Friday, March 09, 2007

"Inveterate disappointment"

I received an email overnight quite taking me to task for giving poor Rodney's speech a hard time yesterday. My correspondent was mystified at my dismissal of it, and I was accused of "snarling hatred." Me! Snarling hatred!

Let me tell my correspondent, if they're reading this, that my feeling toward the ACT Party is not so much hatred as "inveterate disappointment." It's an emotion I've felt ever since that party was set up and issued these founding principles:
  • Individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent freedoms and responsibilities.
  • The proper purpose of government is to protect such freedoms and not to assume such responsibilities.
Now let me hasten to add that I have no problem with those principles; far from it. They're fine words -- just as you'd expect when they were written by Libertarianz founder Ian Fraser, just before he left the ACT party in disgust and disappointment.

My own disappointment lies in the fact that the ACT Party clearly feels they're no more than fine words; they have a problem with putting the party's principles into party policy -- which was the very reason that the man who wrote those principles left the ACT Party and founded Libertarianz.

They are, let me repeat, fine principles -- but they are principles from which the ACT Party with all its many resources and many, many fine people has been retreating ever since they were first written down. Right from those early days it's been one step forward, and three more back. The party that should have shouted those principles from the rooftops, who should have lived the values they claimed to stand for, instead became enmired in politics in the very worst sense of the word while the principles went by the board -- and anyone perusing the party's policies could be forgiven now for being befogged as before as to where those principles have gone. Certainly not into policy, or yesterday's speech.

Hence my disappointment. I had seen signs that perhaps, with the very survival of his party at stake, this year might be different. This speech yesterday "setting the scene for ACT for the year" shows that I was wrong. Hence my bitter disappointment. I gave a brief example of what the ACT leader might have said about the issues he canvassed, based on the very principles his party claims to uphold, a small sample of which was at once more principled and inspiring and full of fire than Rodney's uninspired platitudes. Neither fire nor brimstone was evident in that.

There is one thing however to be grateful for. Thankfully, if that speech really does signal the year ahead that Rodney is planning, then it's safe to say that the ACT Party will self-destruct this year out of sheer boredom.

RELATED POSTS ON:
NZ Politics, PC on the ACT Party

6 Comments:

Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

PC,

I think that you & the Libz should have realized that it is better to make some small steps even there are three more back in order to be consistent with those founding principles that ACT stands for and that is exactly where Rodney is coming from.

you said...
...then the ACT Party will self-destruct...

That is exactly what Rodney's speech was intended for, to avoid that sort of potential self-destruction you've mentioned.

Libz should support & endorse what Rodney and ACT are doing, since they are your (Libz) cousin in terms of policy similarities.

3/09/2007 11:28:00 am  
Anonymous george said...

Rodders needs to stop dancing, stop swimming ....and start punching!
This joint is going to hell in a handcart and it needs a clear and credible choice, not a different shade of pink.

Keep the heat on the hua.

3/09/2007 01:27:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ACT will not be represented in the next government. Write it down - it's over.

An opportunity now exists for Libertarians to win over their voter base if they can distance themselves from the extremists in their ranks and rein in the 'angry young (and no so young) men'.

3/09/2007 01:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Spirit Of 76 said...

Yeah, like, let's just be a total drag and bring everything down in the entire world... What the fuck do you expect from a country brainwashed by 40+ years of turgid social engineering?

Too many people demand rights but don't want responsibility. People EXPECT the government to look after them, and centre-right parties struggle to get elected without offering up some of that. Eating shit sandwich is a necessity it seems. Get used to it, or look forward to Helen & the Greens socialism forever now.

Pathetic.

3/13/2007 12:00:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

So76, if there's one thing that should be evident from political activism is that if you want to expand the market for your ideas, you have to ADVOCATE for them.

Ten years of too little principled advocacy and to much "shit sandwich me-tooism" has given NZ classical liberalism a bad name, and is why ACT now has only two MPs.

If you want to expand the market for your ideas, you have to ADVOCATE for them -- after all, if you seem too so unconvinced of your principles that you're not promoting them, then why should anyone else be convinced?

3/13/2007 12:28:00 pm  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

Nah Spirit, there's no brainwashing in New Zealand. That's just a cop-out. The only reason why statism has succeeded is because those who oppose it have done as piss-poor job, as Peter says, ADVOCATING FOR freedom - which should be the easiest thing in the world to sell.

The left (generally) haven't been underhanded or nefarious, they've oten been more honest and straight up than the right (although those pledge cards...)

3/16/2007 05:25:00 pm  

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