Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Mt Albert, Mudbaths and Morons

richardmcgrath An irreverent look at some of the past week’s headlines, from Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath

  1. Mt Albert By-election Candidates Named – The fifteen contestants for the vacant Mt Albert electorate seat were named yesterday. There are three independent candidates, and no New Zealand First presence. Apparently NZF are going to wait until there are demonstrations in the streets demanding the return of Winston before they test the waters in a by-election. Might be a long time between drinks, guys. 
    The mainstream parties have wheeled in some big guns – Labour have flown their carpetbagger in from the Middle East, National have scourge-of-South-Auckland-burglars Melissa Lee and the Greens have co-leader Russel Norman standing. I hope Russel rides his bike to Auckland, or catches the Overlander train (for which his party fought so hard to keep taxpayer subsidies) every time he comes up from Wellington, rather than flying. Student candidate Jackson Wood also hails from Wellington. Last election, Russel only turned up to a few candidate meetings in Wellington (or was it only one meeting, Russel?). United Future are standing their party president. There are some gimmick parties – Bill and Ben, People’s Choice, People Before Profit, Human Rights.
    Then there are the more earnest, principled representatives of established parties – ACT, the fledgling Kiwi Party, the one-issue Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and Libertarianz.
    The Libz candidate is Julian Pistorius, who at least lives in Auckland, and who is fighting for the rights of hundreds of homeowners currently threatened by government theft of their land for a new motorway. The Greens, on the other hand, who wring their hands and cry crocodile tears, want to steal land from the residents of Mt Albert so they can play with Michael Cullen’s train set.
  2. Investigation at Named Pig Farm – No-one likes to see animals mistreated. But let’s get this straight: animals do not have rights. Their actions are not based on a process of conceptualization, reason, ethics and a sense of morality. Their survival depends on instinctual reaction and physical attributes such as sharp eyesight and muscular strength. They are not capable of respecting the individual rights of a human. Thus, it would be absurd to accord them the same rights that humans – who, by virtue of their capacity for reason and the fact that their actions are chosen, possess rights.
    Having said that, the images of pigs cramped into very confined quarters were disturbing to many people. But the sensible way to approach this is via the free market: if people really want their meat from well-treated sources, then animal welfare agencies could request access to all farms, ask to inspect the farms, and award a grade depending on how they like each farm according to their own criteria. Other organizations could do the same, and consumers could choose whose farm they wanted to support with their disposable income. Animal mis-treaters and those who refused to allow inspection of their farms could be publicised online or in mailouts, billboards, advertisements, etc. A tick from the animal welfare agencies might be a positive selling point. But the process has to be voluntary and self-funding, not another millstone around the taxpayer’s neck.
  3. Wakefield Health Surges – Amid the doom and gloom of the economic correction, there is news that a private hospital operator has increased revenue by 10 per cent, and profit by 40 per cent. Looks like people are waking up to the fact that public hospitals are death-traps. Last week my daughter waited five hours to be seen in such a place, with what could have been a serious surgical condition. When we were eventually discharged, there were people in the waiting room who had been there for eight hours and still hadn’t been seen. In other hospitals, waiting times of more than 24 hours are common. If this happened in a private hospital, its company directors would have their entrails torn out at the next AGM by enraged shareholders. And that’s just one of the differences: accountability.
  4. Depression Analysis Also Applies To Climate Change – American jurist and “scholar” Richard Posner has just published a book on the causes of the current recession called A Failure of Capitalism. He blames the asset bubbles on “uncertainty about the possible effects of major innovations.” He ignores the regulation that distorted markets, particularly in residential property, instead blaming deregulation. If only!
    There is ample evidence to suggest that regulation -- for example, that under the Clinton administration which forced banks to lend money to high risk customers – had a lot to do with the current state of the world economy. Posner regards political reaction to alleged anthropogenic global warming as “taking insurance out against a potentially catastrophic risk.” The precautionary principle, in other words. Nothing evidence-based, of course, just scare-mongering and superstition, in the absence of hard facts and objective science. But that, my friends, is all the anti-freedom global warming alarmists can offer us.       

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath

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28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are not capable of respecting the individual rights of a human.
This seems to me the crucial point of the argument. And it also applies to criminals, socialists, unionists, the labour party, and, yes, gang members.

Which is why Jason and the Libz are quite wrong to be arguing in favour of gangs for Mt Albert: gangs, like others who do not reason, who rely on " instinctual reaction and physical attributes such as sharp eyesight and muscular strength". do not have any rights.

5/20/2009 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

Anon: Most gang members have some capacity for utilising higher cerebral cortical functions but choose not to do so. I take your point though. Those who choose not to use the uniquely human part of their brains can hardly complain about the consequences.

5/20/2009 10:48:00 am  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

No-one likes to see animals mistreated.False.

animals do not have rights.False.

the images of pigs cramped into very confined quarters were disturbing to many people.The pigs cramped into very confined quarters were disturbing to many pigs.

the sensible way to approach this is via the free marketTrue.

5/20/2009 11:20:00 am  
Anonymous Marcus said...

**the sensible way to approach this is via the free market**

Too true, and it will probably never happen because consumers are generally all too willing to put beliefs aside to save a few bucks.

Remember when gas prices were rising at a ridiculous rate, there was an email doing the rounds suggesting that everyone boycott a particular oil company, thus putting pressure on them to lower prices to attract customers back, and then the effect would flow on to other oil companies who would need to attract those same customers back.

On the face of it, a fiendishly simple plan, all we had to was 'vote with our wallet' and theoretically the free market would determine the rest. but it never happened, because we just couldn't really be bothered.

The same thing will happen with pork - there'll be a temporary outcry about the treatment of the animals, and people will be outraged enough to care right up until it comes to their next bacon buttie.

5/20/2009 11:38:00 am  
Blogger Ruth said...

The free market is well on the way to sorting this out in Britain - a high percentage of pig farmers are going out of business. They can blame imported pork, call for subsidies all they like...but they are going out of business because of the *quality of the product*.

Intensively farmed pork is not just a moral outrage (pigs being the most gregarious and intelligent of farm animals) - it's a waste of time in the kitchen as well. Bacon which oozes water into the pan, limp spongy pork chops and so on. You could floss your teeth with it, it's so stringy. I'd rather eat tofu instead of factory pork - and as a gourmet of some seriousness that's saying something.

Free range pork is a revelation, and outdoor reared at least is the first step on the road to decent-tasting pork.

5/20/2009 12:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the face of it, a fiendishly simple plan
No - on the face of it, a remarkably stupid socialist plan!

What this advocates is people buying oil - at existing prices - from the other three oil companies. Rewarding those companies and ensuring they stay in business. Thank you for playing.

Why the fuck can't people realise freedom is totally incompatible with socialism and all other forms of leftism?

5/20/2009 02:49:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

If you believe that the free market is the best way to solve this problem, are you asserting that the government has no role to play in preventing animal cruelty? If animals have no rights, and they are our property so we can do with them as we wish, then would it be acceptable to you for someone to stand in their front yard cutting up live pigs with a chainsaw? If that person owns the pig, and as you say the pig has no rights, is that morally acceptable?

5/20/2009 05:40:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

radar, jesus man, where HAVE you been buying your pork?!

Save some of that indignation for children that have been inserted into clothes driers. Once you've solved that, then worry 'bout the pigs.

5/20/2009 07:12:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

Clunking Fist, I find that argument so redundant as to be insulting. Let's spread out all the crimes that are committed, with murder at one end and littering at the other, and then just decide to do something about the worst ones, ok?

Because that is what you are suggesting by saying that cruelty to animals does not deserve action but cruelty to children does.

I would argue that all cruelty is wrong, and that there are plenty of people on this planet to pick what battles they want to fight. We can't all focus on the kids in the clothes driers.

5/20/2009 08:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

If animals have no rights, and they are our property so we can do with them as we wish, then would it be acceptable to you for someone to stand in their front yard cutting up live pigs with a chainsaw?

Rhetorical question, radar?

An Objectivist believes that animals have no rights, and that your pigs are your property so you can do with them as you wish... so of course he has no problem if you choose to stand in your own front yard cutting up your live pigs with a chainsaw.

Objectivism is morally objectionable.

5/20/2009 08:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Objectivist believes that animals have no rights, and that your pigs are your property so you can do with them as you wish... so of course he has no problem if you choose to stand in your own front yard cutting up your live pigs with a chainsaw.

Of course. And - to return to the comment at the top of this thread: the same goes for gang members, unionists, socialists, and members of the labour party

5/20/2009 09:46:00 pm  
Blogger Kool Aid said...

"No-one likes to see animals mistreated. But let’s get this straight: animals do not have rights. Their actions are not based on a process of conceptualization, reason, ethics and a sense of morality"

Getting sermonized on morality by an objectivist lib is an oxymoron is there ever was one! I happen to work in the meat industry and to most of us in the mainstream, animal welfare is paramount, the poor fuckers have to die, let's at least make it less distressing for them.

Porcines & ruminants come close to being on the same intellectual plain as you Libz, but like you, they should be able to live without suffering undue duress.

5/20/2009 10:45:00 pm  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

All you pig-huggers, answer me this: if animals have rights, what are these rights, upon what are they based, and are animals in turn capable of respecting the rights of humans and each other? With rights come (a few) responsibiities - well, only one when you boil things down -- respect my person and property. Once animals can do that, I will stop chopping them up in my front yard with a chainsaw.

5/21/2009 09:20:00 am  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

Kool Aid - your concern for animals is commendable. And in response to Dr Goode I amend a previous assertion: Very few of us get pleasure from torturing animals, in fact I believe there is some association between torturing animals in childhood and becoming a serial killer later in life. Animal torturers are probably all 'personality disordered' sociopaths.

But how can animals have 'rights' in the sense that humans have them? How can animals hold rights that they are incapable of conceptualising.

I wasn't sermonising Kool-Aid, I was trying to justify my moral position.

BTW, does anyone know the best way to wash pig guts off a chainsaw?
~:)

5/21/2009 09:28:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Animals get rights at precisely the timer that they're able to petition the courts to recognise them.

Until then, (as I'm sure PJ O'Rourke said once) you can tell the lion it's wrong all you like, but he's still going to rip the guts right out of Bambi.

And you'd want to have him arrested.

5/21/2009 10:13:00 am  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

Doc, if you chop up some firewood afterwards, the sawdust does it for you. Wood fired pork is mighty nice.

5/21/2009 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

"Because that is what you are suggesting by saying that cruelty to animals does not deserve action but cruelty to children does."

Kinda. When you have limited resources, you need to prioritise.

5/21/2009 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

"All you pig-huggers, answer me this: if animals have rights, what are these rights, upon what are they based, and are animals in turn capable of respecting the rights of humans and each other? With rights come (a few) responsibiities - well, only one when you boil things down -- respect my person and property. Once animals can do that, I will stop chopping them up in my front yard with a chainsaw."

The right not to be tortured would be at the top of my list.

"...are animals in turn capable of respecting the rights of humans and each other?"

Not all humans are capable of doing that. Babies can't. Adults in comas can't. People in vegetative states can't. So your argument that rights are granted to those who recognise rights is redundant.

5/21/2009 01:13:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

Theys has the right to bees eaten boi me, if I's pays the farmer some monies. Monies I earnded byes worken in me's job.

5/21/2009 05:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Lonely Farmer said...

If animals have rights, then it means that I commit bestiality against my own animals, is this interpretation correct? I get lonely sometimes in the farm since my wife died of cancer about 4 years ago.

5/21/2009 06:02:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

I disagree entirely about Animals not having rights. Many are a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for. Why is them having limited (I would say limited is more accurate than no) capacity for reason, a reason to give them no rights. Some humans have no limited capacity for reason, just look at communists. On a more serious note, small Children and those with severe interlectual disability have limited and in some cases no capacity for reason but do we give them no rights?

I'm not suggesting that animals should have equal rights, but they have the right to be treated with a degree of respect and to not be tortured or creuly treated.

"respect my person and property. Once animals can do that, I will stop chopping them up in my front yard with a chainsaw."

I would say that most guide dogs, and rescue dogs for example have a lot more respect for your person and property than would all the political parties who happily take your money, not to mention criminals.

Animals might not have a knowing and inteligent reason behind their actions, but neither do most humans. Not all humans who respect people do so becuase of serious philisopical beliefs or reason in such a way as you ethically superior objectivists do.

The point is that If an animal approaches you without your consent, and fails to respect you or your property, you may have some justification in harming it. But to purposfully aquire an animal that you know isn't going to have "reason" or "respect", and then harm it is morally wrong, and you simply can't defend it.

5/21/2009 08:40:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

Richard Goode

is this comment genuine?

"Objectivism is morally objectionable."

Are you a non objectivist libertarian?

5/21/2009 09:05:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

Comrade MOT said:
"On a more serious note, small Children and those with severe interlectual disability have limited and in some cases no capacity for reason but do we give them no rights?"

Actually, we give them limited right: children can't vote and cannot choose to not eat their greens. The interlectual (sic!) disabled often have court appointed guardians when someone doesn't like what the parents/spouse are doing.

"I would say that most guide dogs, and rescue dogs for example have a lot more respect for your person and property.." that's a learned response: find the hooman buried in the snow, get a treat, find the funny weed in the suitcase, get a treat. Turn up for work at 8.30am and serve the smelly customers, get a treat...hang on, I think my arguments got shot in the foot...

Well, next time a shark attacks me, i want him (or her) to anaesthetise me first. It's so undignified being ripped to bits whilst still alive.

5/21/2009 09:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard Goode said...

Yes, I'm a non-Objectivist libertarian.

Yes, my comment is genuine. I say what I mean, and mean what I say. Ayn Rand would approve. ;-)

5/21/2009 11:39:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

Clunking Fist wants to be able to behave as all other animals behave, and I guess be treated as one. I love this argument: Humans are superior, and have rights, and can therefore do as we wish to other animals, but humans are also animals so it's ok for us to treat other animals as we think they would treat us. It's the most contradictory argument in history, and one that Clunking Fist seems to support.

5/22/2009 08:47:00 am  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

I already knew that radar does not detect humour, piss-taking or sarcasm, but irony...

5/22/2009 12:41:00 pm  
Blogger radar said...

But I can detect when someone knows they have lost the argument.

5/22/2009 02:32:00 pm  
Blogger Clunking Fist said...

Yeah, radar, you can smell the sweat of my panic.

5/23/2009 02:38:00 pm  

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