Educating People does not equal A "Nanny State"!

By Michael Edmonds 24/02/2012 28


 

This morning on the TV1 Breakfast show they covered the story of the recently released list of foods we “needn’t” eat (i.e. those which are “non-essential, energy-dense and nutritionally deficient.”). This list has been released by researchers from the University of Otago who are concerned that there is a lot of confusion about foods and wanted to create a list of foods one “needn’t eat” particularly if one wants to lose weight. A list of these foods can be found here.

During the interview of Dr Jane Elmslie, she was asked by Petra Bagust if this list wasn’t an example of nanny state thinking.

This type of question really irritates me. Here we have a researcher pointing out foods which we NEEDN’T eat, because they are calorie rich and nutrient deficient. She isn’t saying don’t eat them, she isn’t pushing for regulation, she has simply provided information.*

It will be interesting to see how food manufacturers, particularly of so-called “healthy” muesli bars will respond to this list. For too long they have actively promoted food with silly claims on them (i.e. marshmallows sold as 98% fat free, as if this means they are a healthy option).

* Homeopaths and other “alternative” medicine practitioners will sometimes take a similar approach when their trade is criticised. They like to imply that somehow critics are attempting to ban their product or therapy, when in fact what they are truly afraid of is that once the public truly understand what their product is all about, that it will be rejected.


28 Responses to “Educating People does not equal A "Nanny State"!”

  • Petra Bagust’s question was an ignorant one. First I don’t think she knows what Nanny state is (which is a very simple concept).

    I have no problem with educating people. I do have problem with regulations. As I have mentioned on the other thread that this is how a progressives try to push social engineering issues into the public. Harmful education (as first claimed), then when the public gets used to the idea, then BOOM! The next you know is that politicians is pushing/debating that very same issue in Parliament because lobbyists have succeeded in convincing them to do something about it.

    Smoking is bad, there is no doubt about it. Some anecdotal evidence were presented to the public about certain non-smoking individuals who died of lung cancer because of second hand smoking. A few lobbyists started pushing this issue into the psyche of the general public via TV & Newspaper interviews. The movement became organized and they lobbied politicians into banning of smoking in work places including restaurants & bars. It’s been 5 years on now since this anti-smoking legislation came into effect.

    These so called public places is simply misleading and they are not public at all. They are private properties which belong to the business owners. They are not owned by the taxpayers nor the workers who work for them. My point is, the Govt uses force, ie, legalized coercion (as if it is morally right which is not).

    There is no doubt that some business owners will make their premises smoke free by their own volition or otherwise the pressure of the market to adopt such policies is so strong that they had no choice but to do so (otherwise they would lose their business to competitors who decide to adopt smoke free bars/restaurants , etc), but that is their decision to make and not mine (nor other busy-body lobbyists & politicians) to decide for them via legislation.

    The sad thing about this is that lobbyists are not entirely satisfied with banning of smoking in private places as bars, restaurants, work places, etc,… (oops, I mean in public places).

    Now here is the nanny state part of this whole notion of educating people about food Michael. The Herald article (front page today) mentioned one of those busy-body lobbyist (I think it is the Anti-obesity Food Nazi Robyn Toomath ) came out and suggested that the Govt needs to tax the food items in that list much higher. Well Michael, if that is not nanny-state then I don’t know what is? It is pure state interventionist & social engineering.

    As I’ve already stated above, that there is nothing wrong with educating the public about nutrition, it is what comes after when the educators realize that their soft message in their campaign about healthy eating/nutrition is not being taken seriously by the public. It is always, the nanny at the end.

  • One point I forgot to mention about banning smoking in private places which is now illegal. The Auck City council had suggested recently that they want to ban smoking in the entire Auck CBD area including certain streets, bus-stops, parks, etc… If this is successful, then lobbyists will stealthily move into lobbying lawmakers to ban smoking in your own bedroom. I predict that this will happen at some stage in the future. That’s how Progressive Movement start. They try to change the public’s psyche first, then follow up with convincing politicians (or they themselves became elected officials to push their ideologies) to make the change legal. This is exactly what The Road to Serfdom is talking about.

    I would rather educate people on political philosophies about freedom & rights then trying to educate them on food, because those same obese people are the ignorant ones who keep voting at election time for politicians that make laws which are unfavorable to them.

  • Falafulu Fisi

    Do you have any evidence that lobbyists will move it into people’s bedrooms? sounds like a slippery slope argument.

    Educating people on their health and on political philosophy are not mutually exclusive.

    ” those same obese people are the ignorant ones”

    What evidence do you base this statement on?

  • Michael asked…
    those same obese people are the ignorant ones

    Anecdotal, I know a lot of obese people in South Auckland and some of them are relatives of mine. All of those obese are Labour voters (at least the obese ones I know). It is both Labour & National are the most nanny states governments in this country. One can check out the number of social engineering legislations that have been passed over the last 20 years or so by both Labour and National. It is increasing every year not in a linear manner but exponential growth. Those obese Labour voters in South Auckland, won’t vote ACT or Libertarianz anytime soon in the next few elections.

    A rough estimates of obese people in South Auckland is quite high (I don’t have exact figure), but one can take a walk around at the Saturday flee market and check it out.

  • The FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic) is mainly a food lobby group. They do lobby politicians. They initially supported when the Govt introduced new guidelines in school cafeterias, but then former MOE, Anne Tolley pulled it off, and FOE went berserk in their protest to the minister. The very existence of FOE is to lobby.

    Another lobby group but for anti-smoking legislation is ASH. Their main goal is to lobby.

    There are a few others in the country, but those 2 I have mentioned above are known to have make regular submissions in parliaments for certain bills that supports they nannying ideology.

  • Falafulu Fisi
    In response to Robyn Toomath call for higher taxation on high sugar and high fat foods you said: (ignoring your absurd Nazi reference)
    “Well Michael, if that is not nanny-state then I don’t know what is? It is pure state interventionist & social engineering.”

    What do you think product marketing ( with it’s methodology based on co-opting biases and decision making bugs) is, if not a form of social engineering? Do you not think there is a need for some form of balance and that this balance can come from legislation? We know it’s easier and more profitable to sell junk food than healthier options so why leave it to those with a vested interest to self regulate?

  • Rob Edward asked…
    What do you think product marketing ( with it’s methodology based on co-opting biases and decision making bugs) is, if not a form of social engineering?

    Nope! That’s the non-coercive power of the markets. One chooses to buy a product because he/she likes it (his volition). Whether his/her perception of the product is based on brilliant marketing tactics is completely irrelevant. The marketing company did not coerce or force the consumers with a gun to buy their products. Their brilliant advertisements do not violate consumers’ rights one single iota. That’s what free means. You are free to make decisions of how you run your life, whether those decisions will lead to bad outcome or good, at the end its your choice. Don’t blame others if the outcome is a bad one.

    If an obese person starts to blame the producers of certain types of food he/she had consumed regularly for his/her obesity, then he/she should point the finger at him/herself. His/her obesity is entirely his/her fault and no one else.

    So, when the Govt started raising taxes in order to control, that is social engineering. This cannot be equated to a person who chooses to buy what he/she wants from the markets freely .Raising taxes is a nicer ( political correctness) way of not banning the manufacture of those food items directly. As I said above, that busy-body socialists take small steps over (perhaps) a long time period to push their agendas. A good start for them is if raising taxes is supported by the Govt. Next, they may be pushing to legislate how many of those food items one can buy in a super-market (hypothetical situation) per single visit. Well, this is already happening is Socialist states like Venezuela, where Chavez decreed last year that no one could buy more than a kg of meat (or around figure) per day from butcher shops or super-markets. I won’t go to the economics of what pushed Chavez & Venezuelan’s government to do that (hint – socialism).

    Rob asked…
    Do you not think there is a need for some form of balance and that this balance can come from legislation?

    There is no such thing as balance. What you’ve just said is meaningless. A consumer either wants to buy the products he/she likes or not based entirely on his/her own perception of the product. He/she is free to choose. There is no coercion is involved at all. Raising food taxes by the state in order to control is (legalized) coercion. That’s what nanny state is.

    Rob said…
    We know it’s easier and more profitable to sell junk food than healthier options so why leave it to those with a vested interest to self regulate?

    Who’s choice to buy junk food? I bet most obese people know how to eat sensibly. Sometimes a person’s craving overtakes his/her commonsense. Once that happens, there is less chance that food education that can influence a person’s eating habits.

    A free person’s decision to eat whatever he/she chooses to buy & cook is his/her own decision. The outcome of his/her decision might be good health or bad health, but that’s his/her choice. Its not an excuse for the Govt to social engineer the society just in case the outcome of the bad eating habits of some people may be unhealthy.

  • It seems to me that you have drunk freely and deeply of the “kool aid” of Libertarianism. That may, or may not, have been your choice ;0)

    I think your notions of “freedom of choice” as a safeguard are perhaps a little archaic given some of the understandings of Neuroscience and Psychology now available.

    Your statement here: “Its not an excuse for the Govt to social engineer the society just in case the outcome of the bad eating habits of some people may be unhealthy.”

    I am trying to find a sympathetic reading of it but I’m struggling. Are you really trying to suggest that poor nutrition leading to poor health is only a “may be” at the societal level? Remember we are not talking about an individual likelihood here.

    Like conspiracy theories much? Are you suggesting that the lobbyists are in cahoots with the Scientists involved in the Science of nutrition? Do you think that the link between obesity and ill health has correlation but no causation? Or was your sentence merely rhetoric intended to misrepresent the seriousness of obesity and the intent behind combatting it?

    I suspect the latter.

  • Rob said…
    Are you suggesting that the lobbyists are in cahoots with the Scientists involved in the Science of nutrition?

    None at all. I didn’t even hint that lobbyists are in cahoots with scientists. Scientists do what they do. They tell us facts. Individuals can choose to listen or follow the findings of scientists (in their own volition if they choose to). I have no problem there. Lobbyists are opportunists. When scientists publish some new findings, they jump and use it to push their agendas and try to convince lawmakers to do something. Note, there’s nothing wrong with scientists sharing their findings with the public as already stated, but there is a problem when the government involved. It always starts small and then it grows over time.

    Rob asked…
    Do you think that the link between obesity and ill health has correlation but no causation?

    I’m not arguing here about correlation or causation because I think it is irrelevant. I’m arguing about rights, because Govt regulation in order to social engineer is over-stepping is legitimate role of protecting rights. As I said on the other thread, that the moral justification for the existence of the government in the first place is to protect its citizens’ rights and that can be achieved by establishing National Defense, Law & Order, Judiciary. That’s it, nothing more than that. It is overstepping its legitimate role by meddling in people’s life & social engineering.

    Rob said…
    Or was your sentence merely rhetoric intended to misrepresent the seriousness of obesity and the intent behind combatting it.

    Again, my argument here is not about seriousness of obesity or how to combat it. My argument is free men and free women can participate in doing that. Lots of volunteers out there. What I don’t like is when Govt is involved, because its very nature, it is state coercion. It affects everyone not just those that the specific approved legislation was intended for. The role of the Govt is not to combat obesity & poverty or combat education low achievements for certain minorities , blah, blah, blah. Its legitimate role is to protect me from you or you from me if one of us violate the other’s rights.

    I know that obesity is serious, but it is not my problem. I don’t weep when I see an obese person walking down the road simply because I feel his/her pain. Because she/he may be trying really hard to get thinner but there is no way he/she could do it. Let me ask you, do you shed tears or feel sympathize when you see obese people in the public or wherever you go? If you don’t then it is not a problem. The health problem belongs to the obese person and not you nor anyone else (well may be his/her immediate family).

    Don’t try to own other people’s problems because it will always lead to state welfarism/nannism and this is the very reason why the state always steps outside its legitimate role. People who have less problems (say health-wise) will always pay for the costs. If you like to pay more (as a keen donor as Santa Claus) in order to help the obese then that’s fine, its your choice. Don’t try and lobby the Govt to tax others (ie, the healthier ones) in order to look after the needs of the obese. This is immoral.

  • Falafulu Fisi,

    You could also look at taxes on unhealthy foods as a way for the government to nudge people in a healthier direction regarding food choices. A similar approach to that done with tobacco, with the added bonus that the extra money could be directed to the extra strain put on the medical system by the health conditions that emerge from having an increasingly overweight population.
    I think it would be a nanny state if they banned unhealthy foods, but I’m not convinced increasing the taxes on an item could be considered “nanny state” behaviour. People can still buy the food it just costs them more.

    “The role of the Govt is not to combat obesity & poverty or combat education low achievements for certain minorities”

    Then whose role is it then? As Rob has already pointed out, there is increasing evidence that “freedom of choice” arguments do not hold up to what is being revealed about the way the human brain works.

    There is also plenty of sociological evidence to suggest that a society where people are more equal in terms of education, health and happiness are better societies. Working towards such equality often requires giving those who start of in more challenging circumstances with a little extra resourcing.

    Your libertarian views seem to me, to be the type of thinking that result in societies where the “haves” will end up living self absorbed lives behind gated communities, to keep them away from the “have nots.” Sort of a modern aristocracy which if taken to the extreme would result in a modern day “French revolution”.

  • Falafulu Fisi asked,
    “Let me ask you, do you shed tears or feel sympathize when you see obese people in the public or wherever you go? If you don’t then it is not a problem. ”

    This can be rephrased thus: “For something to be a problem “I” must care about it”. Can you see the egomaniacal viewpoint that this extols?

    To answer your question. Sometimes I feel pity for very obese people. I do not shed tears as usually my emotional responses are appropriate.

    Not every life situation is arrived at through a conscious process of evaluation and endeavor. I think that’s just a part of being Human.

  • Michael said…
    You could also look at taxes on unhealthy foods as a way for the government to nudge people in a healthier direction regarding food choices.

    I suggest that our MPs who think they know of how to run our life better us citizens, start slimming down their waists first before telling us what to do (via social engineering legislation). I don’t have to give names because we all know who those MPs are.

    Michael said…
    Your libertarian views seem to me, to be the type of thinking that result in societies where the “haves” will end up living self absorbed lives behind gated communities, to keep them away from the “have nots.”

    That happens when the Law & Order primary function of the Govt is weak. I would rather see my tax $ go into increasing the number of police officers (legitimate proper function of Govt) patrolling our streets then say giving more money to the Ministry of Social Development (which is not a legitimate role for the Govt).

    Michael said…
    Sort of a modern aristocracy which if taken to the extreme would result in a modern day “French revolution”.

    That happens when citizens’ rights is not recognized and protected by Govt or law.

    One have to argue starting from first principles. I have mentioned those principles here on SciBlogs about the moral justification for the existence of a Govt in the first place. It is entirely legitimate for a population to rise up overthrow its own Govt if it has violated its citizens’ rights because the Govt itself had oversteped its legitimate mandate for why it exists (to protect rather than violate citizen’s rights). Thus any Govt that does that (ie, violating its citizen’s rights), it then becomes automatically illegitimate (from a moral point of view). Its citizens have a moral right to take that Govt down. Well, we’ve seen some good examples of this over the last 2 decades. From despot rulers in Congo (Mobutu), Lybia (Gaddafi) including other mid-eastern Governments have been deposed by their respective citizens. What those citizens were doing were quite legitimate.

  • Falafulu Fisi

    I can’t disagree with you that some politicians are missing an opportunity to lead by example with regards to combating obesity.
    However, I do think the uprisings in various despot countries are due to the populations rebelling against laws and rules which repress the general population to the benefit of the elite rulers and not as the result of rules which are meant to benefit the well being of the population, which is what you seem to be implying?

    Also, I am curious what happens to the mentally and physically disabled in the libertarian world you aspire to? How would the environment be protected? How is exploitation of the workers and minorities avoided?

  • Falafulu
    Well, you have stirred up a hornet’s nest here.
    I think you are missing something- that the role of the state in peoples’ lives has to be a consistent one. For example, if the state accepts a responsibility to treat people who are sick, then ipso facto it has an interest in preventing sickness. So, yes, the state has a role in reducnig obesity, smoking and all the rest.
    You might not want the kind of intervention they had in East Germany, where they incentivised citizens to be involved in sport. On the other hand I can’t quite imagine what kind of society you would like us to be. One with no public healthcare whatsoever?

  • Kemo said…
    For example, if the state accepts a responsibility to treat people who are sick, then ipso facto it has an interest in preventing sickness. So, yes, the state has a role in reducnig obesity, smoking and all the rest.

    Private enterprises can do exactly that. If the health system is privatized. Only a small portion of your income is taxed to contribute to 3 core roles of Govt. Almost all your income is returned to you. You can pay for your own health needs, be it medical treatment in a private hospital/clinic or pay for health insurance, etc… Don’t tell me that members of a free & moral society can’t do that without Govt doing it? I have never been to hospital once instead I’m paying taxes to run the public health services.

    Kemo said…
    You might not want the kind of intervention they had in East Germany, where they incentivised citizens to be involved in sport.

    Are you saying they incentivised citizens by means of coercion by law or by persuasion with no String attached? If it is the former then it is not incentivising is it?That is coercion. Coercion is coercion, period. Incentivising with legislation is not the same thing as persuasion.

    Kemo said…
    On the other hand I can’t quite imagine what kind of society you would like us to be. One with no public healthcare whatsoever?

    I want to live in a free society and not in a submissive type of society, which you subscribe to. I don’t want to be told how to live my life.The bad choices I make in life (whether I’m obese as a result of bad eating habits or suffer cancer as a result of smoking, etc,…) is solely my responsibility and no one else to blame for that. I won’t blame Kemo, I won’t blame Michael, I won’t blame the NZ society, for my irresponsibility, I simply point the finger at myself. That’s what free means. You’re free to make mistakes and stuff up your life (you must also be ready to bear the consequences of the bad choices you made). You’re also free to make your life better & more prosperous. Remember, there will always be a service or products available in the free markets. You’ve just asserted a common myth here, that only the Govt can run a healthcare service. See, private enterprises can do it too, but they’ll do it more efficiently. You’ll be able to afford to pay for your healthcare if the Govt didn’t take too much of your earning via taxation to start with.

  • Michael asked…
    Also, I am curious what happens to the mentally and physically disabled in the libertarian world you aspire to?

    Their own family should take care of them. There can be other means, such as charity organizations, volunteers, etc… It is unbelievable that people think that ONLY the Govt can do A, B, C, D, etc… There’s no way that those things can be achieved or done without the Govt involvement. As I said in my previous post, if the Govt didn’t take so much from citizens via tax, then a family of a physically disabled person can afford to pay for private or home care for that person. I think that Milton Friedman explains it better than me.

    Other People’s Money

    Michael asked…
    How would the environment be protected?

    Your answer may be found here in the following. Property rights can deal with the issue of environmental protection quite effectively.


    From Property To Poverty

    Michael asked…
    How is exploitation of the workers and minorities avoided?

    Free means free. The workers are free not to work at a particular place if they feel like they’re being exploited. If the employer is holding a gun to his exploited employees heads so they can’t leave, then that is kidnapping. The law should step in and deal with it. However if that particular employer doesn’t coerce his workers, the workers are entirely FREE to leave and not turn up at work at all. Besides that, the rights to the business is the employer him/herself and his/her shareholders alone. The notion of workers’s rights is wrong because it is immoral. To think that the worker has rights to what the business owner owns is wrong, since it will allow the workers (by law) to make a financial claim (perhaps for disagreement or disciplinary action against the employee, etc…) against the business owner (employer) as if he/she part owns the business (his/her property rights).

  • Falafulu
    I think you are pulling our legs. But I must say you are getting close to what some of the Republican candidates in the USA are saying.
    If we have a totally private health system, and you pass on a preventable infectious desease to me, and I can prove it, should I be able to sue you for damages?

  • Falafulu Fisi,

    You said:

    “The bad choices I make in life (whether I’m obese as a result of bad eating habits or suffer cancer as a result of smoking, etc,…) is solely my responsibility and no one else to blame for that. I won’t blame Kemo, I won’t blame Michael, I won’t blame the NZ society, for my irresponsibility, I simply point the finger at myself. That’s what free means.”

    Your argument seems to imply that everyone starts off equal in life and that ill health and other misfortunes are brought upon oneself through poor decisions?
    It seems to me your worldview lacks any kind of empathy. In such a world those disabled and without family support would be left to falter, unaided and uncared for. It would also reduce the chances of those in poverty to break free of it.
    I don’t think the link your provided regarding my concerns about the environment answers my question at all. The link you provided just seems to bemoan the RMA.
    Your view of the worker/employer relationship seems quite extraordinary, given the way employers already can treat their staff even with regulation.
    I personally think that the government is necessary for more than the three areas that you suggest, however that does not automatically mean some sort of ultra regulation of society. For example, it seems to me that we are getting many things right here in NZ, as opposed to some of the over regulation which occurs in certain parts of Europe (Germany for example).

    In terms of countries in the world at the moment, which would you say is closest to your ideal political system? The USA perhaps?

    From my perspective, I would prefer the Finnish and Swedish approach – highly educated, good public health system, low crime, liberal religious views even if this does require higher taxes.

  • Kemo said..
    But I must say you are getting close to what some of the Republican candidates in the USA are saying.

    I agree with Ron Paul (except his Defense policy). The other candidates are simply minor version of Barack Obama who’s a true socialist.

    Kemo said..
    preventable infectious desease

    Are you implying that ONLY the govt can cure preventable infectious deseases?

    Kemo asked…
    If we have a totally private health system, and you pass on a preventable infectious desease to me, and I can prove it, should I be able to sue you for damages?

    And how would a private health system be any different from a public one if a preventable infectious desease is being passed on from person A to person B? Can the Govt be sued for that? If not then why not?

    I suggest that you also try and learn some economics’ philosophy because you’ll get a wider grip of how an obese (big) socialist government can always lead to disaster or collapse. The Govt grows big and involved in things which are not part of its legitimate roles. History has a few of those stories to learn from.

    Pay attention and look at what’s happening in Europe? What do you see? Those socialist countries are on the verge on (financial) collapse? I don’t have to explain it because I think you know why. The US economy is in trouble and if they don’t make a U turn now, they will go the same way as others who suffered similar fate, such as the collapse of the USSR. When Govt is overspending and running up huge debt because they get involved in paying for & running of services that they shouldn’t have involved in the first place.

    These are the types of education that the public needs. They need education in basic economics & political philosophies but not obesity. Educate them on how an economy is supposed to run, how government interference in the free markets affect the economic health of a society, why big Govt always lead to collapse (look no further than Greece and other EU economies), why a capitalistic free society is always more prosperous compared to other systems of governments, etc,…

    Despite Greek’s government being verge of collapse, its populations still wanted the Govt to keep & retain its socialism programs despite having no money at all to pay for them. The EU demanded that the Greek govt must make some drastic cuts in its spending or otherwise they won’t get any loan. The ignorant population, have no understanding of economics because they protested that the Greek Govt should not meet the EU demand to slim down the Govt because it is too obese to be financially sustainable. Two choices. Slim down or face collapse. The ignorant population seems hellbent of not wanting the Govt to slim down which will result in collapse.

  • “And how would a private health system be any different from a public one if a preventable infectious desease is being passed on from person A to person B? Can the Govt be sued for that? If not then why not?”
    Because a government would be held responsible for stopping the spread of infectious deseases whereas you as an individual would not. It’s called ‘public good’.
    With this responsibility comes a price tag, and taxation.

  • You can pay for your own health needs, be it medical treatment in a private hospital/clinic or pay for health insurance, etc…
    You must surely be aware that those on the minimum wage pay relatively little tax as it is. The suggestion that they would be able – after paying essential living costs – to find the discretionary income to cover private health & education fees shows… well, it shows a lack of empathy at the very least.

    re you implying that ONLY the govt can cure preventable infectious deseases?
    kemo sabe beat me to it, but anyway. You seem to be confusing ‘cure’ & ‘prevention’ here. And yes, it’s highly likely that only the government can take a lead role in prevention, in the sense of a coordinated, nationwide approach that may involve things like (for example) mandatory quarantine for people with drug-resistant tuberculosis, or targets for vaccination rates.

  • Kemo said…
    Because a government would be held responsible for stopping the spread of infectious deseases whereas you as an individual would not. It’s called ‘public good’.

    I asked you if the Govt can be sued and you simply evade by saying that the Govt would be held responsible. In what way? If a private company stuffs up, it can be help responsible. How many times that the Govt (well here in NZ) have stuffed up and they’re being held responsible? I bet you that it is non-existence, you cannot cite one single example.

    Are you familiar with Adam Smith’s invisible hand? If you are then you wouldn’t have stated that nonsense above. Public good will arise from voluntary collective selfish actions (pursuing their own self interests) of economic agents in a society, without being centrally planned. Physicists have identified this mechanism in recent years as self organized system. The Govt doesn’t have a monopoly on claiming that public good can ONLY be achieved with its involvement. Private organizations as Red Cross including many others have done much more in various countries that they have operations in compared to efforts of those respective host countries.

    Alison said…
    You must surely be aware that those on the minimum wage pay relatively little tax as it is.

    Well if you can have a threshold of only taxing income of $50,000 or more (still low rate of 10% or less) and low earners are (those below $50,000 pay no taxes), can still afford to buy their own health insurance from the markets. There will be competition out there in the open markets. The Libertarianz party campaigned on no tax for earning under $50,000 in the last election. Even in South Auckland, we didn’t get that many votes, despite the majority of voters there are the low earners which why we targeted them in the first place. It showed that voters in South Auckland can’t think. They keep voting Labour or National, that will tax them to the max and not enough money return to their pockets.

    Alison said…
    well, it shows a lack of empathy at the very least.

    Nonsense. I’m involved with the World Vision for sponsoring a child for a dollar a day. I’ve done this for the last 2 and 1/2 years. And you Alison? I do this entirely in my own volition. If the Govt however taxed the population in order to help poor children via the World Vision’s program, then that would be morally wrong, since it is being forced on taxpayers, irrelevant whether they like it or not. This is what Milton Friedman is saying in that link I posted above (Other people’s money). Helping poor children is a good cause. The donors simply have to do it voluntarily via their own free will, and not do so simply because a Govt is forcing them to do so via taxation. I bet that World Vision has done far more than any Govt has.

    This is a misconception that I see all the time. Somehow that empathy can only come from Govt action. Completely false.

  • Michael asked…
    In terms of countries in the world at the moment, which would you say is closest to your ideal political system? The USA perhaps?

    Again, my ideal political system is described in the following video clip of Milton Friedman interviewed at University of Stockholm and Iceland.

    Milton Friedman on his Ideal Society

    Yes, the US system is the closest to my ideal, but they have moved in the opposite direction over the last 70 years since the socialist programs such as the New Deal started by President Roosevelt. It is made worst by this President Obama, since he is a true socialist. It was reported that he was a marxist, progressive, socialist and communist party member in the past. Look at the massive debt that Obama has accumulated over the last 3 years since his administration came into office. It is more than any of the combined presidents before him had accumulated. The US is heading on an economic path of self destruction if the don’t make a U turn now by slimming down because because the govt has gotten too big.

    Like what Milton Friedman in that video interview, a system like the US, if the US goes back to its constitutional provision (designed by its founders) and setting narrower limits of the scope of Government of what it can do.

  • Well, I think we can now see why the Libertarian(s)z are a neglible political force, here and everywhere else.

  • Just another group with the “answer to all of societies ills”. They have their commandments, their scriptures, their savior and their devil. They pursue a Utopian ideal and would no doubt apply a pernicious utilitarian calculus to the question of how many can reasonably be made to suffer in the attainment of that ideal. Friedman seemed pretty comfortable with tens of thousands killed and tortured in Chile in pursuit of his failed experiment there. I wonder how many would have been too many…

  • On reflection I think that Falafulu Fisi should go and live in Greece. From what I hear, nobody pays any taxes, and soon the government will be unable to provide anything but the most basic services.
    Problem solved!

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