Peter Cresswell's blog

Putting Freedom beyond the Vote

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2006-02-27 09:59

There are some things that are so important they should be put beyond the vote. That's the proposition I want to offer you this morning.

Consider this for example: Western countries around the world express concern at how waves of Islamic immigration could put at risk the freedoms we take for granted -- or at least the freedoms that some of you take for granted, such as the right to free speech, the separation of church and state, and the blessings of secure property rights.

As long as there was widespread understanding of and support for these important bulwarks of liberty, the secure retention of them was relatively assured; but as ignorance overtakes knowledge and the population changes any of these things of importance can be easily taken away by citizens'-initiated referenda, government vote-buying, or the easy, knee-jerk clamour of populism.

Recent Comments:
Right Destination, Wrong Route — by Bikemessenger on Wed, 2006-03-01 01:32
I don't mind at all, Joe. — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-02-28 20:35
A great summary of an urgent — by JoeM on Tue, 2006-02-28 05:13

Stealing property with weasel words

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-02-26 02:06

Let me try a phrase on you: "Local loop unbundling." There. I'll wager most of you have switched off already, haven't you? But you shouldn't. While geek phrases aplenty are being flung about, plans are afoot to dismember New Zealand's largest company and to nationalise the bits left over.

What "local loop unbundling" really means is this: nationalising Telecom's telephone lines because other telecommunications companies can't be arsed building their own, and the RMA makes it all but impossible to do so if the will were there in any case -- which it isn't. In a word, it is theft.

Why invest in your own lines when the RMA makes it too damn difficult to lay them or string them, and when you can get them anyway by stealth - by theft, and with the vigorous support of all sides of the traditional one-dimensional left-right spectrum it seems, from Green to Tory and all points in between. (Observe that the very terminology of left and right was derived from the post-Revolutionary French parliament when both left and right sides of parliament were arguing over to whom to dole out all the proceeds of loot and pillage.) The honorific seems no less appropriate to today's apologists for theft and interventionist dimememberment of private property, who think their desire for broadband internet trumps Telecom's right to keep what is rightfully their's.

Recent Comments:
RMA = Resource Management — by Frizzy on Sun, 2006-02-26 08:54
TLAs — by Rick Pasotto on Sun, 2006-02-26 02:35

Would Orwell or Marx have blogged?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-02-26 02:04

Would Karl Marx or George Orwell have made good bloggers? Some opinions on that question here from a host of bloggers and commentators in a meditation on blogging from FT.Com's Trevor Butterworth. There is, says Trev, "a spectre haunting the blogosphere - tedium."

If the pornography of opinion doesn’t leave you longing for an eroticism of fact, the vast wasteland of verbiage produced by the relentless nature of blogging is the single greatest impediment to its seriousness as a medium.

"The point is," he says "any writer of talent needs the time and peace to produce work that has a chance of enduring. " The daily blogging treadmill, what some bloggers call "feeding the beast," stultifies output says Trev. And what happens to the blogger's material in the end? It's not even the stuff of tomorrow's fish and chip wrappers, is it?

Recent Comments:
It's Whatever You Make Of It — by Bikemessenger on Mon, 2006-02-27 07:53

The Chemistry of Love

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sat, 2006-02-25 09:28

"Love and obsessive-compulsive disorder could have a similar chemical profile," says professor of psychiaty Donatella Marazatti, who studies "the biochemistry of lovesickness." Now there's a topic to ignite the passions, one explored in this month's National Geographic magazine.

The key apparently is two chemicals: serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin -- "perhaps our star neuro-transmitter" -- the one that is altered by drugs like Prozac -- is what quite literally gives our passions real feeling. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder apparently have an imbalance of serotonin; so too do people in the grip of love.

Recent Comments:
Capitalist and Joe M, — by Charles Henrikson on Mon, 2006-02-27 20:19
Taken — by JoeM on Mon, 2006-02-27 16:49
A Conumdrum — by Capitalist on Sun, 2006-02-26 05:37

Dialling 911 to get your ethics? Stop right there.

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-02-23 19:17

University ethics classes and late-night bull sessions are replete with discussions of hypothetical and unikely moral dilemmas. Whose responsibility is an abandoned baby in the woods? Should I dive into a turbulent river to save a dying woman? What should I do if I my boat sinks and I wash up on a desert island only to stumble across a locked but well-stocked hut -- can I break in and use the food and shelter? What if there are two if us in a lifeboat but only food for one? What if (for a dose of humour) we're a brain in a vat driving a runaway trolley down a rail line with with only two forks with five people standing on one and nine on the other but... Etc. Etc. Ad nauseum.

Recent Comments:
Utility's...Arithmetic-Utilitarianism — by Rowlf on Sat, 2006-02-25 00:27
>>Indeed, I'd say that the — by Utility Belt on Fri, 2006-02-24 23:22
'Utility' logic — by Rowlf on Fri, 2006-02-24 20:46

Ten Worst New Zealanders

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-02-23 03:16

A few local bloggers have listed their ten worst New Zealanders, predictably including the likes of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson (or proxies for them) even though the economic golden weather we are presently enjoying is in many ways due to the reforms they both instituted (and which have been left largely untouched by the Clark-Cullen Government) -- and unpredictably including the likes of Sarah Ulmer. Sarah Ulmer for goodness sake!?

Recent Comments:
what about the fat slag that — by michael fasher on Tue, 2007-07-31 10:11
Sarah Ulmlmer WTF!!! — by michael fasher on Tue, 2007-07-31 10:08
How about — by Hayden Wood on Tue, 2007-07-31 05:17

Some Propositions on Free Speech

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-02-21 21:54

The right to free speech means the right to express one's ideas without danger of coercion, of physical suppression or of interference by the state.

Censorship is interference by the state in the expression of ideas. Laws against murder, rape, assault and child sex are sufficient to cover any violation of rights in the censor's current domain.

A private network refusing to publish your views is not censorship - it is their choice.

A private network choosing to offend is their business. Choosing not to watch or to withdraw advertising is yours.

Bad ideas are still ideas. You should be just as free to air them as I should be to ignore them, or to pillory them.

Recent Comments:
250,000 watched C4 instead — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-02-24 07:41
Clark can't help herself. A — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-02-24 07:35
Another Important Aspect... — by Bikemessenger on Thu, 2006-02-23 07:06

Don't get hooptedoodle mixed up with your story

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-02-16 23:38

Heard the one about the doctor, the hooker and the libertarian?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-02-16 23:34

Heard the one about the doctor who's opening a brothel 'cos he's sick of the health bureacracy pushing him around?

A certain Dr McGrath spoke up for the doctor a week or so ago, and last night at a packed public meeting in Mangonui Julian Pistorius put in a word or two for the hookers -- or at least the erstwhile Dr Benson's freedom to hire them. (Apparently Sue Bradford, a strong promoter of the Prostitution Reform Act was "very sympathetic," but alas apparently washing her hair last night and unable to attend).


Do you have a people?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-15 02:16

Some people define themselves by what they call 'their people.' Do you have a people? 'Professional Maori' Willie Jackson says he's spent his life looking out for "his people" -- when resigning as a Labour MP Tariana Turia declared "it came down to a question of integrity and I had to act for my people" -- her present Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said in his maiden speech to parliament that "the hurt to my people" in being called "haters and wreckers" by [Prime Minister] Helen Clark was "very deep."

So Willie, Tariana and Pita seem to think they have 'a people,' and they're basing it on their race. They are making a virtue of their skin colour, about which they have no choice, but because of which they demand special 'race-based' favours. Such is the mistaken value of ethnicity:


ETHNICITY: The elevating of one’s racial identity and associated cultural traditions to a position of supreme importance – a racist version of collectivism, under-pinned by post-modernism in philosophy, and still very fashionable in academia.

How about you then? Do you have 'a people'? If so, on what basis do you decide who that 'people' is. Think about it for a minute, and while you do, let me ask you a question and offer you a proposition.

Recent Comments:
— by Ciro D Agostino on Thu, 2006-02-16 01:13

Some cultures deserved to die out

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-15 02:11

Not every culture is worth saving or preserving. There are some cultures that deserved to die out -- the Maya were just one, and on this as so much else Jared Diamond's book Collapse has it wrong again. As a tragic loss, they weren't, and Roger Sandall is right on the money. "I don’t care if the Maya civilization did collapse," says Sandall. "I don’t think we should shed a single retrospective tear":


When Passive Verbs Attack

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-15 02:09

What's a passive verb? It's a way of writing that removes from what is written both writer and passion. Compare for example: 'You cannot do this' (active) with 'This cannot be done' (passive). Passive verbs are used to soften the sense of a phrase, and too often to camouflage an opinion as being the writer's own. It's a way of speaking for the speechless without appearing to.

Why does this matter? Well, how many times do you hear these phrases used like a stop sign:

It is considered that...

Recent Comments:
About your Verbally-Abusive article... — by Rowlf on Wed, 2006-04-12 02:43
The article is misguided. — by tdh on Thu, 2006-02-16 19:55
Shane Jones — by Phil Howison on Thu, 2006-02-16 12:49

One country. One law. One constitution.

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-08 01:29

Another Waitangi Day in New Zealand and (no doubt) another set of protests and claims for more legal privilege. Another Waitangi Day in which the the usual parade of politicians and protestors confront and avoid each other, and the professional grievance industry discuss and issue their demands for the taxpayer to give even more -- (for those interested in such things, this year's fashionable demand seems to be for a separatist Maori General Assembly.)

Frankly, we don't need another taxpaid gravy train or another grievance industry or yet another charter for separatism or a forum in which to demand it; we simply need good law.

Recent Comments:
Very good — by David Bertelsen on Thu, 2006-02-09 06:40

Left and right and other nonsense

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-08 01:27

I've tried telling you lot I'm neither left nor right (though you continue to put me on the 'Right' on your blogrolls). I've tried telling you that libertarians are neither Right nor Left, but 'North' (but I still hear people calling libertarians "extreme right"). And I've tried pointing out that your traditional Left-Right spectrum is simplistic and one-dimensional and blurs too many important distinctions to be worth a pinch of shite, as compared to the diamond-shaped 'Nolan' spectrum that has real depth, and great descriptive power. (See for example here, here and here, and that picture of NZ's political spectrum over there on the, ahem, right.)

Recent Comments:
U2? — by Bikemessenger on Wed, 2006-02-08 09:21

Liberty lost out in Costa Rica

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-08 01:23

I mentioned the Costa Rican elections on my main blog last week, and you might be wondering how the Costa Rican 'Libertarians' got on. Former Moviemento Libertaro activist Jorge has the news, and plenty of criticism. The MLs went soft in a bid for power over principle ... and the bid failed, and with it went the principles:

[Party leader and Presidential candidate Otto] Guevara and his group expelled the hard core libertarians, or as he called them “radicals”, from the party, saying that they were responsible for the impeding the growth of the party. He said that by becoming “moderate” they would move closer to the Costa Rican people, thereby gaining many more votes.


'Not PC' Post-Holiday Blog Carnival

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-01-19 22:45

There are blog carnivals for everything these days: football, philosophy, psychology, pharmacology... so as I write so much and you lot need to read it all -- every last sentence! -- I'm having my own. In the last week-and-a-few-bits 'Not PC' has had something for everyone who can read and who has a pulse and some grey metter. Here below is just some of what you would have seen recently if you'd slithered towards your keyboard and pushed the 'Not PC' button (and that's not counting all the art, architecture, cartoons and jokes). What are you waiting for, dive on in:


A year of blogging...

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2005-12-28 23:41

As my farewell too you all for the year (now, now, don't cry), I've posted links below to some of my own favourite and more reflective posts from the past year so you don't get 'PC withdrawal' over the holiday season. I've tried over the year to be pithy, thought-proving and entertaining -- I've enjoyed writing these pieces, and I'd like to thank all of you who've visited my blog, who enjoyed what you found there, and who left me feedback about what you read.

Feel free to print off a few copies of these pieces and take them with you to the beach. Smiling


A year of blogging...

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2005-12-22 23:41

As my farewell too you all for the year (now, now, don't cry), I've posted links below to some of my own favourite and more reflective posts from the past year so you don't get 'PC withdrawal' over the holiday season. I've tried over the year to be pithy, thought-proving and entertaining -- I've enjoyed writing these pieces, and I'd like to thank all of you who've visited my blog, who enjoyed what you found there, and who left me feedback about what you read.

Feel free to print off a few copies of these pieces and take them with you to the beach. Smiling


Aussie adman says Merry Xmas, and pull your socks up

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2005-12-21 21:07

A Christmas message from plain-talking Australian ad-man Sam Kikovich, a man whose ads have sold "shitloads of Australian lamb."

"Frankly," he says, "bad ads are un-Australian." Smiling

Watch Quicktime here.

Recent Comments:
hehe — by Joe Idoni on Fri, 2005-12-23 13:00

This week's best from the blog that's 'Not PC'

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2005-12-18 21:58

Here's your chance to catch up on some of the best posts from PC's blog this week, and to send this link of the week's best to everyone you've ever met.


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