Monday, September 22, 2014

‘Young Merchants,’ by Henry Carey

The Young Merchants, 1842, oil on canvas, 1070x920mm,
The Carey Collection,
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts


The key is to look sane

Guest post by Suzuki Samurai

It's far easier to view NZ elections from afar: not quite so mind numbing -- not confronted with the constant media barrage, the hoardings, the endless chatter at the water cooler or pub.

My primary source of information has been this blog's analysis of the deep-meat; my other source being the endless shallow water of the NZ Herald. The Herald's obsession with the German elephant in the room isn't really surprising in that he makes great copy (to them) in an otherwise barren political landscape.

For them, he adds a Baron to the barren. As much as most folk were sick to their back teeth months ago having to see this goon everywhere they looked, what would the media have had in this election without him? What I'm left wondering is whether the media were just squeezing this for it's alleged juice, or trying to unsettle PM Key, or helping him out. Whether or not that was the plan and most likely not) the latter has been very effective.

So what of the rest of the cast in this pantomime?

Starting from the left:

The Greens showed that ageing hippies are still their mainstay. Despite their indoctrination from every teacher they’ve ever had, the youth vote only has a passing interest in dreadlocks, grow-your-own-bicycles, and drinking their own urine. Turns out, as they grow up, most want to enter the grown up world of capitalism 'cause it makes cool stuff.'   Even if they don’t yet have a grip on what capitalism is, most seem to know what to avoid.

The Inter-Maori-Lala Party: Perhaps an idea can be drawn from what I imagine it was like being member of one of their caucus meetings:

La La: 'Te Tony, I think Marx was a Maori at heart?'
Te Tony: 'Yeah bro, I know, he's on Winston's list.'
La La: 'Nah...sorry Te Tony, not Ron. I mean Karl, the German.'
Te Tony: 'I thought the fulla’s name was Kim … ?'

Kim.Com squeezes in the door, interrupting Te Tony as he lowers himself into two abutted chairs.

'Are zer any more zauzage rolz?'
La La: 'Hello Kim. I'd just like to thank you on all of our behalf for the four million dollar koha.'

Round of applause...except Te Tony.

Te Tony: 'Yeah thanks bro.' 'But I have here...,' Te Tony said unfurling a metre long invoice, 'a bill from Ka Pai catering for five million dollars for hangi, pies, and sausage rolls.'

Everyone's eyes turned to Kim Com.

Through a shower of pastry Kim Com offered, 'How about zee free internet for zee Maoriz?'

Minto: 'What about the bloody Israeli's?'
Kim.Com: 'I can't talk about zee J-...them'
Annette Psycho [shouting]: 'Colonialist!'
Minto [unhinged]: Hegemonist!
Pam Cacophony: 'rark, rarrrrk, swaark.'

Everyone applauded. La La wrote it on her Policy Ideas register – not forgetting to make a note to ask Kim if he actually had that bloody email .

Nuff said.

Labour’s problem: In a word: Cunliffe. Expect a move to the middle again, and a new leader who is less of a, um, well, less of a c...liffe.

Winston First It turns out there is a down side to people living longer -- convinced of their insecurities by an shiny Maori with eyes narrower than a Chinaman’s and an ego larger than the Gobi Desert, wearing one his collection of brand new, twenty-year old Hugh Wright’s suits – perhaps they think he's John Rowles? At least we can be assured that they will eventually be dropped off at the old folks home - we promise to visit...honest.

Colin Craig: Still that school prefect who dobs in smokers. A wanker who doesn't wank. Showers in his 'Y Fronts'. He reminds me of the teeth-only smile one gets from the minister outside church after a funeral...makes me shudder. I am not at all sorry for his loss.

Peter Dunne: A man who wears bow-ties is considered Mr Common Sense. Still as much a mystery as what must be in the Johnsonville water supply.

ACT: Where was the marvellous Jamie Whyte 10 years ago when ACT had money, members and media time? Oh, and whose-ever idea it was to make David Seymour do that appalling gesticulation-on-cue jumping-out-of-bushes video should be shot. He seems too good for that kind of bollocks.

So why National? or more correctly, why John Key? I guess when everyone in the centre and left of it is either creepy, hubristic, or just completely fucking insane, it is hardly surprising is it. 

The key to winning elections, as with much else, is to always look sane.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Morning Ramble: No, No, No


“There are going to be big changes, even with a NO vote.”
What next after the Scotland referendum? – Eamonn Butler, ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE
Scottish referendum: Alone, Scotland will would go back to being a failed state – Niall Ferguson, TELEGRAPH
The masses are far more rational than the unhinged political class – Brendan O’Neill, SPIKED
Celebrities react badly to the referendum result – SPECTATOR
Scottish Leader Quits – VODKA PUNDIT
Scotland and the irrational media – Alberto Mingardi, ECON LOG
Scotland the Brave – James Allan, QUADRANT

Most socialists will tell you that they became socialist out of concern for the poor. So if they learned that 600 million people have ben lifted out of poverty over the last 25 years, wouldn’t they be shouting that revelation, and the reason for it, from the rooftops?
Who Really Wants to Solve the Problem of Poverty?Stephen Hicks, EVERY JOE

An excellent way to brush up on the most colossal and destructive political and economic flop of all time.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism – Kevin Williamson, AMAZON

“The potential gains from planning liberalisation are clear: lower housing costs, a reduced cost of many goods and services, a better functioning labour market, and higher productivity and wages. The question is whether there is any appetite among our politicians to take on the vested interests opposed to reform.”
Planning liberalisation is the closest thing there is to an economic silver bullet – Richard Wellings, IEA BLOG

The Capitalist’s Guide to the Ideas Behind Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
GREAT DEAL: Why Businessmen Need Philosophy for Under $6 On Amazon – DOLLARS AND CROSSES

There’s an easy solution you know.
Looming shortage of prime office space in the capital, says Colliers – INTEREST.CO.NZ

The world has one Colbert too many. Possibly more.
Colbert's legacy lingers on – Oliver Hartwich, NBR

Book Launch: “It takes a lot to really wreck either a city or a nation.”
The plan against the rebuild – Eric Crampton, SPEAKER

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“Which countries actually believe in free trade?, understand free trade?”
Why don’t we have more free trade? – Tyler Cowen, MARGINAL REVOLUTION

“The potential gains from planning liberalisation are clear: lower housing costs, a reduced cost of many goods and services, a better functioning labour market, and higher productivity and wages. The question is whether there is any appetite among our politicians to take on the vested interests opposed to reform.”

It’s stimulus season again. They hope.
Weak uptake for new eurozone stimulus program- HERALD
Our obsession with monetary stimulus will end in disaster – DETLEV SCHLICTER 
Keynes was a failure in Japan – No need to embrace him in Europe – DETLEV SCHLICTER 
As Germany loses battle for ECB, QE goes global – DETLEV SCHLICTER

After a sharp slowdown, stimulus is back on the agenda in China


“The global warming movement is imploding.”
EU Dismantles Its Climate Commission Amid Economic Struggles – Michael Bastach, DAILY CALLER

“Misuse of climate models as false prophets is costly in lives as well as treasure. To condemn the poorest of India’s poor to continuing poverty is to condemn many to an untimely death. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right to have no more to do with such murderous nonsense. It is time to put an end to climate summits. Real-world evidence proves they are not needed.”
Stop the Scare! (GIGO climate models vs. human needs) – Willie Soon & Christopher Monckton, MASTER RESOURCE

“So how did we end up mistaking a wicked mess for a tame problem? The main problem has been putting the policy cart in front of the scientific horse.”
The Sound Of Settled Science – Judith Curry, SMALL DEAD ANIMALS

“Yesterday marked a not unimportant court deadline in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century…”
The Lonesomest Mann in TownMark Steyn, STEYN ONLINE

“Anytime you hear the green corporate marketing buzzword "sustainable", you know you're likely being had. Sorry to break your hearts, hippies.”
Green energy more hype than benefit – Larry Bell, CLIMATE FACTS

“If a science has an adjective,
it probably isn’t a science.”

- Richard Feynman

“Tens of thousands of protesters will be swarming New York this Sunday to encourage the United Nations to call for drastic cuts for fossil fuels. They think they are doing the moral thing in encouraging the UN to oppose the use of coal, oil, and natural gas. In fact they’re supporting policies that would cut billions of lives short.”
Six Reasons Why the United Nations Should Not Intervene on Fossil Fuel Use (A Response to the Misguided People's Climate March) – Alex Epstein, FORBES


"...there is a soon-to-be released and incredibly compelling book written by the Center for Industrial Progress’s Alex Epstein titled The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Its main premise is that both the short- and long-term benefits of using fossil fuels greatly outweigh the risks of any climate change that may occur as the result of the accompanying carbon dioxide emissions."
Is it “Moral” to Restrict Fossil Fuel Use to Mitigate Future Sea Level Rise? – Patrick Michaels & Chip Knappenberger, CATO AT LIBERTY

It would be a lot better if it really were warming

“It suited Western Leftists, during and after the War, to argue that Hitler had been uniquely evil, certainly wickeder than Stalin. It was thus necessary to forget the enthusiasm with which the two tyrants had collaborated.”
The greatest cultural victory of the Left has been to disregard the Nazi-Soviet Pact – Daniel Hannan, TELEGRAPH

“"If we want to work toward a free society, it is not enough to say that we have 'rights' or that aggression is 'bad' or that free markets are 'good.' Nor is it enough to explain why and how free markets work. If we want to advocate liberty successfully, we must understand and be able to explain where rights come from, why we have them, and how we know it. We must understand and be able to articulate what the concepts 'good' and 'bad' objectively mean—and how we know this. We must engage in philosophy."
Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism—Craig Biddle, OBJECTIVE STANDARD

“Multiculturalism is not really about choosing non-Western clothes if you like, or listening to World-beat music, or about rejecting racism. That is individualism. Multiculturalism is an anti-intellectual movement that denies truth to avoid facing facts, and rejects human rights and morality in the name of humanity.”
Multiculturalism Is a Failure: The Islamist's War with the Western Culture – Walter Williams, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE

"It is time for Americans to demand of themselves and of their fellow Americans that they first-handedly face the facts before their eyes, reject the dogmas of relativism and religion, realize that our enemies in this war are our enemies because they take religion seriously, and demand that our government demonstrate to our enemies that America the Beautiful is greater than Allah the Nonexistent."
Looking Back at the Post–9/11 Decade – Elan Journo, VOICES FOR REASON

“He declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a
part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. The
essence of his doctrine was violence and lust. To exalt the
brutal over the spiritual part of human nature.”
- John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States

So, who’s feeding IS’s maw? [Click the pic for an interactive map.]

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Eugenics in the US: the guy who designed ObamaCare thinks people should die at 75 so they're not a burden to society.
Why I Hope to Die at 75 – Ezekiel Emanuel

“Out into the cool of the cyber dawn stroll the pretenders. NSA can't tell diff between criminal hacking & act of war?”
NSA Director Says Agency Is Still Trying To Figure Out Cyber Operations – SLASHDOT

“There is a troubling phenomenon I call "the anti-originality argument." The argument is that there is no such thing as genius or originality, because every new idea actually borrows from previously-established ideas…”
The "anti-originality" argument – Stuart Hayashi, CAPITALISTS FOR INTELECTUAL PROPERTY

Every man needs a project.

"We typically go through our days without devoting a thought to this this magnificent material (concrete) that helps make modern life possible. The next time you enjoy a modern building, drive down a street, or so much as stroll down a sidewalk, you might think for a moment of Joseph Aspdin (creator of Portland cement) and of the modern producers of concrete.” Unlike every politician you’ve ever met, their thought and work literally support your life.
Concrete: The Foundation of Modern LifeAri Armstrong, OBJECTIVE STANDARD

While you were looking at other things…
CERN closes in on antigravity answer – BBC NEWS

“It’s a wonder so many of us lived through childhood considering how little it seems our parents knew about safety.”
5 Things Our Parents Did That Would Get Them Arrested Today – LIBERTY CRIER

“Will Self's attacks on Orwell only expose his own alienation from and disdain for the public.”
Self, Orwell and the English language – Bruno Waterfield, SPIKED


“Peter sees a big vagina. ‘That’s a big vagina,’ says Peter. ‘Big vaginas are feminist,’ says Mummy. Peter is scared.”
Peter and Jane Go to the Art Gallery – Miriam Elia IMGUR

“Four books that I learned from and that focus on the postmodern challenge in specific intellectual areas…”
Four recommended books on postmodernism – STEPHEN HICKS

Zapp: Why's it still blurry?!
”Kif: That's all the resolution we have. Making it bigger doesn't make it clearer.
”Zapp: It does on CSI: Miami.”
Then 'Enhance' Button – TV TROPES

The previously untold true story of David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Tony Visconti recording "Warszawa" from Low. Seriously. True story.

And the result…

How to get the most out of your orchestra…

Another method…

“Truly awful.”

[Hat tips Maria Montessori Education Foundation, Stephen Hicks, Bosch Fawstin, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Stats Chat]

And finally …

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Concerned, from Epsom [updated]

We each have our hot-button election issues.

Mine is property rights.

Has been for years.

For years I’ve been saying the Resource Management Act (RMA) is an abuse of property rights and has to go. It has empowered councils to take your property rights under all their thoroughly meddling district plans and directives, and has to go.

It has to go, I’ve said, to be replaced with common law protection of property rights – protecting private property rights and the environment, in which the common law can point to several hundred years of success.

No major party has followed that line. So, consequently, I’ve followed no major party.

But this year is different. This year, after years of seeing  Old ACT offering weasel words about “reforming” the RMA, tinkering around the edges but nothing to frighten their consultant constituency, this year the new leader of New ACT finally recognised and stated the obvious:

"The problem with the Resource Management Act is not in its administration, the problem is with the very conception of it."
The Act was "an assault on private property rights that stifles investment and economic growth", he said, blaming the Act's restrictions for the increasingly expensive property market.
Act instead would return a "sensible plan based on private property rights."


ACT believes parliament should admit [the Resource Management Act] is a 30 year experiment that has failed and we should start again using the common law as the basis for environmental protections. 



Bravo! I said.

I said it many times. I said it despite my fear of politicians saying one thing and meaning another.

I even said I’d head out tomorrow for the first time in my life and vote ACT, and David Seymour.

So when they started this week to talk instead about “reform” again, I had to check with David. Were they going blancmange again?, I asked. Not at all, he said.

I think it should be repealed. Could we negotiate that? Probably not.  There would still be regulation in its place, just far narrower.

Hmm, but your policy was to abolish RMA and replace it with common law.

That's not right, Jamie's always said replace with specific laws when and only when common law is deficient.

(Well, see above.) But you’re still saying abolish?

Yes. To be clear there would still be regulation, not promising common law only, just that RMA is beyond redemption, scrap and replace with much simpler law only when common law problems are clear.

So, customers, what do I do?

Was that the ringing re-endorsement I was hoping for? Or is New ACT going blancmange?

And what should I do about it tomorrow?

UPDATE:  It’s not just me with doubts.  Former ACT board member Peter McCaffrey writes…

Tomorrow I will cast an absentee vote for ACT from Canada because I think Jamie Whyte would contribute significantly to New Zealand’s Parliament, and of all the various party’s list candidates who are on the margin of getting elected, he is by far the best.
Having said that, ACT’s campaign has been woeful.
… the party [was presented with] a fantastic opportunity to finally become properly liberal, to campaign on some new policies (drug reform, civil liberties, etc) and look to slowly and steadily grow the party.
In short, [however] the party was too risk averse, too worried about the few votes they might lose, and never considering the votes they might win – a disappointing ignorance of Bastiat’s principles of the seen and the unseen, for a supposedly economically literate party….
In short, you still probably should give your party vote to ACT, in hopes of getting Jamie elected…
But I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to do it.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Economics for Real People: Great Myths of the (First) Great Depression


Yes, the students are back, and they’re inviting you to tonight’s seminar at the Auckland University Economics Group for some sense and sensibility …

Several years on and, despite ourselves, we’re still mired in a slowdown that has now lasted longer, any by some measures has been deeper, as the original Great Depression.
Everyone knows about that first Great Depression—but is everything they know correct?
There are multiple lessons from the Great Depression for the times we live in now—if only we were in a position to draw them, and if only the history of the Great Depression wasn’t so encumbered with mythology.
We look at a few of the many myths around the Great Depression, and try to draw some lessons for today, asking:
    · Was the Depression really a Crisis of Capitalism?
    · Which great economist (whose theories are stilled followed today) lost his shirt in the Crash he never
       saw coming?
    · Did the Fed really do too little to help? Or too much?
    · Did Herbert Hoover just sit back and watch things get worse? Or make it worse?
    · Was Franklin Roosevelt chiefly responsible for getting the US back on track? Was Michael Joseph
      Savage the maestro here in NZ?
     · Did World War II finally bring about the Recovery?
Join us as we examine these stories and many more about the FIRST Great Depression.
   Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014
    Time: 6-7pm
   Location: Case Room Two, Level Zero, University of Auckland Business School
                             (plenty of parking in the Business School basement, off Grafton Rd)
All welcome!


The All-New, 100% Pure, Official 2014 Liberty-Lover’s Voting Guide [update 2]

Every MMP election you have two votes, and two questions: to whom should I give my party vote, and to whom should I give my electorate vote.

Well, three questions really, the this being: should I vote at all?

My default answer to this is always: don’t vote, it only encourages the bastards.

My default position on voting has always been not to vote for bastards. To vote only to vote for what I believe in. Voting for the lesser of two evils still results in evil. And voting against a greater evil just results in the folk you’re voting for ruling with the help of your blank cheque, and their pathetic claim for your mandate.

For every election since 1996, liberty lovers  been able to give their party mandate to something they could believe in, but now that option is gone I personally had been intending to stay home.

I’d been intending to stay home until I became bowled over by what I like to call New ACT.  Especially by their promise, finally, to abolish the RMA and replace it with common law.

Old ACT deserved to die. But David Seymour and Jamie Whyte are for once genuine liberty lovers, and Jamie Whyte has done an outstanding job of promoting policies that any liberty lover can get behind. I gave him four out of five; Liberty Scott gave them 8 out of 10. And as Lindsay Mitchell notes

There have been so many polls I missed the Colmar Brunton poll that has ACT on 1.2%.
That'll do it. I feel I can safely give them my party vote without wasting it.

To the incredulity of many of you who’ve read me tearing strips off this party for 18 years – and, truth be known to my own incredulity as well -- I’m now intending to do the same. I think you should too.
[UPDATE 1: Lindsay Perigo draws my attention to ACT’s 5-point plan now resiling from abolishing the RMA, and retreating back the weasel word of “reform.” Since driving a stake through the heart of that Act is my litmus test for a party’s support for property rights, my own personal bottom line, I’m now wavering from lending them my support until I have that clarified.
UPDATE 2: Clarification here.]

But what about your electorate vote?

Every election the irrepressible Liberty Scott offers readers the official rooting, tooting all-shooting liberty-lover voter’s guide to how to fill out your electoral ballot, with which I only ever have minor quibbles. (Mostly because he’s too nice to the bastards.) Same again this time except for two minor caveats.

First, given all National has done to Christchurch, if any Cantabrians even consider voting National they can quit moaning for ever about the state of their city.

Second, there’s no point recommending votes for the racist seats. The only thing to recommend there is abolition.

So with that done, let’s take a deep breath and dive right in …

Liberty Scott's 2014 New Zealand voting guide for lovers of liberty (IN PROGRESS)

Click here to read more ... >>

Don’t vote for Colon

I keep hearing whispers from some readers of this blog that some of your are intending voting for the odious and manipulative Colon Craig tomorrow.

What on Galt’s green earth are you thinking!?

Have you not noticed that he proposes land confiscation?

Have you not noticed he wants to ban immigrants, and ban foreigners being part of NZ?

That his tax rates or either silly, dishonest, or well above what they are now?

That he wants to make alcohol more expensive, and jail even more peaceful cannabis smokers?

That he favours what can only be called mob rulea policy that makes every other policy null and void?

Liberty lovers: don’t be fooled. This thin-skinned excuse for a man is not your friend.  Any man who can soberly and with forethought suggest the state should confiscate your land so they can build on it themselves is a man who is a stranger to property rights – a man in love with state power.

Do not be fooled.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So, what about the roads?

Since the blogosphere discussion of transport is dominated by one passionate but mono-dimensional Transport Blog, transport specialist Liberty Scott has done the blog job of assessing political parties’ transport promises and policies. You know, for those who think these things are important in the last week of a campaign.

Scott asses them on five criteria:

  1. do they know what they’re talking about?;
  2. do they reduce barriers to entry for new competitors?;
  3. do users pay or will they be heavily subsidised?;
  4. do their proposals make economic sense?; and,
  5. other stuff.

Marking the parties out of 25, and excluding joke parties like Maori, Conservative, and Dunne Nothing  who dont have any policy) they rank from lowest to highest:

  • InternetMana: 3/25
  • Social Credit (yes, they still exist): 6/25
  • Greens: 7/25 (yes, there are two parties with worse transport policies than the Ginger Whinger’s)
  • Labour: 7/25 (almost three!)
  • NZ First: 8/25 (big on trains but, sadly, doesn’t include reintroducing smoking carriages)
  • National: (a surprising) 16/25
  • New ACT: 18/25 (could do better)

Head to Scott’s blog for his analysis: ‘Comparing parties' transport policies (in progress)