Monday, 19 September 2005

PC on the Libz result

Naturally, we Libertarianz are very disappointed today.

As a campaign this was by far the best one we've run. Twelve electorate candidates and thirty on the list. Principled policies, professional candidates and professional administrators. Superb billboards, a nationwide cinema campaign, and wonderfully pithy TV ads. We Libz measure our successs by how far our ideas go rather than numbers achieved, and we never did break through the 'media barrier' to get real name recognition, but we were nonetheless dismayed despite all this to receive barely 1,000 votes across the country (1006 on the night, but strangely only 926 now)-- that's roughly 1.5 times fewer than the Alliance Retards; 4 times fewer than the ALCP; 12 times fewer than Density; and 30 times fewer than ACT. All these received greater media exposure, but any thoughts that greater consistency and acuity would be rewarded was proved wrong on the night.

Every minor party was squeezed, but this was grim indeed. While numbers are not our be all and end all, that's still pretty disheartening. We knew were not going to be troubled by calls from the Governor-General, but even the most pessimistic guess in the party sweepstake was 6,500 (my guess, incidentally.)

Still, we do AFAIK have votes in every electorate across the country, with the highest (60) oddly enough in Tariana Turia's seat, Te Tai Hauauru. And it's clear, as we've been saying, that Libz ideas have been given lip-service right across the spectrum, from Rod Donald describing himself to Grim Pill as a "radical capitalist"; to Helen Clark declaring twice in the last two days of the election, "I'm in favour of maximum person freedom, as long as other's rights aren't impinged"; to Don Brash running on the argument that it's your own goddamn money, that one law for all is not racist, and that freedom and property rights deserve attention, if not substantive policy.

So that much is pleasing. As Mrs Marsh used to say in that toothpaste ad, "It does get in." Our ideas are getting there, some reward at least for our consistent advocacy, but our numbers on the ballot this time to help give those ideas wings are not encouraging. In any case, each one of those votes we did receive was an honest, firm, committed vote, given in the full knowledge of what each person was voting for. For that, I am truly thankful to very one who cast a libertarian vote. Thank you all.


  1. I think very, very few fully understand what a Libertarianz government would entail. Personal freedom sounds good. No tax though? That's beyond the imagination of most.

  2. I think the 60 votes in Te Tai Hauauru might be an error, from memory 57 of those were cast at the Otaki Surf-lifesaving Club.

    Or maybe we've really hit it off with Maori Surf-lifesavers :-) Now THAT's a target market!

  3. Before a party can contest an election it needs 500 members. Assuming that every member votes (and implicitly that every member is non-fictional), then... on average every lib member has convinced less that 1 person to vote lib.

    This is not because liberterian ideals are so repugnant; it's because nobody has any idea what a libertarian is.

  4. The Nameless One suggests that the concept of no tax is beyond the imagination of most - and I don't disagree. For now. Our low numbers on the night did not surprise me & nor do they worry me. Loads of people with whom I spoke could see the merit in our policies, but were concerned with 'getting rid of Labour first', etc. And for us, the number of votes per se, is not the issue (which is something else people have trouble getting their heads around!) It is, as Peter correctly says, our ideas that matter. And I heard more libertarian-type talk (as per Peter's examples) this election than ever before which I see as hugely positive. You can add old Rach to Mrs Marsh: 'it won't happen overnight - but it will happen!'

  5. What a lame analysis pc. And perhaps you should call all those votes for Destiny or CH honest votes as well, or not?

    And mr anonymous: it's always the voters fault isn't it? You just sound like the Dems in the US. Maybe the voters understand all too well what the libz are and mean, and that's why they don't vote for it.

  6. Berend -

    I voted ACT, though I toyed with voting Libz. In the end I think the Libertarianz are a bit too extreme. If their core was based a little less on philosophy and a little more on practicality, and they acted a bit more seriously, I would have more seriously considered voting for them.

    And no, voters do not understand what the libz are and mean. They either hear personal freedom and it sounds good, or they hear no taxes and are scared off. Very few know what the reality might be like. I don't know. Indeed much of the acceptability of the society would depend on individual generosity regarding donations - and who can predict that?

  7. Alex said he would consider voting Libz 'if their core was based a little less on philosophy & a little more on practicality ..'

    Given that our philosophy is simply based on personal & economic freedom, which part of freedom would you compromise?

    And as for 'society depending on individual generosity regarding donations' ... you ignore the status quo that sees the state arbitrarily snatch a heap of money for redistribution as it sees fit - after keeping a heap for itself in the first place, of course.

    Our alternative would see every earner retaining that stolen portion to firstly insure themselves against the untoward, (as we currently do with our homes/health etc anyway), still leaving much more that could be donated as individuals see fit, should they choose.

    Given that people routinely donate anyway in spite of the state's (crap) social efforts, where's the issue?

  8. I think it's much more interesting to look at the electorate votes; obviously there were many split votes with the party vote presumably going to "stop Labour", but the candidates got almost 3 times as many votes, on average, as the party in each electorate where a candidate stood; if you assume that would have held in the other electorates, there were about 2700 Libz-supporting voters - better than I would have guessed!

  9. Well, I want every child in the society I live in to have adequate access to food, education, health, housing etc. This overrides the freedom of individuals to keep their own money. I don't necessarily say this from any philosophical stand (and I'm absolutely against redistribution of wealth in general); it's just the society I want. So if the education needs of every child can be met absolutely and always by private donations, then I'm 100% for that as opposed to forced taxation. At worst I'd advocate a low, flat tax-rate to ensure these things were looked after.

    What concerns me about the Libz stand is that you seem to be saying: Personal Freedom morally comes first, and hopefully private donations will meet the needs of children and invalids. I give the latter preference over the former.

    This is only my impression after a bit of reading though, correct me if I'm wrong.

  10. Alex, we don't live in Wonderland. State intervention/legislation does not create perfection. History is littered with awful examples of that, North Korea & the Soviet Union being two. I was in Bulgaria before the wall came down. Grey, soulless and hopeless.

    Rather than say that all children should have access to all and sundry, we should be asking why many haven't. In other words, why do people persist in having kids they neither want, nor care for properly? Could it be because there's a system that pays them to do so? And worse, forces *other* people to pay them, while keeping state workers in an artifically created 'job' at the same time.

    You might call welfare a safety net. I call it a poverty trap where people are forced to go cap in hand to the state, to grovel for whatever the powers-that-be deem sufficient. And because it never pays quite enough, there is always a group of disenfranchised people who can be conveniently bought off every three years. And the bastards call this 'care'? Wrong C-word baby. More like 'control'.

    Leave charity to those who have a passion to provide it. And let me keep my money so I can support the charities of my choice as opposed to where the state thinks my money should go.

    People deserve better than to be treated like political footballs.

    One last thing: freedom is indivisible. Nobody was born to be another's slave.

  11. it's funny how pc regards the Act result as shit and calls for changes within the party, but does not do the same for his party despite them doing a hell of a lot worse. This is a terrible resullt. Time to either pack up and go home or make some big changes (like your leader!).

  12. Sus, I largely agree you. However, I don't want to live in a society where people literally starve, or children are truly trapped in poverty solely because they've no access to education. Ideally, charity would provide for these children. If it didn't though, the state should intervene.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate welfarism to anywhere near the extent it exists now. But there's a bare minimum of support that should exist such that no one starves, and children have an opportunity to succeed. If charities can give this support, great. If they can't, government should intervene, with the money of other citizens if necessary.

    Again, what concerns me is that the Libz don't seem to have this bottom line. Even forgetting adults, a potentially brilliant, productive child simply needs to be given an avenue to succeed in life. If charities hadn't enough money, would you seriously let this child be trapped in poverty and uselessness? It's the fundamental bedrock of a fair society; everyone has the opportunity to succeed. If they squander it, then screw them and their labour-voting entitlement-demanding the-rich-are-greedy crap, sure. But they at least need the opportunity. Success-wise I'm all for meritocracies, but limit social mobility and you're leaning towards a plutocracy.

  13. Alex, we're going round in circles. Of course nobody in his right mind would wish to see disadvantaged children. If you feel strongly about it, you're free to put your money where your mouth is and encourage others to do the same by, I repeat, supporting specific (voluntarily run & funded) charities. Nobody's stopping you.

    But your (imposed) 'bare minimum of support' will always - sadly - be open to abuse. Our own enormous welfare state is testatment to that.

    Socialists hate to be reminded that given free choice most people will choose to swim rather than sink.

    They also hate to be reminded that, as previously stated, the state never solves problems; it subsidises them.

    It pays to remember what the road to hell is paved with ...

    It is always difficult to address an emotive topic logically - and welfare is hugely emotive. But the size of NZ's welfare state is proof that cool logic is desperately needed.

  14. I would indeed put my money where my mouth was if this were LibertariaNZ. I'm just one person though. And if I had to choose between forcibly removing necessary money from others, and having children starving or truly trapped in poverty.. I'd choose the former.

    As for abuse, food/education etc. can be provided directly. Sure providing a minimum standard is open to people voting to change it. So's a no-tax system. Only difference is the clear no-tax system is harder to insidiously change.

    Put simply, I value a (low) minimum level of support to all citizens above the right of citizens to keep 100% of their own earnings. To disagree with that, and/or to say that ANY state interference is necessarily bad and will never solve anything is as I said rather too philosophically based and/or extreme for me to agree with.

    Ideally I would want to see LibertariaNZ. But if the generosity of the people turns out lacking, I'd rather have minimum government intervention than children starving or stuck in poverty.

  15. A couple of elections ago in America, in one of those debates organised for lesser candidates, an amazing thing happened: the Lib candidate was telegenic, smart, articulate and caught the audience, all of whom came in just knowing he was a nutter, completely off guard. There was a lot of grass level interest in the party, briefly, until it started trotting out tracts. Maybe what NZ Libz need is a FACE with a VOICE people can listen to. The underlying political philosophy is sound. Its expression is usually weak.

  16. alex, I don't believe the "voters do not know about the libz". That's an excuse not supported by the facts. Voters in Epsom are clearly very smart. They absolutely know who the libz are. You guys gut 17 votes there.

  17. Berend,

    It is a probability that many (probably most) of the voters in NZ have not heard of the Libz party, least of all what they stand for. I say probability because most of the people I spoke to in the few months prior to the election had not heard of them and the few who had did not have a clue what their policies are.

    When you give a brief description of Libz policies, ie, freedom, personal responsibility, voluntary low taxation etc, the average Joe switches off as if the Libz must be a party of nutters. Probably 80 to 90% of NZ voters are politically illiterate, unable to think for themselves and reliant for information solely on what they are told (also believing whatever they are told). To these people Libertarianz policies are beyond their comprehension (yes, State education again). Zero taxation – how can the average moron accept that when they have been indoctrinated into believing that government can and must provide for their every need?

    A comprehensive process of education is what is required for these people and that cannot be done in just a few minutes. Hence, as PC says, “enlightened one at a time”. You seem to be reasonably bright yet even you do not seem to be able to fully understand Libz policies; what chance the average Kiwi? People talk of wanting to live in a civilised society. How can we ever achieve that when we allow our government to steal? Taking my money by force without my permission is theft – no other word or term for it. It’s uncivilised!

    As H L Mencken said,
    "The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them.
    Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."

    We need these people out of our lives, hog-tied by a written constitution – unable to inflict any more damage. And only Libertarianz is prepared to do that. The other parties? Only concerned, I’m afraid, in looking after themselves – and that includes ACT.

  18. Lancashire Lad: "Taking my money by force without my permission is theft – no other word or term for it. It’s uncivilised!"

    You can always leave if you don't want to pay...

    I mean you guys are so convinced that you're right, no wonder you went from 5,500 6 years ago to les than 1,000 this time.

    That while project of convincing voters one at a time hasn't made a lot of impact, has it? Or perhaps it has, and that's why you lost 4,500 voters.

    But just continue to be convinced you're absolutely right. I'm guessing less than 500 votes next time.

  19. it bothers me that the libz hate act so much. surely they're better than labour/national etc

  20. "Taking my money by force without my permission is theft – no other word or term for it. It’s uncivilised!"

    This is nonsense though. You don't own the country; you're a citizen of it. As a citizen you must follow the rules the true authority (government/queen) has put in place. It's the condition of you being allowed to live in the country. Don't like it? Move somewhere else or vote to change it. By remaining here and working you agree to abide by their rules.

    In that sense, the very basis of Libz is plain bullshit. You can say you're philosophically opposed to the government forcibly taking money from citizens, but it's quite ridiculous to call it "theft".

  21. Alex,

    "As a citizen you must follow the rules the true authority (government/queen) has put in place. It's the condition of you being allowed to live in the country"

    Have you ever considered the concept of morality?

    If the authority as you call it says that one must report the presence of all Jews living in my neighbourhood, if the authority says that it has the right to hang people for being gay, if the authority murders people based on race and beliefs, and you say that I must follow the rules laid down by that authority because I live in that country, which is exactly what you are saying, then you are a sick bastard.

    Theft is theft. Doesnt matter who the thief is or who sanctions the actions of the thief. It is a question of morality and morality should guide our actions even when it comes into conflict with any government authority.


  22. Berend,

    “You can always leave if you don't want to pay...”

    As John F Kennedy once remarked: “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

    So Libz lost a few votes this election – so did EVERY other minor party (including/especially ACT). It was that type of election. The media made it into an election between Labour and National and because of the discontent with Labour over the last six years many voted National as the best option to get rid of Labour. Of course every other party was going to suffer and especially those outside parliament.

    I’ve been around a long time Berend. Believe me, Libz are right. Something you’ll come to appreciate with time and experience.


    I do not hate ACT but I am disappointed in their parliamentary performance. Yes, they are better than National or Labour or any of the other parties in parliament but they are not good enough. If they were then they would have my support. As it is, I support Libertarianz.


    What is taking someone else’s property by force and without their permission called? Or to put it another way, if you did it, what would you be charged with? And you would be charged, believe me! The act of taking someone else’s property without their permission is called theft and theft is exactly what you would be charged with. I thought I would answer it for you as you seem to be having difficulty.
    I have not (EVER) given permission for my earnings to be taken by force or otherwise. The taking of my money (property), (and anyone else’s) must be stopped because it is morally wrong. Whether you commit the crime yourself or whether you vote in a government to do it on your behalf, it is still a crime. One of the reasons I vote Libertarians – the only party that promises to end the theft.

    “You don't own the country; you're a citizen of it. As a citizen you must follow the rules the true authority (government/queen) has put in place. It's the condition of you being allowed to live in the country. Don't like it? Move somewhere else or vote to change it. By remaining here and working you agree to abide by their rules.”

    Moving somewhere else is not always an option though it would appear many of our “brightest and best” New Zealanders are taking your advice. I wonder why? Could it be they are fed up of being stolen from?


    As Plato said: “it is an unjust man who obeys unjust laws.”

    If you justify taxation because the government “needs” the money to function then what other crime would you be prepared to justify for the so called good of the majority? Euthanasia for the over 70s to save on pension payments, maybe? Could make it law then it would be alright ay Alex – one of the conditions of living in Godzone.

    In Nazi Germany it was law that you could not hide Jews – they had to be dobbed in. Where would you have stood on that law Alex? Or should we call you Dobber? Maybe you would you have voted to change it? Then again, maybe you wouldn’t!

    Morality is what steers me - not bloody laws.

  23. Julian. Your logic is very, very poor. Genocide, murder, these things are morally wrong regardless of who wishes them done. The transfer of money from one person to another though? It's completely neutral; theft requires a certain context.

    You do not, believe it or not, have a god given right to live in this country subject to no authority. New Zealand is under the authority of the queen. It is something of a contract that she allows you to live in the country and provides you with services etc. in return for you obeying the laws. It's theft the government taking money from you? How about it's tresspassing you being in the country against her will?

    Theft is defined as: The crime of taking someone else's property without consent. Yet your consent is implied by the very fact you live in the country. Don't like it? Don't think the rules are fair? Move somewhere else. That doesn't make tax theft.

    The Libz are never going to get traction with the "tax is theft" stuff. Because it's complete bullshit. It sounds good to some, but intuitively people tend to realise it's wrong, even if they can't come up with the right arguments as I can.

    In that the government allows citizens to vote and indirectly define the leglislature though, it is more reminiscent of theft that the poor simply vote to take more and more money from the rich.

  24. Alex said

    "Genocide, murder, these things are morally wrong regardless of who wishes them done."

    OK, so we agree here. However I would like to know why you consider these acts "morally wrong"?

    "The transfer of money from one person to another though? It's completely neutral; theft requires a certain context."

    Therefore can I imply that it is not morally wrong, or to use your words "neutral" to hold a gun to someone's head, and steal their money?

    If you consider that this is morally wrong, then why is it wrong?


  25. The queen is the sovereign of this country. She can set whatever conditions she likes on citizens living here. Anyone who lives in this country implies consent to such conditions, be they moral or immoral. Tax is certainly such a condition. So citizens consent to pay tax. Thus tax, a subject of consent, cannot possibly be termed "theft". Nor can tax, i.e. mere consenting transfer of money, possibly be termed immoral.

    The _only_ way out of this argument is to dispute the authority of the sovereign over this land. If you do not recognize their authority, then indeed you have not consented to anything, and forced taxation would be theft. I believe this is where the enforcement of the queen's authority enters in the form of the police or military. Force is, in the end, the only thing behind the authority of ownership.

    So, Libz, if you want to live in a country where the government allows complete personal freedom (so long as it doesn't impinge upon the freedom of others), feel free to vote one in or take over some land somewhere by force. But the most important point of all is: It is not a moral right, to be allowed complete personal freedom regardless of who is sovereign or owner of the land you live on.


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