Thursday, 25 February 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Creech, credit cards and Christ-deniers

Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers again for stories on issues affecting our freedom. This week: Creech, credit cards and Christ-deniers.

  1. _richardmcgrath Atheists claim bias over rejection of ‘No God’ ads – NZ Bus (which appears to be what was Stagecoach, now owned by Infratil) has rejected an offer by a group calling itself NZ Atheist Bus Campaign to run God-denying ads on the sides of its buses. The NZ Atheist Bus Campaign is now contemplating legal action against the bus company, calling the rejection “discriminatory”. And you know what? They’re dead right. It is discriminatory.
        These days the term ‘discriminatory’ has gathered such negative associations that it is often used as an insult or an  accusation. In fact, to discriminate literally means to distinguish or differentiate; in this case, the bus company  has made a distinction between advertising it wants to run on its vehicles and advertising it chooses not to feature .
        As owners of the buses, NZ Bus has the perfect right to reject any or all advertising on its buses. The issue here is not only one of property rights; it involves understanding what freedom of speech entails. Freedom of speech does not mean a  person can demand a microphone, a loudhailer or the side of a bus from someone else who owns it in order to propagate their beliefs (or in this case, lack of belief). The NZ Atheist Bus Campaign simply needs to find a billboard somewhere else, and to drop any thoughts of legal action against those who own the buses.
        They need to realise that others are under no obligation to run their ads.

  2. Creech wrong for water review, say Greens – Greens leader Russel Norman says former Nat deputy PM Wyatt Creech has  too much of a conflict of interest in leading a review of water management in Canterbury. And Mr Norman certainly has a  point, with Mr Creech being a director of a dairy company. A “polluting” dairy company.
        Just as Mr Norman must consider himself a “polluting” human. I wonder if he purchases carbon credit for the CO2 he  emits every time he exhales, a gas that the green lobby keeps telling us is “poisonous”. Except to plant life, that is.
        Anyway, Mr Creech and his review team recommended replacing Environment Canterbury with a team of commissioners. Environment Canterbury is another regional council monopoly, with responsibility for such things as monitoring  pollution, irrigation schemes, local parks and enforcing the Resource Management Act. Unfortunately governments have a poor track record at preserving the environment in the command-and-control fashion prescribed under that piece of legislation, the prime examples being the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, and the degradation of large areas of East Germany through neglect and pollution by the governing Socialist Unity Party, unchecked by any possible recourse to property rights by the citizenry.
        I say well done, Mr Creech. Many of the functions of Environment Canterbury would be rendered redundant if people were held accountable for their actions and could more easily pursue claims for damages. If people were permitted to use their land for productive purposes, as long as they were not harming others the government should take no interest – hence the Resource Management Act could be abolished, with recourse to common law precedent in settling disputes.
        The legal system needs to be made cheaper and easier so that justice is not delayed (and thereby denied). Such things as irrigation schemes should be managed by mutual consent between neighbouring properties, not the nightmare of eminent domain. The educational activities of Environment Canterbury could be privatized and run by those with an interest in preserving clean air and waterways, funded voluntarily.
        All these layers of state bureaucracy – national, regional and local government – must be coercively bankrolled through taxation.
        The Libertarianz Party believes there has to be a better way for people to interact – in peaceful co-existence, not with government seizing an ever-increasing fraction of our earnings to build empires of bureaucrats who might mean well, but who stifle productivity and frustrate those who genuinely want to achieve and succeed with the limited resources at their disposal.
  3. Ministers sorry for credit card spending – Sorry?! Don’t make me laugh!! Three senior cabinet ministers have proven themselves unable to adhere to the strict guidelines for use of the taxpayer-funded credit card. These same people are part of a government that oversees a multi-billion dollar budget. Do you trust them to be able to control their spending urges with this money? Do you trust them to be able to live within their means, or will they rack up further deficits, to be paid for by our children and grand-children?
         But what can you expect from a generation whose main economic influences were Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes? When you are told incessantly that spending money you don’t have  is a recipe for prosperity-- as in Greece -- as in other soon-to-be-revealed European basketcase economies -- as in the United States –– then after a while you start to believe it. 
        It’s so easy, and great fun, spending other people’s money. And if the coffers are running low, just bump up the rate of GST! Fifteen percent is for wimps. Roll on twenty! Hell, the Tories in Britain are planning to do just that.             
        The credit-card spending of these specimens is just an example in microcosm of their attitude to spending in macrocosm.
  4. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government fear the people, there is liberty.
    - Thomas Jefferson  


  1. If NZ Atheist Bus Campaign wants to see some real discrimination, of the kind they claim to be suffering in NZ, then maybe they should go and try to put "there is no allah" signs up in Saudi Arabia. That would be entertaining :-)

  2. @heisenbug: What do you mean? Aren't Islamic countries a model of tolerance and goodwill, especially toward women?

  3. Irrigation schemes in places like Canterbury are a hard one.... Water extraction affects not just your neighbours, but potentially everyone else who's extracting water from the same aquifer dowstream (including the entire city of Christchurch).

    The affect of a particular irrigation scheme may be unnoticed, but it total they will have a noticable affect on groundwater levels.

    I'm sure there's a libertarian solution to this, and it probably rests around property rights/ownership of the groundwater resource.

    Ecan are doing a crap job, to be sure. But it is a complex area and it's not just a simple matter of whether your irrigation scheme has affects on your neighbours...

  4. Mark, the answer is water storage, rather than extracting from aquifers. Stopping the rain water washing out to sea in the rivers.

  5. Richard

    Yes, of course they are. To say otherwise would be racist. Just ask Sally!


  6. Yes Mark H, water storage is one of the practical options. But it's expensive so there's always going to be a demand for aquifer abstraction. Also large river extraction for storage (such as the Central Plains scheme) probably means less water in the aquifer for existing users.

    Practical solutions aside, the issue I'm raising is more around the rights of the matter, and how it would ideally be handled, even if we ditched Ecan and implemented a free market solution.

    Every new irrigation scheme (whether it be storage or ground extraction) potentially has a detrimental affect on all the existing water users in that catchment. This applies to Canterbury in particular because of our unique geomorphology.

    But the problem is, you don't know and can't know with any certainly who's affected and the extent of the effect you're having. The science is not settled!

  7. Well written Doc. And good to see you back in your regular spot.



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