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Step-dad state gets it right

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 pm, June 2nd, 2009 - 31 comments
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The principle of liberalism is that there should be no restriction on the freedoms of the individual except to realise a greater benefit for others (and, sometimes, the individual themselves). Society (or its tool the State) should do no harm to individuals unless to create a net benefit for the members of society (it shouldn’t sell kids junk food to make a profit for example). Basically, the aim should be to restrict freedom as little as possible to realise the greatest happiness for members of society.

So National’s Step-Dad State has got it right in moving to ban use of cellphones while driving. Like banning driving while drunk it imposes a relatively restriction on people to prevent major costs. The huge costs to the State of dealing with the aftermath of crashes. Plus the pain and suffering of those injured in crashes and their families. Small cost, big benefit – justified.

To head off the moans. Using a cellphone is as impairing as being drunk when driving. That’s what the studies say. If you’ve ever tried them, you know it’s true.

It’s kind of funny watching the righties reaction to this. Joyce is their hero. Key too. Here they are acting like Helen and co. What a dilemma. Blindly support their idols or reflexively oppose any government regulation? Political philosophy is hard.

What will Act do? Once they were libertarian. Now half their MPs are fascists. Nah. They won’t support banning something they do themselves. They’re only into banning things that poor people do.

31 comments on “Step-dad state gets it right”

  1. infused 1

    Odd. Used a cellphone in my car for atleast 5 years and never had a crash. This is on a daily basis. I’ve not read the reports, but I bet it’s more the txt’ing than being on the phone. Texting while driving is retarded and almost impossible (tried it once).

    • Kevin Welsh 1.1

      I think your average teenager would disagree infused. They have no problem texting while having a conversation with you. They don’t even need to look at the phone.

    • Noko 1.2

      Just because you’ve cheated the chances, it doesn’t mean everyone else has too.

      Anecdotal evidence isn’t relevant on scales like this.

    • Zetetic 1.3

      Odd, I’ve been firing random shots out my window with my .22 every day for years and never hit anyone. Guess that means taking random shots out the window isn’t dangerous.

  2. infused 2

    I’m not debating anything. I actually know nothing of the stats. I’m just surprised, that’s all. I’ve never found it distracting while talking on a cellphone. I guess it’s because I’m doing it day in, day out.

    Also, there’s no links to any stats in this post. Might be helpful.

  3. corkscrew 3

    Act liberalism = externalise the cost of the pursuits of their supporters; increase the burden on the pursuits of those their supporters disapprove.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    And why would we be surprised? Anyone with critical faculties (i.e. not the Nat-hacks, who kiss their photo of Noddy every night) knew this.

    Here’s Tumeke, reporting on the day before the election.

    “Moment of gold on Sunrise this morning, Driver was interviewing Key and Driver puts to Key that the Nanny State thing has been used as a myth so he ran through a list of the Nanny State hit list and asked if John Key would change any of them. A slightly perturbed John Key had to stand unblinking as Oliver went through them

    Driver: “Prostitution Reform Law’
    Key: “No’
    Driver: “Civil Union Act’
    Key: “No’
    Driver: “Repeal of Section 59′
    Key gulps: “We’ve always said that we wouldn’t do anything if the law is working’
    Driver: “Power saving light bulbs’
    Key: “No'”


    We all knew. Some just didn’t want to.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      Remember under Brash when they appointed a ‘twit for the reversal of PC gone mad’ or whatever the hell it was?


      But it works, ‘Mad in Te Awamutu’ laps it up so what the hey, beats explaining policy.

  5. vto 5

    This is a no-brainer and has little to do with which side of the polly divide people divide on.

    A new human activity has arisen. That activity has serious risks associated with driving. The activity needs controlling.

    I think everyone agrees rules and regs are needed at times (otherwise its just anarchy). This is one of those times.

    Now, where was I …

  6. doc whose asking 6

    The principle of liberalism is that there should be no restriction on the freedoms of the individual except to realise a greater benefit for others (and, sometimes, the individual themselves)

    Relies, does it not, on one wee Scotsman, Adam Smith..

    More truthful in both practice and practical application (those freed-up neo-libs) was Darwin.. that traits and behaviors would exemplar the individual.. 🙂 [ funny, yeah, so why no laugh..? ]

  7. Tigger 7

    So what about watching podcasts on your iPod while driving? Scrolling around song lists on your iPod while driving? Applying makeup, shaving, drinking or eating, turning around to tell off the kids…

    These are all things I see everyday on the motorway on my way to work…are any of these any less dangerous than what will be banned?

  8. roger nome 8

    lol – infused brings the classic kiwiblog line “who cares what the statistics say! My unverifiable extremely limited personal experience tells me it’s safe!.

    Why is it that right wingers always seem to think that personal experience from their own little worlds trumps the reality of the general world that’s reveled by stats? Could it be that small-minded parochialism and narcissism characterises right-wing thought ….. hmmm maybe there’s a post in that….

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      Solipsism: It’s not just for acid-heads.

    • vto 8.2

      Hey nome, have you ever been right wing? If not then you probably have no idea how that part of the community thinks or why.. But don’t let reality get in the way of good conjecture will you..

    • infused 8.3

      I was giving a personal opinion, dickhead. I wasn’t for, nor agisnt it. Hence why I asked for stats which mr Z didn’t provide.

      Quick to jump you are.

  9. roger nome 9

    heh – noice. Most of the neo-liberals from the 1980s would have had their youth in the 60s and 1970s. Maybe free market dogmatism is a mental illness derived from over-use of hallucinogens. Free market theory does have a hint of the transcendental about it. Imagine the scene….

    Roger Douglas at age 21:

    “Whoo man, look at those lines intersecting ….. it’s like the market clearing rate was sent to us by the the divine energy of the universe or something” –

    Then a pimpley richard prebble pipes up:

    “trippy dude! You’re my Guru!”

    Background music:

    Sitar riff from “Norwegian Wood”.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      This certainly explains the laffer curve.

      “what shape is it?”

      “Nobody knows man”

      “Cool, where abouts are we on it now?”

      “Woah. weird man, can’t see it. Where do you feel we are on it now?”


  10. MikeE 10

    “What will Act do? Once they were libertarian. Now half their MPs are fascists. Nah. They won’t support banning something they do themselves. They’re only into banning things that poor people do.”

    Technically its 40%, not half…

  11. roger nome 11

    VTO – i’ve probably read more “right-wing” theory than most NACT voters. Don’t get me wrong, market theory is very useful for helping us to understand how to get the goods and services we want, but some people are so focused on it that it becomes a mono-mania.

    • vto 11.1

      You’re right it does become mono-mania, at both ends of the polly spectrum. Both have their advantages of course.

      As for reading right wing theory – reading something obviously never provides the same understanding as experiencing something. So how about for a wee exercise for you – become right wing for a while !! (lordy knows how tho)

  12. roger nome 12

    oh – and Rodney Hyde has said that his favorite album of all time is “Dark side of the moon”, by Pink Floyd. Case closed! 🙂

  13. Bill 13

    Watched the ‘tragic lantern’ coverage of this last night and…..well, is it just me that has the impression the media has flip flopped on it’s portrayal of this issue?

    Last night it all came across as a reasonable suggestion. Yet, I seem to recall the same outlets being less than positive about the suggestion when it surfaced under Labour. Then it was portrayed in the context of ‘nanny statism’.

    Am I just having false memories?


    • Tigger 13.1

      No Bill, my memory is that when this was last proposed the govenrment were suppressing our personal freedoms. Suddenly now the same thing is reasonable, fair even…

      Spin, spin, spin…and how the press don’t seem to have ANY problem with it is utterly alarming…

  14. randal 14

    well they should do something about the nasty little jerks brought up to believe that they can shit on the world with horrible little noise wagons and their shady p deals and other anti social activities.
    why dont the national party get tough on that.
    according to ferdinand lundgren ( the rich and super rich in america) gangs only exist where they have political patronage or it is an otherwise criminal state.

  15. Luke H 15

    It occurs to me that labelling National’s government the “stepdad state” (the subtext being that it will be abusive like the stereotypical ‘bad stepfather’), while clever, unfairly slurs all stepdads.

    You wouldn’t accept stereotypes aimed at women or minorities, why it is acceptable to stereotype stepfathers?

    • vto 15.1

      I completely and utterly concur Luke H. This area is one where the ‘left’ lets itself down horribly. All the time.

      There is no hesitation to put the boot into men, especially white men, and especially middle aged white men.


      And further on this issue I note that Russel the Norman seemed to find it ok to label men in suits as criminals in his tirade against Lee’s men from south auckland as criminals thingy. Zero cred greens. On bigotry you stand beside that dork from Act, what’s his name..

    • Why is it acceptable for you to make stereotypes of old ladies?

  16. StephenR 16

    What Luke said…

  17. StephenR 17

    Nuffing aye?

  18. StephenR 18


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