Thursday, 19 November 2009

Marching for Democracy?

A few  years ago now, way back when Jenny Shipley was still our headmistress, we libertarians hosted a protest march down Queen St we called The Enough is Enough March. Organised by Libz tobacco spokesman Joy Faulkner, we had just about everyone at the time who’d had enough of nanny – we had people from Stand Up New Zealand and Dad’s Army; from Abolish Bureaucratic Crimes and Smokers of the World Unite; from the Anti-NaZis On Air lobby and from people done over by the IRD; from FORCES, SSANZ, COLFO, NORML, AUF, MENZ and every other acronym in the anti-nanny bag – good folk who’d had enough of her tobacco taxes and her cigar bans, her firearms licensing laws, her interventions into NZ families, her attacks on taxpapyers and marijuana smokers, her new search and seizure powers, her attacks on free speech, her plans for an ID card, her acceding to the demands of tribalists, and her refusal to listen to the results of referenda.  We came to bury nanny, not to praise her.

As Russell Brown commented at the time, were were protesting about  . . . “well, pretty much everything really.”

banner_example_5 At least, it looked that way. The aim, of course, was to to tie all these single-issue protesters together into one common cause – to make them realise that in big, nannying government they each have the same enemy - that their fight against that enemy is the same - that if they only realised it, they each have a common cause in liberty - that freedom is indivisible, and to fight for one person’s freedom is to fight for your own – that if each cause were to rest its case on freedom then a powerful groundswell for liberty would be the result across the board – to enlist therefore in a common fight against the common foe, big government, would pay dividends for all of us.

We told them,

    “Enough IS enough. They do NOT own us - we own them & it's time we reminded them of that. THEY are in rebellion against their sacred obligation to PROTECT, not to violate, the individual liberties of the citizens of this country; it is THEY who should be rounded up & locked up.
    “Ladies & gentlemen, let the word go forth that things are going to change. There's going to be a revolution. More & more people are coming to the realisation that they can run their own lives, & that it's their birthright to do so; that government is not the solution to all our problems, GOVERNMENT AS WE KNOW IT IS THE PROBLEM!”

I have to say, we failed completely.

Sure, for one moment there everyone with a brain realised that were all on each other’s side, if only we could make something of that – that government really is the problem, not the solution – that freedom really is indivisible — that  if we all rang freedom’s bell consistently then freedom might one day reign from sea to shining sea . . . but almost without exception every one of those single issue protesters went home afterwards none the wiser for the experience.

banner_example_1 The measure of our failure is this weekend's March for Democracy, which in Yogi Berra’s famous phrase “looks like déjà vu all over again,” but without even the moral fervour that we brought to it. 

I applaud their efforts,but a decade after our Enough is Enough march, the March For Democracy will have the same groups of people upset about the same or similar things – most of whom voted for one or ‘tother of the major parties to do exactly what they’ve gone and done for the last decade or moe – and once again without any genuine understanding among the participants of what freedom really means, the energy and the scattergun “we’re against everything” mantra will go nowhere.

Which means nothing has really changed in all those years.


  1. the March For Democracy will have the same groups of people upset about the same or similar things –

    No it won't - the group will be primarily made of up godbags and noose waving Sensible Sentencing Trust fanatics. I doubt if any members of NORML will be there...

  2. and to think you have a lovely Biblical name, Ruth...define normal? Good on the SST, or do you like the crime chaos NZ is weighted down by?


  3. Note how I carefully said "similar."

    Since if they only but realised it, if they all marched on principle -- on the same principle -- and understood it -- then they'd win.

    Instead they talk about votes and referenda and other short-termism and never lift their eyes above their knees.

  4. I quite agree - the *issues* are similar on principle but the protesters have moved further to the right of the spectrum and are full of contradictions. How did we get to this place - where 'freedom' was hijacked by religious folk?

    There are few things more frightening to a freedom loving person than the thought of 'binding referenda'.

  5. Correct Ruth. Similar issues related to John Key's nannism (which you would die to defend himself) & muslims (again which you would say that they're not hostile to the West). In fact what you should have stated, was that you're a Key supporter all the way (regardless of what he does as a PM) and also a defender of muslims who would want to shoot you (because you're white), regardless if you're American or non-american white.

  6. Thanks for telling me what I think. Have another blaze, why don't you. You are a fine example of what such a practice does to the brain.

  7. Will you be there, PC? I aim to be.

    Regardless of how far one sits on the 'right' of the political spectrum, it still remains a fact that this government is no different to previous governments in that they seem to believe they know best how people should run their lives. They seem to believe that WE are THEIR servants.... not the other way around.

    This is worth protesting against, surely?

  8. What do libertarians think of democracy?

  9. What I personaly think of democracy, is that it needs a qualifier before one can participate.

    My leading idea is that one must pay more tax than one recieves in taxpayers money, in order to vote.

  10. "This is worth protesting against, surely?"

  11. "...There are few things more frightening to a freedom loving person than the thought of 'binding referenda'."
    And few things less effective than those who preach utopian solutions while sitting in their fat asses in virtual isolation.

  12. Monsieur

    Re Democracy

    I'm in favour of participatory democracy, as in the participatory democracy of the free market. As far as representative democracy is concerned, no good comes of it. It's best abandoned.


  13. Ruth

    Re the NORMYL guy

    Well said.

    His comment is unintelligible. Must be the dak wasting his mind!


  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. "And few things less effective than those who preach utopian solutions while sitting in their fat asses in virtual isolation."

    Then tell me then, KG, one major historical event that has come about by pure pragmatism.

    The fact is, the true drivers of human history have always been the men of vision - the men who try to recreate the world in their image (for better or worse). "The world as it is now" has no import on their ideals and vision.

  16. Oswald's point is a good one.

    "My leading idea is that one must pay more tax than one recieves in taxpayers money, in order to vote."

    When 'democracy' was first established in Athens, the franchise was not extended to all and sundry willy nilly. Estimates vary but the electorate of 'citizens' was probably between 10 and 20% of the population - free-born Athenian males over the age of 30. All citizens were educated and spent their time reading and talking about philosophy, the arts, science etc - they had the time to do so because the non-citizens (slaves, foreign merchants, and women) were doing all the work required to keep the city running. The ENTIRE body of citizens had their names put into a pot (not that kind of pot, NORML guy) and if your name was drawn out you HAD to serve. There was no popular election, no encouragement for people who wanted power.

    Modern democracy as it exists in the Western World is a fiasco. Our non-educated masses are more ignorant than ever before. The underclass of state-aid recipients has less incentive to move off the state tit than ever before. This protest march is a joke. Citizens binding referenda were NEVER part of democracy. The one country I know of which has them at the moment, Switzerland, is about to have a referendum on whether the Muslim call to prayer should sound out five times a day from the minarets which have already blotted the Swiss landscape. CBR would only work if we have a politically and critically literate electorate, which has a stake in the nation. When the Romans created representative or republican democracy, they limited the franchise to those who owned land because they had the most to lose if things went wrong. Creating a contribution-based franchise, where, as Oswald suggests, only people who give more than they take are permitted to vote, makes a lot of sense.

  17. I would be in support of binding referenda.

    The referenda we have had so far are not binding therefore they are not comparable.

    A binding referenda would have much more preparation, and participation by everyone.


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