Friday, August 29, 2014

Forgotten Posts from the Past: Gordon Brown's campaign of lies was failing in 2009

The campaign in Norwich North for Labour set the scene for how the 2010 British election was campaigned by Gordon Brown - quite simply that the Conservatives will cut and burn at the British welfare state, but that Labour will protect the working classes from the evil greedy ones.

Forgetting of course that Gordon Brown has systematically engaged in fiscal child abuse for nearly his entire term of office, running deficits in the good times, as Labour spent up large on welfare, with people of all incomes eligible for child benefits, for example, pouring money into the NHS while getting nothing in return in terms of productivity or better outcomes. The Labour record is a disgraceful waste of money, hiding the true cost of its spending in ongoing deficits. Its stealth taxation has meant that it uses taxes on fuel and car ownership predominantly to pay for welfare and education, with only a quarter of those taxes going on roads and nearly the same again on railways.

The record is damnable. National debt is set to climb to 90% of GDP partly because Labour did not pay off debt during the good times, but also because it wont let any banks fail, even though deposits of up to £50,000 (which would cover most voters) have been guaranteed. Labour now will not cut spending, even though its own "pump priming" of the economy has been a fizzle, because it knows the spending cuts that are needed are fierce, but if it can hold them off until after the election - it wont be a Labour problem.

The Conservatives will face spending cuts on a scale likely to be worse than that faced by Thatcher in 1979. Labour will oppose them through and through, spreading the filthy lie that Labour wouldn't have done the same - when of course it would have faced it as well. That then sets the scene for another class based election, whereby Labour is the one helping out the poor and the needy (always needy of the government), but the Conservatives protect their rich friends from higher taxes (even though the Conservatives haven't even promised to cut taxes).

Matthew D'Acona in the Sunday Telegraph describes Gordon Brown as too cadaverous to be an asset for campaigning, which is quite right. Gordon Brown paints a picture of the UK succumbing to a global recession, but fails to note why the UK is more badly hit than many other countries.

He needed only look at himself.  The supreme arrogance of a man who thought that by milking a credit fueled economy with taxation largesse to buy off the Labour constituency of public sector workers and welfare recipients, that he had got rid of boom and bust.

Now it is the supreme arrogance of one of his right hand men, who now leads Labour, who blames it all on capitalism and on banks in the US.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Libertarian Christians?

Now I'm not religious, I'm an atheist objectivist. However, it is worth noting that being a libertarian does not necessarily mean one is an atheist (and certainly not objectivist).  

I do believe that people can be both, quite simply the state can leave free people alone, some of them can be Christians and live lives according to Christianity, as long as they don't initiate force. Indeed, if people of all religions could simply grasp that, we would live in a far better world, albeit one that would still face debates about science and ethics, education and the like - but for these to be determined through persuasion not force.  

Well known libertarian oriented Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan has a strong faith, and in NZ, the hard-working and outspoken Tim Wikiriwhi is a Christian libertarian, as is Richard Goode a libertarian standing for the ALCP.  Their blog has their own perspective, and it's safe to say that while we'll agree on much politically, when it comes to matters spiritual, we part company.  Evangelical Christian bloggers Matt and Madeleine Flanagan likewise, are libertarians.   There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans who would claim the same.

However, that is how a free society works.  People can proselytise their religion or atheism, they can live their lives according to religious teachings and rules, as long as they respect the right of others to do differently.  As long as the religious do not break fundamental individual rights of others (that includes ensuring children are not subjected to physical and sexual abuse or neglect), they can live their lives in peace.  

The key is for Christians to not want laws passed that break the crucial "non initiation of force" principle, which has tended to be a weakness of many Christian politicians keen to regulate what people do with their bodies.   That means not wanting the law to regulate consensual adult sexual behaviour or artistic depictions of it (I use artistic to include any media depictions at all).  The tricky area comes into what is one of the most fraught issues - abortion.  Libertarians differ on abortion, some believe that the foetus has no rights, some believe they do have rights.  This is a fertile area for debate, as it should be, but as long as it is debate based on objectively defined factors - i.e. where life begins, what sort of entities should have rights, what rights and why - then debate can be rational.  That's where I fear it gets difficult for some Christian libertarians.

Yet if only we could get to that debate.   There may be libertarians from other religious faiths, I'm keen to meet Muslim libertarians for fairly obvious reasons, but it would appear that Christianity has offered more scope than most religions to "live and let live" and grant adults the freedom to choose to believe and then to respect the right of non-believers to live their lives, as long as they do the same to others.

So whilst I'll happily argue against religion generally, and argue against some of the key tenets of Christianity, I do respect the fundamental right of Christians to hold and to disseminate their beliefs.   Moreover, Christian libertarians are allies in the wider push for individual freedom.   I'd like Jewish (as in religious not merely ethnic) libertarians and Muslim libertarians as well as Hindu and Buddhist ones. Yet, rather sadly, there doesn't appear to be too many of any of them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Forgotten posts from 2009 : Banning smoking in public places

The Standard reports, disapprovingly, that Western Bay of Plenty District Council is banning smoking in public places. One of the rare occasions I agree with the Standard.

However, it is clear it isn't actually a ban - you see I don't believe any council has the clear legal authority to do this. It can put up signs saying "no smoking", but by what power can it do this?

Bylaw making powers of local authorities are quite constrained. The Local Government Act 2002 grants many (though not all) bylaw making powers to councils. Section 145 grants apparently wide ranging general powers, but then Section 146 is more specific, and Section 147 is very specific, around alcohol. Given the similarities between how alcohol and tobacco are treated legally (both controlled drugs) it is likely Parliament did not intend to give councils power to ban smoking in outdoor locations, it may have granted them power to very specifically ban smoking in circumstances clearly applicable in Section 145, but NOT across beaches or across parks. You see bylaws against nuisance, public health and offensive behaviour are seen as about regulating berrant behaviours. This includes excessive noise, unhygienic activities or behaviour more akin to the Summary Offences Act, than smoking. Bear in mind smoking does not, per se, create a nuisance, public health problem (to others) or offence.

So, quite simply, I don't think any such bylaw is legitimate.

What IS legitimate is using property rights to ban smoking, which works in buildings of course, but on public land the question is whether the council should have the rights of any other property owner? A private park or beach should of course, ban what it sees fit, but not public space.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rotherham Council more concerned about causing offence than stopping rape

What was the first response of child protection officers and Police in Rotherham, UK, when facing evidence of organised gangs of Asian men raping, brutalising and otherwise abusing young girls of various background?

"Better be careful, we might be accused of being racist".

That's one of the damning findings of an inquiry published today which found that 1400 children were sexually exploited in the borough between 1997 and 2013, a third of whom were known by child protection officers.

It is a wanton failure by the state to do its job as

"Within social care, the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers.
At an operational level, the Police gave no priority to CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation), regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime"

but what is particularly galling is how the embrace of the doctrine of Identity Politics and fear of being found to be politically incorrect closed down enquiries.

By far the majority of perpetrators were described as 'Asian' by victims, yet throughout the entire
period, councillors did not engage directly with the Pakistani-heritage community to discuss how
best they could jointly address the issue. Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem,
which they hoped would go away. Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the
ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist; others remembered clear direction
from their managers not to do so.

In other words, they couldn't cope with the perpetrators being from an ethnic group they had deemed to be "vulnerable", "disadvantaged" or "subject to racism", so they themselves were racist in dismissing or minimise the crimes that included:

There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
By applying collectivist Identity Politics thought to crime, they ignored reality.  Individuals had together, with a toxic cultural attitude to young girls particularly of non-Asian backgrounds, raped and brutalised victims with impunity.  Effectively protected by those too scared to call them out on it or act decisively, because they didn't want to be accused of being "racist".

It's the consequence of embracing post-modernist structuralism.  The philosophy that there is no such thing as objective reality, only power structures that need to be broken down, and which public policy and politics should reflect. 

The result is that real victims were neglected and not protected, real violent sex offenders were treated with hand-wringing anxiety and appeasement, because what mattered most was that nobody should be offended (except of course the victims who were treated as inconvenient or at worst, culpable).

Rotherham Council has been run by the Labour Party since it was created in 1974.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Can civilisation confront evil?

When Francis Fukuyama said the end of the Cold War was the "end of history" (a claim that no doubt will plague him for the rest of his life), the great hope was that the world was turning back from a blood soaked century of both war and tyranny.   However, just as the Holocaust was not the final word on genocide, the end of the Cold War was not the end of tyranny.

What we are now seeing unfolding in Iraq and Syria, with the self-styled "Islamic State" is the latest incarnation of the philosophical embrace of the idea, common to all tyrants, that human beings do not exist for their own purposes, but are subordinate to the purposes dreamed up by others - to be slaves to a "greater" ideal, that involves the sacrifice of their time, property, passions, morals, beliefs, bodies, families and 

"Islamic State" has goals which are common to that of other eliminationist totalitarians:

- Impose its totalitarian law on areas it occupies, with brutal punishment for transgressions;
- Demand all residents of those areas embrace its ideology;
- Kill those who reject it or who are deemed to be "inferior";
- Enslave selected numbers of those it controls (in this case women it selects for sex slaves);
- Enforced breeding to grow its own numbers and dilute/weaken those it occupies.

It has parallels throughout history.  The Khmer Rouge (which dispatched between 1-2 million by execution or starvation), the Croatian Ustashe (who famously enforced one third of Serbs to be converted to Catholicism, one third deported and one third executed), militarist Japan, Nazi Germany and numerous Marxist-Leninist regimes once embraced by one of Nicky Hager's heroes.

Some may say it's not "our problem", although it is clear that some of the "Islamic State's" murdering hoards hail from the UK, Australia and other Western countries, and it is also clear that the "Islamic State" is getting funding from individuals in a wide range of countries, both Western, but also the hereditary dictatorships that the West has friendly relationships in the Persian Gulf.   It would appear the idle rich in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and the like are quite keen on funding those who behead children and impales their heads on sticks.  

Yes, just consider that, pause for a minute and think about a "militant group" (as is the accepted euphemism nowadays) that executes young children, impales their heads on sticks in a town, to warn of what happens if people do not embrace its totalitarian form of Islam.   Now consider that there are people in your country that are not only not offended by this, but willing to go and help out the killers.  
Furthermore, the Islamic State does not simply want a Caliphate over Iraq and Syria, but across the entire Middle East and seeks to wage jihad against the United States and Britain.  It doesn't just want to "peacefully" impose Shariah law (you know a bit like how the Taliban did in Afghanistan or the Khmer Rouge turned Cambodia's calendar to Year Zero), it wants the world to become a caliphate.

Be clear also that it is very well funded from selling oil from Syrian oil fields and if it gained control of more in Syria and Iraq, it could acquire weapons and have levels of funding the Taliban could only have dreamed of.

So think 9/11, 7/7 and think a level of danger that betrays the head in the sand "libertarians" who think this is a problem in the Middle East that can be ignored.   Even if Israel and the Palestinians signed a peace treaty tomorrow that finalised the "two state solution" (even if Israel was wiped off the map), the "Islamic State" would not hesitate, unlike its brethren Hamas.  Even if all of the Muslim world was run by a Caliphate, it would not hesitate, unlike its brethren Al Qaeda (who disowned it for being "too violent").

These are killers that, unlike the Nazis, unlike the Khmer Rouge and unlike the Rwandan gangs of blood thirsty murderers, gloat over their brutality.  Yes, it isn't just a surreptitious dark eliminationism, it is a loud and proud campaign of slaughter.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Forgotten Posts from the Past: What I thought of Gordon Brown's administration in 2009

The rats are leaving a sinking ship, a ship that has let its tentacles grow the state in the UK in the past 12 years, run near constant budget deficits in a time of prosperity, promote speculation in the property market to support largescale lending by the populace, and pour buckets into an unaccountable and inept NHS, build up an assembly line education system, woefully limp wristed criminal justice system and a radical environmental agenda (crippling the economy), whilst wanting to implement an identity card system and increase surveillance of private citizens.

Miliband Labour looks little different.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

UK porn laws ban some comics

The death of Sir John Mortimer, barrister and writer, best known for writing the Rumpole of the Bailey radio play and subsequent television series, brought memories about his great fight for freedom of speech. His battles were many, the album "Never Mind the Bollocks" wouldn't have the word "bollocks" if he hadn't defended Virgin Records in court against accusations of obscenity. Mortimer famously engaged in a debate with well known moral evangelist Mary Whitehouse, and John Howard (then future leader of the Conservative Party) on free speech, citing how basically those who call for censorship think those who censor wont be harmed, but they are protecting the mass of the population, who are considered imbeciles.

However, the UK doesn't learn. As two pieces of legislation have taken it further.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act has make it illegal to possess "extreme pornography". What is that then? It is extreme images which were produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Que Horreur! Sexual arousal? How dare THAT happen - not in BRITAIN.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let's end child poverty say the Reds

Well so say the Greens, with their enormous "give free money to the parents of poor kids" electoral bribe, to be paid for by a tax hike.

It's classic dyed in the wool socialism and its central premise is that it is somehow caring to take by force from a small proportion of the population to give people money because they have children they can't afford to raise properly.

That's it.

When Russel Norman says:

Proud to pay 7c more income tax on every $1 over $140k so 200,000 kids can have food in their bellies 

It defies description.  What's he doing with the money now if he believes so much that it would be better helping poor kids?  Couldn't he just spend that money now on charities to help them?  Couldn't he convince others to do the same?  What's the mentality that says "if only the government took more of my money I could be helping the poor more"?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tough on law and order?

It's always an easy one for parties to trot out. I've seen it time and time again. Jim Bolger did it in 1990 with the slogan "A Decent Society". At the time it called for a referendum on capital punishment, which was quietly shelved.   ACT and National have both gone down this path in the past, but I'd take a more nuanced approach.

For me, a good law and order policy comprises several dimensions. It isn't merely "hang the bastards", it is a balance - as follows:

1. Recividist violent offenders should be kept from committing further crimes: It's simple, you have one chance if you are a violent (including sexual) offender, to do time, to rehabilitate and live a life of peace, but if you repeat you are deemed a threat to others, and detention is preventive. It is about protection of future victims, punishment coming second. Preventive sentences could be for a decade or for life, depending on the threat to the public. 

2. Rehabilitation for the first time offender: At the non-violent end of the spectrum, people make foolish, damaging mistakes. However, it is not a reason to write them off. The criminal justice system must exist to deter and punish, but for those entering it the first time the best efforts need to be made to make it the last time. That means not throwing young foolish men into dank prisons where they learn to be "staunch" and can learn how to be a tougher, harder criminal. It's more clever than that.  It deals with issues of literacy, teach useful skills, anger management and therapy if needed, in short it is a concerted effort to turn people around.

3. Protect the presumption of innocence: Our criminal justice system is built upon a simple presumption. You're innocent till proven guilty. That should never be watered down.  It must remain central to the criminal justice system.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dirty politics?

Nicky Hager's book, which of course like the healthcare, housing, education, incomes, public transport and much else of what Hager wants from government, should be free.

Kim Dot Com should be letting one of his "customers" copy it and spread it widely amongst the public if he was true to his belief in "freedom".

However, my first reaction was to notice how Russel Norman, who like the Green Party more generally, escapes a lot of serious scrutiny, bleating on about "negative attack politics"


The same Russel Norman who once decided to engage in name calling against me on the Green's Frogblog, as a response to my criticism of the scaremongering over EMR from cellphone towers, yet no such scaremongering over radio broadcast towers.  I wrote about it here.   It's hardly a big deal, but this is how politics is.

You see, attack politics are actually normal.  It's the norm for many politicians to be pejorative.  The left's primary pejoratives are to claim policies are "racist" and "sexist", or that those on the right "hate the poor" and are only in politics for the money (they of course, donate most of their salaries to charity), and finally there is the anti-semitic attacks on John Key and the childish "fuck John Key" contribution to intelligent discourse.

What is apparent is anger.  Anger from those who think they are entitled to spend other people's money without their consent, anger from those who want to tell other people what to do with their property, anger from those who don't like foreigners, or foreigners buying things they themselves can't or wont buy, and conversely anger from those who are fed up with being told they owe others a living, fed up with being told that some people are entitled to be listened to more, because of some aspect of their background.   The anger in politics is due to polarisation.  Those on the right are becoming more clearly cynical of answers that involve more government, while those on the left are less inclined to compromise with business, with those arguing to be left alone, and those who offend and upset them.

People are angry because most of them don't understand a lot about the complexities of modern economics or societies, and want simple answers, they also want politicians who will pander to their own prejudices about why things are as they are.  Conspiracies attract the feeble minded, and those who think governments have all the answers to block individuals doing things they don't like, don't like people saying no.

The real answer is that politics do not provide good answers for most problems in the world, but human initiative does.  By releasing people's ability to create, produce, organise themselves and to build, share and help each other, there are ways of resolving problems.  Government's don't do that, they use force.  Hager embraces the use of force, and is rather upset at there being a government that doesn't do it enough to the right people.

Hager's book from what little has percolated out simply seems to report that some bloggers are affiliated with the National Party.  Who knew?!?  Hager wont write a book about those affiliated with the Labour Party, or the Greens, or heaven-forbid the Kim Dotcom/Alliance Revival/Harawira Whanau First Party, because they are who he wants to have in power.  He talks about how bloggers deliberately try to get media attention to support one political point of view, yet he is guilty of exactly the same tactic when he puts out his books.

Hager's biggest problem is that what he purports others to do, is exactly what he is trying to do himself.  Pass himself off as "independent" and dedicated to exposing secret political deals, but he is anything but independent, and completely ignores anything going on on his side.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Carpe Diem... make your lives extraordinary

and he did.

The lessons from one of his greatest films.

As poignant as ever, given so much news from those who are the utter antithesis of these ethics and this philosophy, and the tragic taking of his own life.

Embrace life...


Reject conformity, be yourself, find your own way...


Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, don't resign to that...


Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for






Saturday, August 09, 2014

Childrens' heads impaled on sticks

That is what is happening, now, in areas ISIS has taken over in Iraq.

Among others, children are getting executed with their entire families, for not converting to Islam, and then getting their heads removed and impaled on sticks placed in towns to warn of what happens to those who do not embrace the "religion of peace".  Apparently 500 women and girls have been taken by ISIS, as rape booty, but I doubt most Western feminists will demand anything be done about that, they'll be worried that there aren't enough women in the board rooms of banks.

That's why it is morally right for the US, indeed for any military force that wishes, to eradicate ISIS.

The Western allies that overthrew Saddam Hussein owe it to Iraq to step in, over the heads of the weak sectarian Shi'a government, and use air power to curtail ISIS, then to fund and arm new Iraqi armed forces, consisting of Shi'a, moderate Sunni and those from other backgrounds, to eradicate this menace.

Meanwhile, the anti-Western, anti-capitalist Amnesty International demands Israel faces an arms embargo, for defending itself against the only part of the Palestinian territories that is attacking it.

Meanwhile, the tens of thousands of supporters of Gaza, march give moral approval to aggressive Islamism, albeit that comparing Hamas to ISIS is like comparing the Green Party to the Khmer Rouge.

If ISIS is not contained and takes control of sufficient oil and gas fields to fund endeavours elsewhere, make no mistake the price of appeasement will be high.

So ISIS must be kicked out of Iraq and, in spite of all that he is, a deal must be struck with Bashar Assad and the secular Syrian opposition, to do the same in Syria in exchange for a truce between Assad and the opposition as a prelude to a federal settlement, elections and his standing down as President.  

and to the appeasing peaceniks who oppose?

Ignore them.

Your intellectual forebears would have had us in a communist one-party state, and before that would have demanded peace with Hitler.  You are not defenders of freedom or civilisation, but appeasers to barbarity, dictatorship and slavery.  

This is a battle between civilisation and barbarity. 

Barbarity that is disowned by Iran (primarily for sectarian reasons), but also disowned by Al Qaeda itself.

There can be no compromise with such evil.  There wasn't with the Nazis or with militarist Japan.

That is the moral clarity behind the fight.  It should be NATO, it should be Arab allies, it should even be Russia, China and India in support (for both dictatorships are themselves threatened by the brethren of ISIS).

However, assuming that little is done, watch and see the world that isolationism brings.

PS: I was going to write a piece critiquing the Green transport of people in cities policy, but that's not remotely important.  

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Does Russel Norman want Israel to disappear?

It's not clear, after all Russel Norman could just have been too quick to use the wrong language here but look at this:


"Palestine"...

...not Gaza (which Israel did withdraw from and Hamas subsequently used as a base to attack Israel - i.e. not occupied territories - the internationally recognised land of the state of Israel).  

.. not "the occupied territories" (which still respects a two state solution)...

but "Palestine", which implies the end of the state of Israel completely.  It is the Hamas solution.   Russel is wanting Israel to withdraw and disband according to that tweet.

but then this is contradictory:



So it looks like he accepts a state of Israel here, but how can we be sure?  His tone is so one-sided as to be virulently anti-Israel.  It's so evasive of the facts.

Israel withdrew from Gaza, completely.  

It dismantled Jewish settlements in their entirety, it told the Palestinians they could govern their own affairs. So they elected Hamas, which vowed to destroy Israel and institute an Islamist theocracy (and has not held an election since).  Hamas started shooting rockets into Israel, supplied by Iran (completely ignored in all of the "America arms Israel" rhetoric).  Israel imposed a blockade to stop the rockets getting into Gaza.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Greens - nationalising children so you can pay for everyone else's

So the Greens are cleverly pulling at the heart strings, with images of children and landscapes. You're meant to vote for them, yep, someone else's kid, because the Greens think we all belong to everyone else.   It's the antithesis of individuals living their lives responsibly and interacting freely with one another, but rather the heavy hand of the #lovenz state taking your money out of "love" to pay for other people who at best don't care about where it came from, and at worst hold you in contempt (you rich c*** you, probably with Pakeha and male privilege that you inherited from your thieving racist/sexist ancestors, go on feel the guilt). 

People who breed and barely raise kids at all, who then go on to repeat the cycle, maybe bullying your kids in the process, or (the Greens hope) become angry political activists who go on to talk to the hilariously named Child Poverty Action Group (so named because it undertakes the minimal possible action to address child poverty by simply demanding the state do something about it with other people's money).  

Monday, August 04, 2014

If the Press gets this wrong...

No doubt executives in newspapers wonder how they can stop the inexorable decline in business, the drop in circulation and how to stem the competition from online media.

Air NZ official photo of its first Boeing 787 arriving 
I submit Exhibit A as a reason why this continues to happen.  It isn't about a particularly serious news topic at all, more a travel feature, but it demonstrates clearly the slip in standards.  

It is from The Press and the article is meant to be a review of Air NZ's latest plane, the Boeing 787-9 "Dreamliner", because the airline took it on a training trip down to Christchurch last week before it starts commercial service. 

Quite simply it is an article that would fail a high school student, which may be why there is no name put to it.  It may well be a high school student who wrote it.  It's as if the writer didn't even though there was something called the internet, and research isn't difficult to undertake on it.

It's a shocker that is up there with the Gareth Morgan words of wisdom on North Korea in terms of not only saying nothing new, but actually being so inaccurate as to be misleading.

Contrast it to the excellent articles on the website Australian Business Traveller, which frankly has better information about air travel for New Zealanders than any New Zealand source.  Aussie Business Traveller wrote three articles in detail about the plane (one on each cabin, Business, Premium Economy and Economy).  Now I don't expect that level on a newspaper, but I do expect accuracy.  This was a slapdash lazy effort by someone who didn't only know nothing, but didn't even try to find out anything beyond what was seen.

My point with the article title is, that if the Press can get this so wrong, what else does it get wrong that I don't have such knowledge about?  Is it really any wonder that people are abandoning newspapers?

What did the Press get wrong? (I did submit a comment online but it has presumably been too embarrassed to publish it)

Friday, August 01, 2014

One law for all?

Jamie Whyte's "one law for all" speech was disappointing.  Not because of what his end goals are (which are largely ignored by his critics because he gave them so much else to aim at), but because the rhetoric was clumsy and in my view, counter-productive.

One of the most corrosive elements in New Zealand is the widely held consensus amongst most political parties and indeed the bureaucracy and media, that there remains a strong element of racial determinism around the lives people lead, at least for Maori.  This being the idea that the reason Maori on average perform worse in terms of a wide range of social indicators compared to individuals from other ethnic groups, is due to a mix of the legacy of what happened to their ancestors (which seems not to hold back refugees from genocides from living memory) and a system that doesn't "meet their needs". The latter because "the system" is "designed for Pakeha" (not because state provided services aren't necessarily very tailored to individual need).

It is post-modernist structuralist theory which posits that because Maori are (the descendants of) the indigenous people of a land that was colonised (and then gained independence), they are structurally disadvantaged.  With this thinking you can conveniently blank out individual cases that prove how flawed all of this is, like the young Maori woman I once met who got a government scholarship to pursue her law studies, a scholarship open only to Maori - she was proud, because her parents were lawyers.  Not exactly a scholarship that was lifting someone from a below average background.

The view perpetuated by the Greens, Labour, Mana/Internet/Opportunist, Maori Party and much of academia is that she is inherently disadvantaged because she is a Maori woman (doubly disadvantaged).

Forget that her family easily had an income several times that of the average household (so one can argue that her family long ago climbed out of disadvantage), that gets blanked out - the system structurally disadvantages her against a young man from a single parent household with no family history of tertiary education.  Her race was deemed to transmit disadvantage in a system that "creates" it.  The same quackery justifies all sorts of affirmative action programmes, which when government funded (I couldn't care less if private companies run them) are picking winners on the basis of race, out of a sense of "fairness", as if treating individuals differently on the basis of race somehow "redresses collective unfairness".  That is, of course, nonsense.  There is no collective brain or life, just individuals living their lives, and if the state decides that one individual on the basis purely of characteristics she can't choose, deserves privilege over another, then it is simply engaging in the unfairness it is purporting to address.

Unfortunately Jamie Whyte's rhetoric hid the real point, which was I think a major strategic error for those of us who want to move on from racial determinism and neo-Marxist structuralist interpretations of power, capitalism and society.  The mistake many have jumped on is misconstruing a detail around educational quotas (which is not where the debate should lie) and the pre-revolutionary France comparison (which was historically wrong), but I think his two biggest mistakes were:

- To not focus on how the current system privileges a few Maori over everyone else (including other Maori);
- To not sell the optimistic case for individual empowerment and diversity.