Friday, August 19, 2011

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Those Great Pretenders

_richardmcgrathGuest post by Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath

The 2011 Libertarianz conference and AGM was held last Saturday, at Mac’s Brewbar in Wellington. This is the speech he delivered to the assembled throng.

The 2011 general election is now a little over three months away. As of 24 June, there were 15 political parties registered in New Zealand. Since I’ve heard it said that several of these parties claim to hold principles similar to those of the Libertarianz Party, I checked out the websites of these Pretenders to find out more. Here’s what I discovered:

  • There is the National Party, whose stated values include individual freedom and choice, personal responsibility, competitive enterprise and limited government.
  • The ACT Party describes individuals as owners of their lives, with rights and responsibilities—and the purpose of government is to protect these rights and not to assume the responsibilities.
  • The Kiwi Party supports freedom of association, speech, assembly and religious belief.
  • The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, whose candidate in a recent by-election promised to put the toke back in Tai Tokerau, believes adults have the right to exercise freedom of choice, unless that choice harms other people.
  • New Zealand First’s policies include cutting government advisers and consultancies by 50%, lowering taxes and eliminating corruption within the state sector.
  • The Democrats for Social Credit say the individual is more important than the state, that co-operative enterprise should be the basis of economic organisation, and that the current monetary system is the major cause of war, poverty, inflation and other social problems.
  • The Maori Party’s policies include stopping Maori-owned land being confiscated under the Public Works Act, making the first $25k of income exempt from income tax, dropping the GST on food, dropping company tax and stopping any rise in compliance costs for businesses.
  • Not yet registered as a political party is the NZ (Taxpayers) Tea Party, who wants smaller government with lower taxes, less regulation, and less borrowing.

The remaining seven parties don’t even pretend to be interested in freedom, or in protecting the rights of New Zealanders.

  • United Future mentions, in passing, self-reliance.
  • The New Citizen Party appears to be a race-based party, along the lines of the Maori and Mana Parties, aiming to represent Chinese New Zealanders. No values or policies are available as yet and as the party did not apply for broadcasting funding for the 2011 election, we are unlikely to learn much more about them before November.
  • The Mana Party has no stated values and one policy, wanting more money from Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
  • As of 28 July, the NZ Labour Party had no values or principles it was willing to share on its website. There is a link to a 2-minute video with Phil Goff and others talking platitudes about people caring for each other, teachers being the best they can, owning our own future, a land of our own, development of the community, obligations to provide for others, a no-nonsense attitude,  a steak on every plate, a car in every house, and to every young girl a new pony. (At least one of these I have made up.) 
    There were brief glimpses of sanity on the Labour Party website with mention of ‘focusing on achievement’ and ‘people taking responsibility for their families,’ but nowhere could I find principles or policies by which these goals could be achieved. (But high up on the Labour Party plans for that would be, I’d wager, a need for oodles of taxpayers’ money.)
  • The Green Party's values are said to be: engaging respectfully, supporting ideas on their merit, challenging oppression, and fostering compassion, a sense of humour and enjoyment in the workplace.
  • The Alliance Party believes the dreams and aspirations of individual, identifiable New Zealanders should be sacrificed to the needs of anonymous, non-identifiable New Zealanders.
  • The website for Jim Anderton’s Progressives is rather quaint, with just 3 policies mentioned – free dental care, partial alcohol prohibition and increased levels of taxpayer-sourced superannuation. Like the Labour Party, it appears devoid of principle or – more likely – too afraid to make any principles available for private consumption. (Scary things, principles.)

Thus there are, on the one hand, at least seven registered political parties, plus two as yet unregistered with one or more policies said to be underpinned by the sort of values shared by libertarians everywhere.

There are also six registered political parties in this country that fail to acknowledge in any way at all the concept of inalienable personal rights—the protection of which is the single most important (in fact, only) job of government.

And then there is the Libertarianz Party – a party that has unequivocally held to the same principles and policies for the entire 15 years of its existence.  In summary those principles are:

  • individual sovereignty & tolerance for the choices of others
  • the right to create, acquire and control private property
  • voluntary interaction & the non-initiation of force
  • limited government
  • the rule of law
  • capitalism

In essence, these are corollaries of that one single principle: the non-aggression or non-bullying principle.

Simply put it is wrong for one person to bully another, and for governments to bully their citizens. Physical violence, and the threat of it, is immoral regardless of who is threatening who.

Unlike several parties in parliament whom I could mention, the Libertarianz is a party that does not merely pay lip service to the principles of small government while daily effecting their betrayal.  Unlike them, we have an unswerving commitment to expanding the freedom of every New Zealander by rolling back the gargantuan, bloated and overbearing Nanny State.

So what distinguishes the Libertarianz Party from the pretenders, from the others who smile and say nice things about freedom—which incidentally even the most diehard socialist wants for themselves, but not for others?

Well, clearly enough we are not in parliament while they are.  But to be there while doing over and daily voting against the principles on which you claim to stand neither advances your cause, nor your principles.

The one characteristic that sets Libertarianz apart from these pretenders is: INTEGRITY. Integrity is a wholeness, a consistency, an adherence to moral and ethical principles. A virtue, in other words, that is wholly and utterly alien to every single one of our elected representatives.

  • The problem with the National Party is that despite throwing about words like freedom, choice, responsibility and limited government, it does nothing in government to uphold them. Meanwhile, it shoots itself in the foot by throwing into the mix other values such as Queen-worship, caring communities, security and capitulation to Greenwash.
  • The ACT Party has allowed itself to be distracted from promoting classical liberal values by the antics of its former leader Rodney Hide and the resulting power struggle within the party, its increasing obsession with race, and the bizarre candidacy of John Banks in Epsom.
  • The Kiwi Party wants to nationalise native animals and plants and have government interference in the media, and restrictions on freedom of speech.
  • ALCP oppose the prohibition of their favoured substance, but favour the prohibition of those they don’t favour—like alcohol.
  • NZ First, as their name suggests, want a Fortress NZ, an expansion of the welfare state (especially for over-65s) and a knighthood for Garth George.
  • The Democrats for Social Credit would promote wasteful biofuels, the downside of which includes human starvation; would ban foreign investment in farm land, which would reduce local capital; would promote a state broadcasting arm to spread government propaganda; would subsidise the disabled at the expense of the able-bodied; introduce new taxes; would tolerate a central bank; would allow a government monopoly on energy sales; ‘free’ health care; subsidy of the performing arts. The few policies that are good, such as armed neutrality and restorative justice are outweighed by multiple Nanny State policies.
  • The Maori and Mana Parties promote special rights for racial groups, thus judging people by the colour of their skin and not by the content of their character.
  • United Future believe that adults who self-medicate without harming other people should be arrested, and that people who sell medication to others should be jailed without the option of home detention.

There is thus a tendency for New Zealand political parties to promote one or two token libertarian values, but you don’t have to dig far to discover they are all closet statists. It seems clear then that at this election, as in every other, you really only have two choices: either vote for one of the statists (with whichever favoured face of authoritarianism you choose) or you vote for the Libertarianz Party, the only party whose policies are compatible with freedom, with tolerance, and with deregulating every facet of human activity while outlawing every new form of coercion.

If you are looking for a registered political party advocating limited government and maximal personal freedom with consistency and integrity, then look no further then the Libertarianz Party of New Zealand—the party I am proud to lead.

Thank you.

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21 Comments:

Blogger KG said...

I agree with just about all the principles espoused by the Libz, as any freedom loving person would--yet your party consistently polls somewhere down in the cellar.
Why is that? I ask the question not to be a smart-arse, but because it's genuinely baffling.
Don't people value liberty any more?

8/19/2011 11:10:00 am  
Anonymous AJ said...

Sounds good, but where's your promoter statement?

8/19/2011 11:24:00 am  
Blogger Kiwiwit said...

You have my vote. Just so long as you don't promote any of PC's discrimatory half-measures such as he promotes here: http://pc.blogspot.com/2011/07/q-what-would-x-do-about-environment.html

8/19/2011 11:41:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Labour party principles are well known:

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.


As for the Libz - well Leftertarians - of course its a pathetic joke party, that's why no-one votes for it.

NZ lacks a real right-wing party: the Conservatives are still pretty damn wishy-washy! Who has commonsense policies like:
* no voting ever for state house kids, bludgers, codgers, junkies, crims or civil servants!
* voting restricted to high-value, high-worth, productive Kiwis
* immediate end to all state benefits, health, education. housing etc.
* banning unions, activists, communists & terrorists
* arming the cops & giving them the laws & tools to let them do their job!

Would the Libz support any of these commonsense policies - of course not?

8/19/2011 11:54:00 am  
Anonymous Bizarro #1 said...

the NZ Labour Party had no values or principles it was willing to share on its website

They're in the party constitution (linked in the 'downloads' tab on this page):

PRINCIPLES
2. The New Zealand Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles-
• All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot
• The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular nonrenewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
• All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.
• Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.
• All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
• All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.
• The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.
• Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.
• The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

OBJECTIVES
3. The objectives of the Labour Party are based on the above principles.
These objectives are -
• To elect competent men and women to Parliament and local authorities through free elections for the purpose of giving effect to Party policy and principles.
• To build and sustain an economy which can attract and retain the intelligence, skills and efforts of all citizens.
• To ensure the just distribution of the production and services of the nation for the benefit of all the people.
• To promote and protect the freedoms and welfare of all New Zealand citizens.
• To educate the public in the principles and objectives of democratic socialism and economic and social cooperation

8/19/2011 12:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

@Anon & Bizarro:

Thanks to you both. I e-mailed the Labour Party and the person that replied pointed me to the video on their website but didn't tell me Labour's principles were hidden within their constitution, which is not where one would normally go looking for them.

8/19/2011 02:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

@ Anon:

* no voting ever for state house kids, bludgers, codgers, junkies, crims or civil servants!

State house kids have no choice about where they were born. By bludgers do you include people on a state pension? There are many 'junkies' in full time productive work, why shouldn't they have a vote? Libz did debate disenfranchising beneficiaries, personally I support that policy but not everyone in the party did.

* voting restricted to high-value, high-worth, productive Kiwis

I say every self supporting NZer should have a vote.

* immediate end to all state benefits, health, education. housing etc.

We support phasing it out over 3-5 years

* banning unions, activists, communists & terrorists

Unions do some good; I would ban union thuggery however. Activists include libertarians, and we support free speech, so wouldn't support you there.

* arming the cops & giving them the laws & tools to let them do their job!

Yes! And letting the law-abiding public arm themselves against crims.

8/19/2011 02:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Bladder Cancer said...

I am fully agree whatever explained here. It's really good.

8/19/2011 10:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Mort said...

would the libz ban the burka?

8/19/2011 11:10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're an idiot Mort. Say what you like about the Libbos (ie they're wild-eyed Randian zealots made up mostly of real estate agents and spotty friendless adolescents), they are at least consistent in their advocacy of freedom. State-mandated dress codes kind of don't gel with that.

8/20/2011 04:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Maungakiekie said...

Dr McGrath, I enjoyed your subtly humorous take on our various political options.

May I ask a question in all sincerity: when you say that Libertarianz stands for the 'rule of law', which law are you referring to?

That is, what is the source of law, in your view?

And is it fixed or does it evolve over time?

8/20/2011 08:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

@Maungakiekie:

Your question is a valid and crucial one.

I can't put it any better than the following 2 sources:

From lexisnexis.co.nz:

"The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.

The most important application of the rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps that are referred to as due process. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy."

Note this distinguishes libertarians (minarchists) from anarchists. The former very much see a role for government, the latter believe there should be no state at all.

From capitalism.org:

"To ensure that no despot -- whether that despot be a single dictator, a political pressure-group, or a befuddled "democratic" majority of the moment -- may usurp the powers of government, and turn its machinery upon any of its citizens, each and every aspect of government action is codified, and carried out, according to objectively defined laws.

In a free society each and every man lives under a rule of law, as opposed to a whim-ridden rule of men. The rule of law has only one proper purpose: to protect the rights of the smallest minority that has ever existed -- the individual.

Such a body of integrated, codified, and non-contradictory laws form objective legislation, which hold a man innocent until he can be proven guilty, as opposed to a library of irrational regulations which hold a man guilty until he can somehow prove himself innocent, to the gratification of some misanthrope able to gain a foothold in public office.

The supreme legal document of a proper society is the constitution -- a citizen's protection against both private criminals and public officials who seek to imitate the criminal's methods.

The purpose of the constitution is not to grant unlimited power to government, or to limit the rights of an individual, but to limit the power of government to its only valid purpose: the protection of individual rights. In other words, a citizen is free to do whatever he is not explicitly forbidden (under a proper legal system the only act forbidden is the violation of the rights); whereas, a state official is only allowed to carry out what is explicitly permitted."

Thus, a constitution, such as that proposed by the Libertarianz Party, is an integral part of establishing the rule of law.

There is no place for laws that favour the poor, Maori or any other minority group, at the expense of others. Justice must be blind and seen to be so.

8/21/2011 02:55:00 pm  
Blogger James said...

Bit rich attacking ACT's correct opposition to the Maorification of NZ when Libz were doing the exact same thing for years.Read back through you Free Radicals to see near word for word what John Ansell's saying now...and then go read his ;latest piece...http://johnansell.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-the-treaty-but-were-too-terrified-of-being-labelled-a-racist-to-ask-part-1-maori-ask-british-for-protection-from-maori/

8/21/2011 03:46:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

@James, it looks to me like Ansell has gone far beyond simply One Law For All, and started to express views I would have more expected to hear from the likes of John Banks--and undoubtedly will very soon. The kind of thing that could easily tarnish the One LawFor All argument for a generation.

That is very worrying.

8/21/2011 09:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

@KG

To be honest - in my experience it is because the majority of the population have never heard of the party, let alone can tell you what it stands for.

The reason for that? Well being consistently ignored by the media has a large effect.

8/21/2011 09:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Christian Libz said...

Sean, what don't you say the obvious instead of spouting bullshit. You say that the majority of the population have never heard of the party, let alone can tell you what it stands for. There is a sizable chunk of the population that have heard of the Libz. They have heard too many messages from the Libz. The Libz should concentrate on a few policies that matter to the average person, like too much nanny-stating, killing the RMA, free markets, less government, personal responsibilities, etc,...

Instead, you Libz go on and on about petty policies such as legalizing marijuana, and non-important stuff like that as if someone gives a fuck about that. Legalizing dope, won't put food on the table for the average citizens. It won't help them get better education, health, or even lift themselves out of poverty. People are not interested whether it is legalize or not. The only ones who would come against it are the well fed ones, the middle class. The poor (which is the majority voters) don't give a fuck. So, I would suggest that you concentrate on major policies that matter to people.

The other issue is that most Libz members, do appear to be Christian bashing and that puts off a lot of us christians.

8/22/2011 08:07:00 am  
Anonymous Sean Fitzpatrick said...

@Christian Libz

You may call it BS but with all due respect I am speaking from personal experience. If I had a dollar for every time I mention the Libertarianz party to get in response, 'who?' I would be able to finance an election campaign.

I don't know about people having heard 'too many' messages from us - the things you mention are the main things we riff on regularly. And just how much of the noise we make on these issues do you see in the media? I don't see it there so I doubt most other ordinary Nz'ers see it either.

Maybe you are making the mistake of assuming because you read political blogs (where Libz do figure fairly prominently) everyone else does. Fact is Bruce and Raewyn Average Kiwi have much better things to do with their time than read blogs - especially political ones.

You say we go on about inconsequential things like dope smoking and...... well that is about it really. Not being a drug user myself I might sympathize but the fact is our party stands for personal freedom and the laws concerning cannabis is such an obvious target it would be silly to ignore it. Once again I don't think it makes up the majority of our time and effort but frankly is a stand that serves to help the party avoid the inaccurate label of being 'right wing'.

As for Christian bashing I am not aware of any official Libz document that attacks Christianity. As a former Church goer myself with many dearly loved friends still within the faith I would never align myself with such behavior. Libertarianism includes the principle of tolerance, as you well know, and that goes both ways. Makes no difference if you are into Christianity, Objectivisim or Asatru.

On a personal note you obviously care a lot about the same freedom issues as Libz do, even if you do not feel fully comfortable with the way the party has performed. My invitation is to meet Libz in real life, rather than lobbing comments back and forth online, and discovering for yourself that these may be people you can work together with.

That's what I did.

8/22/2011 09:48:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should Libertarians be considered left-wing or anti-Christian? I am neither and yet find the Libertarian principles to be in perfect harmony with my own. I don't have to smoke marijuana to believe that those who want to should be allowed to do so to the degree that it does no harm to others. I like the colour blue, but there are plenty of other colours in the rainbow for people to prefer if they wish.

8/22/2011 12:37:00 pm  
Anonymous DS said...

I seriously doubt Christian Lib and Kg voted Libz in '08 despite continually saying they support the party's policies.

In fact these two criticise Libertarianism at every opportunity and belong in the conservative or ACT camp, and it is a waste of time to engage with them.

8/22/2011 02:31:00 pm  
Blogger Greig said...

@DS I don't think it's a waste of time to clearly state principles, and attempt to remove confusion. Sean is doing an excellent job, and even if his audience isn't the intended person, one never knows who will be won over by a well stated public argument.

I voted ACT in '08. It was a pragmatic choice based on the party I thought would have more actual impact in government based on my one measly vote. I was recently weighing up doing so again in this election, after Perigo himself threw in with them.

I've concluded that pragmatism has brought us to where we are - a sidelined and (I agree with Sean) almost unheard of bunch of idealists. Still, I am, and shall remain an idealist. I'll not be accused of hypocrisy on this again. Keep having these debates. Keep exposing people to freedom. Keep busting myths. Vote Libz 2011.

8/23/2011 09:33:00 am  
Anonymous Greg said...

"The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The rule follows logically from the idea that truth, and therefore law, is based upon fundamental principles which can be discovered, but which cannot be created through an act of will.

[...]

Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy."


Think about that a bit. If the first paragraph is taken literally (esp. the final clause), your "rule of law" is precisely and necessarily equivalent to anarchy (in the an-cap sense)!

8/24/2011 06:45:00 pm  

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