system with as many property rights as you wish. That’s the same thing g, as establishing communism. Not in outcome, but in principle. Society determining what property rights exist.

    What you seem to be doing is saying that if society determines property rights that are less than what you believe they should be, then somehow those socially constructed rights aren’t real.

    As if there are transcendent real property rights that just happen to coincide with your views, and as if when trying to establish what property rights a society should have, the assumption must be that your view is already established as correct. Assuming to be already true, that which we are asking you to prove. This is known as begging the question.

    As proof, think of it like a mortgage. You don?t technically own your property until your loan is all paid back. In your world, the people hold the title in perpetuity.

    Not really. ‘In my world’ society constructs the idea of title, which allows me to own property.

    I think we may have to agree to disagree (for now) on this point. I’m pretty sure that I understand your argument, and I have been as clear as I can be about why I reject it.

    So let’s not let it be a distraction from you answering the question about whether any society past or present has had property rights as you see them.

  165. G 166

    Rob. Does America own the moon because they planted a flag on it?

    Regarding America’s human rights record (which, I’ll be the first to admit, is not perfect): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Might’ve taken them a while to completely follow through on it, but they were the only ones in the world at that time who had enough sense and morality to sanctify the idea in writing. And how many other states in history can you name that went to war in the name of ending slavery?

    DS. Absurd hypothetical. Try another one set in a real world, with helicopters.

    Pascal. “We do this through monopoly busting, death duties, progressive taxation and redistribution, consumer protection laws, public education and health systems and so on. The result has been unprecedented growth in health, wealth and freedom over the last 70 to 100 years.”

    The unprecedented growth to which you refer is attributable to capitalism, not socialism.

    “What society past or present has recognised property rights properly in your view?”

    17th century America came closest to the ideal. But even today, in the face of ever-creeping socialism which now allows the state to forcibly purchase private property for public use, the Fifth Amendment still recognises it is private property with Just Compensation.

    “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised the society she is a part of determine is hers.”

    Once again, Pascal, he who has control of the property has the rights, which in this case is society – not the individual. Another proof: if society lets me keep half of my property, you’d tell me, “You have property rights on that half.” But if society votes later to appropriate another half of that half those prior ‘rights’ go right out the window. Simply put, your version of Property Rights aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

    If I really did have rights on that property, by right I would be able to say, “No, you told me it was mine and you can’t take any more of it.” How many socialists do you think would support my claim and chain themselves to my property in solidarity? Would you?

    “Except that by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere. It may be a lot, in may be very little.”</i”

    Exactly, Pascal, it’s completely arbitrary. The fact is there is no limit in the system you advocate (or is there?). And if there is no limit, society could take it all if it so chooses, which means they have ultimate control and all the rights.

    Currently I can’t think of another nation outside of America that constitutionally limits the power of the state, and its citizenry.

  166. G 167

    Tsk! The above should read: “19th century America came closest to the ideal.”

    It’s been a long day. :-/

  167. Pascal's bookie 168

    G. So the answer is No then. OK.

    I think if you pay attention to the US constitution you will note that it contains mechanisms whereby the Constitution itself can be amended. Bits can be added or deleted. Crikey, was does that mean? That the whole things is arbitrary so none of it counts.

    You keep conflating society and state. I make a distinction. The state can try all sorts of things, and the people may let them get away with it. They may not. Either way new rights are socially constructed. And yes, they are arbitrary.

    Everywhere.

    We started by saying that a 6% difference in marginal in tax rates was somehow a big deal about Freeeeeedommmm.

    Yet here we are, and you’re claiming that the closest we’ve come as a species to freedom is a state that explicitly allowed slavery, and expanded it’s borders through the genocide of the former occupying nations. ffs.

    I’m done.

  168. Pascal's bookie 169

    ” Another proof: if society lets me keep half of my property, you’d tell me, “You have property rights on that half.’ ”

    No, I wouldn’t. I’ll tell you that you were begging the question of what ‘your property’ is, again. sheesh.

  169. r0b 170

    Rob. Does America own the moon because they planted a flag on it?

    What is that supposed to mean G? Are you suggesting that Native Americans did not own the land that they were forcibly ejected from? Do you still believe your painfully ignorant claim that “when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed” ? Tell me G, as I asked you above, is that what you still believe?

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ” Might’ve taken them a while to completely follow through on it

    They have never completely followed through on it. Certainly not until at least the 1960s (when separate treatment of Blacks was still enshrined in law), and arguably not even today.

    If I was prone to unkind thoughts G, I might be starting to wonder if you held any regard for the equality and rights of Native Americans and Blacks.

    but they were the only ones in the world at that time who had enough sense and morality to sanctify the idea in writing.

    What childish nonsense (as if ideas are “sanctified” by writing them down). Anyway, the Greeks had it sussed, Aristotle: “Democracy arose from men’s thinking that if they are equal in any respect, they are equal absolutely’. Such ideas were developed by the Stoics who emphasised the natural equality of all rational beings.

    Early New Testament writings took the idea of equality and set it in the context of equality before God. Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Similar concepts of equality are expressed in the Talmud and in Islam, and in most of the world’s religions.

    The Age of Enlightenment saw the emergence of many key ideas that have shaped civilisation ever since, one of these was that “reason makes all humans equal and, therefore, deserving of equal liberty and treatment before the law”. See particularly the writings of Voltaire: “Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference”, and if you really want to go to town try Rosseau’s essay On the Inequality among Mankind. The origins of the Motto of France – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – are traced back to these times.

    So in short, the phrase in the DOI that “all men are created equal” is a fairly unremarkable statement, very much in tune with strong themes in religious writing and with the intellectual traditions of the time.

    And how many other states in history can you name that went to war in the name of ending slavery?

    I’m not enough of a historian to know, but that war was of course a civil war, and the more disturbing question is how many other states needed to go to war with themselves over this. Most other nations managed the process peacefully.

    So then, to sum up: G, do you still believe your claim that “when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed” , and do you believe that Native Americans and Blacks have exactly the same rights as other Americans?

  170. G 171

    Pascal, please read more carefully. My answer to your question, “What society past or present has recognised property rights properly in your view?” wasn’t ‘no’. My answer was America, who didn’t even introduce income tax until 1861, and then it was only 3% — a fair sum in my opinion, for the cost of running core state services. And even today, while they may appropriate private property for public use, they still award the owner “Just Compensation” as protected under the 5th, and thereby recognise it is private property, or a ‘value’ belonging to the owner.

    You people are misinterpreting the Constitution in ways that, frankly, make you look naive. Americans hotly contest infringements to their original deed, and would never allow the state — or it’s citizens — to rape their assets in ways your system would condone. In fact, there’s even a clause in their constitution that affords the people the legal right to overthrow their own government. Can you name another bill of rights that does that?

    “Yet here we are, and you’re claiming that the closest we’ve come as a species to freedom is a state that explicitly allowed slavery, and expanded it’s borders through the genocide of the former occupying nations.”

    Slavery was an accepted practice all over the world, Pascal — and America, as far as I can tell, were the only ones who went to war to end it. And I think it’s a bit rich for a socialist to be pointing fingers and crying genocide when the track record of your lot totaled 100 million murdered just last century — including that infamous group of National Socialists in Germany.

    “No, I wouldn’t. I’ll tell you that you were begging the question of what ‘your property’ is, again.”

    If you don’t know what your property even is, Pascal, how the hell can you, as a member of the all-powerful, all-controlling society, confer rights to it? Just as well you’re done here, because you clearly don’t have a grasp of the subject.

    Rob: “They have never completely followed through on it. Certainly not until at least the 1960s (when separate treatment of Blacks was still enshrined in law), and arguably not even today.

    If I was prone to unkind thoughts G, I might be starting to wonder if you held any regard for the equality and rights of Native Americans and Blacks.”

    That wouldn’t be unkind, Rob, given that I have clearly and deliberately stated my position on that kind of ‘savagery’, that would be utterly misrepresentative. And again with the blanket write-offs. Stop tarring America with the brush of the group of redneck racists, and perhaps, with your bleeding heart, spare a thought for the 300,000 white Yankees who died fighting to end slavery.

    Once again, the DOI was their statement of intention, and where the Americans go further than all those other luminaries you mention, is the legal document called the Constitution of the United States, which, in terms of sanctified human rights, is the greatest bill of rights ever written.

    “… when the Europeans arrived 99.99% of America was uninhabited and unclaimed’? — Tell me G, as I asked you above, is that what you still believe?

    Yep. Uninhabited means having no residents; not inhabited. Apart from tribes like the Chickawa and Nez Perce, who had settlements and farms (who were unjustly robbed I might add), the vast majority were nomads members of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode. Unclaimed means not claimed as property, a legal concept that was unknown to these people — until the arrival of the Europeans.

    Now if you please: Does America own the moon because they planted a flag on it?

  171. G 172

    A question for all you one-eyed, anti-American socialists: in terms of human rights and personal freedom, what country (past or present), comes closest to getting it right?

  172. Pascal's bookie 173

    17 different flavours of stupid.

    Begging the question is not the same as raising the question. Learn the difference and you might be worth talking to.

    The constitution creates the rights. It constructs them. Without it there are no rights, just claims. This is what you have completely failed to address. Repeatedly.

    By your own damn reasoning the fact the fifth amendment exists means there are no real property rights worth having in America because the Constitution allows the govt to take your property without your consent.

    Communists and Nazis are not my lot. Fuck off. The fact that you’ve stooped to that in place of any argument is revealing.

  173. Pascal's bookie 174

    “Unclaimed means not claimed as property, a legal concept..”

    The funny things is at times you actually get it (but only when excusing genocide).

    Property is a constructed right.

  174. r0b 175

    Ho then G

    I find you Libertarians endlessly fascinating I really do. Anyway, good, you believe that Native Americans and Blacks have the same rights as everyone else. Let’s carry on from there.

    Stop tarring America with the brush of the group of redneck racists … Yankees who died fighting to end slavery.

    Redneck racists like the slave owning authors of the constitution? We’ve been through this above. And the civil war was about money and power (as most wars are), in this case the secession of the Southern states (though the visible flash point issue certainly was slavery).

    the legal document called the Constitution of the United States, which, in terms of sanctified human rights, is the greatest bill of rights ever written.

    It most certainly is not. And how you can possibly believe that America lived up to the ideals so glibly expressed in those few short words is beyond me. Native Americans and Blacks certainly did not have the equal rights that we both agree were there due, as enshrined by law up until at least the 1960s. How on can you go on believing things that are factually false?

    Yep. Uninhabited means having no residents; not inhabited … the vast majority were nomads members of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode. Unclaimed means not claimed as property, a legal concept that was unknown to these people — until the arrival of the Europeans.

    You have two major problems for yourself there G.

    (1) You are simply factually and historically wrong, as shown above. The Native American Indian peoples went to war to defend their property rights.

    (2) You have created a contradiction for yourself. You claim that property rights are inherent, universal, natural and inalienable. But you also now claim that “property, a legal concept that was unknown to these people — until the arrival of the Europeans”. So which is it G? Because it can’t be both. Are these rights inherent and universal, or are they a legal and social construct of the Europeans? I await your reply with keen interest.

    Now if you please: Does America own the moon because they planted a flag on it?

    No.

  175. G 176

    “Begging the question is not the same as raising the question. Learn the difference and you might be worth talking to.”

    Enlighten me: what exactly is the difference and how does that effect the question? And while we’re at it, what exactly is your definition of ‘property’?

    “The constitution creates the rights. It constructs them. Without it there are no rights, just claims. This is what you have completely failed to address. “

    No, Pascal, the authors of the constitution created the constitution, and the state representatives ratified it with the support of the people. I assure you I understand the concept quite thoroughly, and you’ve yet to prove I don’t. Moreover…

    “By your own damn reasoning the fact the fifth amendment exists means there are no real property rights worth having in America because the Constitution allows the govt to take your property without your consent.”

    … you clearly have no idea at all. As I’ve said repeatedly — and the point you continue to avoid — the “Just Compensation” clause categorically DOES recognise private property and the right for an owner to retain its value, if not the original property itself.

    “Communists and Nazis are not my lot. Fuck off. The fact that you’ve stooped to that in place of any argument is revealing.”

    You see, Pascal, this is the difference between you and I: I’m prepared to put a stake in the ground and stand by it, while you lot do nothing more than try and uproot it. Where’s your stake? I ask again: Which country, in your opinion, got it or gets it right?

    I apologise if I’ve insulted you, or unfairly misrepresented you, but you are a socialist, yes? You do maintain that society decides how much or how little the individual may nominally ‘own’, yes?

  176. G 177

    “Redneck racists like the slave owning authors of the constitution? “

    Anachronistic, Rob. Please keep a little historical perspective, and recognise the fact that the Founding Fathers had enough intuition to plant the seeds of equality liberty for all in America — while Jefferson, as I’ve said, worked tirelessly to legislate the end slavery, and Lincoln went to war against the redneck bastards who insisted on preserving it.

    And, HA! And when the shit hits the fan, which to which country does that toothless beast called the U.N. turn to stop holocausts like Bosnia? Brilliant… 🙂

    “Native Americans and Blacks certainly did not have the equal rights that we both agree were there due, as enshrined by law up until at least the 1960s.”

    What law, exactly?

    “Now if you please: Does America own the moon because they planted a flag on it?

    No.”

    Why not?

    (Your answer to this will fast track my reply to the other points you made.)

  177. G 178

    [edit (the system wouldn’t allow me to correct literals and syntax): * “… equality and liberty for all in America…” & “… when the shit hits the fan, to which country does that toothless beast called the U.N. turn to stop holocausts like Bosnia?”]

  178. r0b 179

    Anachronistic, Rob. Please keep a little historical perspective,

    Ahh so the universal declarations of equality that you so admire, that did not apply Native Americans, Blacks or women, aren’t quite so universal after all. They need to be interpreted with “historical perspective”. Or rose tinted spectacles. Whatever.

    Lincoln went to war against the redneck bastards who insisted on preserving it.

    No, the Cvivil War was a war to defend slavery, not to end it. The Southern Confederacy attacked first to preserve their “rights” to own slavers. The Northern Union had to respond of course, but they did not initiate a war to end slavery.

    What law, exactly?

    You know, these ones: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

    Why not?
    (Your answer to this will fast track my reply to the other points you made.)

    Because property rights are a construct created by society, and (in my opinion) society does not judge planting a flag on the moon as establishing ownership.

    Gone until tonight.

  179. DS 180

    “DS. Absurd hypothetical. Try another one set in a real world, with helicopters.”

    Nope, very possible hypothetical in your Libertarian fantasy land (or are helicopters invading the air space over my property and disturbing things situated on my property suddenly to be ignored? And what about the time before helicopters were invented?). Face it, mate, the scenario I used blows a gigantic contradictory hole in your argument. Either I have the right to assert my property rights (and in doing so starve you to death), or I don’t. Either way, you lose.

    BTW, the US Civil War didn’t become a war to end slavery until half-way through, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclaimation. Before that the North was simply fighting to preserve the Union.

  180. Pascal's bookie 181

    I sense that you are getting a little defensive and wanting to go on the attack. Not surprising because you’ve pretty much left yourself without a leg to stand on.

    How about I recap my position, and your response to it, and we’ll use the US constitution and it’s marvelous 5th Amendment as an example. There is going to be a bit of repetition here, but I ask that you bear with me. None of it will be superfluous, and I’ll let you have the last say. You can find out what begging the question means some other time.

    My position, (my ‘stake in the ground’ if you like) is that rights, including property rights, are constructed by societies. That it is meaningless to consider them without recognising this.

    You asked:what property is an individual entitled to own?

    In answer I replied that : An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers. (I’ve fixed a typo by adding ‘of’)

    I later added: … by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere. It may be a lot, in may be very little.

    That is to say that a persons property entitlement is determined by the system of property rights she is operating under. Further, as per my position, that system of rights will be constructed by the society she lives in.

    You responded: “…if she does not have control over her property, she has no property rights at all. The power of its disposal in this instance rests entirely with society, for there is no limit to the powers society has over ALL her property. If society determines she should have zero property (as is the case of communism), then she shall have none.

    and later: “… he who has control of the property has the rights, which in this case is society – not the individual. Another proof: if society lets me keep half of my property, you’d tell me, “You have property rights on that half.’ But if society votes later to appropriate another half of that half those prior ‘rights’ go right out the window. Simply put, your version of Property Rights aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

    If I really did have rights on that property, by right I would be able to say, “No, you told me it was mine and you can’t take any more of it.’

    and later yet: you clearly have no idea at all. As I’ve said repeatedly — and the point you continue to avoid — the “Just Compensation’ clause categorically DOES recognise private property and the right for an owner to retain its value, if not the original property itself.

    So much for our positions. Now lets have a look at the US example, see how it fits with my position, and then see where your responses fit in, bearing one more quote from you in mind:

    My answer to your question, “What society past or present has recognised property rights properly in your view?’ wasn’t ‘no’. My answer was America

    Now….

    According to me An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.

    So a person living in the US has the property rights recognised by the US society. What would they be? Where should we look? I say the Constitution. That’s where the courts over there look, and that is what the citizens rely on. As you say, the authors of the constitution created the constitution, and the state representatives ratified it with the support of the people. In other words the constitution is a construction built by their society, that they use to resolve disputes. Including those regarding property.

    So that’s where we look, according to me, to determine what a person in the US has in the way of property rights. What do we find?

    Our old friend the 5th amendment. And what does it say?

    No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (irrelevant stuff omitted)

    Seems clear. It would appear that the constitution recognises that people have private property rights. It didn’t have to of course, but that’s what they wrote and ratified and agreed upon, so that’s what they created.

    Not unrestricted private property rights though. Lookie there! The govt can, with due process of law, deprive a person of their property. They can also take it for public use if they give them ‘just compensation’. We should also note that the constitution can be amended. These rights could in theory change, as long as the proper process is followed.

    So according to my position, that’s what their property rights are and they get them from the constitution.

    Now let’s look what happens to US private property rights when put under the blowtorch of your responses to me.

    According to you, he who has ultimate control of the property has the rights. Well we see that the gov’t has the right to pass laws depriving people of their property, and that they can take your property off you, and replace it with just compensation. (We also remember that the constitution can be amended.)

    Who do we think determines what just compensation would be?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that ultimately it will be ‘the courts’. Which as I’m sure you are aware, are a branch of the govt. So it looks to me like it’s the gov’t that has the control when push comes to shove.

    So how do US private property rights stack up if we accept your positions: If I really did have rights on that property, by right I would be able to say, “No, you told me it was mine and you can’t take any more of it.’

    and

    The power of its disposal in this instance rests entirely with society, for there is no limit to the powers society has over ALL her property. If society determines she should have zero property (as is the case of communism), then she shall have none.

    Looks to me like they gets all blown to shit.

    So according to me, US citizens have private property rights created by their Constitution, (which, JFTR, is my favorite enlightenment document), and according to you they don’t.

    So there you go. I believe that property rights can exist, and you’re just a big ol’ contradictory mess.

    n’night.

  181. G 182

    Rob, quite right, planting a flag on the moon does not establish ownership. Why? Because ownership comes from a combination of using one’s labour with an unused resource. If a man digs a hole in the ground on an unclaimed lot and strikes gold, that gold is rightly his. When the Chickawa Indians built huts, plowed the land and began farming it, it became rightly theirs. For the nomadic tribe, however, there was no such inhabitation, and so they had no such claim on the land. If merely walking across a stretch of territory from year to year constituted ownership then America could make the absurd claim that it owned the moon, and the American sealer John Davis could have claimed Antarctica when he first landed there in 1821.

    Property rights do not — and should not — come from a society collectively deciding upon a head of state, who then makes claims on other people’s property in their name. If that were so then Andrew Jackson would have had every right to invade and confiscate the property of the Chickawa Indians — an act that still to this day makes federalists and libertarians cringe in unconstitutional horror.

    The Jim Crow law, as you know, does not not appear in the DOI or the constitution. It was, as you know, ruled to be unconstitutional and abolished. Thank Jefferson & Co. for the constitution.

    “No, the Cvivil War was a war to defend slavery, not to end it.”

    Not to be rude, Rob, but that actually made me laugh. Could your glass be any less half empty? 🙂

  182. G 183

    Well, Pascal, firstly I’d just like to say that I appreciate your thorough consideration in reply, and without the bitchiness that I’ve seen so much of here at The Standard — so thanks. 🙂

    I do feel, however, that we are going around in circles (I’m sure that feeling is mutual), and I’m not sure how much more we can achieve on this particular line. It may be that you and I pick this up again later on another thread, with a fresh approach.

    But before we abandon the field, I’d like to sleep on this and have another read of your post tomorrow — give it its due consideration.

    In the meantime, Pascal, could you tell me, academically, which political and economic systems you advocate?

    G

  183. r0b 184

    Because ownership comes from a combination of using one’s labour with an unused resource.

    I wonder who or what it is that recognises and confers such rights eh G? Society perhaps? Anyway, so now you have no less than three theories of ownership / property rights.

    (1) Your starting Libertarian position that property rights are inherent, universal, natural and inalienable.

    (2) Your position when denying the property rights that Native Americans fought and suffered and died for, that property is a legal construct of the white man (“property, a legal concept that was unknown to these people — until the arrival of the Europeans’).

    (3) And now an attempt to back down from 2, that “ownership comes from a combination of using one’s labour with an unused resource”.

    Thanks for making the philosophical underpinnings of Libertarianism so abundantly clear for us all G. Rock on. I’m done with this thread, farewell.

  184. G 185

    Well, Rob, I’m glad to see you don’t have issue with my other points, so all that’s left to do here is clear up is this alleged anomaly.

    As I stated above:

    “A right, by definition, is a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral.”

    So, with regards to settlers like the Chickawa Indians, their property was:

    1. inherent, natural and inalienably theirs;
    2. while their property wasn’t legally claimed (because, as I said, there was no formal law until the arrival of the Europeans), it was most certainly morally theirs — because…
    3. they had established ownership by a combination of their labour and an unused resource.

    As such, that bastard Southern Redneck Andrew Jackson had no right to take it from them; it was immoral and unconstitutional.

    The sad thing is, Rob, under your definition of property rights, the state (who had been elected by the majority of society) had every right to confiscate the Chickawa’s land.

    Perhaps now you can see why natural and unalienable rights are so important.

  185. Vanilla Eis 186

    Good lord G. If people ignore one of your points all of a sudden you’re correct?

    Does that mean that by failing to answer PB’s excellently written post point by point he wins the argument?

    And what does it matter where he stands on a political spectrum? Attack the argument, not the man. I’ve been watching closely, and so far he has you licked. Your response seems to be something like “Society doesn’t grant property rights, we have them because they’re unalienable” without going to say why they’re unalienable or where they came from in the first place.

    The concept of rights is a social construction. No other animal has self-given rights. The difference between them and us? Well, I’m hearing society from one side, and from you…?

    Of course, and I’m afraid I must ask, there is the possibility that you think God gave us rights? I can’t think of any other reason for your obtuse reasoning other than that it is based upon belief rather than logic. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, but you can’t argue with believers, so there’s not a lot of point trying)

  186. G 187

    Pascal, it appears Rob’s last hoorah has inadvertently and neatly put everything into perspective — including our issue.

    Under the system you advocate, property owners like the Chickawas have no power to stop society (under the auspices of the state they elect) from having all their property confiscated if society so determined — and did — without just compensation.

    Under the 5th Amendment of the American system the Chickawas were justly compensated for the loss of their land.

    Under a libertarian system, the Chickawas would still be living and residing on their land, protected by Private Property Rights.

  187. Vanilla Eis 188

    Thats it? Thats actually the statement you’re using as your trump card?

    I consider this to be the single least enlightening conversation of this length for a long time (Excluding Rex and Eve re: 9/11, of course).

    I remain utterly unconvinced of Libertarianism, especially as the argument in favour reads something like: “because we say so, nyah nyah!”

    captcha: libby problems.
    Problems indeed.

  188. G 189

    That is all that needs to be said, Vanilla. Not a trump card, as you put it, but the issue of property rights brought into sharp focus.

    The Chickawa Indians scenario shows us who among us really has their best interests at heart:

    Socialism supports the confiscation of their property.

    Libertarianism absolutely, categorically does not.

    And irony is, according to socialists it’s the libertarians who are the heartless bastards.

  189. DS 190

    —–As such, that bastard Southern Redneck Andrew Jackson had no right to take it from them; it was immoral and unconstitutional.——

    G, Native Americans were not considered citizens of the United States until 1924. As far as America’s Founding Fathers (you know, the guys who actually came up with the Fifth Amendment) were concerned, chucking Native Americans off their land was perfectly constitutional.

  190. G 191

    Personally I’m disgusted by their treatment.

    It’s a shame you’re not.

    But of course, as a socialist, you actually uphold this sort of society-endorsed land grab, don’t you, DS?

  191. G. Don’t be disgusting. No-one is saying the treatment of Native Americans was right.

    Quite clearly the treatment of Native Americans didn’t arise from a lack of property rights, they existed in both Native American law and the legal systems the Europeans bought with them. The problem was that when the Europeans imposed their legal system on the US they didn’t extend it to include the Native Americans and their pre-existing rights. That was because they were racists and imperialists, not because they didn’t beleive in property rights… (btw, nothing in this argument says property rights are inherent or necessary for people to treat each ther justly)

    If you can’t engage with your opponents in a respectful manner, and that includes not purposely misrepresenting their arguments, you’ll never get anywhere.

  192. G 193

    SP, I’m merely pointing out that socialism upholds the idea of taking property from people like the Indians, if the majority of society determines it — which is something libertarians find utterly abhorrent.

    How is that disrespectful?

  193. Tane 194

    God, I leave the thread for a few days and come back to find G accusing socialists of supporting the dispossession of Native Americans.

    Bro, you gotta lot of growing up to do.

  194. G 195

    The argument, Tane — not the man.

  195. Pascal's bookie 196

    G, I’d prefer if you used some quotes to show how our issue has been resolved. If that seems like too much effort, not my problem. It does seem a little weak for a days ‘thought’.

    You said that the US was an example of your kind of rights in action. I pretty much demolished that, and showed that the only rights worth having are ones created by societies.

    Other ‘rights’ don’t exist, they’re only fairy stories untill you convince society that you’ve got them. Do that, and the society you are a part of, has constructed them. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! That’s what they did in the US, that’s where their rights come from. FFS

    Finally I’d like to talk about your idea that nomadic tribes don’t have property rights, because I don’t see how you get there. And I understood what you said, so don’t bother repeating yourself.

    It doesn’t seem to me that poking holes in the ground or building structures confers any rights, per se. Is this some sort of magic?

    Nomadic tribes don’t just wander around willy nilly. They go to certain areas for different reasons. They know where they need to be for the seasons. It is more reasonable in this sense to think of them as having a lot of property that they roam over. They winter by the lake, spend the Buffalo hunting season on the plains, retreat to the mountain passes in times of war, (you do know that nomadic tribes fight wars to defend and expand their hunting grounds and water sources don’t you?). They have vast stores of institutional knowledge that determine their wanderings. I think that has as much relevance as a poorly developed cabbage patch.

    But there you are just saying that none of that matters, ‘no holes in the ground, no rights’ And you accuse me of… whatever it was you think you’ve shown.

    And I’ve changed my mind, about teaching you what begging the question means. Go read up about it yourself you lazy prick.

  196. G 197

    Pascal, I’m sorry my reply appeared lazy. I assure it was not. Don’t mistake brevity for glibness.

    I confess I’m not sure of your position anymore; you were espousing socialist ideals earlier, but now you’re singing the praises of the constitution. I thought my summation would either be accurate or solicit a correction that would clarify things.

    With regards to land owners (like say the Chickawa farmers), do you think society:

    a) has the right to determine the confiscation of their land without any compensation?

    b) has the right to determine the confiscation of their land with ‘Just Compensation’?

    c) should recognise their property rights and leave them in peace?

  197. G 198

    Pascal, you wanted me to use a quote. I thought this one of yours might be pertinent to the above, applying the Chickawa farmer to your principle:

    “… by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere [with the Chickawa property]. It may be a lot [of the Chickawa property], in may be very little [of the Chickawa property].”

    Might it be all of the Chickawa property, Pascal? If not, why not — and where would you draw the line?

  198. Pascal's bookie 199

    I confess I’m not sure of your position anymore

    Clearly.
    you were espousing socialist ideals earlier, but now you’re singing the praises of the constitution

    I’ve never espoused any socialist views on this thread that I can recall. I praise the US constitution because it is a clearly written example of exactly what I’m talking about. A society explicitly constructing a framework of rights for living under. Including a form of property rights.

    With regards to land owners (like say the Chickawa farmers), do you think society:

    a) has the right to determine the confiscation of their land without any compensation?

    b) has the right to determine the confiscation of their land with ‘Just Compensation’?

    c) should recognise their property rights and leave them in peace?

    See g, the thing is these questions don’t make sense. The ‘rights’ the Chickawa have are determined by the framework. If they are recognised as ‘land owners’ under the system then they have some property rights. What those rights are is determined by the system. There can be no answer without reference to the system.

    Calling them ‘property owners’, assumes that there is a system of property rights already in place, that they are a part of that system, and that they ‘own’ the land within that system. In that case the answer to your question is self evident.

    That is what begging the question means.

    Here’s a clue. There are communist forms of property rights. Capitalist forms of property rights. Tribal forms of property rights. There are Monarchist, feudalist, anarcho-syndicalist and many other forms of property rights. (What we have not been able to identify is an example of the libertarian form of absolute individual private property rights)

    How we determine what a person a has a right to, is dependent 100% on what system they are operating under. Under an absolute monarchy, the Monarch has all the property, by right. If you don’t like that, your option is to seek to change the system.

    Just saying “I’ve got property rights” doesn’t count for a tin a beans. What counts is convincing society to change the system so that it recognises/creates that right. Then you’ve got some property rights created by the new system.

    You seem to want me to argue as if there is some platonic ideal of some version of property rights that is written into the structure of the universe. Property rights that exist independently of societies. That’s just noise.

    I’m getting really sick of repeating this point g.

  199. G 200

    “I’m getting really sick of repeating this point g.”

    I know what you mean, Pascal, but please bear with me — we’re at the point of understanding each other’s idea of property rights with the example of the Chickawa Indians applied to our respective political ideals:

    “(What we have not been able to identify is an example of the libertarian form of absolute individual private property rights)”

    Libertarians believe, absolutely, that the Chickawa Indians should have been left in peace, on the land they morally owned — by natural and unalienable right — through a combination of their labour and an unused, unclaimed resource.

    Now, let’s apply your principle of private property rights to the Chickawa:

    “… by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere [with the Chickawa property]. It may be a lot [of the Chickawa property], in may be very little [of the Chickawa property].’

    Under this ‘social construct’ the confiscation of the Chickawa lands was entirely legitimate because it had the sanction of the majority of society in America at that time.

  200. G 201

    [edit: in anticipation of a possible loophole, I’d like to revise that last paragraph to read:

    “Under this ‘social construct’ the confiscation of the Chickawa land is entirely legitimate if it had the sanction of the majority of society.]

  201. So G answer the following:

    1. Ideally what would A) a Socialist and B) a Libertarian do about the confiscation of Chickawa land?

    2. How does this compare with where A) Socialist and B) Libertarian Parties actually stand on the issue?

  202. G 203

    I can only answer for myself, Mr. Killing.

    In accordance with libertarian principles I wouldn’t have appropriated their private property in the first place. But now that it has been taken I would follow the rules of the 5th Amendment and ensure their private property rights were recognised with just compensation. And I would leave them to dispose of ALL their settlement money as they see fit.

    What about you, KITNO?

  203. G 204

    I do, however, know where Marx would have stood on the issue:

    “1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.”

    He would have confiscated the Chickawa’s land.

    “2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”

    And then taxed the shit out of them.

  204. Pascal's bookie 205

    Except, I haven’t anywhere stated anything about what you think is ‘my principle of private property rights’. All I have stated is that property rights, like all other rights, are a construct.

    You seem to think that that means something about what form those rights take. Your libertarian property rights, if they ever got put into practice anywhere, would be a construct of a libertarian society. Just the same as the communal property rights that exist in many tribal societies are a construct of those tribal societies. That doesn’t mean that either set is the real form of property rights. It doesn’t mean one set is stronger than the other. It just means that they are different. Judging one set from the standpoint of the other, using the language of ‘rights’ is a fool’s game.

    In US society at that time they had an idea, IIRC, about manifest destiny. That the republic had a right of divine providence to expand across the continent. That is a right they created for themselves, and unfortunately for the Native American peoples, the new republic was powerful enough to enforce that right.

    What I think about the morality of any of this, is utterly irrelevant. I’m talking about what rights are. You keep conflating this with what content a system of rights should have, what form those rights should take.

    You seemed to have changed your position, yet again. Firstly you said correctly that no society has had property rights as you understand them. Then you said the US did, and now you are talking about a hypothetical libertarian state. It seems to me your ‘stake in the ground’ moves around quite a bit.

  205. RedLogix 206

    In accordance with libertarian principles I wouldn’t have appropriated their private property in the first place.

    Except of course that under the social construct of the era in which the Chickawa lived, ‘property rights’ were only as good as their ability to defend against invasion by others. There was no such thing as a ‘right to occupy’; all that mattered was the ability of the tribal warriors to fight off invaders.

    Property rights as we know them in modern times, only exist as a result of the rule of law and our statutory mechanisms of enforcement.

  206. Pascal's bookie 207

    What would be ‘just’ compensation g? Would you determine that? What if they demanded NYC and a couple of aircraft carrier battle groups as a downpayment.

  207. G 208

    Let’s cut to the chase, Pascal, before you do a ‘Rob’ and cry “I’m bored with this thread, I’m leaving,” without actually putting a stake of your own in the ground.

    My position regarding the Chickawa remains consistent: in accordance with my politics they should have been allowed to keep their land without any interference whatsoever.

    Now please, stop prevaricating: according to your politics (whatever they are), or according to the ‘social construct’ you have posted many times, is society justified — if they so decide — in confiscating the Chickawa’s land, or not?

    And why?

    And as a supplementary question (in case you get hung up on the details of the Chickawa case) is society justified — if they so decide — in confiscating anybody’s land, or not?

    And why?

  208. G 209

    BTW, you skipped over this question, Pascal. Are you unable to answer it, or is it that you just don’t want to?

    “… by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere [with the Chickawa property]. It may be a lot [of the Chickawa property], in may be very little [of the Chickawa property].’

    Might it be all of the Chickawa property, Pascal? If not, why not — and where would you draw the line?

  209. Pascal's bookie 210

    “is society justified — if they so decide — in confiscating anybody’s land, or not?”

    Dude. Please. Try and follow. When you say that it is ‘their land’ or ‘their property’ or what-have-you, you are presupposing a system of property rights. You are assuming that ‘property’ means something independently of the social melieu.

    That is begging the question. It is a circular argument you nonce. Therefore there is no legitimate question for me to answer. It’s certainly not up to me to ‘draw the line’.

    Now seeing we are talking about unanswered questions, why are you so focussed on the chickawa? What about the ‘nomadic’ tribes? Where do they fit under your plans? Genocide fodder? No rights to roam over there traditional hunting grounds etc?

    What compensation would you give to the Chickawa today? Who would decide what is ‘just’ compensation? What would make it ‘just’ when they had no say in the fact their land was taken?

    I’m still waiting for a response about why you changed your position with regard to whether or not the US is an example of your system in action.

    You’ve got nothing, so go ahead and imagine you’ve stumped me and declare yourself victorious if that what you wish. The fact remains that property rights are a construct of societies, and libertarian ideas of unrestricted private property rifgts have never been tried. Not because they are so awesome, but because they are incoherent. Which is why even in democratic free market economies, Libertarian parties get about 2-5% support. Just like Communists. With whom they have much in common.

    I’m done

  210. G 211

    “I’m done”

    And there it is. Leaving the argument, as I predicted, without actually stating for the record what you think should have happened to the poor ol’ Chickawa (or the nomadic tribes for that matter.)

    “The fact remains that property rights are a construct of societies, and libertarian ideas… are incoherent”

    Honestly, Pascal, are you saying this is incoherent to you?:

    “My position regarding the Chickawa remains consistent: in accordance with my politics they should have been allowed to keep their land without any interference whatsoever.”

    You had to go, I understand that — but you’ve already in effect answered my question. You’ve stated in black and white that society determines what property rights the Chickawa (and other landowners like them) have…

    “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.”

    … and, according to you it might be as little as a fraction of 1% (might be none at all, but you simply won’t be pinned down on that one will you, P?):

    “… by constructing a system of property rights society is setting the rules regarding how much it can interfere. It may be a lot, in may be very little.

    So you see, when it comes to the Chickawa land I’m the one telling society to get their hands off, and you, Ms Bookie, are the one who’ll allow society to rip them off.

    Finally, Pascal, this really does put the icing on the cake:

    “Libertarian parties get about 2-5% support. Just like Communists. With whom they have much in common.”

    Oh dear, P, had I known I was arguing with someone who thought the abolition of property rights was the same as protecting them I may not have wasted my time here.

    It’s alright, I know why you had to go. The realisation that your so-called ‘social construct’ (which is socialist, by the way) permits the confiscation of the Chickawa land must be quite a shock.

    Were we the Chickawa’s choice of candidates, representing our respective political ideals, I think we both know for whom they would have voted — (and before anyone says it, we would have afforded them that right too.)

    Regards,

    G.

    [PS: I’m happy to answer anymore direct questions. I just wish you were…]

  211. G 212

    Unanswered questions:

    “What compensation would you give to the Chickawa today?”

    Market value for their land at the time of confiscation, minus any compensation that has already been awarded, all adjusted for inflation.

    “Who would decide what is ‘just’ compensation?”

    Not who, but what: in this case the register of property value.

    “What would make it ‘just’ when they had no say in the fact their land was taken?”

    As I said, I think it was wholly unjust their land was taken in the first place.

    “I’m still waiting for a response about why you changed your position with regard to whether or not the US is an example of your system in action.”

    No need to wait, Pascal, just read what I’ve written maybe three or four times already. Once again, for your convenience: the US system is closest to the system I support, but far from perfect.

  212. Anita 213

    G,

    I’ve been barely following this, but I’m now curious…

    Market value for their land at the time of confiscation, minus any compensation that has already been awarded, all adjusted for inflation.

    Why?

    Why not either current market value or old market value plus interest?

  213. RedLogix 214

    Market value for their land at the time of confiscation

    Market value is the price that a willing buyer pays a willing seller. Indeed the very notion that they owned the land and that they would sell it was probably repugnant to them.

    The Chickawa were not willing sellers. Therefore the notion of a market price is a nonsense.

  214. G 215

    I have no problem with any of you challenging my argument, indeed I relish it, but it’s hardly an argument to simply write it off as nonsense, as Tane and many others have done here. I happen to agree with you, Red, the Chickawa would have been thoroughly — and rightfully — repulsed by the idea that society could take away their land. But for the love of reason, how about offering an alternate proposition or another course of action?

    Do you, Red, think the Chickawa should have been left to live and work on their land without interference from society?

    And now that their land has been confiscated, how should they be compensated?

    The fact that none of you — not a single one of you — has offered an opinion as to what should have happened to the Chickawa land speaks volumes about the lack of principle involved in your respective philosophies. Like a flock of amoral sheep you simply defer the question to the will of society and follow the majority wherever it might wander. Haven’t any of you got an opinion of your own? Has socialism made you that brain dead that you can’t answer a simple question?

    The ‘social construct’ you keep hammering on about is a floating abstraction. If you think it’s so watertight, test it with the concrete example of the Chickawa land. If you dare.

    So, once and for all, according to your ‘social construct’, what do each of YOU think should have happened to the Chickawa land?

    (A rhetorical question of course. I expect you all to keep silent on it. After all, to defend your system you’ll have to admit that it does indeed grant society the power to confiscate anything — including the Chickawa land — if it so decides.)

  215. G 216

    “Why not either current market value or old market value plus interest?”

    Good question, Anita. The former is impractical due to the significant improvement to the land around the Chickawa River in the last hundred and fifty years. The latter is a perfectly reasonable idea, provided you subtracted the interest they would have received on their settlement fund.

  216. r0b 217

    Goodness G you make the energiser bunny look like a sloth. I left this thread long ago, and I’m not coming back. Against my better judgement I’ll add just this final comment. Share and enjoy.

    The ‘social construct’ you keep hammering on about is a floating abstraction

    Socialism is a social construct. So is Libertarianism. So is Social Democracy and Conservatism. And law. And property rights. They are all of them social constructs. Conventions adopted by groups of people.

    You prefer the Libertarian version of politics (and some confused Eurocentric version of it for property rights), and because this is what you prefer you elevate it in your mind to some kind of natural and universal Truth. But it isn’t, it’s a social construct, just like any other. This is why you have never been able and will never be able to answer the question of where these rights (as you see them) come from. They come from societies that agree to work that way G (except that there never has been and never will be a Libertarian society).

    Because you refuse to understand or acknowledge the above your question below is ill-formed, but I’ll try to adapt it and give a few answers anyway.

    So, once and for all, according to your ‘social construct’, what do each of YOU think should have happened to the Chickawa land?

    A society adopting the construct of Libertarianism should left them completely alone (but such a society has never and will never exist in reality).

    A society adopting the construct of Socialism should have recognised them as peasant farmers and organised them into a collective.

    A society adopting the construct of Social Democracy should have given them a vote, and let them participate in making decisions about their own future (within a system that protected the rights of minorities, only very limited conceptions of democracy ignore minority rights).

    A society adopting the construct of pure Capitalism “should” (argh – within its own moral framework which I abhor) have maximised its wealth by exterminating or enslaving them and taking their land.

    But this is a pretty silly game don’t you think? All we really know for sure is that every expansionist culture that has met up with native peoples has behaved more or less like pure Capitalism, including the European expansion into America which all you Libertarians hold up as your role model.

    Goodbye.

  217. Pascal's bookie 218

    As further to r0b’s post, I’ll tell your what a society that constucted a system based on Pascal’s bookies ideas would do.

    Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.

    If we found ourselves in the position of needing to compensate them, we would first offer them their sovereignty back. Then their land that was taken from them, or if they would prefer some other form of compensation.

    I note that you would use a market price, which is essentially having your society telling them what their land is worth.

    Obviously the current ‘owners’ of the land wouldn’t feel good about it, so you’d go to some govt registry to use that registry estimate to arrive at the price you would dictate and give them. If you don’t think that it is an estimate, do you think that QV valuations are the real values and that any deviance from them is a ripoff?

    Your answer seems to me to rely on a number of social mechanisms to arrive at justice. Why do you think that is g?

    And who would pay the compensation in your scheme g? The tax payer? Wasn’t that where we started?

  218. G 219

    Rob, your understanding of certain political systems is clearly quite limited, so let me enlighten you:

    In a Social Democracy the people vote for a state which then takes it upon itself to make decisions on their behalf. There is no limit to the amount of interference that might entail (as Pascal points out above), and no mechanism to stop them. The Chickawa land entirely is up for grabs, and what happened to them is entirely consistent with your brand of politics.

    It’s fortunate for the Chickawa, though I’m sure small comfort, that the 5th Amendment at least recognised their property rights to extent they compensated them for value of their land.

    Now, on to Capitalism. You say:

    “A society adopting the construct of pure Capitalism “should’ (argh – within its own moral framework which I abhor) have maximised its wealth by exterminating or enslaving them and taking their land.”

    Astonishing in its ignorance. Had you bothered to refer to your beloved Wiki you would’ve seen that pure Capitalism, otherwise known as Laissez-faire Capitalism, is “a doctrine that maintains that private initiative and production [like the Chickawa farmers] are best allowed a minimal of economic interventionism and taxation by the state beyond what is necessary to maintain individual liberty, peace, security, and property rights.”

    In other words, Rob, under Laissez-faire Capitalism the Chickawa farmer would not only be still breathing, he’d still be sucking in free air as he plowed the land that was rightly his, safe in the knowledge that no majority vote would ever take that away from him.

    Under a Social Democracy life would not be so certain. In fact they were (by a similar unconstrained mechanism in your political system) rightly dispossessed of their land in accordance with the wishes of society at the time.

    I note your assertion that a Social Democracy contains a system that protects the rights of the minorities is without substantiation. There is not, as far as I’m aware, any ‘law’ or ‘principle’ that protects their rights under a Social Democracy. Simply speaking, you’re talking through a hole in your tiny hat.

  219. G 220

    Thanks for your straight forward answers, Pascal. Refreshing after all this prevaricating. 🙂

    Now, you say, “Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.”

    Why not? According to you, “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.” What if society determined it would confiscate the Chickawa farmer’s land? As indeed it did.

    When will you people realise that a Socialist system, or a Social Democratic system contains NO MECHANISM OF PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY?

  220. G 221

    “And who would pay the compensation in your scheme g? The tax payer? Wasn’t that where we started?”

    There’d be no need for compensation; I would have recognised their property rights from the get go. And as a capitalist, if I was hungry I would have entered into a free trade deal with them for the supply of their produce. If I wanted a plot of land by the Chickawa River I would have negotiated a fair price for the deed. If they wanted help in protecting their individual rights from those marauding, looting, raping, enslaving, nomadic savages known as the Plains Indians I would negotiate a fee for that service. And if they wanted help in administering disputes between their own tribesmen I’d negotiate a fee to set up a court of law.

    In other words, help them create a freedom-based civilisation.

    What I wouldn’t do, is presume to tell them that society will dictate how much they may own.

    That’s barbaric.

  221. Pascal's bookie 222

    contains NO MECHANISM OF PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY?

    Sure it does dipshit.

    It’s called the Law.

    Duly enacted and followed by the government and people.

    Enforced by the courts with all sorts of interesting mechanisms at it’s disposal. (It’s amazing what societies can do g. You should look about you sometime.)

    That’s where rights come from, or do you think you can have rights that aren’t created and protected by society in some way or another.

    As we’ve seen, the Americans’ property rights (such as they are) are created and protected by their constitution, which they created.

    Is that why they are not an example of your system?

    How would you compensate the Chickawa tribes G? Through Taxation? Then what about your private property rights?

    What about the nomadic tribes g? Are their hunting grounds and the like fair game?

  222. Pascal's bookie 223

    Then what did you mean by this:

    “What compensation would you give to the Chickawa today?’

    Market value for their land at the time of confiscation, minus any compensation that has already been awarded, all adjusted for inflation.

    Like I said, you’re just a big ol’ mess of contradictions aren’t you g?

  223. Vanilla Eis 224

    G: Errr, there’re the courts, who’re charged with ensuring the Government adheres to laws. Then there’s the fact that political parties can’t pass legislation willy-nilly without opposition. Then there’s the fact that you can vote to change the Government if you don’t like what they’re doing, and there’s (hopefully) a Fourth Estate that will unbiasedly inform you of what the Government is doing, so you can get all indignant about your 6% marginal tax rate (which is what this was all about in the first place, yes?).

    There are restrictions on Government – you seem to be trying to state that there aren’t, and thats why a Social Democratic system is bad.

    So, somehow after about ninety gazillion pointless posts where you go around in circles, all I have taken from yours posts (and I’ve read all of them, but have no desire to go back and do so again) is: “government is bad, because it has power over my life”. So what? Don’t like it, move to a country where the government has no power over your life. The fact that you remain here means you’re accepting the social contract currently in place.

    I thought the argument was about society, not systems of Government? Government takes the shape of whatever society determines at the time. If some sort of neo-fascist party took root in NZ and was voted in, it would be because we have a (hypothetically) neo-fascist society, hold neo-fascist ideals and want neo-fascist systems put in place. The same goes for all of the above systems that r0b was pointing out – but you seem to have missed the point of this exercise completely.

    This is not a “liberalism is bad, socialism is good” debate, because in a liberal society, there is still a society that is making decisions. The only time that society doesn’t determine what is acceptable is when there is no society, a la anarchism.

    You’re not arguing the same point as PB and r0b, you’re not even close. Again: This is not an argument about how an Indian tribe was treated (although you seem to have latched on to it quite firmly, and refuse to let go) but about how the tax you pay is owned by society, and you agree to pay that tax through a social contract. The argument has stemmed from the point that you are unable to grasp the fact that society, as a whole, can make decisions that affect it’s members, even if some of those members don’t agree with the decision.

    Currently, you are unhappy that you pay too much tax, money which goes towards things for the benefit of society. Fine, you’re perfectly entitled to think that, but if you want it to change you need to convince the rest of society to claim less tax or you can remove yourself from society. You can ask it to do so by finding someone in politics with the same viewpoints as yourself and voting for them, alternatively you can stand yourself. If people don’t like your ideas and you’re unsuccessful, you’re welcome to move to whatever libertarian paradise you see fit.

    But please, please don’t try and convince us that society doesn’t exist and/or is bad.

  224. G 225

    I’ll be back later to discuss, but in the meantime:

    “It’s called the Law.”

    What law, Pascal? References please.

  225. G 226

    [edit to clarify: precisely which law protects Private Property?]

  226. G 227

    Also, Pascal, you didn’t answer this question (again):

    Now, you say, “Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.’

    Why not? According to you, “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.’ What if society determined it would confiscate the Chickawa farmer’s land?

    You see, this is the central point, which none of you wants to address: under a Social Democracy there is no mechanism to stop society from determining the wholesale confiscation of land — no law, nothing.

    I look forward to your citation that says otherwise.

  227. Vanilla Eis 228

    G: He did answer your question.

    Society, in PB’s perfect world, would recognise that even the nomadic tribes had claims to the land they roamed. There would have been no confiscation of any Indian lands and thus no need for reparations.

    However, society, at the time of the great expansion westward, did not recognise their claim to the land, and confiscated said land. It’s not a hypothetical situation G, it’s what happened. What should happen now is debatable – their society has determined an outcome and paid any compensation they feel appropriate. If they decide in the future that they haven’t paid enough, they can pay more. Does PB (Or do I – sorry to speak on your behalf PB but G seems to ignore me entirely, as evidenced by the fact that he’s never answered a whole post of mine) personally believe that they paid enough? Well, probably not. It’s hard to compensate a nation for wholesale destruction of their way of life. But we’re not part of the American society making these decisions.

    Quick question: Do you mind that a portion of your tax (pretend it’s that extra 6% at the top) goes towards paying for Waitangi Tribunal settlements?

  228. G. Our entire legal system is predicated on the concept of private property. The laws that both uphold a system of private property and protect owners of private property from having others enjoy that property are myriad.

  229. G 230

    I have to go out, Vanilla — and I will answer you more comprehensively on my return — but I want to quickly say that the question has not been answered.

    Let me simplify it for you:

    Under a Social Democracy does society reserve the right to confiscate all of a Chickawa framer’s land? If not, how do you reconcile it with Pascal’s statement?:

    “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.’

  230. G 231

    SP, that’s very wishy-washy where law is not. Please cite the law or the clause that protects private property.

    Back later.

  231. Matthew Pilott 232

    There’d be no need for compensation; I would have recognised their property rights from the get go. And as a capitalist, if I was hungry I would have entered into a free trade deal with them for the supply of their produce. If I wanted a plot of land by the Chickawa River I would have negotiated a fair price for the deed. If they wanted help in protecting their individual rights from those marauding, looting, raping, enslaving, nomadic savages known as the Plains Indians I would negotiate a fee for that service. And if they wanted help in administering disputes between their own tribesmen I’d negotiate a fee to set up a court of law.

    In other words, help them create a freedom-based civilisation.

    For a fee. Freedom? Enslaved to the dollar, more like.

    Interestingly enough, you’re saying what you would do as an individual, and then comparing it to what an entire society would do under a specific form of government. These are not comparable examples – you need to explain what a society under the form of organisation you are advocating would do before you can ask for a comparison. To do that, you also need to explain is such a society was viable and could exist, before claiming that something could happen under it.

  232. Vanilla Eis 233

    You’re still arguing the wrong question G.

    Under a Social Democracy does society reserve the right to confiscate all of a Chickawa framer’s land?

    We’re not talking about Social Democracy. We’re talking about Society.

    Can I envisage a society that has given itself the right to confiscate the Chickawa Farmers lands? Yes, I can. Amazingly, that same society is the one you hold up as the pinnacle of civilisation – the same one that wrote the Constitution of the United States.

    I’m not here to argue about Social Democracy – that was never the point of the debate. It was whether or not Society (completely different to Social Democracy – not all societies are Socially Democratic) has the ability to legally tax incomes and whether the income from that belongs to society or the person producing the original income.

    Unless of course I’m wrong here, and you weren’t originally complaining that the tax you pay still belongs to you, and that the thieving Labour Government was taking too much of your money?

    I just hate seeing PB et al argue with you when you can’t even make up your mind on the definitions of the debate. I’m not sure I can be bothered with this when you’re constantly shifting the terms of debate and being decidedly obtuse. Stick to the topic, answer my whole post and not small portions without context (As I’ve seen you do with PB and r0b) and I might post again.

  233. G 234

    Vanilla, it’s a little unreasonable to expect me to answer every point made by my six or so opponents on this topic of property rights. I’m doing my best. It would be best for all of you to ask me a few pointed questions.

    But I’ll indulge you this once since you’re feeling left out.

    “Society, in PB’s perfect world, would recognise that even the nomadic tribes had claims to the land they roamed. There would have been no confiscation of any Indian lands and thus no need for reparations.”

    Not so. The state, sanctioned by society, did take the Indian land, because the mechanism to stop the confiscation was missing. This is the mechanism that libertarians want restored; the mechanism that stops societies (like the one Pascal advocates) from confiscating private property.

    “However, society, at the time of the great expansion westward, did not recognise their claim to the land…”

    Not so. If they didn’t recognise their claim they wouldn’t have awarded them compensation, which they did under the rules of the 5th.

    “Quick question: Do you mind that a portion of your tax (pretend it’s that extra 6% at the top) goes towards paying for Waitangi Tribunal settlements?”

    I think where Maori have been unfairly dispossessed of their land they should be fairly compensated — full and finally with no further claims after settlement — with past reparations subtracted including adjustments for inflation.

    “Can I envisage a society that has given itself the right to confiscate the Chickawa Farmers lands? Yes, I can.”

    Finally a straight answer! That’s precisely why there needs to be a black and white law against it, Vanilla, which does not exist in the system that Pascal advocates. In her system society determines how much property can be ceased, which could be a little or the lot. In the system I advocate society cannot determine what happens to property that does not belong to them. Under a libertarian flag the Chickawa land rights are safe. Under Pascal’s they are not.

    “Amazingly, that same society is the one you hold up as the pinnacle of civilisation – the same one that wrote the Constitution of the United States.”

    Not the pinnacle, Van, just the closest — as I’ve said on many times on this thread. I’m the first to admit their deficiencies.

    “… you’re constantly shifting the terms of debate…”

    I can see your confusion: property isn’t limited to land; it also includes the product of one’s mind and labour. I’ve used the Chickawa example to demonstrate the injustice of society being permitted to confiscate property.

  234. G 235

    Oh golly, I forgot you made an earlier post, Vanilla.

    “Government takes the shape of whatever society determines at the time. If some sort of neo-fascist party took root in NZ and was voted in, it would be because we have a (hypothetically) neo-fascist society, hold neo-fascist ideals and want neo-fascist systems put in place.”

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Vanilla! That’s exactly why there needs to be immutable laws that protect the individual rights of every citizen no matter what Government gets elected; a constitution that prevents society from ever being able to vote in a state that has the power to confiscate property that does not belong to them.

    Happy to answer any more (direct) questions you may have.

  235. RedLogix 236

    That’s exactly why there needs to be immutable laws that protect the individual rights of every citizen no matter what Government gets elected;

    Oh… you want a religion. The one great thing about Divine Law is of course that ordinary mortals and the ordinary govts they elect don’t get to have any say about it. At least in principle.

  236. cynic 237

    “Happy to answer any more (direct) questions you may have.”

    in your world person A is rich and B is starving to death. Which is better, confiscating some property from A and feeding B, or leaving A alone and watching B starve to death?

  237. RedLogix 238

    I wonder if G will spot the fact that on at least one level I am being perfectly serious.

    If indeed all the peoples of the earth were to become sincere followers of one religion, and the vast majority of us strove throughout our lives to live up to the high ideals and standards that are embodied at the heart of all the major religions… then indeed his “liberatarian” paradise would be possible.

    If only all people took genuine responsibility for their own lives, and served those in the community around them then the need for government as we currently know it would be much reduced. In such a world we would undertake voluntarily those services to others that we currently abdicate to government.

    But of course the great paradox from a Libertarian point of view, is that such a society is pre-conditioned by the requirement that all submit to the Will of God.

  238. G 239

    “contains NO MECHANISM OF PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY?

    Sure it does dipshit. It’s called the Law.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it, Pascal. Please cite the law or the principle, as I have done.

    “That’s where rights come from, or do you think you can have rights that aren’t created and protected by society in some way or another.”

    As I quoted above: “A right, by definition, is a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral.” The Chickawa had a moral right to their land that was not created by the society that confiscated it.

    “As we’ve seen, the Americans’ property rights (such as they are) are created and protected by their constitution, which they created. Is that why they are not an example of your system?”

    Good god, P, how many times do I have to repeat myself? They protect property rights better than anyone, but they need to plug the loophole that permits society from confiscating land like the Chickawa’s. Don’t you agree?

    “How would you compensate the Chickawa tribes G? Through Taxation? Then what about your private property rights?”

    If I went back to America I would accept that the condition for my return would be a portion of tax for the debt outstanding to the Native Americans (if indeed there even is one).

    “What about the nomadic tribes g? Are their hunting grounds and the like fair game?”

    This goes back to the question: does America own the moon because it has periodically roamed around its surface? Should America own Antarctica because an American was first to land there?

    In an ideal world, the European settlers should have negotiated with the Indians, rather than just annexing the entire region. The fact is, the Plains Indian’s way of life was tenuous, brutal and quite short, unable to even look after their old who were left out in the snow to die. Theirs was a savage martial culture that didn’t respect the property of tribes like the Chickawa, the likes from whom they stole, murdered and enslaved. They were so primitive they hadn’t even figured out the life-giving benefits of settling and farming. Had they done so, their bona fide claim to property would have been without question.

    You keep mentioning my contradiction, Pascal, without actually substantiating it. Proof please.

    Now, as I’ve been so forthcoming with you, would you please, once and for all, answer this question:

    You say, “Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.’

    Why not? According to you, “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.’ What if society determined it would confiscate the Chickawa farmer’s land?

    Would that be justified, Pascal?

  239. Pascal's bookie 240

    I’ll tell you what a society that constucted a system based on Pascal’s bookies ideas would do.

    Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.

    Dude, you are deeply confused about what we are talking about, as Vanilla explained.

    Read the italicised phrase of the quote above. The bit you don’t quote. The bit that does all the work. The hypothetical bookiean society would be operating under hard and fast laws determined by my ideas. If those rules were to change, it would no longer be that society.

    What you are stubbornly refusing to address is that you face the same problem that you perceive mine to face. In your hypothetical libertarian paradise the rules still need to be established and enforced. They can never be immutable. That is just a fact.

    What do you think the DOI is about? This very fact. No matter how well a system is set up humans will eventually fnck it up. Power corrupts etc and a revolution of some form may need to take place. Or revolution / change may happen because the original system couldn’t account for some future need or desire of the people. Your immutable Laws would not only lead to a decaying, unresponsive and stagnant existence, they would deprive the citizens of the rights alluded to in the DOI. Which you claim to love.

    How exactly would you stop people from ever wanting reform g? Psycho-tropic drugs perhaps? Education camps? Please don’t tell me they just won’t ever want change.

    How would libertarians deal with a Hitler next door? Voluntary mobilisation and taxation? Good fucking luck.

    Are you really suggesting that once you set things up no human will ever seek to change the system? Ever?

    You think that your society would be an eternal utopia, and that is one of the things you have in common with the communists, who also sometimes make the same mistake that you are making. The idea that you are so damn clever that your system is perfect justice for all time and circumstance. (we’ll leave aside the fact that it’s never been attempted)

    When I say that:

    “An individual is entitled to own whatever property the property rights recognised by the society she is a part of, determine is hers.’

    I am explicitly and deliberately not making any judgment about what form the society takes. This is not in order to be evasive you twat. It’s in order to make sense. That statement is about how all societies actually operate in reality. How systems of rights come to be and function.

    You are babbling away about hypothetical societies that don’t exist, and pretending that the only ‘real’ property rights are private ones. Just like communists assume the only ‘real’ property rights are communal ones. That’s the big thing you have in common.

    I was wrong about one thing earlier, and by about an order or two of magnitude. You are not 17 different flavours of stupid.

    The other mistake I may have made is in assuming you were :

    a) arguing in good faith, and

    b) not a troll.

    But maybe it’s just the stupid thing. It’s one of the three though.

  240. G 241

    Red, I believe in the separation of church and state, so I have no idea where you’re going with this line. If the word ‘immutable’ has confused you, let me put you straight: it comes from the Latin immutabilis; in as in ‘not’, mutabilis as in ‘mutable’. In other words, something that cannot ever be changed, no matter how many people vote against it.

    Cynic, I’ll answer your question when you answer the one that’s actually on topic:

    Do you think society has the right to confiscate property (like the Chickawa’s land) if the majority so decides?

  241. Pascal's bookie 242

    “They protect property rights better than anyone, but they need to plug the loophole that permits society from confiscating land like the Chickawa’s. Don’t you agree?”

    How do they protect them again g? Through the constitution right? The constitution that they wrote and ratified and which establishes those imperfect property rights. (but also allows the govt to interfere with property as per the 5th amendment).

    That’s what the rights are based on. That’s what gets argued in court. It’s a construction of American society and would be so still, even if they closed the loopholes. Do you not see this?

  242. G 243

    Okay, Pascal, you said, “I’ll tell you what a society that constucted a system based on Pascal’s bookies ideas would do. Like you we wouldn’t have taken the land in the first place, we also wouldn’t have taken the land off the nomadic tribes.’

    Why not? Why not? Why the fuck not?

    (Honestly, the only one not acting in good faith here and behaving like a troll is you! Why won’t you give me your REASON, your PRINCIPLE, as to why you wouldn’t take it off them? Do you even know what a principle is?)

  243. G 244

    “They protect property rights better than anyone, but they need to plug the loophole that permits society from confiscating land like the Chickawa’s. Don’t you agree?’

    You see, Pascal, that was a really straightforward question.

    Yes or no?

  244. cynic 245

    “Cynic, I’ll answer your question when you answer the one that’s actually on topic: Do you think society has the right to confiscate property (like the Chickawa’s land) if the majority so decides?”

    No – no one should confiscate from the dirt poor, only if disparity between rich and poor exists.

    So answer my question – A is rich and won’t help B who is starving to death. Which is better
    1. confiscating some property from A and feeding B or
    2. leaving A alone and watching B starve to death

    If you answer 2 congrats youre a true libertarian, if 1 congrats you just invented taxes.

  245. Pascal's bookie 246

    All sorts of reasons g. Sovereignty issues, the type of property and human rights my society would construct and so on and so forth.

    You seem to think I am prevaricating by not answering these questions, and yet I keep telling you that I’m not answering because they are irrelevant to the question of whether or not rights are social constructs.

    It’s a distraction g.

    Now you are going to be tempted to ask me ‘what type of property rights, would you have and how would you justify them?”

    Which is equally irrelevant.

    It was to avoid that pointless sidetrack that I haven’t been answering. To keep focused on the question at hand. Which is would those property rights be a social construction, like they are in every society that has yet existed ( I say yes), or would they be something else and what might that be? (fuck knows)

    The opposite of trolling if you like.

  246. G 247

    “No – no one should confiscate from the dirt poor, only if disparity between rich and poor exists.”

    Hang on, Cynic, so your answer is in fact ‘yes’, society does have the right to confiscate property if the majority so decides.

  247. Pascal's bookie 248

    “They protect property rights better than anyone, but they need to plug the loophole that permits society from confiscating land like the Chickawa’s. Don’t you agree?’

    You see, Pascal, that was a really straightforward question.

    Yes or no?

    sigh, yes g, it’s a simple question, and yes they should change the constitution or whatever to close the loophole. Why do think this is a difficult question that creates a problem for me? (I thought you were being rhetorical, and thought I’d already answered it in effect when I said that if I had my way they would still be sovereigns on their land.)

    To me it’s easy, closing the loophole creates the right.

    While the loophole is there there is no right in effect.

    You can certainly argue that they have a moral right, but because it couldn’t be protected in reality, that moral right wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on. See, you need to construct a system of rights to be able to say that people actually have them. That’s why I keep saying that if you think of rights as being independent of society, you are not making sense, because it is society that will be protecting them g. Always. Try and think of a counter example.

    If society doesn’t construct them somehow, then they don’t exist in any useful way. Which is the only way that matters.

    I start work early so I’m signing off now.

  248. G 249

    [edit: reviewing your latest entry]

  249. cynic 250

    “I’ll answer your question when you answer the one”

    Liar.

  250. G 251

    Jesus! Pascal, I actually felt a wave of camaraderie wash over me. Maybe we’re not so far removed in our ideologies as I first imagined. 🙂

    I must go and eat, and mull over your response. Converse tomorrow.

    Regards,

    G

  251. G 252

    No, Cynic, I always keep my word.

    I will answer your question when you give me something that isn’t a yes/no answer. You can’t have it both ways.

    I’ll simplify it for you:

    “Do you think society has the right to confiscate property if the majority so decides?’

  252. cynic 253

    Under some circumstances yes. Under others no. It always has the ability to, but dont confuse the ability with the right.

    if you want it in one word then yes.

    your answer?

  253. Vanilla Eis 254

    Once more, just before bed:

    I say: “However, society, at the time of the great expansion westward, did not recognise their claim to the land ‘

    You say:

    Not so. If they didn’t recognise their claim they wouldn’t have awarded them compensation, which they did under the rules of the 5th.

    I emphasise:

    “However, society, at the time of the great expansion westward, did not recognise their claim to the land ‘

    We’re talking past each other. You read my post perfectly, and still missed the point: Society changes. You can’t legislate one perfect law that will last for all time and cover every possibility. This is the inherent greatness in the constitution – it allows for interpretation, ie it is not fixed in stone, which is what you want to do with your property rights.

    Society changes. Society makes the rules. The rules change as society does. If you don’t like the rules in your society you can:

    a) work to change them by gathering other like-minded citizens and raising awareness
    b) go to a different society.

    There are no immutable rights unless society says so. You do realise that, were they willing, the citizens of the United States could force a complete re-write of the constitution and throw out every single amendment? That is their right as a society.

    There’s nothing stopping Society from changing the rules, and your idea of setting something in stone is not the solution because it is impossible to predict the wishes of society in the future. All you can do is create a framework for said society to action its wishes. Forcing a future society to adhere completely to your ethos is, well, unethical.

    Anyway, I’m bowing out. This is just frustrating – you’re conflating the very different ideas of Society and Social Democracy. I never stated my political stance, yet you seem to think that when I talk of one I talk of the other (Perhaps because our current society seems to be Socially Democratic?) – you need to learn to separate the ideas before this is going to get any further.

    Oh, read this before but forgot to comment:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Vanilla! That’s exactly why there needs to be immutable laws that protect the individual rights of every citizen no matter what Government gets elected; a constitution that prevents society from ever being able to vote in a state that has the power to confiscate property that does not belong to them.

    Again, read what I said above – the Constitution can be amended to remove the 5th amendment entirely. They could remove the entire Bill of Rights if there was the support for it in society. You cannot save society from itself. People have the right to inflict terrible rulers on themselves. (Shit, it seems like we’re about to ourselves. I hope the framework is strong enough to withstand Hurricane Key) Those rulers, however, are not society. Society can still decide what parameters a ruler gets to operate in. If the US were remove the 2-term limit then they would be well within their right to elect George 43 for as long as they want – that’s why the forefathers had the foresight to allow the constitution to be amended, because they knew that their society would change. Who could have predicted the rise and fall of prohibition?

    Shit, I’m tired and rambling. Point stands: Societies change, and with them they change their shape and purpose. If a society feels that it is best for all property to belong to the government, it is not up to us to say that they are wrong as long as it is the decision of society. If you don’t like it, change society or leave.

    I’m out. Night all.

    Captcha: Domination on.

  254. Pascal's bookie 255

    “Maybe we’re not so far removed in our ideologies as I first imagined. ”

    Oh I think we probably are 😉 I’m pretty influenced by guys like Rawls who I think are closer to being the heirs of Paine and Jefferson than the libertarians are, insofar as they built on the ideas rather than just putting them in a temple to worship.

    Let me recalibrate your shakras a little by noting this:

    They protect property rights better than anyone, but they need to plug the loophole that permits society from confiscating land like the Chickawa’s. Don’t you agree?

    The bolded bit begs the question !!10NE!

    The US constitution makes a pretty good fist of protecting private property rights. But we should not assume that absolute private property rights are the only, or even the best form of property rights. That would be assuming the truth of that which is being attempted to show. The US constitution doesn’t protect communal property rights very well, or the property rights of nomadic tribes over their hunting and fishing grounds and tool making quarries etc.

    Just saying. Don’t get distracted.

    Are any rights worth having, rights that are constructed by society?

  255. Pascal's bookie 256

    Well said Vanilla.

  256. Hum, about protecting property G,

    Would that be protecting your property or that of the Maori when your ancestors arrived here and had no problem confiscating their “property”.

  257. G 258

    Holy crap, Cynic, I tell you I won’t accept a yes/no answer, so I simplify the question, and now you give me this?!:

    “Under some circumstances yes. Under others no. It always has the ability to, but dont confuse the ability with the right. if you want it in one word then yes.”

    So that’s a yes, a no, a yes, a maybe, and a definite yes.

    Come back when you’ve sorted it out your principle. 🙂

  258. cynic 259

    If it must be in one word G then my answer is yes.

    Your turn, stop dodging, in one word, option 1 or 2

  259. G 260

    Travellerev. And yet another opponent steps into the ring. 😉

    I advocate protecting everybody’s property, T — that’s what libertarianism and Laissez-faire Capitalism is all about.

    But a quick note on your revisionist history: most of the Europeans that came here (none of whom were my ancestors) did their level best o negotiate fair deals with the Maori for their land. Akaroa, for instance, was sold nine times, and a hundred and fifty years later they’re still not satisfied.

    But all this goes back to the point I’m trying to make here: if it’s not okay for the European settlers to ‘confiscate’ property of those who rightfully own it, why is it A-Okay for Society to be doing that today?

  260. G 261

    “Shit, I’m tired and rambling. Point stands: Societies change, and with them they change their shape and purpose. If a society feels that it is best for all property to belong to the government, it is not up to us to say that they are wrong as long as it is the decision of society.”

    Yes, I wish you could keep it a bit more pithy myself, Van.

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell. In that final statement you have just ceded all your power (and mine) to the collective.

    The people revolted when the royalty owned everything.

    The people revolted when the aristocracy owned everything.

    The people revolted when the state owned everything.

    And when the people wake up and realise that society owns everything, there will be another revolution.

    And that, Vanilla, is why we need to protect private property with a passion.

  261. G 262

    Cynic demands: “So answer my question –

    A is rich and won’t help B who is starving to death. Which is better
    1. confiscating some property from A and feeding B or
    2. leaving A alone and watching B starve to death

    If you answer 2 congrats youre a true libertarian, if 1 congrats you just invented taxes.”

    Your question is what is known as a false dichotomy. I’m sure if you put on your thinking cap you’d be able to contrive an alternative scenario.

    Having said that, you bring up a philosophical point which needs to be made here: do I have a right to exist for my own sake, or am I put on this planet to serve society?

    Person A has no moral obligation to spend his entire fortune feeding all the starving B’s in Africa, does he Cynic? If you think he does, may I ask how much of your relative fortune are you giving away? Have you sold your unnecessary TV set yet? I’m sure you don’t really need that carbon-footprinting car of yours, do you? Or is that you only want to give away other people’s money?

    [PS: like Rob you haven’t got the first clue about libertarians. We’re the civilised ones; you’re the barbarian at the gate.]

  262. Pascal's bookie 263

    “Your question is what is known as a false dichotomy.

    … do I have a right to exist for my own sake, or am I put on this planet to serve society?”

    Idiot.

    “We’re the civilised ones”

    Except you’ve never actually built a civilisation even remotely based on your concepts. (And no, The US doesn’t count because according to your logic the constitution potentially gives society the ownership of everything.)

    Good bye, fool.

  263. djp 264

    Hi again G…. good to see a robust defence of libertarianism.

    Pascal,
    You seem to have given up debating and taken up insults instead. The US seems to be the closest to the libertarian ideal (as it was founded) that I have seen (of course the people have let congress trample the constitution in the last 100 years).

    There have been a few “civilisations” built on your principals I suppose but they tend to be marked by famines, pogroms, torture, extermination of minorities….. Actually redistribution, isnt that one of your principals, Zimbabwe would be a good example of that in action too

    [lprent: Not really. The discussion from what I saw of it was long, involved, and ultimately fell into the agree to disagree category. Hardly unexpected, and I don’t consider personal insult to be personal attack. That is something that is pretty well reserved for the people with nothing to say (and the sysops and moderators who prey on them). ]

  264. Pascal's bookie 265

    djp, read the thread, every insult I’ve made is a conclusion to an argument.

    The US might seem to be the closest, but that still means ‘no’ doesn’t it?

    Alpha centauri is the closest star to our sun but it’s still a hefty walk.

    If you were capable of following the thread you’d know that every society that has existed, (including the US), has been based on a set of rights constructed by the society.

    g thinks this isn’t fair or something.

    Apparently that’s a ‘robust defence of libertarianism.’

    Says it all.

    I’ll leave you two clowns to it.

  265. cynic 266

    “Your question is what is known as a false dichotomy.”

    No it isn’t – it is the real world. You are known as a liar – you promised to answer my question.

    So answeer – 1 or 2. Bet you don’t.

  266. djp 267


    If you were capable of following the thread you’d know that every society that has existed, (including the US), has been based on a set of rights constructed by the society.

    Actually the US founders acknowledged certain “unalienable rights” which they believed to be above govt/society. I am surprised that you dont know this.

  267. G 268

    Ah, Pascal, I’m missing you already. 🙂 Especially with numbnuts like our resident Commie crackpot, Mr. Cynic, who thinks society should have the right to dispossess people’s property. What he doesn’t get is that once that right is granted, nobody is safe: not the Chickawa; not the Maori; not you or I; and not even himself.

    But onto your reply.

    “sigh, yes g, it’s a simple question, and yes they should change the constitution or whatever to close the loophole. Why do think this is a difficult question that creates a problem for me? (I thought you were being rhetorical, and thought I’d already answered it in effect when I said that if I had my way they would still be sovereigns on their land.)

    To me it’s easy, closing the loophole creates the right.

    While the loophole is there there is no right in effect.

    This is where you and I are on the same page, Pascal. Indeed, without that loophole being closed there is no right in effect. Where we part is the bit where you suddenly hand society the power to not only reopen the loophole, but allow them into your home to take whatever they so determine.

    “You can certainly argue that [the Chickawa] have a moral right, but because it couldn’t be protected in reality, that moral right wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on.”

    Well that’s not entirely true. They were covered by the paper that had the 5th on it, and were awarded Just Compensation accordingly.

    “See, you need to construct a system of rights to be able to say that people actually have them. That’s why I keep saying that if you think of rights as being independent of society, you are not making sense, because it is society that will be protecting them g. Always. Try and think of a counter example.”

    The Chickawa farmer. He stopped roaming around the place, built a hut, plowed his field and raised a family. This was completely independent of the society burgeoning on the other side of his country. This is why the Chickawa example is a good one to use, because it identifies the natural right. Is there anyone among you who would deny him this ‘natural right’ to carry on in peace and liberty? Is there none among you who would defend his ‘natural right’ in the face of any law that might be written that would deny him his land and livelihood and way of life?

    I think not. I believe all you Social Dems (or whatever you want to call yourself, P) are genuinely good at heart, and well meaning (with the exception of the malevolent Robinsod fellow). I believe all of you (even Mr. Cynic) think the Chickawa farmer should have been left alone in his private paradise.

    Remember a ‘right’, by definition, is a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral. Until the Constitution was written the Chickawa had no legal rights, but that doesn’t matter because he qualifies for the moral right; having determined with his own mind, to plow this unused natural resource with his own labour.

    Libertarians believe he should be allowed the right to reap all that he sows.

    Socialists and all their watered down variants believe that society has a right to take whatever they so determine.

    “Are any rights worth having, rights that are constructed by society?”

    Absolutely. The laws which convert a moral right into a legal right; the laws which prevent society picking on the individual who’s getting on with his life and not harming anyone else.

  268. cynic 269

    “I’ll answer your question when you answer the one’

    Liar.

    You hold property more sacred than life.

    Or answer 1 or 2

  269. G 270

    Oh dear, Pascal, I didn’t get to your point fast enough it seems. Hope you do come back.

    Just to clarify a misconception here:

    “Your question is what is known as a false dichotomy.

    … do I have a right to exist for my own sake, or am I put on this planet to serve society?’

    Idiot.

    Yes, shame about the insults, but do I admire your passion! 🙂

    It appears you think I’ve presented a false dichotomy. Not so. Either I’m allowed to live for my own sake, or I have to live for the sake of others. There’s no in-between, I’m afraid — like there’s no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.

  270. G 271

    Thank you, DJP, and right on the money!!: “Actually the US founders acknowledged certain “unalienable rights’ which they believed to be above govt/society. I am surprised that you dont know this.”

  271. G 272

    Cynic pouts: “Your question is what is known as a false dichotomy.’

    No it isn’t – it is the real world. You are known as a liar – you promised to answer my question.

    So answeer – 1 or 2. Bet you don’t.”

    No, that’s right, Cynic; I didn’t say “1” or “2”. And that’s because it’s a hole, which by the way, you fall right into yourself. How do I know this? Because a thousand people starved to death yesterday and you (a rich man in their eyes) did absolutely nothing about it.

    “You hold property more sacred than life.”

    See, Cynic, this is what you’ll never understand. Property is life. Every minute you spend in labour, earning your crust, your wages, your property, is your life. It’s not the only aspect of your life (as someone conflated earlier); everyone spends time doing things in their leisure — but that’s not what’s at stake here, is it?

  272. cynic 273

    “So answeer – 1 or 2. Bet you don’t.

    No, that’s right, Cynic; I didn’t say “1″ or “2″.”

    You said you would answer and you wont – liar.

    Bully people into answering your questions, promise to answer theirs, then refuse to answer. Like most bullys you ar e also a coward.

    You are a coward because you wont face the consequnences of your libertarian beliefs – that it values property more than life.

    Are all libertarians liars and cowards or is that just you?

    Answer the question.

  273. G 274

    National Socialists are holding guns to childrens’ heads. You can save one. Which one is better: the boy or the girl?

    Cynic, you’re asking me to rule on something where neither of your so-called choices is particularly savoury — it’s a false dichotomy:

    “A is rich and won’t help B who is starving to death. Which is better
    1. confiscating some property from A and feeding B or
    2. leaving A alone and watching B starve to death”

    Your only remedy to help the starving is to steal from the rich, and you think I’m the bully?

    “… it is the real world.”

    Yeah?! You want to see how the real world works, pal? Ask Bill Gates this question. Or Ted Turner. Or how about Warren Buffet. Every one of these super-wealthy capitalists has voluntarily donated billions to the starving — without you having to steal it from them.

    And what have you done, Cynic? Ask yourself why you have the luxury of a computer, a fully stocked fridge and a TV while millions sit on the brink of extinction.

    Despite the fact your sidebar is a trolling sabotage, I’ve taken the time to provide a number of well thought-out replies to your question, Cynic, and if that’s not appreciated you can go fuck yourself.

  274. cynic 275

    My question illustrates a fundamental choice which distinguishes between different political philosophies, yours does not. My question has an answer that 99% of the world agrees on, yours does not.

    The answer to my question is tax the rich A and feed the poor B. 99% of the world agress on this. You can’t give that answer because you love the property of the rich more than the lives of the poor.

    You said you would answer my question and you wont – liar.

    ” you can go fuck yourself.”

    Wassmater G – losing it?

    Answer the question.

  275. G 276

    “99% of the world agress on this.”

    Utter twaddle.

  276. cynic 277

    That the best you can do?

    Face up to the consequences of your beliefs. Stop lying and evading and answer the question that you said you would answer.

    But you cant. You’re not honest enough to do it.

  277. DS 278

    G, could you please answer my earlier question about me buying up land around your house and then stopping you leaving. What comes first under that scenario: my right to assert my property rights or your right to life?

  278. G 279

    “A is rich and won’t help B who is starving to death. Which is better
    1. confiscating some property from A and feeding B
    or
    2. leaving A alone and watching B starve to death.’

    or
    3. Bill Gates. Ted Turner. Warren Buffet.
    or (the best option by far)
    4. Gates & Co. keep doing what they do best — and instead of just giving away all those billions, they pour it into creating even more economic wealth in undeveloped countries which will generate better infrastructure and more employment for starving people like B.

    That is an answer, and it is final. But just so I never have to come back to this bullshit…

    “A false dichotomy involves a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are other options.”

    I presented two alternate options, and *poof* goes your smarty-man dilemma. Now pull that tiny head in, Cynic.

  279. G 280

    “G, could you please answer my earlier question about me buying up land around your house and then stopping you leaving. What comes first under that scenario: my right to assert my property rights or your right to life?”

    You’re not entitled to imprison someone, if that’s what you’re getting at. And if it was, by some stretch of the imagine, legal, then I’m sure the Westpac chopper would get to me before I expired.

    It’s a bizzaro world dilemma, DS. Can you give me a practical example of where something like this has happened? I can only think of this one: http://time-blog.com/china_blog/2007/03/nail_house.html … and everyone survived. 🙂

  280. Robinsod 281

    Libertarians are funny.

  281. G 282

    Social Democrats aren’t. 🙂

  282. Robinsod 283

    I agree. But on occasions their cardigans have given me much mirth.

  283. G 284

    Now, that was actually funny. And here I was thinking you were just all hiss and spit, Mr. Sod! 🙂

  284. DS 285

    “You’re not entitled to imprison someone, if that’s what you’re getting at. And if it was, by some stretch of the imagine, legal, then I’m sure the Westpac chopper would get to me before I expired.”

    I’m not imprisoning anyone. I’m enforcing my property rights by ensuring that you don’t have the right to cross my land without my permission. Similarly, I am not interfering with any of your property rights. As for the realism of the scenario, it doesn’t have to be based on anything – it’s simply a thought experiment that points out a scenario where property rights and right to life are incompatible.

    I also think it’s kind of cute that you have to appeal to the Westpac heliocopter. Are you suggesting that Libertarianism is only viable if people have access to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and only if the helicopter is allowed to invade the airspace over my property?

  285. G 286

    “As for the realism of the scenario, it doesn’t have to be based on anything – it’s simply a thought experiment that points out a scenario where property rights and right to life are incompatible.”

    Okay then, well luckily I’ve almost finished building my matter transporter, but in the meantime I have my atomic train (which Cullen didn’t get his stinky hands on) that tunnels directly through the Earth’s core and pops out in that other plot of land I have in Oxford, England, which has access to a road. Phew! You almost had me there, DS! 🙂

    [Incidentally, what childhood trauma made you such a malevolent creep that you’d prefer to see me starve to death than allow me access out of my own property? Perhaps you and Cynic could get a couples therapy discount or something.]

    I miss you, Pascal. You’ve buggered off and left me with the kids.

  286. cynic 287

    “I presented two alternate options, and *poof* goes your smarty-man dilemma.”

    You said you would answer my question and now you wont. Liar.

    You hounded me to answer your question with a simple yes and now you refuse to answer. Hypocrite.

    You can’t answer my question because you can’t acknowledge that the property of the rich means more to you than the lives of the poor. Libertarian. Why not just admit it G? What are you afraid of? That’s what liberariansm means G. That’s what it is.

    ” Now pull that tiny head in, Cynic.”

    Make me.

  287. G 288

    “cynic: from Latin cynicus, from Greek kunikos; popularly taken to mean ‘doglike, churlish,’ kuōn, kun- ‘dog’ becoming a nickname for a Cynic.”

    Woof, woof.

  288. RedLogix 289

    But on occasions their cardigans have given me much mirth.

    Wots so funny buster? My mum knits me lovely ones.

  289. cynic 290

    “Woof, woof.”

    G has gone barking mad. Too bad, the kid had some potential. He’s not a true libertarean because he cant answer with 2. He has enough of a vestigial conscience left that he just cant bring himself to do it. And that gives some hope for his salvation.

    But he also cant answer with 1, because he’s a greedy selfish libertarian.

    So all he can do is evade and lie and evade and posture. Sad.

    You’re never going to answer the question G, so the second question you should ask yourself, quietly, in a private chat with that tiny corner of your conscience that you havc left, is WHY YOU CANT ANSWER THE QUESTION? Know thyself.

    Go now, have the last word so that you win G. Knock yourself out.

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  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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