Tuesday, 27 September 2016

There will be no adult on stage during this afternoon's presidential ‘debate’

 

“There will be no adult on stage during [this afternoon]'s presidential debate,” observes Reason magazine. And let’s be honest, there’ll be no actual debating either – since by debate is meant an event in which participants address the issues and each other moderated only a fellow with a bell.

That’s not at all what’s on offer this afternoon.

There have been great presidential debates before that have been actual debates with genuine moderation, i..e, events in which the moderator is timekeeper not interviewer. There have been great political debates before moderated along those lines, most notably the justly-celebrated Lincoln-Douglas debates in which third-party candidate Abraham Lincoln famously denounced slavery, demolished his opponent, and set the stage for his later selection and inauguration.

But in this afternoon’s “debate” neither real debate nor third-party candidate is wanted – and in the selection of Trump and Clinton by their respective parties no sane, serious adult is welcome either.

So what we’re talking about instead is really an unscripted two-way interview with morons on both sides and little of substance separating them. An un-debate. A kind of managed “reality television” in which important issues can be safely ignored in favour of hype, fluff, bluster and insults, every one of which will be breathlessly reported while every important issue is wiped clean from every single headline.

The following is an incomplete list of at least seven issue areas in which sensible and frequently popular viewpoints will not be offered by either of the "major"-party presidential candidates tonight, because a contrary Libertarian who will be on the ballot in all 50 states will nonetheless sit excluded, 28 miles away.
    1) The country's grim long-term fiscal outlook… This reticence to grapple with the America's perilous balance sheet is new, and actively dangerous…
    2) Federalism [& the Constitution] …. the only presidential candidate talking about it is Gary Johnson. [The others would prefer to shred it.]
    3) Trade. Forget for a moment the controversies (libertarian or otherwise) over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and instead drill down into one salient and gruesome fact: Both candidates on the debate stage tonight are campaigning on promises to punish U.S. companies for relocating…
    4) Military interventionism… Hillary Clinton … has spent the 21st century as a largely unrepentant warmonger. Donald Trump [merely continues the theme].
    5) Domestic surveillance. Hillary Clinton still defends the PATRIOT Act, wants to ban encryption and give the feds access to your iPhone, and denies that Edward Snowden is even a whistleblower. Donald Trump supports re-authorizing the PATRIOT Act, supports the National Security Agency's bulk metadata collection, and has repeatedly called for Snowden's execution.
    Gary Johnson would repeal the PATRIOT Act, dismantle the NSA, and pardon Edward Snowden…
    6) Free speech… "Both candidates have abysmal records on First Amendment issues."
    7) Prohibition… [You couldn’t slip a cigarette paper between the two on this one either, and even as the jails continue to fill up with Prohibition’s victims and police increasingly use it as an excuse for shooting and tasering the innocent, it will be a question noteable only by its absence from the un-debate stage.]

“It's worth noting too,” notes Reason, “that some of the most critical questions were edited out long before the debate began.” So subtract these seven issues from those that should be talked about and you have a recipe for a slinging match based on contentless fluff, as all the while “the[ir] nation careens toward fiscal calamity.”

In an era in which reality TV stars are king (and nearly president) ’m sure it will be “great television.”

But count me out.

PS: So what will the “contrary Libertarian candidate who will be on the ballot in all 50 states” be doing this afternoon instead? He’ll be live-Facebook-interviewing, and he and his running mate will be live-tweeting – which may both prove far more entertaining, and undoubtedly more informing.

  • Follow the former Governor on Twitter here.
  • Follow running mate Governor William Weld here.
  • Follow their Facebook live interview here.

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Islam inhabits a vacuum; ignorant ISIS recruits again confirm it.

 

isis-fighters

Recent evidence confirms that recruits to ISIS are almost wholly ignorant of the religion under whose banner they wish to fight – ordering up copies of The Koran for Dummies and Islam for Dummies to “prepare themselves for jihad.” Suggesting not just that those who devise book titles enjoy stating the obvious, but that ignorance of the religion itself is not a barrier to recruitment in its jihad, but a boon.

The jihadi employment form asked the recruits, on a scale of one to three, to rate their knowledge of Islam. And the Isis applicants, herded into a hangar somewhere at the Syria-Turkey border, turned out to be overwhelmingly ignorant.
    The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better.
 

Turns out those very western recruits of whom everyone is so fearful are just idiots with empty lives seeking something seemingly meaningful to fill them. (Reflect, for example, on the comment on the would-be Garland terrorist: “He had been going down a bad path and then he found Islam.") These empty heads with empty lives are perfect fodder for an empty jihad for a religion that inhabits a vacuum – which perfectly describes their knowledge of it:

An Associated Press analysis of thousands of leaked Isis documents reveals most of its recruits from its earliest days came with only the most basic knowledge of Islam. A little more than 3,000 of these documents included the recruit's knowledge of Sharia, the system that interprets into law verses from the Quran and "hadith" — the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.
    According to the documents … 70 per cent of recruits were listed as having just "basic" knowledge of Sharia — the lowest possible choice. Around 24 per cent were categorized as having an "intermediate" knowledge, with just five per cent considered advanced students of Islam. Five recruits were listed as having memorized the Quran.
    The findings address one of the most troubling questions about Isis recruitment in the United States and Europe: Are disaffected people who understand Sharia more prone to radicalisation? Or are those with little knowledge of Islam more susceptible to the group's radical ideas that promote violence?
    The documents suggest the latter.

So these Jihadists know even less about the Quran than you and I do. Meaning that they are not being radicalised by the teachings of Islam, within which there is precious little to be inspired by anyway, but by the bullshit of their barbaric recruiters keen to harvest warm bodies willing to sacrifice for a cause. And for these empty heads who’ve heard from every corner that the willingness to sacrifice is the mark of a full life, these recruiters are there and willing and eager to pick up their remnants. And the emptier the head, the more useful the recruit,

because [it rurns out] those who claimed advanced knowledge in Shariah on the Isis entry documents were less likely to want to become suicide bombers, according to a study by the US military's Combating Terrorism Center, an academic institution at the United States Military Academy.
    "If martyrdom is seen as the highest religious calling, then a reasonable expectation would be that the people with the most knowledge about Islamic law (Sharia) would desire to carry out these operations with greater frequency," said the report.
    However, despite the religious justification that Isis uses for suicide missions, "those with the most religious knowledge within the organisation itself are the least likely to volunteer to be suicide bombers," the study found.

Empty heads filled up with a siren song of sacrifice.

These are empty heads not running to the recruiters for love of Islam; they’re invariably kids with empty lives running away from something else. Islam itself is simply the vacuum into which they’re sucked.

Islam still inhabits a vacuum; it always has. It’s an opportunistic ideology inhabiting, like a nest of cockroaches, all the dark forgotten corners of existence. Always has; still does.

Its empire was born only from the collapse of two others, born in the vacuum created by the collapse of the Roman and Persian powers and the demise of their religions) -- its military “strength” a reflection only of those two once-mighty empires’ fading power; its “scriptures” cobbled together from what they found in the Hebrew,Zoroastrian and heretical cultural remnants of the desert towns and waadis in the vacuum between crumbling empires that its marauding bands occupied. (Read Tom Holland’s ground-breaking history In the Shadow of the Sword.)

Its subsequent historic golden age was not wholly its own work, but the result of borrowing from much earlier Greek thinkers and with remarkably few original additions—and it was stopped overnight by the Arabic philosopher Al-Ghazali, more responsible than any other for turning Islam into the thing that now occupies its own Dark Age. (Read my own post The Greatest Story (Hardly) Ever Told and Andy Clarkson’s Yes, You Can Blame This Guy For Paris)

Even its horrors enacted today are neither self-funded nor self-armed. The oil wealth without which neither Shia not Sunni violence could continue was created by and then stolen from western companies, income from which is now almost wholly provided by the oil purchases of the west. Its weaponry is aso from elsewhere, from the stockpiles of left-behind western military matériel, and from matériel donated directly to these butchers in pursuit of mistaken western strategic aims – and its belligerent limits are imposed only by the acquiescence and appeasement of of western political and intellectual leaders.  (Read the relevant chapters of Daniel Yergin’s classic The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power and Elan Journo’s Winning the Unwinnable War.)

And its very tactic of terrorism relies not on conquest–it is never going to establish a caliphate in Paris, in Nice or anywhere else—“but through scaring us into panicking, overreacting, and changing our behaviour.” (Read, for example, a former IS hostage’s article: I know Islamic State. What they fear more than bombs is unity,’ and reflect on why western cartoonists and writers—Danish cartoonists, Salman Rushdie, Charlie Hebdo--ended up in the front lines of this battle)

Face it, the only reason we talk so frequently about this double-damned religion is because from a population of 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide a few dozen terrorists and just a few thousand ISIS fighters, financed by states long known to finance terrorism but for which the west has little appetite to say so, are allowed because of that appeasement to put whole continents on the alert. (Witness if nothing else the bowing and scraping of mute westerners at airports and sports events.)

Jihadists truly are the mouse that roars militarily.

Because these fuckers can’t even send their own fighters to do their job! Astonishingly, little has been written on this highly telling fact, but reflect on this: that with only trivial exceptions all those carrying out the horrors in Europe and the US, from London to Glasgow to Madrid to Paris to Boston to New Jersey, have not been poor fighters sent on a mission from far away through some secret refugee or immigrant network but have often been prosperous and almost always homegrown. Just think about the implications of that for a moment. (And read for instance my 2014 post ‘Home-grown horror’ and Adam Taylor’s recent piece ‘The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees: And the plan may be working’.)

So it is simply not true that this evil is strong; like all evil, in itself it is impotent. Like communism, which could only survive by looting capitalists, and like all anti-life evils, it is necessarily parasitic on the good.

zombieBut as with communism, of those most opposed to it few realise the vacuum at its unbeating heart. Too few seem to realise that. So while western hipsters download zombie films in their droves, portraying artistically the perfect replica of the ISIS drone, we have allowed ourselves to be attacked by literal self-made zombies—zombies that are self-admitted death worshippers.

So how can a place that fights back by stripping down at airplane gates ever get itself off its knees to fight back? How can a civilisation bewildered by burkinis and cowed by campus millennials ever summon the resolve to defeat Islamic terrorists? Oddly enough, in the culture and on the campus may be among the places to begin fighting back. Because that’s where the corruption starts. When these awkward kids see the west’s intellectual and political leaders so brazenly apologetic about the values of their own culture, especially at a time when the contrast between life and anti-life is so stark, then why in hell (those few who are seduced must wonder) should anyone at all take these western values at all seriously?

When they see a handwringing good appeasing a morally righteous evil, why wouldn’t they start to wonder if there isn’t something to be said for a fundamentalism from the stone age – even if they know neither jot nor tittle of what it stands for apart from the virtue of sacrifice they hear western leaders themselves embrace?

Why wouldn’t they embrace meaning then where they do find it—in revolt, in sacrifice, in barbarism … ?

But remember, evil itself is impotent:

“The truly and deliberately evil men are a very small minority; it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind; it is the appeaser’s intellectual abdication that invites them to take over. When a culture’s dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers. When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, unformed, vacillating character of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes.”
~ Ayn Rand (from ‘Altruism as Appeasement,’ The Objectivist, Jan. 1966)

By espousing the moral clarity eschewed by the appeasers in the west, even when they know nothing of the religion itself, young homegrown jihadis find something they hadn’t realised existed—and once again Islam steps into a vacuum of others’ creation.

The primary problem here of course is that westerners who are sure of their values are largely silent in defence of the values and virtues that made the west great, while pretending that a stone-age culture is in some way equal – leaving 0000the powerful moral certainty to come from the Dark Ages.  In this compromise between a handwringing good and a crusading evil, it’s astonishing only that evil has as few victories as it has. But as Daniel Pipes asks, how is that “a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker community? It is the result of a conquest ideology taking the measure of a civilisation that no longer values its heritage, no longer regards itself as worthy of defence.”

Sure,

some of these [homegrown killers] will simply be psychologically susceptible to the nastiness of a violent religion. But what else are they hearing? Where are the voices proclaiming the virtues of reason, individualism and liberty?  Where today will they hear these values proclaimed proudly and unashamedly? Where will they learn of the superiority of reason over religion, of freedom over tyranny?
    When Britain was exporting liberty to much of the known world, these values were unapologetically front and centre. These were the values that built western civilisation. These were values absorbed by immigrants and locally-born alike. People moved to Britain and the west because of these values [and still do!].
    What happened?
    In a word: multiculturalism.
    Multiculturalism teaching that the values of civilisation and those of barbarism are equal.
    Teaching that liberty and slavery are simply different choices.
    Teaching that if any culture should be shamed it should be western culture.
    That the west is responsible for all the world’s horrors, and the rest of the world simply a victim.
    This is the perversion now taught and promulgated in schools, in universities and in learned commentaries peddled by perfumed academics for the consumption of the self-anointed.
     So for all the decades that we’ve been told that Islamic terror is the result of ignorance and poverty, leading westerners have been silent about the superiority of  western health, wealth and freedom over a stone-age theocracy in which beheadings, clitorectomies, slavery and crucifixions still play a part.

What, then, can we do? asks Daniel Hannan.

Well, for a start, we can stop taking these losers at their own estimation. Let's treat them, not as soldiers, but as common criminals. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let's laugh at the pitiable numpties who end up in our courts. Let's mock their underpants bombs and their half Jafaican slang and their attempts to set fire to glass and steel airports by driving into them and their tendency to blow themselves up in error. Let's scour away any sense that they represent a threat to the state – the illicit thrill of which is what attracts alienated young men trawling the web from their bedrooms.
    At the same time, let's stop teaching the children of immigrants to despise the [west]. Let's stop deriding and traducing our values. Let's stop presenting our history as a hateful chronicle of racism and exploitation. Let's be proud of our achievements – not least the defence of liberty …
    The best way to defeat a bad idea is with a better one. Few ideas are as wretched as the theocracy favoured by IS; few as attractive as
Anglosphere freedom.
    I'm not saying that patriotism alone will finish the jihadis. Like the urban guerrillas in the 1970s, they must be treated primarily as a security problem rather than a political one. But what ultimately did for the Red Army Faction and all the rest was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the almost universal realisation that revolutionary socialism was no alternative to Western democracy.
    It comes down, in the end, to self-belief. Not theirs; ours.

Do you have it?

Because a war of ideas is more preferable to the other kind. And even that other kind amounts in the end to ideas.

Wars are not won just by military hardware or political re-arrangements [points out Mary Kenny]. They are won by ideas. They are won by men and women who have convictions and values which give them the impetus to pursue victory…
    There's nothing wrong with tolerance and a universalist outlook: these are good things. But if a host society is craven and defeatist about its own history and traditions, then it is asking for trouble. Western societies must uphold the achievements based on our values, and do so with fortitude…
    Isis will not be defeated by drones, military action or even politics alone, but by ideas and leaders who really and truly believe in their own values and traditions. After James Foley was beheaded, it was triumphantly announced that: "The sword is mightier than the pen."
    But ideas, and the conviction to carry them, are still stronger than all else.

So let’s fight for the enlightenment—for Reason, Science, Liberty, Modernity, and Civilisation—and fill the vacuum the jihadis are so fitfully filling.

The Enlightenment is a long-term strategy.
    In fact, many westerners would have to discover the enlightenment. The Enlightenment encourages us to be reflective. But to reflect on whether we are doing the right thing, isn’t an invitation to stop doing the right thing. As a civilisation we have become paralysed by self-doubt when we should have become energised by self-reflection. As we have discovered (or as many knew all along) a moral and ideological vacuum will be filled by others – as it turns out, by savages and barbarians.

Only if we let them.


[Pic by Independent]

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Quote of the Day: On justice

 

"Mercy to the guilty is injustice to the innocent."
~ popular saying, after Adam Smith

Monday, 26 September 2016

Hillary's economically clueless plans would create poverty

 

What qualifies this woman to give folk stuff that doesn't belong to them, to tell them what to do in any aspect of their life? Nothing more than her lust for power, says Daniel Mitchell in this guest post. What has she ever accomplished in life?

Because of my disdain for the two statists that were nominated by the Republicans and Democrats, I’m trying to ignore the election. But every so often, something gets said or written that cries out for analysis.

Today is one of those days. Hillary Clinton has an editorial in the New York Times entitled “My Plan for Helping America’s Poor” and it is so filled with errors and mistakes that it requires a full fisking (i.e., a “point-by-point debunking of lies and/or idiocies”).

We’ll start with her very first sentence.

The true measure of any society is how we take care of our children.

I realize she (or the staffers who actually wrote the column) were probably trying to launch the piece with a fuzzy, feel-good line, but let’s think about what’s implied by “how we take care of our children.” It echoes one of the messages in her vapid 1996 book,It Takes a Village, in that it implies that child rearing somehow is a collective responsibility.

Hardly. This is one of those areas where social conservatives and libertarians are fully in sync. Children are raised by parents, as part of families.

To be fair, Hillary’s column then immediately refers to poor children who go to bed hungry, so presumably she is referring to the thorny challenge of how best to respond when parents (or, in these cases, there’s almost always just a mother involved) don’t do a good job of providing for kids.

…no child should ever have to grow up in poverty.

A laudable sentiment, for sure, but it’s important at this point to ask what is meant by “poverty.” If we’re talking about wretched material deprivation, what’s known as “absolute poverty,” then we have good news. Virtually nobody in the United States is in that tragic category (indeed, one of great success stories in recent decades is that fewer and fewer people around the world endure this status).

But if we’re talking about the left’s new definition of poverty (promoted by the statists at the OECD), which is measured relative to a nation’s median level of income, then you can have “poverty” even if nobody is poor.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s assume we’re using the conventional definition of poverty. Let’s look at how Mrs. Clinton intends to address this issue.

She starts by sharing some good news.

…we’re making progress, thanks to the hard work of the American people and President Obama. The global poverty rate has been cut in half in recent decades.

So far, so good. This is a cheerful development, though it has nothing to do with either the American people or President Obama. Global poverty has fallen because nations such as China and India have abandoned collectivist autarchy and joined the global economy.

And what about poverty in the United States?

In the United States, a new report from the Census Bureau found that there were 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty in 2015 than just a year before. Median incomes rose by 5.2 percent, the fastest growth on record. Households at all income levels saw gains, with the largest going to those struggling the most.

This is accurate, but a grossly selective use of statistics.

If Obama gets credit for the good numbers of 2015, then shouldn’t he be blamed for the bad numbers between 2009-2014? Shouldn’t it matter that there are still more people in poverty in 2015 than there were in 2008? And is it really good news that it’s taken Obama so long to finally get median income above the 2008 level, particularly when you see how fast income grew during the Reagan boom?

We then get a sentence in Hillary’s column that actually debunks her message.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience a year in poverty at some point.

I don’t know if her specific numbers are accurate, but it is true that that there is a lot of mobility in the United States and that poverty doesn’t have to be a way of life.

Hillary then embraces economic growth as the best way of fighting poverty, which is clearly a true statement based on hundreds of years of evidence and experience.

…one of my top priorities will be increasing economic growth.

But then she goes off the rails by asserting that you get growth by spending (oops, I mean “investing”) lots of other people’s money.

I will…make a historic investment in good-paying jobs — jobs in infrastructure and manufacturing, technology and innovation, small businesses and clean energy.

Great, more Solyndras and cronyism.

And, if she gets her way, fewer jobs for low-skilled workers along with less opportunity for women (even according to the New York Times).

And we need to…rais[e] the minimum wage and finally guarantee… equal pay for women.

The comment about equal pay sounds noble, though I strongly suspect it is based on dodgy data and that she really favours the very dangerous idea of “comparable worth” legislation, which would lead to bureaucrats deciding the value of jobs.

Then Hillary embraces a big expansion of the worst government department.

…we also need a national commitment to create more affordable housing.

And she echoes Donald Trump’s idea of more subsidies and intervention in family life.

We need to expand access to high-quality child care and guarantee paid leave.

And, last but not least, she wants to throw good money after bad into the failed Head Start programme.

…we will work to double investments in Early Head Start and make preschool available to every 4-year-old.

Wow, what a list. Now perhaps you’ll understand why I felt the need to provide a translation of her big economic speech last month.

The moral of the story, based on loads of evidence, is that making America more like Europe is not a way to help reduce poverty.

P.S. The only other time I’ve felt the need to fisk an entire article occurred in 2012 when I responded to a direct attack to my defense of low-tax jurisdictions.


daniel-j-mitchellDaniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specialises in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the ‘Cayman Financial Review.’
This post first appeared at
FEE.

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

“The concept of God is degrading to man”

 

Philosopher Robert Mayhew discusses what he calls “Ayn Rand’s sacred atheism”:

At the age of thirteen, Ayn Rand decided she was an atheist. Her reason: “the concept of God is degrading to man.” One major form of this degradation is religion’s effect on genuine values, including sacred values. This idea is prominent in her early writings and continues to be featured in ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ as well as in her nonfiction.

“God, whatever you choose to call God,” she recognised, “is one’s conception of the highest possible.” If the highest possible is both unknowable and omnisicient, then that places the source of our values elsewhere  – and it places our consciousness in a state of subservience.

A state inappropriate to life on this earth, and degrading to anyone calling themselves a man.

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MiniRamble: This weekend’s top 10 links

 

Always interesting to me to see which links you, dear reader, like most in each week’s Ramble. These are the links you clicked on most this weekend:

  1. Rejoice! The liberal Left that once ruled over Britain is now being destroyed – Allister Heath, TELEGRAPH
  2. The Garbage Philosophy Behind The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Myth – Robert Tracinski, THE FEDERALIST
  3. Terence Crutcher's police shooting & racial bias in America – Trevor Noah, DAILY SHOW
  4. Libertarian Herman Mashaba elected mayor of Johannesburg – GLOBE & MAIL
  5. Self-harm threats soar for those who owe IRD – STUFF
  6. Travel Back to an Early Clinton Scandal – Peggy Noonan, WSJ
  7. And Now, a Condescending Message from Hollywood - Sean Malone, FEE
  8. The Monday argument: New Zealand's literary establishment should be taken out and shot – SPINOFF
  9. ‘We stand on the brink of a precipice which threatens our civilisation’ – Kevin Baldeosingh, GUARDIAN
  10. How to Tell If You're a Jerk – Eric Schwitzgebel, SPLINTERED MIND

Fascinating!

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Friday, 23 September 2016

Friday Morning Ramble, 23.09.16

 

proxy

Remember when John Key promised his Government would reduce the number of grey ones? Nah, he doesn’t either.
In 2008, the number of “full-time equivalent” bureaucrats sucking off the taxpayer’s tit were 43,569. In 2015, that number had increased to 45,348. Roll on November, when this years increased numbers will be available.
Staff numbers in the Public Service, 2003-2008 - STATE SERVICES COMMISSION
Information about the number of people working in different occupations across the Public Service, 2015 - STATE SERVICES COMMISSION

Yes, when the Greens do get it, they really do get things right.
Greens would legalise euthanasia for terminally-ill adults – NEWSTALK ZB

The establishing of a literary establishment.
The Monday argument: New Zealand's literary establishment should be taken out and shot – SPINOFF
"The establishing of an establishment" - a different kind of censorship – NOT PC, 2006

The establishing of a race-based establishment.
Race appointees ammo for Winston – Mike Butler, BREAKING VIEWS

Nothing’s changed.
Self-harm threats soar for those who owe IRD – STUFF

“Fishermen’s self-interest shouldn't be viewed as just a risk, but rather as an asset in the recovery of the oceans.”
Fishermen: Our Best Hope for Abundant Oceans That Feed the World – Amanda Leland, HUFFINGTON POST

 

“Can a whole generation retire and live on speculation?
… In speculation, your profit comes from the savings
of someone else. You bought the asset, hoping the next
guy will buy it off you at a higher price. Well, that guy
buys in the hope that the next-next guy buys it at an
even-higher price. Speculation converts one
man's wealth into another man's income.”

~ Keith Weiner

 

“Kiwis continue to get into hock on their houses at record levels.”
Kiwis' debt pile now exceeds annual disposable income by nearly $100 billion – INTEREST.CO.NZ

“Quite simply, if helping the least well off in society is a priority, then fixing housing should be the focus.”
Help the poor by fixing housing – Jason Krupp, NZ INITIATIVE

“We hear constantly about record levels of immigration into New Zealand, and claims that this immigration drives the increasingly overpriced Auckland housing market.” But the only thing that is at record numbers is net migration. (“From 2013, New Zealand’s net migration has entirely comprised people identifying as New Zealand residents returning from short visits (less than a year) overseas, minus the same group of people embarking on short visits overseas.”)
And the movement of NZers is mainly “a reduction of people migrating to (mainly) Australia from provincial New Zealand.” Hmmm.
Keith Rankin’s Chart for this Month [below]: Immigration – EVENING REPORT
Immigration and Auckland Housing – why Unitary Plan is flawed and bubble burst prediction – Keith Rankin, DAILY BLOG

 

Net-Migration_NZ-2006-16

“After years of being in the ascendant, the centre-Left is being ruthlessly and methodically routed. Brexit is the most important incarnation of this revolution, of course, but Westminster is only just beginning to grasp the scope and scale of Britain’s coming transformation.”
Rejoice! The liberal Left that once ruled over Britain is now being destroyed – Allister Heath, TELEGRAPH

The man has a point.
Terence Crutcher's police shooting & racial bias in America – Trevor Noah, DAILY SHOW

This will be a fascinating story to follow ...
Libertarian Herman Mashaba elected mayor of Johannesburg – GLOBE & MAIL

“Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history.”
Americans' Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low – GALLUP

No, idiots, he is not the freedom candidate.
Donald Trump is going all in on banning abortion – VOX

“Why don’t people like Hillary Clinton? Why do they always believe the worst? Why, when some supposed scandal breaks and someone says she’s hiding something, do people, including many of her supporters, assume it’s true?"
Travel Back to an Early Clinton Scandal – Peggy Noonan, WSJ

“As usual, Hollywood is pushing a narrow box of choices through celebrity blowhards. For all the lip service these blowhards pay to ‘democracy,’ when put to the test, it's only a great system when everybody votes the way they prefer.”
And Now, a Condescending Message from Hollywood - Sean Malone, FEE

PS: “The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic.”
America is NOT a Democracy (Leonard Peikoff) – Michael Hurd, LIVING RESOURCES CENTER

 

what-multiculturalism-boils-down-to

 

“When environmentalists tell you openly that they’re lying to you and they think that’s okay, then you would be a fool not to be a skeptic."
The Garbage Philosophy Behind The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Myth – Robert Tracinski, THE FEDERALIST

“Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: they only make sense if the economics work out. Otherwise, it's just silly piety.”
What's Wrong with the Three Rs of Environmentalism – FEE

“Spoiler: by embracing modern technology.”
How Humans Spare Nature – PERC

“Bottom Line: The only thing worse than killing elephants is leaving elephants vulnerable to murder. We can save them just as we save dogs and cats -- by giving them owners who value them, sometimes as dead trophies but more often as a thriving, growing herd.”
Demand for elephants can save elephants – David Zetland, AGUANOMICS

 

“What is politically defined as economic
planning is the forcible superseding of
other people’s plans by government officials.”
~ Thomas Sowell

 

“The answer is yes.”
Are firms that discriminate more likely to go out of business? – Paul Walker, ANTI DISMAL

Capitalism places a cost on racial discrimination.
Gary Becker 1, Rational Choice haters 0 – ORGTHEORY.NET

“By the ‘benevolent nature of capitalism,’ I mean the fact that it promotes human life and well-being and does so for everyone.”
Some Fundamental Insights Into the Benevolent Nature of Capitalism – George Reisman, MISES DAILY

“"Two hundred years ago, before the advent of capitalism, a man’s social status was fixed from the beginning to the end of his life; he inherited it from his ancestors, and it never changed. If he was born poor, he always remained poor, and if he was born rich—a lord or a duke—he kept his dukedom and the property that went with it for the rest of his life.
    “As for manufacturing, the primitive processing industries of those days existed almost exclusively for the benefit of the wealthy. Most of the people (ninety percent or more of the European population) worked the land and did not come in contact with the city-oriented processing industries. This rigid system of feudal society prevailed in the most developed areas of Europe for many hundreds of years."
The History of Capitalism – Ludwig Von Mises, MISES WIRE

“I wish there were a trillion humans in the solar system. Think how cool that would be. You’d have a thousand Einsteins at any given moment—and more. There would be so much dynamism with all of that human intelligence. But you can’t do that with the resources on Earth or the energy on earth. So if you really want to see that kind of dynamic civilization as we expand through the solar system, you have to figure out how to safely move around and use resources that you get in space.”
Jeff Bezos on nuclear reactors in space, the lack of bacon on Mars and humanity’s destiny in the solar system – WASHINGTON POST

“In Equal Is Unfair, Yaron Brook and I argue that one of the problems with the concept of “economic inequality” is that it lumps together two fundamentally different things: inequality that reflects differences in productive achievement and inequality that reflects some people’s ability to gain unearned wealth. Package-deals like this lay the groundwork for injustice.”
The Trouble With “Rent Seeking” – Don Watkins, VOICES FOR REASON

Socialism_bookstoreThe richest family in America is the one that best serves the poor.
More Silly Arguments Against Walmart – Don Boudreax + commenters, CAFE HAYEK

“The meltdown in Venezuela now taking place was predicted 80 years ago by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises.”
‘We stand on the brink of a precipice which threatens our civilisation’ – Kevin Baldeosingh, GUARDIAN

A must-read – and free!
”I know only too well how hopeless it seems to convince impassioned supporters of the Socialist Idea by logical demonstration that their views are preposterous and absurd. I know too well that they do not want to hear, to see, or above all to think, and that they are open to no argument. But new generations grow up with clear eyes and open minds. And they will approach things from a disinterested, unprejudiced standpoint, they will weigh and examine, will think and act with forethought. It is for them that this book is written.”
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis – Ludwig Von Mises, MISES LIBRARY

“The nationalisation of everything held back history, impoverished workers, and built an oppressive state.”
Communist Economics in One Page: A Refresher CourseFEE

 

"Instead of prosperity, socialism has brought economic
paralysis and/or collapse to every country that tried it. The
degree of socialisation has been the degree of disaster."

~ Ayn Rand.

 

“The morality of surge pricing at Uber.”
The Morality of Surge Pricing – Rudd Roberts, MEDIUM.COM

“Enesto Sirolli began his career working for an Italian non-profit … teaching Zambians how to grow food… “Sirolli’s colourful message: ‘If you arrive in a community with arrogance, and you don't listen to the local people ... you are going to have your pride chewed off by the local hippos.’”
The Pretense of "Thinking Globally" – Barry Brownstein, FEE

Central banks continue to navigate uncharted territory.
No, the Fed Doesn't Have a Plan. Yes, the Fed Really is Monetising Government Debt – Jeff Deist, MISES WIRE
US Federal Debt Is Expanding At The Fastest Rate Since The Crisis – ZERO HEDGE

Peter Schiff: “I said there was no exit from this policy when it was first implemented in 2009. That is why I said the Federal Reserve checked us into a monetary Roach Motel.”
The Federal Reserve confronts a possibility it never expected: No exit. – WASHINGTON POST

“Listening to Janet Yellen splitting hairs and blathering in circles about the state of the economy yesterday was enough to put you in mind of a paint-by-the-numbers robot built in the labs at MIT and programed by its Keynesian economics department.”
Duck And Run—-The Robot Doth Blather – David Stockman, CONTRA CORNER

Is a US$15 minimum wage a good idea? The always insightful and entertaining Don Boudreaux debates Mike Konczal.

 

 

“Austrian Economics is the most powerful explanation of why governments, no matter how well-intentioned, lack the knowledge, wisdom and ability to direct the lives of multitudes of people better than those people can do for themselves if left sufficiently at liberty to do so.”
Book Excerpt: Austrian Economics & Public Policy: Restoring Freedom and Prosperity by Richard Ebeling – CAPITALISM MAGAZINE

China my China: Another day older and deeper in debt.
China facing full-blown banking crisis, world's top financial watchdog warns - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, TELEGRAPH

“China is using the patent system as a club to stop any production outside of China. It seems to be working.”
China's Patent Strategy Isn't About Innovation; It's An Economic Weapon Against Foreign Companies – TECHDIRT

“While all economic views of productivity growth may have a grain of truth, I argue that all of these theories of productivity growth are fundamentally wrong. The economic evidence shows clear relationships between the trend of decline in productivity growth and the trend in declines of the U.S. patent system.”
Causes and Consequences of Productivity Growth Declines – Neal Solomon, IP WATCHDOG

More regulation => more barriers to entry => more monopolies. How to reduce monopolies? Reduce regulation:

 

 

Land of the Free update.
Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester – ACLU

“While Edward Snowden has done heroic things to expose our government's unjust mass surveillance programs, he's unfortunately promoting the same theory of privacy that gave rise to those programs.” ~ Amy Peikoff

 

 

“This woman has quite obviously penetrated the [popular] consciousness in a way that few, if any, modern philosophers have. So, why do we not study her?”
Objectivist philosophy should be taught in the classroom – Ethan Davis, THE DM ONLINE

“Through the lens of David Kelley’s polemical work, A Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, a few critical issues in Objectivism get revealed.”
On David Kelley’s Idea of The Legacy of Ayn Rand – Anoop Verma, VERMA POST

“In my judgment, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is the greatest novel on the themes of independence and integrity.”
The Fountainhead — contrasting Roark and Keating – STEPHEN HICKS

“Here’s something you probably didn’t do this morning: Look in the mirror and ask, am I a jerk?
How to Tell If You're a Jerk – Eric Schwitzgebel, SPLINTERED MIND

Is religion essential to ethics?
On Natural Morality and Religious Amoralism – STEPHEN HICKS

New book; new website.
Creating Christ – JAMES VALLIANT

“The well-intentioned, yet harmful way members of the left prioritise tolerance over reform within Islam.”
Liberals Are Wrong to Tolerate Religion All the Time – Maajid Nawaz, BIG THINK

“Sorry, but no. Islam needs reforming but definitely not a Reformation.”
No Reformation for Islam, Please – Stephen Hicks, EVERY JOE

Rather cool.
Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits – WIRED

The best ever opening paragraph on Wikipedia ?

 

Cs3EgnGWgAEJCUr

“A new book eviscerates the West's neo-racialism.”
The principled, left-wing case against multiculturalism – Teri Murray, SPIKED

“If you believe everything you read, you are probably quite worried about the prospect of a superintelligent, killer AI.” Experts, not so much.
Are the Experts Worried About the Existential Risk of Artificial Intelligence? – MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

“A common argument you see with regard to computers and employment is that computer automation leads to major job losses. A modern version of the Luddite story.”
How computer automation affects occupations: technology, jobs, and skills – ANTI DISMAL

“Poor research design and data analysis encourage false-positive findings… The persistence of poor methods results partly from incentives that favour them, leading to the natural selection of bad science.”
The natural selection of bad science - Paul Smaldino, Richard McElreath, ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE

“Do you know what’s happening in this picture [below]? Literally one of the most important events in human history… But here’s the most amazing part of the story: Hardly anyone paid attention at the time.”
When You Change the World and No One Notices – COLLABORATIVE FUND

9

“A heartwarming family recipe that isn't fucking gross! I’m gonna eat the fuck out of this.”

 

Every man’s dream: ‘Barnfind Jaguar E-type sees the light of day for the first time in 40 years

 

To the Big 3 Tenors add the name of saxophonist Ben Webster.
The Big 3 Tenors – uDISCOVER MUSIC

 

Especially for those for whom the words “new King Crimson” makes your heart beat faster! (“A taster from the new King Crimson album – Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind.")

 

And new, very solemn, Cave.

 

"Incomparable and bewildering,” said Debussy.”Parsifal is one of the most beautiful monuments of sound ever raised to the serene glory of music." Sibelius reckoned "Nothing in the world has made so overwhelming an impression on me.” Debussy and Sibelius were smart men.

 

[Hat tips, quips and thank yous to, from and back and forth including Jim Rose, Amanda, Michael F Ozaki MD, Monica Beth, Andrew Sheldon, Michael Earley, Adam Mossoff, Judith Curry ‏]

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Thursday, 22 September 2016

In Auckland, we’re still making affordable housing impossible

 

The authors of Auckland’s Unitary Plan took on the issue of how the city should be allowed to grow by the planners. Disallowing people’s freedom to choose themselves how the fuck they live, they characterised it as a choice between up versus out.

The best choice within this perverted planning framework would have been to say both-and.

The worst choice if you want to cure Auckland’s rampant housing affordability problem (for which, I remind you, we have the world’s gold medal) would be to largely prohibit building out in favour of building up. (“They don’t want people to have choice – they want everyone in an inner-city apartment.”)

The very worst choice of all would have been to largely prohibit building out while severly limiting where people will be allowed to build up – which is what the city has ended up with.Housingx

So we get the worst of both worlds.

The outcome reaffirms research conclusions that

Cities that have curbed their expansion have – with limited exception – failed to compensate with densification. As a result they have produced far less housing than they would otherwise, with severe national implications for housing affordability, geographic mobility and access to opportunity, all of which are keenly felt today as we approach the top of housing cycle.

Part of the reason is that, as urban-research economist Issi Romem finds, cities do fail to compensate for not building out by making it far too difficult to build up either.

But the other reason is that simple urban land economics means that because the planners’ ring-fence around the city “destroys the competitive market for land on the urban fringe,” the jolt in prices there feeds through to every single home in the city.

cox-fd-1

Discussing this disaster, Wendell Cox points out that this should hardly be news to anyone willing to remove their blinkers.

Near 50 years ago, legendary urbanologist Sir Peter Hall suggested that “soaring land prices …. certainly represent the biggest single failure of the system of planning introduced with the UK’s 1947 [Town and Country Planning] Act” (see: The Costs of Smart Growth Revisited: A 40 Year Perspective). Urban containment policy, the principal strategy of forced densification, cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. Seventy years of experience prove that.

The writers of Auckland’s Unitary Plan could not care less about that proof.

Now about Auckland’s would-be home-buyers locked out of the housing market by their strangling of it.

[Hat tip Hugh Pavletich]

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Quote of the Day: On what underpins our modern system of government

 

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it."
~ Frederic Bastiat in Economic Sophisms

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No, unions don't increase everyone's wages

 

Where would all workers be without unions? Probably much better off says Gary Galles in this guest post.

There is a well-established tradition in which unions claim credit for every worker gain. Among their most common assertions, often incorporated in attributing negative wage trends to eroding union power, is that unions raise all workers’ wages. Unfortunately, while sometimes raising those of their own members, unions retard rather than raise the real earning power of all workers in general.

Unions leverage special government-granted powers (e.g., unique exemptions from antitrust laws) allowing current employees to prevent competition from others willing to do the same work for less. This is a form of collusion that, done by any business, would be legally prosecuted.

The higher union wages that result are then credited for raising all workers’ wages because they supposedly force up other employers’ wages to keep their workers from leaving for those better-paying alternatives. However, their claim cannot be true without violating the law of demand.

Higher Wages, Fewer Jobs 

UNionsHigher wages from unions’ government-imposed monopoly power would push up others’ wages only if it increased the number of such high-paying jobs. The reason is that employers need only outbid employees’ actual options to retain them. But by artificially forcing up the cost of hiring their workers, unions reduce rather than increase the number of such jobs offered by employers, reflecting the reduced output consumers will buy at the higher costs and prices that result. Instead of improving the alternatives available to non-union workers, they are worsened, as the displaced workers are forced into competition with others for non-union jobs.

Those displaced workers increase the labour supply for non-union employment. That pushes wages for all workers in those jobs down, not up. Consequently, union wage premiums do not benefit all workers; benefits come primarily from other workers’ pockets.

With only about 18% of America’s private sector workforce remaining unionised, union power therefore cuts the real incomes of more than 4 out of 5 workers. And since unions also hike government service costs directly, as well as through other cost-increasing policies (e.g., the “Living Wage” nonsense and project labour agreements) which big labour’s political clout has pushed through, all other workers are also harmed as taxpayers.

Union Opposition to International Trade

Unions2Unions have also used the same “big lie” technique of constantly repeating the opposite of the truth as fact in other areas. For example, aware that their monopoly power to exclude competing workers stops at the border, unions have long been the core backers of protectionism. They focus their attention on those getting special protection, then assert that their benefits will also spread throughout the economy to benefit others.

But they ignore protectionism’s much larger harms — to all other workers who would have gained from expanded exports; to all other workers who, as consumers, have their access to lower cost and superior imports (and domestic production forced to compete with it) restricted; and to all other workers adversely affected by the reduction in real wealth and income produced by domestic protectionism and induced foreign protectionist responses.

Given that Labor Day in the US has been considered the traditional start of “serious” presidential campaigning, it is an appropriate time to remember just how damaging unions’ “big lie” strategy is. Its illogical twist can derail accurate understanding of the harm unions impose on almost all Americans, offering a sobering reminder that “It ain’t ignorance that does the most damage; its knowing so derned much that ain’t so.” After all, when people know they are ignorant of important variables that bear on their decisions, they usually don’t bet the house on them, but when they think they know what is false to be true, they often lose the house.


garygalles_0Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. He is the author of The Apostle of Peace: The Radical Mind of Leonard Read.
A version of this post appeared at the Mises Wire.

 

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The case for (& against) voting

 

Libertarian Bryan Caplan is a non-voter. Libertarian David Henderson votes. They both reckon they’ve got killing arguments for their position.

“My honest answer [against voting] begins with extreme disgust,” says Bryan Caplan. And when you have to choose between Grotesque or Corrupt, who wouldn’t be disgusted with the choice? But Caplan’s not even talking about  the candidates, he’s talking about the voters as well:

When I look at voters, I see human beings at their hysterical, innumerate worst.  When I look at politicians, I see mendacious, callous bullies.  Yes, some hysterical, innumerate people are more hysterical and innumerate than others.  Yes, some mendacious, callous bullies are more mendacious, callous, and bully-like than others.  But even a bare hint of any of these traits appalls me.  When someone gloats, "Politifact says Trump is pants-on-fire lying 18% of the time, versus just 2% for Hillary," I don't want to cheer Hillary.  I want to retreat into my Bubble, where people dutifully speak the truth or stay silent.

But he does recognise that politicians do listen to votes, especially protest votes; and he would vote, were the odds sufficient:

If I had a 5% chance of tipping an electoral outcome, I might hold my nose, scrupulously compare the leading candidates, and vote for the Lesser Evil.  Indeed, if, like von Stauffenberg, I had a 50/50 shot of saving millions of innocent lives by putting my own in grave danger, I'd consider it.  But I refuse to traumatize myself for a one-in-a-million chance of moderately improving the quality of [domestic] governance.  And one-in-a-million is grossly optimistic.

David Henderson finds this underwhelming, pointing out that “he wasn't saying that other people shouldn't vote; rather, he was saying that he found voting ‘traumatising’" and would prefer the “inner peace” of abstinence. He quotes a commenter who expresses his own view, that of someone who writes to influence people’s opinions :

If you're an influential opinion leader, voting isn't just about your single vote. It's about setting an example.

For myself, it’s generally always simple: Don’t vote, it only encourages them. So I only vote when I want to do that.

Which means, in the current council elections, staying at home and using the ballot paper for kindling. Because who would want to encourage any of the big-spending monument-building options on offer in Auckland.

And for some people, bless ‘em, the options are even worse:

Chch

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Quote of the Day: On the Nanny State

 

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

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A wooden spoon for the Fraser Institute’s “economic freedom” medal

 

Another survey suggests New Zealand is right up there when it comes to “economic freedom.” Third in the world according to the “libertarian” Fraser Insitute’s latest. which awards little old us a bronze model with a score of 8.35 out of 10 for economic freedom, which they define as:

An index of economic freedom should measure the extent to which rightly acquired property is protected and individuals are engaged in voluntary transactions.

Fair enough. That’s a reasonable definition. Not so reasonable however is giving any country anywhere in today’s world anywhere colse to 10 on any reaonably objective scale. Or even more than 5.

Or to bestow on us anything like an 8.35. (Are we really 83.5% free? Really?)

Indeed, when property in land is “protected” by law like the Resource Management Act and its use is as regulated as it is now (being one of the leading contributors to New Zealand earning a gold medal for for unaffordable housing), you have to wonder how we can possibly score an 8.49 for property rights.

So since most of these surveys are garbage in garbage out, I figured I’d track this one metric as a measure of how reliable all the others are.

Bear in mind that this survey, like all such surveys, aren’t carried out by folks in the field fully endowed with local knnowledge. They’re pulled together by people at desks very far away from the places they write about (these guys, in this case, are in Canada) with facility mainly in handling a spread sheet and a bunch of somebody else’s data.

The source of data for the Fraser Insitute’s score on property rights is, their appendix tells me, something called the Global Competitiveness Report put out by a group called the World Economic Forum. (Heard of them? No? Transpires they’re “a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva… The Forum is best known for its annual winter meeting for five days in Davos.” Remember Davos? A meeting of men famously described by Daniel Hannan as deriving most of their income, directly or indirectly, from state patronage.)

So where did Davos Man get his figures from for his Global Competitiveness Report? I went to the report to check:

_Quote5The GCI uses the World Economic Forum’s annual Executive Opinion Survey to capture concepts that require a more qualitative assessment, or for which comprehensive and internationally comparable statistical data are not available. For this year’s GCI, more than 14,000 business leaders in 140 economies were surveyed on topics related to national competitiveness. It also uses statistical data from internationally recognised agencies, notably the International Monetary Fund; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the World Health Organisation.

What proportion is opinion, and what proportion is this other data?

_Quote2The exact share of Executive Opinion Survey data in the 113 indicators used to calculate the index varies slightly by country, depending on its stage of development. In general, approximately two-thirds of the data used in the GCI 2015-2016 are derived from the Executive Opinion Survey and one-third is derived from international sources’ statistics.

So how much of the data is simply opinion? Answer: About two-thirds, emanating from this”Executive Opinion Survey.”

And where do we find this Executive Opinion Survey data?  Answer: We don’t. It’s not publicly available.

It is however possible to discover that New Zealand’s Executive Opinion Survey data comes from a survey completed by just 46 people (see the Survey’s Table 2, page 81.). Names and addresses of this select group of cronies are unfortunately not supplied, however the report does list Phil O’Reilly’s Business NZ as their local “partner insitutute” (the “unique strength” of Business NZ being, according to the Business NZ website, their “capability to engage with government officials, community groups, MPs and Ministers on a daily basis”). So I’m guessing the cronies are his.

None of the survey data of this infamous forty-six appears on the Business NZ website, but the NZ Initiative website at least does offer this cautionary note:

Note the information in the opinion survey can be skewed by perception and by small samples (e.g. New Zealand has a sample size less than 50) and therefore can have substantial error ranges, so analysis should be confirmed with supporting logic and evidence.

None of which either the Fraser Insitute nor Davos Men have apparently bothered to do.

Meaning that a subujective worldwide survey of cronies and business cheerleaders gets trumpeted every year as bestowing upon this small authoritarian backwater some colour of medal for freedom – and people who shoud know better like Daniel J MItchell post pieces praising “reform” in which the government ended up bigger, the total tax take ended larger, and Big Brother became “bigger and more ominous then ever.”

I’d give them a 10 out of 10 for chutzpah.

RELATED POSTS:

  • “But have you ever wondered from where exactly all these folk derive their data?  I pressed one fellow once whose “freedom index” showed New Zealand at the time to be the world’s freest (earning us their “gold medal for freedom”) earning scores like 9.6 out of 10 for property rights only a few years after the Resource Management Act had taken most of them away.
        “After a whole riot of wriggling to try to avoid the questioning, he eventually conceded that much of their data is based on subjective surveys sent out to selected “leaders” in each country. And from that news it didn’t take much more to learn that most of those surveys were completed by local cheerleaders desperately keen to trumpet the virtues of their hometown. (Q: Is your place a hell of place to do business? A: [Big tick] Hell, yes!! You’re darn tootin’!)
        “So, garbage in, and garbage out.”
    NZ: Prosperous? – Peter Cresswell, NOT PC
  • “With reason and wit, Perigo summarises New Zealand's decade of market reforms, while countering some U.S. libertarians who believe these reforms represented a veritable revolution. Indeed, Perigo explains how the various reforms have ultimately failed — and describes the philosophical revolution it will take for liberty to succeed.”
    In the Revolution's Twilight – Lindsay Perigo, FREE RADICAL

 

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