Saturday, 25 June 2005

Best of Not PC for this week (to 24 June)

Here’s just some of what you might have missed if you haven’t been visiting Not PC every day this week (shame on you!). All this, and great art too! Please feel free to visit and read the posts, to leave comments and insults, to forward suggestions for future posts to me-- and of course to forward blog-posts you like to everyone you’ve ever met. :^)

Confiscation beyond any reasonable doubt
No Right Turn is rightly concerned at the outrageous asset forfeiture laws being introduced by this Government which, if introduced, would allow assets to be seized on a civil ("balance of probabilities") standard of proof. As Idiot/Savant says, "if the bill becomes law, we won't just be seizing the property of those who are probably criminals, but that of those who might be

A black day for property rights everywhere
Property rights are under attack everywhere. New Zealand home-owners and farmers are given the finger by planners, mayors and Jim Sutton; Zimbabwe shop- and shanty-owners are given their marching orders by the urban planning bulldozers of Robert Mugabe; and now American home-owners have just been told to bugger off by no less an authority than the US Supreme Court…

Teaching honesty
I don't like government employees teaching children about things like honesty and other virtues they would know nothing about, which is why libertarians oppose this 'values-based' teaching programme, and are and in favour instead of a separation of school and state.

Morally-blind cricketers head to Zimbabwe
If it's true as Martin Snedden says that New Zealand cricketers "unanimously agreed" to tour Zimbabwe then, sadly, that says little for New Zealand's leading cricketers.

Sprawl is good
People are at war with town planners everywhere. The high priests opposed to sprawl and the apostles of high-density have joined hands with the bossy busybodies of politics to force people to live in ways they don't want to, all in the name of 'sustainability' and knowing what's best for you -- and because voters let them.

The Mozart effect
A new report now says that the Mozart effect is a fraud. Playing Mozart for your designer baby will not improve his IQ or help him get into Montessori school.

Posturing poseur alert
I do love it when posturing poseurs are skewered. One leading practitioner of what I call neutron-bomb architecture (ie, architecture to kill the spirit of human beings) has been exposed by a client as a pretentious fraud. Speaking to a gathering to celebrate the completion of $15.8 million of repairs to Peter Eisenman's decade-old Wexner Art Centre, director Sherri Geldin took the opportunity to list, to the obvious chagrin of an increasingly crimson Peter, exactly why the building sucks:

Cue Card Libertarianism -- Government
Ideally, the agency that protects our freedom; in practice, the agency that most routinely violates it. If freedom is the absence of compulsion, then a free society must have laws defining and banning compulsion…

The vote on Japan's bid to overturn the International Whaling Commission moratorium on whaling may be over, but there is still lots of talk to come. Whatever happens at these meetings there's always lots of talk, particularly about "our whales" as Chris Carter keeps calling them.
I proposed a solution to the 'unowned resource' of whales a few weeks ago…

Tax cuts writ large
TVNZ report: Labour says tax cuts are not affordable. Prime Minister Helen Clark says she couldn't look the electorate in the eye and say significant across the board tax cuts can be afforded, while maintaining spending in critical areas.
Perhaps we can give her some help…

RMA reforms a lane-change, not a U-turn
The Government's proposed changes to the Resource Management Act are not so much a U-turn as a 'lane-change,' as even with the changes the RMA still proceeds in a direction that destroys property rights. This is minor tinkering, not major reform….

Reforming superannuation the Reisman way
The problem of superannuation -- what Americans call Social Security -- is what predicated the 'Cullen Fund.' As baby boomers get older and there are fewer and fewer people in the workforce to pay for their pensions, the system begins to get into difficulty.
Invested wisely (as governments will always do) the 'Cullen Fund' is supposed to start picking up the tab at this point, just as President Bush's 'privatised' Social Security is intended to do in the US.
But as George Reisman says of the
US system, the "problem is that implementing the President's proposal would almost certainly mean a major increase in the government's power over business...

Jared Diamond collapsed again, and again
Jared Diamond's influential theory of societal collapse 'attributes the demise of societies such as Easter Island principally to environmental degradation and destruction.'
I pointed to one critique of Diamond's thesis here some weeks ago, saying that his analysis ignores the historical importance of culture and of property rights in protecting against such 'degradation and destruction.' Here's another…

Big Brother is bullshit
Fans of Penn and Teller's 'Bullshit'* will probably appreciate their 17min. debunking of America's PATRIOT Act, ostensibly introduced to fight terrorism in the US

Immigration -- agreeing with Jeanette
It's not too often that I agree with Jeanette Fitzsimons, but aside from the usual feel-good buzzwords there's not much to complain about here…

Freedom, through thick and thin
As some of my blog readers will be aware, I have been engaged in a debate with Richard Chapple from the Philosophy et cetera blog who’s been enjoying bashing what he thinks to be libertarianism… I posted a reply to the so-called 'problem of initial acquisition' below, and here is a link to my second lengthy sally, 'Freedom, through thick and thin'…

The ‘problem’ of initial acquisition
Philosopher and academic Gerald Cohen has a problem with how values come into the world; how they came to exist. He calls this ‘the problem of initial acquisition.’ I call it trivial idiocy, but he and his supporters set great store by it.
Cohen argues that all the world’s resources were originally ‘jointly owned’ and therefore like Proudhon he claims that all property is therefore theft…

Cue Card Libertarianism -- Force
The precondition of a civilised society is the barring of physical force from social relationships

Coalition options
The Fairfax poll released this morning suggests 68% of people polled say they want coalition preferences known before the election.
As I've said before here, in my opinion the presumption of coalition is not necessarily a good one for a minor party.


  1. Well you asked for are a couple of posts on property rights by A-man

    The Ruth in the comments isn't me BTW. It strikes me how thin the comment is on this site - and I think I know why. You are being too intellectual and scare people off commenting. Rob is an A list blogger, and a Randian Libertarian to boot, but doesn't have that problem for obvious reasons. That is not a criticism, just an observation.

  2. I'm never to proud to accept suggestions, and I too have wondered at the rather thin comments.

    If you were editor, Ruth, which three of my posts would you have cut, and which would you have me do more of?


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