Kiwi Polemicist

January 9, 2010

• The myth of public property

Is it “your” rail network? The Auckland rail tracks and stations are being upgraded at present and, due to disruptions, a special timetable has been issued. On the front of this is written “Buses replacing trains while we improve your rail network”. That’s the socialist lie, here comes the libertarian truth…

If a piece of land belongs to you then you should be able to do whatever you like on that land, if that activity does not violate the personal and/or property rights of another person (that’s the ideal, but we live in a socialist state so your property rights are annihilated by the government). If the rail network – the tracks and the associated land – was “your[s]” then you would be free to walk over it, just as you are free to walk over land that you own. But you are not free to walk over the rail network, and if you do you will be fined up to $10,000 plus any amount of compensation that the judge decides you should pay [1]. This shows that it is not “your” rail network, for no sane person would fine you for walking across land that is yours.

If the rail network is not yours then who does it belong to? It belongs to the state, which controls every detail of what happens on that land. Section 50 of the Railways Act proves my point: it says that the Minister responsible may

(a) set out standards and requirements relating to the behaviour of individuals on railways or railway premises, including, without limitation, standards and requirements concerning the conduct of rail personnel, passengers, or other individuals working on or using railways or railway premises:

(b) regulate all traffic and all classes of traffic, and prohibit traffic or a class of traffic, either absolutely or conditionally, on railways:

(c) set out standards and requirements concerning the use of safety equipment by rail personnel, passengers, or other individuals working on or using railways or railway premises. [emphasis added]

This law means that the Minister may, without consulting anyone else, make a rule requiring you to hop on one foot and wear a pink gorilla suit when in a train station or riding in a train. “Your” rail network? I think not. The state has all the powers that only a landowner should have [2], therefore I conclude that the state is the de facto owner.

Here’s another example: in Australia the state requires people to pay for a permit if they’re going to take photographs in a National Park and may use those photographs commercially [3]. Do you still think that National Parks are public property, owned by all?

What’s the agenda behind this?

The agenda is the Socialist/Communist desire to disempower you by taking away your property/property rights. In the Communist Manifest Marx and Engels laid out ten steps for the transition from communism to socialism. Here’s four of those steps:

1) Abolition of property in land [outlawing private ownership of land] and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

3) Abolition of all rights of inheritance [when you die your property is stolen by the state: death taxes are a partial step towards this].

4) Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels [presumably this blog makes me a rebel in the eyes of the state, and you’re reading it so you’re a rebel by association].

6) Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

The Communist Manifest is alive and well today, and it’s policies are enacted all around us.

What’s a better way?

Don’t allow the state to own anything. Make the government your servant, not your master. Only then will you be free, and only then will the state stop lying about it being “your” rail network.

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1. Railways Act S73 & S92

2. If I visit your house you are perfectly entitled to set down conditions of entry, including a requirement that I wear a pink gorilla suit and hop on one foot. That’s part of your property rights; it’s also a great way to avoid having unwelcome guests. Every landowner has conditions of entry: do you willingly let gun-toting burglars enter your home?

3. Source

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August 31, 2009

• Property rights are a part of human nature

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Yesterday I witnessed an 18 month old child squawk when her big brother tried to take a piece of her food. Clearly she has a basic understanding of property rights, i.e. “That food is mine”. You don’t have to teach children the concept of property rights, and from this I conclude that property rights are a part of human nature, i.e. it’s a “built in feature” added by our designer.

The bedrock of libertarianism is property rights¹, and I believe that libertarianism is consistent with human nature. This belief is supported by the fact that sociopolitical systems that try to remove all personal property rights do not flourish and last, whether they be involuntary (e.g. Socialism/Communism/Marxism), or voluntary (e.g. hippie-type communes). These systems fail because they are contrary to and hostile to the way we are made.

The girl that I witnessed defending her property rights is living in a Socialist country and as soon as she starts earning money the state will begin to violate those property rights on a daily basis². The sad thing is that so many adults accept this situation without so much as a squawk, despite the fact that even a toddler recognises theft when she sees it.

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Related posts:

There is no such thing as “human rights”: a classical liberal perspective on the Electoral Finance Act

What is a “social contract”?

1. Property rights are summed up by the non-aggression axiom, which says “It is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property”.

2. The only things certain in life are death and taxes, but at least death doesn’t get any worse :)

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August 28, 2009

• Doctor-Bullies Flourish In Public/State Hospitals

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A friend was telling me about being bullied by a hospital midwife, and this reminded me of the times that I have been bullied by hospital doctors. I believe that bullies flourish in public/state health care. Why so? Before I get to the answer allow me to explain the New Zealand situation.

The health care situation in New Zealand

Basically the state has a near-monopoly on health care. Private hospitals only provide elective and sub-acute procedures, so anything complex or acute (e.g. car crash injuries or a heart attack) goes to a public hospital. I met a guy who had a knee replacement (elective surgery) done in a private hospital, then experienced a pulmonary embolism (an acute, complex, life-threatening condition where there is a blood clot in a lung) as a complication of surgery so was transferred to a public hospital because private hospitals in New Zealand cannot manage this problem. There’s really no escape from the state health care system (chaos?) in New Zealand.

Why do bullies flourish in public/state health care?

Because the staff in a public hospital are effectively in no way accountable to you, the patient.

When you are paying a medical person for their services you are purchasing a portion of their time and that person is beholden to you, just as an employee is beholden to his employer during his hours of employment. When a doctor is paid by the state, using money taken from taxpayers at gun point, that doctor is beholden to whom? Yep, the state.

Allow me to explain. When you – let’s call you Lee – go to a private doctor or other medical professional there is a contract (exchange of promises) between you: you are saying “I will pay you $X if you provide the medical services that I require”. In return the doctor says “I will provide you the medical services that you require if you pay me $X”. Both parties know that the other party can walk away if the promises are broken (breach of contract), and because you are a party to the contract the doctor knows that he must provide what you want in order to receive his profit.

Compare this with a public health care system where the state says to a doctor “I will pay you $X if you provide medical services to Lee”, and the doctor says “I will provide medical services to Lee if you pay me $X”. You the patient, the slab of meat in the bed, are merely incidental to this contract and have no control over it or the parties to it. The doctor knows that he must provide what the state wants – not what you want – in order to receive his profit. If, as is often the case, the medical services that you want or need are different to what the state is willing to provide that’s just too bad.

Why do bullies flourish in public/state hospitals? Because the patients have no effective control over them: in other words, when you go into a public hospital you are the mercy of the staff. Bullies are attracted to situations that give them power: being a doctor or other medical professional gives power, and being a doctor or other medical professional in a public/state hospital gives more power. The bullies know that you are disempowered as a result of being removed from the contractual process by the state’s overwhelming power. They also know that they can get away with bullying, because history shows that “little or nothing” is the usual result when patients complain about state employees.

Josef Mengele is a good example of a state-protected doctor-bully – he’s the Nazi well known for experimenting on humans at Auschwitz-Birkenau. “That can’t happen in New Zealand”, you say. Wrong: what Mengele did is, in my opinion, only a step or two away from what Herb Green did when he experimented on women without their consent or knowledge and killed some of them. I am referring to the “Unfortunate Experiment” at National Women’s Hospital, in which Green did not treat a condition widely believed to lead to fatal cervical cancer in order to see if that was what really happened (details here and here). If Green did what he did with malice aforethought (intent to kill) he would be as much a murderer as Mengele is, but Green most probably had good intentions. Despite this, you can make a good case for saying that Green has blood on his hands.

Do bullies flourish when there is a free choice of health care providers?

Let me speak from personal experience. A few years ago I went to a dentist that was recommended to me and found that he was an unpleasant individual with an arrogant manner. Because the state in no way controls which dentist I go to I never went back to him and he suffered financial loss as a result. That’s how capitalism works: those who don’t provide the best service lose money if the state does not interfere with the free market (I have met many doctors and other medical professionals in public hospitals who are far, far more unpleasant and arrogant than this dentist but, sadly, I have never had the option of voting with my wallet and going to another hospital because the state has interfered with the free market, i.e. taken away my freedom to choose. State institutions are refuges for various forms of life that cannot survive in the real world).

Compare this with my optometrist, who is is very nice, very competent, and has always provided good service. I have a free choice of optometrists, so I keep going back to him because he provides what I want. That’s how capitalism works: those who provide the best service are rewarded with more money (profit). The profit motive is often maligned, but it is a good thing because it results in you and I getting what we want.

In my experience doctors and other medical professionals almost always have a better attitude when they know that I have freely chosen to consult them and bring profit to them. Those who know that I have no choice about who I consult because the state has taken it from me are far more likely to be uncaring, rude, off-hand, bullying, and the like. That’s human nature, i.e. very few people are willing to make an effort and provide good care when they can make little effort and be paid the same amount. Less work, same money – that’s the situation in a state-protected monopoly and it’s a no-brainer for the staff. That’s why going to the DMV, state hospital, city council, etc. is normally so painful.

Do bullies flourish when there is a free choice of health care providers? Common sense and my experience indicates that they do not, because capitalism is a form of natural selection.

In summary
  1. Bullies, be they doctors or other medical professionals, flourish in state/public hospitals because the state has made them effectively unaccountable to their patients and protects them when they do bully.
  2. State disempowerment of individuals leads to gross injustices in medical situations, ranging from bullying to killing.
  3. The profit motive and contracts freely entered into give us protection against doctor-bullies.
  4. Bullies do not flourish when individuals can freely choose their medical provider.
  5. Free choice leads to lots of :) .

Finally, I’d like to say that I have met a few public hospital doctors who are superb clinicians and a pleasure to talk to.

What do you think about that points that I have raised here?

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Related articles:

Why does Obama want to eliminate private health insurance via Single Payer/Universal Health Care?

Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism

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August 4, 2009

• Why does Obama want to eliminate private health insurance via Single Payer/Universal Health Care

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Barack Obama wants to eliminate private health insurance via his Single Payer/Universal Health Care system. In his own words:

This begs two questions:

  1. What does a Single Payer/Universal Health Care system mean for Americans?
  2. Why does Barack Obama want to eliminate private health insurance?

1-> What does a Single Payer/Universal Health Care system mean for Americans?

It means death and misery because the government will decide what treatment people will be allowed to have. It will mean having government staff viewing your private medical records. It will mean a reduction in the quality of health care you receive, because the government wants to keep costs down and paltry payments from the government will mean that hospitals will be unable to afford new equipment, new treatments, good staffing levels, and so on (private health care encourages these things because competition encourages hospitals to provide the best possible care, and in a free market system hospitals will supply what patients demand and are willing to pay for). I live in a country where all but a few medical services are “provided” by the state, so I know what universal health means. Also, have a look at this from Bloomberg:

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what [Tom] Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Daschle’s arrogance is breathtaking: he wants to slow life-saving human creativity and wealth generation in order to reduce costs (something that will be impossible when the government is running the health care system). Imagine if the UK government had done the same thing in 1959, and slowed down car development at a time when cars looked like this:

This is a Ford Prefect 100E from 1959. The heater was an optional extra, and 0-60mph took 32 seconds

This is a Ford Prefect 100E from 1959. The heater was an optional extra, the vacuum wipers got slower as you went faster, and 0-60mph took 32 seconds: in my experience these were pretty awful cars. Why would anyone want to slow down human creativity and innovation?

Presumably Daschle is wealthy enough to avoid the effect of his own policies. Presumably he would not like being forced to forgo experimental treatments if he had terminal cancer. Heaven forbid that he should descend from his ivory tower and share a four-bed hospital room with the hoi polloi.

2-> Why does Barack Obama want to eliminate private health insurance?

I believe that Obama is a fundamentalist Marxist, and that eliminating private health insurance is part of his Marxist plan to give the state/himself more power and wealth. In the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels described the steps for a transition from socialism to communism:

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie [that’s Obama’s desire to tax the wealthy], to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State [Single Payer/Universal Health Care is a step towards this, as are the bailouts where the state ends up owning part of the company], i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear [are] economically insufficient and untenable [e.g. Single Payer/Universal Health Care, TARP – Toxic Asset Recovery Program, cash for clunkers, bailouts of bankrupt companies, etc.], but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax [Obama’s plan to make the wealthy pay more tax].

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State [see above]; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

(Here I have only highlighted those points which pertain to Obama’s health care “reforms”, but in fact much of what is recommended in the Communist Manifesto has been accomplished in the USA and other countries: click here for details)

Remember the Marxist/Communist utopia was a fiction, false advertising to justify immoral acts like Obama’s and those described in the Manifesto.

Summary

  • Barack Obama wants to eliminate private health insurance via his Single Payer/Universal Health Care system
  • Single Payer/Universal Health Care will mean death, misery, loss of privacy, loss of choice, and all-round inferior health care for Americans
  • Single Payer/Universal Health Care will control how doctors treat their patients
  • Single Payer/Universal Health Care is intended to slow down human creativity and wealth generation, e.g. new medicines and medical technologies that can save lives
  • Barack Obama is following the game plan laid out in the Communist Manifesto

What do you think about Obama’s plan for state-controlled health care and the points that I have raised here?

Hat tip: LRC

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July 27, 2009

• Zeitgeist, The Movie: what’s it all about?

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Nick posted a comment on my post titled Thinking About State Schools and mentioned Zeitgeist, The Movie. He said that it was a bit of “cult phenomenon” in the USA, so I wanted to find out who was behind this movie which is attracting so many people. What’s this movie all about? The short answer is that it’s about getting people to follow a plan that, if successful, would mean the death of millions and the end of life as we know it. The long answer follows.

Although I haven’t watched the movie, I have read the synopsis on Wikipedia and, if this is correct, the movie looks like a blend of antitheism (specifically, attacks on the God of the Bible), mysticism, historical fact, and historical fiction designed to make people unhappy with the present state of affairs and desire an alternative. Naturally the Zeitgeist Movement that made the movie is offering an alternative, so let’s have a look at what this alternative is and the beliefs behind it. What the movie says is, in a sense, irrelevant. What is really important is the belief system of those people that made the movie, because this movie is their attempt to make people adopt that belief system.

Here’s some quotes from the Zeitgeist Movement website:

This movement is about awareness, in avocation of a fluid evolutionary progress, both personal, social, technological and spiritual. It recognizes that the human species is on a natural path for unification [history shows this to be incorrect], derived from a communal acknowledgment of fundamental and near empirical understandings of how nature works and how we as humans fit into/are a part of this universal unfolding we call life [is there a translator in the house?].

We intend to restore the fundamental necessities and environmental awareness [they’re greenies] of the species through the advocation of the most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science, nature and technology (rather than religion, politics and money) hold the keys to our personal growth, not only as individual human beings, but as a civilization, both structurally and spiritually. The central insights of this awareness is the recognition of the Emergent and Symbiotic elements of natural law and how aligning with these understandings as the bedrock of our personal and social institutions, life on earth can and will flourish into a system which will continuously grow in a positive way, where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behavior itself [they’re promising an egalitarian {classless} utopia].
[…]
The reality is that we live in a society that produces Scarcity [no, we Westerners live in a society where governments produce scarcity, as do the Zimbabweans, North Koreans, et al].
[…]
It is also important to point out that there are no utopias or endings [so why are they offering an egalitarian utopia?]. All evidence points to perpetual change on all levels [“there are no endings” plus “perpetual change” sounds like Buddhist reincarnation to me].
[…]
In fact, the only true “government” that can possibly exist is the earth and its resources [the only true government is the earth? All hail Earth! How exactly are we supposed to appeal the decisions of a planet? How exactly do planets make decisions?]. From there, all possibilities can be assessed. This is why an intellectual unification of all countries is needed [one world government], for the most important information we as a species can have is a full, highly detailed assessment of what we have on this planet [a great excuse for the one world government, sorry, Earth, to pry into your private affairs and find out exactly what you have to ” voluntarily contribute” to the commune][emphasis added].

KP does *not* look like this, thankfully.

KP does *not* look like this, thankfully.

If that’s not religious mumbo jumbo then I’m a red-arsed baboon. The movie opens with a speech by a well known Buddhist and I think that the beliefs of Jacque Fresco, the man behind all this, are clear.

The Zeitgeist Movement is the “official activist arm” of the Venus Project, the website of which prominently displays pictures of futuristic buildings as a promise of what things will be like in a Buddhist utopia, where there will be a “resource based economy”:

A Resource-Based Economy is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.

Here’s a message for Jacque Fresco: the commune idea has been tried and found to be a failure. When people do not own anything they do not care about anything. Every problem in the commune is everyone else’s problem – after all everyone else owns everything, including the problems – so no one wants to fix the problems. Additionally, people in a commune do not want to create anything like wealth, art, or practical inventions. Why not? Because they are not allowed to own and enjoy the fruits of their labours, and are forced to hand ownership of those fruits over to the collective.

What motivates people to care about things and create more resources? Personal reward does, and it is lacking in the commune system because everyone else gains from the personal effort of an individual (e.g., you do a wonderful repair to a raincoat and see someone else wearing it the next day when it’s pouring with rain. At the same time you’re getting wet because you got up late and were the last one to the communal wardrobe: it’s not exactly a strong motivation for fixing the next torn raincoat). What motivates people to care about things and create more resources? Personal reward motivates people, and personal reward is another name for profit, that wonderful thing so maligned by the Venus Project. As Lew Rockwell explains so well, everything you love you owe to capitalism (please do read the article, for your own benefit). Take away personal reward/profit motive, as Jacque Fresco wishes to, and what Lew describes will happen:

And yet, if socialism does mean anything at all today, it imagines that there can be some social improvement resulting from the political movement to take capital out of private hands and put it into the hands of the state…it could be as extreme as the desire to abolish all private property, money…[this is exactly what the Venus Project desires]

Whatever the specifics of the case in question, socialism always means overriding the free decisions of individuals and replacing that capacity for decision making with an overarching plan by the state. Taken far enough, this mode of thought won’t just spell an end to opulent lunches. It will mean the end of what we all know as civilization itself. It would plunge us back to a primitive state of existence, living off hunting and gathering in a world with little art, music, leisure, or charity. Nor is any form of socialism capable of providing for the needs of the world’s six billion people, so the population would shrink dramatically and quickly and in a manner that would make every human horror ever known seem mild by comparison. Nor is it possible to divorce socialism from totalitarianism, because if you are serious about ending private ownership of the means of production, you have to be serious about ending freedom and creativity too. You will have to make the whole of society, or what is left of it, into a prison.

In short, the wish for socialism is a wish for unparalleled human evil. If we really understood this, no one would express casual support for it in polite company. It would be like saying, you know, there is really something to be said for malaria and typhoid and dropping atom bombs on millions of innocents.

If you doubt my comment about one world government and Lew’s comment about a world-sized prison, have a look at this quote from the Venus Project website:

We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world’s population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization…

Governance, globalisation. I told you so.

Zeitgeist, The Movie: what’s it all about? It’s all about getting you to join a group of people that desire to change the world. If Jacque Fresco and his followers get their wish they will make the world a prison and their plans “will mean the end of what we all know as civilization itself. It [will] plunge us back to a primitive state of existence, living off hunting and gathering in a world with little art, music, leisure, or charity.” Additionally, “the [world] population [will] shrink dramatically and quickly and in a manner that [will] make every human horror ever known seem mild by comparison“. Jacque and friends promise utopia but will deliver hell. These people are not your friends and I hope that you won’t join their movement.

What do you think about the goals of Jacque Fresco/the Zeitgeist Movement/ the Venus Project?

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