Sunday, October 12, 2008

Greens campaign on irrational authoritarianism

The Greens launched their campaign last weekend, and unsurprisingly I am far from impressed. The Greens you see hold at the forefront a brand of environmentalism - the notion that nothing, absolutely nothing, could be more important than clean water, air and the natural environment. It is the notion that without that as a number one priority, everything else comes second - implied with that is the "what if you didn't think like us" impression that it is bleak.

The Greens, by using images of children, are playing with heart strings, it is a clever tactic that hides what they are really about.

The website says that it "takes advice from experts", ignoring that it listens to those who tell it what they want to hear - I've read enough banality from the Greens on transport to know that they don't let contrary evidence get in the way of their quasi religious like beliefs. Better for foreign ships to be empty plying our shores than to carry goods!

The Green website is insipidly deceptive. It paints a happy picture of people co-operatively getting on with each other - the words "ban" "require" "compel" "tax" "support" "fund", which all mean the thud of nanny state pushing people about - are absent. Sadly the Green vision, which could be achieved among themselves without politics, is big government statism. It is all about using state violence. It is authoritarianism, and blindly irrational - because most of what they believe, is about faith not fact.

Take this "The Green Party is working for a society that values caring, co-operation, nurturing, and sharing relationships between its people." That's nice, except it has a funny way of showing it. What's caring about state dominated and controlled education? What's caring about compulsory almost unlimited eligibility for social welfare payments funded by the grim hand of Inland Revenue which treats you guilty until you prove innocence? What's co-operative about wanting to ban, compel and regulate?

The Green Party"accords equal opportunity (and obligations) to people of all race, ages, and abilities; it does not value one sex above another" Equal opportunity - so the 80yo quadraplegic should have the same opportunity as the 20yo champion swimmer. The genius mathematician the same obligations as the armed robber. How do you get equal opportunity, without smashing down the chances of those with successful, wealthy, loving parents and throwing buckets of their cash at those with abusive negligent ones? Vacuous nonsense. The state should not discriminate, but that should be the end.

The Green Party "guarantees the provision to all of the basic human needs of food, shelter, health care, and education". Well give up your job, the Green Party guarantees all - from the Green Party money tree. Oh no, hold on, this isn't achieved through faith, or even "caring, co-operation, nurturing, and sharing relationships" it's achieved through the state - the state takes money from everyone else, by threat of force, to give people all those things listed by the Greens. It is a basic need, guaranteed - why bother working?

Russel Norman, Green co-leader, had some curious things to add with his interview with the NZ Herald.

He said the three key policies are:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (this is simply a religious view, with absolutely no inkling that if New Zealand does nothing beyond pursue policies that don't interfere with energy efficiency, it will make a shred of difference);
- Reducing dependency on oil (by spending more money on alternatives, because outcomes are not as important as being anti-oil);
- Food safety (noticed how unsafe your food is now?).

None of these would be achieved without massive regulation and taxation. He also adds "clean water" later on, although again this isn't about private property rights and the tragedy of the commons, it is about regulation. The Greens aren't big on private property, probably because they want to control and regulate so much of it.

I've written much about the Greens the last few years. I welcome the times they actually do believe in what they call "civil liberties". They represent a more consistent voice on this than does National or ACT. I also welcome their more sane view on drugs, albeit it is tempered by the instinct to regulate, the Greens at least listen to those who say that criminalising drug users doesn't work. Sadly this has sometimes been combined with the implicit "it's cool to smoke dope" message some people got from presuming (fairly) that Nandor Tanczos smokes it. Many Green Party members have good intentions, and like bird, whales and nature - which I can understand.

However the Green Party isn't a party of science and reason - it is a party that too often resorts to hysterical scaremongering. You can see it when the word "nuclear" comes out, and more recently nonsense about cellphone transmitter towers and genetic engineering. This isn't applying science to the environment, it is applying populist hype -and you can't seriously engage on it. It is the same with food safety. New Zealand made and organic good, foreign made inorganic suspicious. If the Green Party did actually listen to science and wasn't driven by the armageddon like religion of ecological extremists I might give it some credence.

Beyond the irrationality is the hypocrisy. The Greens are the party that calls for bans, compulsion, regulation, taxes and subsidies more than any others. There is barely a corner of life that they don't want the state poking its finger in, even if it to throw other people's money at it. Whether it be television programming, food labelling, transport, education, parenting, housing, clothing, healthcare, entertainment, sport, the Greens have a policy or an approach that means the state should be involved. It is a party of authoritarians dressed up as a party of loving caring hippies.

It is an absolute travesty that the mainstream media in New Zealand has failed to point out the two biggest weaknesses of the Greens - their irrational rejection of evidence when it contradicts their quasi-religious view, and their authoritarianism. Jeanette Fitzsimons has gone through election after election without being asked "why do the Greens have the word "ban" more on their website than any other party?".

The prospect of a Labour-Green coalition government after the election should send cold shivers down the spines of all those who fear more tax and more regulation. Helen Clark wanted a coalition with the Greens in 2005, but the numbers wouldn't add up as the Maori Party wouldn't support Labour, and NZ First and United Future refused to deal with the Greens.

Funnily enough the Greens share one point with Libertarianz "we know we have succeeded when people no longer need us". Well go on New Zealand, show them you don't need them!

In that vein I am adding to my blog the "Don't Vote Greens" banner, it goes nicely with "Don't Vote Labour".

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