Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Zealand’s Race Debate: Classical Liberalism & Partnership Separatism - Parallelism - with Maori. (Plus Challenges to Jamie Whyte & *Native Affairs*.)

That favourite on my tweet was Te Ururoa, and I'm glad he did, although I’ll do him the respect of distancing his considered self from myself: he would be left of centre, in my estimation, but his favouriting means he realises the Maori seats are about something separate from a dialectical materialism that has nothing important to say about Maori ethnicity or identity and worse, the socialist program spawned by it which is the enemy of self-determination - (well, Te Ururoa might not go that far, but I will :) ).

The Left are the Borg of politics: their premise requires assimilation to its edicts of the population in total because socialist societal structures, and the funding of, cannot allow for opt out: it’s a society necessarily based on compulsion, surveillance, coercion and penalties for non-compliance, not on a peaceful voluntarism. Look at the history of socialism and of communism; look at New Zealand's Tax Administration Act. Therefore, if socialist political players such as the Green Party, Labour, and/or Internet Mana hold any of the seven Maori seats, what’s the point of the Maori seats, which are about ethnicity, identity and Maori self-determination? Only within the framework of tangata whenua do I support the Maori seats, my position prescribed by the principles of classical liberalism which allows for free expression and thus self-determination - Maori plus my own - despite too many one-law-for-all classical libs and libertarians, such as Jamie Whyte, seem to have forgotten this.

That’s possibly got your attention; this post is a wild one, but a note first.

The Left echo chamber of Twitter is growing firmly into the opinion white men should not proffer their opinions, with this perversely being the opinion particularly of the lefty white men giving their opinion on white men having opinions on Twitter. I'm sick of that type of childishness, so here I am for the first time posting my thoughts on racial politics and race relations in New Zealand, a discussion until this point I’ve deliberately stayed out of – and for the reasons written on, below, not because of the opinion against the giving of opinions by the opinionated lefty white men on Twitter.

 Be warned, this post is the worst written - essayists please do not judge me on it -  biggest (10,000+ words), most rambling, at times incoherent, repetitive post I’ve ever published, and is in main part a frustrating failure, yet, because personally seminal I’m putting it up for general ridicule. You will read how I started out riding the ethereal wings of epiphany, before crashing back to an earth as hard as reason, unable to get to the point I wanted, despite struggling over and over, trying to reconcile via goodwill, contradictions that could not be reconciled. In the final analysis, I couldn’t get over myself, although ironically the political notion I started out with remained, because it came from that set of principles I do understand: freedom.

 So, in a post so conflicted it reflects the subject perfectly, to all sides of the race debate, prepare to be, pending your disposition, challenged – I hope - or offended – if you must. The following was written over a two week period, and is put up, in defeat, almost unedited because I haven't got the energy, or clarity of mind, to do so. If it does nothing else, it narrates not the final statement from the mouth of a white, middle age South Islander with no contact to Maori culture when growing up, but the thinking processes and thus the causes of those statements, with a propensity for change

Please note that upon posting this I may be off the Internet for some (up to ten) days, trying to help fix our EQC house in Diamond Harbour (Chch) - said laughingly as mushrooms are growing on the carpet downstairs - thus I may be unable to respond to comments: in your comments, therefore, please be respectful, both redneck Tories and redneck Lefties. And no overtly racist comments please.

* * *

If from my heading you only saw the word separatism, you missed the word before it, breath in, breath out, keep calm, read on. Or can I sooth your bad faith by changing the term to parallelism?

I have no idea if ‘Partnership Separatism', Parallelism, is a thing at all, I just made it up, so let me explain.  

On Jamie Whyte, Winston Peters, and Colin Craig, unsurprisingly - unfortunately - putting the race debate into the emoting booth for this years’ election, I find myself this morning, as a third generation classical liberal Kiwi, turning in a direction most unexpected from the cross road I’ve been stalled at in the New Zealand race debate

I have many go-to blogs in worlds I don’t travel: for Maori issues Morgan Godfrey’s Maui, and Carrie Stoddart-Smith’s Ellipsister top the list. I think a good way for me to preface the use of both blogs in this piece is to quote Isaac Newton, that ‘tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy’ … while in some posts, the tax ones, I choose often to use no tact, please know in this one tact was my intention, even if that attempt remains clumsy.

Carrie makes the following statement against Whyte's one-law-for-all speech [three weeks ago], which shall be my launching point:

Parliament, you know that Westminster system that derives from the United Kingdom and was imposed on Māori in contravention of a mutual agreement between many but not all iwi and the Crown – Te Tiriti o Waitangi. That system that decreed how society – including Māori society would be organised and resources distributed. That system that confiscated Māori land, suppressed Māori culture and Māori language and in doing so took away Māori rights to self-determination.

ACT say they want equality before the law, but whose law?

Fair points on many counts, I think. What is my blog about if not self-determination. Also, John Roughan (journalist, not blogger) gave a thoughtful serve to Whyte's speech the following Saturday; I've highlighted the (personally) significant sections:

Whyte's theory is that the confused parties have not noticed that the Maori who take most advantage of their legal privileges are those who are also materially privileged. "They [the confused] think of Maori as being generally materially disadvantaged and they see their legal privileges as a form of compensation."

That is simply not so. "Privileges" such as mandatory consultation and co-management of some public resources, are not mere compensation, they are recognition of a couple of facts of life that Dr Whyte might not have met in his reading at Cambridge.

One of them is our founding Treaty, which he thinks is just about property rights. The other is the national needs of indigenous minorities, which he ought to know about because the library at Cambridge contains some interesting work in political theory that attempts to build ethnic identity into principles of individual rights.

These thinkers, Canadians notably, argue that ethnic identity is one of the elements of everybody's individual identity, and that ethnic identity demands a "national" expression, meaning a high degree of self-determination.

They distinguish between indigenous minorities and immigrant minorities. Immigrant minorities have their ethnic identity need met by a home country. Samoans in New Zealand know there is a place called Samoa where their ethnicity is self-governing and culturally secure. Chinese know there is a place called China.

Indigenous minorities have no other place that expresses them. When they had such a place and lost it to a colonising majority, problems arose. The United States, Canada and Australia share those problems with us. The other three have space for reservations where "first nations", as Canada calls them, have a fair degree of independence within federal states.

Leaving aside for now the fact of reservations being a dreadful notion – haven’t they been an unmitigated disaster for the indigenous peoples involved? -  my confusion comes about when the arguments above morph into this from blogger Morgan Godfrey, who will now be rolling his eyes in exasperation on reading yet another white male commenting on race or gender issues. Morgan wrote an interesting piece, commenting on Conservative Party Leader, Colin Craig, after interviewer Mihingarangi Forbes destroyed the hapless Craig on Maori TV show Native Affairs, pinning him to a cruel crucifix of his considerable contradictions:

[Craig's] message is still insidious because it’s pitched at the progressive – yes, irony - desire for equality in liberal democracy. 

That is, the idea all people are created equal and any deviation from that principle constitutes the real injustice. It’s the myth of the level playing field. There’s room to recognise the Treaty and historic injustice, yet Craig and his Conservatives seem to be claiming that – at some unspecified point in time - modern democracy created a nation of equals. It didn’t, but that’s a foundational myth in New Zealand. The idea that a neat line separates the bad Old Days and the more enlightened Good Days. 

So if the level playing field is true - it isn't - then you’re poor, dumb and incarcerated because you deserve to be. Where the injustice is not the fact that you are poor, dumb and incarcerated, but that you need and receive targeted rights because of it. The reasoning is absurd: catering for substantive inequality is actually creating legal inequality. On Planet Conservative, the latter is the real crime. 

There are notions in this I take to intuitively, such as the nonsensical notion of the arbitrary division of the ‘bad old days from the good’, and which logically flow from Roughan and Carrie’s pieces. However, despite I’m on a steep learning curve through Morgan’s blog, there is much in this I'm distinctly uncomfortable with, and I’ve finally separated in my mind the nature of it, given how Maori politics has been presented to me in the media; namely, where indigenous identity and the need for self-determination is served to me as a class struggle, AKA inequality, thus moving to that quite different topic of redistribution and the welfare state, necessitating the big brother tax surveillance state that I would have thought anathema to Maori self-determination as it is to that Enlightenment conceived Western notion of an individual's liberty.

[Interesting note: two weeks after I wrote the above paragraph, I note Carrie – with her anarchist streak - has written the below in her post of this morning:

… when the State is the centre and bearer of all power and our tikanga and kaupapa are subsumed to being facets of western leftism: we are not free. We are recreated in the image of the colonising doctrine of state socialism.

Te Ao Māori does not belong to the left. Nor does it belong to the right. It belongs to Māori. We decide it and define it, adapt it and assert it in our whānau, in our hapū and in our iwi – not in trade unions and environmental movements and most certainly not as part of a western doctrine. We can certainly  support those movements and they may adopt our kaupapa and we can also support other doctrines without having to disempower our own.

Depressing note: despite this discovered knowledge of mine, that Maori self-determination has nothing to do with the existence or not of a welfare state, watch in what follows how many times I instantly forget this again, as well as confuse it with unrelated issues, such is the strength of the capture of Maori issues by the Left. But back to the present, which was the past of this post, three weeks ago … ]

And that’s it: a seminal moment. Somewhere between Morgan and John Roughan, plus Carrie’s more anti-state infused writing for Maori self-determination, all coming together while sitting in bed with a cup of tea, Arnotts shortbread, Daisy Dog and Mrs H, I think I've found the key that necessitates a deal of change in my thinking regarding Maori politics, noting this change is in accordance with classical liberal first principles, not in spite of them. It's significant that when you search my blog I've never commented on Maori politics, not once, for given my background, how could I? I was born into an Exclusive Brethren at the time  being run by white (male) whisky alcoholics, then though we got booted from that loony outfit, leaving all four grandparents and thus our familial roots behind, mine remained an upbringing in rural Canterbury which was a strict Euro-Christian one, (until the vicious battle with my parents known as The Teenage Rebellion, fought over saveloys and Watties tomato sauce on Sunday mornings, from which I emerged atheist, though, I’m glad to say, in entente with my family which has always remained intact through to today, we just don’t dwell on our differences – there’s probably a lesson in that.) Worse, there was not a single Maori in my country primary school (Greenpark, Lake Ellesmere) – ever, in any year - and by the time I reached (Lincoln) High School, the only Maori there were the Burnham Army boys, and no one messed with them, thus they were unapproachable. So what would I know about Maori culture, or the existence of indigenous law under which Maori might live more fulfilled lives? Reading Patricia Grace and Witi Ihimaera, and travelling through Port Levy on the way to Pigeon Bay, only takes one so far when you’re living to all extents in an alien country.

From that background, my classical liberalism has always taken me to the place Jamie Whyte was speaking from in his one-law-for-all speech, and this in big part because – the nature of the true epiphany this morning - of that confounded conflation of the left’s demand for redistribution to fix the ills of Maori as shown in them being top of all the wrong statistics. My hatred of the state planned lives big government is inexorably taking us to, has always been confused with Maori needing to live on ‘my’ terms because I had assumed ‘they’ demanded their fight for self-determination be achieved via the welfare state, which never made any sense, because I think welfare grown dependency has destroyed the free society that I believe is ‘my’ birth right, just as it was welfare dependency that explained the problems of Maori. But that is not what Maori self-determination is about – as written so succinctly by Roughan (and I see the irony, another middle aged white bloke), [though Carrie was coming from also in that quote from this week]. My confusion is easy to understand, however, as it’s that viewpoint I see being promoted politically from too many of the parties in the Fortress of Legislation, despite the counter example – I missed the relevance of – the Maori Party currently having a relationship accord (not a coalition) with a National government. I suspect I’m not explaining this well. It’s important how deep that confusion runs, because it serves to explain how ingrained the notion of any New Zealand outside one law for all was resisted by myself, and I might not be alone. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this. Clearing the fog of that confusion will help explain the  notion of a Partnership Separatism consistent with classical liberalism, and a Maori self-determination which is not bound to the goddamned tax take of the welfare state. Bear with me.

Back to Morgan again (and Morgan, I’m not trying to ‘get at’ you; we have very different politics, based on very different philosophies and world-views, that’s all). The idea I take from this bit of what Morgan wrote (above) has never sat well with me:

… then you’re poor, dumb and incarcerated because you deserve to be. Where the injustice is not the fact that you are poor, dumb and incarcerated, but that you need and receive targeted rights because of it.

There’s an assumption here – a dreadful determinism – of Maori as ‘poor, dumb’ and so to be ‘incarcerated’.  Isn’t there?  Individualistic me, won’t ensconce that, nor from the later mention of ‘inequality’ which opens the gate for Left big state politics (whether Morgan means it or not) and the notion Maori ills, as part of a class war, must be fixed by redistribution and thus the almighty, ascendant brute state. For the thing is, I look at Morgan, a young (Maori) man working through his law degree, and with, I reckon, a great career ahead of him in law, media, or politics, and I don’t understand  how that can  be while he casts others of his identity into the ‘poor, dumb, and [to be] incarcerated camp? If he can actively accept responsibility for his life, and succeed, why the passive determinism for a people?

Shit, is that a non sequitur? I mean as in Morgan does not need a welfare state or paternalistic government  to get on. Taking a big breath and delving on ...

Deeper yet, my belief in an individual’s ability to rise up over their past, the circumstances of their upbringing, or identity – using [alarm bells] identity for now only to the shallow extent of the way one looks, thus identity as perceived by 'others', not identity as it is – is reinforced by the anecdotal soup I’ve been living over the last quarter of a century. Other than my old dad, I’ve never brought my family into my blog, as I have no right to write their private lives – anyone’s – into a public blog. But this once I will mention that by a marriage of twenty four years I have a granddaughter who is pakeha/Ethiopian, two granddaughters who are pakeha/Samoan-Chinese, and one who is pakeha/Samoan, yet all – discounting the youngest still at school – are ‘generally’ confident young women out their mixing it in the world, not held back by their race/the-way-they-look at all as far as I have been able to observe. Let me be clear, the way it works is when in public they cannot choose to be pakeha, and so are exposed, like everyone else who isn’t pakeha, to everyday racism (hattip @2Tapu for that link, also read Carrie’s piece Everyday Microaggressions  and if  Carrie does ever read this post I hope she would inform if (or how much of) this falls into any of her three categories), but it has never appeared to me that life for the granddaughters was a conscious matter of ‘I must rise above my identity and the history of oppression of those of my identity’; their lineage has been irrelevant to them, indeed perhaps more than it should, as none of them seem interested in learning or involvement with their non-pakeha cultures. [Edit note: if you have read Giovanni Tiso’s piece disparaging Whyte’s statements regarding his daughter of African descent, you’ll be jumping up and down right now, but don’t panic, I’ll deal with Tiso and his argument soon. ]  They certainly would have been free to pursue that if they wanted, and perhaps at a future date some of them will: it would be interesting to know if it added to their well-being. But for the purpose of this post, they have not chosen to be aversely determined by skin colour and the way they look. (Indeed the reverse: the most confident of the four is the pakeha/Ethiopian: she has always put herself ‘out there’, loved acting and being in the public eye, was always in the school productions, and continues with that interest living in Australia: she early on decided to wear her difference to her advantage.) Finally, it’s not that their own backgrounds haven’t given them 'issues’ that could be said to disadvantage them over their peers, plus they’ve certainly not always made prudent decisions – who does – but, well, no … that’s the end of the family snapshot: the important thing is, life, they got on with it.

Thus I have always assumed this type of determinism imputed by Morgan is a self-fulfilling mind-set, reinforced by welfare state created dependency for Maori, just as dependency destroys all, regardless of ethnicity. That is indubitably part of it, but is something else involved here? None of the cultures of the granddaughters are indigenous to New Zealand, tangata whenua, thinking on ethnicity as it reflects on an individual identity in the context of Roughan’s piece. I think it only partially accurate to say the granddaughters’ pakeha side aided them, because, as stated above, when they’re out in the world, they can’t choose to be half pakeha. Although I suspect I really am guilty now of non sequitur, in relating racism and skin colour with the notion of ethnicity and Maori self-determination. There is obviously a relationship, but the topics aren’t the same.

Regarding that non sequitur, and the lesson to be taken from it, [some weeks after I wrote the above] blogger Giovanni Tiso, (white man, Italian – proudly and viciously communist - Tiso never employs tact so no tact need be employed with Tiso) initially put his boot into just the right place, until I thought about it. Writing on Jamie Whyte using his children (of African descent) in the race debate, Tiso writes this gem (my highlighting):

Then [Whyte] made further contributions to the civilised debate that he so craves, with gems such as this:

I am white but my daughters are not. I want them to live in a country where that is legally irrelevant. I do not want the law or the government to treat my daughters differently from any other citizens. And, although she is only 11, I think my elder daughter would be bewildered and appalled by the idea that the law would treat her differently on account of her skin colour.

Which it wouldn’t. It won’t. The African heritage of Jamie Whyte’s daughters doesn’t make them tangata whenua any more than their father’s eponymous skin colour would. This puerile and offensive act of misdirection, confusing pigmentation with ethnicity – that is to say with historical, social and cultural belonging – exposes the profound dishonesty of the underlying argument, which is barely an argument at all.

Yes, in my own musings I got myself to exactly the same confusion of skin colour and ethnicity, but actually, no. Remembering Whyte's argument is about individual outcomes, not, I believe, Maori self-determination as such, Whyte never mentions that notion - because this debate always confuses ethnicity with outcomes, and that started with the Marxists – Giovanni is himself misdirecting the reader twice. Firstly given his avowedly Marxist agenda, his beef with Whyte arises from his belief that self-determination - albeit any belief Tiso had as to self-determination would be a fraud - is part of an eternal class war, the problems of Maori to be ‘fixed’ by redistribution and the destruction of private property rights - that’s the ‘underlying argument’ in his refutation of Whyte - yet he offers no proof of why outcomes are different between an individual of African descent, compared to tangata whenua, he simply provides a statement we’re expected to take as truth in that last paragraph. The problem is I can’t bring myself to conjecture that if one of these girls’ had been half Maori, rather than Ethiopian, Chinese/Samoan, or Samoan, it would have made any difference to them. That seems to me an absurd notion, which nothing in my personal experience or observation supports. To Giovanni I would say what is the basis of his argument? Whyte was talking about the future for his child; I’m reciting what I have observed in actuality. If one of my granddaughters had been half Maori, tangata whenua, how and why would that have disadvantaged them over what they should in theory be, regardless? (But don’t seem to.) Pigmentation and ethnicity are not the same, definitely, and yet are on important levels related, all the same, in this debate: you bet they are because these are complex, interrelated issues. And that’s the second misdirection Tiso is making with his unsubstantiated statement imputing on tangata whenua a certain magic that is conjured from ‘historical, social and cultural belonging’ that in reality seems … I was going to say suspect, but in reality, I don’t understand. I wonder if Maori would say mythical, but on that we part company totally. Clearly put: I do not understand. But I don’t believe in magic. Incidentally, if Tiso's point was simply that one-law-for-all doesn't apply to Jamie Whyte's children because they are of African descent, not Maori, then his piece was puerile and pointless; not so much a misdirection as a miss altogether, deliberately not speaking to Whyte's points.

Travelling further down this route, let’s turn the issue back to myself; as a third generation New Zealander how is my belonging not the same as tangata whenua? Or why am I not still suffering the alienation of displacement from three generations ago? Come to that, why do I not feel disadvantaged by my family’s history in that cult the Exclusive Brethren, in my lifetime. Since I was six years old, outside of my sisters and parents, none of my family, grandparents, uncles, aunts, the lot – and as in all cults, Exclusive women are baby factories so there is a lot of missing history - none of my extended family have been allowed any contact with us: with alienation to that extent, how could my direct family possibly have gone on and led productive, self-reliant lives? Indeed my parents were left poor from their history, truly forced off their farm by religion - and they never made it back - because one of the whiskey alcoholics arbitrarily decided the congregation couldn't profit from working with their hands, but I and my sisters – not counting the second eldest who is IHC – simply got on with it. Other than the very odd time like this to make a point, I don't spend a second of my life thinking on those poor Exclusive sods. This is why I don’t understand how Maori are held back by events 170 years ago: I'm not saying this isn't the case, I'll return to this soon, sooth to say simply I've a complete impasse of understanding at the cultural mechanism operating here.

[Hold onto your hats, it gets really confusing now, as the differing strands of separate debates  merge and obfuscate causes, just as they do in the race debate proper.]

YET, if I stop thinking, on an emotional level I do feel there is significance in the notion of an indigenous race. Tiso's words on belonging, stripped of Marxist agenda, do resonate. When I first read Roughan’s piece for that brilliant, brief moment in time I thought - no that’s the problem - I felt, it to be epiphany. Reason says no; emotion says maybe, but I must always go with reason.

To sum up mid-way - and I'm aware of the mess this post has become - you will have noticed I’ve just retraced myself from ‘the epiphany’ right back to where I started. I’d glibly say that’s the effect Giovanni always has on me, but really, he’s irrelevant. The argument made so insightfully by Roughan is one I’d love to understand, and agree with by the operation of my reason: but everything that makes me Mark Hubbard won’t stand for it, despite having side-stepped in my blog any writing on Maori politics, because the Treaty (especially) and tangata whenua do mean ‘something’; the Treaty, certainly, from the sense of contract and righting past wrongs, and from that it was the tangata whenua, the first here, whom were wronged - no confusion on that score. It’s just that as to the living of Maori lives now, I can’t get my head around any type of mythical relationship with the ‘belonging’ that determines individual outcomes, that are different from my own, other than that damnable thing, everyday racism (not diminishing that.) And to cast Giovanni off finally, who accuses Whyte of white man’s grievance, I have no grievance against Maori, (although, important note, nor does Whyte.)

Christ I’m over this post, albeit, yes, that's a luxury I have as a pakeha, to ignore the issue of race in my everyday life.

What my personal experience leads me - led me - to believe, is summed up pretty much by Classical liberal Scott Wilson (Liberty Scott) who writes in his comments on Whyte’s speech (warning for Maori self-determiners, you’re going to hate this bit, but grit your teeth and read through it, I’m getting to an actual point soon, namely Partnership Separatism):

One of the most corrosive elements in New Zealand is the widely held consensus amongst most political parties and indeed the bureaucracy and media, that there remains a strong element of racial determinism around the lives people lead, at least for Maori.  This being the idea that the reason Maori on average perform worse in terms of a wide range of social indicators than most other ethnic groups, is due to a mix of the legacy of what happened to their ancestors (which seems not to hold back refugees from genocides from living memory) and a system that doesn't "meet their needs" not because it is a clumsy production line state that churns out services for mass consumption rather than tailored to individuals, but because "the system" is "designed for Pakeha".

It is post-modernist structuralist theory which posits that because Maori are (the descendants of) the indigenous people of a land that was colonised (and then gained independence), they are structurally disadvantaged.

I don’t need to point how different this is to Roughan’s piece. My dilemma is I can ‘almost’ hold both tracts in my mind and ascribe to them truth at one and the same time, and yet that is not possible - when you become aware of a contradiction in your thinking, you must reassess your premises (unless you're Gustave Flaubert).

And so, round and round, there appears to be an irreconcilable difference between classical liberal society and its Westminster institutions, and Maori self-determination. Neither of us can speak each other’s language, we just shout at each other across a mud slinging ditch of ignorance: even if I could speak te reo, I doubt I could understand it. This is shown well by Scott’s summation:

… the relationship between the Crown and Maori should be the same as with all citizens, in that citizens are free to live their own lives and have their property and freedoms protected by the Crown.  Tino rangitiratanga is personal sovereignty, it is freedom. Kawanatanga "governorship" is the state guaranteeing that freedom.

Yes! However, Maori do not interpret tino rangitiratanga, with classical libs, as personal sovereignty, or 'state governorship', rather as (sorry, link reference for this lost, but this seems representative on a general search):

The term's closest English translation is 'absolute sovereignty', although many also refer to it as self-determination, autonomy, or Māori independence. Such a concept embraces the spiritual link Māori have with Papatuanuku (Earthmother) and is a part of the international drive by indigenous people for self-determination.

The Maori meaning is not individualistic but collective (and also mythical) – is that the result of Marxist determinism, history, culture? Scott says no:

It means taking on the patronising idea that failure is inherent to being Maori, because it isn't.  You do not carry trauma from your ancestors, although you may rightfully reflect on past events.  There are millions of people worldwide whose ancestors suffered unspeakable horrors, and they are building lives in spite of that.  That is the optimism ACT should be selling.  One that tells all Maori that they are not held back by their ancestors, nor should they by the state.

Trouble is, Scott, to butt myself in, we are all held back by the state, given the direction it has been travelling for the last three decades. And I’ve come to it the patronising thing is me telling Maori how their identity works.

Here’s where I should, if I had any sense, throw my hands up in capitulation. I have by this point, despite vain attempts to bridge a logic gap in the sections refuting, or at the least, questioning, Giovanni Tisa, been following a certain logical argument, only to end up within the internecine machinations of another argument altogether. The gap between the two as big as the difference in world view represented by Scott’s view of tino rangitiratanga and the Maori one.  Let me reiterate (for myself) that the reason for Maori self-determination is an end unto itself: whether Maori want it because they believe it will better the outcomes for Maori is irrelevant if considered the aim is to live defined by their own ‘culture’, their identity flowing from their ethnicity as the indigenous people of New Zealand. This was the discovered knowledge I started so optimistically from. I’ve become derailed throughout this piece, and more than once, by that whole welfare motif again – bloody Marxism. I don’t seem able to think myself out of that because the debate over Maori self-determination as appropriated by the Left politick in New Zealand, constantly resets the race debate back to a solution based one founded in socialism: redistribution. And that misdirection then moves logically to the vicious reef of pigmentation and racism. I think this frustration is showing in the writing of some Maori, thinking back to the second Carrie Stoddart-Smith quotation at the start of this post.

Indeed, two great disservices have been dealt to Maori by the Marxists. First they captured the debate on ‘things-Maori’ and monetised it to the welfare tax surveillance state in a way that not only alienated classical libs like myself, but blinded us – as absurd as that seems in after-thought, and certainly as it would seem to Maori - to the truth of Maori self-determination – that is, it is a worthy end in itself if that is what Maori want. Secondly, the Marxists inveigled in via the generational destruction of a child’s mind in the state school system, the socialist state which by its very nature cannot allow Maori self-determination any more than it can allow my own, individual self-determination. My blog essentially has the single governing theme: self-determination as opposed to living as a plaything of the state.

I hope it is understood that the contradictions being exposed in my scribbling up to this point, arises from a goodwill to see that which I can’t see. There is a glimmering of it in the back of my mind in the notion that after only 170 years Maori are expected to be somehow magically assimilated into our culture (even if they wanted to – Maori in this debate don’t.) So let me limp to at least the one logical point I can make, consistent with Maori having self-determination, in the knowledge they don’t have to give a reason, anymore than I have to explain why my motivating reason is individual unfettered self-determination to pursue my happiness.

Listen. Hear that? It's the sound of violins undercutting the next bit ...

Classical libs are seeing - have seen - the foundations of what we know to be the free society based on individualism and the small state being undermined by a rampant statism; right now Marxist feminism has brought one of our major parties to proposing changing guilty until proven innocent in our courts, and the other major party mooting ending the right to remain silent: take either of those pillars of a free society away, and tyranny is allowed off the leash. Western jurisprudence has slipped so far that in the recent Stephen Dudley case our law has resulted in no consequences for the perpetrators of a vicious assault – incidentally, off topic - but not - in my original piece on this I raised the prospect of woman judge versus young men, and the false assumptions she had thinking theirs a normal fight, which is wasn’t, as explained in my update at bottom of that piece; here’s the angle to suit this piece, pakeha judge, Maori victim, Samoan assailants … did the pakeha judge think this a normal bit of biffo for Maori and Samoan boys? I’m certain in my mind if these three boys were pakeha and this a South Canterbury schoolyard the assailants would’ve been convicted for the vicious king hit and further assault that attack was.

Regardless, I write from a funereal view compared to Liberty Scott, because I realised some three decades ago when working for one week on IRD's anonymous information desk, reading of friends, family and employees potting friends, families and employers in to be dealt to by the state, that via the tax surveillance state we were already the snitch society, and so classical liberalism was irretrievably lost. I can say for all my worth that an individualistic ethic is the answer to racism, (all the -isms), however, that doesn’t capture the reason for self-determination according to Maori which is about identity and fulfilled lives. Constantly there is an articulate, intelligent voice from Maori in blogs, media and the arts and literature, telling me Maori self-determination is necessary for Maori, which I can grok if I remove context: just as I read a preponderance of New Zealand authors because they tell me stories in a landscape and milieu I understand, so te reo and tikanga Maori enable Maori, with perhaps that comparison the one inception point I have into the argument surrounding the place and belonging of tangata whenua.  The problem for classical liberalism is when such self-determination is stated as being not possible under a Westminster system, which I take from Carrie’s opening quotation, that is where entente would appear to end for me, certainly wherever the principle tenets of classical liberalism, and so classical liberalism proper, are lost in attempts to achieve Maori self-determinism through integration.

Shit. Getting dangerous isn’t it.

Let me back this careening car up one final time, before madly accelerating on again. Without relenting on my principle that the laws of a land – at least the law I need to pursue my happiness, freely, as with my family - must only be crafted to protect the life and property rights of an individual, not a collective based on identity, this is the bit where I break ranks with the classical libs in New Zealand’s race debate.

I have no right (even if I had the basis) to tell Maori they must live by the Westminster system if they think it is disadvantaging them, nor do I desire to do so, mindful of this quotation:

The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one's own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.

With the qualification, again, I don’t buy into the privilege argument – do I? don’t I? We'll compromise by me saying I don’t agree with it when used as a silencer - I plainly have no clue what it is to be  Maori in New Zealand; fortunately, however, in the reasoned, freedom ethic of classical liberalism lay the answer which Jamie Whyte and classical libs en masse (if not an oxymoron) seemed to have overlooked – (note neither Craig nor Peters are classical liberals; one’s a conservative, the other a populace opportunist, so they don’t count in this piece). In a classical liberal society, which I have not always been accurately naming the Westminster system – more on that soon - on the proviso we all agree to the over-arching principle of do no harm – because without that we all live under a state of terrorism, not an enlightened peace – individuals or groups are free to contract out, as much as ‘we’ classical libs think that may be foolish, wrong, or harmful. Unlike statist Leftism and authoritarian conservativism, choice and voluntarism, freedom of religion, thought, etc, self-determination are at the heart of classical liberalism, so perhaps we should all call it quits and stop patronising each other. Such a society could be characterised by what I would term a partnership separatism, or the sop to language, parallelism – or perhaps cooperative separatism, as opposed certainly to assimilation, but also, as mentioned, to even integration as the country has been attempting up until now. As explanation of the basis for an ability to contract out, to throw another set of ideas in the mess of this, it’s the same rationale for why individuals must be free to contract out of that other notion socialism uses to yoke us to each other, the social contract.

Last month I formulated a post, being an amalgam of earlier posts, explaining the fallacy of that notion of the (blood-soaked) common good which has done such damage to a free West, indeed, has all but destroyed it, and earlier I wrote on how the liberal Left have misinterpreted Rousseau’s social contract and turned it on its head. Rousseau is the key to a partnership separatism for Maori, so to paraphrase, his treatise written in 1762 called The Social Contract was not a contract for slavery, as the liberal Left has first misinterpreted, then reinvented it, rather:

… that document starts, quote: 'Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.' Moreover, Rousseau argued that in a society founded on laws devised upon mans’ reason, that is, the rule of law, no man would, or should, logically, surrender his freedom for a state of slavery. The contract was at its heart about safeguarding rights to property, and better, an individual was free to exit such a contract, and be as free again as when he was born.

Note particularly that final premise: an individual was free to contract out of the social contract and be as free as when they were born. And so Maori must be free to contract out of our Westminster system proper.

Given I advocate for a society based on a constitutional minarchy/republic, its law only about protecting the smallest minority, an individual, perhaps I’m the ultimate separatist, although for classical libs it’s never a question of living in the village, we want to do that, it’s that we believe the village doesn’t own us. That's an important fact the Left have never understood. Regardless, Maori must be free to contract out and run their own constructs, and indigenous law: perhaps this could be built in to the settlements process via the Waitangi Tribunal? Importantly, don’t confuse separatism with isolationism: different groups within such a free society will still avail themselves of mutual trade, as well as mutual cooperation born of mutual respect. Because we all have equal legal rights, this is a partnership system, not a consigning in any manner to the reservation, or setting up a hierarchy. There would be negotiation required and an intermingling of many aspects still of ordinary legal life: perhaps Maori may want to utilise some aspects of the Westminster legal system or facilities, or vice versa. Business transactions and contract could be under Westminster capitalism, albeit, if Maori have a system they prefer to run, fine, whatever the consenting parties to a transaction agree to be bound by. Indeed, at the risk of growing a government department, perhaps the current Waitangi Tribunal’s role could move logically from the settlements, to being a meeting place where such issues could be debated.

Looking at the language used by Maori – it’s always in the language – I interpret from their words a direction that leans into separation, or parallelism, rather than integration. Starting with Tino Rangatiratanga again (my underlining, from this source (hattip Carrie)):

Tino Rangatiratanga relates to sovereignty, autonomy, control, self-determination and independence. The notion of Tino Rangatiratanga asserts and reinforces the goal of Kaupapa Māori initiatives: allowing Māori to control their own culture, aspirations and destiny.

The Maori principle of collective philosophy of Kaupapa – (which reaffirms the divide between the individualistic based philosophy of classical liberalism, between which bridges can be built between separate systems, but those systems never reconciled):

The 'Kaupapa' refers to the collective vision, aspiration and purpose of Māori communities. Larger than the topic of the research alone, the kaupapa refers to the aspirations of the community. The research topic or intervention systems therefore are considered to be an incremental and vital contribution to the overall 'kaupapa'.

And the principle of the Treaty itself - Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

Pihama (2001) identified another principle to be taken into account within Kaupapa Māori theory: Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840) is a crucial document which defines the relationship between Māori and the Crown in New Zealand. It affirms both the tangata whenua status of whānau, hapū and iwi in New Zealand, and their rights of citizenship. The Tiriti therefore provides a basis through which Māori may critically analyse relationships, challenge the status-quo, and affirm the Māori rights.

Noting this post is my own challenging of the status quo for classical libs, if I think about it the structures of such a parallel society are in place – albeit, don’t get yourself too exercised by this, for when I soon explain the only conditions under which such a society it possible, you’ll soon see that circa 2014 it’s not. But we already have the Maori electoral roll, which an individual can choose to be on or not, we only need to hand the vote from this over to actual governance – assuming, that is, Maori want representative governance (heaven knows I don’t for myself, it’s a tyranny of the majority). So long as I’m not going to be bound by separate courts presided over by Maori, especially given I have no idea what indigenous law entails, then in a separate/parallel system, that’s no concern of mine.  We already have te reo schools and I note with interest Willie Jackson has applied to set up a charter school.

It’s amusing that in a later speech to his one-law-for-all, Jamie Whyte, in the opposite of what he was meaning, gave a concrete example of Partnership Separatism as his example of a non race based law. Admitting he also used as a good example of race law the new constitution of Fiji, not seeming to realise that a Libertarian using a military junta who has resorted to force in its past as a good example of anything was a spectacular fail, he also gave the example of Sweden.

In a piece by Andrew Geddis on Pundit, we find Sweden far from operating a one-law-for-all system, is an example of a country running a successful separate system for its indigenous people, the Sami, and what Jamie had been mistakenly referring to was the attempt by the legislature in Sweden to affect only the language of the law:

For it is true that Ullenhag is proposing to remove the term "race" from Swedish legislation. But this doesn't mean that Swedish law is going to become "the same" for everyone, in the way that Jamie Whyte claims Act wants for New Zealand.


So far from creating "one law for all"  by entirely getting rid of all laws that are "race-based", these countries are instead simply revisiting and revising the way that they talk about "race" as a concept in their legislation.

In respect of Sweden’s native population, the Sami:

The Sami, who have raised their Reindeer herds across the Nordic countries since the last ice age. They are Europe's sole recognised "indigenous people" at international law. So just how does Jamie Whyte's role-nation approach its equivalent to New Zealand's Maori?

Well, on 1 January 2011, the Swedish Constitution was amended to explicitly recognize Sami as a people. This followed a long-standing request of Sami to be distinguished from other minority groups in Sweden. Furthermore, in Sweden, 3,000 Sami practise reindeer herding, managing approximately 250,000 reindeer in areas scattered across the northern 40 per cent of the country.

Sweden's 1971 Reindeer Grazing Act then allows Sami to use land and water for themselves and for their stock. These reindeer-herding rights are exclusive and limited to those Sami who live within designated communities, called samebyar, and practise reindeer herding as their principal livelihood. And when it comes to accessing land for grazing purposes, Sweden's Supreme Court ruled in April 2011 that customary land use, showing due consideration to reindeer-herding practices, as opposed to Swedish property law, should determine the matter.

What is more, the Sami people have their own Parliament, the Samitinget, recognised by Swedish law and part-funded by Sweden (along with the other Nordic countries where the Sami live). While its powers are somewhat limited (it can't tax or legislate), it does have a bunch of administrative and financial responsibilities which are exercised in a special (dare one say it, separate) way … [Snip]

Just in case you're wondering who gets to vote for members of this Sami Parliament, here's a hint - it isn't all Swedish people. Instead, you have to be just like the Ancien Régime to take part in its elections.

Regarding Maori, I do dare to say it: if the separate way works, why not? And why limit their powers to govern themselves as the Sami are?

The problem comes, however, when we consider the basis a society needs to allow for such separatism/parallelism. There's a sting in the tail of my tale, and I’ve been more than hinting throughout what it is. A separatist/parallelist system  is not possible in the socialist democracy we have, no more than the ability for an individual to live their life free of government bullying and a bureaucratic collectivism that grows more brutal year on year. This is where I get to offend – sorry - those hearty souls who've made it through to here, which is probably not many of the classical libs, and that’s a pity, because they’d like this next bit - Morgan and Carrie, not so much.  

New Zealand no longer has a classical liberal Westminster system, the course of freedom in totality is snuffed out. The last vestige of classical liberalism was destroyed by an airhead judiciary in our tax system over the last fifteen years, to the point now where everything is tax avoidance, everything illegal, and because the tax state is where the surveillance and police state truncheon meets the no longer defended rumps of free individuals, that system is lost, for good (or until a Western Spring). A country where the government spend constitutes over 44% of GDP is a socialist, crony capitalist country, not a free, laissez faire one where voluntarism can be allowed to exist between the acts of consenting adults. Through the voracious tax take, and the powers required by the bureaucracy to collect it, we are all bound to each other in a way we cannot escape: an individual’s pursuit of happiness is not even a dream, anymore, when we are trapped by a brute state into the prison of each other’s minds. Not only do Maori have no self-determination, none of us have.

A small state – minarchy – either voluntarily funded after the destruction of our Orwellian styled tax surveillance state, or at the very least, a tax take reinstated on its original, limited function, is the necessary setup for a peaceful, separatist system which can only exist when no individual or group need can be enforced by a brute state on any other individual or group. It's a small state where it is understood if we are forced to be our brother’s keeper, then we are our brother’s slave. A contracting out by Maori is only possible once we have constrained the existing behemoth state to its proper, limited functions again, and that doesn’t include public health, education, or welfare funded by the tax surveillance state. The state's role is only to defend its citizens, and maintain the environment for a Westminster styled criminal and civil justice system, so harm-initiators are ‘discouraged’ and contract can be enforced – cognisant that running parallel to this, in what I am suggesting here, may well be alternative Maori criminal and civil systems (I’ve no idea how they work).That is why the current socialist integrationist attempt of Maori politics is unjust and unprincipled. If groups such as Maori want to create their own whanau or other based welfare/charity/support systems, or more cooperative type business entities, whatever, fine. Any group is free to do so on a voluntary membership basis.

 Furthermore, the corollary of the above is that the Westminster based minarchy is, obviously, capitalist, given socialism can’t allow for choice and opting out, as demonstrated by the police state powers given to the taxing authorities, and as attested to by Jason Brennan in his new book Why Not Capitalism (hattip AntiDismal):

Brennan’s new book, Why Not Capitalism?, casts a critical eye on a notion with wide appeal among academics, politicians, and the general public: That even though history has shown that socialism is unworkable in practice, it’s still the best way to run society in theory.

Brennan says that such thinking neglects the fact that even in utopia people will have significantly different visions of a life well lived. “You want a system under which you can realize all these different conceptions of the good life and the good community,” he argues. Even in a world free of petty rivalries, tribalism, and human failings, capitalism would still be superior because it uniquely affords citizens the rights and freedoms necessary to customize their lives and pursue their own, personally meaningful projects.

If Maori - and pakeha or other ethnicities who want to buy into that system - are better off under their own constructs, and indigenous law, then that will show in happier, fulfilled individuals – everyone wins. And note that definition: a successful life is a happy life; classical liberalism and capitalism are about choice, about voluntarism, not necessarily material wealth, I consider myself if anything a hippy throw-back to the sixties. Hone Harawira believes under a Maori system there would be no need of jails – if you can do that, Hone, hell, I might join up. Alternatively if that system is not working for individual Maori then there would be a free movement between two systems running side by side. (Note that latter point means the overall system is essentially rights based, which won’t please all Maori – on an earlier post Morgan talks about preference for a Maori politick which is emancipatory - but I don’t see how you leave a rights based paradigm even partially, peacefully. Albeit, I don’t understand the details of how an emancipatory system unfolds?)

For the record, I’ve said nothing new in this post. I’m simply saying separatism is not a dirty word, perhaps we should kick it around in the debate as a good outcome, and that the classical liberals in the debate so far, including Jamie, are forgetting some first principles: namely, it’s a society based on voluntarism, and if not initiating force, everyone is free to contract out to their own arrangements, and moreover the Treaty is, actually, relevant and perhaps we want to reassess our thought around Maori issues, because unfortunately our default position is assimilation, and many Maori, rightly, don’t want that. Anyway, from this, moving to ground I am more certain of, I have some electioneering advice for Jamie.

That advice is simple: leave out the one-law-for-all and campaign on what will better off the outcomes over the long term for both Maori and pakeha: reducing the size of the state, reducing its shock and awe taxing powers so we reclaim our privacy and right to be left alone, and this by delinking the cruel dependence of so many whose lives are defined and limited by that cloying, caring monster we have voted in at the emoting booth: welfare, which has gone from the safety net it was designed for, to a self-perpetuating poverty trap.

Coincidentally the destruction wrought by welfare was front and centre on the front piece to the Native Affairs episode of Monday 11 August - the week out from Jamie’s one-law-for-all speech - in which Mihingarangi Forbes put ‘the look’ on poor old Jamie Whyte himself.  He did a better job than Craig, and regarding the interview, a side note about that gaff of his first: I suspect Jamie hadn’t heard of Whanau Ora because like classical libs often do, he was working from first principles; keep government as small as possible. It was the flipside of the trouble he got into over his comments on incest. Also perhaps, as Lindsay Mitchell writes, because of the nebulous concept that is Whanau Ora:

I bet you most New Zealanders couldn't tell you what whanau ora is.

Annette King, then Labour's social services spokeswoman, described it as 'blancmange' because "when you try to get a grasp of it, it slips through your fingers."


All whanau ora does it transfer funds to Maori service providers, a process that occurred before it became known as whanau ora. But there has been a concerted effort to dress it up as a hugely significant development for political reasons. Ask what the Maori Party's great legacy is as we run up to the election and the answer will undoubtedly be whanau ora.

But regardless, as far as Jamie is concerned, silly; if you’re going to put yourself in the lion’s den, do some damned homework; if nothing else, putting the time in is itself a sign of respect.

Back to the topic at hand, before the Whyte interview, the program ran a piece on the dearth of housing for the poor, however, for me, it ended up being about something entirely else, which further served to demonstrate an annoying miss by the Native Affairs reporting – though I hasten to note, a lack of rigour (nerve) shared by all current affairs on TVNZ and TV 3. (Indeed, I’ll put a plug in for Maori TV, the channel I watch as much of as any other, due to its exceptional movie selection which beats every station bar none, plus the channel runs some of the best current affairs, such as Native Affairs.)

The story on housing was framed by interviewing five – from memory – individuals who were living it dire conditions. The opening interview was a teenage mother who had been living in a car with her baby; the woman – sorry, girl – had herself been brought up by her solo dad living on a benefit. The father of the girl’s baby was neither seen nor mentioned: that is, he’d scarpered from both his fatherly, and financial responsibilities.

Stop. In those last two sentences how many bad life choices, across three generations, are evident? The summation of those bad choices is called a cycle. And then it got worse. Apart from a single respondent who was a male living in his car, the remaining three respondents were all teenage girls, all with babies, the final one had had not long given birth to her second – conceived while living in a car, as was the first, presumably – all living in appalling circumstances, not a teenage father in sight, and no extended family for support. For those I am annoying right now, if you read that and can guess the multitude of problems I have with these girls and their missing, irresponsible sperm donors – they ain’t fathers – then even as huffing and puffing with your indignation, you were thinking the exact same thing as I was.

Which brings me to my beef with the reporting of this piece. The circumstances of these teenage girls with their fatherless babies is disgraceful and my first reaction is to emote, just as the Left do: give them money, house them, do something! And yes, something must be done. But surely it is also compassionate to understand the cycle evident here of why too many people are making not just these irresponsible, but insane life decisions, and on how our welfare state incentivises this. What chance have these babies got of breaking the cycle of their parent? From memory, pursuant to some of the last statistics I read on Lindsay Mitchell’s blog, we are up to one in four babies now born into a family dependent on a benefit. Perhaps the Native Affairs selection was unrepresentative, but four out of five, really? We will never understand this cycle until we face it and ask the hard questions which the Native Affairs reporting did not ask: namely, why did you girls decide to get pregnant when you were in no position financially nor emotionally to raise children; on getting pregnant, why did you decide to first take your babies through to term, and then on doing so, keep them?

Hard arse isn’t it. But we have to be hard to break this cycle. As to the first question which should have been raised to each of the girls - where are the fathers - Liberty Scott speaks well to this point:

In an age where contraception is cheap and universally available, without shame, to anyone of breeding age, where it is possible to trace fathers of children through DNA testing to prove their responsibility, child poverty should be exceedingly rare.

What the reporter of this piece never did, nor have I seen it done on similar reports run by current affairs on the networks – remember mum of eight, ninth on the way with her Sky decoder – was give us the backstories, with the shame of that being all long term solutions come from those backstories, not the patch up after-the-event welfare solutions that the Left guilt society with from their smug arrogance – arrogance because they believe themselves to have a monopoly on compassion (with my tax money). My challenge to Native Affairs on stories such as this is to go under the level we were given here and investigate causes, not just make causes out of the welfare patch-ups that set lives lost on the next cycle of dependency. And same to the networks, thinking of Bryan Bruce’s appalling documentaries before the 2011 elections, and Nigel Latta’s fluff pieces showing currently - his opening piece on inequality was one-sided nonsense - as Karl du Fresne writes, Latta as celebrity, not journalism.


While I’m on welfare patch-ups - I've lost control of this piece anyway -  the Green’s announced policy of paying the In Work Credit for children of those Not In Work, to be called Children’s Credit at cost of $400 million a year, is callous, cynical nonsense: how can they not understand the direct result of that policy will be many more children born into poverty so increasing child poverty? Again, it’s called a cycle; look at the lives of these four girls and their children on the Native Affairs piece. This disregard for responsibly assessing (obvious) consequences is cruel. Lindsay Mitchell states it well enough:

Yet the Greens see no value in paid work. No value in children growing up with working role models.No value in actually earning an income; participating, contributing and producing.

All they see is a quick cash cure (with no guarantee the money will be spent on the children) which comes with the almighty risk that more children will grow up welfare dependent as the financial rewards of working, as meagre as they are, disappear.

I must have said it hundreds of times. Welfare made families poor. More of it is not the answer.

Economist Matt Nolan also makes a pertinent point regarding the untested assumptions underlying redistribution, and the avoidance of hard choices to fix causes:

Comments like this are a bit misleading “Kiwi kids growing up in poverty are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital, five times more likely to die of cot death, and 27 times more likely to get rheumatic fever, and die earlier than those who are better off.”:  This doesn’t tell us what the marginal impact of income transfers will be – as we need to know WHY this is occurring within a group.  Is it income adequacy – or is lack of income adequacy correlated with some other factor that drives these outcomes (education, cultural/social institutions?).  These questions are ugly – but if we are interested in dealing with certain outcomes we need to put some effort into understanding the outcome, rather than inferring that income transfers alone will solve it.

Or as I said to Metiria:



Before I move on, my use of ‘cynical’ in that tweet was correct on a party level, but not on the personal level of Metiria, I regret using it and will use a further post to retract, sorry Metiria, but these topics press my buttons because they are so important. Morgan Godfrey has recently published on The Daily Blog, an interview with Metiria, which contains further examples of that type of every day racism people of my upbringing cannot comprehend in how thoroughly and intimately it soaks the lives of non-pakeha, but in which Metiria also says, referring to her Left roots:

“I come from a working class Maori family, but we had a very strong upbringing… we were the household where everybody would come and stay if they were in trouble, particularly financial trouble. There was a constant flow of people… My parents, at the same time, wanted to create a middle class life for us. On the outside we had a very flash house, but on the inside it never had any carpet or anything.”

In that statement is the point of difference between Metiria and myself, which is between the Left ethic and myself. If the welfare state resulted in extended whanau/families functioning like that, it would have been an arguable success. But welfare has done the opposite, as shown in this Native Affairs piece, by atomising community and family relationships. From pages 77 and 94-95 of David Schmidtz’s contribution to David Schmidtz’s and Robert E. Goodin’s important 1998 book, Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility: For and Against:

If communitarians are right to say Western society has been atomized, then surely one of the causes has been the state’s penchant for making itself (rather than the community) the primary focus of public life….

What explains market society’s unparalleled success in helping people to prosper? The key, I have argued, lies in background institutions, especially property institutions, that lead people to take responsibility for their own welfare….

The welfare state would have made people better off if it had led neighbors to rely on each other and on themselves, but it seems to have done the opposite.

One of the Green Party’s electioneering techniques this year is Twitter followers photographing selfies holding boards bearing the Green slogan, ‘I’m party voting Green because I care about people’. Well to the Green Party I say do you? You're not stupid people, yet you avoid the hard questions and the hard reality of poverty from which the only solutions to poverty can come, and choose policies that will only grow poverty: why is that?

And this is before we get to the obvious philosophical argument of tax as theft, and why are single people, and couples who choose not to have children forced to fund the life choices of those who do? And look at the surveillance, the destruction of rights and privacy, required to run the tax state – it makes GCSB and SIS look civilised.

So Jamie, why not drop the race card for this election and concentrate on a single policy you could politick that you understood, being to get us over that foundation stone of dependency we have created, and which once deconstructed would begin quickly paring down the size/need of a welfare state so that it would be of a scale almost unrecognisable in two generations: that is, electioneer on a single policy of stopping the state paying for childbirth and child raising, and stopping this in all its forms. This is where it will get hard but is necessary so that people begin making prudent life choices, not the insane choices I see around me. So, middle class welfare in the form of Working for Families goes. If you are on the DPB with four children on the day of the election, fine, but no payment for any more children conceived while on DBP. No DPB for teens having babies, instead, either think before procreation about your circumstances, or, failing that, look to your family and extended family to provide for you and the new baby, or else there is adoption or abortion. I always have to cover myself in pieces like these, saying I can hear the emoting yells of ‘uncaring monster’ hurled at me as I write, but I’ll put the money I’ll be saving in tax on the eventuality after two or three generations there will be a preponderance of caring extended families again, especially if in a separate Maori system, whanau is strengthened, rather than this destruction and alienation of community and family that welfare has wrought.

That one measure, don’t pay for child birth and child raising, keep welfare ‘only’ for exceptional circumstances, not the rule always created, will stop the cycle shown on the opening Native Affairs piece, turn the tide on the big brother state, and with that the dependency which crushes aspiration. Instead of as in the UK currently where there are twice as many children with a TV in their home as a biological father, resulting in homes of increasing domestic violence born of the poverty cycle of welfare, we will have a society characterised by a peaceful diversity, fulfilled people, and prosperity.

We will all be joyous, and alive with the sound of music, which won’t be death metal, but poi ah intermingled with Bach and Beethoven … Sorry, got carried away; how could I ever believe that in the wake of Hager’s revelations, and then the way he discovered and delivered it.

Anyway, here’s my parting shot to sum up this unwieldy mess of a post. As a third generation Kiwi, my culture is the culture of reason (hattip NotPC blog), Western classical liberal thought, economics, art and literature, and the product of same, let’s loosely call it the Westminster system – although as it should be, which is nothing like what it has become. I’m growing as far away from that in my future, as Maori are of self-determination from their pre-colonial past. Through my life I’m seeing the system born of reason that has been working its way in blood from the Enlightenment, being torn apart and discarded – right down to innocent until proven guilty, and right to remain silent - by the statist left and authoritarian right, and a welfare state that was voted in because too many people switched their minds off and renounced the responsibility to think. So a separate system for Maori in partnership with a classical liberal one, good one, you go for it if you think it helps, and we must all do drinks, often, however, remember neither Maori, nor any individual in New Zealand, has self –determination under our welfare tax surveillance state which demands access to every part of our lives, and insists we have no rights against it, nor right to be left alone even if we do no harm.

The irony is that for Maori to achieve self-determination we will all need a Western Spring to reclaim classical liberalism and the minarchist free society in which choices are available. That said, noting the legitimacy of the Treaty, and with the contradictory meanderings through my feelings (if not thoughts) regarding tangata whenua, toward the opinion Maori politics, and certainly the concept of identity, is not as simple or similar as classical libs would like to think, I wish Jamie had not played the race card this election. Yes, I realise tactically it might get him the percentage he needs in that dirty game called politics, but I would rather have a classical liberal party to vote for that was not actively out there cynically pushing the buttons of the red-necks – let the Conservatives and NZ First do that.

A final note in passing: words are powerful, and there are three words that have become destroyers: grievance, privilege, inequality. Take that statement in as many different ways as conclusions drawn by this piece, but if you control the language you control the agenda, something Maori understand from their history where they were punished for using te reo, and the Left understand tactically better than any other political group. Just as if you want to understand Maori culture, I suspect the best way in is te reo, which I’m chalking up to do at some soonish date.

And while I’m on the power of words, anyone  reading this who applies words such as apartheid, segregation, et al, to this post about partnership – and all the two-way goodwill that requires – and parallel system where individuals can voluntarily move between (perhaps even for different facets of their lives), will be writing from a point of view of such bile, such arrogant cynicism – ie, you’ll be a lefty – and such bad faith and ill will, that you will be revealing only your corrupt heart, while saying nothing about myself.

I post this contradictory mess of a post as symbolic to the topic it covers ….