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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Friday, June 29, 2012

Reflections on One Month of Blogging - For the Bloggers


At the risk of sounding like an American management guru, that is, over-reaching and annoying, if not cloying, I’m a man who tends to get a bit OCD on benchmarking and goal setting. Despite I started this blog at the end of May, while on holiday, I’ve only really been posting content over June, plus I put sitemeter up on June 2nd so I could make it onto Ken Perrott’s monthly blog rankings at Open Parachute to see where I could get my blog to after just one month. Being new, I’ve posted more this month than I will have time to from now on, given work commitments, however, I did set this month to try and get a readership. I apologise to those I’ve been self-promoting myself on, though note, I’ve always been on topic, you’ve always had the ability to delete any such post of mine (no hard feelings), but I’ve done it because I’m not spending half an hour, or three quarters of an hour, writing a post, for only three people to read it: I’m here to change some minds.

I’m also here because I’m writing a novel. I have some grave doubts about that project at the moment: my first degree was a BA in English lit, that's my passion, but while I can pick up anybody else’s book and tell whether the writing is good or not (ie, professionally edited, or self-published), for some reason, I have absolutely no judgement when it comes to my own writing – none at all. I re-read what I have written and swing from euphoria to reaching for a wine bottle. So, work in progress in the meantime, no promises …

My blog byline pretty much gives the direction of this blog, though note the name itself comes from the fact that the protagonist in my novel runs a blog called ‘Life Behind the Iron Drape’. And yes, that sounds all very self-referential and post-modern, though don’t get carried away with that: the post-modernists are, of course, evil incarnate.

I believe that there is a lot of content here for one month, as measured by ideas: I’ve set the frame-work for what I think is important in the free society, namely, that I think there should be a free society – truly, a revolutionary thought these days - which is not the one we have now. I’ve not had time to post my magnum opus on the problems with democracy, though I’ve covered why our tax legislation is the litmus test of how it’s all gone wrong for the freedom lovers, how privacy is so important to this, and how that has been voted from us, and, of course, the importance of free markets (read every other post). Though the most personal paragraph I have written about myself was:

Unfortunately my advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism - noting the crony capitalism we have is to capitalism what sea horses are to horses - has never been about money; it's only ever been about that wonderful, evolutionary thing that capitalism, and only capitalism, is based on - the voluntary transaction. I'm a freedom freak: peace baby, the true sixties legacy, not those suited communists in the Greens Party whose every policy is the advocacy of force. Only on the voluntary transaction can there be a voluntary, free society. I said unfortunately because this has meant that while I'm comfortable, I'm not rich enough to build a space station. That's what I would do if I had money in real quantity. I'd build a space station and remove myself from the ugly, brute society we've created for ourselves, yet again. As generation text say, 'I'd be outa here'.

I like this paragraph because it is set to dispel that myth whereby the Left and the State Crony Capitalists seem to think they have some sort of moral mandate on compassion: they don’t, in fact, the opposite. I have no truck with either the Left or the Conservative State-Worshipping Right. Over time both groups create the cruellest, most cannibalistic societies possible, and always, of course, police states where you have no privacy, or freedom from the Humphrey Applebys’.

Our societies have become tyrannies all over again by replacing the tyranny of God with the all-knowing state channeling the envy and greed of the tyranny of the majority thinking they can have a free lunch with no risk: we’ve voted in secular theocracies. In previous centuries the simple minded believed they were not capable of running their own lives, God had to, and now enough of us have thought the State must run our lives, sacrificing everyone else to that bloodied altar of the common good, that it is the society we live in. This is why I know, with certainty, I will never be a free man: a nascent classical liberalism has been destroyed, utterly, where it mattered: the judiciary. It will end badly: our societies are morally bankrupt, on a path to increasing civil violence, and our planned economies are failing, as they were always going to. The welfare state was an illusion from the get-go. My favourite self-invented phrase this month was the ‘Keynesian hubris of debt’.

So, to the purpose of this post. Assessing how I'm going after one month. The blog rankings for June will be interesting, I assume I’ll get in on the bottom rung somewhere. By lunch time today I’ll have made 5,000 page views (not counting my own), which is an average of 167 per day – higher, of course, on days I put up fresh content. I’d love some input from fellow bloggers, either in comments or email (top left of screen): think back to when you started, where you are now; how is 167 page views per day for one month? To me, it sounds a bit pathetic. If I can’t get it to approaching 1,000 within six months, I will definitely being reassessing this whole venture, as much as I’ve enjoyed it, unless I’m getting far more comfortable with the novel.

Some interesting stuff and statistics;

I’ve made it onto three blog rolls; Lindsey Mitchell’s, Paul Walker’s at Anti-Dismal, and Richard Goode and Tim at the idiosyncratic Eternal Vigilance. Thank you all three of you – that’s heart felt. I probably get about ten or more daily links from Lindsey’s blog, and about three or four from Paul’s, plus looking through the logs, two or three every couple of days from Eternal Vigilance. All the rest of you, if my oeuvre is in your park, stick me on your blog-roll: I’ll certainly reciprocate on my own if you are missing presently. By the way, I’d love to have Lindsay Periogo’s SOLO on my blog-roll, but can’t seem to figure that out – if anyone has a solution, I’d love to hear it.

Of all my ‘tactical embeds’ to NBR and Interest.co.nz :) , again, always on topic, the latter site brings by far the most links back to this site, although, perhaps that’s unfair on NBR, because many of their embeds are made to paid content, so the audience is much thinner, and probably works during the day, compared to the socialists and statists that read Bernard’s statist offerings. As a one off, my embed in NBR’s Dotcom thread last night has been the single biggest source of links.

My most successful source of links, however, are my tweets, so Twitter certainly has a place, once you can get a body of followers. And the odd retweet from The Cactus, certainly hasn’t hurt – cheers Cactus.

Getting back to my benchmarking, when starting this endeavour, looking at Open Parachute’s monthly blog rankings, I was looking at Whaleoil’s 800,000 odd page views a month, and now realise what an achievement that is, so kudos to the Whale. Mind you, a lesson from it also: if Whale and I had exactly ten permanent readers, then the rankings would still kill me: Whale can put up to twenty posts a day, I’ve been doing one every two days: so with the same ten readers I would show an average of five page views per day, Whale would show twenty – it’s impossible for a hobbyist to beat a full time blogger, so I shall head somewhere for the middle ground, and as a three month target, say 500 views a day, albeit that sounds a bit, well … 500 views a day, okay perhaps in a country where 5,000 book sales are considered a best seller.

And that’s it, work time. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for reading my blog.

... Hah, I'm just 18 page views off my first 300 page visit day. 

UPDATE:

Over lunch I've been looking at my sitemeter stats, which give quite a different rendering to Blogger's own stats: and nowhere near as good. On sitemeter I'm on, not counting my own, 2592 pages views for 26 days, so that means an average of roughly 100 page views per day. Mmmm.

I wonder why the variance? 

UPDATE 2:

I forgot to add a brickbat for Granny Herald. Trying to get a comment past the fossils who run that site is truly like trying to get an escapee over that other Berlin Wall. The Internet is one big open discussion place in the comments, but not to Granny Herald who ensure no outside link ever makes it through their censorship: in a demonstration of why the business model they still cling to is failing, they insist on running an Internet portal as if the Internet doesn't exist.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Tale of Two Dividends: Asset Sales II


This to the uninformed mercantilist, newly patriotic Left, and to the good’ol uninformed mercantilist, nationalistic, conservative Right, both of whom in an orgy of misplaced passion lit up Twitter last night with indignation at the government having passed assets sales legislation by a single vote, which Clayton Cosgrove called a ‘travesty of democracy’. You were partly right, Clayton, though missed the major point that democracy has become the travesty –because a majority vote doesn’t necessarily make something right, does it? Though in this case, for once it was. So for all those emoting on the TV3 news this morning about investments for their children, and their children’s children, further missing the points that our forced investment in the welfare state through these assets has ended us all up in children begetting children, and that currently as you are neither entitled to dividends from these assets, nor have any say in how they are managed, regardless,  you don’t own them anyway, I offer the following. In these, the worst of times, whole economies falling over under a hubris of debt, and the best of times, because we see, again, the disastrous place where the Keynesian form of socialism takes us, I put to you this tale of two dividends.

To really set the xenophobes aflame, the first dividend of $1,000 is going from the asset sales to a family in China that have invested in Mighty River. As a businessman has previously put to me, a mad, bad, sad ‘dividend outflow'. Only, is it? The dividend is paid in NZ dollars, useless to this family, so they must first exchange it for renminbi, meaning they must find someone to sell their NZ dollars too. Fortunately for them, via the beauty of markets, though they are never going to know them, an American family wanting to tour NZ buys the local currency, transfers it electronically back to a bank account in New Zealand, and the entire $1,000 is then spent in the only place it can be: here, in the cafes, restaurants, and on services. So, as no one has answered on my previous post, I again ask the patriots, where is the outflow here? Thus where is the problem?

The second dividend of $1,000 goes to Ma and Pa Kiwi. Thank goodness, intone the Luddites, the pressure from the uninformed has ensured a majority ownership in New Zealand hands still. Oh, no. NO! Ma and Pa what the hell are you doing! Oh for goodness sake, they just used their dividend to purchase that brand new LED TV they’ve always wanted shipped here from Taiwan. Surely, mercantilists, this is a disaster? The whole $1,000 is now only growing the economy of Taiwan! Dividends used to buy imports, this is a disaster for our economy.

Fortunately, I shall push the narrator’s wise head in here to sooth the sweating brows of those who feel wronged. Nay, betrayed. The only thing I am attempting to show, is that just as exports are merely the cost of our imports, that in this tale of two dividends lies no argument, none, zilch, zero, nadir, against privatising and selling ‘our’ assets. And my plea is for all of you to please use your minds, and figure this stuff out, because your emoting has me imprisoned in this slave state of taxation. In other words, we all need to grow up. Plus why have you all forgotten the best way to a peaceful world, is global trade based on the voluntary transaction, and that includes cross border investment.

Oh, ps, thankful for inspiration, and bowing down before the Cactus ;)  Further debt owed to Paul Walker of Anti-Dismal, for the 'dividend outflow' heads up.

Related: Asset Sales I.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Never Were Truer Words Written Than This Headline:



If you read my blog byline. Then remember that the a-priori feature Bill English outlined in this year’s budget was the extra funding allocation for  IRD audit. Finally, remember that the gap between the badly named government 'revenue', and increasing government borrowing and spending - highlighting the doublespeak of spending caps and zero budgets - is going to be filled, according to Mr Dunne this week, by the blood of taxpayers. Then the Herald’s headline this morning seems rather to apt.

Yes. In the final analysis that’s how the big state always works - force: nice to see some honesty reported in the MSM.

And quite apart from those departments that enforce the fencing racket run by state to fund the Ponzi scheme of welfare, Lindsay Mitchell has some more realistic expectations about the government’s announced plans yesterday to reduce beneficiary numbers by 30%, and I would ask in relation to the improved state educational targets being prophesised (for I can’t see them being based on the cold hard facts of any reality I live in), how does a chief bureaucrat in four years change a dumbed down culture that has been seventy years in the making to this point? They can’t. We have children who can barely speak anymore. Although returning to teachers hitting targets in the schoolroom, that may, indeed, be a start. But as I've written previously, this marvelous sign of man's highest philosophical and political achievement, yet, Western classical liberalism, like the economies destroyed by Keynesian Statism, is irredeemably, over ...

As is breakfast.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Euthanasia and the Thought Police at our Border


I need say very little, other than point out the connection from this article, to Orwell’s nightmare Thought Police in his novel 1984.

A high-profile euthanasia activist was detained for more than an hour when he arrived in New Zealand yesterday as Customs staff searched his belongings for "objectionable material".
 Dr Philip Nitschke, the founder of voluntary euthanasia group Exit International, and his wife, Dr Fiona Stewart, were stopped by Customs officers after they landed in Wellington.

Officers then spent more than an hour carrying out a forensic examination of Dr Nitschke's laptop, iPad and Kindle e-reader, reportedly looking for material banned in New Zealand.

Dr Nitschke said the search would have been "comical had it not been so serious".

"To see New Zealand Customs officers searching through my Kindle library, amid my newspaper subscriptions and travel guidebooks, frantically trying to identify if my own 'objectionable' and banned book was there.


"What was so disturbing was the ruthlessness shown in the search for ideas that this country has decided are unpalatable and from which the community apparently needs protection."

Two 1984 quotations from the Thought Police seem apt:

It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instance of death we cannot permit any deviation . . . "

In that quotation, Orwell could have been writing with this exact story in mind. And:

"The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face."

 For the record, I obviously believe in legalised euthanasia. In a civilised and free society, all individuals have rights and responsibilities: the role of government is to protect those rights, not assume those responsibilities. If I choose, when my time comes, that I want to die with dignity, then that is my right, and one that should be protected by law. The state is not 'presiding over my destruction', it is protecting the wishes of a free man who rightly owns his life, and death. A reasoned morality of man qua man is where true human compassion is found, not the cold mysticism of those who would immorally deny me that choice.

Although this issue isn’t even about euthanasia. It’s about whether we want government officials searching our thoughts when we are at the border, to see if they agree with the contents of our minds or not. And the officers involved in this case were very obviously under orders to be able to single out Dr Nitschke like this - who gave those orders? I want to know the fascist involved who must be personally policing this issue from within the legislative fortress of one of our bureaucracies. 

We have been voted such a long way from the civil society, toward a form of society that is frightening.


UPDATE:

For the record, there's a great post by Eric Crampton in comments ... :) 

UPDATE 2:

 
I’ve been thinking about this issue, or more to the point, Dr Nitschke being so obviously singled out here by customs, looking for his ‘banned’ book. Those of us who deal daily with bureaucracy know full well the bureaucrats can, indeed, must, choose what to actively police, and what to turn a blind eye to – given they can’t be everywhere, thankfully. So on this moral issue, euthanasia, there is definitely a group of bureaucrats who wield not a small amount of power that drove this action. And I don’t think from that it’s hard to draw the inference there is some sort of conservative Christian (most likely) agenda being implemented through the state, in this case, not just on Dr Nitschke, but on all of us. Well those of us who don’t share this belief need to be rightfully enraged, and demand change: not only for legalised euthanasia, but also the curtailing of the power of bureaucrats  to act as moral arbiters, when their very position is one of immorality. Dr Nitschke’s treatment becomes yet another example of how the state in New Zealand has become the biggest abuser of my liberty, including my freedom of thought, and freedom of speech. The only fix is to move to a constitutional minarchy, under which so long as you initiate force or fraud on no one, the state has no sanction to interfere in your life, or death, on any grounds.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is the end ... of Classical Liberalism.


This is how the post ends:

...  our recent history has seen the death of classical liberalism, which is the death of the identity and freedom of the individual, and with the death of the individual it is, of course, the death of arts, the death of culture, the death of all that gives value to a human life.  It's the death of hope and everything good. The pursuit of happiness ends, again, in the Gulag, albeit this time around, a Gulag of Good Intentions. And there’s no way back to a state of freedom, for against this collectivist menace of state forced altruism, the individual is powerless: that was precisely why the individual, the smallest minority in a society, was the one who needed the protection of the law, and from the tyranny of the mob. We have had voted the opposite.


This is how I got there ...

__________________________________________________________


Unfortunately the Founding Fathers, and Ayn Rand, were wrong on the ‘inalienable’ nature of the rights required for the protection of my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. A comment from Lindsay Perigo on his SOLO site about the nature of rights first got me to thinking on this, then, while reading Ben Kafka’s potted history on bureaucracy, I came across the following quotation:

Quote:

“The historian Keith Baker has argued that Comte and Saint-Simon were primarily concerned with bringing an end to the era of the French Revolution. Like Sieyès and Condorcet before them, Comte and Saint-Simon believed it was up to a class of experts—scientists, industrialists—to work out a new doctrine capable of bringing enduring social and political stability. The scientists would turn their observational skills onto the social and political realm, revealing its laws of development. The industrialists would then reconstruct institutions in such a way that their operations were in harmony with these laws. Unlike Sieyès and Condorcet, however, these postrevolutionary thinkers adopted what Baker has called a “theocratic” understanding of knowledge. Any deviation from rationality became a kind of heresy. “No one is so insane as to set himself up, knowingly, in revolt against the nature of things,” Comte argued (101). He had supreme faith in the power of knowledge.


The objective was to protect against arbitrariness in all of its manifestation. Earlier political thinkers had tended to associate arbitrariness mainly with absolutist governments, but for Comte any form of government was susceptible so long as it rested on “metaphysical” rather than “positive” principles. It hardly mattered whether the supreme legislator owed its existence to one contract or two, whether it was composed of one man or many. It could even exist in the sort of state envisioned by Rousseau in The Social Contract…”

In that last paragraph, I think Comte hits on where the founding fathers were wrong in the central premise of the Declaration of Independence, in their assumption the rights pertaining to freedom were inalienable, in other words, a metaphysical given:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – The Declaration of Independence


Ayn Rand in her Philosophy: Who Needs It describes a metaphysical given as:

Things of human origin (whether physical or psychological) may be designated as “man-made facts”—as distinguished from the metaphysically given facts. A skyscraper is a man-made fact, a mountain is a metaphysically given fact. One can alter a skyscraper or blow it up (just as one can alter or blow up a mountain), but so long as it exists, one cannot pretend that it is not there or that it is not what it is..


Then, pertaining to rights, although she says a “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context., a man-made fact, and further:

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.



Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.



The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.


Where she then confuses me is, as with the Founding Fathers, repairing to the notion of ‘inalienable’, as in:

Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.

And again:

It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live.


Both these quotations from Textbook of Americanism, suggesting to me the notion that such ‘inalienable’ rights are a ‘metaphysical given’, that they cannot be separated from the individual. I know I am right in the case of the Declaration, although I admit to be on unsure ground with Ayn Rand, on which I’m happy to be put right, although, whatever, for the sake of this argument, the notion of the rights I need to be a free man, namely, property rights, the right to not have force initiated on me, the right to pursue my happiness, the right to My life, these rights are not inalienable, they are not a given, and confusion over that point has been catastrophic to the cause of liberty: we have all perhaps been too prepared to let the voted evil in our social democracies shame us guiltily into accepting the state as our Jailer, as the Devine Redistributer, Saviour of the  Sheeple who are too dumb to run their own lives.

The proof is that if my right to be left alone was an inalienable one, then I would not be living in fear behind an Iron Drape: an IRD officer could not legally compel me into an interrogation room on threat of my freedom;  an IRD officer could not, by man-made law, have the power of God over me, with all aspects of my life open to them. The fact that the tax legislation does completely take my freedom and my privacy away, even though I may have lived a peaceful life, harming no one, proves that my right to that freedom, to be left alone, was anything but inalienable, at least, certainly not 'self-evident', to quote the Declaration, to everyone who mattered.  I surely can, and have, via the vote of the majority, been separated from my ‘right’ to live my life unhindered by those who would use force to coerce me to their ends, such as, most pointedly, the Big Brother state.

Because my right to freedom is not a ‘metaphysical given’, I’m looking at the world created by man around me, and am accepting I will never be a free man. Yes, human reason, un-bullied, will always arrive at the wisdom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for each individual one of us, however, we don’t live in an age of political reason. To recall my first quotation, we live in an age where insane politicians have ‘set themselves, knowingly, in revolt against the nature of things’. An age where politicians bribe their electorates with the prospect of a free lunch, then tax, borrow and spend our liberty away trying to achieve the illusion, and when it all goes, and went, wrong, Western economies falling down, as they are, thought they could fix the problems of their Keynesian insanity, with more Keynesian insanity. An age where politicians thought the moral devastation wrought by welfarism, could be fixed by more welfarism. A sick age where men who mention freedom as the thing to strive for, are sneered at and jeered at by the feeble minded without the wherewithal to think or argue beyond ad hominem on every blog thread -   look at the comments to this thread. Where even the economists who profess to believe in markets, do so only with the passion of a frosty night, and in the final instance, repair to the well-being of the majority tyranny as the solution to their theoretical aggregates, blinded as they are by their utilitarian fascism – see this thread, and comments.  An age when a Finance Minister who pissed away ten years of New Zealand’s best commodity prices against the wall of the bigger thug state, and who designed an envy tax on the rich in such an absurd manner he distorted the entire tax field, for which IRD are still hanging taxpayers off hooks for, and who voted down knighthoods because he didn't believe in them, yet gets, and accepts, a knighthood. For the same reasons the Enlightenment saw the separation of state and church, now we need to separate the insane state from free markets, which, as the expression of the complex wants and desires of all the individuals in an economy, is to separate the state from the lives of a freed people.

And there’s the crux of an irresolvable problem.

Connoting Comte’s idea of ‘positive principles’, it would appear I have to first get the ‘village’ I live in to grant me those rights to allow my freedom; only in this way can I be freely part of the village, pursuing my happiness, as opposed to the village owning me as it does at present. But how to go about this?

Via reason I know the rights required for my freedom are the only foundation of the peaceful, civilised society, but those of us who understand this are now the smallest of minorities.  As will be the subject of a future post, I long ago came to understand that democracy is not going to give me, or any of us, the civilised, voluntary society: anything but. Our Western social democratic tyrannies are traveling in the opposite direction.

So, reiterating, if my rights to be left alone are not inalienable, then I have to conclude I must (somehow) fight for them, if I am to be a free man. It has been generations of free men thinking their rights to freedom were inalienable that has led to every tyranny that has been formed, from the individual tyrant to the tyranny of the majority, trampling over the individual’s pursuit of happiness, while necessarily stripping us of the liberty that reason  tells us is the civilised state for man. But, again, what is the nature of that fight that I must wage?

I have no idea where to go from here.

Not by violence: I believe in the non-initiation of force. And even though I might argue, well, indeed, that it would be in my self-defence, all that would lead to would be my certain demise at the hands of either men in uniform with assault rifles – think Kim Dotcom - or IRD taking my livelihood. I’m no martyr, and moreover, I’m a family man with responsibilities.

What about by convincing my fellow man of legislating the truly free, classical liberal society? Well, currently that’s democracy, and as I’ve already stated, it’s done the opposite.  From a Christian tradition that has inculcated a deadly altruism into Western thought, a disease that the secular Left, through the state school system, have then poisoned the minds of generations of our youth with, susceptible as they are to the notion of a ‘free lunch’ for life, and not having to be responsible for consequences of their actions, I conclude that the road to liberty, for myself, is never going to happen, not in my lifetime. The rot is a philosophical one, and goes almost to a hard-wired core of far too many minds: or rather, voters.

Thus I, freedom … excuse my language, but we’re screwed. Gramsci has done his job well, proven on that furtive battlefield in the nightmares we’ve created, where the rubber of the police state hits the road to our serfdom – tax legislation and enforcement of it:  IRD have won every major tax case in New Zealand over the last decade, this because of a brain-addled judiciary that has run like girls from the classical liberal ethic of protecting my life from abuse by the state, and the  immoral assumption they’ve inculcated that their job is rather to sacrifice my life on the bloodied altar of the common good of total strangers. Our limp wristed judges can now do little more than wallow in the immoral, violent, pig-sty they’ve created of self-sacrifice, well no, when it comes to judges, just ‘my’ sacrifice.

Free men must for the foreseeable future live subject to the whim of the mindless majority, and unprincipled, corrupt, power-seeking – or perhaps just intellectually retarded, more likely, reading their tweets - politicians, who by planning our economies, and our lives, are destroying them, and casting our societies into the immorality and violence – watch the news every night - of state slavery.

All of which brings me to an inevitable conclusion: our recent history has seen the death of classical liberalism, which is the death of the identity and freedom of the individual, and with the death of the individual it is, of course, the death of arts, the death of culture, the death of all that gives value to a human life.  It's the death of hope and everything good. The pursuit of happiness ends, again, in the Gulag, albeit this time around, a Gulag of Good Intentions. And there’s no way back to a state of freedom, for against this collectivist menace of state forced altruism, the individual is powerless: that was precisely why the individual, the smallest minority in a society, was the one who needed the protection of the law, and from the tyranny of the mob. We have had voted the opposite.

When I started this piece, I had no intention of ending it here. I had in mind a tight essay developing the opening premise.  But logic, and anger, has taken its inevitable course. The IRon Drapes are being drawn by the might of the police states we’ve voted in, delivering free men and women to the darkest nights, all over again. A process that has already begun in Europe where a fascist party is now voted into the Greek parliament, the first elected fascists in Europe since Hitler , and the Nazi salute in numbers seen on our TV’s in the Ukraine, while in Spain the president is demanding a European centralised authority to plan the lives of all Europeans, just like Hitler wanted, and just like Stalin. All the while the socialist, market hating, freedom hating president of America, imprisons the home of the free. As boringly predicable, in 2012, as it is depressing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Western Economies – Gone by Glide Time


I can demonstrate, by quoting one simple letter, why Western economies - particularly Europe - are failing. It’s more obvious than just the debt built up by politicians whom Keynes let off the leash of responsibility. It's more obvious than the central banked fiat money system, or democracy under a tyranny of the majority following the bribes of unprincipled politicians looking for a free lunch and no risk. It is, indeed, a tangible thing that covers and smothers you: the massive, moribund, choking, blanket of regulation reaching around the world, that has been patched and patched and patched to stitch us up over the last seventy years.

About fourteen or fifteen years ago ‘we’ – my wife and I being one of those joint account type of families - invested –Jesus, sorry, fell off my chair – we threw $10,000 into a UK investment trust. The plan – note this Mr Taxman – was long term savings into what in those days I thought to be capitalist economies, so providing us alcohol for old age. Trouble is, after at least, two, three, who knows how many inflationary bubbles called economic booms over that period, our $10,000 was at the end of March 2012, worth only $7,102.39. Over that time the damn thing has driven me nuts: the investment trust has changed its name at least four times; I once spent the better part of a day just trying to track it to its new name, as I updated its once a year belly laugh we called a ‘balance’  for our financial statements. Every time we’ve changed house I’ve had to hunt through reams of paper to find the address of the latest registrar – changed at least three times – to send new contact details. So, we’ve decided it’s better to cash up early: we’re planning to put the whole lot - minus loss, admin fees and commissions - into short term deposits while we not so slowly drain it off and drink it, to help get us to old age. And the process has set me to pondering over a glass of wine or three in the interim.

Here’s a big question: is modern portfolio theory such a good idea under crony capitalism? That was the central point I missed at the start of all this, and I’ve been learning to my detriment: the West is no longer capitalist, hasn’t been for a very long time, it is, as George Orwell called it, state capitalism, or crony capitalism, or socialism by any other name: more accurately, it’s statism. Indeed, the misnomer of Keynesian aggregates has effectively given the statist politicians an excuse to build national Ponzi schemes which, in a plot that makes a James Bond movie look daft in comparison, are now set to destroy the world’s savings, and with them, much of the middle class. And we are the generation for whom the chickens of truth have come home to roost and expose the battery cages that taxpayers have been imprisoned in, showing how they are standing on a rank, steaming hubris of shit. More, against this stench, diversification is no safeguard, there’s no clear air anywhere which allows the untaxed, unregulated voluntary transaction, while the maxim of hold long has become the one guaranteed way to lose the nest egg. As bad as my job is, I still thank Job I’m not a financial planner as Western stat(ist) capitalism gets printed on the presses into the end game. I sometimes wonder if this’s why Papa Morgan spends so much of his time chasing penguins in icy southern waters these days: he’s acclimatising to what’s coming for his industry.

Anyway, I detour. We decided to knock the bugger of this investment off, finally, and donate it to the vineyards of Marlborough, despite it aggrieves me the excise tax windfall this will be for an increasingly wowser government. Though it's this process that has given me the final proof of my premise. In cashing up, after finding the latest name of our fund, the latest value (oh dear, $6,987.98), the latest registrar, writing to it (don’t be silly, can’t email them), waiting three weeks, we get in the mail, just this morning:

“Unfortunately, we have been unable to complete your request. Due to legal requirements and regulatory permissions, we are currently unable to offer a Postal Share Dealing service … outside of the UK/European Economic Area (EEA). Please contact your local share dealing provider, such as a local bank branch who may be able to handle the transaction on your behalf …’

Oh, just great. Another barrier to get through, another commission to pay. I know why the West is collapsing: it’s collapsing because I can’t do something so simple, anymore, as get my own money back out of an investment due to ‘legal requirements and regulatory permissions’.

Though pity these poor sods at the registrar concerned, because, defeated on my first tilt at it, I’m going to have to send this issue nuclear: I’m handing the whole sordid affair over to the lovely wife. She’s the only person I’ve come across that can move a bureaucrat with any speed: for note that's what these businesses are now, bureaucracies - that’s what they had to become after the onslaught of regulation, after regulation, after regulation, which was all about, supposedly, protecting me, the investor. Well I certainly am protected, no doubt about it; I’m so protected I can’t even get what’s left of my money back. And don’t think we’re immune in New Zealand where we’ve just had the new Financial Markets Authority legislated to shoot, or kneecap, any investment still showing signs of life – because life is risk, right, and that must be eliminated - while the SFO was last seen scouring Christchurch for more work to slow up the rebuild, now they’ve ensured no sane person here would want to be a director of a company issuing prospectuses anymore.

Have a good weekend.

Postscript: by the by, tax inspectors in Indonesia are now being given three weeks military training. You see the way this is all going? And look whose using the exact same tactics as the Nazis and Big Brother in Orwell's 1984: hey kids, why not dob in mum and dad to the IRS whistle blower program. What ugly things our social democracies have become.

So many things I’d love to blog about, but alas, no time. Hopefully I'll get a chance to torture some more metaphors over next couple of days. Um, I wonder if some of my 'learned' readership have figured out yet that most of my pieces are written in iambic pentameter, and are written to be read aloud? Don't ask me why ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Asset Sales and Foreign Ownership: I Don’t Care - Here's Why.


This post is a challenge to Selwyn Pellett  who posted the following Tweet last night:

So difficult 2 understand how intelligent folk can justify selling our energy assets that return a net $100m. Guess they're not intelligent

I responded by saying that such assets would simply sell for the net present value of future cashflows, so the government was simply taking those future cashflows now. Sensible, what was the problem?  I then pointed him to this blog, and stated that the asset sales were not, firstly, for me, an economic issue, they were a philosophical and moral issue, namely: governments owning such assets are part of a planned economy which is reliant, always, on a government planning my life for me, starting with the extortion of taxes. That is, the issue concerns my freedom from the big state and my desire to move to a free, classical liberal society.

Selwyn didn’t get this: sadly, as with most businessmen, these guys don’t understand the link between philosophy, economics and politics, and the combination of these that has allowed their success (and conversely, those factors still holding them back, while keeping us all in the prison of state). His last post, and I’d gone to bed so haven’t responded yet, was:

I believe when I'm overcharged under current model it's just a tax, not a foreign dividend flow! Huge difference to NZ

You’ve missed the point on all levels, Selwyn. Okay, let’s ignore philosophy, I’ll answer you by a setting out the problem with this last statement, from the point of view of erroneous thinking, and my challenge to you is tell me how I’m wrong (remembering my challenge to Bernard Hickey still remains unanswered). This reply is indebted to the multitude of economic blogs and sites I read, which have become intermingled in my mind, but I suspect the below answer is particularly indebted to Paul Walker at Anti-Dismal – my apology if that attribution is wrong.

Selwyn, say that I’m a Mexican, and I buy a shareholding in one of the energy companies here when it is floated. After the first year I’m going to be distributed a dividend of NZ$100k. You call this a ‘foreign dividend flow’, and seem to think it bad for New Zealand. However, think about it, I can’t spend NZ dollars in Mexico, the drug lords just don’t want them, so the only way I can spend this dividend is to first exchange my NZ dollars with pesos, that is, I have to find someone to sell my NZ dollars to. The only person who is going to buy those dollars from me will be doing so to spend back in New Zealand, that’s the only place they can be spent, ultimately. So, where’s the outflow of physical dollars from New Zealand? Explain it to me.

That’s my question to Selwyn, as one of the - per his first tweet - ‘intelligent folk’, but it is also the precursor to another blog soon regarding all this nationalistic BS. In late 1930’s Europe, a very evil man used the emoting nonsense of nationalism to get himself voted in after a banking collapse. With Golden Dawn, Fascists, just voted into the Greek Parliament, is anyone feeling nervous in 2012?

To a freedom freak like me, national borders mean nothing. My freedom is indeed dependent on global laissez faire, which is also the best recipe for global peace. Yet businessmen like Selwyn are happy to whip this emoting foolishness up all over again over issues like this. And unbelievably, the Left in New Zealand seem to have done away with the Internationale, and nationalism has become one of their guiding polices. Chris Trotter’s social democratic credo drips with the blood of nationalism in his final stanzas. How do they square that? How do they square a union protecting a cushy job in New Zealand, thereby taking the food away from a subsistence family in the Third World reliant on an increasing standard of living by working in a sweatshop? Surely their lives are not worth less than ours'?

More coming soon … Over to you in the meantime Selwyn.

Related: Asset Sales II.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chris Trotter’s Everyone Contradiction


I was surprised to find I agreed with the central tenet of Chris Trotter’s Press op-ed today. On listening to a radio news item with his daughter, about how ‘everyone’ agreed we couldn’t afford superannuation on its current path, he told her, wisely, ‘Whenever you hear a news bulletin like that, you should ask yourself who this ‘Everyone’ is’.

I would only ask Mr Trotter, when writing his every other op-ed, to himself consider who this ‘everyone’ is, when he demands that everyone be taxed to finance his violent, slave-based,  society, because I don’t buy into it, and know of lots of others who don’t either, but our hands are forced behind our backs while our pockets are picked by his tyranny of everyone, and we don’t get the choice of living our lives in freedom from them, or him. While I don’t know who everyone is, I do know Mr Trotter’s social democracy based on need, makes me everyone’s slave.

And for the record, no, we can’t afford superannuation as it currently is; private provision is the only answer, and the only answer, ironically, for everyone.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Persecuting Rich Pricks. An ABC of Ignobility from OBE to IRD.


I want to highlight the philosophical menace of the immorality reported by Granny Herald over the weekend, because it’s a certainty the MSM will never get to it, and it’s important. Look at what we do to the people who pay for this increasingly violent, second hander society:

‘New Zealand's richest people have paid more than $500 million in extra tax after an Inland Revenue crackdown.
IRD investigators have unravelled the complex tax affairs of individuals who have, or control, more than $50 million each to ensure they pay their fair share of tax.  …  Since the unit was set up in 2003, it has collected $467 million.’

Don't hold me to the following figures, as I'm too depressed to go confirm the stats somewhere on my hard disk, but this group of, to quote a former finance minister (the one who didn't believe in knighthoods, then took one), this group of 'rich pricks' form part of the 19% of taxpayers that pay 86% of the tax take (See update 1 below). In a civilised country you might think a thank you would be in order, but not in our social democracies: no, what we've done is have IRD set up an elite group of pricks to deal to them, and citing ‘fairness’ of all contradictory things. Aren’t they already paying more than their fair share? I don't know what the group is known as, in-house, though I suspect it rhymes with Gestapo, but if you show the initiative to make it onto New Zealand's rich list, unlike the two-faced politician with his knighthood, the one thing guaranteed is that you will earn a series of visits from them. Indeed, your privacy will be totally invaded, your life will be turned inside out, and if your accountant has got some part of our income tax legislation wrong - and this is as likely to be bad or wearisomely common retrospective tax law, as ‘cheating’ - then you may well lose a house.
If I can get more than 370 followers on Twitter, I think I'm going to start a movement for transparency in politics; given the only thing I've seen a Western politician do, for years now, is decry the selfishness of rich pricks, my first recommendation will be that all taxpayers with the cheek to have worked eighty hour weeks and taken the risks necessary to be worth fifty million dollars - and despite that in earning this they have delivered goods and services that will have improved the standards of living of all of us - I'm going to recommend they be forced to wear something in public to identify them, IRD shouldn’t be the only ones with access; perhaps a little yellow dollar sign on their lapels, so that we can spit at these brazen scapegoats in the street. We want what they've got, and in fairness, the IRD better take it from them. They're even so selfish as to think the state shouldn't decide how and on whom their money is spent.

Hang on, I need a wine to steady my anger down to rant, again (a wine which, with the excise taxes, I've probably paid fifty percent more than I would have had to in an actual free market. Dashwood Sauvignon, Marlborough, by the way, currently best buy for those who've blown the wine budget).
Right.

IRD hold compliance meetings every year, the last one I attended was three years ago where the department's chief commissar in charge of persecution/compliance, a Wellingtonian, of course, was bragging at how he loved using 'private sector assets against the private sector.' Those, remarkably, were his exact words. At the time I thought this very confrontational for a man whose wages were paid by the tax slavery of private sector risk takers, as I didn't think this was supposed to be a ‘them and us’ war. And, frankly, I didn't think it was very nice. In that instance he was talking about how IRD were mining the Waikato University benchmarking database; a database to which small business gives it's data freely - with a good faith now thrown back in their faces - so that they may obtain in return information to help them run their businesses better. The commissar was awfully pleased with himself that from the database they'd extracted the profit a painter should make on a litre of paint, and they were about to launch their blitzkrieg, demanding to know why, recession aside - which IRD audit know nothing of - each poor sod painter might not have made his quota of profit on his paint purchases for the year, with the intention, I assume, to levy tax on any difference ... if you remember, I've already written on where the burden of proof lies in a tax case. Anyway, that finished it for me, I've never been back to a compliance meeting for fear I might break someone, sorry, something. Instead I have simply been getting morose about my job, fearful of the consequence of getting it wrong, sleeping with my professional indemnity policy, and scaling back by asking some of my bigger clients to please go elsewhere. I'm over it, it’s not living, and I'm looking around me, with purpose, for something else that’s actually satisfying.

Unfortunately my advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism - noting the crony capitalism we have is to capitalism what sea horses are to horses - has never been about money; it's only ever been about that wonderful, evolutionary thing that capitalism, and only capitalism, is based on - the voluntary transaction. I'm a freedom freak: peace baby, the true sixties legacy, not those suited communists in the Greens Party whose every policy is the advocacy of force. Only on the voluntary transaction can there be a voluntary, free society. I said unfortunately because this has meant that while I'm comfortable, I'm not rich enough to build a space station. That's what I would do if I had money in real quantity. I'd build a space station and remove myself from the ugly, brute society we've created for ourselves, yet again. As generation text say, 'I'd be outa here'.
And unsurprisingly, they are - getting 'outa here'. There is a currently a prudent migration of the rich. The socialists’ Hollande in France, and Obama in the US, have been the best thing for the economies of Asia, where many of these wise ones are escaping to. I've heard the exodus of the rich from the taxing banning Mayor Bloomberg of New York is reaching biblical proportions. And so it should. The West is collapsing under a Keynesian hubris of debt, and the rot's so deep because it's philosophical, meaning there is no longer a fix. I give as proof of this, over there, that drunken youth, beer bottle in hand, slouching down the street, his bum hanging out of his pants. For myself, I can't escape, I've got domestic responsibilities, so the best I can do is perhaps learn to play the fiddle. For any IRD investigators reading this, note the 'the' in that, and fiddle as in burning. Don't go bringing my file up, I'm as scared of you as I would be of the Gestapo ;) 

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Related Posts: Chris (The Fist) Trotter


Update 1:

Quoting from Stuff, 5 August, 2012:

"... roughly 40 to 50 percent of total net income tax is paid by those in the top 10 per cent income bracket, suggesting that the tax burden falls most heavily on the wealthy". 
 Hattip Cactus Kate.