Wednesday, 18 November 2009

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Smacking, thieving and getting knocked around

Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath takes his regularly irreverent look at some of the past week’s headlines.

1. Brian Rudman: Mob Rule No Substitute For DemocracyMemo to Brian: Democracy is mob rule. Brian doesn’t actually want democracy, because despite an overwhelming majority wanting to make smacking allowable in the recent referendum as part of parental discipline (as opposed to assault), he and John Key and Sue Bradford think they know better than the rest of us.

Brian fails to distinguish between being able to physically restrain a child and being able to break their bones. A light smack does not equal a savage beating. Having said that, the only times I smacked one of my children (out of sheer frustration) I felt so guilty afterward that I vowed never to vent my anger like that again. And I didn’t. You can’t beat reason into a child. You have to convince them through logic, without threats of violence or intimidation.

But this march is not about the right to flog children. It is about the right to use reasonable force to keep them, and others, safe from danger. It is about stopping people like Bradford from nationalising children and stripping parents of the right to make decisions about the welfare of their kids.

Child abusers are scum. But the vast majority of parents love their kids and wouldn’t intentionally hurt them. At the same time, they hold the rights of their children in trust, as it were, until those children are able to fend for themselves. And because children don’t always make rational decisions, sometimes they have to learn from their mistakes via the consequences thereof. But where the consequences are grossly disproportionate to the action taken, parents should have a right to step in and restrain or protect their kids from unnecessary harm.  

2.    Council Prosecutes Over Seawall – It’s all about money. The bullshit Resource Management Act and its grotesque offspring, including the Building Act, are not about protecting people. They’re about protecting council empires and the fat cats that ratepayers are forced to keep in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.

A couple who live north of Hastings are facing a $100,000 fine for not paying a tribute to the local council before trying to protect their home by repairing a retaining wall of concrete blocks. A wall that had already been built. Not a new wall. Repairing an old wall. Never mind that (according to the news article) several houses nearby have been washed away.

No, a person must get their priorities right. Pay-offs to the council must be delivered before protecting your home. Power and money for council bureaucrats who would probably struggle to find work in the private sector - that’s the important thing, and don’t you forget it!

3.    Exposed plagiarist Witi Ihimaera given $50k award – I reckon the Plagiarist Laureate should use this money to pay compensation for ripping off the intellectual property of others. I think he should, at the very least, forward 0.4% of the income he receives from sales of the offending to the author(s) whose work he tried to pass off as his own. But using the $50k in advance to this end would be a good start.

4.    Woman Cyclist Struck By Car In Wellington - A cyclist is knocked down by a car on a road owned by the government, that you were forced to fund. And people say private roading wouldn’t work! On a government road, cyclists are forced to share space with cars and trucks. They are regularly hit by motorists and some of them are killed and maimed. And you suckers voted for it! Except, of course, those who voted for political parties that want to privatise roads. Now how many of those are there? Let’s see, I can think of one.

      I predict that the push by environmentalist nutters, such as Nick Smith and John Key, to put more cyclists on government roads alongside trucks and buses, will result in more of them knocked over and seriously hurt. Don’t you think on a privately built roading system, cyclists might be separated from other traffic and be able to travel in relative safety?  

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath


  1. I just posted on that odious prat Rudman's column. And sent him an email. Hopefully a lot of people will do the same.

  2. I fail to see how either driver error or cyclist error has anything to do with government funded vs privately funded roads. If you put a slow moving vehicle (bicycle) on the same road as a faster moving vehicle (car, bus, etc) you are going to have collisions because of the difference in speed. However a cycleway..............

  3. Richard McGrath18 Nov 2009, 10:21:00

    mawm - How about a cycleway built privately and funded by a toll on cyclists? I'd be all for that.

    The point I was trying to make is that these accidents involving cyclists and motor vehicles are happening on government roads, and we are constantly being told that private roading couldn't possibly work and that a government monopoly is the only way to go.

    Well, private roading might be a little more responsive to consumer demand, like other private indistries tend to be, and might be safer as a result.

  4. 'allo allo

    "How about a cycleway built privately and funded by a toll on cyclists?"

    What if us cyclists are dirt poor? That's why we're driving. We can't afford to pay for a road.

    Is it right that we get neither safety on the public roads nor can we afford a private one?

    Not really.

    Markets are a democracy of dollars... one dollar one vote. There's nothing intrinsically right about their outcomes. Sorry.

    However.... if you're prepared to adopt a individual welfare-centric approach to morality, combine it with the assumption that individual preference satisfaction is identical to individual welfare, assume away externalities, public goods, market power, and information asymmetry-generated market failures, and then finally adopt a position that strength of individual preference (and hence individual welfare) is exactly represented by individual willingness-to-pay (which amounts to weighting marginal utility of consumption by wealth level in a utilitarian calculation), then FINALLY you might be able to say something strong about markets and morality.

    But that would be silly, no? Every assumption made there is faulty.

    It's a shame, though, because the implications are so seductively 'neat', that I can't help thinking that it's more probable that libertarians have been seduced by that neatness, than that they're worked their way through all the problems presented by the 'markets are good' theory.

  5. bloodyorange

    Can you explain what is moral about forcing non-cyclists to pay for your cycleway?



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