INTRODUCTION: How to roll back the state using environmental judo
When New Zealand first announced it had made up the new position of Minister for the Environment, his professor at UC Berkeley told him, “If New Zealand now has a Minister for the Environment then eventually he must be Minister of Everything.”
This is true.
But the position could be used for good as well as bad. Using his position, and making the best use of present-day political pressures, a smart environment minister (were such a thing to exist) should be able to devise several cunning plans to roll back the state.
Clearly, however, the current incumbents have no such interest.
So starting this morning, I’m offering up seven environmental policies that a genuine opposition party could adopt if they were serious about rolling back the state. (The vigilant reader will notice they might have read them before in my 'Free Radical' article on 'Environmental Judo' that you can download in the sidebar.)
This morning, the introduction…
Wouldn’t it be good if there were a real opposition party, one that really represented genuine opposition to today’s malaise? Thinking of Phil Goof’s Labour Party in that manner stretches the imagination a bit too far--and Russel Norman’s Greens are no more interested in rolling back the state than flying to the moon. And ACT? Well, pardon me for being an unbeliever on that score.
But how about a “Party X” that genuinely did fit that bill? What exactly could they do? Ayn Rand offers the prescription for such a party:
Party X would oppose statism and would advocate free enterprise. But it would know that one cannot win anybody’s support by repeating that slogan until it turns into a stale, hypocritical platitude—while simultaneously accepting and endorsing every step in the growth of government controls.
Party X would know that opposition does not consist of declaring to the voters: “The Administration plans to tighten the leash around your throats until you choke—but we’re lovers of freedom and we’re opposed to it, so we’ll tighten it only a couple of inches.”
Party X would not act as Exhibit A for its enemies, when they charge that it is passive, stagnant, “me-tooing” and has no solutions for the country’s problems.
It would offer the voters concrete solutions and specific proposals, based on the principles of free enterprise. The opportunities to do so are countless, and Party X would not miss them.
As New Zealand opposition parties are slowly recognising, a local Party X would need to recognise the MMP environment – but that’s no reason to withdraw from a commitment to removing the leash from around our throats. Quite the opposite in fact, as it offers opportunities to use other party’s strengths in the same way that a judo master recognises opportunity in the strength of his adversary: a way to use his opponent’s strength against them.
Let’s suppose then that you wished to formulate concrete solutions and specific proposals to deregulate the environment along the principles of free enterprise — an area which I’m sure many regular readers will agree is one of increasing urgency. Let’s suppose you wish to ensure (as you should) that the leash is loosened without introducing any further tightening; to achieve specific and concrete gains in freedom, with no new elements of coercion.
Any party claiming to value freedom and enterprise should be simply brimming with cunning plans to get the state’s boot off our throats. Indeed, can suggest at least seven specific proposals that will fit this very principled Bill. For instance . . . Eco Untaxes, about which I’ll talk more tomorrow.