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:
- Billboards in downtown Auckland (very East Berlin)
- Onselling of tickets (unenforceable)
- Wearing of gang colours (what happened to freedom of expression?)
- Sugary drinks in schools (should be a decision for individual schools and parents)
- Driving while using a cellphone (privatize roads, let insurance handle this)
- Broadcast advertising of medicine (finally, a victory for freedom!)
- Smacking of children (light smacking should be allowed, it is a decision for parents not the state)
- Hunting the great white shark (Endangered species should be protected by property rights)
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. (CS Lewis)
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.