Monday, 16 January 2006

Change of helm at ACT on Campus

Congratulations to Helen Simpson and Andrew Falloon, the new president and vice-president respectively of ACT on Campus. (That's Helen pictured left, celebrating at AoC's weekend conference with an unnamed friend. Naturally enough, Helen is the one on the right.)

I look forward to Helen and Andrew having the courage of what they say are their freedom convictions, and to hear them calling for the Association of Compulsion Touters to expunge all vestiges of compulsion, and to truly represent its stated freedom principles. Given ACT's present reliance on its youth wing for its energy and enthusiasm, there is more power for AoC to move minds within ACT than perhaps they presently realise.

I've suggested more than once five simple policies that need to be changed in order for ACT to fit the bill of a true freedom party...
1) Abolish the RMA. Use the 'A' word! Tell people you want to put a stake through its heart. Start promoting property rights, and common law means to protect them.
2) End the War on Drugs. You tell people you're the party of freedom -- show that you mean it. This would really put the acid on the Green Party authoritarians, and you might even pick up a few of those Green supporters sick of their party's ban-everything wowserism. You don't need to smoke the stuff yourself (most libertarians don't) -- just joining with Milton Friedman in saying 'Legalise Marijuana' might help you feel better about your libertarian credentials, and help you sleep better at night.
3) Privatise, privatise, privatise
. Don't fiddle, tinker or bugger about with 'restructuring' Government departments and state assets: sell, give away or otherwise dispose of them all. Give back the schools and hospitals to those using and running them; recognise the property rights that already inhere in beaches and foreshore and let the government lease back the Beehive to hold cabinet meetings. Call for government to get the hell out of everything it shouldn't be in, and really make the rhetoric of small government really mean something.
4) Abolish the Treaty of Waitangi
and rescind the apartheid-based 'Treaty Principles' that poison too much New Zealand law by their lack of objectivity. Replace the Treaty with a constitution protecting individual rights, regardless of colour.
5) End the DPB.
You've got a candidate advocating it, why not start shouting it from the rooftops!
I look forward to hearing from Helen and Andrew regarding their views on the above.

[UPDATE: Helen has given her views on the Infamous Five above -- no word yet from Andrew, altough I know he's ben visiting. Hi Andrew. And ACT candidate Lindsay Mitchell, who has been campaigning on Point Five for some years has indicated on her blog that's she's also enthusiastically behind Point Two. "It is the job of the state to protect people from each other - not themselves," she says. And so it is.]

Linked Helpful Advice: Question for Act's libertarians


  1. Don't you mean Helen is on the right?

  2. I agree with all of the above, but you may have to look to phasing some of these in.

    Legalizing marijuana, for example, gets the thin end of the wedge in and would be more pollitically acceptable than a blanket legalization. (much as I agree with that concept)

    As for privatising- the precident has been set and the sheeple will take their medicine, even if they find it unpalatable!

    The Biggie!
    The ONE constitution for ALL is a great one to plug. To me, this is a huge issue and it is a disgrace that a 'civilized' country does not have a meaningful constitution.
    It could make 'can the treaty' into a sideshow- bypass it and make it irrelevent (more irrelevent, anyway!)

    Dump the RMA- simple as that.
    You can't push the 'Property Right's' issue hard enough. On property rights, the right to protect people and property by such force as is not excessive and clear sensible definitions of the measures one may take in doing so.

    End the DPB. Set a timeframe and go for it!

    Then there is my old favorite. Law and Order, plus justice that means Justice. I may continue on this subject on my blog, this evening.

    I'm off to the beach.

  3. I agree with four, and I can see the arguments for 2), however: given the current problems we have with drunken youths and drink driving, legalising even more drugs will create even more problems. And let's face it: most drugs are quite harmful, even Marijuana has long lasting harmful effects. You cannot explain the worry of parents away in the sentences you'll get on TV, so let the public first see the consequences and positive outcomes of the other four issues, before trying to tackle the other ones.

    Of course, I realise that for libertarians all over the world the most important principle is to be free to dose yourself full of drugs, but I hope ACT will view the other four items as more important.

  4. "Of course, I realise that for libertarians all over the world the most important principle is to be free to dose yourself full of drugs, but I hope ACT will view the other four items as more important."

    Sigh! Berend...most of the time you talk a lot of sense....this ain't one of those times! You as a Christian want to be free to dose yourself full of your drug of choice, Jesus,(which has caused far more misery to man through the ages than any "drug") but want to decide for others what they shall do with their lives.You are a hypocrite when it comes to this subject.Yes drugs are bad....but political power used against cionsenting adults is far worse!

  5. I would amend James's last comment as follows: 'political power used against consenting adults engaging in non-forceful and non-fraudulent activities is wrong'.

    PC, I wrote to Bill English on the occasion of his becoming the Nat leader. I noted my disgust with National's blatant socialism and desertion of its supposed principles: traditional champion of free enterprise (well, relative to the old left, that is).

    I called for the Nats to take a definitive stance on 5 issues:

    Abolish the RMA; Abolish the Treaty; Dismantle welfare; Dismantle compliance costs & bureaucracy in general; Re-build defence in terms of equipment and alliances.

    I concluded by suggesting that if he/they did not grow some balls - soon - Clark & co would sail back in.

    He didn't and she did.

    (But I did get a response from his private secretary thanking me for my 'congratulatory email'!)

  6. Thanks, Peter. With regard to your points:

    1)Abolish the RMA. The RMA is vague and morally depraved legislation and, in my view, is beyond 'fixing.'

    2)End the war on drugs. Absolutely. Decriminalising cannabis is a good starting point. And, as a friend pointed out, personal responsibility needs to go in tangent. Reforming the health system is also essential.

    3) Privatisation.
    The centralised mediocrity students have to deal with is damaging too many indidviduals and is just one example of the outcome of escessive government control.
    'Independent' schools just aren't independent enough.
    Competition = freedom, efficiency and choice .

    4) Abolish the Treaty of Waitangi.

    5)End the DPB.
    A gradual progression towards this would be preferable. Excessive dependency can (in large part) be blamed on government, not parents, in the current environment.

    I hope this answers your questions succinctly enough.

  7. PC,
    Perhaps you have already done this and I have missed it - if so, could you point me to the post in question? - but could you spell out how you would like to see the Treaty of Waitangi abolished? What form would the abolishment take? Can it even be done legally? What do you propose replacing it with? Would you like to see a referendum on it?, etc etc etc. My immediate knee-jerk reaction was to write that suggestion off as ridiculous, but before I do so, I'd like to have more information on what you're really proposing.

  8. He doesn't mean destroy it, simply eliminate references to it in legislation and treat it as a historically important document, rather than the quasi constitution that judges, lawyers and politicians have used it for. It needs replacing for that role.

    btw Helen seems to largely "get it" maybe there IS hope!

  9. Which is the way I see it- it needs to be put into it's correct perspective. An interesting historic document, like the dead sea scrolls.

    Not something to shape a modern society.

    Let's have a meaningfull constitution for that. rather than reinvent the wheel, let's look to the first real one. The US constitution.

  10. Pete, is Libertyscott correct in his interpretation? Because that's not what I assumed you meant. To me, 'abolish the Treaty of Waitangi' and 'remove references to the principles of the treaty from legislation' are certainly not the same thing. Any chance of a clarification from the author?

  11. Thanks for your many comments everyone, particularly those from Helen. I'm hopeful. :-)

    BB, you asked about the Treaty of Waitangi. In my view the Treaty is insufficiently comprehensive to be a founding document of a nation. As Oswald (partially)suggests, a good example of what a founding document looks like is the US Constitution, with the Declaration of Independence riding shotgun.

    The Treaty itself was written hastily, and in a context that assumed, for example, a continuing context of common law protection of property rights that just no longer exists. The three simple clauses of the Treaty suggested no more than an acceptance of a change of sovereignty, and a guarantee that Maori would be guaranteed their property rights if they do decide to hold on to any land they then owned -- and if they decided to dispose of it the state was the only one they may sell to.

    There is just not enough in there to found a nation, which is why the 'principles of the Treaty' industry began: to found an industry and to get a gravy train rolling.

    There is litle that is in the so-called principles of the Treaty that can be found in the Treaty itself -- the principles of 'Partnership' and 'Biculturalism' for example are just nowhere to be found, however carefully you try to stretch the fabric of the Treaty -- and there is little to be said for the objectivity of thoe principles that have been 'identified.' Given the undefined and possibly indefinable nature of the so-called 'Treaty Principles,' their inclusion at the heart of much legislation written since Geoffrey Palmer's day serves only to leave mush at the heart of our law, and to further empower the gravy train.

    Blame Richard Prebble and Geoffrey Palmer, I say, for starting the stupid ball rolling in the first place. Expediency is never a good reason to write law.

    Frankly, given the mess that has been made of the simple Treaty promises and the superstructure of grievance and nonsense that has been built upon its all too simple clauses, getting rid of the thing -- or at least superseding it with an objectively written constitution that re-supplies the legal context that the Treaty first assumed (Ie., the common law protection of property rights), and in doing so it makes the Treaty irrelevant. This is the best and perhaps the only solution, and one long overdue. Mainstream courts can deal with any genuine grievances that really do still exist; let the Treaty wither away and become a historical nullity as it now deserves to be.

  12. james: what subject do libertarians typically choose for their tv ads? I think that answered the question what issue libertarians find most important.

    Secondly, if you read my comment carefully, you will see that my main argument against the importance of item 2 is that you cannot explain to parents why heroin dealers should be allowed to advertise on tv.

    It's electoral suicide and as everyone who professes to be so liberal on drugs always follows up with "but I would never do it" it wouldn't change the status quo anyway.

  13. Thanks for the explanation PC. As I suspected, what you're saying once you actually go into detail is not as ridiculous as the initial bandying about of "abolish the treaty" sounded to me. Personally, I'd have nothing against the Treaty being superseded by something better and more comprehensive, worked through carefully in consultation with the parties concerned, though I think it would be a very hard battle to get it through.

  14. I agree Berend, putting the legalizing of drugs at the forefront of a Libertarian campaign IN THE CURRENT SOCIAL CLIMATE would be retarded and irrational in the extreme.The response the Greens get just on decriminalizing pot should warn anyone not to fly this flag at the top of the pole.Before drugs can be legalised a lot of mind changing needs to happen, the dominos of Welfarism and taxpayer funded State health care will have to fall first and that will take a lot of reasoned,one to one convincing of Joe Public who is largely ignorant of the true state of affairs surrounding drugs.But facts are facts,A = A and the truth is that prohabition is killing and destroying people at a great rate and no amount of handwringing religous wishing will change that.You Berend are part of the problem when it comes to the damage drugs do,will you turn on your reasoning faculty and become part of the solution?

  15. James, let me see, now suddenly people don't get killed by drugs but they get killed by the people who are convinced they shouldn't take them?

    Yeah right.

  16. Come on, Berend. Drug use doesn't kill, per se; drug *abuse* can. Same with driving cars for that matter.

    Banning drug use in the hope that people won't take them is idiotic and futile. James is right: when did prohibition ever work?

    Banning something in the hope that it will go away is the skewed reasoning behind something as stupid as so-called hate legislation.

    The minute you ban drugs you invite criminals to run the supply and therein lies a crucial part of the problem. And nobody is denying that drug abuse is a huge problem.

    Pharmacists are drug dealers. It's just that they distribute the drugs that the state deems legal. So:

    1. legalise everything, which would
    2. remove the criminal element, and
    3. allow adults to purchase their drugs from reputable, appropriate outlets such as pharmacies.

    If Viagra was illegal you'd have every second kid trying to get his hands on it. It isn't. Therefore they don't.

    The libertarian position is very simple: with freedom, there is responsibility. Any misdemeanours while under the influence of any drug would become a criminal matter, just as it is with alcohol.

    It should not be the business of the state to dictate the substances that adults may or may not ingest.

    It's your job as a parent (if you are) to educate your kids accordingly if you're so averse. Mine did. I've never personally taken recreational drugs. Never wanted to. Can't imagine I ever will.

    My choice. But other adults should have the right to do otherwise if they wish - and, of course, accept the consequences thereof.

  17. Sus, when can libertarians ever have a serious discussion about drugs? It's always the same answers, and you bet I know them all.

    Let me go through the logical fallacies.

    1. If drugs are not banned, current drug dealers will become honest and productive citizens. Yeah right.

    2. If drugs are not banned, kids won't try them out. Yep, works for alcohol too.

    3. If there is just freedom, no one would feel compelled or forced (environment, friends) to do something stupid like taking heroine. Because everyone is responsible, everyone can handle the freedom to have a heroine dealer on every corner and seeing advertisements on tv to blow your brain outs. Because on one listens to advertisements, they don't work, right?

    4. We can sooo easily test if a misdemeanour was done while under influence of a drug. We have foolproof methods to detect every substance that makes people behave different than they would otherwise have, and the proof is so firm it will held up in court. Yeha right.

    5. Alcohol isn't forbidden, so we don't have any problems with alcohol abuse. Heck, if alcohol was forbidden, we would have even more abuse. More drink drivers and such. Or would we?

    6. Everyone is morally strong enough to overcome even the worst temptations. Heck, "lead me not into temptation" is utter nonsense, because everyone is strong enough to overcome any tempation. So if the worst is easily available on every corner, harm to society will actually decrease. Just like alcohol. Everyone uses it responsibly, we don't have any drink drivers, and your little kid is never run over by one.

    Maybe it's time to view man as he is, not what he should be.

  18. You liberty freaks will love this story:

    It's somewhat relevant to this story. It might explain why just 1000 people voted libertarianz.

  19. End the War on Drugs and Abolish the RMA are appreciated, but how about drug test. It’s a very long way to go. I tried this detox drinks and capsules, which is available and passing a drug test was easy, it really worked. Now I am in to new job too.


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