Wednesday, 28 May 2008

"Think small"

This morning's Herald cartoon is a beauty:

Harsh but true.

If you'd like to keep track of the mission to Mars, head here

And if you'd like to see what the US government should be doing with Mars, have a read of Ron Pisaturo's ingenious suggestion.


  1. Ron makes a good point, perhaps the most important point. I doubt there will be real private capital for doing space exploration if you can't keep what you find.

    Unless there are recognised property rights and some security governments would grab your land, we will be doing space exploration at glacial pace.

  2. The train's cost is about $600 million light in US dollars, isn't it? $800 million in NZ.

  3. Apples and oranges.

    Mars Phoenix is a project built on an existing (and expensive) infrastructure and the rail is an infrastructure.

    I get the feeling though that there would have been bitching regardless of what the government spent money on.

    I'm no apologist for big government but skewed opinions that misrepresent the issues are tiresome. And probably don't particularly help your cause... I find myself having to carefully scrutinise anything that comes from Libz because the signal-to-noise ratio is so low.

  4. "I'm no apologist for big government but"

    That "but" is usually a worry.

    But keep "scrutinising", Damian. It's only freedom! Unlike big govt, it won't bite! :)

  5. "...the signal-to-noise ratio is so low."

    That's 'cause you're deaf as a plank and at least as thick. Once you've got that ol' collectivist tinnitus in your head it's hard to get it out. Time you got professional help.


  6. Vitriol anyone? Perhaps you've mistaken me for someone else LGM?

    Do I know you?

  7. Your quite iritable aren't you LGM. Do you attack people this much in real life?

  8. Yes, damian, NASA's budget is something like NZ$20b a year, isn't it? NASA's one-off probes are actually incredibly expensive, as they're basically hand-crafted hi-tech, not mass-produced on assembly lines like cars. Yes, I do look forward to the days space access and travel is cheap enough for the disenchanted to leave earth and start their own ideals societies - communist, libertarian and everything in between.

  9. Hanso

    I don't abide collectivist vermin and the willfully ignorant that let them get away with it. Got no patience for those sorts at all.

    BTW this is real life. You don't get another...


  10. Well, thank you LGM for taking the time to so aptly demonstrate my point about signal-to-noise ratios. ;)


  11. Damian

    There isn't much wrong with the Libz signal. It's the noises residing in your head that are the problem.

    Returning to your earlier post. Of course Libz would be critical of govt spending money on space adventures, just as surely they would be about the govt spending it on an obsolete railway. Neither activity is the proper sphere of govt. action. Both are necessarily funded by forcible expropriation of property.

    Now either you knew that or you did not. Either way, your snearing comments place you in one of the categories I mentioned in the post to Hanso. Hence the old saying "deaf as a plank and twice as thick" is an apt characterisation of you.


  12. LGM,
    Let me catalogue the 'noise' I was referring to and then clarify where I stand regarding Libz policies:

    1. The comparison between a project and an infrastructure was noise.
    2. So was the fact that both were examples of government expenditure which is, by default, generally frowned upon by Libz.
    3. The general high level of politicised polemic I observe when visiting the blogs of Libz proponents is noise. (There are ways of calmly stating what you feel to be true)
    4. Your immediate and, to my mind, aggressive attack was a perfect example ('deaf', 'thick', 'professional help'... I mean, WTF?)

    I'm not terribly well-versed in politics but from the little research I've done so far the Libz policies are probably the closest aligned to what I currently see as a good way for a society to run. On paper, at least.

    I have a few issues with some of Libz policies but, on the whole, I'm sympathetic. To be honest, it's the signal-to-noise ratio problem that I mentioned above that is making me wary. In much the same way that I am wary of preachers and sales people.

    I realise that you can't judge ideas based on the types of people who also hold those ideas to be true or the way in which they behave hence my comment about having to carefully scrutinise.

    Do you see where I'm coming from here? I'd appreciate a polite and respectful reply.

  13. Damian

    As stated previusly the noise is in your own head. The Libz signal is clear and it is sound. Pity you do not understand what it is. You should get help. More on that issue shortly but first:

    1/. So you intend to forbid certain types of comparison because (according to you) they are "invalid")?

    People make comparisons between different categories of "projects" and "infrastructure" all the time. It's as simple as this. If one has x dollars and a choice between acquiring objects or undertaking an activity or linked series of activities, one chooses between the alternatives after making direct comparison according to one's values. Same goes for organisations.

    For example, presently I could buy another house or cancel my present contract of employment, buy it out and then move to another country. The first option being acqusition of existing infrastructure (an asset which I can rent to a tenant) and the second being a project (a series of activities that are directed towards a certain goal). Prior to deciding which to do I need to compare them, value them and think about which yeilds what is most valuable to me. The options get compared even though each is of a different nature. As stated, people do this all the time. They compare different things.

    Returning to the cartoon, there is nothing wrong or invalid in comparing different classes of action. That is not "noise".

    2/. The Libz ideology rejects government activity in all areas of the economy or in society except for one activity and one alone. That activity is the direct defense of Individual Rights (of which there are three only). That is fundamental. It requires a hierarchy of thought to derive why it is valid. The Libz entire political system is determined according to that requirement of government and the strict restriction placed upon its responsibility and activity.

    Given this is a fundamental and defining point for Libz, then it is something you need to learn about and understand if you are serious about having sympathies with the Linz position and their policies. For if you do not understand it, then your "sympathies" are as shallow as your feelings and about as reliable...

    I understand you have come across Libz restriction on govt previously and regard them as "noise". In this you are sorely mistaken. This is a fundamental point, derived logically. You need to do some research in order to learn why it is what it is. More "signal" trying to get in...

    3/. Libz argue with passion and you don't like it! Poor weenie.

    If you have values you hold, you should be prepared to be honest, state them and defend them vigorously. Scaring the collectivist horses is something that should be done! Libz argue and debate as they do as the issues and ideas are important, powerfully so.

    Seriously, you need to do the research in order to gain an understanding of what is being debated and why it is important to the Libz.

    4/. My comments were directed in-kind at your smears. You got exactly what you deserved.

    Now, as to professional help. What you need to do is seek it out. Start by obtaining a copy of Hazlitt's, "Economics in One Lesson." It's an easy read. Then you are ready for something a lot more complex and serious and complete. That would be "Capitalism", by Prof George Reisman. Check out some of his citations as well- particularly regarding philosophy.

    Of course, in writing this I'm assuming you were serious when you wrote about being sympathetic to Libz policy. If this is correct, then you should do thorough research into what those policies rely on- how and why they are derived.

    As to the qualities of Libz people, have you met any? Some are extraordinary people of highest quality- well worth knowing. Others are not so. Big deal. It's about the ideas they support, not who is "nice."

    All you have to gain is your freedom.



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