One doesn’t like to say too much about the specific details of ones background. But I suppose I’ll have to get used to it because I am called upon to say something about myself in the course of running for elected office.
I arrived at Otago University in New Zealand in 1983 and was by then already an economics partisan. I had read much on economics and business even before showing up in Dunedin.
I left Secondary School early to go to University with the main motivation of trying to make a “comeback” in the sport of swimming. Since I had much respect for the swimming coach Duncan Laing, as well as for the swimming pool (Moana) which at the time was one the best pools in New Zealand.
When I began taking lectures it was evident that I was to the extreme right of the lecturers in terms of the big-government, small government axis.
But nonetheless, despite their big government tendencies we had an excellent variety of lecturers in the economics faculty. Since Dunedin was a place where lecturers from all around the world tended to go between appointments to the more famous universities in the Northern Hemisphere.
In 1983 (my first year of University) the struggle was on within economics, between the mainstream Keynesians and the ‘Chicago School’ of economics.
But it really seemed like it was Milton Friedman versus everyone else.
When I left Otago University in 1985, still a teenager, I no longer wished to pursue economics because to my mind THE BATTLE HAD BEEN WON DECISIVELY.
Or so I had imagined at the time.
In the following years I never believed that big government had a chance of succeeding in the long run. If George Bush the Elders budgets blew out, well that was just (in my mind) him being fooled by his Democrat opponents.
If the Keating government spilt red ink all over the place.. Well I just put that down to ego-man Keating, trying to differentiate himself from his fellow “economic rationalist” John Hewson.
You see I thought that these backslides into Keynesianism and big government were just short-term reversals in a movement that like any other would work via a series of waves.
The Newt Gingrich 1994 “Contract With America” seemed to confirm this thinking of mine. You might say I was relaxed and comfortable about the fate of humankind.
In 1997 I was able to tell a family member sincerely that I was now virtually part of the mainstream politically. He had thought I was an extremist at an earlier time. I was happy with the way the world was moving. I was able to tell him that I hadn’t changed much. That rather the world had moved in my direction. And so that this was why I was no longer perceived as any kind of extremist.
One thing that had changed was that I had been surprised at how the distribution of wealth and income had worsened to such an incredible extent during the new wave of free enterprise thinking (thinking rather then actual practice).
To my mind the fact of this could easily be accommodated and was no excuse for spending programs. But a sort of partial-Georgist gradualism as well as a commitment to not taxing struggling people was the best way of coping with this phenomenon which had taken me somewhat be surprise at the time (here I refer only to my thinking at the time and not my current position).
I saw that others had been affected by this incredible “worsening” of the distribution of wealth and income.
Pat Buchanan, for example, had turned somewhat protectionist. Robert Nozick had diverged somewhat from his “night-watchman-state” position. And had taken up what seemed to be a partial-redistributionist angle along the lines of perhaps Hayek.
These were the ways those of us, who were “free-enterprise when free enterprise wasn’t cool” had dealt with this rather surprising turn of events.
Like I said by 1997 I considered myself just to the right of where I thought the mainstream was or at least was heading.
But something happened between 1999 and 2001.
I had to go through that fabled “agonizing reappraisal”.
The movement to small government no longer seemed inevitable rather it seemed almost DOOMED.
The extra revenues that the free enterprise revolution had generated weren’t being plowed back in lifting the tax burden off the poor and paying off debt.
The extra revenues were being used to grow the government ever larger.
It appeared to me that all Milton Friedmans revolution had achieved (after at first allowing the West to win the Cold War) was to transform our governments from being STUPID THIEVES into being INTELLIGENT THIEVES.
We now face a situation where the Liberal Party are smart thieves, not on principle, but by virtue of POLITICAL TRIANGULATION.
And the current line-up in the Labour party are thieves and thieves in principle. No longer concerned a jot for their working class constituency.
Well what happened?
Firstly I would say I was naive. And that the government under democracy is by its nature a tax-revenue maximizer and here I only talk of the short-term. A time horizon not exceeding six years or two elections.
It is this tendency of government which we must overcome.
But where does this tendency come from? Well from the politicians yes its true. But I think the tendency primarily comes from the existence of so many people who rely on taxation for their income.
We are in a vicious circle here.
The more people rely on government for their income the more they will influence the public debate in perverse ways working backwards from the conclusion that their benefactors are no good and that the need is for evermore taxation and compulsion.
Another factor is the rise of the internet.
It is the case that we always have incredible trouble for some time in the aftermath of a media revolution.
It takes a country a long time to re-establish its sanity after a media revolution.
Take radio for example. Which allowed Hitler to dominate the entire German-speaking language group in Europe. And allowed FDR to have enormous influence in America.
I could go to earlier examples. But the internet is playing interim havoc on the public debate.
I see no end to these various self-reinforcing problems globally. I see disaster ahead globally.
But in this country we are very fortunate.
Because in this country ONE PARTY has shown the way out.
If you vote for any other party your vote will be wasted. Because a vote for any other party means the continuation of the self-reinforcing tendencies that I have explained above. It means continuing the situation wherein one party speaks of continual thieving outright, and another party talks differently but spends like drunken sailors, and when they spend they spend our blood and our hopes and our dreams.
Where government advances civil society retreats. But ONE PARTY has decided to allow room for civil society by challenging the governments place in all areas of encroachment.
And this ONE PARTY and this party ALONE has set its heart against compulsion in all areas of civil society and has done so in a way that is immensely sympathetic to those amongst us who are struggling and or addicted to government handouts.
We have a precedent for what I am proposing here. The USA retained longer then Australia a nasty and bizarre edge to a vicious ideology known as multiculturalism. While on the surface this appeared to be simply the righteous Aussie idea of “A Fair Go” it contained a nasty edge to it.
Now when Pauline Hansons ?One Nation? party came out of nowhere many people were worried and this was understandable. But the net effect of the Hanson phenomenon was immensely beneficial for the continent BECAUSE IT FORCED THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES TO CHANGE.
The two major parties had to take the legitimate side of the one-nation message and adopt it and they had to jettison the nasty side of this so-called “multiculturalism” and they did so at least to some small degree.
We want to build on our tradition of the “fair go” and as David Marr has said we want “A fair go WITH PASSION”.
So don?t get me wrong insofar as my opposition to so-called “multiculturalism” is concerned.
I’m a multi-racialist. I’m not a multiculturalist if that means the government emphasizing what keeps us apart, what makes us different.
But lets not get diverted. The example of Paulines beneficial effect on the two main parties and on the culture was that she had to be neutralized and this was done by the two major parties changing and changing for the better.
Peter Costello has managed to at least isolate most of the thieving away from those who are willing to set money aside for their old age and for this he must be congratulated. But look at the total amount of thievery we have now?
And the young Costello was almost a sort of Christian-Randian???
So I tell you its almost out of the two parties hands this runaway thieving. Though some among them may well wish to do the right thing, the determination to stay in power will override the better angels of their nature.
Notice the me-tooism of Labour? Notice how when Costello came up with his tax cuts that Labour almost matched them at least in theory?
We can break this curse on this Continent though the rest of the world be damned. And all it takes to keep at least the “Costellos” of this world (By ‘Costellos’ I’m talking about politicians that I assume to be ambitious yet with a hidden ethical core) honest is to vote for this ONE PARTY I have been referring to.
This ONE PARTY, so radically different from all the others, can act as the ambitious (yet not wholly wicked) politicians CONSCIENCE when it comes to reducing the depredations of government.
You don’t have to agree with the conscience-of-Australias every last policy platform to know that voting for them is the only ethical thing to do this very month.
Because if you disagree with the LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY PARTIES platform in some area or another you should still realize that this party is the ONE AND ONLY PARTY in Australia that supports human freedom in all facets of Australian life.
It is the only ethical thing to do to vote for the Liberty and Democracy Party…because of the effect that your vote will have on the behaviour of the ALP and the Coalition.
THATS Why You Should Vote For The LDP.