The petty fascism of elected officials in New Zealand knows no limits. Even worse, the majority of NZ voters show no understanding of the importance of individual choice. Forget “liberalism”. A typical attitude is that what you approve of should be made compulsory, and what you disapprove of should be banned. Therefore, when the Libertarianz opposes a ban or supports legalisation of something, many people see that as an endorsement of, say, drug addiction or bestiality. Conversely, when we oppose mandatory seatbelt or cycle helmet rules, we are seen as anti-safety, rather than pro-freedom.

The supposedly socially liberal Labour is particularly bad in terms of petty and ineffective bans, although they do get credit for legalising prostitution. Here is a recent list of bans and proposed bans from the last month:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. (CS Lewis)

Drugs

I will go into more depth about bans of certain substances. First: Khat. This article is calculated to scare readers, with words like: “similar to methamphetamine,” “highly addictive,” and “immigrants.” But what is the real problem? Its a cheap, chewable, natural stimulant. It has effects more like coffee than meth, no dangerous side-effects, and no risk of addiction, according to Wikipedia. The ban is pointless, with no possible benefit – an utter waste of police time.

Party pills. This is even more stupid. No deaths have been caused by party pills, and a large percentage of the population have tried them. They are a cheaper and safer alternative to methamphetamine for casual users, and so have reduced demand for more dangerous drugs. However, the effects are fairly mild and some of the side effects are somewhat unpleasant, so there is no danger of dependence or addiction. Proponents of the party pill ban are, universally, joyless busybodies whose main hobby iis the expression of outrage and disapproval, and the only others who agree are the uninformed. LibertyScott has more.

Finally, roadside drug testing. Essentially the proposal involves stabbing innocent motorists with sharp needles, if there is suspicion of drug use (but what if the driver is just tired or ill?). As Lindsay Mitchell notes, there were just three crashes last year in which illegal drugs were proven to be a factor, compared to 383 crashes suspected to involve alcohol. There is no need for this, and it will overwhelmingly affect sober drivers. A waste of time and money.

7 Responses to “Ban, ban, ban, ban… where will it end?”

[...] Yet here at Pacific Empire, we find such blatant violations of free speech from the government of our wonderful country completely believable. Let’s review other recent violations of the freedom of expression: [...]

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Billboards in downtown Auckland (very East Berlin)

“East Berlin”? It’s covered in billboards. Try Vermont, Hawaii or Kansas in the good ol’ ‘petty fascist’ USA.

And, as per your other post on the same subject, you seem to be tarring the Labour government with a least a couple of policies mooted by other bodies, namely the Auckland & Christchurch councils.

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Not my other post, Luke’s other post (for the record).

What I actually said was that Labour is particularly bad. Which is true. I blame “elected officials” in general. Banning has become a knee-jerk response to just about any perceived problem, and it’s wrong. In fact in most cases it is utterly indefensible.

Also, I was talking about Communist East Berlin of course.

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Not my other post, Luke’s other post (for the record).

Sorry, I took it from the use of ‘we’ in Luke’s post that you were happy to have each other’s views attributed to site as a whole. You might want to use ‘I’ if you’re just talking for yourself in any given instance.

I was talking about Communist East Berlin of course.

Well, okay. And I was talking about Capitalist USA, of course. I just think saying ‘very East Berlin’ is somewhat emotive. If you’d said ‘very Hawaii’ – it doesn’t have the same bite, does it?

But to actually address the issue – “Banning has become a knee-jerk response” – is probably a fair enough statement to make. The Government’s approach (local or national) when faced with a problem is often to take the extreme opinion that banning is best. Then they invariably work things back to a compromise where whatever it is isn’t banned, but regulated in some way. By taking an extreme initial ‘banning’ position, whatever compromise is invariably comes to is usually seen by the purported ‘victims’ as being better than an outright ban. Clever, no? As I’ve said, how many of these bans have actually come into force?

And can you explain to me how the hunting of the great white shark should be covered by property rights?

And, while I’m here…

* Do you support the selling of cigarettes in High Schools from vending machines?

* Would you propose an abolition of drink-driving rules under the auspices that we can ‘privatise road, and that insurance will handle this’?

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It’s not that I disagree with Luke, but I can’t claim to speak for him in every instance. Just a correction, nothing more.

I’m glad you agree that banning is overused. I don’t see why you put ‘victims’ in scare quotes though…

You asked three questions:

  1. Great white sharks. Currently commercial fishing in NZ is covered by individual transferable quotas (ITQs). This is a good first step to real property rights for marine resources as the quotas can be bought and sold. I think great whites are covered by recreational fishing rules (the ban comes into force in April), but since the few sharks hunted are by charter firms (only on the Chathams AFAIK) why not institute an ITQ for them? Ecotourism (eg shark cage diving) or conservation groups should also be able to purchase rights to the sharks. Perhaps this could be enforced using tagging, but an ITQ for hunters is a first step, and better than an outright ban as it gives an incentive to use the sharks sustainably. Banning will increase the price of shark products, creating an unintended incentive to hunt more sharks.
  2. Cigarette vending machines in high schools. No, I don’t support that. I advocate school privatization, however. As I say above, let the teachers and parents decide.
  3. I don’t support the abolition of drink driving rules, but there is something wrong with road rules at present where innocent drivers are presumed guilty. Privatise the roads. Road owners can implement their own licensing, fines, rules etc. And without a public health system, private health insurance companies will provide massive disincentives for reckless behaviour. Under such a system, if you caused a crash through your own stupidity, you would be personally liable for the healthcare costs for the victims, and your insurance probably wouldn’t apply either.
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[...] This was a comment in response to noizy on Ban, ban, ban, ban… where will it end? I hadn’t really thought about this issue (although PC, controversially, discussed it last year: Protecting a predator) so I decided to expand it into a post. Privatizing marine resources is a really interesting idea, and it turns out New Zealand is actually a pioneer in this regard. [...]

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[...] Maybe I focus too much on bad news here, for example in last years post listing proposed bans which got a lot of attention and even was quoted in NZ’s biggest newspaper. And there is a lot of bad news to go around, especially with Labour’s proposed new election spending – or “democracy rationing” reforms. But in an effort to redress the balance, heres some good news for freedom in New Zealand: [...]

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