Wednesday 31 October 2007

Backside smacks more outrageous than armed attacks?

David Farrar points out the Greens' enthusiasm for the police coming down hard on parents for the serious crime of smacking a backside, but their outrage when the police investigate minor stuff like alleged firearm and terrorism offences.

Odd, don't you think.

David wonders about Green police priorities. I have to say, I wonder about Green priorities of any sort. It's often thought that the Greens primary interest is the environment, but this is hardly borne out by the interests of their spokesmen and women. Jeanette Fitzsimons aside, few if any of the the Greens' spokesmen or women seem to take any interest at all in the environment, and then only if it offers an opportunity to bash capitalism, industry or enterprise.

I posted a while back the results of a search on the Greens' site that showed their favourite word to be "ban," which appeared 165 times on their site. An overview of Green press releases (using their left column as the subject header) suggests ... well, you see what you think.

The phony liberal quiz

The Times would like to ask you some questions to ascertain Are You a Phony Liberal?: "Where Do You Stand in the Culture Wars?"

Turns out that I'm "a genuine progressive." How 'bout that! How 'bout you?

Independence, if you can afford it!

I must confess that when living in London I used to enjoy winding up advocates of Scottish and Welsh Independence by pointing out that Scotland and Wales were both nett parasites -- that neither nation produced enough to be truly independent, both getting far more from the British taxpayer in welfare payments and subsidies than was either produced or extracted from them in the first place. The point was naturally never too popular.

I see David Garrett making a similar point in yesterday's Herald to Tuhoe's would-be advocates for independence:
An independent nation is usually self funding - where is the funding for the Tuhoe nation to come from? Secession would of course mean an immediate end to all welfare payments, funds for schools, subsidies for doctors visits and the free hospital care that we all take for granted...

All of the trappings of Western society - even such mundane items as roofing iron, nails and paint - cost money. There is the possibility of trade or barter, but the market for root crops and Maori handicrafts is likely to be fairly limited.Even if successful trade relationships are established - which is inevitably a long process - it will take a lot of flax ketes to buy even one new set of tyres.
As Garrett says, be careful what you wish for. At the idea of an independent Tuhoe my mind went back to a delicious satire of Lindsay Perigo's a few years back: the declaration of two independent nations in New Zealand, the People's Republic of Aotearoa, which would occupy the North Island and contain the bludgers, the whingers and the products of university Sociology departments and Maoist "consciousness raising" camps, and the Republic of New Freeland which would occupy the South Island and contain free people willing to take responsibility for their own lives. The residents of the latter would no longer be encumbered by funding the welfare cheques of the former, who would be required to make their own way, if they can.
[In the People's Republic of Aotearoa] everyone will be paid the same, & taxed at 50%. Imports will attract a standard 50% tariff, immigration will be confined to people unable to support themselves, & foreign investment will be prohibited. EVERYTHING in the PRA will be either illegal or compulsory. Coffee, tea, red meat, tobacco & alcohol will be added to the list of prohibited substances. All forms of private education will be banned; the guvamint will require all children to be "educated" by it from the age of three. All citizens will be required to learn Maori; after two years the speaking of English will be a punishable offence. All forms of private health care will be banned, & the People's Republic of Aotearoa will become one giant mental asylum rather similar to the present New Zealand, only more so. No one will be permitted to leave.
In New Freeland, the guiding principle shall be, each person is the owner of his or her life & may live it as he or she chooses, & will be required to respect the self-ownership of others. Nothing will be illegal except acts that violate the self-ownership of others. There will be no tax, no welfare state, no tariffs, no subsidies, no restrictions on the movement of people in & out of the country, no government-mandated national currency, no government interference in the economy or anything else unless there's an issue of individual rights involved. People will be free to earn - and keep - whatever anyone is prepared to pay them.
Independence? Real political independence only emerges from genuine individual independence.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Tories and toryism

Tories never change their spots. Said Tom Paine of the repellent breed in 1776:
"And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave."
And in 1960 Ayn Rand observed:
Today's "conservatives" are futile, impotent and, culturally, dead. They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country's uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship.
And now? Nothing really needs to be said, except perhaps to observe the front bench of the National Party...

Tax cuts aren't inflationary

Are tax cuts inflationary? I say no. I say "Hell, no!" Trained economist Phil Rennie shows unusual acumen for an economist by coming to a firm conclusion on the matter, and excellent sense by agreeing with me. "The important point about tax cuts," he says, "is that they are actually less inflationary than government spending."

Nutjobs or something more?

So far the arrested seventeen have been charged only under evidence brought under the Arms Act and (I understand) under the Crimes Act, and since name suppression and suppression of the facts has been in action at (we understand) the request of the defendants' lawyers, we've all rather been in the dark as to what is going on.

That vacuum has left plenty of scope for speculation, which plenty of numb nuts have been happy to fill by yelling "racism!" "state oppression!" and "unconditional support!"

Even the often sensible Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn has been seen waving the simpering 'these people wouldn't hurt a fly' flag, suggesting this week for example that defending the seventeen -- "not the sort" of people who strike you as terrorists, he says without hearing the evidence -- is a "core issue of freedom." Without the evidence it's simply impossible to make a judgement about the charges laid so far, and like everyone else I look forward to seeing if there's sufficient evidence to bring charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act, and just what that evidence is.

I/S appears to offer unconditional support however, saying "Whatever evidence they have, it had better be good - because its very difficult to see what three environmental film-makers, a Palestinian rights campaigner, a stirrer and a nutjob have in common." As it turns out, it's not too difficult at all. All of them for a start are anti-everything nutjobs who hate capitalism, hate industry and hate what civilisation has brought to New Zealand, which in itself isn't a crime, of course, but when it's combined with possession of napalm, molotov cocktails and high powered snipers rifles it should at least make you sit up and pay attention.

And Trevor Loudon suggests what at least one more of those common threads might be: the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Read Trevor's posts on the subject over recent days to see what's already on the record connecting the local anti-colonialists, anti-capitalists and anti-industrialists with the Mexican Zapatista movement, an armed revolutionary group which in 1994 "declared war on the Mexican state."

And keep an eye on the evidence adduced under the Terrorism Suppression Act when it's finally made public, and on who is keeping it suppressed if it isn't.

Thomas More - Hans Holbein

Master portrait painter Hans Holbein's portrayal of the man lionised in Robert Bolt's masterful Man For All Seasons. [Click to enlarge.]

Diane Durante analyses the painting in this month's 'Objective Standard' - her analysis is chiefly focussed on the choices the artist makes in putting paint to canvas. Why this pose rather that that; these props rather than those; this skin tone rather than that. "What do you mean," I hear you object. "Skin tone!?" Yep, every single line, tone and dot the artist chooses to put on canvas is there because he selected it, she points out. If you're painting me, she says, then "even such ... seemingly minor detail[s] as the way in which you represent my skin will convey significant information to viewers about your estimate of me, my lifestyle, my health, my character." What an artist selects as fundamentally important betrays his view of the subject, and conveys to us, the viewer, his view of the world (and, if that resonates with us, it has the capacity to affect us profoundly).

From this portrait Durante concludes that Holbein saw More as worldly, "self-confident, unostentatiously elegant, and conscientious" -- in other words, someone to admire. Seems to me however from the hunted look Holbein gives him that he also saw him as doomed... Click to enlarge and decide for yourself from the clues the artist gives us.

Monday 29 October 2007

Safety fast

Only God can make a tree, observed PJ O'Rourke, but only man can drive by one at one-hundred-and-fifty miles per hour. I can't boast that my little MG can do anywhere near that sort of speed, but driving up the North Island on my way back from Saturday's Atlas Celebrations in Wellington with the sun out, the roof down and my foot flat to the floor in company with another classic car owner, I meditated again that New Zealand is a gorgeous country in which to drive fast, and far too beautiful a place to be left to the tribalists, the collectivists and the postmodern wankers.

As Dave Henderson said Saturday night, these islands are our home -- and a truly breathtaking home it is, full of great landscapes, good people and fun-loving machinery like this.

Don't let it go!

UPDATE: Here's a pic of myself and my driving companion leaving Tarawera (shot of accompanying TR6 sadly still unavailable) ...

... and myself and a much better looking companion:

UPDATE 2: BTW, anybody understand the "Safety Fast" reference? I guess not. It used to be the official MG slogan: "Safety Fast! Raise your heartbeat!" Worth raising a glass or two to, huh.

Knock me down with a feather ...

... Clever Trevor.

Courtesy of Whale Oil.

The 'October' Revolution that wasn't

I missed my regular commemoration of the Bolshevik's 'October Revolution' last week, so let me remind you now that the Bolsheviks were pissweak, murdering liars, and invite you to read last year's explanation of why I say that, and Liberty Scott's recent revival of the commemoration tradition: Ninety Years On - Repent, Apologise and Be Wary.

UPDATE: Some former Octoberists need to apologise, says one former 'Cambridge Bolshevik' in The Times -- and many of course, still embracing the authoritarian urge, are are now warmists ...
"Bolshevism and the Russian revolution may have disintegrated in ruins but the generation that raised its toast in the direction of the Kremlin 40 years ago has triumphed. Leninism has been defeated almost everywhere in the world, but the postwar generation of baby boomers who went so far left in the 1960s now control this country’s leading institutions. Their taste for totalitarian simplicities and weakness for millenarian terrors has been digested into modern feminism, environmentalism and global warming. Many remain absolutely unrepentant about their past because they have been so successful in the present...

Much that I did in my youth can now make me shout aloud with shame; but not much is more mortifying than to think I once toasted mass murderers, torturers and totalitarian despots. How to explain it?
Read on. [Hat tip Marcus]

Cue Card Libertarianism - Racism

RACISM: Assessing the worth of a person by his skin colour and ancestry. The lowest form of collectivism -- what author Ayn Rand calls a "barnyard" form of collectivism.

Called by its proper name when exercised by a majority or enacted in law as it was in apartheid South Africa, racism is however euphemised as ethnicity when practiced by a minority or when racism is being "politely" smuggled in by multiculturalists under the banner of political correctness.

To judge a person's worth based only his skin colour or his genes is to ignore what makes a person truly human: his mind, and the choices he makes with it. By what he is given by nature, and what he does with that. It is our ability to make choices -- moral choices -- that is part of what makes us distinctly human beings.

The foundation of what it is to be distinctly human is our ability to make choices; fundamentally, our faculty of free will, which consists of our ability to choose to think; that is to switch on what makes us distinctively human: our brains. Defining yourself or others not by things that are consciously chosen but instead by things over which you have no control denies what it is to be distinctively human -- and this is the very evil of racism: that it de-humanises people, and views them as little more than as various kinds of cattle.

This is the very reason Ayn Rand identified racism as the collectivism of the barnyard. It is a method of grouping people on the basis of attributes that deny their humanity.

After centuries of the eruption of racial violence and tribal conflict, this sort of collectivism still unfortunately persists in the Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Centuries, and allows all sorts of bad stuff to proliferate: from the persistent demands of the Turia/Sharples Maori Party for race-based favours; to the soft bigotry of low expectations decried by Walter Williams; to the outright evil of trainloads of human beings poured into the gas chambers and crematoria of Nazi Germany, buried in the mass graves of Bosnia, and bombed by tribalists in places like Iraq and Sudan and Sri Lanka.

When you ask yourself in despair how these horrors of 'ethnic cleansing' and inter-tribal warfare still happen, it starts with the de-humanisation of human beings. As the ultimate denial of what makes us distinctively human, racism is the pre-eminent form of de-humanisation.

Recognition of free will is the enemy of racism. It is also the foundation of a genuine individualism.

Defining oneself by one’s race and tradition -- things over which one has no control -- is utterly incompatible with defining oneself by one’s conscious choices. Deriving pride in one's own achievements rather than just those of one's ancestors -- this is the very essence of individualism.

The point here is that whatever our genes might say about us, it’s far from all they say about us. In the age-old argument as to whether it is genes or environment that ‘create us,’ what is infinitely more important is to realise that genes and environment are only half the actual picture. The other half of the picture – the one about which we can do something ourselves -- is the faculty that helps make us distinctively human: Free will. The choices we make to do the things we do.

Tibor Machan has a useful way of seeing how these three things co-relate: nature and nurture (in other words genes and environment) give us our personality, the things about which we as adult human beings can do nothing about. But character is what we make of this. Character is what we choose to do to make ourselves. Character, the thing that makes the us in each of us, is made possible by the faculty of free will.

We might have genes that make us potentially great at tennis or golf, at painting or at music, at intellectual pursuits or sporting endeavour – what is critical however is what we ourselves choose to do about those potentials, what we do to either make the most of them, or ignore them.

“Man,” as Ayn Rand affirmed, “is a being of self-made soul.” We are each given our own ingredients, and by the choices we make with what we’re given we go on to make ourselves. That’s what it is to be a human being, and it's on those things that we should really judge each other. As Martin Luther King said so resoundingly in the days before his death, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character..." Magnificent!

As anybody who's ever read a newspaper would already know, in the New Zealand of 2007 state-sponsored minority racism is much more of a problem than spontaneous, private majority racism. Sincere opponents of racism must realise that, as with all forms of collectivism, its most potent antidote is individualism.

Individualism is colour blind -- and so should you be, and should the law.

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by NZ libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here.

Winston right on racist party

It must be election year, because Winston Peters has woken up. And when Winston wakes up, he always begins by playing to his core audience. That doesn't mean he isn't right.

Of course the Maori Party is separatist: separate justice, planning and welfare systems have been core platforms for the Maori Party since its inception. Of course the Maori Party is racist: special political favours doled out by race is and always will be core policy for the Racist Party.

To call the Maori Party separatist is simply to state the obvious: they've been playing the race card since day one, and everyone knows it even if they're too timid to say it.
Mr Peters ... said accused the protesters of marching in support of arrested Tuhoe activist Tame Iti only "because he is brown."

"We once marched against apartheid, now they are marching for it."
It's true, isn't it. And the mainstream parties have no answer to it. When Winston is right -- even if it's only a bid to attract attention -- he can sometimes be right on the money.

UPDATE: Helen Clark insists this morning that the Maori Party is concerned not with apartheid -- as that would entail keeping one race down rather than giving special favour on the basis of race -- and not with race, but with "ethnicity." As I've said before, "ethnicity" is simply an anti-concept used as a euphemism for race:
ETHNICITY: The elevating of one’s racial identity and associated cultural traditions to a position of supreme importance – a racist version of collectivism, under-pinned by post-modernism in philosophy, and still very fashionable in academia...

Defining oneself by one’s race and tradition -- things about which one has no control over -- is utterly incompatible with defining oneself by one’s conscious choices, and deriving pride in one's own achievements rather than just those of one's ancestors -- which is the essence of individualism.

The antidote to the poison race-baiting, race war and all this irrelevant attention paid to the colour of a person's skin is individualism: to judge a person by the actual choices they make, not by who they 'chose' as their grandparents.

Friday 26 October 2007

Beer O'Clock - Tuatara Porter

Stu from SOBA offers another beer for your drinking pleasure ...

In my final piece on stealth beers - that is, those beers flying under the mainstream
radar - I quench my insatiable thirst with Tuatara Porter, an old favourite and undeniably one of New Zealand's finest porters (probably the trendiest of dark beer styles, at the moment).

To the average beer geek, Wellington's Tuatara breweries is one of New Zealand's iconic microbreweries. To the unitiated, however, it's just another unknown brewery, one that flies well underneath the popular radar. Like Wellington's new football team, Carl Vasta's
brewery rose from from the ashes - or at least, ex-equipment - of other New Zealand microbreweries. Having plied his trade as a homebrewer, and then commercially at Polar and the more well-known Parrot and Jigger, he hand-built and opened the Tuatara brewery on his Reikiorangi farm - about an hour north of Wellington.

Unlike many of his better known contemporaries, Vasta shuns a "house yeast" in favour of a wide range of characterful, true-to-origin yeasts to produce his range of beers. While adding to the complexities of the brewing process and brewhouse management, it certainly adds an extra
dimension and depth of subtlety to his beers that other breweries don't manage to achieve.

Tuatara Porter - the darkest beer in Vasta's range - has been one of my
long-standing "go to" drinks. If I'm not sure what I want, I'll go to it. If I really do know what I want I might walk across town to go to it (hell, sometimes I feel like I'd walk barefoot over broken glass, hot coals or even both to go to it). It's changed subtley over the years, while
remaining consistently top-class and very much true to its 'Brown Porter' style.

The Porter pours an inky garnet-hued dark brown, with a light tan head (if you're lucky enough to get it from a traditional handpump, it'll be thick and creamy). The nose is a sublime combination of delicate fruit esters, dark chocolate, ashy roasted malt notes and earthy hops. In the mouth it surprisingly light, quenching and moreish - totally in keeping with it's working-class origins - and it delivers all the flavours you're expecting from the nose, with a gentle balancing malt sweetness.

If you like a strong coffee to lift you into the morning, you'll love a pint of Tuatara Porter to ease you into the evening.

At the recent BrewNZ beer awards, Vasta's hard work was rewarded with a silver medal for the Porter, as well as for each of the following beers: Pilsner, IPA, Hefe (a cloudy South German-style wheat beer) and Ardennes (a strong, spicy Belgian-style pale ale). To top it off his IPA was awarded best in class for UK and European-style ales, making Tuatara Porter just one of a number of excellent, under-rated beers from the Tuatara Brewery - possibly the most under-rated brewery in New Zealand. If there were an award for Champion New Zealand Brewery, based on all results, Tuatara may well have scooped this too!

Rumour has it that the Tuatara range is on the move to Auckland. Wherever you are, look out for them.

Cheers, Stu.

Atlas celebration

I'm off on a road trip to Wellington today, heading for a Saturday night celebration that you might want to attend yourself: a celebration of Atlas Shrugged, the novel published fifty years ago this month that's still in Amazon's best-seller list, and richly deserves to be. "A quarter century after her death, and half a century after the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism ... is back," says Forbes magazine.

"One of the most influential business books ever written," declared the New York Times recently about Atlas. "The only novel in all literature to come to grips with the most significant event of the last two-hundred years... to fully grasp the meaning of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution and to give them expression both in literature and in philosophy," says Robert Tracinscki. "With the 1957 publication of Atlas Shrugged," says Onkhar Ghate, "Ayn Rand became the most remarkable of individuals: a moral revolutionary. For anyone interested in ideas, it's a book that deserves to be read and re-read."

Read, re-read and celebrated! Join us Saturday night upstairs at Wellington's Murphy's Bar from 7pm: Shrugging Atlas Dave Henderson will speak, as will Lindsay Perigo, as will I, as will SOLO head Mitch Lees -- but none of us for too long, brevity being the soul of celebration. With special entertainment by SOLO's resident stand-up comic Matty Orchard and the fine brews of Murphy's fine establishment on tap, it promises to be a great evening celebrating this revolutionary novel. Join us!

Oh, and the art works? That's actually Hercules above, sculpted by William Brodie (1815-1881) -- a special prize to the person who picks the location -- and below is Bryan Larsen's Self Absolution of the Titan. And just to remind you of the power of Atlas Shrugged itself, This is John Galt Speaking.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Political violence

The 'war on a tactic' had another casualty last night, as the New Zealand parliament amended the existing Suppression of Terrorism Amendment Act to make it easier to politicise violence.

I don't approve.

If we remove the conspiratorial rubbish from many commentators drawing connections between this amendment and recent arrests -- a coincidence that makes passing of the amendment more difficult rather than less, and a connection for which not a shred of proof has been adduced -- I'm in the unusual position of largely agreeing with quoted statements by two different parliamentary parties on the amendments.

Rodney Hide supported the original legislation in 2002 (as did I with some reservations), but he points out that removing High Court oversight of how powers are used is a step too far.

The very freedoms that we are trying to protect are being eroded... We can't defend our freedoms that we cherish by adopting fascist policies.

True. Meanwhile Keith Locke pointed out that existing criminal law is quite able to tackle domestic terrorism without any need for increased powers, and he points out too that it's iniquitous to politicise sentencing by imposing higher sentences for 'political' violence than for more 'normal' and more 'senseless' violence.
Why should someone trying to save dolphins or native snails, if they ever happen to turn violent, be subject to more years in jail than a violent gang member with no social conscience?
Fair question. (And pleasing to see Keith conceding the possibility that some of those trying to save dolphins or native snails might have turned violent. Would that others of Keith's persuasion consider the possibility.)

While it's gratifying to note these two principled stands, Labour-Lite meanwhile was trying to have it both ways, voting for an amendment that removes restraints on police and government while wringing their hands and whimpering that when anti-terrorist action is taken 'police better get it right, or else' -- hoping no one notices that it's the 'or else' that they've just voted to have removed.

So much confusion, so little sense. Much of the confusion comes from the genuine need to combat non-domestic terrorism (which is more a defence issue than a judicial one), and too from the foolishness of the appellation 'War on Terror' -- essentially a war against a tactic. Yaron Brook has been in the forefront of pointing out the foolishness of fighting a war against a tactic instead of accurately identifying your enemy, and the many advantages of accurate identification.
You don't fight a tactic. Terrorism is a tactic, and I believe we have to look at the ideological source of terrorism in order to identify the true enemy.
As he points out, the primary ideological surce of non-domestic terrorism is Islamic Totalitarianism. Several advantages accrue from defining that non-domestic threat more clearly, including being able to examine alleged domestic threat less confusedly and with considerably less fear of hyperventilating -- avoiding especially the risk of wrapping up domestic threats of violence in flawed and conspiratorial package deals that give ammuntion to those skilled at using such conspiratorial capital for their own nefarious advantage .

Bring back the biff!

Good to see two parliamentarians so serious about an issue that they came to blows.

Sadly, with so many other things about which to be serious, the issue was only Mallard's mistress -- but by all accounts at least a few decent blows were landed.

Bring back the biff! Bring back parliamentarians with the spirit of the great John Wilkes -- known as "the scandalous father of civil liberty" -- a man always willing to embrace liberty, and to employ pugilism in defence of his honour. He was famous for parliamentary exchanges such as the following:
LORD SANDWICH: You, sir, will die either on the gallows, or of the pox.
JOHN WILKES: That must depend on whether I embrace your lordship’s principles or your mistress.
He died in a duel. Something else some parliamentarians might like to emulate.

Boadicea - Thomas Thornycroft

Well known by every tourist who's ever visited London, this is the 'British Valkyrie' -- the rebellious Briton who led a savage uprising against Roman rule, laying siege to and then overrunning Roman London.
Thornycroft's Boadicea, the embodiment of martial prowess, simultaneously personifies the nation at its most maternally protective; the Britannia-figure, spear in hand, who defends "British Liberty" against all comers.. [Telegraph]
Begun in 1856 and erected at Westminster in 1905, Boadicea took on a new and unmistakeably symbolic meaning in the Thatcher years, when it was often suggested that it would have been better if the chariot had been erected facing away from the Houses of Parliament...

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Unpopular politics

Here's an interesting idea for the upcoming political season: if you get a chance among all their me-tooing and baby-kissing, ask a political candidate which ideas they hold that are unpopular. That would certainly reduce John Key to silence (twice over in fact).

Anyway, head over to Farrar's and see what's regarded as unpopular in today's political environment in which capitalism, individualism, reason, the rule of law and the protection of individual and property rights are all considered beyond the pale.

Massey man Maharey buys his way to the top

All is not so pellucid in Little Steve Maharey's pole vault into the top position at Massey University. Blogger Mr Tips suggests there's a very venal reason his leaving was "no surprise" to colleagues, nor the "shoulder tap" any surprise to the man whose life of blameless excellence includes, apparently, using you the taxpayer to buy his sinecure. Read on.

Education: Buying less with more

How much extra education does fifty percent more NZ Government spending buy? Answer: it buys you less education. See:

As a new report by consultants McKinsey and Co makes plain (see a summary in The Economist), spending on NZ's factory schools has rocketed in the last few years, while results have ... slid back.

So we're left staring into the maw of a great truth: throwing money at education doesn't give you better education. The less that's spent on the factory schools, the worse the results; the more that's spent on the government's factory school, the worse the results. We're left to deduce (as we must with all government spending binges) that education isn't a function of the money that's thrown at it; what matters more is what that money is spent on.

What it's been spent on in recent years is bullshit, mush and toxic swill.

Rather than continuing to reward failure, as recent governments have done, it's time for a radical rethink and a wholesale rejection of NZ's educational establishment who've sucked up the money, and produced only failure.

Allow me to quote myself from a couple of years ago, pointing out the difference between the libertarian view of public education differ from those of conservatives and liberals, who between them think money and efficiency are the answers to good education:
THE LIBERAL VIEW: The liberal view is that all that is wrong with public education can be fixed with more money, better staff-student ratios, greater control of curriculum, more qualified teachers and more paperwork.

The result of several generations of liberal education policies have however been high levels of “functional illiteracy” and innumeracy, dripping-wet political correctness, central planning of curricula and truckloads of more paperwork – not to mention a failing examination system and degrees dog pedicures and air-hostessing. None of this has aroused liberals to question their thinking however; their prescription for their failure is more of the same.

THE CONSERVATIVE VIEW: The view of conservatives is that public education needs to be made more efficient in its delivery of the curriculum. With more efficiency, goes the argument, delivery of education will be better. This is essentially the thrust of National’s various policies: greater efficiencies bringing better education, while leaving aside altogether any focus on the poison peddled by the curriculum delivered.

THE LIBERTARIAN VIEW: Libertarians disagree. Libertarians maintain that public education is all too efficient: that is, it is ruthlessly efficient at delivering the government’s chosen values. And so it has – we now have several generations who are culturally safe, politically correct and unable to read a newspaper, a bus timetable or operate a simple appliance -- ‘good citizens’ of whom forty-two percent are ‘functionally illiterate’ (see the 1996 International Adult Literacy Survey for the sad details, which are now even sadder).

Previously the government's chosen values included banning the speaking of Maori in schools; this has now changed, of course, and speaking Maori at school is now compulsory, as is the teaching of the ordained versions of Te Tiriti and the inculcation of the ideas of multiculturalism and the inferiority of western culture. Sadly, there is too little time left for reading, and when there is whole language teaching ensures little of this is achieved anyway.

Such is the case when inculcating the state's chosen values are given precedence over giving the child's mind wings.

"What happens in our schools is a very big part of shaping the future of New Zealand," says Helen Clark in a recent speech, acknowledging that this is the way subjects are made out of young citizens.

Libertarians agree with Ms Clark's statement, which is precisely why we want governments away from the schools, away from curricula, and away from the education of New Zealand's children altogether. Both Liberals and conservatives endorse state control of schools and curricula and children; they both seek state control, and they both seek to be the state. By contrast, Libertarians maintain that a complete separation of school and state is needed, and for the same reason we have a separation between church and state.
The proper goal of education is not socialisation or pacification or control. As Lisa Van Damme, the principal of the Van Damme Academy, argues:
The proper goal of education is to foster the conceptual development of the child—to instill in him the knowledge and cognitive powers needed for mature life. It involves taking the whole of human knowledge, selecting that which is essential to the child’s conceptual development, presenting it in a way that allows the student to clearly grasp both the material itself and its value to his life, and thereby supplying him with both crucial knowledge and the rational thinking skills that will enable him to acquire real knowledge ever after. This is a truly progressive education—and parents and students should settle for nothing less.

UPDATE: It should be obvious that it's better ideas rather than more money that leads to better education. Walter Williams points to a film showing where so many of today's bad ideas come from: from the academic cesspools known as universities:
The average taxpayer and parents who foot the bill know little about the rot on many college campuses. "Indoctrinate U" is a recently released documentary, written and directed by Evan Coyne Maloney, that captures the tip of a disgusting iceberg. The trailer for "Indoctrinate U" can be seen at

Bus not searched -- Maori Party MP agrees

Last week a reported one thousand people -- many of whom were children who should have been at school -- marched in Whakatane and around the country to protest the boarding of a Kohanga Reo bus by armed police. One of those leading the charge in making the claim was Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who started talking about tamariki, Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and of "activists and peacemakers [sic] throughout the world, [who] know of the significance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott which signalled the start of a revolutionary era of non-violent mass protests in support of civil rights in America." Crikey. Talk about hyperventilation!

This morning he's retracted. He now accepts that a bus full of Kohanga Reo kids was not searched by police. The Radio New Zealand website summarises the report:
The police say they did not search a school bus carrying young children during their raids in the eastern Bay of Plenty last week... Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White told Morning Report that a school bus carrying young children was escorted through a checkpoint... Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says he accepts the police explanation, but still thinks they overstepped the mark...
Fine. He accepts the explanation, and wants to save face. Fine. So let's move on and stop with the sidetracking and the nonsense, shall we.

UPDATE 1: Hone Harawira is still berating the police "for fraudulently raising the alarm by screaming terrorism without having the facts." Not to say that Harawira and his colleagues haven't been feverishly raising temperatures by fraudulently screaming "storm trooper tactics" without having the facts, and screaming "terrorism" without noting that the Numbnut Seventeen have been held so far only on charges brought under the Arms Act and the Crimes Act, and that those "screaming terrorism" are mostly those on his side of the aisle in both the media and the House.

This is truly a time for cool heads, not for numbnuts.

UPDATE 2: Cool head Graham Edgeler looks at the difficulties in eventually laying charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act and concludes that the bar for such charges is set fairly high -- and my own conclusion is that is just as it should be.

Vet Clinic - Organon Architecture

A vet clinic I designed for a close friend nearly twenty years ago to inspire her to work towards her own practice. She did. :-)

The clinic is designed to give a presence to the street, of course, and it places the hospitalised animals -- the very reason for the clinic -- at its very heart, with flat above, surgery to the rear and consulting rooms and waiting areas spilling out to the street, and opening out to gardens. There are no hallways; internal circulation takes place through the central 'hospital' area (encouraging continual monitoring of patients). All other spaces are spun out from this, reflecting its importance, and this great central space comes through on the exterior as the 'crown' of the building. A union of function and art.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Another named

It's reported that after losing his application to have his name protected, another of the seventeen arrested last week on firearms charges is one Rongomai Bailey, seen on this thread at culture.discuss. conspiracy opposing the drilling for oil in Alaska, opining:
The less development the better.

I have personally seen our native rain forests here in New Zealand be harvested and exported. Our rivers are polluted so you can't swim or drink from them. Our west coast beaches will soon be mined for iron (to be shipped to china) and some of the last untouched areas of this country strip mined for coal (to be shipped to china)...

Western Civilisation is definitely not "civilised".

The US doesn't need more oil and pollution, it needs to get rid of it's corrupt fascist government and stop murdering millions of people in other countries. It needs to grow up and take some responsibility.
I'll let you add the necessary "sic"s yourself. Mr Bailey also says here that he is (or at least was) involved with the magazine 'Uncensored,' a rag that manages to makes even 'Inwhistigate' look sane.

And speaking of suppression, I'd be interested to know if it's true (as reported over the weekend) that the reason for court proceedings being suppressed is not due to police application to keep the proceedings confidential -- police prosecutors are reportedly "neutral" on confidentiality -- but by the defendants themselves and their lawyers, which would mean that despite the very loud and very public calls of their supporters to have the evidence against them made public, their actual inclination is rather different. Which makes sense, of course, if you have something to hide.

And it wouldn't be the first time we see hypocrisy from those violently opposed to western civilisation, wouldn't it.

UPDATE 1: Quid pro quo perhaps for having his name published is that Mr Bailey, who is officially "unemployed from Grey Lynn," has been released on bail until November 1.
Rongomai Bailey, 28, is facing four charges under the Arms Act, including possession of a rifle and molotov cocktails. He is also alleged to have attended three so-called military-style training camps in the Ureweras. The judge released him on bail on condition that he not go within 30 kilometres of Ruatoki or possess any firearms or explosives, adding that there was still a chance Mr Bailey might face charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act...
UPDATE 2: Meanwhile, the protestations of solidarity continues apace -- solidarity, by the way, that is expressed as being unconditional (see below).

This is just plain dumb. So called "peace activists" expressing blind unconditional support for people charged with possession of deadly weapons -- solidarity expressed without regard for the nature of the charges, or for the evidence presented. Or it would be dumb if you really thought peace activism of the kind expressed was genuinely about the advocacy of peace.

Let me suggest that the sentiment expressed by Bomber late last week should be a litmus test for any member of the "activist community," one that if disagreed with will show the activist in their true lights. Said Bomber:
the activist community have got to demand our civil rights while renouncing any use of guns to force social change. In a functioning democracy, we fight with words and ideas, not grenade launchers.
Do you agree with that? Or do you want to write a blank cheque for violence?

UPDATE 4: Greetings to readers of Idiot/Savant, who seems to have overlooked the firearms charges with which the unemployed Mr Bailey is charged -- I/S sadly conflates Mr Bailey's adolescent views on the environment and on western civilization (for which he hasn't been charged) with his possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes, for which he has been. So much it seems for I/S's ability to discriminate.

Auckland traffic delays

My commiserations to Auckland commuters only now getting in to work after spending far too long on the Southern Motorway this morning (as I write this traffic is still backed up to Drury!). I should point out however that my sympathy is somewhat tempered by the delight I get every morning from listening to the frequently grim traffic reports as I do my own daily 'commute' from the kitchen to the study -- just one of the many delights to be derived from working from home.

Who are the racists?

Who are the racists? No Minister asks some reasonable questions:
  • We have a coup leader in Fiji under fire because he wants to replace a racially-based constitution dominated by an hereditary based Great Council of Chiefs with something more resembling one person one vote as found in most Western democracies for which he is branded a 'leper' by Dear Leader. Who's the racist?
  • We have racially-based seats (supported by Dear Leader) that are largely held by a racially-based party? Who are the racists?
  • When applying for resource consent, you have to effectively gain approval for your project by members of one particular race. Whose law is more racist?
  • Parties that promote such racial separatism (and pundits who use their race to give themselves a career) will often brand opponents to their racism as racist. But who, really, are the racists?
"Surely," says No Minister, "it is those who want to treat people different because of their racial background"? How could you disagree? Wouldn't it be great if we could one day live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

More dating ads ...

After posting those Irish personal ads here last week, I've discovered someone's written a book based on personals from the London Review of Books. Here's some Tim Blair picked out of the crowd:
  • I enjoy vodka, canasta, evenings in, and cold, cold, revenge.
  • ither I’m desperately unattractive, or you are all lesbians. Bald, pasty man (61) with nervous tic and unclassifiable skin complaint believes it to be the latter but holds out hope.
  • Tired of feeling patronised by the ads in this column? Then I’m not the woman for you, little man.
  • Slut in the kitchen, chef in the bedroom. Woman with mixed priorities (37) seeks man who can toss a good salad.
  • When you do that voodoo that you do so well, I invoke 16th-century witchcraft laws and have you burned at the stake. No shenanigans with Quaker M, 39.
  • My favourite Ben & Jerry’s is Acid-Boiled Bones of Divorce Lawyer. They don’t make it yet, but, damn, I can taste its sweet, sweet ice-creamy goodness already. M, 54.
  • I am not an accountant.
My salads, by the way, are legendary.

Pinker on swearing

Why is swearing so effective? Psychologist Stephen Pinker reflects that, "When used judiciously, swearing can be hilarious, poignant, and uncannily descriptive."

Read Stephen Pinker's 'Why We Curse - What the Fuck?,' but not if or your boss is a shit -eating horse's arse about curse words. As George Carlin concludes in this hilarious monologue on the word "fuck," (genuinelyNSFW), With all its multi purpose applications, how can anyone be offended when you use the word? "We say, use this unique, flexible word more often in your daily speech. It will identify the quality of your character immediately. Say it loudly, and proudly! FUCK you!"

Is Turkish action justified?

If terrorists are attacking your citizens across an international border and the government of the country in which the terrorists have their bases have indicated that they have no control over that area, that it is essentially lawless, then isn't the government of that country under attack entirely justified in taking military action to wipe out the threat?

I say it is.

Since the job of government is to protect the life and liberty of its citizens, I say they are perfectly justified. In fact, only if Ankara doesn't move against the terrorists of the PKK will it be deserving of approbation. Those in Iraq who object most strongly to Turkish action should have been in the forefront of those demanding that action be taken by the Iraqi government. In the name of protecting its own citizens, the failure leaves Turkey with no choice.

As always, the threat of serious military action is itself often sufficient to bring peace and relative sanity. Let us hope that it does so in this case.

Daniel Boone vs Nanny State

How would the pioneers of yesteryear fare with the Nanny State of today? How would the men and women who tamed the wilderness and brought civilisation to a new world function under Nanny's reign?

Novelist Gen La Greca tells the story of Daniel Boone vs Nanny State in last weekend's Orange County Register. Good reading.

What is it about Wagner?

What is it about Wagner that makes him still so popular over so long a period? On the eve of another Covent Garden Ring Cycle, Stephen Pettitt takes a stab at answering the question: after all the talk, it's all down to the sheer evocative power of the music.
The music is unique both in its epic scale and in its sound world... Wagner’s role in the evolution of music is crucial. His mature language is a rich-textured, multi-layered sound, full of detail but never confused. He uses a large orchestra, not just for its brute force, but for the range of colours it offers. And he pushes the bounds of tonality to the limit. Undoubtedly, the most talked-about chord in all music is the so-called “Tristan chord”, from Tristan und Isolde. Isolated, it doesn’t seem to be alluding to any key. And when Wagner resolves it, he lands on another chord that leaves the music lingering, suggesting longing, or maybe ecstasy, or maybe death prolonged.
He pushes the bounds of tonality, but always with dramatic and emotional purpose -- unlike many of his predecessors, he was prepared to take music where it needed to go to express the emotional extremes; and unlike his followers, he understood that atonality must always be tied to its emotional purpose. His music was uniquely expressive: there is nothing else like it.

Read: What Is It About Wagner? - Stephen Pettitt, The Times.

Monday 22 October 2007

The Eight Hour Day dunking

Those who aren't self employed are allowed a public holiday today. The Sunday Star Times gave a brief history yesterday of the campaign to introduce the Eight Hour Day, pointing out that, as a central part of that campaign, recalcitrant tradesmen and workers who refused to comply with campaigners' demands to cease work at the appointed time risked "being dunked in the harbour."

Thus did the the local labour movement adopt the imposition of force against others as a weapon of policy right from the beginning of the country's industrialisation -- and that it was other workers rather than the "ruling classes" who were being threatened rather punctures the traditional story of class conflict.

UPDATE 1: Lindsay Mitchell points out an obvious truth to today's labour movement activists who still want to use force to stop people working:
New Zealanders work too hard, whines Labour MP Darien Fenton. If Darien stopped to think about it Labour gave us the expansive welfare state. Fifty years ago Labour refused to entertain warnings that some New Zealanders would take advantage of universal taxpayer-funded benefits. Fifty years ago under 5,000 working age people relied on the state, mostly invalids and widows. Today the number is around 260,000 or ten percent of the working age population.

Does it occur to Darien that some New Zealanders are going to have to work harder to support those that chose not to?
UPDATE 2: Cactus Kate reflects on who will want Nanny State to stay the fuck out of how many hours they work and who won't, and why any moves by Nanny to force the issue will only make things worse for those she claims to help. In the interests of "a wider audience," she's "dumbed down any economic theoretical references" for ya.

Sunday 21 October 2007


If you'd never seen a game of rugby before and you'd made the mistake of watching yesterday's World Cup Final, would you be any the wiser about the object of the game?

Saturday 20 October 2007

Line of the Day: Greg O'Connor

Line of the day yesterday goes to Greg O'Connor from the Police Association, talking to Bill Ralston on Radio Live about all the knee-jerk "Maori are being attacked" crap spewing forth from people like Willie Jackson and Pita Sharples, who are essentially professional Maoris who see racism under every pin cushion, while the mote in their own eye blinds them to their own. Said Greg:
Being Maori isn't an occupation, it's a race.
Perfectly put.

Popular music

Despite popular thinking, so called "popular music" tells you nothing about what's actually popular. What you hear pouring out of shops and bars and cafes is less popular than you might think.

As recent digital forays by Amazon and the BBC demonstrates, however, it turns out charts that tell you what CDs sell most in a week -- on which the playlists of so many radio stations and restaurants and drinking halls are made up -- don't actually provide a reliable guide to popular taste.

When the BBC made nine Beethoven symphonies available online in 2005, it turned into the most successful online download of all time, beating out crap by the likes of Coldplay, James Blunt and U2.
Final figures from the BBC show that the complete Beethoven symphonies on its website were downloaded 1.4m times, with individual works downloaded between 89,000 and 220,000 times... According to Matthew Cosgrove, director of Warner Classics, it would take a commercial CD recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies "upwards of five years" to sell as many downloads as were shifted from the BBC website in two weeks.
That was 2005. Now at the end of 2007, news is in from Amazon who have just begun selling online digital music downloads -- and who do you think was the most popular artist at the beginning of October? The Beach Boys? Rolling Stones? Pink Floyd? Someone called Kanye West? Well, they're all in the top ten, true, but beating out al that dross for number one spot is a chap by the name of Richard Wagner! How about that! Nearly one-hundred and sixty years after he began writing it, his four-opera fifteen-hour extravaganza known as the 'The Ring Cycle' is back on top.

See MP3 Maniacs Go Wild for Wagner (As in Vahg-ner) - Doree Shafrir, NY Observer.

So much for CD sales figures as a measure of popularity. I look forward to hearing more genuinely popular music next time I head to the bar.

Here's just a few YouTube excerpts so you can understand why the old boy is still so extraordinarily popular -- there's really no other music like his:

Friday 19 October 2007

Beer O’Clock – Oktoberfest!

Neil Miller from RealBeer discusses the global phenomena which is Oktoberfest...

For many beer drinkers round the world, October can only mean Oktoberfest. Actually, October means Oktoberfest is half over as Oktoberfest itself starts in September. This year, for example, it ran from 22 September to 7 October.

The first Oktoberfest took place on October 12th 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It was so popular with the locals that the tradition has endured, and today around a fifth of the guests are from outside Germany.

And I can assure you they aren't there to celebrate a wedding.

Since its beginnings, the Oktoberfest has been cancelled just 24 times. Reasons for cancellation include the Napoleonic war, the Austro-Prussian war, the Franco-German war, the First and Second World Wars, two cholera epidemics and the divorce of King Ludwig I and Queen Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen due to dipsomania. (One of these is not completely true.)

Last year, the “world’s largest fair” attracted 6 million guests who drank a surprisingly restrained six million liters of beer, consumed a staggering one million sausages, and left an unrecorded number of drunken text messages.

Only beer from the local Munich breweries are served in the massive beer tents which can each hold thousands of drinkers. Brewed specifically to be available at festival time, Hofbrau Oktoberfest (5.7%) is a sandy, smooth, subtle beer with a peppery finish.

This beer finds its way to New Zealand most years, is well worth a try and is best drunk out of big stein accompanied by a plate of roast ox. The ox is best eaten whole.

Interestingly, the Hofbrau brewery is owned by the Bavarian Government.

Finally – a German drinking toast:

Das Leben ist bezaubernd, man muss es nur durch die richtige Brille sehen.

Life is wonderful,
you just need to see it through the right glasses.

Prost! Neil

Who are you supporting in the big rugby final?

There's a big game of rugby coming up this weekend, a big final! Now that my team isn't in it, it's hard to know who to support.

Do I support the team from the southern parts, who have pace and power all over the park, or the team from further north who've undergone something of a revival.

Hard choice, but on reflection I'm supporting Wellington. 'Bout time they won it again.

How 'bout you? ;^)

UK's anti-fag anti-liberty law

If Reg said this on the British Footy Show, he'd shortly be locked up in jail for up to seven years. This explains why. [Hat tip Lindsay Perigo]

Bhutto bombed

When I heard news that Benazir Bhutto was returning to Pakistan, I'm sure I wasn't the only one whose mind went back to Benigno Aquino's ill-fated return to the Philippines. The circumstances were too similar. News that Bhutto's convoy was bombed on its way into Karachi from the airport has sadly confirmed that concern -- fortunately she herself hasn't been killed, but news reports suggest dozens have been.

Very, very sad.

'Not PC' backs the government!

I'm in the unusual position of wanting to praise four statements from four different government ministers*.

Pita Sharples told everyone yesterday that Monday's police action -- sorry, "Monday's military style police raids" (nothing like a dose of hyperbole to help your chance of a headline) -- was all about race. Parekura Horomia explains exactly what card Sharples is playing here: "the race card." Parekura would know, of course, since he's played that same card himself several times, but on this he's exactly right, and I'm damn sure Sharples knows it.

Meanwhile, Nania Mahuta firmly put Sharples' claptrap in context:
This isn't a Maori issue, this is an issue of public safety.
And so it is. Weapons have been seized (yes, weapons, Pita) from people of all colours from light brown to unwashed off-white; it should be obvious enough to everyone except the fellow travellers of the arrested and those with a pre-prepared axe to grind that this is not about race.

We've also heard any amount of hand wringing about the police -- sorry the "military style police raids" -- "traumatising a whole community" down there in Ruatoki, and scaring children on school buses. (Poor kids. They're surrounded by Iti and his comrades waving guns around, but the first sight of the police is enough to have them hyperventilating.) Now, I don't think for a minute that anyone believes that the "community" of Ruatoki is traumatised; as we're all aware, this is what is known as playing the "victim card." But Steve Maharey laid one of the myths about the "Ninja Army" to bed yesterday by pointing out that there is no evidence that the police were even on any school buses in Ruatoki. Does anyone have any that contradicts him? Even those making the claim have chosen to side-step the question, choosing instead to carry on with the hand wringing and the misinformation.

It is truly a time for cool heads.

Because we've heard all sorts of conspiratorial crap, haven't we, about how for example this whole operation has been concocted by the Labour Government for all sorts of reasons, including to help them push through the amendments to the anti-terrorism legislation. Since the police raids are more likely to hinder rather than help the amendments, this sort of conspiratorial rubbish is so dumb even Ian Wishart would steer clear of it -- as I believe he has.

It's often necessary to explain to the likes of African dictators that in the Westminster system the police, the executive and the legislature are at least nominally independent. It should hardly be necessary to explain this to commentators whose ignorance is exceeded only by their conspiratorial mien.

It's true that the independence of the police has been brought into question in recent years with their failure to properly bring the force of law to bear against Labour MPs for offences ranging from speeding through Ashburton to putting their hand into the taxpayers' pocket to steal the last election, but these compromises of police independence were only on issues in which the Labour Government held a venal interest, (which is all that really gets them excited these days) - but the police's nominal independence would at least make it difficult to coordinate such a conspiracy, and the Labour Government have hardly shown themselves capable of the sort of competence necessary to leap the few barriers of independence that do remain.

Meaning, in summary, that I'm quite prepared to believe the Government and the opposition wer briefed only when they said they were, something John Key corroborated this morning. To my mind, Annette King's first response to the press gallery on all this was still right on the money. As Newstalk ZB reported on Monday:
Mrs King [said] suggestions the arrests were politically motivated are untrue, as the Government only found out about the camps late last week. She says it was the Police Commissioner's decision to make the arrests, based on the risk to the public.

Mrs King says police have to make decisions on the evidence they have. She says if anything had happened, people would have been asking "why the useless cops hadn't done anything about it".
It's true, isn't it. And there's something else of which people should be reminded. It's the job of the police to bring evidence and lay charges. It's not the job of the media or of Keith Locke or Pita Sharples to hear that evidence, it's the job of the courts. I'd suggest those who want to 'jump the gun' to instead try and follow Horomia's advice:
Many of us find it hard to believe that the behaviour of these characters might amount to terrorist activity. But the police wouldn't have raised this potential lightly, so let's wait and see.
Yes. Let's.

UPDATE 1: Police Association president Greg O'Connor backs up Maharey, and derides the self-serving claims about police storming kids' buses:
Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell will take part in a hikoi being held through the streets of Whakatane today to protest about police tactics used during the terror raids at the foot of the Urewera Ranges... President of the Police Association Greg O'Connor is [however] denying claims armed police stormed the school bus. "The only time a school bus every got searched up there was four years ago when a Kohanga Reo bus was stopped and two gang members were on it. They were trying to escape through a checkpoint following a shooting and homicide."

Mr O'Connor says critics of the tactics police used should hold back until all the evidence is available.
Frankly, the critics don't want to wait. They want to make up stuff while keeping their axe ground. If anyone has any evidence that a school bus was stormed, then let's hear it. Otherwise, the hikoi be damned.

UPDATE 2: Backing for these things those ministers said doesn't of course mean that they won't go on being morons as Horomia already has: Horomia says Iti no terrorist. FFS! As David Farrar points out, "Ministers of the Crowns should know better than to speculate. They have a constitutional position other MPs do not... Ministers should and generally are saying nothing, as to do so would undermine the judicial process." In fact as Horomia said earlier from a different side of his mouth, the police wouldn't have raised this matter lightly, so let's wait and see what evidence they can present in court, and what the courts decide, huh?

UPDATE 3: If I'm going to back government ministers, then why not go the whole hog and back Bomber. When you get sense from the normally senseless, that's all you can do. Here's Bomber Bradbury making sense (and I never thought I would type those words):’s a matter of principle. Symbolically damage things, absolutely, take up arms against my fellow countrymen, never, that ain’t my bag baby. Yes I’m angry our friends have been arrested, yes I’m angry at the way they have been treated, yes they are not terrorists, but anyone attempting to justify social justice through violence is the most backwards step I’ve ever seen, the activist community have got to demand our civil rights while renouncing any use of guns to force social change. In a functioning democracy, we fight with words and ideas, not grenade launchers.

UPDATE 4: I would have thought that far worse for Ruatoki children being made to fake trauma over police raids on buses that didn't happen would be to be forced into being used as political pawns. "As many as a thousand people joined a march in Whakatane to complain about children being caught up in the police operation," says the Herald.

Was there not one person there to complain about them being used as political pawns by racist morons?

* UPDATE 5: That first sentence above should now read "... four statements from three government ministers, and one who's just quit." Yes, that's right, the man who's "lived a life of blameless excellence" is quitting to take up a sinecure at Massey University. Massey's loss is the taxpayer's gain.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Mao: The Unknown Story'

The word politics is derived from 'poly' meaning many, and 'ticks' meaning small blood sucking objects.

Mao Tse Tung breaks that mould. Mao's blood lust was never small. If you're interested at all in the history of mass murder and in the politics of large world-destroying blood sucking bastards, then you have to read Jung Chang's and John Halliday's book 'Mao: The Unknown Story.' It will make you sick.

I've read several accounts before of Mao and his crimes, and I realised he was a complete bastard. 'Mao: The Unknown Story' reveals that he was without doubt history's biggest bastard -- a mass murder utterly without virtue or any redeeming personal qualities whatsoever. To read his story as Halliday and Chang lay it out certainly made me feel ill with revulsion.

Mao was perfectly prepared to try and wipe out his country's history and to destroy his country's culture, and perfectly happy to murder millions in the attempt. Sacrifice was endemic to him, combined with the relentless pursuit of power -- he sacrificed millions of Chinese in pursuit of power and the protection of his power -- sacrificing them sometimes as an afterthought, and sometimes to assuage his blood lust. He began the technique right from his earliest days, when he sacrificed whole armies and whole cities purely in order to position himself better in the struggle for control of the Chinese Communist Party. When his life and his career was finished, his country lay in ruins, seventy million people were dead, and those left alive were terrified, and they were starving.

The communist ideology provided the justification for the sacrifices Mao demanded; for Mao it meshed perfectly with his desire for power. The Chinese were disarmed by that ideology, and they died of it in their millions. Seventy million! Seventy million people who died of starvation, of torture, as the result of Mao's blatant power lust.

IT'S SOMETIMES THOUGHT THAT to master the profession of blood-sucking dictator, one needs to maintain a gimlet-eyed focus on reality. Mao puts paid to that idea. For him reality was something to evade, with the Chinese people paying the price for his evasion: his insistence in the pursuit of super power status for his feudally impoverished county, for example -- in utter disregard of what might be necessary to become one -- resulted only in further impoverishing China (and leaving it that way for decades) and starving more than forty million human beings -- starved for no other reason than Mao's refusal to accept that "super power status" or even any kind of prosperity was beyond a country in which freedom was so viciously expunged.

His grip on the country was complete, and remained so for a quarter-century by the simple expedient of terror within, and deception without. If he did have a talent, it was for understanding how terror could be used to pacify opposition, and how willingly western leaders would be to participate in his deception.

He really had no interest at all either in the ideology of communism or the welfare of anyone other than himself -- he never showed any interest in the peasants and "the people" in whose name the "People's Liberation Army" supposedly carried out their terror. He was interested in communism only because it gave him the perfect platform on which to seize and maintain power, and to partake of his favourite pleasure: sloth. His chosen ideology was and remains the perfect ideology for the professional thug: as long as the notion exists that individuals are sacrificial fodder for the collective, then there will always be thugs prepared to pick up that sacrifice -- the wider the acceptance of that evil notion, the power the thugs will have; and the less squeamish they are, the more heads they're be able to bust.

THIS BLOOD SUCKER WAS the perfect embodiment of evil --yet it's said that evil is impotent. How to reconcile that paradox when we see him all powerful for so long? Chang and Halliday make plain that Mao himself only survived through the complicity of others -- through good men either doing nothing, or lesser men allowing themselves to deliver a country into his evil.

Without a world full of useful idiots, Mao would have been just another lowlife power luster. Without power being handed to him on a plate by an utterly outwitted American post-war foreign policy team entirely unaware of the scum with whom they were dealing, maintained for him by a Soviet Union eager to expand their own dictatorial power, and paid for by a country which he quite literally cannibalised, he would have been nothing. Without others to deliver him what he could not, he had no power himself by which to carry out his destruction, and to protect his power. At manipulating these useful idiots he did prove himself a master. At using them to destroy a country simply to hang on to power, he proved himself history's finest.

IT'S SAID TOO THAT as long as statism exists, then war will exist. Mao's career offers further evidence. "Wars," said Ayn Rand, "are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens." This, she points out, is the real cause of wars.
If men want to oppose war, it is statism they must oppose. So long as they hold the tribal notion that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the collective, that some men have the right to rule others by force, and that some alleged "good" can justify it -- there can be no peace within a nation and no peace among nations.
Mao's career once again provides the evidence. He proved himself perfectly prepared to plunge the world into war simply to gain some (often illusory) political advantage for himself - threatening Taiwan and invading Korea and India simply in order to gain technology from Russia -- technology China was in no position to use. He sponsored conflicts in Indochina, for no reason other than to acquire further influence and more technology he couldn't use, that left millions dead across Vietnam and Laos and the killing fields of Cambodia , and scars that still exist to this day across every country involved.

And once the Russians finally rejected Mao as a lunatic, too dangerous even for them, in order to continue the technological parasitism his survival demanded he then proposed to that grinning moron Nixon (supposedly the then defender of the free world) that the free world join China in a nuclear umbrella against the Soviets -- a proposal that would have left the west at the mercy of whatever border conflict the lunatic Mao wanted to manufacture for his own ends -- a proposal only offered so Mao could steal the west's military technology -- a proposal all too eagerly lapped up by by the braindead Kissinger and Nixon. As Chang and Halliday show, these two had rings run around them by Mao and Chou En Lai. They went to China in pursuit of peace, and left with the danger increased.

The proposal that the west risk joining hands with Mao in a mutually assured nuclear holocaust was ended only by Nixon's Watergate resignation. Thank small mercies for Deep Throat!

IT'S WORTH REFLECTING AGAIN on Ayn Rand's point on peace -- a point that was never even contemplated by the grinning moron and his mate, and the many other morons whose willingness to grant evil bastards absolution allows their evil to flourish. The nuclear danger only makes the point all the more important.
If nuclear weapons are a dreadful threat and mankind cannot afford war any longer, then mankind cannot afford statism any longer. Let no man of good will take it upon his conscience to advocate the rule of force -- outside or inside his own country. Let all those who are actually concerned with peace -- those who do love man and do care about his survival -- realise that if war is ever to be outlawed, it is the use of force that has to be outlawed.
Is that lesson so difficult to understand*?

Mao's evil was allowed to flourish by morally disarmed morons who were either ideologically prepared not to understand, or pathologically unwilling to contemplate the point; prepared and able to deliver to Mao what he wanted, and to give him and his destruction either the ideological benefit of the doubt (he might be a murdering fucking bastard, but at least he's our murdering fucking bastard) or -- worse -- to worship at his shrine, as many braindead Maoist morons did and still do. His methods of ideological intrigue can still be seen at work around the world in all those Maoists who still infest the world's parliaments and political platforms with their poison.

It's time that Mao and Maoism and the murder and poverty brought about by communism and communists was treated with the same popular revulsion as the likes of the Nazis and the KKK. Don't give any of these bastards the benefit of any doubt.

This book helps to make clear they don't deserve it.
* * * * *

*To make the lesson more topical for you: Let those in NZ who are actively concerned with peace reflect that Tame Iti received his own indoctrination in Maoism early on, including a visit to Peking in 1973, a year before Nixon and right at the start of his activist career. As all the evidence makes clear he is still following what he learned there.