The Neo-Liberal Front

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, January 28th, 2009 - 76 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

grey-cardigan

National’s two main internal factions consist of the Conservatives, and the Neo-Liberals. Overall the Conservatives want to keep things pretty much as they are, and with such an inspiring reason for being it’s hardly surprising their star has waned over the last couple of decades.

The Neo-Liberal camp has a different agenda. Like the Conservatives they too champion individual liberty, private property and a reduced State. But what Neo-Liberals seek isn’t remotely conservative. Rather it’s quite a radical doctrine. Whereas Conservatives still see value in maintaining a State for at least its regulatory function, and some might even secretly admit that the State can and should intervene in an economy to properly harness its benefits for greater society, the Neo-Liberals see any State ‘interference’ in the economy as evil. For them Nirvana is when businesses (that’s big business corporates, not corner dairy owners) have free rein to do as they wish. That position isn’t remotely conservative because no democracy has ever traditionally been so. Even Conservatives know that leaving it all to powerful private interests doesn’t make for very healthy economies or democracies. The Global Credit crisis also demonstrates that when governments get too hands-off some pretty serious and undesirable consequences can arise – invariably requiring expensive clean-ups at public expense.

Right now the Neo-Liberals are in retreat because anyone to the left of Roger Douglas can see that total laissez-faire non-regulation of markets not only doesn’t work, it’s downright negligent. Let’s hope National’s Conservative wing can shrug off its grey cardy and rise to the occasion because they’re definitely the lesser of the two evils.

76 comments on “The Neo-Liberal Front”

  1. Daveski 1

    I’m glad that my initial scathing review of your first post was put on ice – in retrospect, it proved to be a fascinating topic that lead itself to robust debate. IMO, you’re still wrong tho 🙂

    Likewise this one.

    The problem with developing simplistic models is that there are too simple to work in practice.

    How does the actions of Key in reaching out to the Maori Party and even the Greens fit with your rigid model? It doesn’t.

    There is increasingly a core in National that could comfortably sit in Labour – this was even a damning accusation by many here last year 🙂

    I think your model may have been more appropriate 3-5 years ago but it doesn’t apply to this year’s model.

  2. Quoth the Raven 2

    sprout – I believe your buying into the meaningless rhetoric of neo-liberals. They talk in terms of laissez-faire, free market, deregulation, but they no more stand for those things than do conservatives or liberals.
    For them Nirvana is when businesses (that’s big business corporates, not corner dairy owners) have free rein to do as they wish.
    Exactly. And they know very well that these big businesses couldn’t survive without heavy government intervention in the economy on their behalf to prop-up their oliogopolies. This The Neoliberal Myth of “Small Government” discusses it and links to this article: “The Myth of the Minimalist State: Free Market Ambiguities”

    Overall levels of government spending have, in fact, continued to rise under neoliberalism. “Deregulation” can more accurately be called “reregulation”: a shift of the regulatory state’s activities in a more corporate-friendly direction. “Privatization” of government activity, as Hildyard maintained above, leaves a larger share of functions under nominally private direction, but operating within a web of protections, advantages and subsidies largely defined by the state. Spending cuts on social services have been more than offset by other forms of spending that subsidize the operating costs of corporate enterprise. Subsidies from multilateral development banks, especially, which are necessary to render much overseas capital investment profitable, are on the rise. Neoliberal trade agreements include a legal framework (e.g., so-called “intellectual property” [sic] rights) designed mainly to protect big business against the market. Many such agreements require the creation of international bodies, de facto supra-national governments, to overrule the policies of signatory states.

    On the whole, the neoliberal version of the “free market” is like one of those old-fashioned chess-playing machines they used to have at a county fair. It’s apparently “automatic” operation, on closer inspection, was achieved by a midget on the inside busily pulling the levers. In the case of the neoliberal “free market,” it is the state that pulls the levers.

    FYI You may want to have a read of any of the number of articles on this site.

  3. Lew 3

    It’s not quite as bad as Lindsay Perigo’s `National Socialist Party’, or Finlay McDonald’s `National Socialism’ when referring to the Nats, but this title is still in very poor taste indeed, Sprout.

    L

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    Sprout, Good stuff.

    You are spot on that neolibs and conservatives should not make good bedfellows. As said in piece cha linked to in the previous thread, true conservatives are deeply mistrustful of ideology. They certainly agree that ideas have consequences, but it precisely because of that they mistrust airy fairy theory based platforms.

    The very fact that neolibs are always baging on about the need for ‘more reform, faster please’, should send any conservative worth his salt for the gun cabinet.

    Conservatives, by definition, strongly believe in the preservation of, and respect for, societal institutions. Given that, for example, the welfare state and progressive taxation have been around for the better part of a century, no conservative has any business supporting their abandonment based on nonsense like laffer curves, supply side economics or any other such flibber jabbery.

  5. Greg 5

    I’m getting sick of this Douglas bashing. The Labour party seems to have changed history.

    Did you know that:

    After Douglas signaled his intention to resign from politics, the then deputy leader one Helen Clark visited him at home and begged him to stay on – as minister of finance should Labour win the 1990 election.

    David Lange approached Trevor Mallard to ask for help in his crusade against Douglas. Mallard sided with Douglas.

    Phil Goff actively campaigned for Douglas to be returned to cabinet after Lange effectively kicked him out. In fact Goff was one of his most vocal supporters.

    When did Labour start hating Douglas? Was it when it became politically useful to do so?

  6. Simon 6

    The Global Credit crisis also demonstrates that when governments get too hands-off some pretty serious and undesirable consequences can arise

    ..while a decade of Labour statism demonstrates significantly worse consequences. Horrific rise in violent crime, dwindling productivity, spiralling standards of living, white flight, diminished public services, increased bureaucracy..

  7. Lew 7

    Greg: When did Labour start hating Douglas?

    Hm, perhaps it was when the majority of the country started hating him (and them) due to the medium-term effects of his policies? Ultimately, politics is still about serving a constituency, and Labour figured out (albeit slowly) that they’d lost their constituency because of Rogernomics.

    And thank goodness they did.

    L

  8. Lew 8

    Hang on a moment. Did that guy really cite `white flight’ in service of his argument? And expects to be taken seriously?

    L

  9. lprent 9

    I think it was when they realized that were very few upsides to the policies he exposed. They did not get the pain over faster by doing everything fast. In fact it seemed to make sure that the country had a government fiscal deficit that Ruth (a disciple) ‘cured’ by dropping us into a consumption recession for 5 years.

    In fact the only people that seemed to get rich were those who already were. I wonder why they were all on favor of it? The ones who aren’t are the ones who were slowly coming out of unemployment decades (and generations) later

    The point is that when we look over the Tasman, we see that a slower rate of change would have probably been a lot more beneficial. The problem with Douglas is that he likes to do everything at once regardless of the who gets in the way.

  10. BLiP 10

    Neo-libs are the manchurian candidates of big business.

    Carefully selected at a young age, they are hollowed out, nurtured into successful positions so as to prove the idealology they chant, then let loose upon the hustings.

    These early prototypes are relatively easy to spot because they clearly have no morals and lack intelligence. How Goober John Key wasn’t spotted is a mystery but the new models will have even greater cloaking technology.

    In only a few generations from now they shall worship in their temple “The Market” where they will pray before effigies of their Lord Roger.

  11. Greg 11

    Lew,

    Labour had lost their constituency because of Rogernomics?

    Not quite.

    Once again your re-writing history. Actually the complete reverse happened. During the most intense stage of the reforms from 1984-87 Labour was returned to power with an increased majority.What better endorsement of Rogernomics from the electorate?

    It was when the reforms slowed, stopped and Douglas was ousted from cabinet (due to Lange’s failings) that the fourth Labour government took a crushing defeat in 1990. The electorate voted Labour out because it lost direction without Douglas.

    How has everybody forgot all this?

    [lprent: You’re talking about that little market crash in the late 80’s aren’t you (1987?)? That is what caused the tarnish because all of a sudden TINA looked pretty ineffective. Douglas largely blamed and Labour was associated with Labour – the anger of the voters was palpable in 1990. Frankly Douglas is an electoral liability.]

  12. Simon 12

    Hang on a moment. Did that guy really cite `white flight’ in service of his argument? And expects to be taken seriously?

    That huge numbers of productive Kiwis fled the Labour regime over the last decade to Britain, Australia and elsewhere (collectively called “Clark’s Killing Fields”) is of no concern to the Communists as Lew shows us.

    Productive, educated and law-abiding Kiwis really aren’t the Left’s cup of tea. Everyone that fled was an opportunity for the Communists to replace them with their kind of people

    All in the good cause of destabilising a productive society and creating a worker-peasant collective.

  13. the bean 13

    the most intense period of the reforms was not 84-87 and it wasn’t until after the 87 election that the aftershocks of some of the earlier changes began to be felt. The increased majority was largely due to the right of the spectrum (like mr millionaire bobby jones himself) seeing something they liked in Labour and supporting the economic policy direction. The left were still too scarred by muldoon and unaware of how bad roger would get.

    Within the party however many members were furious and packed their bags for other options (jim and new labour anyone?) or became generally disillusioned with the political process and left it altogether. It took many years for some labour voters to tick red again thanks to the rogernomics legacy.

    Lange’s ‘failings’ that you refer to were him finally growing a backbone and announcing a ‘tea break’ from reform.

    The electorate voted in national because they promised to halt the reforms of rogernomics

    that is all…history lesson endith.

  14. Greg 14

    Iprent,

    “I think it was when they realized that were very few upsides to the policies he exposed. They did not get the pain over faster by doing everything fast. In fact it seemed to make sure that the country had a government fiscal deficit that Ruth (a disciple) ‘cured’ by dropping us into a consumption recession for 5 years.”

    Interesting analysis. Douglas substantially reduced the fiscal deficit created due to Muldoon’s excesses. Even Douglas’s fiercest critics acknowledge this. Do not blame Douglas for a problem he did not create, but was forced to fix.

    In terms of upsides to his policies – there were quite a few fairly substantial ones. Saving New Zealand from the brink of bankruptcy, lower prices for consumer goods to name but a few. Whatever your political leanings surely you must agree that there were many upsides to Douglas’s policies. Its about who caused the downsides that we will tend to disagree.

    “In fact the only people that seemed to get rich were those who already were. I wonder why they were all on favor of it? The ones who aren’t are the ones who were slowly coming out of unemployment decades (and generations) later”

    I disagree. Douglas (eventually) made everyone better off. The economic sunshine that we’ve had for the late 1990’s and most of this decade was created in part by Douglas. Short term pain obviously did occur. However, I don’t believe that was his fault. The unions drove up wages which forced unemployment and Lange stopped Douglas’s reforms short of GMFI (Gross Minimum Family Income) which was there to guarentee good living standards to any that did suffer. Lets remember that Muldoon ensured there was no easy way to fix New Zealand’s problems.

    “The point is that when we look over the Tasman, we see that a slower rate of change would have probably been a lot more beneficial. The problem with Douglas is that he likes to do everything at once regardless of the who gets in the way.”

    I’m not going to defend Douglas over the speed (nor the order) of his reforms. It is POSSIBLE that a slower speed could have reduced suffering. However I believe Douglas figured out what was best for New Zealand and wanted to achieve his goals while he was in office.He feared otherwise they would not have been completed. Obviously the reforms weren’t fast enough because he didn’t finish them. Of course had they not been so fast in the first place maybe Lange would have not got the speed wobbles.

  15. Greg 15

    “lprent: You’re talking about that little market crash in the late 80’s aren’t you (1987?)? That is what caused the tarnish because all of a sudden TINA looked pretty ineffective. Douglas largely blamed and Labour was associated with Labour – the anger of the voters was palpable in 1990. Frankly Douglas is an electoral liability.”

    Your not trying to blame Douglas for the 87 crash are you? You don’t have much faith in the voters of NZ! They voted Labour out because of a politician who was no longer standing for the party? Who’s policies had been rejected by the then prime minister about 2 years before?

    Anyway Clark, Mallard and Goff clearly still had faith in him.

  16. Rex Widerstrom 16

    I do wish someone would invent some nomenclature that doesn’t include the word “liberal” in it to describe those who blindly support laissez faire economics. Sure they’re liberal as in permissive (at least when it comes to big business acting unfettered) but usually far from liberal in any other sense of the term.

    So you’re saying, sprout, that there’s no traditional liberals left in the National Party and/or they wouldn’t be welcome there anyway (an argument I wouldn’t wholly dispute).

    So where, then, do they belong? Is it time for yet another rebirth of The Liberal Party, perhaps?

  17. congratulations the sprout!

    Responses to date (notably Greg) show a remarkable innocence (bordering on neglect) of what you have termed neo-liberal politics in enzed. As Rex points out it would have to be considered a euphemism for what actually is..

    For my part I’d save a whole heap of discourse – these things are recorded and ought be known to today’s politicos else history repeats – by citing a nopw famous and very accurate observation.

    Know your enemy better than your best friend — the Godfather in the The Godfather movie.

  18. Lew 18

    Greg: Did you miss the bit where I talked about the medium-term effects of Douglas’ policies? I think you’ll find they started to bite just about the time Labour was ejected from office for (ahem) nine long years (not that the incoming government did much to ameliorate them.

    Simon: You seem to have gotten lost someplace between SOLOpassion and No Minister – I guess it’s easy enough to do. But let me fisk your comment nonetheless.

    That huge numbers of productive Kiwis fled the Labour regime over the last decade to Britain, Australia and elsewhere (collectively called “Clark’s Killing Fields’) is of no concern to the Communists as Lew shows us.

    The Killing Fields, huh. Collectively called that by whom? You? Have you been there? Do you know what it smells like? Because I have, and I do, and I took the grandson of a senior prewar Communist Party of Britain official there, against his will, because if he wanted to be a communist, he had a responsibility to see what communism can result in. If you can point me to the place where the bodies were buried, I’ll grab my rifle and take arms against the communists with you. But if you’re just comparing a group of people willingly getting on planes to seek their fortune elsewhere, mostly to return and settle down, to the forced labour, starvation and mass execution of millions of men, women and children – then you’re beyond ridicule.

    Communists? Where? Let me get my rifle! Oh, wait, do you mean `anyone who doesn’t immediately agree with me?’ Sorry, that’s called `open society’. My type of people are running this country – people who (broadly speaking) believe in toleration and diversity, rule of law, civic institutions and prosperity within reasonable constraints. It could be a lot better, but it ain’t bad. If communists were running the show, you’d probably have been put to death already, and I wouldn’t wish than, even on you.

    Productive, educated and law-abiding Kiwis really aren’t the Left’s cup of tea. Everyone that fled was an opportunity for the Communists to replace them with their kind of people

    So `white flight’ means `productive, educated and law-abiding kiwis leaving the country’? Why didn’t you just say so! As it is you’ve marked yourself out as a fucked-up bigot by talking about white people leaving the country. I hear they’re setting up a funny farm for folks like you in North Canterbury.

    Again with the mysterious nonexistent communists. Do you think you could brush up a little bit on your html skills so I can see what their kind of people look like? I really want to know, because that’ll tell me what kind of fucked-up bigot you are. Presuming for a moment that these people of which you speak are more existent than the communists, of which NZ has few to none. Are they brown ones? Slanty-eyed ones? Do they wear funny things on their heads and perform odd rituals like bowing and drinking their tea from tiny cups? Really, having spent a bit of time in a variety of communist and post-communist countries, and gratefully returned here, I want to know what you think they look like.

    So, Simon, I await the answers to my questions. Prove that you’re not beneath contempt, as well as beyond ridicule.

    L

  19. Lew 19

    (For context, the grandson of the CPB official I refer to in the post currently in moderation was in his 20s, and `against his will’ should be read as `against his protestations that he’d rather go to a nice temple’, not that I bound him and put him in the back of a Black Maria.)

    L

  20. James REad 20

    Unfortunatly from your viewpoint, Roger Douglas has quite a following and his basic ideas over 200 years to expose its possible defects.It needs to be recalled, that Marx, whom I studied at university offers other solutions and predictions. As any student of either economics or history knows, from as early as 1848 the european countries did not develop along the lines Marx predicted and supposedly hiis predictions were inevitable. Thanks, I prefer Roger to Karl.

  21. Greg 21

    Lew,

    “Greg: Did you miss the bit where I talked about the medium-term effects of Douglas’ policies? I think you’ll find they started to bite just about the time Labour was ejected from office for (ahem) nine long years (not that the incoming government did much to ameliorate them.”

    Interestingly, that is another common misconception. Douglas’s policies were statrting to take effect in the leadup to the 1990 election. The inflation rate had dropped substantially and unemployment was beggining to fall (If you look at a graph you’ll see a dip in this period). The unemployment rate didn’t actually start to increase again until after the next national government had come to power.

    Douglas’s policies weren’t starting to bite – their success was becoming apparent.

    And anyway, even if this wasn’t the case – why did Clark, Goff and the like continue to fight for him?

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    “Roger Douglas has quite a following “

    He does indeed. Quite popular in Estonia I’ve been told. Here though, the leader of the National party felt the need to rule him out of any possible cabinet role. Just jealous of his rockstar status I guess. That’d be it.

    Lew: brutal. Crash! pow!! wallop!!!

  23. Lew 23

    Greg: Even if we accept your account, when it comes to electoral politics, perception is reality. In electoral terms, it doesn’t really matter all that much whether the policies had started to make things better, or worse- what mattered is how they perceived, and how they were perceived was pretty badly. Despite nine long years of good economic times, the incumbent government just got turfed out, and part of that was because of the perception that National led by a successful businessman would perform better through a recession.

    But yes, there were a lot of other factors in that electoral loss for Labour and it’s false to paint it as a straight yea-nay decision based on rogernomics – the disunity and fractious ideological radicalism within Labour harmed them in many ways, and there’s also the sense that NZ was just sick of Big Man prime ministers. And other things, too.

    L

  24. Lew 24

    James Read: Can you say `false dichotomy’? The proper opposite to Marx would canonically be Smith, not Douglas; the contemporaneous opposite to Douglas would be Muldoon, which just confuses the matter even more. In any case, people on here mostly don’t argue for Marx; they tend to argue for Savage.

    L

    Captcha: `leanings notice’. Would be nice if an interloper did, from time to time, rather than just branding everyone with whom they don’t immediately agree as communists. But I suppose there’s no taming the lizard brain in some folks.

  25. Pascal's bookie 25

    Greg, What happened in 93? The way I read it, Labour got pummeled in 90 because everyone was sick of it, National unleashed Ruth Richardson and lost something like 16 seats in 93. Support for the Alliance surged to nearly 20% IIRC.

    How do you account for that, if neoliberalism is popular?

  26. Quoth the Raven 26

    The Killing Fields, huh. Collectively called that by whom? You? Have you been there? Do you know what it smells like? Because I have, and I do, and I took the grandson of a senior prewar Communist Party of Britain official there, against his will, because if he wanted to be a communist, he had a responsibility to see what communism can result in.

    Lew – Can you say ‘misrepresentation’? I’ll take you to Auswitch and show you what state-capitalism can result in shall I.

  27. Greg 27

    Pascal

    I wasn’t arguing for neo-liberalism. My point was that there seems to be a difference between perception and reality where douglas is concerned. Honestly, I really don’t know. My area of interest lies in Muldoon’s National government and the fourth Labour government

  28. Greg 28

    Also Pascal.

    I can’t comment on Douglas’s popularity in Estonia. But I do he seems quite popular in the global economy. He was head hunted by the World Bank.

  29. Pascal's bookie 29

    Greg, sorry I must have read this wrong:

    During the most intense stage of the reforms from 1984-87 Labour was returned to power with an increased majority.What better endorsement of Rogernomics from the electorate?

    It was when the reforms slowed, stopped and Douglas was ousted from cabinet (due to Lange’s failings) that the fourth Labour government took a crushing defeat in 1990. The electorate voted Labour out because it lost direction without Douglas.

    I took that as meaning you thought that Douglas remained popular, and that his ousting caused Labour to get thrown out.

    I agree that there are differences between perception and reality. Unavoidable in my view. What is reality anyhoo? [ducks]

  30. Redbaiter 30

    “the Conservatives want to keep things pretty much as they are”

    Oh yeah, the “Conservatives” want NZ to remain a stagnating socialist quagmire. What utter rot.

  31. Felix 31

    As you seem to be challenging the meaning of the word “conservative”, here’s how it’s defined by dictionary.com (probably .commie more like, eh biter?)

    conâ‹…servâ‹…aâ‹…tive
       /kənˈsɜrvətɪv/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuhn-sur-vuh-tiv] Show IPA Pronunciation
    adjective
    1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
    2. cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
    3. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
    4. (often initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Conservative party.
    5. (initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.
    6. having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.
    7. Mathematics. (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.

  32. Rex Widerstrom 32

    Redbaiter echoes my point above, actually. “Conservatives” is also a misnomer for those who resist change. “Status Quoists” perhaps? But then people would confuse them with those who enjoy listening to “Down the Dustpipe” 😀

  33. All such pointless labelling back and forth. Read Market Democracy.for a brilliant analysis of where the Douglas ideas and National “neo liberals” really want to go. Written by an Australian Labour politician.

    Put the socialists and the excess authoritarians to one side. This is what we should be working towards

  34. Lew 34

    QtR: Where’s Auswitch? Somewhere near Birkenstock?

    The fundamental difference between the Nazi genocide and the Khmer Rouge genocide is that the former was not in service of socio-economic aims, while the latter was.

    L

  35. Redbaiter 35

    “As you seem to be challenging the meaning of the word “conservative’, ”

    Felix, if you had been educated rather than indoctrinated, you would have noticed that none of the definitions enumerated above are applicable in the political sense. Your post, in respect of contributing to any argument on the understanding of what a political Conservative is, was a complete and utter waste of bandwidth and time. Not that this makes it any different to most of what you usually write here.

  36. *Love* it when a leftie tries to pull together a POLS 101 essay on what they think the “neo” liberal school of thought really thinks. As a proud member of this so called “clique” I am surprised that I subscribe to all that silliness.

    Greg, Douglas ia revered in many countries and people I have met are surprised that he is not as respected by the left as he is overseas. Estonia is one of many countries that include Canada, Slovakia and Czech Republic to name a few who have bestowed an honor upon him. The latter 2 countries have flat tax and a wealthier society than we do as a result of following good fiscal practice.

    With all due respect your good comments will fall on deaf ears over here 🙂

    [lprent: *Love* it when a rightie gives others advice and then doesn’t follow it themselves. Have you read your own posts recently? I was hoping you meant it about not sending people here. I was really hoping that included you…. But it looks like you don’t take your own advice.

    Anyway the Douglas economic prescription typically falls over when times get difficult. Effectively it destroys the social cushions built up in good times that break the fall of hard times. Instead it is powered into short-term consumption. I’d expect any country that has used his prescription to start dropping it about now. It fails in recessions.]

  37. Stephen 37

    Greg, Douglas ia revered in many countries and people I have met are surprised that he is not as respected by the left as he is overseas.

    The left overseas actually respects Roger Douglas?!

  38. Lew 38

    Stephen: Bearing in mind that when Clint, Baiter, et. al. talk about `The Left’ they tend to mean `anyone who’s not a fundamentalist neoliberal’.

    L

  39. Billy 39

    I read Basset’s book about the Lange government over Christmas. Absolutely facsinating.

    What I do not think I appreciated at the time was that Douglas’ package post the 1987 election (which was effectively a referendum on Rogernomics) had been passed through cabinet and caucus and countermanded by a Lange press-conference without reference to any other member of the government.

  40. Pascal's bookie 40

    “I read Basset’s book… over Christmas.”

    Jeez Billy. That’s supposed to be Lent thing.

  41. Billy 41

    PB,

    In those circumstances, what would I be giving up, exactly?

  42. IrishBill 42

    Your rationality.

  43. Pascal's bookie 43

    Time.

  44. Billy 44

    IB,

    I do not recall you ever conceding before that I had rationality to begin with. I have a warm feeling deep inside of me.

    But seriously, the PM countermanding cabinet and caucus who were pursuing an agenda for which the government had recevied a mandate two months earlier. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it?

  45. Simon 45

    The Killing Fields, huh. Collectively called that by whom? You? Have you been there? Do you know what it smells like? Because I have, and I do,

    As a matter of fact I have and I’m guessing that in fact you have not because there’s nothing unusual about the smell. I suggest that you go there, it might very well help you to understand the ideology of the Labour party.

    But if you’re just comparing a group of people willingly getting on planes to seek their fortune elsewhere, mostly to return and settle down, to the forced labour, starvation and mass execution of millions of men, women and children – then you’re beyond ridicule.

    The similarity stands. The Killing Fields were to the Khmer Rouge what Australia and Britain were to Labour -a convenient place for intellectuals, the productive or anyone else that the regime considered ideologically unsound to (be sent/go.)

    Helen Clark took a special interest in ensuring that the two-year UK working holiday remained available to young Kiwis. Why? Because law abiding, educated and productive Kiwis are not Labour’s type of people and Labour did everything they could to encourage them to leave and ensure they had somewhere to go to.

    Communists? Where? Let me get my rifle! Oh, wait, do you mean `anyone who doesn’t immediately agree with me?’ Sorry, that’s called `open society’.

    No, I mean Communists. We’ve just had a decade of it. Did you miss it?

    So `white flight’ means `productive, educated and law-abiding kiwis leaving the country’?

    As a matter of fact it does. The overwhelming number of emigrants fleeing the Labour regime over the last decade were Caucasian. This is simply a fact but feel free to argue it -God knows that pointing out facts that don’t meet the Left’s general definition of acceptable PC discussion is a hate crime..

    That these emigrants were largely educated and affluent has been the subject of much discussion under the general heading “brain drain” -perhaps you missed that too?

    Do you think you could brush up a little bit on your html skills so I can see what their kind of people look like? I really want to know, because that’ll tell me what kind of fucked-up bigot you are.

    I’ll paste it as text this time;

    http://www.winz.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/contact-us/language-lines/index.html

    Take a good long look at that link, it summarises the social engineering agenda of the Communists over the last decade beautifully. It shows us the calibre of people that the Labour regime enticed to NZ, where they came from and the rewards that Labour offered them in welfare when they got here.

    To decent, law-abiding Kiwis over-burdened with punitive taxation for the last decade, replacing our best and brightest with HIV-positive, unskilled, illiterate welfare recipients from the 3rd world is does not materially benefit our society.

    What it does do of course, is assist the Labour regime in it’s pursuit of engineering a worker/peasant collective to impose upon NZ.

    Presuming for a moment that these people of which you speak are more existent than the communists, of which NZ has few to none.

    Labour is a Communist party, or at least the front for one. We’ll have three more years of listening to them position themselves as merely environmentally-conscious centre-Left but after a decade, we know who they are. You do too.

    Are they brown ones? Slanty-eyed ones? Do they wear funny things on their heads and perform odd rituals like bowing and drinking their tea from tiny cups? Really, having spent a bit of time in a variety of communist and post-communist countries, and gratefully returned here, I want to know what you think they look like.

    I have no problem with any immigrant who contributes to our society and assimilates our language and culture. Welfare recipients, the illiterate and the diseased are attractive immigrants don’t qualify, except of course, to Labour. And you.

    [lprent: You are calling me a communist tool as I’ve been involved there for decades. Guess what – I’m going to exercise my freedom of private property and ban you permanently. I think you have a wasted brain one way or another. You may address your complaints to the 7th ring of hell (aka the anti-spam bot).]

  46. Draco T Bastard 46

    The electorate voted in national because they promised to halt the reforms of rogernomics

    Actually, if you read their slogans of the time it’s hard to say if they promised to stop them or not. It is fairly obvious though that Labour were voted out, not that National was voted in, because people didn’t like the reforms that Roger Douglass had initiated. Once it became obvious that National were continuing what Labour started in the 1980s people rapidly stopped supporting them. It is only because of the short comings of FPP that National were returned in 1993.

    Oh yeah, the “Conservatives’ want NZ to remain a stagnating socialist quagmire. What utter rot.

    No, they want to keep themselves at the top of the pile because they have it good – they don’t care that everyone else is suffering.

    But seriously, the PM countermanding cabinet and caucus who were pursuing an agenda for which the government had recevied a mandate two months earlier. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it?

    They didn’t have a mandate. Labour got voted in because people still weren’t voting for National after Muldoon. They hoped that Labour wouldn’t continue on it’s neo-liberal binge. People, quite simply, didn’t have a choice – it was Labour or National (another of the vagaries of FPP – you end up with a two horse race).

    Of course, now that people do have a choice about who to vote for some people, mostly from the right, are complaining about it.

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    Simon, can I ask – do you genuinely believe what you wrote there, or do you just hate the left so much you invent these little fairy-tales as an outlet? I hope it’s an outlet, because it’s better than nailing kittens to trees or whatever you’d be doing if not for this. So much anger – so little thought.

  48. @ work 48

    Simon, have you got a single statistic to support any thing you’ve said today?

    [lprent: Simon will be silent. He annoyed me too much & got a permanent ban for being a idiot that I cannot be bothered reading. Besides I’m tired of banning him.]

  49. Billy said: But seriously, the PM countermanding cabinet and caucus who were pursuing an agenda for which the government had recevied(sic) a mandate two months earlier.

    Seriously then what did DL know that RD didn’t..? Something big enough to make a big call..

    We might also in the name of transparency try figure what RD did not know.. and/or subsequently not/never reveal.

    Back then why should he. Heck he could rely on party members and they (to mics left on and recording for later broadcast) declare how they didna understand him.. his explanations, economic prescriptions.. but that’s “because he’s a genius, right!”

    And he could publish bad largely incomprehensible books and likewise evade questioning.. reliant as he was upon existing and prior business benefactors.

    Boil it down—to what end? Yes, certain corporates. Best to medium term, but then failing because the core deceit of the economic pup he bought and then advocated had the missing link of misapplied accounting. And no, command of the language could not make up for it. No way.

    So.. go talk to the guy, ask him explain his EBCT – yeah he and the few who put it into his head know what it means. And they, now, know why it doesna work—they don’t want to admit this, of course, not when they’ve spent a lifetime cultivating a no mistakes admission platform whilst declaring unto themselves belief in the freedom to make mistakes, we couldn’t expect them to.

    Though party members, those loyal and oft-lasting supporters in many more ways than blogging innocent prejudices are different. Hypocrisy is of less concern to them than the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    At least.

    ps: someone mentioned Canadians hot on RD. Like who? How many? Cult or solo-cultivated..?

    Phil Sage: thanks for Emerson’s input. Given the forgoing, however, I suspect another likely hijack to veil the error mentioned above. Words like ‘liberal’ are highly flexible and much sought after by both faux and flux-makers.

  50. Quoth the Raven 50

    Lew – The genocide may not have been, but the war was. What I’m saying is what has the Khmer Rouge got to do with Marxism (see communism) or the british communist party? What have the socio-economic ends (you can fit almost anything under that) of the Khmer Rouge got to do with communism as espoused by the british communist party Marx hardly even mentioned agricultural workers, he opposed militarism, saw it as a waste of human energy and was horrified at the slaughter of the communards. Capitalists like you use disgusting episodes like pol pot’s for perverse arguments against ideas that have nothing do with it and that which you know little about.

  51. BLiP 51

    PhilSage:

    Market Democracy – hahahahahahaha – that would have to be an oxymoron to rival Military Intelligence – hahahahaha . . . and as for “market demncrats are the champions of competition and compassion . . . hahahaha . . . . reminds me of that other great oxymon the “compassionate conservative”. Those Aussies need a good dose of Aunty Helen, our Greatest Living New Zealander, to set them right.

    Thanks very much; given the horrific combination of a recession and a National government in power, I needed a good laugh for a moment’s cheer.

  52. Pascal's bookie 52

    Simon: As a matter of fact I have and I’m guessing that in fact you have not because there’s nothing unusual about the smell.

    Guess: a hypothesis based on nothing. I went there after the rains and there was a distinctly rank smell about the place, not aided by the collection of murky slimy water in some of the pits.

    I suggest that you go there, it might very well help you to understand the ideology of the Labour party.

    So … where do Labour advocate hiding the millions of bodies, then? Having witnessed the results of an actual genocide, your comparison is even more despicable and unjustified. You don’t have the excuse most hyperbolic morons do.

    The similarity stands. The Killing Fields were to the Khmer Rouge what Australia and Britain were to Labour -a convenient place for intellectuals, the productive or anyone else that the regime considered ideologically unsound to (be sent/go.)

    Oh, I see. You think that going away is the same as being executed. That makes a degree of sense if you’re afflicted with separation anxiety; that is, the developmental stage during which a child believes that if someone or something isn’t right there then they no longer exist. You have my condolences – this normally passes by age about 18 months; your ability to type indicates that you’re a bit older than that.

    Helen Clark took a special interest in ensuring that the two-year UK working holiday remained available to young Kiwis. Why?

    So that young New Zealanders can continue the old tradition of visiting what is for many their ancestors’ homeland, earn a bit of foreign currency, acquire different skills and generally broaden their horizons, so that when they come back (and most of them do), they’re able to do better than if they were chained to their homeland (as the Khmer Rouge, among others, required of their people)? No, too obvious. Must be a more ridiculous explanation. Oh, I know – what if it was a voluntary (but not really) sort of exile which is never enforced but yet works anyhow? Yeah, that makes much more sense.

    No, I mean Communists. We’ve just had a decade of it. Did you miss it?

    Apparently I did. So did the rest of the country, who have just elected a party whose agenda was largely derived from the previous governent’s. What’s that you say? They’re communists too? I suppose that means Australia and Canada and the UK and the USA are all run by communists, too – after all, they’ve more politically and ideologically in common with NZ than they have with – say – China.

    As a matter of fact it does. The overwhelming number of emigrants fleeing the Labour regime over the last decade were Caucasian.

    Funny, when it suits people on this topic, they talk about all the Māori folk going to Australia. But perhaps that’s partly to do with the fact that the overwhelming number of people in NZ are caucasian? In any case, the point wasn’t about who might be leaving, but who you chose to emphasise. By your choice of terminology you indicate you care more about the colour of a person’s skin than the content of their character.

    Take a good long look at that link, it summarises the social engineering agenda of the Communists over the last decade beautifully. It shows us the calibre of people that the Labour regime enticed to NZ, where they came from and the rewards that Labour offered them in welfare when they got here.

    I see! You object to people who don’t speak English, no matter where they’re from! How even-handed you are.

    Labour is a Communist party, or at least the front for one. We’ll have three more years of listening to them position themselves as merely environmentally-conscious centre-Left but after a decade, we know who they are. You do too.

    Apparently, you’re close to alone in knowing that. The `we’ of whom you speak must be fairly cheap to shout a round for.

    I have no problem with any immigrant who contributes to our society and assimilates our language and culture. Welfare recipients, the illiterate and the diseased are attractive immigrants don’t qualify, except of course, to Labour. And you.

    If this is true, why don’t you discriminate on the basis of ability to contribute to society (through, say, a skilled migrant scheme? Or on the basis of literacy? Or on the basis of health?

    Answer: because you spend so much of your time being sorry for yourself about how tough things are for privileged white educated healthy men that you figure someone, anyone must be to blame for it. Or everyone.

    Mencken said it best: “The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy.”

    But you probably think he was a commie, too.

    Not only beyond ridicule and beneath contempt, but apparently impervious to sense, as well.

    L

  53. Lew 53

    QtR: The genocide may not have been, but the war was.

    No. The war was nominally about `Lebensraum’, that is, the re-establishment of the German national homeland which briefly existed between 1871 and 1918, plus the necessary strategic territories and resources required to ensure its integrity.

    what has the Khmer Rouge got to do with Marxism (see communism)

    Are you asking because you don’t know, or because you want me to explain it? Come on, you seem to know your history.

    The Khmer Rouge was a very strict and selective reading of post-1917 communists (notably Stalin and Mao) with a view to return Khmer society to a mythical state of utopian agrarian egalitarianism. The socio-economic ends were explicitly to remove the covetousness and excess and external material dependence of Khmer society by returning everyone to subsistence. It’s only a loose implementation of Marxist theory, but it’s a quite extreme implementation of Stalinist-Maoist communism (though without the industrialisation imperative). That’s the problem – communism is fine in theory, but has never worked in practice. So I thought someone who was a member of a political party wanting to implement it ought to go and see and smell its worst possible effects. Turns out he agreed with me after the fact (though he remains a communist in principle, he’s got a nice IT job and a house in the ‘burbs now).

    Capitalists like you use disgusting episodes like pol pot’s for perverse arguments against ideas that have nothing do with it and that which you know little about.

    Like the Khmer Rouge genocide? And the Cultural Revolution? And Stalin’s famines and purges? It isn’t coincidence that these all took place under proto-communist systems. Specifically, it’s due to the power transfer problem required in Marx’s formulation – once a subset of the nominal proletariat (in reality, an elite subset) are dictating, there is no reason for them to give up their authority, and by virtue of that authority they are able to make themselves immune to the effects of their decisions. Solve that problem, and perhaps the world will revisit Marx.

    L

  54. Lew 54

    Lynn, the cookie system is fucked again. I guess it’s our client-side cache (over which we have no control).

    L

    [lprent: I’ll have a look at what I can do from this side. Possibly I can make the cookie name different. Try logging in? I seem to remember from the code that gives a different cookie name. ]

  55. @ work 55

    Now your just taking Billy and Robinsods game from the other day way too far!

  56. PB,

    Mencken said it best: “The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts.

    Gold!

  57. Quoth the Raven 57

    Specifically, it’s due to the power transfer problem required in Marx’s formulation – once a subset of the nominal proletariat (in reality, an elite subset) are dictating, there is no reason for them to give up their authority, and by virtue of that authority they are able to make themselves immune to the effects of their decisions. Solve that problem, and perhaps the world will revisit Marx.

    Lew – I have criticised just those very aspects of Marx here on this site and if you’d follow the links in my first comment (try the last one) you’ll see I’m no communist. Here’s one of my comments on this old thread:
    First of all I’ll say that I’m not a commun1st that much should be clear from my previous comment. That fact that you think bolshevism was communism in practise evidences you as an ignorant fool. The bolshiviks exploited the revolution in Russia to their own ends. The bolsheviks did not enact marxism (by which I mean communism) they merely exploited revolutionary sentiment and enacted their imminently despisable government. Many marxists criticised them at the time and many of Marx’s contemporaries on the left criticised Marx in his time. Your argument to the bolsheviks or some other despicable regime in the last century is a perverse argument made to stultify discussion much like comparisons to nazism. It is often heard from those on the right and would be as idiotic as me pointing to the nazis everytime you made a point in favour of your political views. Furthermore, what has been the great success of modern capitalism? Massive inequality, poverty, unemployment, mass apathy, environmental degradation, cultural monism what? I think there are many comparisons to draw between bolshevism and corporatism today, the mangerial nature, technocrats, and despotic tendencies. Lenin said that the workers must “unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the process’ which sounds exacly like today’s corporatism to me.

    I wasn’t defending communism I was criticising your misrepresentation of matters.
    That’s the problem – communism is fine in theory, but has never worked in practice.
    No its never been tryed in practice and it isn’t fine in theory. Stalinism is not Marxism and I’m sure the british communists don’t advocate Stalinism or going back to some mythical agrarian utopian egalitarian state. So I still don’t get where your coming from using the Khmer Rouge to criticise communism. I personally think your just being perverse.

    On the war yes nominally about Lebensraum. You can’t seriously be denying the economic ends of the war, can you? I’m not saying it was solely economic (no one would say that) neither was the Khmer Rouge’s genocide (it was ethnic as well) but of all the stuff I’ve read about the war Í’ve never heard anyone deny an in part economic motive.
    As an aside here’s an interesting artlcle: Nazi privatisation.

  58. Ag 58

    All such pointless labelling back and forth. Read Market Democracy.for a brilliant analysis of where the Douglas ideas and National “neo liberals’ really want to go. Written by an Australian Labour politician.

    Put the socialists and the excess authoritarians to one side. This is what we should be working towards

    And watch Adam Curtis’ BBC documentary “The Trap” (on Google Video) if you want to know what’s wrong with this. Really, everyone should watch this three part complete skewering of neoliberalism and its insane pretensions.

    NuLabour have tried this in Britain, and it has led to an increasingly authoritarian and absurd state.

    Captcha: aboriginals ought (ought what?)

  59. Billy 59

    I’m sorry Northpaw, that thing of yours made my head hurt, and not just because of the Scottish dialect.

    Are you saying that it’s OK for a party leader to ignore his or her cabinet, caucus and the people who elected his or her government two months previously?

  60. Billy,
    To be honest I can see why your head hurts if you can only ask the following when it is/was clearly unnecessary:—

    Are you saying that it’s OK for a party leader to ignore his or her cabinet, caucus and the people who elected his or her government two months previously?

    Though I could add – helpfully you understand – how the Bush/Cheney gang could oblige a satisfactory answer to your conundrum.

  61. Lew 61

    Northpaw: That post is me, not PB. He and I share an IP address behind a fairly aggressive proxy and the Standard always gets me mixed up for him (though not him for me, for some reason). But yeah, it’s a cracking quote : )

    L

  62. Billy 62

    Stop talking in riddles, man.

    I suggested that the PM countermanding cabinet and caucus who were pursuing an agenda for which the government had recevied a mandate two months earlier was scary.

    In response to which, you said: Seriously then what did DL know that RD didn’t..? Something big enough to make a big call..

    I asked if you thought this was acceptable behaviour and you said: the Bush/Cheney gang could oblige a satisfactory answer to your conundrum.

    My mother is a fish.

  63. IrishBill 63

    Quoting Faulkner won’t help you, Billy.

  64. Billy 64

    I don’t expect it to help me understand what northpaw’s point is. But it seemed kind of apt.

    IB, I know you are really Margaret Pope and all, but what do you reckon about a PM ruling by press conference and, in so doing, ignoring cabinet, caucus and a recent mandate from the people?

  65. And I love you too Lprent 🙂 But you may be wrong about countries dropping the Douglas prescription during tough times. If you got to the end of Unfinished Business – you’d see that Douglas wasn’t the big scary boogieman you all make him out to be. Central Europe are cutting their flat taxes downwards this year – but still maintain a fair society for those who need it.

    It is sad to think that when discussing a comparitve taxation/social system when I was in Borohradek (a small town in the Czech Rep) that they felt they were better off than NZ. And to think a decade ago (or actually longer) it would have been the other way round.

    captcha – devine Sumo? Maybe in Japan 🙂

  66. gingercrush 66

    The problem is neo-liberalism has never been fully realised. Look at the US situation. Neo-liberals would say that those companies that failed financially should not be rescued and that a market solution would fix the problem. Typically resulting in bankruptcy or to be brought and asset stripped. One can debate whether that’s a good thing or not, depends on your point of view. Neo-liberals also have much in common with mere liberals in that they don’t favour borrowing. One of the problems neo-liberals have with most government policies during this crisis. Is they involve heavy borrowing for insignificant gains. Look at what passed in the House today. A 600 billion+ bailout where lots of it has little short-term gain. Most of it to me doesn’t point to added jobs yet Obama is saying they’ll get two million+ in employment. All the US is doing is further burdening itself with even more debt that is likely to result in further problems sometime in the future.

    In fact one has to concerned whatever your ideology over how much countries are borrowing to get themselves out of a crisis that was a factor because of debt. And that all the bailouts and crisis plans countries have today still do not address the issue of debt. Something that must be looked at, because if we don’t solve current debt problems now they’re only going to be a problem later.

  67. Quoth the Raven 67

    ginger – You don’t need to be a neo-liberal to think these companies should have been let to fail. People say these companies are “too big to fail” well how did they get so big. They got their through preferential regulations and privileges from the state. In a free market these companies would be allowed to fail but in a free market these companies would never get so big in the first place. The bailouts are a glaring example of how government and big business are like two peas in pod and not enemies as some ridiculously naive capitalists and leftists alike believe. These big businesses externalise their diseconomies of scale onto the taxpayer and consumer through the state. Anyone from whatever political creed should be disgusted by these private gains and socialised losses, however crony capitalists like the National party would obviously applaud any government intervention into the market on behalf of big business.

  68. gingercrush 68

    That is true QtR. But neo-liberals would also argue that government intervention in terms of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae were part of the problem. In that one of the requirements those two companies had to make to the government was to provide loans to families and people that could never afford those loans in the first place. I know its popular right now to blame big-business and certainly much of what has happened is a result of big-business. But government was also a big player in this current financial crisis.

    Also any application made towards National should equally be applied for Labour surely?

  69. Again I agree with gingercrush. I think there is something we may all agree on there, as all the socialists I know say there has not been a proper example of a communist/socialist state practising “pure” socialism or communism.

    I think the same is true about “neo” liberalism. It hasn’t been fully realised at all either. This will piss off the politics lecturers who have been for years preaching that NZ’s “neo liberal” TINA, Ruthenasia type garbage to gullible first years. I think that an even handed approach rather than these scary bed time stories are for more productive.

  70. Quoth the Raven – I would take you more seriously if you didn’t refer to “Auswitch” as “state-capitalism”

    That is so wrong on so many levels bro.

  71. Lew 71

    GC: I take the view that any system which doesn’t work tolerably well throughout its progress doesn’t provide enough certainty to be an especially good idea. This is a stock objection to the dull counterfactual `but it hasn’t ever been followed through to completion so you can’t judge it!’ argument common to economic extremists at both ends of the scale – marketeers and communists and anarcho-primitivists are all guilty of using it. The reason for my objection is that democracies can’t be relied upon to see long-term schemes like this through to their logical conclusion. Large groups of people are adversity-averse, and when adversity starts to bite, either the system begins to fall apart, or some form of coercion is required to maintain it. In the former case we end up with a half-baked compromise, in the latter case we end up with the power transfer problem (qv).

    L

  72. Lew 72

    Post above addressed to Clint, also.

    I should clarify what I mean: systems in which prosperity scales up evenly, with fewer troughs and generally greater equality, are more durable and less prone to hijack in mid-stream than those which require a `no pain, no gain’ approach from some or all of the electors in a polity. If there’s a segment of the electorate who feels that way, politicians will emerge to represent their interests and challenge those who want to stay the course.

    It’s about balancing the expected return with the expected risk and cost of failure.

    L

  73. Billy is feeling riddled. Tis the price of impending admonition. Y’see Billy I had gotten that right. Pre-emption and all that..BTW when I add something (helpfully) I don’t expect that to be taken as my answer to the construct of the question you formed and was alluded to thus as your conundrum. To be otherwise – a sincere question for instance – we should have to agree to some extent at anyrate upon its content, accuracy and relevance. Taken as rhetoric appeared to me the brightest possible basis of it, a rhetoric which allowed users(you in this case) make stuff up. Perhaps. So.. to griddled you get riddled.

    Lew, thanks for that. I’d hate mis-attribute. In future tho and assuming lprent unable accomodation, that postscript ‘L’ looks a sound idea. Sorry I didna figure it earlier.

    To others suffering what looks a distinct challenge in the language they use here, the term ‘neo’ is most often taken to mean new. ie neonate = just born.

    Used to express neo-liberal it is thus patently clear that verbiage like — I think the same is true about “neo’ liberalism. It hasn’t been fully realised at all either. This will piss off the politics lecturers who have been for years preaching that NZ’s “neo liberal’ TINA, Ruthenasia type garbage to gullible first years. is bombastic rot. Apologies called for to the so inflamed as a result. Even-handedness could not be expected sensible consideration without it.

  74. Lew 74

    QtR: Sorry, I missed your other comment above.

    you’ll see I’m no communist.

    I never alleged that you were, and indeed I don’t think you are (though you wrongly alleged that I’m a `capitalist’).

    No its never been tryed in practice and it isn’t fine in theory. Stalinism is not Marxism and I’m sure the british communists don’t advocate Stalinism or going back to some mythical agrarian utopian egalitarian state. So I still don’t get where your coming from using the Khmer Rouge to criticise communism. I personally think your just being perverse.

    I think one shouldn’t learn all the lessons of one’s wider ideological background. The KR and Stalin and Mao and Castro are all derived from Marx’s communist ideas, and they all teach the same lesson, of which anyone seeking to implement any of Marx’s ideas ought to be aware in as much crystal clarity as possible. It’s not perversity, it’s prudence.

    You can’t seriously be denying the economic ends of the war, can you? I’m not saying it was solely economic (no one would say that) neither was the Khmer Rouge’s genocide (it was ethnic as well) but of all the stuff I’ve read about the war Í’ve never heard anyone deny an in part economic motive.

    It sure did look like you were directly equating the Nazi war of expansion and holocaust with the KR insurgency and genocide, which is not quite the stupidest comparison I can imagine, but it’s still pretty stupid.

    While any war of expansion has some economic motive, the Nazi expansion had an ethnic dimension for mostly nationalistic reasons as a response to the humiliation suffered at Versailles (demonstrated in part by the frontispiece to Triumph des Willens and Hitler’s accepting the surrender of France in the very same rail car in which the Treaty of Versailles had been signed, among many other things) and the consequent perception that the German race had failed due to dilution.

    The KR insurgency was ethnic for strictly economic reasons, because of the perception that foreigners (mostly from France and the other French Indochinese states) were corrupting the Khmer peoples’ (supposedly) traditionally humble and hard-working character of subsistence by privileging those with foreign connections over those who worked hard and carried on their traditional ways. A variation on the `dilution and corruption’ theme to be sure, and certainly with the purpose of returning to a mythical golden age, but there the similarities with the Nazi expansion end. The economic aims of the Nazi programme were in service to the war effort of expansion and securing the new empire – by my rather dry qualifier `plus the necessary strategic territories and resources required to ensure its integrity’ I meant `plus the whole world’, since that was what would be required, in their minds. The KR achieved their military goal in a matter of days, and turned to the economic goal. They kept the spectre of constant war with Viet Nam alive for propaganda purposes, but they weren’t actually fighting it. War was a means to economic (and cultural, etc.) reform, not the reverse.

    L

  75. Quoth the Raven 75

    Lew

    It sure did look like you were directly equating the Nazi war of expansion and holocaust with the KR insurgency and genocide, which is not quite the stupidest comparison I can imagine, but it’s still pretty stupid.

    The stupid comparison is that of the British Communist party with the KR. I was not equating the the Nazis and the KR. I was making a facetious comment about state capitalism vis a vis the Nazis to show how absurd your equation of the British Communist party and the KR is. This cultural, economic, ethnic discussion is some aside we got ourselves into. We both seem to agree there were economic and social reasons for the respective war and genocides. We probably only disagree as to the degree of each motivation. My main point and one you have yet to dissuade me from is your conflation of the what the KR was responsible for and the ideology of the British communist party or that of Marxism qua marx. Equating the two is to me as ridiculous as equating state capitalism with the holocaust – my original point.

    As to you being a captialist. I’m not talking about some Randian defintion of capitalism ie laissez-faires. I’m talking the original defintion of captialism as in synonymous with state-capitalism. Nothing you’ve ever said has made me think your anything but a capitalist and not an anarchist or a socialist, or a communist &c. What do think yourself as?

  76. Lew 76

    The stupid comparison is that of the British Communist party with the KR.

    It’s a good think I didn’t make that comparison, then, else I’d be legitimately criticised as a damned fool. All I did was acknowledge that the two groups have a common ancestor. That’s valid, because they do. I recommend you read Chandler’s Brother Number One (as a starting point, the bit on Saloth Sar’s ideological apprenticeship) before you try to argue otherwise. Get the second edition, it was revised after his death in 1998.

    Nothing you’ve ever said has made me think your anything but a capitalist and not an anarchist or a socialist, or a communist &c. What do think yourself as?

    As I’ve told ear-benders from the Libertarianz to RAM, I’m a moderate 🙂

    Regarding economic systems, I’m mostly agnostic. I believe markets (in the theoretical sense) are the best tools we have for determining relative utility or worth, and as distribution systems. However I don’t believe markets are perfectly efficient (in the formal sense of that word) without regulation, because fundamentally I think they should be servants to, rather than masters of, the polity in which they operate. Fundamentally, this is because I’m a political scientist, not an economist or a businessperson. I also believe market theory applies to a very wide range of phenomena – including the choice of economic systems itself. I believe in democracy because it creates a market for political ideas, and as I said, I believe markets are the best way of establishing the utility of competing things.

    So you probably think I’m a capitalist because I broadly support what we currently have – capitalism – though I have a long list of changes I’d like made to its implementation. I think that capitalism, as Churchill said of democracy, is the worst system except for all the others who have tried. No genuinely democratic polity who had the choice has yet completely given it up, and that means that it has manifest utility. (Though some are trying, and that’s interesting too).

    Make sense?

    L

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