Tuesday, 24 October 2017

PM Elect: Capitalism is a "blatant failure”


Capitalism is a "blatant failure" when it comes to housing the poor, says Prime Minister-Elect Jacinda Ardern. Her comment has been much reported. This is what the stories say she said:

"When you have a market economy, it all comes down to whether or not you acknowledge where the market has failed and where intervention is required. Has it failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you've been successful when you have growth roughly 3 percent, but you've got the worst homelessness in the developed world?"

Capitalism has failed? Really? Is Ms Ardern, or the reporter, aware that capitalism, the market economy, has been shackled here in recent years like a straw man in a sellotape cape?

How can you possibly claim capitalism has failed when the spread of even the growing amount of shackled capitalism around the world — what Ludwig Von Mises called “hampered markets” — have delivered more people out of poverty than at any time ever in history!

  • In 1820, for example, only 60 million people lived lives free of extreme poverty. Today, more than 6.5 billion people do. That’s not from redistributing wealth, that’s from beeing free to grow it.
  • Further: in 1990, 34.8% of people worldwide lived in extreme poverty. In 2015, this number declined by over 72%, to only 9.6%.
  • And as the world is becoming richer, infant mortality is plummeting.
  • And in the places, like Hong Kong, where economic freedom was able to flourish most (thank you Mr Cowperthwaite) … right after WWII, Hong Kong's per capita income was one third of that in Britain. Today, it's over 30 percent higher. And as late as 1960, lives in Hong Kong were four years shorter than those in Britain. Today, they're four years longer.

This should be the biggest story around — not this whimpering about failure. And it’s happened because freer markets have made the world a much better place. And who have been modern capitalism's chief beneficiaries? Answer: the poor. It is an irrefutable historical finding, says Deirdre McCloskey, who is one of many who researches these things.

Is Ms Ardern or those who have spread this report aware of any of this great and historically-uprecedented news?

Do they even care?

But, but ... what about high prices and homelessness here at home, you say? Hasn’t capitalism failed here? Well, how can you possibly claim the local housing market has failed when that market is at the intersection of possibly the three most heavily regulated sectors of life in New Zealand today - those three being land-use, banking and building.

Heavy regulation of all three is the product of both Labour and National Governments over the last many cramptonyears — as this blog among others has been pointing out for much of that time. (Read the archives if you have time. There’s plenty there.)

So, to make things very simple: 
Q: Why is there a housing crisis?

A: Because we’re adding houses less quickly than 

we are adding new buyers with newly-minted money.

It’s clear that housing prices have been responding to all the new monetary demand (induced in large part by the way governments have insisted new money comes into markets) so we know that part of the market is working well enough, i.e., the part that adjusts prices.

That part almost always works well, even when you wish it would’t.

But why isn’t housing supply responding to this resounding price signal? Answer: becuase they grey ones haven’t allowed it to.

As Eric Crampton so cogently pointed out (and we understand at least one Labour Housing Spokesman took the lesson aboard at the time):

Auckland doesn’t have a barber crisis induced by the tens of thousands more people who need haircuts every month as compared to the same time last year.   

But it does have a housing crisis because the regulations on land-use and building have seriously constrained supply. Or to paraphrase it using Eric’s very simple summation:

Pro-density activists made it too hard to expand at the outskirts of town; Not In My Back Yard activists made it too hard to build apartment towers or terraced housing close to downtown. And pro-regulation politicians gave both these activists large amounts of power. And when a city can’t go out or up, prices can only go one way when monetary demand increases.

Capitalism has’t failed New Zealanders, Jacinda. Instead, those like you who’ve shackled it have.

You have three years to correct that, if you’d really like things here to progress.
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Monday, 23 October 2017

Quote of the Day: On political power


"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."
~ Milton Friedman

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Quote of the Day: 'Why It's Okay To Like Ornament'





"Sullivan’s ornament never feels as though it is imposed from without. It does not feel applied.
Instead, his ornament really does manifest what 'organic' is actually supposed to feel like, 'as though the outworking of some beneficent agency had come forth from the very substance of the material and was there by the same right that a flower appears amid the leaves of 
its parent plant.'”
~ Barbara Lamprecht, from Part IV her book/article 'Why It's Okay To Like Ornament,' quoting Michael Lewis





"This greatest feature of his work was esoteric. Is it any the less precious for that?
    "Do you realise that here, in his own way, is no body of culture evolving through centuries of time but a scheme and 'style' of plastic expression which an individual working away in this poetry-crushing environment ... had made out of himself? Here was a sentient individual who evoked the goddess whole civilisations strove in vain for centuries to win, and wooed her with this charming interior smile -- all on his own, in one lifetime too brief.
... Although seeming at time a nature-ism (his danger), the idea is there: of the thing not on it; and therefore Sullivanian self-expression contained the elements and prophesied organic architecture. To look down on such efflorescence as mere 'ornament' is disgraceful ignorance. We do so because we have only known ornament as self-indulgent excrescence ignorantly applied to some surface as a mere prettification. But with the master [Sullivan], 'ornament' was like music; a matter of the soul..."~ Frank Lloyd Wright writing in his book Genius and the Mobocracy about the only man he ever called his Master






Saturday, 21 October 2017

Frank Lloyd Wright, and the importance of the built environment






Listening in this weekend to the Wright Society Virtual Summit (you all could be too, you know), I'm really enjoying hearing Frank Lloyd Wright's clients talking about their homes, and their lives in and around them.

Roland Reisley was just 26 years old when he joined a housing cooperative in Pleasantville, New York, able to commission Wright to design the community and several of the houses, including their own. "We didn't dream of approaching Frank Lloyd Wright, ordinary people don't do that," smiles Reisley today, 67 years later. But when the community founder showed Wright the site thus began "a wonderful, long, productive and happy relationship with him."

Asked what he has learned after a lifetime of living in and enjoying his Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home — enjoying every day the nature of the design, seeing the seasons change, how the light passes through the home, Reisley sums up with a very important observation about what essentially makes good architecture:
I came to realise after many years … a pinch-me realisation, that after many years there had not been a single day of my life, even the bad days that happen in every life, where I was not aware of seeing something beautiful. I always, every day of my life, [am saying] ‘isn’t that lovely’ — whether it’s … in the morning I look up and see the way the wood is mitred in certain places, and how it contrasts with the light through the window which is either nice and green fro the trees or white with snow; and I could go on with similar awareness.     “We sit outside (in summer-time) … and look around and say ‘isn’t it beautiful!,’ ‘isn’t it wonderful!’ — every day, every time…
    Neuroscientists have observed … that living with a sense of awareness of beauty brings a sense of comfort, a reduction of stress, and these other kinds of things, that may contribute to physical and emotional health, possibly even longevity. I’m 93 years old! I’m in very  good shape for 93 years old. I like to attribute that to this sense of beauty that I’ve lived in all my life.
   It also has made me very conscious, as I talk about this house and the architecture and how it makes me feel, of the importance of the built environment generally.     “I remark these days not just to visitors but to architects as well: ’You know, these buildings are just objects. We may like how they look, we may not like how they look, but what matters is how they make us feel. When we’re in this environment, does it feel good, does it [make us] feel better, does it feel enriching. And that may or may not coincide with whether we like the way it looks. I think Wright understood that, and he created environments in which people feel good.
Not a trivial point.




[Pics from the Wright Society Virtual Summit Guide, and The Weekly Wright Write-Up]
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Quote of the Day: “Exports are Costs; Imports are Benefits”


"What is true at the level of the household is here true at the level of the national economy: the goods and services that [New Zealanders] export to foreigners are the costs that we willingly incur in order to be able to import into our country the goods and services that we receive from foreigners in exchange.  Exports are the means; imports are the end.”

Friday, 20 October 2017

ACT: Liberal or Libertarian?


ACT's David Seymour labels himself two different ways to two different audiences on two different days.

But that's politics.

To LiberTV he's a libertarian:




And to the Spinoff audience, explaining what he learned form ACT's election drubbing, he's a liberal -- in the Gladstonian sense, naturally.

Importantly, he acknowledges ACT has a problem, which is always the first step towards fixing something, isn't it.
That we carried a brand tarnished by various shenanigans from 2009-14 certainly didn’t help. Perhaps we should have rebranded, as the party seriously considered after the last election. Perhaps we still should. 
Yes, they should.

He argues that ACT is necessary. That ACT is needed to challenge the mainstream  dogmas. But is being necessary sufficient to keep voters interested? Do the reasons to resuscitate outweigh the various shenanigans by which they are overshadowed.

If you think so then you should probably accept his invitation to help make it over.

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Quote of the Day: "This is the real secret of life..."



"This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing and in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play." 
~ Alan W. Watts



Thursday, 19 October 2017

So the decision is finally announced!


Yes folks, now we know!

The decision we've eagerly awaited for the last few weeks has finally been made, and I'm excited!

Yes folks: It's just been officially announced that Gary Ablett Jr. is returning to the Geelong Cats next year.

The return of the little master.

Great news.

So who else is excited?

Is there a better centre trio than Ablett, Dangerfield and Selwood?

Exciting times.

In sports anyway.
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“Meet the new boss...”




“…and now a parting on the left
is now a parting on the right …”

Or is it the other way around?

And does it really matter ... ?

Here's a wee musical interlude to think about:




[Pic from Chris Keall]

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PS: Mind you, perhaps this song might be more appropriate:




A word on inequality from F.A. Hayek


“There is all the difference in the world being treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.”
~ Friedrich Hayek

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Quote of the Day: "If you read that central banks are seeking to engineer a cooling down of asset prices..."


"If you read that central banks are seeking to engineer a cooling down of asset prices, ask who heated them up in the first place."
~ Vinay Kolhatkar

The Cathedral of Sport



An early concept sketch here by Daryl Jackson for the Great Southern Stand at the MCG — the Cathedral of Sport.
"There should,” he says, "be a sense of arrival at the outside ticket box, a celebratory progression to one's designated seat, and the anticipation of spectacle."
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Quote of the Day: On politicians' pusillinamity


"There has been too much shrugging of the shoulders [by too many politicians such as he]. He justifies his shrug ... [partly] because politicians are not only pusillanimous, but rightly so, their pusillanimity being merely a realisation of their actual impotence; ... the doctrine that statesmen must always act contrary to their convictions, when to do otherwise would lose them office, implies [however] that they are less easily replaceable than is really the case."
~ John Maynard Keynes, from his 'Essays in Biography'
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Lykes House, by Frank Lloyd Wright



Officially the last house that Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed, this 280sqm house for the Sonoma Desert in pre-airconditioned Arizona was completed after his death by apprentice John Rattenbury, working from the master’s sketches — and adding both a pool, and an upstairs office.


The lounge, this great space, looks over the desert to what is now the city of Phoenix, its lights twinkling in the distance of an evening.


And it’s all yours (well, it could have been) for just $3.6 million.


[Hat tip The Wright Attitude. Pics from Aguilera + Guerrero and Marc Leslie Kagan]

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Quote of the Day: On being a YIMBY


“'The 100 or so higher-income people, who are not going to live in this project if it isn’t built, are going to live somewhere,' she said. 'They will just displace someone somewhere else, because demand doesn’t disappear.'”
~ Sonja Trauss, a San Francisco YIMBY activist (Yes, In My Back Yard), arguing on behalf of a proposed 75-unit development, saying that any new housing built is better than none at all
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On dreams...



[Cartoon from the xkcd comic site. Hat tip Dinesh Pillay]
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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Question of the Day: What is organic architecture?






"Organic architecture is an architecture from within outwards — in which entity is the ideal. … Organic means, in a philosophic sense, entity. Where the whole is to the part and the part is to the whole. Where the nature of the materials, the nature of the purpose, the nature of the entire performance becomes a necessity and out of that comes what significance you can give the building as a creative artist."

~ Frank Lloyd Wright, from his interview (above) with Hugh Downs

Friday, 13 October 2017

Dear Stephen Franks: It was not ACT’s principles that killed the party, it was its people [updated]






Dear Stephen

You write at your blog about the ACT Party’s future, if it has one, about which your headline makes the promise to explain why no libertarian party rules (or thrives) anywhere.

Your headline is incorrect, and in relation to the ACT Party, irrelevant. But it seems to me that answering you helps explain what it is about ACT's approach that hasn't worked.

I will always respect you as being the only person in Parliament who argued against the Architects Institute maintaining their legal monopoly over a word. But as you yourself made clear on many occasions then and since, you yourself were not a libertarian, and neither, it’s clear were many other ACT MPs.

It’s not even clear that that party itself is libertarian — as David Seymour reminded me sharply a week before the election, instead it's something called “centre-right,” whatever that ill-defined term might mean.

You say, Stephen, that libertarians are "zealots [who] ignore and deplore what drives normal humans”; and that voters “will never trust a party, and people, who do not understand and reflect our collective impulses.” This, you imply, is to answer the promise of your headline.

Where to begin?

Perhaps, to start at the very beginning, you need to be reminded, Stephen, that the United States of America, one of the greatest nations on this earth, was founded on those very values you say are so ignored and abhorred. Yet, in the estimation of many of us, it was those very values that made America great, and their abandonment that has condemned it to the slow death we have all observed. If America is ever become great again, it will need to rediscover those values, and to embrace them.


Frankly, Mr Franks, it was not the ideas that disgraced the party’s people; it was the people who disgraced the ideas they purported to represent — a succession of both major and minor disgraces with which the honesty and integrity of everyone associated with the party are now tainted.

It was the party’s people who made the party toxic, not the principles they claimed to represent.

The abandonment of those principles began at the party’s very founding, the man who composed those fine words — that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent freedoms and responsibilities; that the proper purpose of government is to protect such freedoms and not to assume such responsibilities — running from the party he helped form when he saw there was very little interest from party bearers in upholding them.

Today those words are nowhere to be found on the party website, replaced instead with heaping helpings of blancmange.

If the party’s own people frequently appear too embarrassed to uphold the principles they claim to follow, why indeed should the voting public take them seriously?

And just look at those who purported to uphold them.

Rodney Hide, allegedly a proponent of small government, dropped whatever principles he may have had when a Ministerial limousine beckoned, and promptly ran amok in Auckland — a city in which he can still no longer even show his face.

John Banks, presented to the party by Don Brash as a gift that just kept not giving, a man who never knew a principle even when he fell over one, was instead taken by the public to represent them, and as he fell so too did the party’s reputation.

It has never recovered.

A small party may may have survived one of these oafs. It could never survive them both. A short story is representative of many: One of the few announcements made by the party in recent years squarely based on its principles, Don Brash’s clarion call to legalise marijuana, was scuttled very public when Banks himself opposed it. The party quickly dropped the policy. It should have dropped the politician. The public, those who had already begun to embrace the policy, saw where things were going and dropped the party.


It was the people that let the principles down, not the principles themselves.

And it was not just the luminaries, and not just in recent years. The behaviour of the party’s minor figures over many years has also seemed to suggest that integrity is the very least of things to expect from this party’s people — or at least have allowed the media to present that notion this way.

Owen Jennings, for example, let his office be used for a madcap Get Rich Quick pyramid scam, after which he disappeared from public life.

Donna Aware-Huata distinguished herself before selection for nothing more than selling Maori stick games to government departments, and once near power for little more than putting her fingers into her charity’s till.

David Garrett: best known not as he might suppose for the three strikes legislation he introduced, but instead for acquiring a passport derived from a viewing of a dead baby’s grave. (“Can't say I blame David Garrett for creating a false identity,” responded one wag. "His real one is hardly something to be proud of.”)

And Deborah Coddington who, in her first year, made such a splash she was awarded accolades for being the most effective debutante in the Parliament, went —after achieving such wide public notice — off to Oxford for a year to pursue a programme of private study while still taking the taxpayer's dime. (And she was not the first ACT Party MP to so openly enjoy the parliamentary perks to which the party is supposed to be opposed, was she.)

These are only some of the minor constellation of party luminaries who have appeared in the public eye and given continual ammunition to the growing view that to be a classical liberal in these times must also to be a cocksmack. A succession of these ghastly people have made the party grate.

Even the founders - Quigley, Prebble and Douglas — are known in the public mind at least as turncoats. The whiff of Muldoonism never left Derek Quigley, nor the memory of how many years he purported to believe things to which his behaviour in government said otherwise. And Prebble and Douglas ... whatever you may think of the policies they carried out as Labour ministers, it’s fair to say that in their first round at least the public was entitled to wonder why they were never properly presented to them at election time. It seemed to suggest that to promote what its opponents call “neoliberalism” is somehow to necessitate duplicity in the policies’ promotion. (That the then-Labour MPs’ policy salesman himself, David Lange, resiled from the selling only seemed to reinforce this impression, particularly since neither Douglas nor Prebble themselves ever seemed to fully acquire this very necessary political skill.)

This miasma of betrayal also sadly infects Ruth Richardson who, in the estimation of many of us, did great things as Finance Minister — but did them without the previous imprimatur of having first presented them to public vote, the public instead feeling they had voted for something else and rebelling when they were offered ‘Ruthenasia’ (the public description) instead. (Her boss, Bolger, being far less gifted at selling the policies, and with even less interest in the principles represented, rarely even bothered to make a case.)

No, Stephen, it’s not the ideas the ACT party claims to hold to which the public appear implacably opposed*. It’s very possible the public don’t even know or understand what the party stands for at all. It was not even clear this election that all the party’s candidates did.

What the voting public do despise however is that the party seems associated not with principles and powerful persuasion but with duplicity and deception.

Is it any wonder the general public now associates the ideas with which the party sometimes dabbles, what their opponents call "neoliberal,” with these self-same toxins? With so powerful a toxicity that it drags down even the good principled people the party did and does still contain. No wonder Jamie and David could never build a real fire under the party.

Even the one principled thing at which the party did once achieve serious traction, its very public perk busting, was disgraced by Douglas and Hide themselves in loudly and proudly embracing the concept of sucking up expensive travel perks for themselves and their whanau for the period of their natural existence. “I’m entitled,” they both whined when found out.

What a disgraceful pair.

No wonder the voting public despises them.

They have, all of these entities, disgraced the ideas with which the voters associate the party. And very clearly, Stephen, it is that way around — there is no need for yet another party to reflect what you allege to be "most people’s need and respect for altruism, nationalism and other expressions of the social and collectivist part of our nature."

What there is a desperate need for however is a party of principle that can sell individualism to the public — sell those principles written for the party’s founding — and sell them untainted by these toxic monstrosities from the past.

It needs a top-to-toe transformation if it is to survive as a real force instead of as a limp and occasionally useful appendage to the Blue Team.

If it is ever to be able to slay dragons, it needs to kill the ghosts first.

* * * * *

* Indeed, the public in their ill-informed wooly way seem to the think the Blue Team which has already won three terms is some kind of soft representative of those free-marketish ideas. Strange, but true.

UPDATE: As part of his excellent post-election analysis, Liberty Scott writes:

ACT lost badly in part due to the Nats successfully scaring voters on the right to voting National, but also because David Seymour moved too far away from having a coherent position on issues.  He was seen as backing National, but whether it was too hard for him to get traction on multiple issues or he lacked ground support to campaign, the only policy that got a lot of publicity was in increasing teacher pay.  ACT once had a coherent less government, lower tax position that promoted more competition in public services, was tough on law and order and rejected identity politics.  Yet Seymour couldn't break through with such a message.  The brand is mixed, he made statements about abortion which would alienate some, but he tried hard.  ACT needs to work out who it is targeting and what message it is giving.   There is a gap on the right, one that will open up large when a certain Maori ex. National MP finally retires.  ACT can't fill much of that gap, but it sure can grab some of it...
And what now?
ACT needs to refocus

For those who think government does too much, who think individuals alone or with others should have more power and responsibility to find solutions to the problems of today, there is little to offer.   The best hope might be for ACT to be in Opposition, regardless.  To campaign more clearly on principles, which should be around private property rights, everyone being equal under the law (including the abolition of Maori-only political representation), opening up education to choice and diversity, tackling the culture of welfare dependency, opposing state subsidies for business, more taxation and more state ownership.  ACT should firmly come down on limiting the scope and powers   of local government, on ridding central government of wasteful politically-correct bureaucracies and taking on identity politics.   Yes it should support other parties when it comes to victimless crimes, but there should not be a unified view on abortion.  It should be tough on real crime, tough on parental responsibility, but also take on measures that governments have done that increase the cost of living.  This includes the constraining of housing supply, and immigration policies that mean new migrants utilise the capital of taxpayer funded infrastructure, without actually paying for it.

What Winston does as his possible swan song is of minor interest, what matters is there being a party that stands up for something different.  For now, only ACT can do that.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

"It kept pouring..." On one of the worst days in NZ military history, 100 years ago today...


“It kept pouring. [Australian commander] Monash found himself the odd one out in the attitude to attacking in the bog…[Commander-in-Chief Douglas Haig’s] push to Passchendaele had to go on. It was now an obsession. Even a close aide remarked that it would take the impact of a travelling planet to shift him … Monash spoke bluntly about the futility of attacking in a bog. [General] Godley said it didn't matter. The C-in-C was set upon the 9th as attack day, and taht was that.
    “The rain became torrential on 8 October, making a cavalry division redundant. But it was still held in reserve. [Supreme Commander Douglas] Haig and some of the other British commanders wanted the horses there as a symbol of successes in the previous century. In the swampy conditions, they were useless…
    “The intense bombardments in the area over the last two years had ripped the land to shreds, breaking up the drainage system of the flat land. The effect was accentuated by the first British artillery barrage... The rain of the last few days had transformed the battlefield into a horrible slush, getting worse all the time. The troops went over the top and straight into a quagmire...
    “On 11 October the rain had not abated. Every dip in the land, crater or shell-hole was flooded... The British High Command was now a bunch of the deaf and blind. They couldn't see what would happen, and they refused to listen to anyone with a contrary view to that set in train by Haig...
    “At 6am the [troops] went over the top... The conditions were the worst they had encountered. The ground was a mud pond. Guns and ammunitions were sinking in the slush. The artillery shells didn’t explode, making it impossible for the diggers to follow a barrage, even if they could make it through the shell craters. They couldn’t link up. Supplies couldn’t get through. The soldiers who managed to get somewhere were soon knee or waist deep in mud. In much of the battlefield the only way across the bog, which was now akin to quicksand, was by duckboards (slatted footways). Soldiers falling or being blown off the duckboards needed aid to climb back on. Wounded soldiers, who under dry conditions could have been saved, had little hope. They would sink and drown. There was no hope of even a vaguely uniform or quick straight-line attack. Even those who managed to stay on the duckboards or find their way through the mud were slow-motion targets. Entire platoons, waist high in slime, were wiped out by machine-gun fire. Those who struggled on encountered the enemy in bayonet fighting.
    “The New Zealanders had encountered trouble crossing the wide, flooding Ravebeek River. It had been wired on the northern (enemy) bank. The New Zealand Division therefore could not get a foothold on the Bellevue Spur, which led to Crest Farm… But at 1.15 p.m. Godley called off the New Zealand attack. Monash was forced to do the same. The mass withdrawal of the two divisions was nearly as tough as the attack... By 3 p.m. the 3rd Division, depleted in numbers and morale, had mostly withdrawn to within a hundred metres of the start line. Passchendaele – the mission that should never have been started in such atrocious conditions – was over…. 
    “The [Australian] 3rd Division suffered 3200 casualties out of 5000 soldiers who went over the top. Among those to lose his life was Lewis McGee, attempting another smash-through act. He would never know he had been awarded the VC for his courage at Broodseinde. The New Zealanders had 3500 casualties…
    “In the end the New Zealand and the 3rd Divisions had to take on the failed objectives of the two British divisions. ‘It amounted to this,’ Monash wrote, ‘Russell [New Zealand] and I were asked to make a total advance of 1.75 miles [nearly three kilometres] – in a day.’13 So much for the limited objective. Three kilometres in the mud would have been twelve kilometres in the dry. It was an impossible task. But once the battle began on 9 October, [Generals] Godley, Plumer, Harington and [Supreme Commander] Haig would not quit until 12 October – after four days of fighting in which several thousand British and Anzac soldiers were killed or injured advancing less than a net 100 metres….
    “[Australian 3rd Division commander] Monash was not amused. He was now fully aware of the British regular leadership’s attitude to the soldiers at the front. They were machine-gun fodder that was expendable… ‘I had formed the theory that the true role of the infantry was not to expend itself upon heroic physical effort, nor to wither away under merciless machine-gun fire, nor to impale itself on hostile bayonets, nor to tear itself to pieces in hostile entanglements,’ Monash wrote. Instead, he wanted his force ‘to advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, mortars, aeroplanes (also tanks); to advance with as little impediment as possible; to be relieved as far as is possible of the obligation to fight their way forward’…
   “Monash’s [own battle] plans were … structured for a minimum of casualties. That was a novelty in July 1918.”  But it was what eventually turned the war.
~ from the highly-recommended book Monash: The Outsider Who Won A War by Roland Perry



Quote of the Day: On test cricket


"Cricket, especially in Test form, is a conceptual sport... it is the great game of the mind."
~ from the Guardian Sportsblog post 'How to make cricket commentary more compelling: through good storytelling' 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Quote of the Day: On controlling corporations




"When government is allowed to favour one group over another, the rich will always win, since they can 'buy' more favours than the poor." ~ Dr. Mary Ruwart

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Quote of the Day: "The concept of white privilege is a giant scam…"



“The concept of white privilege is a giant scam… The very concept of privilege implies injustice and calls for the abolition of whatever privileges are in question. But since white privilege is used as a different name for what in fact is respect for the individual rights possessed by whites that have not been properly respected in blacks, the actual effect would be the loss of respect for those individual rights of whites. By the logic of the situation, whites could be enslaved, lynched, and otherwise wrongly treated all in the belief that it was merely a matter of stripping away white privilege. The concept of white privilege is an invitation to the violation of the rights of whites to the same extent that the rights of blacks have been violated.
    “The concept of white privilege is a formula for massive injustice. It obliterates the concept of individual rights and thus destroys the possibility of respect for anyone’s rights, white or black. It aims at a society in which everyone is a slave — not to a plantation owner perhaps, but to the state.”

~ George Reisman, from his blog post 'The White Privilege Scam'

Monday, 9 October 2017

Bonus Quote of the Day: On political power



"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."
~ Thomas Jefferson

Quote of the Day: ‘Addiction ... is not what you think’


“Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage. …the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”~ Johann Hari, from his article ‘The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Quote of the Day: "I finally got why architects spend as long as doctors getting an education"



Burridge-Read Residence designed by architect David Boyle
 
“People say ‘location, location, location.’ They never say ‘design, design, design.’ I finally got why architects spend as long as doctors getting an education. They do something really magical. They don’t save lives but they enhance them.” ~ Tim Read, owner of the Burridge-Read Residence (above), quoted in the article 'Selling architect-designed homes: real estate agency that markets on architectural merit not location'

Friday, 6 October 2017

Question of the Day: 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?'


"Remember, the proper question is not, 'Why can the government restrict my access to guns?' The proper question is, 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?' The proper answer is, 'Whatever is needed for those citizens to protect themselves when the government cannot.' Unfortunately, this principle is not articulated in the [US] Constitution and we are stuck twisting the Second Amendment into service. Things would be better if we didn't have to." ~ John McCaskey, 'Natural Rights, Civil Rights, and Guns'

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A word from Tom Petty


“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals.”
~ Tom Petty

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Both the left and right are destroying free speech



"If you think President Trump is really opposing the Left on political correctness and free speech, you are MISTAKEN," argues Gregory Salmieri.

I think you’re totally misoriented if you see him as a response in the opposite direction of political correctness; it’s the same direction, it’s just on behalf of a certain group — of marginalised white people who are offended by certain things as opposed to other people who are offended by certain things.
But both sides are seeing certain views as beyond the pale and therefore not to be discussed, and [both sides] are thinking of ways to use the apparatus of the state to prevent that...


Monday, 2 October 2017

Quote of the Day: On central planning


"What is politically defined as economic planning is the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by government officials."
~ Thomas Sowell