Saturday, July 09, 2011

Why The Global Warming Agenda Is Wrong

A debunking of the global warming agenda by Roy W. Spencer, former NASA climatologist. [Hat tip Ian J.]

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

PERIGO! tonight, with Roger Kerr


Tonight on this special impromptu episode of Perigo! Lindsay’s special guest is the admirable Roger Kerr. Executive Director of the Business Round Table, tireless and oft’ derided defender of free-market capitalism, Lindsay and Roger discuss life, the universe and Roger’s terminal illness.
Join them tonight for a half hour of intelligent discourse.
Stratos TV, 7.30. Sky 89, Freeview 21.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

To Don Brash, regarding the RMA

Don Brash has been a disappointment.

In recent weeks he’s been talking up the problems created by the National Party’s Resource Management Act (RMA), and talking down the ability of people to do business on their own property because of it.

That’s not disappointing, by the way. That much at least is excellent.

Little Hitlers”he called the bossy-booted small-minded vermin who get to act out their delusions of power under its wing. And so they are.  “The biggest single obstacle to economic growth in New Zealand” he called the RMA. And so it is.

He could have, but didn’t, point out it represents “the greatest theft of property rights since the war”—but I’m sure he knows that.

So like ACT leaders of the past, he can talk a good game about the various iniquities of the ACT. Yet (just like ACT leaders of the past) when he comes to actually advocating anything is done to remove this piece of postmodern fascism, he turns into blancmange.

Instead of advocating removal, abolition—a stake through its heart—instead of any of these things it’s crying out for he talks about “reform.”  Just like every other ACT leader has in the past.

What a pathetic, weak-kneed, misinformed disappointment.

When I challenged Don about this backsliding the reason he gave for this softcock soft soap was:
if Parliament were simply to "remove" the RMA I think you'd be left with the Town and Country Planning Act, which hardly seems to me to be an improvement. If the RMA were to be amended so that it was made abundantly clear that property owners should be free to do on their own property whatever they please, provided it does not jeopardise the property rights of others, that would be a major step forward.
This is very disappointing. Not to mention misguided and misinformed.

It would be like saying a rejection of Vladmir Putin would require the reincarnation of Leonid Brezhnev. Or (to put it in central banking terms) the overturning of the Central Bankers' "Great Moderation" would  require the reintroduction of Arthur Burns' profligate 1970s inflation. Or to put it in terms teenagers might understand, like saying a rejection of Justin Bieber implies we must embrace Britney Spears.

This is, of course, nonsense. Nonsense on stilts. It’s nothing more than a bureaucrat's false alternative.
If that's all the advice Don is getting about replacements for the RMA, then I suggest he very quickly change his advisers.

It’s true that the virus of town planning came to NZ in the twenties, but it didn’t really begin attacking the economy’s internal organs until recently.

Introduced by the National Party, the RMA has now been with us for just eighteen years. The Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA)*, which was also introduced by National (are you seeing a pattern here?) had been with us for around two decades before that.

These are hardly historically significant time periods over which to measure the failure of these two acts to “balance” property rights and the environment.

Compare that with the signal success of Common Law over seven-hundred years to protect both. That Don and his advisers are apparently so blithely unaware of this history is worse than disappointing. For a party, and a leader, who purport to stand for strong property rights this is simply unforgivable.

The point anyway is not just to advocate AGAINST the RMA (and then to accept what you're given by the bureaucrats and your advisers as a replacement) but to advocate FOR property rights, and with that advocacy to promote the system with around 700 years of success in protecting both property rights and the environment, i.e., common law.

As ACT Party candidate Cactus Kate once pointed out, common law represents and protects the “Freedom to do what you want on your property as long as it doesn't impinge on others' right of peaceful enjoyment of their property.” So why wouldn't ACT Party leaders promote that? Your guess is as good as mine. They don't, but they should.

The return to common law would eject both the RMA and TCPA regimes, along with all the bureaucrats, consultants and other parasites and hangers-on  that go with them, and represent a long overdue return to property rights and to sanity.

There are undoubtedly many ways to effect the change, but I'd suggest the simplest would be this:
  1. have enacted a codification of basic common law principles, such as water rights, profits a prendre, rights to light, air and so on (which protect many long-standing and long-recognised property rights destroyed by the RMA) and the Coming to the Nuisance Doctrine (which on its own represents a powerful antidote to the disease of the planners);
  2. place property rights in the Bill of Rights;
  3. set up Small Consents Tribunals to begin the process by which the change can be done gradually;
  4. while all this is taking place, have property titles amended with easements and covenants and so on to reflect the basic present District Plan provisions of height, density, and height-to-boundary (i.e., the very things in place when many property owners bought their present property, and on whose protection many of them rely) and make clear that property owners are now quite able  to negotiate among themselves for mutual relaxation, restriction or furtherance of these covenants.
None of that is beyond the wit of man to either grasp or introduce—certainly not someone with the intelligence of The Don.

Set that up and then go from there.

And if anyone tells you it's "not practical," then point them to the nearly 700 years in which common law was successfully practiced.

We owe it to ourselves and our grandchildren to return to it.
_ _ _ __ _
* (And despite the protestations of planning parasites, these two acts in the way they’ve been applied are really just kissing cousins, since the RMA has essentially become the TCPA with more restrictions,less certainty, and a great deal more expense—and many, many more delays. Think of it as the postmodern TCPA—the TCPA plus kaitiakitanga.)

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Phuck you, Phil

Phil Goff has pledged to deliver a Capital Gains Tax if elected in November,partly to fill the multi-billion dollar gap between his promises on spending and what he can steal from taxpayers,and partly to demonstrate to the world his abject ignorance of how the world works.

Goof reckons the tax will make housing affordable again--housing he reckons was made expensive by "speculators."

Phil, you are a moron.

Housing prices boomed under your party's watch because the Reserve Bank inflated the money supply by around ten percent per year, which spilled over into the housing market, and because planners used their powers under the
RMA to strangle land supply in NZ's cities.

And if he thinks a Capital Gains Tax would have stopped this -- if he thinks his new tax would somehow ha,he defied economic reality -- then I suggest he look at the experience of every Western country that had one, where in every place it did nothing of the sort.

Which is to say the tax would be wrong, immoral and iniquitous. So no wonder it's going to be flagship Labour policy this election.

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Monday, July 04, 2011

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: I divorce thee, I divorce thee,I divorce thee

_McGRathLibertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath invites you to come on down to his surgery for an inoculation against this week’s stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.
This week:

  • NZ HERALD: “Swim star 'divorces' parents - A 17 year old New Zealander wins a court battle to allow him independence from his parents so that he can compete under his own steam as a swimmer without his parents' permission…

THE DOCTOR SAYS: This sort of situation may become more common over time, as social norms evolve. With 18 year olds now having the vote and being considered adults, there will be 16 and 17 year olds who feel they are ready to take on the rights and responsibilities of adulthood, and who are entitled to take that case before a court equipped to hear it. (Equally, there is very little option left to parents when their offspring will not accept 'house rules' and declare they wish to charter their own course through life.) 
    Of course, for the teenager this will mean having to finance all their living expenses and the cost of leisure activities, health maintenance and the like, and pay rent if they wish to remain living with their parents. It will mean teenagers having to do the time if they do the crime, or parents being expected to settle the bill for their children's misdemeanours - but not the taxpayer having to pick up the tab, as is too often the case now. 
    In a society based around respect for individual rights, there would need to be a clear indication as to exactly when parents pass onto each of their children the rights they hold "in trust." Either this would happen at age 18, or earlier if the child decided they were ready to assume adult responsibilities. 
    The Libertarianz Party supports the court's decision but hopes that in time the process of 'divorcing' ones parents could be streamlined and settled outside of the formal (and expensive) justice system through mediation and therefore with the consent of both parties.

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Fair enough comment, as far as it goes. Deborah points out that if you want to make sure that MPs rejected in electorate seats don't sneak back to the trough through the back door, then cross MMP and SM (supplementary member) off your list of options. Personally I like the sound of Single Transferable Vote, as you can vote for only those candidates you like, in order of preference. 
    But the Libertarianz Party's preferred electoral system is any system you like—provided the activities of our elected “representatives” are strictly limited to the protection of individual rights. Ideally, New Zealand would be a constitutional republic, a 'New Freeland' as it were. 
    Years ago, a handful of Libertarianz Party members wrote a suggested constitution for New Zealand that has stood the test of time. It is set on the bedrock of a principled defence of human rights, not the liquefaction of a 'living document' that can be interpreted to mean whatever the government of the day wants it to mean.  
    Basically, the Libertarianz Party doesn't have an opinion on the system by which MPs are elected but what they are able to do once they have been. We want more freedom and less government, regardless of how our governments are elected.

Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by
each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.

- Hugo Black (American jurist, lawyer and politician best
known for his absolutist belief in the Bill of Rights)

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath

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Obama Gets It: It's the Morality, Stupid

Guest post by Jeff Perren

Like most shrewd Democrats, one reason Obama,usually wipes the floors with Republicans is that he unashamedly defends his positions from a moral point of view.

In another biased editorial masquerading as a news report, the LA Times lays out this one gem:
"This is not just a numbers debate," Obama said Thursday in Philadelphia. "This is a values debate."
Would that the Republican leadership understood that – and had the courage to fight back the right way.

Instead of endlessly talking about jobs, haggling over deficit reduction numbers and the like, Republicans should be talking about what the Federal government should and should not be doing. Mostly the latter.
They'll only make substantial progress when they're willing to declare, as even the generally head-and-shoulders-above Rep. Ryan does not, an important moral truth: that Social Security and Medicare aren't just absurdly expensive, they're morally wrong.

No rational moral argument could justify taking from some citizens to support others, particularly at the Federal level. No taxpayer in Illinois has the moral obligation to support another in Idaho, no matter how much I might need it. Theft is considered wrong in almost every moral code adopted in the past 2,500 years.

While Progressives sometimes lose debates over economics, they've been winning the culture war for a long time, and will continue to win because of this very reason. Only if — and it's a very big if — Republicans will confidently come out in favor of self-reliance as a moral imperative, and in favor of charity as a marginal, personal matter, only then will the welfare state get significantly shrunk.

No, I'm not holding my breath, either.

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