Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for headlines and stories in issues affecting our freedom
This week’s haul highlights stories on cancers, both personal and parliamentary.
- “Dying GP’s plea for euthanasia” – Stricken by a particularly nasty form of cancer, GP Dr John Pollock has written a powerful and moving letter outlining why euthanasia should be legalized, addressing some of the common arguments trotted out in defence of the status quo.
He points out that the NZ Medical Association opposes legalizing euthanasia. I believe the NZMA should rethink its stance on this issue, to recognize the individual sovereignty of people and their right to control the manner in which their life ends. The state should not usurp people’s ownership of their bodies. Libertarianz advocates that government step back and allow people to decide for themselves the manner and timing of their death.
- “St George’s treats Auckland cancer patients” – The Press notes that Auckland cancer patients are being sent for private radiotherapy in Christchurch, while Canterbury cancer patients have to join a die-while-you-wait queue for treatment. Why don’t all hospitals send their patients for private treatment, instead of allowing the disease to progress to a less curable state? That’s the beauty of private enterprise – its responsiveness to demand.
People are not thrown off waiting lists in the private sector. Supply is based on the ability to pay, it’s true, but this usually reflects how much purchasers themselves value their care; and those supplied are selected based only on their ability to pay - not excluded by skin colour or age, nor selected based on some bureaucratic idea of “subjective need.” They are “self-selected” instead simply by the system of free exchange of values.
People who make provision for their health needs are thus rewarded; those who make no such provision need to look to family, friends or charity for the means to afford health care. There is no right to receive hi-tech Western medical treatment – or any other health service for that matter. Only one political party pledges to give people back control over the health care they receive: Libertarianz.
- ““MP fears for bill to beat loan sharks” – Labour MP Carol Beaumont believes some New Zealanders are too stupid to be lent money, while others who are willing to lend money to high risk debtors should be prohibited from charging for the extra cost of lending to high risk debtors.
Does she think the less well-off will thank her when they find themselves unable to find anyone willing to lend them money?
As with any government intervention in the economy, there would no doubt be further intervention to address the problems caused by Carol’s original intervention. But wait – will Carol herself come to the rescue of these poor deserving souls to whom no-one will now lend money? Or will that new intervention take the form of a state lender, who will throw sackfuls of other people’s money at these toxic debtors, many of whom have already been showered for years with all manner of benefits unrelated to productivity.
So it is that the whole depressing cycle of growing dependence on the state for handouts is perpetuated.
Why doesn’t Carol just mind her own business and butt out of people’s lives--leaving Stacey Jones and Instant Finance free to serve those folk who want they can provide? Let the people for whom she expresses such concern learn the value of thrift and saving without her busybody sticky-beak interference.
Carol seems determined to shield others from the consequences of their free choices – in the long run, she is not doing them – or the taxpayer – any favours.
- “Coroner blames MPs for not acting” – Funnily enough, I sat next to the coroner quoted in this article for breakfast this morning, at a meeting here in Masterton with local doctors and funeral directors to discuss some of the finer points of death certification. Coroner for the Wellington and Wairarapa districts, Ian Smith, notes that 10 people a year die in accidents involving all-terrain vehicles. He was particularly upset that an adult, with no experience riding a quad bike, chose to ride one which he borrowed from a farmer, and came to grief. His employers were fined a total of $140,000.
Mr Smith suggests making roll cages, seat belts and helmets compulsory on quad bikes. Yet he remains oblivious to the fact that there are more than 70,000 quad bikes in active service throughout New Zealand. It is likely that around 69,990 of these bikes will not be involved in fatal accidents next year, yet all their owners will be penalized on the basis of 10 deaths. How does he even know that these safety features would have prevented any of the 100 deaths over the past 10 years? What about those people who don’t stupid risks while riding their quad bikes? Does their liberty count for anything? Obviously not.
The onus for minimizing the risk of death from accidents on quad bikes rests with the individual rider, or in the case of children with their parents. Personally, I have refused to allow my children to ride quad bikes. They can do that once they reach adulthood if that is their wish. But I firmly believe that adults should face up to their responsibilities and be allowed to decide what are reasonable safety precautions when riding a quad bike. It’s a dangerous world out there, machines can kill, and it appears that the vast majority of ATV riders (69,990/70,000 = 99.986%) are capable of keeping themselves alive despite a general lack of rollcages, helmets and seat belts.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the
government fear the people, there is liberty.
-attributed to Thomas Jefferson