Compulsory “volunteer” work

Gordon Brown has decided he wants to make volunteer work compulsory:

Gordon Brown has announced plans that could see every teenager in the country complete up to 50 hours of volunteer work by the age of 19.

The automatic reaction to something being compulsory is to resent it. No-one likes being told what to do. This is one reason why schoolkids here will play up in class and bunk – school is compulsory. In Africa by comparison, kids will walk for miles in bare feet to attend school, just like people in the West did in former generations – because school is a privilege that they value.

If Gordon Brown wants to ensure kids hate “volunteer” work and don’t choose to do any more than the bare minimum 50 hours, this is the way to go about it.

It can never be compulsory to volunteer. Check a dictionary.

Hat tip: Fairfacts Media

Electronic tags on hold

National has promised farmers they will not commit to the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme until after a full cost-benefit analysis. This is very good news. NAIT is a big-brother style scheme that would see every cow and deer in the country recorded on a central database, with the facility to record every sheep and goat as well in the future. Every animal must have an electronic eartag.

The idea behind NAIT is to provide full “paddock-to-plate” traceability of meat for European consumers, because such traceability is something the EU has implemented and EU farmers don’t find it fair that they have such regulation thrust on them yet their competitors (such as NZ) don’t do the same. And certainly, it isn’t fair. The EU should be ditching it, not expecting us to follow suit, but that is another story.

Anyway, paddock-to-plate traceability of meat is a myth. The tags get chopped off along with the head as soon as the animal is slaughtered in the works and it is very difficult to know what animal the meat coming out the other end actually came from. And for some cuts (like mince), the meat comes from hundreds of different animals all mixed together anyway, with traceability being completely impossible. We already have tags in all cattle, and plenty of farmers have stories about animals they believe have been mixed up in the works. Electronic tags won’t change that at all.

The system could also be used to help control disease outbreaks as theoretically the location of all animals would be known on a central database. In practice this won’t work, because as soon as you bring in such a system there is a motivation for people to not record some animals for various reasons such as home-kill meat – these are known as “ghost sheep” in Ireland and are very common. This completely undermines the value of the database.

One major concern is that the database could be used for other purposes, possibly against farmers. There is a strong precedent for this in New Zealand – in 1974 the firearms database was used to confiscate legally owned pistols from many people for example. The Federated Farmers have been concerned that the data could be used to enforce the ETS, or do who knows what.

I have no problem with the market providing a voluntary scheme if that is genuinely what consumers want. But I have yet to meet a consumer who cared about what precise animal their steak came from – most would prefer to not think about it coming from a cute cuddly animal at all. They just want to know that it is safe. This is a socialist scheme being pushed by the EU, for political purposes, and I hope National has the guts to leave it voluntary.

America, guns, and Campbell Live

According to Campbell Live, Americans are panic-buying guns in the wake of Obama’s election. Business is up over 400% in some stores. Obama campaigned in part on tightening America’s gun laws, so this is completely understandable. I’d probably be doing exactly the same if our laws were about to be tightened (still further) here.

But how does Campbell Live illustrate what this is about? Using a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, calling for more restrictions to stop such events because guns are bad. Well pardon me, I thought that shooting occurred because guns were restricted on campus so no-one was able to stop the shooter. Virginia Tech is the perfect illustration of why America should NOT be tightening the gun laws. There are so many guns in circulation there that the criminals have no trouble obtaining them, so restricting guns just leaves their law-abiding victims defenceless. In New Zealand, with far more restrictive laws than the USA, criminals have no problem obtaining high-powered weapons. Think how much easier it would be in America.

Look out world, arguably the most powerful man in the world is now a socialist. We can expect a lot to change in the next four years.

Freedom – Family vs Green

The left like to think of themselves as “liberal” and in favour of freedom. Well as many on the right would point out, they are generally anything but liberal, being liberal on sexual matters and restrictive on pretty well everything else, that is part and parcel of being socialist.

I thought I’d compare the Green party website and the Family Party website and see how often the word “ban” appears, using a Google search. It’s been done before on the blogs, but I can’t find the original to quote.

The word “ban” appears 1,010 times on the Green Party website today, click here to check for yourself.

It appears 76 times on the Libertarianz site. (here)

It appears a total of THREE times on the Family Party website! (see here)

Furthermore, the three times the word “ban” appears are:

  • “Be open to debate on dropping the ban”
  • remove the ban”
  • “energy and resources to ban gang patches would be better spent on the war against drug dealing.”

In other words, each is talking AGAINST a ban!

Very unscientific of course, but the contrast is still incredible. So who is really promoting freedom, the conservatives or the so-called liberals?

This election is about freedom

Garth George has written an excellent column on what this election is really about – not “trust”, not even the economy, but freedom. And he’s dead right.

This election is all about freedom – the freedom of the individual to live his or her life with as little interference as possible from the state, its politicians and minions.

It’s all about being loosed from the tyranny of dogmatic “do-it-my-way-or-else” socialism, which contends that the state knows best how to spend our money, how we use our property and how we run our families.

But isn’t Labour supposed to be all for freedom? Isn’t it full of liberals pushing for homosexuals to be free to marry, for prostitutes to be free to be prostitutes, for abortions to be readily available etc? Aren’t we supposed to be more free now than ever before? Well GJ and PhilBest were discussing this the other day on Kiwiblog:

GJ:

The only freedom this current lot gives us is SEXUAL freedom, everything else they want to control!

Think about it – all those examples I came up with before were about sex. Is there a single thing Labour/Green want to free up that isn’t to do with sex? For Green maybe drugs, that is all.

PhilBest:

Norwegian blogger “Fjordman”; in “Sweden; the Triumph of Cultural Marxism”:

The British historian Roland Huntford wrote a book in the early 1970s about Sweden called The New Totalitarians. He noted how equality between the sexes was aggressively promoted from the late 1960s and early 70s. This was closely linked to a campaign for sexual liberation:

“Indeed, the word ‘freedom’ in Swedish has come to mean almost exclusively sexual freedom, product perhaps of an unadmitted realization that it is absent, or unwanted, elsewhere. Through sex instruction at school for the young, and incessant propaganda in the mass media for the older generations, most of Sweden has been taught to believe that freedom has been achieved through sex. Because he is sexually emancipated, the Swede believes that he is a free man, and judges liberty entirely in sexual terms.…The Swedish government has taken what it is pleased to call ‘the sexual revolution’ under its wing. Children are impressed at school that sexual emancipation is their birthright, and this is done in such a way as to suggest that the State is offering them their liberty from old-fashioned restrictions.”

By old-fashioned restrictions, read Christian morality. Huntford noted that this came together with efforts to downplay or attack Western culture prior to the French Revolution. As Mr. Olof Palme, who was Swedish Socialist Prime Minister from the late 1960s until 1986, said: “The Renaissance So-called? Western culture? What does it mean to us?”

“As political and economic freedom diminishes” said Aldous Huxley’s in Brave New World, “sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” This fits perfectly with Huntford’s description. The state strips away your personal, economic and political freedom, yet grants you sexual freedom in return, boldly hailing itself as your liberator. Sweden in 2008 is a society with no real freedom of speech if you deviate from the ruling ideology. The more crushing ideological censorship and political repression become, the more frantic the displays of “sexual freedom” get. Sex is freedom; freedom means sex, and only sex.

State authorities present this as liberation of women and sexual liberation, but it is actually about breaking down rival sources of power: The traditional Christian culture and the nuclear family. This leaves the state more powerful since it can regulate all aspects of life and, most importantly, can indoctrinate the nation’s children as it sees fit, without undue parental interference. The state replaces your family, raises your children and cares for your elderly…..”

We oppose immorality because it is immoral, and as Christians or conservative-thinking non-Christians we know morality is important for a host of reasons. But there is more to it that this. Sexual freedom can be used to hide a socialist agenda. We need to be very wary of it

When we stand up for morality we must also remember that we are blowing away the smokescreen of socialism.

Green party profile

The Dim-Post has an excellent satirical profile of the Green party. My favourite quote:

Stands For: Social justice; poverty reduction, achieving a progressive economy, restorative justice, making New Zealand a truly equal and egalitarian society. The party remains deeply divided over whether it should also promote environmental policies.

Many a true word is spoken in jest. Although the Green party gets heaps of votes from people who think they’re the eco-friendly option, in practice the policies they have actually managed to push through are social things, like banning smacking – which most of the country is opposed to. They focus on meddling with people’s lives and promoting extreme socialism, and do little for the environment. If you care about the environment, don’t vote Green – vote for a party that will actually help the environment, and has practical, workable policies that don’t undermine private property rights.

Such as The Family Party of course!

Compulsory tagging of animals

The NAIT scheme, which would mandate electronic tagging of cattle and deer and provide the potential to extend this to other livestock, is receiving a mixed response from farmers. It is european-socialist style agricultural policy, pushed by Jim Anderton, and having been in Europe I am immediately suspicious of such schemes.

The uses of the scheme include:

  • Identification of animals for biosecurity reasons, such as if there was a foot & mouth outbreak. The current tagging scheme does achieve this too, but in less detail.
  • Theoretical tracking of food from “paddock to plate”. This could be a marketing benefit in Europe. However the accuracy is debatable as the tags are chopped off the animals at the works and there is no guarantee which animal is ending up on your plate, and many farmers have stories of animals they believe have been misidentified using current tagging schemes. Cuts like mince come from hundreds of different animals mixed together so this would be irrelevant anyway.
  • Farmers could use the data for their own purposes if desired, but they can put tags on themselves and do that anyway if they like.
  • The information could be used by the government for other purposes, such as enforcing the Emissions Trading Scheme. This is extremely worrying, as there is a lot of possibility here for the data to be abused. There is a strong parallel with the use of the gun register to confiscate pistols in 1974 from people who until then were legally owning them.

As you can see there are benefits and disadvantages, my gut feeling is that there are more disadvantages than benefits, but it is a very complicated issue. The primary reason for farmers to support it is to gain marketing advantages for our produce in Europe over competing countries such as Argentina. Federated Farmers does not appear to have an official position on it yet probably for this reason.

I disliked the tagging and central recording systems of all livestock in Ireland, and some Irish and British MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) are currently resisting plans to extend electronic tagging to sheep and goats there (they already have mandatory tagging, just not electronic tagging). The major problem with such tagging schemes is that there is always a motivation to have a few animals that are not on the system (‘ghost sheep’ in Ireland), and this natural inclination to avoid the rules greatly reduces the biosecurity benefit of such schemes, which is the major reason for them in the first place.

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