Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cyprus - Why No One Should be Surprised

It was pleasing to see the Cypriot people rise up against the government and reject the European Community's theft of a significant part of their bank savings.   At the time of writing the Cypriot government has rejected the plan.

The European Community had proposed to bail out Cypriot banks to the tune of €10 billion in return for the Cypriot government seizing 6.75% of Cypriots' bank deposits up to €100,000 and 9.9% of deposits over €100,000. The Cypriot people rightly saw this as bank robbery and took to the streets in protest.  Amusingly, the proposal has been listed on Wikipedia as one of the greatest bank robberies of all time.

The global reaction to this has been interesting.  It is seen as a step too far in governments' looting of private property, although I am not sure why this should be the case given that governments all around the world have wealth taxes, some of which are far more rapacious than was being proposed here.  I suppose it is the blatant nature of the theft that has provoked the reaction. 

In some ways, we should have limited sympathy for the Cypriots.  If you want the European Community to bail out your banks – in other words, if you want German taxpayers to stump up the money – you can hardly complain if they demand a contribution from you. The real issue here is not the pilfering of Cypriot bank accounts by the European Community but whether the EC should be bailing out banks at all. Governments around the world have been throwing money at banking sector since the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and it hasn't stemmed the rot.  Private profits, public losses, seems to be the policy of governments towards the banking sector all over the world.

The Cypriot situation, if it has one benefit, has woken people around the world to the fact that governments can use force to do anything they want if they are not constrained. Once you accept the power of the government to take whatever it likes in taxes, then you shouldn't be surprised when it starts taking your bank account, your house and your business.  As the millionaire said to the attractive young woman, "we've established the principle, now we're just arguing over the price."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why is it Acceptable to Promote Marxism in Our Schools?

Last week my daughter arrived home from her Wellington college and told me that her English teacher had been proselytizing Marxism under the guise of a critical analysis of the movie Lost in Translation. For those of you who have not seen the movie, Bill Murray plays a middle-aged travelling salesmen in Tokyo who has a largely platonic relationship with a young woman, played by Scarlett Johansson. The teacher said that the theme of the movie was alienation in the large modern city. Whether it is or not, is debatable. Personally, I don't think that's what the film is about at all.  In fact, I think it's about the opposite - the ability of people to find connections in love even in a city as big as Tokyo. However, that is beside the point because the teacher did not stop there. He went on to say that the only solution to this problem of alienation was Marxism. He returned to the theme on the following day and spent the entire English period promoting his Marxist philosophy.

My daughter was easily able to discount his facile arguments in favour of Marxism and she highlighted to the class the obvious flaws in his arguments, including the fact that wherever it has been tried, Marxism leads to genocide (I guess you could call that "severe alienation"). Unfortunately, many of my daughter's classmates were not so critical in their thinking and the majority seem to accept the teacher's arguments.

I do not have a problem with students studying Marxism as part of a broader analysis of political theories, but remember this was an English class. The promotion of Marxism was not, as far as I can tell, part of the standard English curriculum for Year 12 students. The teacher was simply using his position of power to indoctrinate young minds into his evil philosophy.  And let's make no bones about it, Marxism is an evil philosophy. It was responsible for the death of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, far more than that other derivation of socialist/collectivist thought – Fascism, and it is still being used as a justification for the murder of thousands of people around the world in places like North Korea.

Imagine the outcry if the New Zealand secondary school English teacher was promoting Nazism is a valid response to so-called alienation. Why is it acceptable for a teacher to promote an equally detestable political philosophy in our classrooms?