Those are the three themes that I am getting from the stories that should be most shaking up New Zealanders.
The greatest publicity has been for the trifecta of emergencies in Japan. The earthquake, which was largely survived in its own right, thanks to technology, vigilance by property owners and compliance with strict laws. The tsunami, which demonstrated how powerless people are with little warning, once again. Now the nuclear emergency, which is a mix of genuine concern and fear, and ridiculou hyperbole. New Zealand is only affected by the harm to Japan's economy, not the spread of isotopes. However, environmentalists will dine out on this for some time to demand lower electricity consumption and "investment" in expensive forms of electricity generation. There will be scope for post-mortems of the nuclear emergency, but for now two other matters should be of higher priority.
First is closer to home. It IS fascism, a term overused perhaps by some libertarians, but it is plain and simple in Christchurch. Private property has been appropriated, not to protect the public, but because central and local government are applying the thumping hammer of blunt authority to clear away the damage as quickly as possible.
Not PC puts it beautifully in describing how a pin-up for vapid womens' magazines gets more access to central Christchurch properties than the people who, without which, the damned businesses (damned indeed) wouldn't be there in the first place.
Like a panzer division of wreckers, the state has authorised demolition squads to go in and destroy what is NOT theirs.
Eric Crampton's list of outrages should send shivers down the spines of property owners throughout New Zealand. This could happen to you. THIS is what central and local government think of you - it isn't the warm friendly collectively helpful image that the morally bankrupt left claim - it is the "we know best, get out of our way" approach that says a great "fuck you" to the people who create the wealth, who pay the wages of public "servants".
Meanwhile what do you get from politicians? A blind eye. You should all be furious, because they are scum for not standing up for Christchurch property owners.
The government of course is complicit. There is now no shred of belief that the National Party believes in property rights or business, its true colours have been shown here, and it is disgusting.
Not one fucking press release demanding that property owners have the right to access their properties, that properties should not be destroyed without the consent or even notice given to the owners. Nothing. If you still vote National after this, then I DO hope you face the same situation one day - because frankly you're complicit in endorsing these useless inert nobodies in just accepting what their bureaurats tell them.
Instead, John Key thanks the pin-up and his consort for their "support" in getting a taxpayer supported piece of disaster tourism (2 sites in one country). Not that it is their fault that they get the privileged access to Christchurch, it is the government's.
Of course along with National is the Maori Party (which only believes in property rights for part of the population), Peter Dunne (who as Minister in charge of legalised theft is uninterested) and ACT. What's ACT said? Fuck all of course. Rodney Hide is setting up a new bureaucracy to enable councils to borrow through central government instead. Given ACT has effectively endorsed the Labour/Alliance/Green vision of local government powers, who should be surprised?
The left, naturally, regards property rights as something that applies to them when someone wants to mug them in the street and that's about it. The state can (and should) run roughshod over such rights in the "public good" as it sees it from that point of view. The Greens, Labour and Jim Il Sung are contemptuous about business, employers and property rights, and ever trusting of government agencies.
However, what about you? Are you going to tolerate a fascist style demolition of buildings without even advising the owners? Are you going to tolerate zero accountability for those looking after the "protected area" of central Christchurch? Are you going to tolerate it being ok for the pinup from the UK and his consort to gain access to Christchurch that the people who fucking build and make Christchurch alive don't have?
Of course you are - you're New Zealanders - you'll vote for John Key again because you're not discontented enough and because Phil Goff is about as inspiring as a pair of socks. You'll trust local government again because you're fearful of actually having power in your own hands, but most of all you'll do nothing because you're not personally affected.
There couldn't be a clearer message to dictatorships in the past few weeks from the United States, it is "We don't intervene anymore".
Despite the vapid generalisations from some quarters. The dictatorships in the Middle East all vary by degrees and kinds. The Tunisian one was easy, he rolled over quickly. Egypt took more time, but ultimately the fact the US bankrolls the regime was significant, and Mubarak eventually rolled over as well. Gaddafi is different, not just in degree, but nature. He is despicably evil, a murdering megalomaniacal thug. At worst he is unhinged and merciless. His record of intervening in other countries is extensive, although he withdrew from this primarily because he observed the US invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein - an act that would be far simpler to do in Libya.
Protestors and rebels in Libya have been encouraged, verbally, by Western powers and others, demanding that the Gaddafi autocracy go. However, in terms of action, little has been done since Westerners were evacuated. The Obama regime has been silent, and so Gaddafi has been acting with impunity to take back the country he has run as his own fiefdom. The cartoon like view Gaddafi gives of himself may amuse some, but it comes with blood and death.
So a no-fly zone over Libya is obvious, it would cost little and help to ensure Gaddafi did not act with impunity. The UK and France have been pushing for it (the latter ironic given France's history of warmth towards dictatorships), but Germany has resisted - as if Germany really is able to exercise moral authority given its past performance in resisting action in the Balkans. The UK and France have led efforts at the UN Security Council for a resolution. Not the US. Of course Russia and China are likely to oppose, or at best abstain. However, neither have any credibility when it comes to dealing with dictatorships, for obvious reasons. So for that, I believe airstrikes and a no fly zone should be applied anyway, because the value in containing and disposing of the Gaddafi regime is worth it. His regime lost legitimacy when it participated in Lockerbie and sponsoring terrorism in Europe and elsewhere. There should be no legal or moral barrier to intervention from the air (ground intervention would be unwise though).
However, as much as I want Gaddafi removed, there is a more disturbing concern. Obama's withdrawal of the US from the world says that other dictatorships can act with impunity, despite his words. Syria has had protests that have been put down - another regime that has regularly disregarded international law by invading a neighbouring country - Lebanon. Yet what is the Obama administration saying to the likes of Iran and North Korea by being so shy of doing anything? It is saying that there are no consequences for all sorts of actions against their own people, but also that the US is relatively uninterested.
You see the world the left wanted, with the US pulling out of other countries, and leaving civil conflicts to themselves, is happening more and more. The result is that dictatorships feel less threatened, more emboldened and more powerful than they were under previous Administrations.
Obama has declared his hand on foreign policy. It is progressive isolationism. Withdrawal from Iraq will be followed by Afghanistan, and then where?
and if rebels in Benghazi are crushed by the efforts of the Gaddafi army and air force, all on TV, what will that say about the US interest in freedom in other countries?