13 May 2009

Post number 2000

There are times in one’s blogging life when it is an appropriate chance to look back at what one has done and why one blogs. This is my 2000th post so is a self-indulgent reflection on why I do this, and more importantly what’s important to me.

Bloggers generally blog as an outlet for their opinions and comments, with a particular bent politically and philosophically, and a particular focus on certain issues. For me, it is because, with the exception of Not PC, my views are consistently NOT represented in either the mainstream NZ media or blogosphere.

So what flavours of opinion do I add?

Well, I have specialised in New Zealand politics and in that sense the promotion of individual freedom. That being the freedom of being to do as they see fit with their own bodies and property whilst respecting the same right of others to do so. The banality of those who say this means the “freedom to hurt others” or “freedom to push drugs onto kids” does not detract from this core concept. It comes from the principle that adults generally know best how to run their own lives, and more importantly that other adults do not have a claim on their body or property. It is a principle that is almost universally disregarded across most of the political spectrum.

Those on the left treat private property with contempt, regarding the income and assets of people considered “rich” to be ready picking to supply what they see as the “rights” of the relatively poor – people who are wealthy by the standards of most of the world’s population. The sneering contempt that “the left” holds the financially successful is mean spirited and revolting. It implies that those who raise their heads above the average owe everyone else a share of their success, or at worst they must have earned it unfairly. However, the left does not confine its claim to people’s property, but to their bodies too.

The left proclaims the superiority of state provided health care and education, despite state health care regularly failing those who are forced to provide their services, and state education by definition standardising what and how children are taught. The idea that people might choose alternatives provided privately is seen as undermining these sacred signs of universal service, ignoring that monopolies rarely seem able to meet the varied needs of all those who use them.

However, the right is far from immune from claiming peoples’ bodies or property. Historically this was seen most specifically with conscription, but the conservative right also say its role to protect and reinforce “traditional role models”. Much of that is now gone, with few laws restricting or defining personal relationships or sex relations between consenting adults. However, the fight that many have had to demand equal treatment under the law was always resisted by some. Today the most egregious example of the right promoting interference in people’s bodies are laws on drugs. Criminalising people for what they put in their bodies is a gross infringement on individual liberty, when the real concern should be what people do to others – intoxicated or not.

So I start from the view that the individual is sovereign. That the individual should not be subordinate to other individuals, whether dressed up as “the public good” or “general will” or “will of the majority”. Those phrases are the tools of both the left and the right, both who believe the decisions of a small group of individuals (Cabinet, Parliament, bureaucrats) should be able to spend the money of others, and regulate them. The difference is I don’t believe in “public good”, as it implies that there is something higher than individual rights, and so individual rights can be sacrificed for the public good. Every dictatorship through history has justified its actions, and indeed every democracy has justified what it did for “the public good”, particularly when it was curtailing individual freedom and spending other people’s money.

The Greens, for example, appear to have a strong interest in many things that a lot think are good. Who argues against clean air, clean water and protecting cute animals from extinction? Yet the means the Greens wish to employ is violence – state force – to tax, to subsidise, to ban, to compel, to regulate. On top of this authoritarian desire to push people around is scaremongering against science and technology, such as genetic engineering and cellphone transmitters. The apocalyptic glee that evidence about global warming gives them to excuse their joyless agenda of restricting flying, driving, trading or even using appliances at home gives me despair. The forked tongue of opposing racism, but demanding racially separate Maori seats and saying it isn’t about race, when they are DEFINED by race. Meanwhile the anti-racist party promotes opposition to foreign trade and investment, because foreigners can’t have “our” interests at heart. No different from similar remarks Winston Peters used to have an audience for. Environmentalism has become the pathway for those who have a vision of changing people to fit a view of what they should be like. It has disturbing parallels with Marxism-Leninism in that respect, with the use of terminology like “climate change denial” to imply that those who debate science are debating actual events not theories of causation.

For me, I believe the jury is still out on anthropomorphic climate change, with contradictory evidence pointing in two different directions. However, I am most disturbed by the way that the climate change evangelists regard it all as an excuse to fanatically intervene in sectors from energy to transport to agriculture, without any serious analysis as to the implications of doing so except for the holy grail of CO2 emissions. Climate science is one thing, but the “answers” given are typically devoid of serious analysis then there is no wonder it is seen to be a religion.

Naturally, Labour and National pander for the middle ground, Labour especially now fertile fields for largely mediocre individuals to seek to spread their bile of envy of the successful, patronising the proletariat and scaremongering with the “we’ll look after you” attitude that sadly pervades this once proud party. National watches polls constantly, and forever runs away from principles even though so many inside it know that the state is largely incapable of delivering substantially better results in health and education. ACT has soiled itself lately with the gang patch law, and I await to see if Rodney Hide can cut the size of local government whilst he has been promoting the biggest council ever for Auckland.

The Maori Party being defined by race is a mix of good intentions and racial superiority, how else can one think of a party that treats the people it represents as being “special”.

Beyond that, religion has a low impact on New Zealand politics and for that I am glad. I am an atheist, and proclaim the doctrine of Voltaire in defending freedom of religion, but at the same time damning religion itself as being at best unnecessary, at worst a justification for murder and denial of humanity. My first priority for religion is to expunge it from the state, so that it has nothing to do with the supernatural. The secularisation of states that are populated primarily by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists should be a priority project for the 21st century for all who support civilisation and humanity. For conflicts in the Middle East, South Asia and Sri Lanka can be linked to those who reject this. I’m an advocate for reason and an objectivist, and derive my values and morals from objectivism, not religion, though I rarely blog about that.

So for me, I blog about NZ politics, UK politics, occasionally US and Australian politics, the Middle East, dictatorships in Africa and Asia and Europe, the European Union. I focus regularly on sectors I have professional experience in, such as transport, communications, trade and broadcasting, with a particular distaste for the European Union Common Agricultural Policy, environmentalist worshipping of railways and damnation of aviation and the private car, and a hatred for those who seek to restrict trade based on random political geographies.

However, most of all I detest the attack on the human mind, on human achievement and on reason. Which is why my greatest advocacy is for the removal of the initiation of force (and threat of force) in adult relations, and that means between states and between states and their citizens. Most people will say yes to this at first then “but”. For me there is no “but”. After all, what right do you have to initiate force against another adult?

So after 2000 posts I thank those of you who read regularly, and have seen my average daily unique reads average at around 200 a day the last couple of months. I’m no supporter of ACT or National, but will praise and damn either when I see fit, the same with Labour, the Greens or any other party anywhere. I am not aligned by political tribe, but by philosophy. A philosophy that says that human individuals have the right to exist for their own purpose and own reasons, and no other adults have a claim on that at all, that anyone claiming this is selfish is damned right. Because unless I own my life, I am a slave to another – and I’ll be damned if I’ll support any who advocate running other people’s lives because anything else is selfish.

So to you all, be selfish, live your life to enjoy it, share yourself with whoever you see fit, who wishes to share with you, and to be yourself, respecting the same in others. Be benevolent in sharing yourself and your values as you see fit, but do so being true to yourself, not because you feel obliged to do so. You exist for your values, for if that is not your first priority, then nothing else can follow.


Craig M said...

Congratulations Scott - 2000 posts is a fantastic achievement.

motella said...

Well done that man! Yes you are a minority, but you do not stand alone...

StephenR said...

Eloquently put. Maybe you should add a link to it in your 'about me' section?

Sally said...

I started reading your blog a couple of months ago. I am impressed at your knowledge and ability to write so eloquently.

Congratulations on your number 2000 post. Keep up the great work, we need more bloggers like you

Libertyscott said...

Cheers, thanks for the kind comments.

Craig D said...

Congrats Scott!

Although I don't often comment I read all your posts. I enjoy your rational and often detailed analysis of events and politics.

I'm going through a particularly pessimistic outlook on the general public this morning, so its nice to know that a few other people 'get it'.

It is truly a world gone mad. Being colour blind is racist, people propose more firearms law to target criminals who pay no attention to existing law and anyone is blamed for an action except the person responsible...

Forget a libertarian world, will we even get back to one with some logic, common sense and basic responsibility?

Owen said...

Thanks for the first 2000 posts, heres to the next.

Seamonkey Madness said...

Not an easy milestone to acheive. I am glad - being a keen reader - that you've stuck with your blog through thick and thin.

On ya Scott.

Luke H said...

2000, wow. I read occasionally but when I do I am always impressed by the solid knowledge behind your posts. If only more bloggers had that.

homepaddock said...

Congratulations - on the number, the content and the quality.

Anonymous said...

Well done Scott!

This blog is a regular read, and as a Roading Engineer, your insights into transportation policy are facinating to me


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blogs.
www.brneurosci.org/CO2 is a very good site that should convince you against anthropomorphic climate change.Cheers. Peter

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling said...

Well done Scott, you and PC are "candles in the darkenss". Good luck with the next 2000