Friday, August 05, 2005

Minor parties -WINZ party/libiterianz

WINZ party seems to be a single issue party in favour of allowing smoking. This argument is based on the "freedom from action" definition of freedom that has been explored over at Philosophy et cetera of "freedom from" without "freedom to". If they have more than one policy (they may well have no other policies) then they probably follow this to its natural conclusion and are libertarian i.e. to the right of ACT.

Speaking of which there is also a Libertarian party you can vote for – they have much more developed policies than WINZ and even have things like budget calculations on how they will reduce NZ’s taxation to zero.

Libertarians are ideologs rather like the communists or the greens are and as such have problems where they can’t tell where their ideology doesn’t work even if it stares them right in the face.

First their policy on the environment – they state that “Private property rights provide the strongest possible protection for the environment.” This is obviously nonsense – it ignores the problem of negative side effects of behaviours for example if I release CFC’s there is no one specific to sue me but I might still cause huge damage. Having said that I support the repeal of the PMA which was their lead point.
They oppose laws against victimless 'crimes'. There is a good argument for this but there are problems defining what is victimless and what isn’t. For example if I use drugs there may be no direct victim but then again what about children and family?
Similarly they support self defence but where does one draw the line? Direct physical threats (like the current law), people on your property or lynching?
In terms of social welfare they suggest state benefits would be abolished to permit the growth of voluntary charities and private insurance.
Two problems here
1) Charities don’t distribute money very evenly. Some will be helped and some wont based on very arbitrary factors.
2) Charities need to spend a lot of money advertising etc – money gathering will probably be much less efficient than taxation and people in general don’t spend much time choosing charities so little incentive for them to improve. Spending will probably also be less efficient even if it is far from efficient now.
Their immigration policy is open to abuse in that if they accept anyone it would be rational for large amounts of people from the third world to migrate to NZ. Still open boarders are something to be supported philosophically.

I agree that there is a lot of inefficient government spending but what the libiterianz ignore is that it is posible for the government ot have economies of scale or other advantages that it can use to do things more efficiently Furthermore it can use these advantages to get Return on Investment in such a way that they give back more than they take. Even if the government is not doing this now it is theoretically posible and thus their solution falls short of optimal policy.

As for voting Libiterianz would be anti the smoking ban and are a complete party so better than WINZ in as far as one wants government out of their lives.


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