Saturday, 23 March 2019

"Of all the 'anti-concepts' populating our cultural atmosphere, 'extremism' is the most ambitious in scale and implications -- to hold the degree of a characteristic, regardless of its nature, as evil -- is an absurdity... But 'don't bother to examine a folly -- ask yourself only what it accomplishes.'" #QotD


"Of all the 'anti-concepts' populating our cultural atmosphere, 'extremism' is the most ambitious in scale and implications; it goes much beyond politics..."To begin with, 'extremism' is a term which, standing by itself, has no meaning. The concept of 'extreme' denotes a relation, a measurement, a degree. The dictionary gives the following definition: 'Extreme, adj. -- of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average. 2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree.' 
    "It is obvious that the first question one has to ask, before using that term, is: a degree -- of what?"To answer: 'Of anything!' and to proclaim that any extreme is evil because it is an extreme -- to hold the degree of a characteristic, regardless of its nature, as evil -- is an absurdity ... Measurements as such have no value-significance -- and acquire it only from the nature of that which is being measured. 
    "Are an extreme of health and an extreme of diseases equally undesirable? Are extreme intelligence and extreme stupidity -- both equally fare removed 'from the ordinary or average' -- equally unworthy? The examples of such absurdities can be multiplied indefinitely... 
    "But 'don't bother to examine a folly -- ask yourself only what it accomplishes.' What is the 'anti-concept' of 'extremism' intended to accomplish in politics? ... 
    "The purpose [has always been] to revive that old saw of pre-World War II vintage, the notion that the two political opposites confronting us, the two 'extremes,' are: fascism versus communism... 
    "It is obvious what the fraudulent issue of fascism versus communism accomplishes: it sets up, as opposites,  as two variants of the same political system; it switched the choice of 'Freedom or dictatorship?' into 'Which form of dictatorship?' -- thus establishing dictatorship as inevitable in fact and offering only a choice of rulers." 
          ~ Ayn Rand, from her article 'Extremism: The Art of Smearing'
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Friday, 22 March 2019

Question of the Day: "What should people do when they’re having to confront a criminal by themselves?"


After the Christchurch atrocity, and the political reaction to it, crime researcher Dr. John Lott asks the obvious question:
"Police are extremely important in stopping crime, but the police can’t be there all the time. The police themselves understand that they virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has occurred. And that raises a real question, what should people do when they’re having to confront a criminal by themselves?"
Anyone like to have a crack at answering that? Because your politicians haven't. And won't.
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"You do not defy terrorism and defend our democracy by throwing out democratic procedure such as parliamentary scrutiny and the public's right to submit in full, at the first sign of trouble..." Bonus #QotD


"You do not defy terrorism and defend our democracy by throwing out democratic procedure such as parliamentary scrutiny and the public's right to submit in full, at the first sign of trouble...
    "We're missing out on the opportunity to make better laws and have more details come to light about how we can do better..."
    "But we're also, symbolically, allowing the terrorist to achieve his goal and dishonouring the victims by changing New Zealand away from a place that has a sober law-making process with parliamentary scrutiny and public input, and rushing things through at the first sign of trouble.
   "I don't think that's a good way to respond."
          ~ David Seymour, quoted by RNZ
[Hat tip Lindsay Mitchell]
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"You can’t find meaning in life simply through loving another. The best lovers are those who love life first. They fall in love with people not to attain meaning, but to celebrate and enhance the meaning that’s already there." #QotD


"You can’t find meaning in life simply through loving another... The best lovers are those who love life first. They fall in love with people not to attain meaning, but to celebrate and enhance the meaning that’s already there."
          ~ Dr Michael Hurd, from his post 'True Love: Why Do Most of Us Still Not Get It?'
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Thursday, 21 March 2019

"Art is not a luxury, it is a necessity...a spiritual one. Every child like every adult is a precious, fragile, unrepeatable, individual being. Shouldn't we nourish each soul with the beauty, the wonder, and the delight of the mind as carefully as we nourish each body with bread, milk and honey?"




"Art is not a luxury, it is a necessity...a spiritual one. At its apotheosis aesthetically, philosophically and psychologically, art provides a spiritual summation by integrating mind and matter--abstract values perceived by the senses. When form and content are exquisitely unified in art to communicate universal truths through beautiful physical presentation in the most technically proficient manner, art offers an experience of complete continuity, a harmoniously integrated experience of mind, body, and soul—both to its makers and to its worthy beholder...
    "It is art that best inspires the moral imagination, everywhere apparent in the different art forms, through which the soul of the artist is revealed... Every child like every adult is a precious, fragile, unrepeatable, individual being. Shouldn't we nourish each soul with the beauty, the wonder, and the delight of the mind as carefully as we nourish each body with bread, milk and honey? The thirteenth-century Persian poet Muslih-uddin Sadi counseled us thus: 
    If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
    And from thy slender store
    Two loaves alone to thee are left
    Sell one, and with the dole
    Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul. 
"Yes! It is the beauty of art and the arts of beauty that feed the human spirit by making the invisible visible and the visible more visible, affirming the value of visions, visions that bring values to life. Art and the moral imagination? Art is the moral imagination."
          ~ Alexandra York, from her book From the Fountainhead to the Future: Essays on Art and Excellence 

[Picture: 'Isle of the Dead' by Arnold BöcklinThe Bridgeman Art Library, Object 838233. Kunstmuseum Basel, online collection, Public Domain, Link ]
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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side he has no ground for preferring either opinion." #QotD


“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion…  
   "Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
          ~ John Stuart Mill
[Hat tip Steven Kates]
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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

"The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power. [They] absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them--from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc." #QotD


"The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power. [They] absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them--from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc."
          ~ Ayn Rand, from her address 'Philosophy: Who Needs It?'
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Monday, 18 March 2019

"Increasingly, it feels like the Christchurch atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures comes to be the only game in public life... The identitarian impulse has catastrophically divided society." Bonus #QotD


"[W]hat feels terrifyingly mainstream about the ideas that appear to have energised and inspired this racist mass murderer [are] the politics of identity. To read the killer’s alleged manifesto ... is to gain a horrible glimpse into the cultural fragmentation and racial paranoia unleashed by the relentless rise of identitarianism. Increasingly, it feels like the Christchurch atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures whose relationship with other cultural and racial cultures must be monitored and managed, comes to be the only game in public life.
    "The killer seems to see himself as little more than a cultural being. In his seeming manifesto he professes commitment to the warped ethos of ethno-nationalism and continually refers to himself as white. He can see no identity for himself beyond the one he inherited by birth. Strikingly, the killer appears to say that his attack was done in the name of diversity – he says he wants ‘diverse peoples to remain diverse’, meaning identity groups must remain ‘separate, unique, undiluted, unrestrained in… cultural expression’. This sounds chillingly similar to the separatist ethos of the identitarian outlook, in which ‘cultural appropriation’ is a sin and anyone who seeks to speak up for other races or cultures risks being reprimanded with the words, ‘Stay in your lane’. The killer’s belief in cultural purity is of a piece with the identitarian worldview...
    "The identitarian impulse has catastrophically divided society. It has nurtured cultural and racial conflict. It has given rise to a grotesque game of competitive grievance. It has had an inexorably fragmentary impact, ripping the social fabric. We are now actively invited to think racially, behave racially, conceive of ourselves as little more than white men or black women or whatever, and to engage with people through a racially and culturally heightened perspective: check your white privilege, watch your microaggressions, 'stay in your cultural lane,' etc. It would be remarkable if such a depraved culture did not help to nurture new forms of violence. Christchurch confirms that identitarianism is now a scourge of the violent right as well as the woke left...
    "[I]if we want to limit the attraction of such violent identitarian thinking, such vicious cultural paranoia, we must urgently make the case for a new humanist politics in which your character and humanity count for more than your skin colour and your heritage. The war of identities must end, whether it’s in public life or bloodstained places of worship."
          ~ John Ray, from his post 'The barbarism of identity politics'
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"The [Christchurch murderer] is ideologically on the same side as the Jihadists: he's moved by the idea that people are essentially parts of tribes, defined by ancestry & tradition, that are vying to 'replace' or repress one another. This idea must be opposed in all its forms." #QotD


"The [Christchurch murderer] is ideologically on the same side as the Jihadists: he's moved by the idea that people are essentially parts of tribes, defined by ancestry & tradition, that are vying to 'replace' or repress one another. This idea must be opposed in all its forms." 
          ~ Greg Salmieri
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Sunday, 17 March 2019

"People are playing politics with evil while human lives are lost to hate. The 1930s never looked so close, from so far. It didn’t have to be like this. Islamists and far-right extremists, a plague on both your houses." #QotD


"People are playing politics with evil while human lives are lost to hate. We must take stock, and recognise that by raising our political pompoms every time an event appears to confirm our narrative, and by playing up our own victimhood, we are only feeding into the recruitment narratives of all terrorist groups...
    "We have reentered an era of competing extremes. The 1930s never looked so close, from so far. It didn’t have to be like this. Islamists and far-right extremists, a plague on both your houses."

          ~ Maajid Nawaz, from his article 'Here's How Islamists and the Far Right Feed Off Each Other'.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Killer Had An Ideology




Guest post by Jeffrey Tucker

“Sir Oswald Mosley is the person from history closest to my own beliefs.” These are the words of the bloody murderer in Christchurch who has shocked the world with gore and reminded us all of the presence of profound evil in our world. It should also remind us of the murderous power of malevolent ideology. Ideology is a force in our world that can and does overcome every theory of decency and morality.

To deconstruct the killer’s ideology, it is best to begin with his own recommendation. Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980) was in some ways a clownish figure in interwar English politics, a former Tory MP and Labour Party minister, a displaced member of a once-powerful aristocratic class who warmed to fascist ideology and Hitlerian politics. Speaking in parks and rallying his followers in dingy basements, he never tired of whipping up demographic panic, calling for dictatorship, and raging against the race-mixing enabled by modern commercial life.

As events unfolded and Nazism was revealed to be a murderous racial cult bent on the construction of an industrialised killing machine, Mosley was run out of the country and his organisation banned. He died in disgraced obscurity in Paris.

The ideology Mosley represented, however, lives on, and remains as exterminationist and deadly now as it was in the interwar years. In the sweep of fascist history, Mosley was a spectacle. He continues life as a folk hero among a certain set of deranged but dedicated opponents of liberalism, along with other popularisers of Hitlerian theory like George Lincoln Rockwell in the United States.

I’ve read the killer’s 87-page manifesto, posted just before the mass murder began. Yes, it celebrates Mosley. It also invokes every trope of what is called alt-right politics, or what is more precisely identified as right-wing Hegelian collectivism, complete with its tribalism, longing for control, exterminationist aspirations, anti-capitalism, and panic about birth rates (the anarchy of human reproduction terrifies them). Even his supposed love of nature and the environment has precedent in certain brands of fascist politics (right Hegelians believe that the commercial use of natural resources is dysgenic).

It’s a long tradition of thought, one born in reaction against the progress of liberalism in the early 19th century. The ideology built a bit at a time over the decades (in parallel to the other anti-liberal tradition of Marxism), rolling out objections to core beliefs of the modern world that were breaking down tribal barriers, blurring class distinctions, increasing contacts between peoples, and diminishing government power and the influence of leaders.

In the mid-19th century, the reigning king of proto-fascist thought was Thomas Carlyle, who decried the end of slavery, the rise of free trade, and the dethronement of great leaders. He despised capitalism but didn’t consider himself a socialist or communist; he was instead a nationalist and reactionary. He set the stage for the rise and persistence of a new ideology of control that was reactionary and revanchist at its core. It demanded back (what it imagined to be) the old world of hierarchy, separation, and elite control of resources.

The forces of reaction built over time. It was, as I’ve written, contributed to by the protectionist Friedrich List, the romantic Luddite John Ruskin, the reactionary Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the fashionable race theorist Frederick Hoffman, the Darwinian preservationist Madison Grant, the eugenicist Charles Davenport, the IQ theorist Henry Goddard, the communist turned Nazi philosopher Werner Sombart, the officious puritan misogynist Edward A. Ross, the brooding historicist Oswald Spengler, the anti-Semitic poet Ezra Pound, the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, the radio populist priest Charles Edward Coughlin, the pretend-baron and violence worshiping Julius Caesar Evola, the jailed millenarian Francis Parker Yockey, and so many more.

What unites all their views is a worship of power, the sacralising of violence, the dismissal of individual choice, the loathing of the cooperative commercial society, and the adoration of the state. Of course one name stands out in the 20th century as their martyr and hero.

Despite the vanquishing of the architect of the Holocaust, this ideology continues to have a massive presence in our world. It has virtually no life at all in any academic setting, of course, but it has a huge presence in the darkest corners of opinion in many parts of the world. But precisely because of this chasm between respectable academia and trash-talking racist culture, we can sometimes be deceived about the violent threat this alternative form of collectivism represents to civilisation.

As we see from the killer’s manifesto, he was disgusted by commercial life and wanted conflict more than anything. Only a war of tribes would save the world from demographic and environmental disaster, in his view. He was impatient to see it begin. He believed that it was his personal responsibility to give the historical narrative a kick in the right direction, human rights and morality be damned.

It’s possible to commit heinous crimes without carrying around a wicked ideology to inspire and grant cover. But ideology can help embolden the mind with delusions that your evil acts are actually blessed by the forces of history, and that the blood you spill is not senseless killing but rather part of some needed corrective to the unfolding narrative of which you and your people have lost control.

How to combat this wickedness? The post-killing narrative will be is already filled with calls for gun control, controls on the Internet, controls on social media, more power for states to crack down on association and speech. This is precisely what the killer hoped to bring about, in his own words: “To incite violence, retaliation, and further divide… To create an atmosphere of fear and change in which drastic, powerful and revolutionary action can occur.”

The right response is to rededicate ourselves to the worldview that he hated the most, the view that rights are embedded in individuals, that people should have equal freedom to live their lives unencumbered by states and violence, that society contains within itself to capacity to manage itself without the intervention of fanatical ideologues who imagine themselves to be masters of our fate, that every single human life is worthy of dignity and deserving of respect.

The ideology of hate that spilled so much blood in Christchurch is best avenged through a new dedication to a social philosophy of love, harmony, cooperation, and freedom for all.
* * * * * 
Jeffrey Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.
This post first appeared at the AIER blog.
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"It is absurd that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason." #QotD





"It is absurd that a man should be ashamed of an inability to defend himself with his limbs, but not ashamed of an inability to defend himself with speech and reason." 
          ~ Aristotle, On Rhetoric 

[Hat tip Bernard Darnton (whose graphic that is above) from his superb presentation 'From Informative to Persuasive']
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Friday, 15 March 2019

"The descent of [UK] politics into a dinner theatre of dissemblers is complete. If the last year doesn't entirely discredit the notion of a professional ruling class, nothing will." #BrexitBetrayal #QotD


"It is almost three years since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and less than three weeks till it's supposed to happen. As of now, no one knows what, if anything, will actually occur on that day. However, one consequence of the last three years is clear: David Cameron, an open Remainer, was succeeded by Theresa May, a sotto voce Remainer reborn representing herself as a can-do Brexiteer. Instead, she has remade almost the entire UK political class in her own malign image. Almost every utterance from anybody in the Palace of Westminster now rings bogus: former Remainers silkily purport to be "delivering Brexit" by supporting a May deal that subverts it; hardcore Brexiteers of the Gove school turn out to be squishier-than-thou types; Jeremy Corbyn, a visceral Europhobe, pretends to be in favour of a second referendum to keep the sophisticates of the metropolitan media on side; and any number of run-of-the-mill MPs are hoping their colleagues will pass May's deal while they themselves vote against it to preserve deniability on charges of a sellout...    "Nothing is what it seems, although even that may not be what it seems. The descent of politics into a dinner theatre of dissemblers is complete. If the last year doesn't entirely discredit the notion of a professional ruling class, nothing will." 
          ~ Mark Steyn, from his latest Monday Notebook
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Thursday, 14 March 2019

"To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker." # QotD



"To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker." 
          ~ Frederick Douglass
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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” #QotD



"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” 
           ~ Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

"The environmental movement lives in a state of denial regarding the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality" # QotD


"The environmental movement lives in a state of denial regarding the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality, e.g. per ,'the OECD's Better Life Index correlates with GDP"
~ based on Jim Rose's post 'Richer is greener: environmentalists are Environmental Kuznets Curve deniers'
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Monday, 11 March 2019

"There is good and bad and there is right and wrong. That doesn't change depending on the geographical location that someone is born in. We can't turn a blind eye to atrocities just because it’s part of somebody’s culture." #QotD


"There is good and bad and there is right and wrong. That doesn't change depending on the geographical location that someone is born in. We can't turn a blind eye to atrocities just because it’s part of somebody’s culture."
          ~ Yasmine Mohammed on why she set up #NoHijabDay.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

"The mainstream Catholic Church regarded all of this as blasphemy. Children were to be understood as dangerous bundles of instincts needing to be tamed by discipline, authority and the threat (often the daily reality) of violence." #QotD


"On the one hand, some Catholic religious orders like the Ursulines and the Dominicans, as well as some non-Catholic groups like the Quakers, were highly receptive to [Maria] Montessori’s ideas that children are independent creatures with imaginations of their own that can be developed in a structured but nurturing environment.
    "On the other, the mainstream Catholic Church, speaking through Fr Timothy Corcoran, (the historian Brian Titley calls him the church’s 'watchdog' on educational matters and thus 'the most influential figure in shaping the education system which emerged in the new Irish State'), regarded all of this as blasphemy. Children were to be understood as dangerous bundles of instincts needing to be tamed by discipline, authority and the threat (often the daily reality) of violence."
          ~ Fintan O'Toole, from his article 'Ireland’s education system was rigid and violent'
[Hat tip Maria Montessori Education Foundation]
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Friday, 8 March 2019

"I am proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. I ripped them off for 5 years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years..." #QotD



"I am proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. I ripped them off for 5 years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years..." 
~ former finance minister Michael Cullen (just confirmed as being paid $1062 per day to continue defending the Tax Working Group's envy taxes, despite the Group's disbanding) quoted from his maiden speech in Parliament, 23 April, 1982
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Thursday, 7 March 2019

"There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide." #QotD



"There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide." 
          ~ Ayn Rand, taken from the Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on Socialism
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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

"Wealth Itself Is a Process, Not a Hoard of Stuff" #QotD



"To speak of ‘having’ wealth creates a dangerous misimpression. We are wealthy not because we have somewhere in a holding pen a gargantuan stock of stuff called 'wealth' that we, either individually or collectively, can access and then somehow distribute. No such massive store of real wealth exists.
    "Instead, we are wealthy because we live our daily lives as part of a global process of wealth creation and distribution. This process consist of every activity from bakers awakening early each morning to prepare the muffins that we buy at Au Bon Pain to Wall Street wizards assuming personal risks as they direct financing to where it will be most productive. Because state intervention too often slows and distorts this process much as sand slows and distorts the operation of gears, state intervention obstructs the daily process of creating and distributing the real goods and services of which our wealth actually consists.
    "In short, if this process of wealth creation is slowed, we become less wealthy because, again, our wealth is not accumulated stuff; it is the smooth and successful 24/7/365 operation of a process of producing goods, services, and capital goods."

          ~ Don Boudreaux, from his post 'Wealth Itself Is a Process, Not a Hoard of Stuff'
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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

"A government that considers the scale of its spending to be proof of its virtue is an easy mark for hucksters and worse." #QotD


"A government that considers the scale of its spending to be proof of its virtue is an easy mark for hucksters and worse."
          ~ Paul Wells, quoted in Eric Crampton's post 'Oh Canada'
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Monday, 4 March 2019

"Sensing their slip to under 5%, the Greens seem to have decided that gerrymandering MMP for their benefit in time for the 2020 Election is preferable to dumping the Middle Class Woke Identity Politics that is making them so alienating and unelectable in the first place..." Bonus #QotD


"Sensing their slip to under 5%, the Greens seem to have decided that gerrymandering MMP for their benefit in time for the 2020 Election is preferable to dumping the Middle Class Woke Identity Politics that is making them so alienating and unelectable in the first place...    "I expect this kind of ruthless corruption of the electoral system from National, ACT and MANA on a good day, but [not] from the Greens ... 
    "Note that it’s not 1%, 2% or 3% ... oh no, it’s 4%, [which just so happens to be] the threshold that would most benefit the Greens while killing off any other proto-political movement." 
          ~ Martyn Bradbury
RELATED:

  • Danyl Mclaughlan on "the terrible, terrible optics of a political party that is part of the government, and hovering just above the 5% threshold in the recent round of polls – and which routinely under-performs the polls on election day – attempting to alter the electoral system to its own advantage and consider the 5% threshold itself."

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"The free market is blind to politics, religion, sexual behaviour, and, yes, race. Do you ask about the politics or the religion of the farmer who grew the potatoes you buy at the store? Do you ask about the colour of the hands that helped produce the steel you use in your office building?" #QotD


"The free market protects the integrity of the individual by providing him with a host of decentralised alternatives rather than with one centralised opportunity. Even the known communist can readily find employment in capitalist America. The free market is blind to politics, religion, sexual behaviour, and, yes, race. Do you ask about the politics or the religion of the farmer who grew the potatoes you buy at the store? Do you ask about the colour of the hands that helped produce the steel you use in your office building?"
          ~ Benjamin Rogge, quoted in a post at Cafe Hayek.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

'The Tax Collector's Office,' by Pieter Brueghel the Younger




'The Tax Collector's Office,' by Pieter Brueghel the Younger: People's lives, livings and the full extent of their possessions are weighed in the balance and disposed of by smug, well-fed, self-serving scum -- owners and owned like tossed aside just like so much refuse. 

Story of the painting itself from the South Australian Gallery, where the painting now resides:
The Tax-Collector's Office is one of approximately forty copies by the artist of a lost painting by his much more famous father, Pieter Brueghel the elder. It shows a group of poor Flemish villagers waiting patiently to submit their taxes not in cash but in baskets of eggs, poultry, game and other produce. A prosperously-dressed tax-collector, assisted by a staff of half-witted clerks, is shown peering at a parchment behind a counter laden with piles of documents and money-bags. The artist mocks the wastefulness of this hive of bumbling officials by showing mountainous bundles of cancelled bills and receipts spilling carelessly across the office floor.
Death and taxes? How about death, desolation, wastefulness and tax collectors. Funny how the four seem to fit together.

[Image from Wikipedia Commons]
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Friday, 1 March 2019

"The taxation review has been trumpeted as being all about 'fairness.' But how fair is it to tax the residual value of a business which has had to survive in an unsympathetic, highly regressive & often ideologically-hostile environment ... only to find that at the end of a difficult journey, a rapacious government will requisition 33% of their realisation, in the name of 'fairness'?" Bonus #QotD


"Our Prime Minister assures farmers and small business owners that they have 'nothing to fear’ from a proposed capital gains tax.
    "But they have much to fear.
    "Why? Because small businesses already have to deal with an overwhelmingly onerous, highly regressive, taxation compliance regime, to which they must conform, at considerable cost ,with significant financial and personal penalties if they do not.
    "These include: company tax; income tax on salaries and drawings; fringe benefit tax; goods and services tax(GST); ACC levies; resident withholding tax on investments or dividends such as a shareholding in a partnering business; imputation tax issues; employer subsidy contributions; the cost of filing annual returns; franchise fees. The list goes on and on.
    "The cost of complying with these government requirements is already astronomical for small businesses. The Cullen-led Tax Working Group appears to be both ignorant of and unsympathetic to the fact that these compliance costs are hugely regressive. The cost of compliance as a proportion of turnover is far higher for small businesses than for larger businesses.
    "Small businesses account for 50-60%of all employees. They provide us with personal services, shops, restaurants, and trades, to name just a few.
    "Imagine your community without these facilities? ...
    "The taxation review has been trumpeted as being all about 'fairness.'
"But how fair is it to tax the residual value of a business which has had to survive in an unsympathetic, highly regressive and often ideologically-hostile environment requiring owners to expend huge personal effort, time and money over many years, only to find that at the end of a difficult journey, a rapacious government will requisition 33% of their realisation, in the name of 'fairness'?"
 
~ Professor Martin Devlin, emeritus professor of management from Massey University, from his post 'Small Businesses Beware'.

"The musician pays a price in order to play music. The only reward the musician receives is music: the privilege of standing in the presence of music when it leans over and takes us into its confidence. For those in music, this is the moment when life becomes real." #QotD


"The musician [pays a price] in order to play music... The only reward the musician receives is music: the privilege of standing in the presence of music when it leans over and takes us into its confidence. As it is for the audience. In this moment everything else is irrelevant and without power. For those in music, this is the moment when life becomes real... 
    "May we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse. When all is impossible and without hope, may we trust this inexpressible benevolence ... and listen to its silent voice with a quiet ear." 
          ~ guitarist Robert Fripp, from the liner notes to King Crimson's Great Deceiver, Vol. I. 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

"A border is a geographic limit on the power of government. A border is not a limit on the rights of people." # QotD


"A border is a geographic limit on the power of government. A border is not a limit on the rights of people. 
     "This confusion as to whether it is government or people who have unlimited rights is at the heart of the liberty movement, from its inceptions at least back to the Magna Carta and certainly 18th century England." 
          ~ Keith Weiner, commenting on a misconception of the nature of borders, rights and government

RELATED LINKS:
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Wednesday, 27 February 2019

"Here’s a radical idea: no child should get a high-school certificate if they can’t answer the question 'which political ideology caused the most deaths in the last 100 years'? The answer starts with a 'C', and if you say Capitalism you have to repeat a year, and so do your teachers." #QotD


"Here’s a radical idea: no child should get a high-school certificate if they can’t answer the question 'which political ideology caused the most deaths in the last 100 years'? The answer starts with a  'C', and if you say Capitalism you have to repeat a year, and so do your teachers."

          ~ Jo Nova from her post 'Millennials haven’t forgotten Mao, Stalin or Lenin. They never knew them.'
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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

"If a man proposes to redistribute wealth, he means explicitly and necessarily that the wealth is his to distribute. If he proposes it in the name of the government, then the wealth belongs to the government; if in the name of society, then it belongs to society." #QotD


"If a man proposes to redistribute wealth, he means explicitly and necessarily that the wealth is his to distribute. If he proposes it in the name of the government, then the wealth belongs to the government; if in the name of society, then it belongs to society."
          ~ Robert Alonzo 
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