Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Independence, if you can afford it!

I must confess that when living in London I used to enjoy winding up advocates of Scottish and Welsh Independence by pointing out that Scotland and Wales were both nett parasites -- that neither nation produced enough to be truly independent, both getting far more from the British taxpayer in welfare payments and subsidies than was either produced or extracted from them in the first place. The point was naturally never too popular.

I see David Garrett making a similar point in yesterday's Herald to Tuhoe's would-be advocates for independence:
An independent nation is usually self funding - where is the funding for the Tuhoe nation to come from? Secession would of course mean an immediate end to all welfare payments, funds for schools, subsidies for doctors visits and the free hospital care that we all take for granted...

All of the trappings of Western society - even such mundane items as roofing iron, nails and paint - cost money. There is the possibility of trade or barter, but the market for root crops and Maori handicrafts is likely to be fairly limited.Even if successful trade relationships are established - which is inevitably a long process - it will take a lot of flax ketes to buy even one new set of tyres.
As Garrett says, be careful what you wish for. At the idea of an independent Tuhoe my mind went back to a delicious satire of Lindsay Perigo's a few years back: the declaration of two independent nations in New Zealand, the People's Republic of Aotearoa, which would occupy the North Island and contain the bludgers, the whingers and the products of university Sociology departments and Maoist "consciousness raising" camps, and the Republic of New Freeland which would occupy the South Island and contain free people willing to take responsibility for their own lives. The residents of the latter would no longer be encumbered by funding the welfare cheques of the former, who would be required to make their own way, if they can.
[In the People's Republic of Aotearoa] everyone will be paid the same, & taxed at 50%. Imports will attract a standard 50% tariff, immigration will be confined to people unable to support themselves, & foreign investment will be prohibited. EVERYTHING in the PRA will be either illegal or compulsory. Coffee, tea, red meat, tobacco & alcohol will be added to the list of prohibited substances. All forms of private education will be banned; the guvamint will require all children to be "educated" by it from the age of three. All citizens will be required to learn Maori; after two years the speaking of English will be a punishable offence. All forms of private health care will be banned, & the People's Republic of Aotearoa will become one giant mental asylum rather similar to the present New Zealand, only more so. No one will be permitted to leave.
In New Freeland, the guiding principle shall be, each person is the owner of his or her life & may live it as he or she chooses, & will be required to respect the self-ownership of others. Nothing will be illegal except acts that violate the self-ownership of others. There will be no tax, no welfare state, no tariffs, no subsidies, no restrictions on the movement of people in & out of the country, no government-mandated national currency, no government interference in the economy or anything else unless there's an issue of individual rights involved. People will be free to earn - and keep - whatever anyone is prepared to pay them.
Independence? Real political independence only emerges from genuine individual independence.

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