Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The greatest work ever - The U.S constitution

I don't believe anything else on this planet does more to promote freedom than the U.S Constitution. As each U.S president is sworn into office and takes the oath, they declare to uphold the constitution. No other nation has this romantic but extremely important tradition built into their history and their institutions. It was designed to safeguard people against tyranny, imperialism and government intrusion.

It seems such a tragedy to me that some recent U.S presidents have done such an appalling job of upholding the constitution, and that so few Americans appreciate what a great work it is.

Whilst every other government, even those of Britain, Canada and Australia can easily continue to expand the reach and powers of the state, at the mere whim of the party in power, the Founding Father's formed the United States to ensure and protect the future liberty of its peoples, and defend against tyranny and imperialism. America had earned it's independence from the British empire, and fought dearly for the notions of freedom and liberty.

This text, adopted in 1787, and ratified in 1788, is the supreme legal document in America, and lays out the charter and structure of government.

In 1789, the Bill of Rights was introduced. This included the first 10 amendments to the U.S constitution, each of them clearly and specifically designed to limit the power of governments and grant freedom to it's people. Forget the chorus of 21st century governments, the U.N and it's charter or even human rights groups. They may talk of peace and prosperity, but they have no qualms using tyranny and coercion to achieve their political goals.

Here is the original text of the Bill of Rights.

  • Third Amendment: prohibits the government from using private homes as quarters for soldiers without the consent of the owners. The only existing case law regarding this amendment is a lower court decision in the case of Engblom v. Carey. [4]
  • Fourth Amendment: guards against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed. Some rights to privacy have been inferred from this amendment and others by the Supreme Court.
  • Fifth Amendment: forbids trial for a major crime except after indictment by a grand jury; prohibits repeated trials for the same offense after an acquittal (except in certain very limited circumstances); forbids punishment without due process of law; and provides that an accused person may not be compelled to testify against himself (this is also known as "Taking the fifth" or "Pleading the fifth"). This is regarded as the "rights of the accused" amendment. It also prohibits government from taking private property without "just compensation," the basis of eminent domain in the United States.
  • Sixth Amendment: guarantees a speedy public trial for criminal offenses. It requires trial by a jury (of peers), guarantees the right to legal counsel for the accused, and guarantees that the accused may require witnesses to attend the trial and testify in the presence of the accused. It also guarantees the accused a right to know the charges against him. The Sixth Amendment has several court cases associated with it, including Powell v. Alabama, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Crawford v. Washington. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that the fifth amendment prohibition on forced self incrimination and the sixth amendment clause on right to counsel were to be made known to all persons placed under arrest, and as a result these clauses have become known as the Miranda rights.
  • Ninth Amendment: declares that the listing of individual rights in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is not meant to be comprehensive; and that the people have other rights not specifically mentioned, but rather retained elsewhere by the people.
  • Tenth Amendment: provides that powers that the Constitution does not delegate to the United States and does not prohibit the states from exercising, are "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Monday, October 30, 2006

The G-20 summit is coming to Melbourne

Here's a brief perspective on how I view the history of economic development, and then contrast that to the crazed hysteria coming from the progressive left about the future.

Human's started off as primitive tribes living in remote areas spending most of their labour and resources on food and agriculture. There was initially a very basic form of trade, mainly barter, because no medium of exchange had yet developed (money). Property rights and ownership were almost non-existent for the majority, it seemed something reserved for nobles and royalty.

There was really very little growth, and due to disease and war, economic growth was rare and often there were huge setbacks, shortages, famines and depressions.

It took centuries of development, and innovation. People migrated to cities and urban centres to engage in trade and take advantage of the greater opportunities. A medium of exchange, initially gold, was used in place of direct barter. Nation-states with borders emerged. Financial institutions developed, rulers began to grant some property rights to citizens, slavery and forced labour diminished, so people seized the opportunity to work, improve their opportunities and save for their future.

Trade and technology flourished. People started shipping raw commodities to foreign lands. People began to specialise their skills, to areas that would provide the highest value and earn the highest return. Money could be used as a medium of exchange, which could then be traded at a later time for goods and services that people demanded. As trade evolved, so did competitive entreprise. Businesses competed against one another for customers, and they used prices as a signal to show how willing they were to provide a certain good or service.

Freedom continued to advance, humans continued to trade and even migrate in record numbers, governments granted even more property rights and freedoms to individuals and economies kept expanding.

So despite a tumultuous and slow path to our current, and still increasing, prosperity, a bunch of idiots known as the progressive left have butchered the English language to rewrite history. The aim is to generate an alarmist panic that too much trade is getting out of control, destroying the planet and punishing the poor people of the world. Next month the G-20 summit will be in Melbourne, and these crazed economic illiterates will be out protesting and rioting against ... well who knows what ?

  • McDonalds (who have served billions of customers)
  • Nike (who have provided billions with sporting goods and apparel, and supported sports worldwide)
  • Starbucks and Nestle (who buy tonnes of coffee from poor African farmers)
  • Microsoft (who have developed productive and popular software used in millions of PCs worldwide)
  • Banks (who provide millions of Australians with fantastic and useful services)
  • Oil companies (who have poured billions of dollars in risky ventures to locate and extract useful resources from the earth, and then refine them into fuels that can be extremely useful to billions of humans)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Your money down the toilet

Thank you Mr Bracks, I love being robbed. Please, here is my wallet, take everything you need to build useless dumbass feel-good projects. Wind energy is such a miserable failure that no private business in their right mind would invest money in it expecting a decent competitive market return. But hey, no project is too stupid for government to throw your taxes at.


$600m wind farm gets go-ahead

THE largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere - able to power a small city - has been approved from the Victorian government.

AGL will build the $600 million wind farm at Macarthur in the state's west. Planning Minister Rob Hulls said the 183-turbine farm, spread over 55sq km, would have the capacity to generate up to 329 megawatts of electricity.

Mr Hulls said the electricity generated would be enough to power almost 190,000 homes every year.

"The approval at the Macarthur wind farm shows that the Bracks' government is certainly taking climate change seriously," he told reporters.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gun laws: Classic liberals vs libertarians

There is an interesting debate over at Thoughts on Freedom about gun legislation, with most people in favor of removing anti-gun laws in favor of personal liberty.

Which got me thinking - that classical liberal principles may not reach the same conclusion as libertarian principles.

The libertarian case is clear cut - personal liberty trumps all, especially the state, so there should be no anti-gun laws.

However, classical liberal principles, whilst they do have a strong emphasis on personal liberty, also agree on a core role for the state, which unarguably involves creating a monopoly of force, and having the state ultimately responsible for police, law enforcement and security.

Well, there may be a serious conflict here between individual liberty on one hand and the need for the state to create a monopoly of violence/force on the other hand.

I'd say that the need for the state to create a monopoly on violence means that you don't allow armed militias and gangs to form, with semi-automatic weapons or even worse.

One of the key failures in Iraq for example, has been the government's failure to create a monopoly on violence. But then again, perhaps its not an armed population that is the only problem, I suppose it is the culture that is willing to use that violence against individuals that is the root of the carnage and destruction ?

When guns are compared to speeding trucks or knives, to prove a point that anything can be used to kill people, then the thought of guns being banned seems like a nanny-state measure. But in the context of violent militias armed with rifles, it already seems like a huge challenge to the state's monopoly on violence, and it's very existence.

I guess the classical liberal principle is usually worded in the more precise language: The state shall create a monopoly on *the use* of violence, force and coercion.

Widespread gun ownership is not necessarily a violation of that principle... but would you still allow it if militias formed and challenged the police / army, or used terrorism against civilians ?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The people's news !

Praise be to the Pyongyang Chronicles !

I finally found a media outlet more left-wing than the ABC or The Age. They have a wonderful in-depth analysis of what Australian society is "really" like (sarcasm intended for the clueless).

Fascism Rising in Australia

Although its government does not release official numbers, it is estimated that 30% of Australians, mostly minorities like the ones pictured above, are living in poverty.

Fascism is rising at an alarming rate around the world, and the previously peaceful state of Australia is just another case of a country engulfed in those hateful people of the extreme right. Ever since the beginning of imperialist America's genocidial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Australian government has been shipping off their citizens to die battling a war that they cannot win. It is also rumoured that many of these being sent to war are immigrants and lower-class white citizens, leading many to believe that the country wants to purge itself of what it terms to be "undesireables".

Gee.. those North Korean journalists are an insightful crowd. They've really got their finger on the pulse. Oops, I better watch out, or else the fascist police will drag me away. Life is so tough under the jackboot of oppressive Johnny Howard, the imperialist lapdog that he is ! Save us Australians from the rising tide of elitism and fascism !
Soon there will be boatloads of us refugees heading to the workers utopia of North Korea, a true democracy !

The right to bear arms

Most of my Australian readers will laugh or scoff at this notion, thinking that the right to bear arms is some ill-conceived cowboy attitude from America.

Thankfully, in Australian cities, for the most part, there is an extremely low rate of gun-related crime. And because of this convenient status-quo, many people find comfort in the belief that the police are armed and capable of protecting them from criminals.

So most people don't see the need for a gun, and upon hearing the horrors of a shooting, feel that a complete ban on firearms is reasonable and logical. People simplify the issue, by thinking guns are dangerous, I don't want/need one, therefore they should ban them.

But this principle can come undone very quickly. It doesn't take much.
1/ If gun related crimes and theft increased, people would feel more of a need to defend themselves with force.
2/Also, as media reports of police failures emerge, people would realise that their belief that the police will always be there to protect them would be foolish.
3/People can take a look at any European country with strict anti-gun laws, to see that it doesn't at all eliminate gun related crime.

The police are drastically undermanned and are often busy enforcing our authoritarian and rigorous traffic laws. There are bad neighborhoods, especially in Sydney, where it isn't so safe and criminals do have more access to guns.

So if you have someone living in the vicinity of one of these bad neighborhoods, who is living in fear of a breakin or shooting, and want to protect themselves and their family with the use of force, who are we to deny them ?

In fact, if a crime wave broke out over your own suburb, wouldn't your perceptions change rapidly ? If people see that the police are not protecting their homes and their security, then they would have to take measures into their own hands.

I'm not suggesting the entire population buy automatic rifles at the hint of an increase in crime. People would initially buy home security systems, have baseball bats or golf clubs as weapons, buy personal alarms, not walk alone at night, etc.

But if crime gangs used firearms to hold up stores, or break in to homes, then these measures might not be enough. Shouldn't it be up to the individual to decide if they need to have a firearm stored away safely for such emergencies ?

The truth, is not completely intuitive, but the facts from American history speak louder than any arguments:

Lott points out that in 1985, only eight states had right-to-carry laws — laws that allow a person to automatically get a permit, provided he passes a background check and completed a training course. Today there are forty states that have some version of these laws. Lott's examination of the data showed that "from 1977 to 1999, states that adopted right-to-carry laws experienced a 60% drop in the rates at which the attacks occur and a 78% drop in the rates at which people are killed from such attacks."

Moreover, he points out that before 1995, it was possible for teachers to bring guns to campus in many states and that "the rash of student shootings at schools began in October 1997 in Pearl, Mississippi after the ban," (my italics).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Public funding encourages failure and mediocrity

Many supporters of publicly funded industries often like to get into the nitty gritty and details of that industry to justify why its such an important service and it should be funded through taxes, that were coercively taken from all workers.

A huge section of the population say that education and health are important services, (nobody really disputes this anyway) and therefore the state should guarantee a minimum standard. Then there is a smaller subset who think that "the arts" is really important, and so taxes should go towards "supporting" the arts and culture. Well.. lets think about what this really means.

There are lots of forms of arts and culture that do not need public money to survive. Movies, music, theatre, comedians, art exhibitions, opera - they all have large audiences willing to pay good money to enjoy them. So when someone says that "the arts" need subsidies, they obviously are referring to forms of art and entertainment that the public are not very willing to pay for.

And whats worse, when you make something publicly funded, the standards always drop off because the recipient of the subsidy never needs to provide value for money to the public. Case in point - the Victorian Arts:

Just five years ago, with Harold Mitchell as chairman and Jonathan Mills as director, the festival sold tickets worth $3.5 million. By 2004, with a new chairman and Robyn Archer as director, the box office had fallen to $2 million. Last year, with Archer replaced by American Kristy Edmunds, it sank to just $1.6 million. This year, with Edmunds still in charge, the box office target has reportedly been set at a paltry $1 million.
Edmunds now has a record $5.5 million a year of your taxes to play with, and another $400,000 from Melbourne City Council.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The worlds greatest hair

Hi, I'm Jackie Chan, the world's greatest actor. And this shampoo will give you the world's greatest hair.

This is nearly as shameless as Pele lending his reputation to promote Viagra.

Quote of the Day

Via Andrew Sullivan, comes this gem of a quote from Milton Friedman in 1975. It is even more relevant today than ever before.

"The maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do them, you not only may make them ... worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere ...

The argument for collectivism, for government doing something is simple. Anybody can understand it. If there's something wrong, pass a law. If somebody is in trouble, get Mr. X to help him out. The argument for a free - for voluntary cooperation, for a free market is not nearly so simple. It says, you know, if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don't interfere with them, indirectly through the operation of the market, they will improve matters more than you can improve it directly by appointing somebody. That's a subtle argument, and it's hard for people to understand,"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Up yours Steve Bracks

No more civil discourse from me.

Piss off you authoritarian socialist do-gooder. Stay out of my damn life. Get lost. Its none of your bloody business how or where I purchase my water from. You are making life more expensive for all of us, including the poor and the struggling families. Go to hell you social engineer. Get out of our lives. We need water, its as important as life itself.

If industry found it more efficient to purchase different kinds of water supply for its use, let them be the judges of that. Instead of doing what a government should do best - defending our rights and policing against violence, theft and coercion, the stupidity and meddling of Bracks in every detail of our lives gives us this:

Water costs to rise under Vic supply plans

Melburnians will pay more for their water under a Victorian Government plan to secure the city's long-term water supplies.

The Premier, Steve Bracks, says the plan's centrepiece is a $2.5 billion proposal to pipe Melbourne's treated waste water to the La Trobe Valley power plants.

"You can replace industry use of drinking water, free that drinking water up for the wider population," he said.

The Government will spend $300 million on upgrading the Eastern Treatment Plant to recycle the water, but it is waiting for a business case study before it decides whether to pump it to the power stations.

The Nationals leader, Peter Ryan, has questioned the Government's timing.

"This is Labor at work with 38 days before an election, they've had seven years to plan all this," he said.

The plan will push up the cost of water by 7 per cent over the next 10 years.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Farm subsidies: A total waste

In most countries, the primary producers and farmers are considered to be some kind of national commodity, or icon. Australia is no exception. Farmers are considered to be a breed of heroic battlers, who struggle against the elements and drought to supply us with our fresh produce, something we all rely on for our survival.

The drought has hit farmers hard, which is no surprise. Many of them don't have the water reserves to keep their crops irrigated. So they will be 'doing it tough' as they say, without much income this year. Most of us think that its not the farmer's fault that the weather is harsh, so why should they be punished. And then, some do-good moraliser says "they oughtta help out the farmers" .

When they say "they" .. they don't mean people who give voluntary donations. No.. they are clearly and explicitly putting pressure on government, who has collected massive taxes through coercion and compulsion.

They are saying "we want it to be compulsory for you to subsidise farmers"

So the government has just announced a whopping wasteful $350mil package to help out the farmers. And that aint the end of it:

Farmers have won a $350 million government downpayment to help them through one of the worst dry spells on record and the federal government is preparing to add another $400 million to that figure in a broader package.
You have farmers remaining in their profession for decades, and usually raising their children to follow in their footsteps. Also, due to technological breakthroughs, a much greater food output can be harvested, using only a tenth of the number of farmers that worked several decades ago. Most food can be imported from overseas for cheaper prices, but farmers receive generous subsidies and government protection, with tariffs placed on competing imports.

So the government is pouring hundreds of millions in one off subsidies towards farmers because they are in a bad financial situation. For me, the elephant in the room, and the question that many people dare not ask the farmers, is:


If farming is such a low reward and high risk venture, especially in some particularly dry and arid Australian outback regions, perhaps they might move elsewhere or start a new career altogether.

The Nationals leader, Mark Vaile, still maintains that:
"Most Australian farmers run viable operations and should not be paid to leave the land", Nationals leader Mark Vaile says.
How can you keep a straight face whilst saying that someone runs a viable operation, yet maintain that they need government money to save their asses ?

Why should farmers receive a subsidy because of a bad year ? The farmers chose to work in a profession that is risky and where natural disasters can hurt them financially. Either they should migrate to a geographical area where the risks of natural disaster are lower, or perhaps consider a form of income insurance so they would be covered when things turn bad ? There are many free market solutions that could be used. But we'll never know, because farmers continually fail to make money in the free market, and they rely on public funds to survive another year.

The farmers are receiving massive government assistance to maintain their lifestyle. They choose to live out in the countryside, where droughts and floods will ruin their annual crop, where other forms of employment are scarce, where there are no opportunities to raise children to develop any other kind of skills, where it costs the taxpayer thousands extra to maintain the infrastructure for them including roads, telecommunications, internet, water and gas. The government places tariffs on imported food, so Australian farmers don't have to compete much with foreign farmers.

Why can't I receive a subsidy for my career ? Or why can't someone else "doing it tough", who washes dishes or cleans toilets receive a subsidy ? Maybe if I try a startup business, and it fails miserably due to my incompetence and poor planning, then I should receive a few thousand bucks of government subsidy ? Heck lets get even riskier .. what if I spend all my money down at the track betting on greyhounds, shouldn't I receive a subsidy if I lose all my savings ?

The answer is no. It is up to each individual to do the best they can, find employment where their marginal productivity is highest in order to earn the highest income. Part of that formula, is reducing risk. But why manage your business carefully and minimise risk when you've always got government there to bail you out ?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Condoleeza panders to palestinians

Some of the dumbest words to ever emerge from the mouth of the US secretary of state:

Speaking at a dinner hosted by Palestinian-Americans, Dr Rice has said she is committed to the goal of a Palestinian state where the people lived in peace alongside Israel as proposed under the stalled US-sponsored "road map" for Middle East peace.

"The Palestinian people deserve a better life, a life that is rooted in liberty, democracy, uncompromised by violence and terrorism, unburdened by corruption and misrule and forever free of the daily humiliation of occupation," she has told a dinner organised by the American Task Force on Palestine.

What a load of bull.. thousands of westerners get blown to pieces by terrorist bombings, and she spends her time sympathising with the society that is the #1 cheer squad, recruiting ground and support base of terrorism in the world.

Humiliation of occupation ? The only thing that is humiliating is that they live in their own squalor, their own brutal society where violent armed factions battle on the streets, where living standards have plummeted since the 1980's when palestinian Arabs lived in peace alongside their Israeli neighbours as they went to and from work.

There are no Jews in Gaza. Why do the Palestinians fire rockets and mortars at Israeli towns like Sderot on a daily basis ? Murder is in their blood.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Short Story of the day

I'm proud to have stumbled across this old short story, which is still relevant today

Socialism (by Saadat Hasan Manto)
He loaded all his belongings onto a truck and was driving to another town when he was waylaid by a mob. Eyeing the goods greedily, one man said to the other, 'Just look at all that booty he is decamping with.' The owner smiled proudly, 'What you see here is my personal property.'

Some of the men laughed. 'We know.'

There was a yell from the mob, 'Don't let this capitalist get away. He is nothing but a robber with a truck.'

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mid-east shuttle diplomacy in action

Headlines have been buzzing about Condoleeza Rice's visit to the Mid East this week, where she will focus her efforts on pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear program, the Palestinians to recognise Israel and cease hostilities and also the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 so UNIFIL can prevent Hezbollah from re-occupying southern Lebanon and re-deploying thousands of rockets.

As influential as she may be, and despite the fact that she represents the United States, the world's superpower, this is all just one big pointless publicity stunt to show the world that they are trying to end conflicts.

Hezbollah want Israeli blood. Hamas want Israeli blood. Iran wants Israeli blood.

On the other side, the Israeli people wants to survive.

How do you mediate or resolve such a conflict with diplomacy ? Since Bill Clinton's massive efforts, the Oslo accords, countless UN resolutions, road maps to peace, EU and UN resolutions, it hasn't helped prevent a single conflict.

Many journalists, especially in Europe and the Arab world, are now sitting quietly ignoring the news, ignoring the past record of genocidal thugs, and sit ready at their keyboards to condemn and bash Israel when it is finally forced to use its military to respond. This creates an illusion that Israel is making the bad headlines. But take a look at the disastrous events of this week, and they barely receive any headlines.

The UNIFIL soldiers, nor the Lebanese army will not attack Hezbollah. Hezbollah have rapidly re-occupied key strategic positions in Southern Lebanon and Syria is shipping rockets and military technology to their bases in Southern Lebanon. Hamas terrorists have refused to recognise Israel and are now in a low level civil war with the Fatah terrorists. Iran continues its belligerent stance against the West, determined to acquire nuclear weapons. And North Korea is on the brink of setting off a nuclear device.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Three paths to your political beliefs.

Whilst there are undoubtedly diverse, complex and unique political views out there amongst the population, by looking at the core beliefs about how society should be organised, each person can be placed in one of three baskets.

So which paragraph below sounds like the best description to you regarding the nature of society and how people should be organised ?
1/ The most important thing is that people are all equal and treated fairly. In order to accomplish this, government should pass laws that seek to address inequality and actively assist the poor, the disadvantaged and the struggling. If society were left uncontrolled, then it would be a cruel dog eat dog world, with the poor people struggling to survive and being exploited whilst a few wealthy individuals and large corporations would hold most of the power. Government needs to continually and dynamically change what it does and pass new laws to address these issues and eliminate poverty. Addressing these issues are far more important than people's desire to keep their property and their incomes.

2/ The most important thing is law and order, and moral values. We need a stable and moral society. Government should be responsible for upholding good and traditional Western values and punishing criminals. This means that government should go out of its way to support and subsidise lifestyles that fit traditional values, like marriage, raising children, celebrating national and religious holidays. It should also punish what is non-traditional behaviour, like drugs, homosexuality, censoring pornographic offensive and violent media. When it comes to law and order, its important that the police have lots of powers to fight criminals. Its also important to have a strong military and support our troops when they go to war.

3/ The most important thing is maximising human freedom and core human rights. This means that people have the right to keep their property, and the right to be free from coercion and violence, and to pursue happiness as they see it. To acheive this, government need only exist to stop people from using violence and coercion against each other. Any efforts by government to destroy inequality will also drag down the wealth of a society. Poverty has been massively reduced and living standards have skyrocketed due to human enterprise, creativity and free trade. The reason Western society is so prosperous is because of dynamic and unpredictable innovations that evolved because of complex interactions between individual people, who signal information to each other and act on that information. Government has absolutely no business telling people what they can do with their bodies, their property, their speech, and what personal relationships they may form. Freedom of association and freedom of religion are protected rights, so long as a person's lifestyle or religion isn't enforced on others.


If you believe in 1 you are a socialist.
If you believe in 2 you are a conservative

If you believe in 3 you are a classic liberal. Also known as Libertarian. But definately not the same as the Australian Liberal party, who are more aligned with 2 then 3.

Australia is currently a mix of 1 and 2. Government has a whole raft of welfare policies from 1, that seek to help the poor and disadvantaged. Public schooling and public health are also intended to stamp out issues of inequality. But having a conservative political party means that a lot of welfare goes towards traditional behaviour patterns, like families and the baby bonus. And it also means that more tax subsidies go towards private schools which tend to teach conservative values.

However.. this is not a communist country. Even though government has been spending and intervening and regulating our lives in an ever increasing manner, (to acheive the goals of 1 and 2), it has also respected individual rights and common law to a degree that allows the mechanisms described in 3 to emerge.

The real irony is .. Without a central government to recognise this or set goals towards this, Australia is prosperous and has improved much over the past century because of the goals and mechanisms described in 3. Standards of living have improved by allowing a certain amount of freedom, trade and commerce in Western countries.

My message to people who identify with 1 (socialism):

Your key objectives are to reduce poverty and eliminate inequality and end exploitation. Please read your history books.

Poverty: Please see 3. Poverty is usually defined as being below a certain level when it comes to health, life expectancy, wealth and education. These are subjective and keep changing. By the standards of European society during the black plague, no Australian person is poor. As economies grow, wealth tends to spread, the success of capitalism and free trade is contrasted against the abysmal failure of communism to build up industries, trade and profit.

Inequality: Having a central authority (government) fight inequality has only, and can only work one way. By making everyone equally poor. By punishing and taxing the succesful and dragging them down. Government can not grow an economy and improve the opportunities and productivity of the poor and disadvantaged. It cannot create meaningful employment for the poor to enjoy for the rest of their lives. It cannot create things out of thin air, it can only transfer wealth from those who earn it to those who have the most needs.

Exploitation: Please check the dictionary. I do not agree with your definition of exploitation. If 2 consenting parties form a voluntary agreement, without coercion or violence being used, then exploitation does not occur. If I hire an elderly grandmother to do the most degrading task for 10 cents per hour, and she accepts of her own free will, then unfortunately it still isn't exploitation. So once society protects rights and protects people from coercion and violence, exploitation is a thing of the past. What business would government have telling the 2 of us what kind of labour exchange is permitted ?

My message to people who identify with 2 (conservatism):

Your most important values are family, perhaps religion, and traditional social structures. But what business is it of yours to tell other people what they can say or do ? If my neighbour chooses to consume large amounts of drugs, it is their decision, and they should be allowed to follow it and face the consequences. If a couple of the same gender wish to form a committed partnership, what business is it of the society to oppress them and tell them what they can or can't do ? When it comes to children eating junk food, or watching violence or sex on television, shouldn't parents be educating children about how to deal with these things rather than shutting them out ? As the parents, they have the option of monitoring and advising their children on what to do. When it comes to religion, and religious holidays, you are free to celebrate it as you wish, but this doesn't mean that everybody in society has to do likewise. Not every is observant, and many follow other religions. Why should all groups be lobbying government to enforce a certain lifestyle, religion or culture over others ? Perhaps they should all spend more time following these things in their private lives and within their families.

History shows conclusively that 3 is the way to go.

Alas, government consists only of politicians and bureaucrats who would soon be out of a job if they acknowledged that although life his improved, it hasn't been because of them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worst.. movie.. ever

This is supposed to be a sci-fi, and in the early parts of the film, it mirrors Minority Report with its style and concept. It also seems to rip off themes from Total Recall, mainly that the main character is a brilliant engineer who loses his memories.

In the future society, this inventor signs work contracts with a huge corporation, which specify that after developing some brilliant patentable invention for them, he agrees to have his short term memories erased so that the company can monopolise his intellectual property.

After setting down this premise in the first 30 minutes, one would expect a decent film. What followed was a disastrous mess full of plot holes, nonsense, Ben Affleck looking confused and angry, unlikely twists and turns and my pet peeve - unnecessary action scenes.

You've gotta hate those movies where the hero is made to look like a brilliant escape artist who consistently outwits his evil enemies, when there is usually a simple way for him to win his battle. Ben Affleck invents a machine for an evil corporation that predicts the future. He realises it has to be destroyed, and then has his memories wiped, plants all these little objects and clues for himself to remember what his mission is and re-infiltrate the laboratory to destroy the evil machine, when all along, he could have just blown it up before going through the worst hour of film and plot-holes ever.

Anyone seen the movie The Net ? Or The Island ? These movies are full of unnecessary action scenes and involves the main characters running for their lives and outsmarting the big bad guys. In both movies, its beyond believable, and also the viewer tends to notice that the main characters could have succeeded by doing things in a simpler and easier way. Well this movie is like stupidity on steroids.

Many reviewers have torn this movie to shreds on Rotten Tomatoes. If you watch this movie, your brain will turn to mush and leak out through your ears.

1 / 10

If the shoe fits....

Kofi Annan's incompetent reign of terror (and of error) as the head of the world's largest bureaucratic political organisation ends December 31st. The favorite candidate for his replacement is Ban-Ki Moon.

Hmm, first let's take a look at the South Korean foreign minister, his accomplishments and his track record. Could he be the one to salvage the UN ?

In March, South Korea announced that it would treble its foreign aid budget by 2008. The coincidence in timing between the increase in South Korea's foreign aid outlays and Ban's bid for the top job at the UN prompted UN-watchers to investigate exactly which countries were recipients of South Korean largesse. It turns out that the money was used to wheedle various Security Council members into voting for Ban.
Unsurprisingly, most of the money went to Tanzania and Ghana, both members of the UN Security Council. Both countries' support is crucial for Ban Ki-Moon's success, he requiring nine members of the Secretary General to support his candidacy.


Ban previously distinguished himself as a fierce critic of U.S. policies regarding the Korean peninsula
Seeking to balance against a rising Japan, rather than issue a stern condemnation of North Korea's destabilizing missile tests, the official South Korean reaction was to say that, "There is no reason to fuss over this ... like Japan, but every reason to do the opposite." Ban has been at the forefront of attempts to play down the North Korean menace, to excuse its every act, and to shift focus and attention to Japan, a historical enemy of Koreans.
Well, this guy is a real opportunist and political player. Although a fierce critic of the US, he is willing to coddle up to their diplomats to get their backing for his UN leadership. With a history of bribery and appeasing the most lunatic regime on the planet (North Korea) whilst demonising democratic and peaceful Japan, he surely will take the UN down the same dark path as Kofi and his cohorts.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Steve Bracks and the Victorian ALP are authoritarian

In 2009, the Victorian ALP have stupidly and stubbornly decided to ban the sale of free plastic bags to consumers. Without providing any studies or reports as justification for this intrusive socialist policy, they have arrogantly announced it with the implicit assumption that "its good for us and good for the environment".

Clearly, attacking one of todays biggest conveniences is not going to be good for us. It will particularly be an attack on poor families who benefit the most from plastic bags at retailers. An article in The Australian has some mild criticism for the policy, from an effectiveness viewpoint, but doesn't go far enough.

Under our social democracy, the only way to keep the claws of government out of our lives is to lobby the government aggressively. So hopefully there will be a big backlash against our statist authoritarian elites in the Victorian ALP who claim they have the right to take away our freedoms in our interest.