Act says: solve everything by privatising everything

datePosted on 09:38, January 14th, 2009 by Anita

Roger Douglas was on Morning Report this morning, once again banging on about how we should privatise more stuff to save ourselves. I was interested to hear him complaining that National led government isn’t doing what he said they should, given that they clearly are. They have plans for

  • privatising more health provision
  • private prisons
  • increased funding to private schools
  • private competition in work accident insurance
  • privatisation of many local government services
  • private provision of social welfare services

Exactly what is Douglas concerned National is unwilling to privatise?

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57 Responses to “Act says: solve everything by privatising everything”

  1. BLiP on January 14th, 2009 at 09:52

    Douglas is the National Party’s foil to their real agenda – he’s being used to present the “unacceptable” face of privatisation so they can say “here’s the acceptable side” – by going overboard, National can appear rational.

    There are now huge tomes with lists of data that prove, beyond doubt, that privatisation impoverishes the nation and only makes the rich richer, the poor poorer, and the middle class disappear.

    National won’t be happy until we are back in the 19th Century and people like you and me spontaneously doff our caps in defference to our betters.

  2. Anita on January 14th, 2009 at 10:09

    BLiP,

    Douglas is the National Party’s foil to their real agenda – he’s being used to present the “unacceptable” face of privatisation so they can say “here’s the acceptable side” – by going overboard, National can appear rational.

    I’m sure Labour is desperately waiting for the day Douglas agrees with something the government does. If Douglas is ever that foolish it would be a huge strategic opportunity for Labour.

  3. James on January 14th, 2009 at 11:13

    Sigh….here we go…

    Privitisation is simply returning something to the private sector…meaning all of us…that should never have left it in the first place.

    Everyone is the private sector….but its the State thats the “public”.This slight of hand has fooled most of the people most of the time….and made them poorer by forcing them to fund liabilites for the “public good”…gag!

    The private sector can’t force you to do anything….

  4. StephenR on January 14th, 2009 at 11:40

    Sigh….here we go…

    Heh heh, indeed. Breathe! :-D

    Exactly what is Douglas concerned National is unwilling to privatise?

    He may be concerned that they’re just going to muddle through all of them – perhaps doing things half-assed would just make outcomes worse than they way they currently are?

  5. Jafapete on January 14th, 2009 at 12:40

    James “Sigh….here we go… Privitisation is simply returning something to the private sector…meaning all of us…that should never have left it in the first place.”

    Sigh, here we go…

    James, Apart from your historical inaccuracy–many of the privatised or corporatised assets were developed by the people collectively in the first place–you don’t seem to have cottoned on to this idea of community.

    You and Roger may not believe or accept that there is such thing as society, but it does exist in the real world, and you can’t just wish it away. Further, there are some good strategic reasons for society as a whole owning and operating these assets, which is why the NZ voting public have repudiated the idea at every opportunity.

  6. The ex-expat on January 14th, 2009 at 12:55

    Between this, Richard Prebble on the news last night and all the bad fashion I’m having major 80s flashbacks.

  7. James on January 14th, 2009 at 13:13

    “James, Apart from your historical inaccuracy–many of the privatised or corporatised assets were developed by the people collectively in the first place–you don’t seem to have cottoned on to this idea of community.’

    They were established by Government taking peoples money and setting up these dogs that collectivly lost those same taxpayers billions over the years…they also invited companies to set up here but then expected them to hand over their busineses for “the greater good”.Many companies told them to fuck off…quite rightly.

    Anyway “communitys”are abstractions and don’t have rights…individuals do.

    “You and Roger may not believe or accept that there is such thing as society,’

    I can’t speak for Roger…actually hes rather too socialist and still thinks the State has a greater role to play in peoples lives than I do…

    “Society”is non existent abstraction…when the actually existing individuals who compose “society” withdraw “society” evaporates..therefore it can’t be ascribed rights or characteristics over the actually existing individuals.

    “.. but it does exist in the real world, and you can’t just wish it away.”

    No ones wishing anything…except you.Individuals exist…with their rights,natures,minds etc….”societys” don’t…

    “Further, there are some good strategic reasons for society as a whole owning and operating these assets, which is why the NZ voting public have repudiated the idea at every opportunity.”

    No…its becasue they are ignorant of what is actually happening,what its costing them and the lower standard of living they have as a result…not to mention the disolving of their individual rights to their persons and property….although it was a glimmer of realisation of this last point that tipped Labour out after they got too overt in their fascist corruption…

    Considering they have only ever been loss making liabilities where the taxpayer is concerned I would be interested in your version of whats an “asset” and to whom…

  8. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 13:25

    James:

    “They were established by Government taking peoples money”

    That’s called democracy – are you opposed to democracy?

  9. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 13:29

    James:

    “Many companies told them to fuck off”

    Watch your language. You’re commenting here at the kiwipolitico team’s pleasure. If you wish to trade in obscenities i suggest you go over to kiwiblog and do so.

  10. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 13:35

    ““Society”is non existent abstraction”

    Societies have been very real things ever since we stopped living as hunter-gatherers James (and arguably before). Free market theory, now there’s an “abstraction”.

  11. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 13:38

    “No…its becasue they are ignorant of what is actually happening,what its costing them and the lower standard of living they have as a result”

    That’s rubbish – you try telling that to the tens of millions of Americans that have no access to health care.

  12. Anita on January 14th, 2009 at 13:38

    James,

    The private sector can’t force you to do anything….

    In return we can’t force them to do anything and they owe us no loyalty.

    If they don’t want to offer a particular service to anyone, or any service to some people there’s nothing that can be done. If they want to charge vastly different prices to different classes of people they can; they can do whatever they like.

    There are many services that all New Zealanders should be able to access as of right; the private sector cannot and will not guarantee that so we must rely on public infrastructure to provide them.

  13. Max Ritchie on January 14th, 2009 at 14:03

    “Tens of millions of Americans that have no access to health care”? Every Ameican has access to some health care, it’s just that some (the insured or the wealthy, usually both) have access to health care that is better (or at least vastly more expensive) than others. Even the poorest American has access to health care that is better than most of his or her fellow human beings. That may not befair but that’s a different matter.

  14. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 14:28

    Max –

    Right you are – but technicalities aside: The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 ranked the U.S. health care 37th in overall performance and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).

    Now the US is the 6th richest country in the world on a GDP per capita basis, but can only attain 72nd in “overall level of health”. Clearly the private sector model of healthcare is broken, and a state-centered system would deliver a much better outcome.

    http://www.photius.com/rankings/who_world_health_ranks.html

    So James is mistaken when he claims that the private sector model can always deliver a better “standard of living” than the state. He’s obviously a free-market dogmatist. But they do abound in the blogsphere.

  15. Greg on January 14th, 2009 at 14:39

    Anita,

    I think there is a difference in perception about this National government when coming from either side of the political spectrum. Lefties (like yourself) see this government as right wing. Righties (like myself and Douglas) see it as boringly cenerist – a labour government with a different face. I assure you if Douglas got his way the left would have a lot more to crow about than they currently do.

  16. zeppo on January 14th, 2009 at 13:55

    The thing that I hate about these circular debates is the lack of examples and evidence that people provide. I used to be quite left until I realised what a con that some, not all, left wing philosophy is.

    There is simply no incentive for public companies and employees to look after something properly. Any tramper, farmer or naturalist will tell you how DoC poorly maintains the land that it obtains, allowing possums and gorse to get out of control. A private own has to look after their business, asset or land because otherwise they will have no livelihood.

    For example, now that we’ve bought this over priced train set, how are we going to make it profitable if we haven’t purchased the freight network. The profits would pay for the repairs, maintenance and extension, yet Labour chose not to buy it. Michael Cullen and those in charge of buying the rail back did not discharge their duty when making the purchase because they did not establish what its market value was! If they had waited a few months, they’d probably have had a bargain.

    What about our Health System and ACC. We’ve had enormous surpluses over the past few years, yet their accounts are in a shambles. Why are my taxes going to pay for other people to receive operations for life style diseases such as obesity and smoking, when they have a choice to exercise and not smoke? (I’m fully aware that the tax upon smoking pays for our health system)

    Why does ACC pick up the bill for those burned by explosions in their own P Labs, when they were helping to sustain crime and violence?

    The Cullen Super fund is borrowing billions of dollars to invest in the stock market to fund our future retirement. No one in their right mind would advocate such a gamble, and Labour had the gaul to suggest that National would borrow to fund its own initiatives.

    We’ve all heard Labours slogan that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but I also fundamentally believe that Labour does not want people to succeed. Those that are able to rise up and do well for themselves by gaining their financial independence are therefore independent of Labours social control and philosophies.

    We should have directed all of the money from working for families into education so that individuals could gained the actual working skills that they require to live a better quality of life and earn a larger income. You can’t expect to get a job in the Warehouse and provide for your whole family by simply stacking shelves.

  17. James on January 14th, 2009 at 15:02

    “So James is mistaken when he claims that the private sector model can always deliver a better “standard of living” than the state. He’s obviously a free-market dogmatist. But they do abound in the blogsphere.’

    I never said “always” nomey….quit fibbing.Plenty of parasitses who couldn’t earn enough to pay for the lifestyle that State theft allows them are proof of that.

    Also the Us does not have a free market health system…its riddled with State interference….Medicare,Medicaid,FDA etc etc…but its still seen as better than virtually anywhere else…hence all those Canadians denied the right to seek private treatment at home so as not to die on their public waiting lists flock across to the US for treatment..

  18. Anita on January 14th, 2009 at 15:04

    James,

    During the election campaign I was talking to a couple of Libz and said “but if we go to a hardline lib and free market society people will die” and one responded “well not very many will die”.

    How would you answer?

  19. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 15:10

    James – stop fibbing and falsely accusing me of lying. You will be shown the door if you continue.

    You stated that public ownership of services results in lower living standards – now the World Health Organisation stats prove that you were wrong (the US has one of the most heavily privatised health systems in the developed world).

  20. James on January 14th, 2009 at 15:15

    They need to satisfy your needs or they don’t get paid….major difference from the State that staels your money and has no incentive to satisfy your needs.Its the profit motive that delivers you better service in the private sector…if you don’t get it you move on and they go broke,

    Mame a service in demand thats NOT being offered by the private sector….legally or illegally.And whats stopping you or others from offering that service yourself? Get in and make a killing..

    If they want to charge vastly different prices to different classes of people they can; they can do whatever they like.”

    They can try and its their right to do so…but…the markets feedback loops (you and your freedom to choose)prevent that and pull them back into line.

    In a freemarket no one can attempt to stand aside from the law of supply and demand and expect no consequences…

    Such as….? before you answer remember that there is no such thing as a right to something others must supply you…such as healthcare,housing,education etc…to claim such rights is to claim the right to enslave…

    The state only needs to provide those rights protecting services that must be administered OBJECTIVLEY…ie: without bias,favoritism or discrimination of any kind….all other services are properly the role of the private sector…you and me and every other Kiwi working away to further ourselves..

  21. StephenR on January 14th, 2009 at 15:24

    “well not very many will die”.

    One thing I do wonder about with free-market healthcare (as opposed to Roger Douglas’s version) is that the poor would probably get a poor standard of healthcare, because their ability to pay is…poor! How does one get around that?

  22. James on January 14th, 2009 at 15:25

    “James – stop fibbing and falsely accusing me of lying. You will be shown the door if you continue”

    Poor nomey….getting a bit sensitive aren’t we comrade?

    Read my previous answer…the US has massive State interference….try living there and using medical services.The red tape and BS is amazing…but still not as bad as the British NHS.

    Anita:

    James,

    During the election campaign I was talking to a couple of Libz and said “but if we go to a hardline lib and free market society people will die” and one responded “well not very many will die”.

    How would you answer?

    It wasn’t the greatest answer but fact is People will always die…but compare that to whats happening now with public health…people are dying on waiting lists…how is this possible under socialist “healthcare is a right dogma”? Its because healthcare is NOT a right….its a service like any other…and one thats got a nerver ending customer base…it can never satisfy all requirements so it has to ration out the care….and people die.

  23. James on January 14th, 2009 at 15:33

    “well not very many will die”.

    “One thing I do wonder about with free-market healthcare (as opposed to Roger Douglas’s version) is that the poor would probably get a poor standard of healthcare, because their ability to pay is…poor! How does one get around that?”

    Charity…the voluntary giving to help those in need.But considering free market healthcare would be far cheaper than the taxed equivelent we have now that helps big time straight away.Freed to compete and offer services to the people in an open market the law of supply and demand will apply and work its magic.Add in the incentives to look after yourself better than many people do know as haeltcare is “free” then it starts to look a whole lot better…

    Fact is…once Kiwis are freed from coercive taxation and can look after themselves fist and foremiostly they will assit their fellow man as they have always done…and be happpy to do so withiout the gun being held to their heads…..over %90 of people give to charity now….whilst taxed…think how much they would give when freed to do so of their own volition

  24. StephenR on January 14th, 2009 at 15:38

    Thanks. What if they choose to save the whales instead? I’m inclined to think ‘people will die’ – seems a bit of a risk :-D

  25. roger nome on January 14th, 2009 at 15:48

    James:

    “the US has massive State interference”

    Wrong – the US has relatively little state involvement in health care. In fact In the United States, around 59.3% of citizens have private health insureance.

    In fact the US system has considerable administrative overhead, far greater than in nationalized, single-payer systems, such as Canada’s.

    A study by Harvard Medical School and the Canadian Institute for Health Information determined that some 31% of U.S. health care dollars, or more than $1,000 per person per year, went to health care administrative costs, nearly double the administrative overhead in Canada, on a percentage basis.

    The fact that the US system is so heavily privatised has lead to massive inefficiencies, and poor outcomes. I’m afraid that you’re just going to have to accept that you’re wrong.

    “getting a bit sensitive aren’t we comrade?”

    Not particularly – in my experience it’s pretty normal for people who run blogs to ask people to leave when they are falsely accused of lying. I’ve actually been lenient on you.

  26. Tom Semmens on January 14th, 2009 at 15:53

    James perhaps you should just stick to posting bumper sticker slogans. You know, “Tax is theft”, “There is no such thing as society” and “There is only ONE GOD and Roger Douglas is her profit” and that sort of stuff.

    If could get, oh, four or five of your favourite cookie cutter comments out of the way (and I’ve already helpfully given you three so it shouldn’t be that hard) at the beginning of thread rather than cluttering up the place with repetitive and verbose expansions of these simplistic themes, I personally would be ever so grateful.

    k

    thnx

  27. James on January 14th, 2009 at 16:59

    James:

    “the US has massive State interference”

    “Wrong – the US has relatively little state involvement in health care. In fact In the United States, around 59.3% of citizens have private health insureance.’

    Which is interferred with by the State….as here.You can’t practice medicine here or there without the States red tape wrapped about you…please pay attention.

    “In fact the US system has considerable administrative overhead, far greater than in nationalized, single-payer systems, such as Canada’s.’

    Proving my point that the US has massive State interference in health care.Canadas system is bascially fasist with private care virtally banned.

    “A study by Harvard Medical School and the Canadian Institute for Health Information determined that some 31% of U.S. health care dollars, or more than $1,000 per person per year, went to health care administrative costs, nearly double the administrative overhead in Canada, on a percentage basis.”

    “The fact that the US system is so heavily privatised has lead to massive inefficiencies, and poor outcomes. I’m afraid that you’re just going to have to accept that you’re wrong.”

    Tell that to Americans….and Canadians who desperatley want their healtcare…

    “getting a bit sensitive aren’t we comrade?”

    “Not particularly – in my experience it’s pretty normal for people who run blogs to ask people to leave when they are falsely accused of lying. I’ve actually been lenient on you.”

    I accused you of fibbing,,,which you were.You attributed statements to me I never made infering points I never made.Be honest Nomey.

    You said

    “That’s rubbish – you try telling that to the tens of millions of Americans that have no access to health care.”

    Thats BS nomey…all Americans have access to some healthcare…its what standard they can afford that is the issue…remember healthcare ain’t a right…its a service and services cost.They would cost a lot less with the State butting out and leaving doctors to trade with patients.

    James perhaps you should just stick to posting bumper sticker slogans. You know, “Tax is theft”,’

    How is it not? Its taken under threat of violence agaisnt the person concerned…if the violence was withdrawn we would see what people really valued and what they didn’t..

    “There is no such thing as society”

    Again…show me this entity called “society”…tell me where it lives,what it thinks and what it values…go on comrade.

    and “There is only ONE GOD and Roger Douglas is her profit” and that sort of stuff.’

    zzzzzzzz Leftie retreats to smears and BS…whos suprised?

    ;-)

  28. Pablo on January 14th, 2009 at 17:03

    Not to be a stirrer, but why do we not just privatize our security apparatus, both internal and external? Heck, if we are going to have private prisons run for profit, we might as well outsource police and national defense functions to the lowest bidder! I hear that Blackwater is expanding the scope of its operations from combat support and force protection to anti-piracy and private security, so surely there is a niche for them in NZ. In fact, there are a number of local private security/mercenary outfits who might benefit from the type of logic exhibited by ACT. In fact, Black Power and the Mongrel Mob do a lot of “private” security and enforcement already–lets give those guys a chance at the big bucks. Now THAT would be affirmative action at work!

    To those would say “hold on–security is the State’s role” I ask: why is some public good provision amenable to privatisation while security is not? Surely an orthodox market approach means all State functions can be efficiently replaced by private agents. Otherwise, in order to make an argument for selective privatisation one has to turn their back on market-driven theory and accept that the State does, in fact, have a role beyond that of macroeconomic manager and regulator–to include direct provision of public goods and as a direct employer. The question then is, under competitive market conditions, whether the public good is served better by privatisation of some public goods versus others. But if ACT-minded people support the latter, then they are not being free marketeers are they?

  29. millsy on January 14th, 2009 at 17:19

    James seems to think that people should die because they cannot afford health care.

  30. Jafapete on January 14th, 2009 at 17:32

    Pablo: “why do we not just privatize our security apparatus, both internal and external?”

    Hell, Pablo, not even John Stuart Mill went that far! Pedro

  31. Anita on January 14th, 2009 at 17:50

    Pablo,

    Not to be a stirrer, but why do we not just privatize our security apparatus, both internal and external? Heck, if we are going to have private prisons run for profit, we might as well outsource police and national defense functions to the lowest bidder!

    I think NZ already uses “temporary sworn officers” and “service providers” like Armourguard to do some Police functions.

    It disturbs me that I’m about to link to a question time transcript to prove this, I must’ve blanked from my mind how bad they are.

  32. Rex Widerstrom on January 14th, 2009 at 18:01

    It annoys the hell (can we say hell now you’re hall monitor, roger?) out of me that this debate inevitably splits along ideological lines.

    I put my job at Radio Pacific on the line (and eventually lost it) opposing privatisation of the Waikato’s electricity generator / retailer, primarily because it was, as Jafapete points out, not theirs to sell in the first place. And because I suspected that, without some strictures around the way they could operate, they’d end up rorting the consumer (and they did).

    The idea of private welfare provision scares the bejeezus out of me because the only reason a corporation would take on any role traditionally assigned to government was to make a profit, and then keep incrasing that profit – and how would one make a profit from welfare other than by reduction of service provision?!

    However… there are some things presently provided by government which can be privatised with no harm – and indeed marked improvement – in service levels provided it’s handled intelligently. Private prisons is one I’ve raised before; and for those who haven’t been reading along, I’m an advocate for prisoners’ rights, both online and in real life, so I don’t say that from the perspective of wanting to see Sheriff Joe-style prisons in NZ. Quite the opposite.

    It just so happens that one of the two most successful prisons in WA is privately run. Yes the other is state-run but the other state prisons are moribund empires run by public service careerists who refuse to change their ways by copying it.

    OTOH the private prison is paid to achieve results like lowering recidivism rates amongst released offenders; so privatisation has given the government a useful tool to achieve the results it wants.

    I can see similar scope in some local government services, which have also proven to work in other places. But similarly, private provision of workplace accident insurance almost invariably seems to result in a litigious environment where no one but the lawyers and insurance companies prosper.

    So I guess my point can be distilled down to hoping any government doesn’t dismiss state run or privatised services out of hand; looks to what’s worked (or almost worked and can be improved) elsewhere; and eventually does what’s best and what works, not what shrill ideologues demand.

  33. SweetDisorder on January 14th, 2009 at 18:18

    Millsy

    “James seems to think that people should die because they cannot afford health care.”

    They are dying. Its called the public health care waiting list. If you can afford your op, you go private. If not, you take your chance on the waiting list.

  34. James on January 14th, 2009 at 18:40

    Pablo:

    …”Not to be a stirrer, but why do we not just privatize our security apparatus, both internal and external? Heck, if we are going to have private prisons run for profit, we might as well outsource police and national defense functions to the lowest bidder!”

    See quote below.Government has a proper role to play…Libertarians agree with this…the question is what is its role?The only non contradictory answer is the role of protecting individual rights from force and fraud….nothing else.Hence objective state control of police,army and the courts…roles that can’t be preformed by the private sector without subjectivism being a problem.Imagine one person joining up with private police force A whilst his neighnour joins private police force B.A thinks B has stolen something from him and calls police force A to arrest B….B has police force B waiting when they arrive and says he doesn’t recognise the authority of force A…you take it from there..

    Rands discription of the States proper role still stands…

    ..”The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his.”…

    Pablo:”To those would say “hold on–security is the State’s role” I ask: why is some public good provision amenable to privatisation while security is not?”

    See above.

    “Surely an orthodox market approach means all State functions can be efficiently replaced by private agents. Otherwise, in order to make an argument for selective privatisation one has to turn their back on market-driven theory and accept that the State does, in fact, have a role beyond that of macroeconomic manager and regulator–to include direct provision of public goods and as a direct employer. The question then is, under competitive market conditions, whether the public good is served better by privatisation of some public goods versus others. But if ACT-minded people support the latter, then they are not being free marketeers are they?

    Libertarians are not anarchists….they DO belive in the need for a strong State…just a small restricted one confined to the rights protection role.See the police example above…as is obvious the idea of competing agents in law enforcement is mired in chaos where the competition between hamburger sellers and other private providers of products and services etc is not.

    For anyone who is really interseted in this topic and the case I’m making I recommend Ayn Rands essays “Mans Rights” and “The Nature of Government”….from her book “Capitlaism: The unkown ideal” They spell it out well and without contradiction…which is the crux of all debate on these topics.

    Millsy;

    “James seems to think that people should die because they cannot afford health care.”

    Nomey….if you are going to pull me up on lies etc you must have something to say about this claim of Millys…did I ever imply this? Fair go.

  35. Rex Widerstrom on January 14th, 2009 at 19:20

    Tsk, Anita. You’ve set James an implied post hoc, ergo propter hoc conundrum and now I have to wade through Ayn bloody Rand ;-)

    The pithier answer is this: You happened to be talking to two dickheads, a species which sadly seems drawn to politics. Or have you never met the smelly young “all property is theft” variety of dickhead at a leftist function? :-D

  36. Matt on January 14th, 2009 at 19:32

    The US health system is very expensive and costs the US tax payer and private citizen a huge amount and yet still delivers some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world – it is widely viewed as a failure by health experts and increasingly by many Americans. Our health system on the other hand is recognised as low cost and effective – as are the Canadian and UK systems (all health systems have some problems though). James, maybe you should do some reading about what actually happens around public provision of services, privatisation and also some basic politics and spend a bit less times reading the turgid drivel of Ayn Rand.

  37. Quoth the Raven on January 14th, 2009 at 21:00

    James – I’m muddling through your comments and I’m thinking the following – you don’t know what libertarianism is – you don’t know what anarchism is – and I’m seeing a lot of terminological inexactitude (it’s hard for all of us to escape that). “Libertarians are not anarchists….” Many anarchists do call themselves libertarians, explicitly as anarchists. To say libertarians are not anarchists is simply a misusse of the term. The libertarians you are talking about are the right wing Rand freaks &c like the “Libertarianz” who have hardly any connection to actual libertarianism – as the word ought to be used and was historically used and is still often used today. “Government has a proper role to play…Libertarians agree with this…” Again here you are misusing the term equating all libertarians with your brand of right wing upper class twittery. They are “vulgar libertarians” as Kevin Carson puts it

    This school of libertarianism has inscribed on its banner the reactionary watchword: “Them pore ole bosses need all the help they can get.” For every imaginable policy issue, the good guys and bad guys can be predicted with ease, by simply inverting the slogan of Animal Farm: “Two legs good, four legs baaaad.” In every case, the good guys, the sacrificial victims of the Progressive State, are the rich and powerful. The bad guys are the consumer and the worker, acting to enrich themselves from the public treasury. As one of the most egregious examples of this tendency, consider Ayn Rand’s characterization of big business as an “oppressed minority,” and of the Military-Industrial Complex as a “myth or worse.”

    The ideal “free market” society of such people, it seems, is simply actually existing capitalism, minus the regulatory and welfare state: a hyper-thyroidal version of nineteenth century robber baron capitalism, perhaps; or better yet, a society “reformed” by the likes of Pinochet, the Dionysius to whom Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys played Aristotle.

    Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term “free market” in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because “that’s not how the free market works”–implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations on the basis of “free market principles.”

    You may wish to read this – well you ought to read it seeing as you are running around advocating a position you seem not to understand. A quote from it:

    …or the way libertarians defend “our free-market health-care system” against the alternative of socialized medicine, as though the health care system that prevails in the United States were the product of free competition rather than of systematic government intervention on behalf of insurance companies and the medical establishment at the expense of ordinary people.

    Sorry for the long quote heavy comment, but the point needs to be made to James.

  38. rainman on January 14th, 2009 at 22:50

    Tim Milne:

    Why does ACC pick up the bill for those burned by explosions in their own P Labs, when they were helping to sustain crime and violence?

    I loathe P and the creators thereof, but I’m intrigued. What else would you do with such people?

  39. James on January 14th, 2009 at 23:13

    Raven…..I am well aware of the difference between Libs and Anarcho-Libs…as they are called.As to the Libz party NZ…they unfortunatly have tried to mix too much Objectivism (Rands philosopy) in that it scares away many potential Libertarianzs.They tend to want a purity that newbies find uncomftable….usually meaning they go to ACT as an alternative.

    “The libertarians you are talking about are the right wing Rand freaks &c like the “Libertarianz” who have hardly any connection to actual libertarianism – as the word ought to be used and was historically used and is still often used today.

    Libz are not right wing…that discription shows its YOU who is ignorant of this topic, to there credit they are cossistenly opposed to the opressive and coercive actions of both the Left and conservative right…If you want to get all historical about it Liberatrianism was originally the name given to a school of Leftist thought…it got “swapped” over much like “Liberal” was torn from its original meaning of supporting freedom, ,individual rights and free markets to socialist,progressive,restrictive thought.Don’t judge all libertarians by “Libertarianz” the party…

    All Objectivists are political Libertarians…but not all Libs are Objectivists….I myself am not a member of “Libz” any longer but do subscribe to Objectivism as the most structured and non contradictory philosopy I have encountered….

    As to Carsons nonsense….”Left Libertarinism…!? yeah right…freedoms that he wants mixed with controls on those he doesn’t….sort of like a virgin rapist or a free market fascist…how does that work?

    Libertarianism (classical Liberalism)is the political school of thought/position that man the individual has the rights to Life,liberty,property and to pursue his own happiness without being coerced or stolen from with the only limit being that he respects these rights in every other person by viture of the fact that they are as human as he is and therefore having the exact same rights…no more or less.That position is not reconcible with “Left Libertariaism.”

  40. Enki on January 14th, 2009 at 23:28

    The problem isn’t state institutions, it’s the ridiculously low tax rate that is suffocating our society.
    If we had higher taxes we could actually afford to run this country, but with the rights continued push for lower and lower taxes it seems that this country is shaping up like post-Soviet east Europe.
    One of the misconceptions that plagues this country is the idea that you have to have a big income to have a good quality of life, but in reality people in northern Europe where the taxes are higher have a much greater standard of living.

  41. James on January 14th, 2009 at 23:28

    Matt says…The US health system is very expensive and costs the US tax payer and private citizen a huge amount and yet still delivers some of the worst health outcomes in the developed world – it is widely viewed as a failure by health experts and increasingly by many Americans.”

    To a large part yes….the red tape and complience costs are killing people….but it still seems to beat a hell of a lot of other places al the same.

    Our health system on the other hand is recognised as low cost and effective – as are the Canadian and UK systems (all health systems have some problems though).”

    Our die while you wait health system is amougst the best of a bad bunch…? Thats comforting to those pused back to their GP’s to die as a gimick to appear to have cleared waiting lists….someone want to tell Matt that Kiwis are flying overseas to get operations thay will never get here in time to say their lives..? Oh you paid taxes to ensure you were looked after when needed..? Sucker!

    The last Labour Government poured 11 billion into healthcare for NO observable improvement in patient outcomes….low cost and efficent my botty!

    “James, maybe you should do some reading about what actually happens around public provision of services, privatisation and also some basic politics and spend a bit less times reading the turgid drivel of Ayn Rand.”

    Usual response from someone whos never read Rand and can’t mount a real argument…

  42. millsy on January 14th, 2009 at 23:29

    Rex, the deprivation of liberty for the purposes of criminal justice should always be a core function of the state.

  43. James on January 14th, 2009 at 23:35

    The problem isn’t state institutions, it’s the ridiculously low tax rate that is suffocating our society.”

    Yeah….nice one enki….classic…LOL!

    “If we had higher taxes we could actually afford to run this country, but with the rights continued push for lower and lower taxes it seems that this country is shaping up like post-Soviet east Europe.”

    Oh please stop it….I’ll wet myself :-)

    “One of the misconceptions that plagues this country is the idea that you have to have a big income to have a good quality of life, but in reality people in northern Europe where the taxes are higher have a much greater standard of living.

    Oh God….you were serious…!!!? ;-o

    Planet enki….where taking more of peoples money and wasting it on socialist wet dreams makes people better off….try reading a history of the 20th century sometime buddy….and don’t try that Scandanavian lifestyle nonsense on me either…I know people from there and its dross…indeed Sweden is moving to privitise things after they found their welfare state has made them poorer since its inception.

  44. James on January 14th, 2009 at 23:37

    Rex, the deprivation of liberty for the purposes of criminal justice should always be a core function of the state.

    Right on Millsy! You are correct.

    Ohhhh I feel light headed after saying that….;-)

  45. Enki on January 14th, 2009 at 23:53

    Planet enki….where taking more of peoples money and wasting it on socialist wet dreams makes people better off….try reading a history of the 20th century sometime buddy….and don’t try that Scandanavian lifestyle nonsense on me either…I know people from there and its dross…indeed Sweden is moving to privitise things after they found their welfare state has made them poorer since its inception.

    Yes it does make you poorer, that is how socialist society’s function, you sacrifice monetary wealth for a higher living standard.

  46. James on January 15th, 2009 at 00:07

    Yes it does make you poorer, that is how socialist society’s function, you sacrifice monetary wealth for a higher living standard.

    And it has yet to happen anywhere on the planet.History so far show us theres a lot of taxing and yet lots of hunger,poverty and sickness in your utopias…sure some people enjoy a higher standard of living…usual the elite…the one that isn’t supposed to exist in the classless society…

    Did you know the average Swede has a lower standard of living than the average black American? Its true…much to the chargrin of certain Swedes …;-)

  47. Enki on January 15th, 2009 at 00:19

    And it has yet to happen anywhere on the planet.History so far show us theres a lot of taxing and yet lots of hunger,poverty and sickness in your utopias…sure some people enjoy a higher standard of living…usual the elite…the one that isn’t supposed to exist in the classless society…

    Okay i concede that socialism isn’t perfect and needs a lot of changes, but the alternatives are hardly any better. At least socialism in part inhibits the rich from obsessively collecting as much of the country’s wealth as possible then using those funds to hold the country ransom to their corporate agendas

  48. Quoth the Raven on January 15th, 2009 at 01:06

    I’m glad you know more than you let on in you’re rambling earlier comments – that libertarianism understood historically is anit-captialist. Sorry for being presumtuous. I’m not confusing the term. You were confusing the term by saying libertarians are not anarchists when they may well be. You were using libertarianism in the sense which you rightly observe is a modern reversal. I can’t see how you think that the Libertarianz aren’t right wing? I really don’t. Please explain.

    Libertarianism (classical Liberalism)is the political school of thought that man has the rights to Life,liberty,property and to pursue his own happiness without being coerced or stolen from with the only limit being that he respects these rights in every other person by viture of the fact that they are as human as he is and therefore having the exact same rights…no more or less.That position is not reconcible with “Left Libertariaism.”

    The position you describe, in the above quote, is exactly reconciable with left libertarianism. Classic liberalism is not libertarianism either the real kind or the faux Rand kind. They have their roots in classic liberalism though.

    Rand had it all upside down. She thought that big business was the vicitim of the state when it is the prime benifiary of the state. If you read the second link you’ll notice that it’s written by Roderick Long who happens to be co-editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies and he’s a left-libertarian so I do hope you read it if you haven’t already. You may also wish to read this by him: Ayn Rand’s Left-Libertarian Legacy There is much interesting reading there. She attacked homosexuality – a real liberal that one!

    It transpires, then, that there are in effect two Rands, or two strands in Rand: a left-libertarian, feminist, anti-militarist, anti-corporatist, benevolent, experimental strand, and a conservative, patriarchal, homophobic, flag-worshipping, boss-worshipping, dogmatic strand. Which strand represents the “true” Rand? Well, both of them; she just is precisely the person who tried to combine these two strands.

    I don’t know enough about Rand to know whether or not to agree with his conclusion in the next paragraph, but clearly she was a confused individual and so it doesn’t seem to me that your statement Objectivism as the most structured and non contradictory philosopy I have encountered…. can be at all right. Objectivisits today seem to all to be apologists for big business. Certainly your derision of left libertarianism is misguided – maybe you should reread your Rand books. Holding dogmatically to any school of thought as you seem to be is dangerous and entirely opposed to your attested liberality.

    I hope you’re not just advocating the same form of libertarianism you pretend not to be – the kind of faux libertarianism of libertarianz. Many objectivists to me seem to do exactly that whenever they’re in online discussions and apologists for big business and state patronage. I don’t fully ascribe to Carson’s views, but free-market fascism is exactly what these objectivists are advocating (I’m not saying you are because I don’t know enough about your views). He’s advocating an anti-capitalist free market. They’re advancing a system whereby primitive accumulation could continue unfettered leading to private tyrannies, as in corporations, which are entirely antithetical to the kind of freedom you seem to yearn for. Corporatism is anithetical to libertarianism. I don’t know enough about your views to argue on otherwise we’re just be talking over each other.

  49. Max Ritchie on January 15th, 2009 at 08:11

    roger nome

    I have now read the WHO report – v interesting, thank you. I had not seen it although I work in the health field. But having done so, I’m not too sure that it supports your contention. The assesment categories are weighted towards fairness – nothing wrong with that but it is not what this debate is about – and do not measure quality. For example, if everyone has the same level of access to poor quality then that country will score higher. There are a number of other flaws. If the new President of the USA is able to raise the level of health care for poor Americans – and I supect that he will, with some form of Federally-funded insurance – then the US will score much, much higher, while still using the private model. The WHO report reflects the political philosophy of its then Director, which is why Norway scored 11th place, I imagine. If you asked a Canadian on a waiting list you’d get a different response.

  50. James on January 15th, 2009 at 12:58

    Raven….you are all oiver the shop and its just silly.rand was opposed to any corporate welfarism because its the same as socfial welfarism….the redistribution of stolen moneys…who the recipient is is irellavant.

    That you haven’t read much Rand is obvious….you would know the statements you are making are wrong and don’t represent her views at all…quite the reverse.

    And support for business to be allowed to BE business and prosper in the face of altruist hatred and socialist control is NOT advocating that business is a super elite that should be above the rest of us…

    I’m glad you know more than you let on in you’re rambling earlier comments – that libertarianism understood historically is anit-captialist. Sorry for being presumtuous. I’m not confusing the term. You were confusing the term by saying libertarians are not anarchists when they may well be. You were using libertarianism in the sense which you rightly observe is a modern reversal. I can’t see how you think that the Libertarianz aren’t right wing? I really don’t. Please explain.

    Please explain how they are…its you making the positive assertion so its you who need to front with the evidence.

    As to Rands attacking Homosexuality…she disliked HS because it was “irrational” ….ie:it was agaist mans nature as man.Subsequent debate has arrived at the conclusion that if Rand was aware that Homosexuality arises naturally,like albinoism or left handedness then she would have been ok with it….remember this idea was not anywhere as accepted in the 50’s as it is today….

    If there are objectivists advocating State support for big business then they aren’t objectivists at all and should be pulled up on what they are saying…but the statements of a few don’t represent the many…

    If you want to know where I am coming from and to read a rael Libertarins thoughts try this piece and then check out the rest of his blog….you will learn something I assure you..

    http://freestudents.blogspot.com/search/label/Marx

  51. Anita on January 15th, 2009 at 14:22

    James,

    As to Rands attacking Homosexuality…she disliked HS because it was “irrational” ….ie:it was agaist mans nature as man.Subsequent debate has arrived at the conclusion that if Rand was aware that Homosexuality arises naturally,like albinoism or left handedness then she would have been ok with it…

    Do you think that means that if Rand had also been aware that altruism is natural she would have been ok with it?

    BTW I’ve never read any Rand, and I don’t have time to read a whole book of anything in the next two months. Can you recommend something brief I could read to bring myself up to speed from a Lib perspective (as opposed to an anti-Rand perspective, which I have seen some of).

  52. Rex Widerstrom on January 15th, 2009 at 16:14

    Rex, the deprivation of liberty for the purposes of criminal justice should always be a core function of the state.

    Gosh, and here was I thinking that the deprivation of liberty was decreed by a judge and ceased on the order of the Parole Board, both arms of state.

    Who pens the people so sentenced can be a core function of anyone, provided the state sets standards for their care and employs agents to ensure those standards are met. Inspectorates of Prisons still inspect the private prisons and hold them to the same standards as state ones. As I’ve noted, the private prison in WA exceeds the state run ones in every respect.

    I’m not suggesting we privatise the process of depriving people of their liberty, though if we ever do I’d like to pre-emptively register an interest in running “Justice-R-Us”, a handy mobile service in which I dispense summary justice from the back of a ute :-D

  53. Quoth the Raven on January 15th, 2009 at 16:39

    James – I’m only calling it as I see it. Objectivists time and again are apologists for big business and state patronage thereof. I wasn’t commenting on Rand becuase as I said I don’t know enough about Rand nor your opinions because I don’t know enough about them either. The blogs interesting enough. They at least see the danger posed to our freedom by big business.

    As to the libertarianz – this press release pretty much sums up their faux liberality. and why I think they are right wing. Their brand of libertarianism does nothing to address the inequlaities and negative social impacts of their liberalisation of the economy. Thusly their democratic prinicilples are suspect. Especially as they stand merely for representative democracy. The attitudes shown in this press release show that they are merely corporatists. As their policies do nothing to address these power structures I think I’m justified in calling them right wing. It’s the old means of production chestnut. The libertarianz have the gall to say there is too much “pro-union” legislation when in reality the state restircts unions – for the benefit of big business of course. This kind of stance from the libertarianz is completely at odds with their own talk of freedom of association. This anti-unionism is strange for a party that ostensibly stands for the free market. It’s really just freedom for the exploiters. It appears to me that they stand for the same old top down control and not the bottum up control that characterises those on the left. I note that many of the individualist anarchists from the beginning of the last century and end of the 19th century werre supporters of the emerging labour movement.

    Now it’s your turn to say why you think they aren’t right wing.

    I don’t know what kind of justification for Rand’s intolerance is that she thought it unnatural. It shouldn’t matter if it’s the free choice of consenting adults. Neither is the defence of her being a product of her time a reasonable defence. She was also very active in the sixties. There were many homosexual rights groups in the fifties and earlier. That fact that it wasn’t accepted means nothing – other libertarian ideals were not well accepted at the time or today either.

  54. James on January 15th, 2009 at 17:04

    Anita said…

    Do you think that means that if Rand had also been aware that altruism is natural she would have been ok with it?

    Anita….what do you mean by “altruism”? As you have not read any Rand and got the context of what she was actually saying your question is understandable.

    Rand defined altruism as the philosopy that man is a sacrifcial animal….only existing by the permission of others to to the bidding of others BECAUSE they were other than yourself….ie:”unelfishness”.Indeed the coiner of the term altruism,Auguste Comte, meant it to mean just that…that the moral was to be founfd in sacrifice to others …Rand rejected that out of hand.She recognised it as in fact anti -life and therefore immoral.Rand defended mans right to live for himself…with his own life and happiness as his standard of value…neither sacficing himself to others nor others to himself (rational selfishness) She said all people were actually traders…trading values to gain by the transaction wheather it be social,economic,romantic,charitible etc..and that all trade to be moral must be consentual…ie:free market.

    She reasoned that altruism as preached by both the religious and the collectist was the relationship of slaves and masters…..and the core theme running through all dictatorships and of human suffering at the hands of their fellow men.She pointed out the logical next step after accepting altruism is accepting the use of force to implement it against those who may be reluctant to throw themselves upon the sacficical altar for the “common good” etc…this is why she was a fervent supporter of Capitalism….the only moral system for man if hes to live as man.

    Send me a mailing address vai email and I will send you a copy of the book “The Liberal Tide: From Tryanny to Liberty…..a prime on classic liberalism/Libertarianism I helped create a few years back.( If you want a copy as well Raven let me know here…I’tll say all this back and forth..)

    As a starter I recommend Rands short novel “Anthem”….a story set in the far future where altruism has won and individuality is no more…the word “I” being long forgotten.This is the best intro for reading Rand after which Atlas Shrugged is the pinicle…if you really want to know what Rand was about and saying read this book…it will change your view of the world and man….I mean it.

    To answer your altruism question more fully read “The virtue of selfishness” where Rand fully explains the difference between “altruism” and benevolance”…which she was in favour of.Rand never said she didn’t want to help others in need….it was just not with a gun pointed at her head and this being regarded as “moral and just”.

  55. James on January 15th, 2009 at 17:20

    James – I’m only calling it as I see it. Objectivists time and again are apologists for big business and state patronage thereof. I wasn’t commenting on Rand becuase as I said I don’t know enough about Rand nor your opinions because I don’t know enough about them either. The blogs interesting enough. They at least see the danger posed to our freedom by big business.

    Read more there and ask questions…the author is a very well versed Rand scholar and friend of mine….what I know I got mainly from him..

    As to the libertarianz – this press release pretty much sums up their faux liberality. and why I think they are right wing. Their brand of libertarianism does nothing to address the inequlaities and negative social impacts of their liberalisation of the economy. Thusly their democratic prinicilples are suspect. Especially as they stand merely for representative democracy. The attitudes shown in this press release show that they are merely corporatists. As their policies do nothing to address these power structures I think I’m justified in calling them right wing. It’s the old means of production chestnut. The libertarianz have the gall to say there is too much “pro-union” legislation when in reality the state restircts unions – for the benefit of big business of course. This kind of stance from the libertarianz is completely at odds with their own talk of freedom of association. This anti-unionism is strange for a party that ostensibly stands for the free market. It’s really just freedom for the exploiters. It appears to me that they stand for the same old top down control and not the bottum up control that characterises those on the left. I note that many of the individualist anarchists from the beginning of the last century and end of the 19th century werre supporters of the emerging labour movement.

    You would be better off going here and asking Peter Cresswell himself,hes libz main man when it comes to the nuts and bolts, and read his achieves where he has written much on these issues…the Libz can answer for themselves..

    http://pc.blogspot.com/

    As to the right wing thing read this..

    http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/craccum/rightplusleft.php

    You seem to be asking honest questions and thats cool….but I can see you have missed a lot of context re Libz position on issues…they are consistent and based on principle….but have them on by all means.

  56. James on January 15th, 2009 at 17:36

    I don’t know what kind of justification for Rand’s intolerance is that she thought it unnatural. It shouldn’t matter if it’s the free choice of consenting adults. Neither is the defence of her being a product of her time a reasonable defence. She was also very active in the sixties. There were many homosexual rights groups in the fifties and earlier. That fact that it wasn’t accepted means nothing – other libertarian ideals were not well accepted at the time or today either.

    This topic is covered in great detail in the books of Rand scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra..

    Try “Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation.”

    Look up…”Objectivism and Homosexuality…again”

    This issue is one I’m not really that up with as its trivial to me….Rand may straight out just not have like Homosexuality….thats cool….neither do I…it makes me quesy to think about it…not my thing…but thats my right and Rands to feel that way…just as people may find people who eat their own crap or have sex with animals repulsive and sick so it may be that Rand just hated it personally…it was “icky” to her.But she would not, nor ever did, call for Gays to be banned etc…she thought it was simply an irrational position for a human being who valued life and the living of it at its highest possible level to be at…today I think she would have been far more mellow on the issue.

    “I disagree with what they do but defend to the death their right to do it…” would have been her reply to you.

  57. adamsmith1922 on January 15th, 2009 at 17:39

    Blip

    National won’t be happy until we are back in the 19th Century and people like you and me spontaneously doff our caps in deference to our betters.

    Don’t be absurd.

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