Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No war for whales !

Sounds quite extreme... but perhaps not so extreme this week, after several escalations in the Antarctic involving the Japanese whaling vessels, Greenpeace thugs and the Australian government.

According to quite a few media polls, Australians seem to care quite a bit about whales, and the practice of Japanese whaling is not widely approved of. Fair enough.

But things took an ugly turn when Kevin Rudd reacted to this by authorising the Australian navy to "monitor" Japanese whaling by sending out a patrol ship (the Oceanic Viking) to the Antarctic to closely follow Japanese whaling vessels. I was strongly against this move, because you have to ask, what is the point of it ? And now, it turns out that we are even sending spy planes to "monitor the situation".

Certainly, there is a cost associated with sending a military vessel and its crew to the Antarctic. And this form of "modern" leadership is setting a new precedent for our military and what its duties are. Previously, it was limited to the old fashioned idea of defending the people and the mainland of Australia.

Whilst the military was sent over to such distant places as Afghanistan and Iraq to fight terrorists, it seems millions of Australians were deeply upset over this. Yet millions also supported the idea of fighting terrorism abroad as a preventative measure against terrorist attacks at home, and also as a way of spreading democracy and overthrowing tyranny.

But when it comes to using our military not to end human suffering, spread democracy, defeat the enemies of the west ... but instead to closely scrutinise and spy on a friendly peaceful ally like Japan, and done to uphold the welfare of whales, it seems that government is creating new and pointless (if not dangerous) roles for itself, as well as grabbing a few headlines.

What about priorities ?

The "compassionate leftists" in society, the bleeding hearts, always criticise capitalism for its coldness and for its lack of heart. They say that if "WE" care about something, "WE" (as in government) must take action "as a society". Forget if 95% of Australians really don't give much of a hoot about the whales, forget if millions really don't want us patrolling the Antarctic to provoke an incident with Japan... the elite have spoke and "WE" must act.

Unfortunately, the leftists always play the compassion card very well. They use it as justification for all kinds of wasteful, harmful and feel-good government programs. From Centrelink, to family payments, to baby bonuses, to public hospitals and subsidisation of education, the socialisation and government control of Aboriginal communities ... all of the aforementioned are done with some benign and pure thought - "to help the needy" or to "bring justice" or to "end cruelty".

But does it succeed? .. Hell no !

Does it cost us money ? Billions !

That is why people should be more open to capitalism, free markets, private property, and individuals acting in their own interest to pursue happiness.

Sure, we've seen they have a much better chance of success in solving problem, building wealth and raising standards of living. But capitalism and liberty are also moral and benign philosophies, because capitalism AND ONLY capitalism can do economic calculations and take priorities into account. Without priorities, without some calculation, we are not trying to make our actions count in improving the world, but we are acting out of emotion.

Priorities, such as growing the economy and thus employment, and in result feeding and clothing poor Australians, should take place over whales, the environment and funding the arts and sports and public broadcasters like SBS and ABC. EVEN IF you care about those things to some extent, you will waste too many resources on the small problems and not enough on the big problems if you demand government spending and government planning to address everything.

Although capitalists tend to defend their system saying that it brings greater wealth and prosperity for the masses, very few of them defend the free market from a moral position and play the sympathy card as well as the socialists do. i.e

How many sick children die waiting for hospital beds because of a lack of funding, because we wasted money on whale patrols ?

Japan is a peaceful ally, why should we risk an incident or c
onfrontation with her by sending our military to harass Japanese vessels ?

Socialism is where government decides how to spend and coordinate actions, as opposed to the individual people under it. But as Ludwig von Mises said: