Friday, July 29, 2011

On Left and Right

It has been interesting watching the political left-wing around the world, and here in New Zealand, shamelessly exploiting the 76 tragic deaths in Norway to push their political dogma. They are trying to promote the line that Anders Behring Breivik was a Neo-Nazi and right-wing nationalist and therefore anyone with right-wing political beliefs is likely to commit similar heinous acts.

Let us examine the logic behind this. If Breivik was a Nazi, he was a Socialist. After all, the acronym NAZI stands for National Socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in German) and Hitler professed to be a Socialist. He believed in a strong state, a mixed public-private economy and a single party political system, all hallmarks of other Socialist regimes worldwide. He had much more in common with the many left-wing dictators who survived and followed him such as Stalin, Mao Tsedong and Pol Pot, than with any of the mainstream political leaders in Western nations who would be categorised as "right of centre" today.

The problem with the term "right wing" is that it is used inconsistently to categorise political beliefs as broad as Nazism and Libertarianism. Adherents of the latter, for example, as represented in New Zealand by the members of the Libertarian Party and, to a much lesser extent, the ACT Party, subscribe to a minimalist state and maximum personal freedom (social, political, religious and economic). This could not be further from what Hitler believed than is possible.

Socialists and Nazis are cut from the same cloth - they both believe that the collective should predominate over the individual, that might is right, and that ultimately the initiation of violence is justified in pursuit of their beliefs. All the founders of Socialist philosophy and practice, including Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Mao, had these tenets in common with Hitler.

My heart goes out to the survivors and families of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik and I think if there is one lesson to be learned from this tragedy it is that we should not tolerate any political philosophy that believes it can promote its views through the initiation of force.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are Australians Smarter or Braver than New Zealanders?

It has been interesting following the political events in Australia this week with Julia Gillard pushing ahead with the carbon tax she promised the Australian electorate she wouldn't implement and polls indicating the Australian public are overwhelmingly against the proposal and ready to dump the Australian Labor Party for breaking its election promises.

The reaction to this political intransigence contrasts with our experience in New Zealand where the National Government last year pushed ahead with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) against earlier promises, a betrayal that New Zealanders accepted with barely a whimper.

Australians have figured out that a carbon tax is a hugely expensive exercise in futility. They know that any carbon emissions savings that result from the significant increases in energy prices (and the cost of pretty much every other product and service in the economy) will be offset 100-fold by China's increase in emissions over the same period. Unlike Australians, New Zealanders seem to be too stupid to make the connection between the direct impact of the ETS on energy prices and the consequential price increases of almost everything in the economy.

Australians are smart enough to know that the science is far from settled and that actually global temperatures are not consistently tracking upwards with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels but rather have been static for the last ten years.

They are smart enough or brave enough to respond to Gillard's carbon tax proposals with, "Piss off, Mate, we're not having a bar of it!" (or words to that effect).

Australians are smart enough to know that if they don't dig minerals out of ground and sell those minerals to anyone who wants them, the only people who will suffer are Australians - unlike New Zealanders. And they are smart enough to know they need to reduce taxes to generate economic growth and create jobs - unlike New Zealanders.

The New Zealand National Government has given up on its goal of catching Australia in wages and living standards. Perhaps they have conceded that we're not smart enough or brave enough to get there.