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Friday, August 26, 2005

One more pledge

Jordan Carter provided a short definition of neo-liberal:
As a short definition, I would regard "neo-liberals" as people who have a hazy and incomplete knowledge of Smith's "Wealth of Nations", a working knowledge of Barro's "Macroeconomics", and who know nothing of Smith's "Theory of Moral Sentiments".

Social democrats are the true liberals in the Smith tradition, as modified in economics by Keynes and his successors to reflect the modern world.
I'll leave the last line alone. Anything I say might interfere with Jordan's delicate grip on reality. However, as a public service, I thought a few lines from Smith's "Theory of Moral Sentiments" would instantly wipe out all neo-liberals that read this blog. If you know something of Smith's book, ergo, you are no longer a neo-liberal!

Given the recent debate between Clark-the-Terrier and Brash-the-Labrador, we could see what Smith has to say about all this:
To talk to a woman as we would to a man is improper: it is expected that their company should inspire us with more gaiety, more pleasantry, and more attention; and an entire insensibility to the fair sex, renders a man contemptible in some measure even to the men.
Hmm, would Brash's manners go down well with the voters?
Generosity, humanity, kindness, compassion, mutual friendship and esteem, all the social and benevolent affections, when expressed in the countenance or behaviour, even towards those who are not peculiarly connected with ourselves, please the indifferent spectator upon almost every occasion.
And Smith reminds us the path to corruption of our morals:
We desire both to be respectable and to be respected. We dread both to be contemptible and to be contemned. But, upon coming into the world, we soon find that wisdom and virtue are by no means the sole objects of respect; nor vice and folly, of contempt. We frequently see the respectful attentions of the world more strongly directed towards the rich and the great, than towards the wise and the virtuous.
There is no doubt Helen Clark has been cast by Labour as the Great One. Certainly, the government has taxed so well to be at it's richest.

How corrupt have become our morals? The voters seem ready to ignore the moral failings of our Rich and Great Government. Is all this forgotten: Te Wananga, Art Forgery, Dismissal of Doone, Tamihere's Golden Handshake, the failure of 111, uncosted student interest free loans, making baseless accusations about National policy being written in Washington, grave errors in costing Kyoto, leaving loyal officers hung out to dry over speeding, wasteful spending of sing-along radio, hip hop tours, job jolt, and a list of other issues - all ignored as Labour make last ditch efforts to spend more money (another 1300 teachers announced yesterday) whilst saying National cannot afford tax cuts.

So I ask for one more pledge from Labour for this election:

No new taxes to be introduced, or taxes raised by more than the CPI. Tax deductions given if interest rates continue to rise, for the next 3 years.

Somehow, I don't think they are that liberal.
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Posted by ZenTiger | 8/26/2005 09:35:00 am


Blogger Jordan said...

Selective quoting isn't really a great rebuttal. If you want to focus on Smith's "social more" views, that is fine. I suppose he probably wouldn't have had much time for a range of things today's liberals do. His more enduring message is on the nature of community.

In fact if you want another short definition, you could say neo-liberals are people who believe in hyper-liberal economics, combined with a radical critique of the state and community best summed up by Thatcher "there is no such thing as community."

To which one can quote the eloquent (but ineffective) reply of Neil Kinnock:

"'No such thing as society', she says. No obligation to the community. No sense of solidarity. No principles of sharing or caring. 'No such thing as society'. No sisterhood, no brotherhood. No neighbourhood. No honouring other people's mothers and fathers. No succouring other people's little children. 'No such thing as society'. No number other than one. No person other than me. No time other than now. No such thing as society, just 'me' and 'now'. That is Margaret Thatcher's society."

Your perverted vision of liberalism has all the faults of the ideology with few of its good aspects. And you wonder why people give that kind of POV 0.9% support.

8/26/2005 01:28:00 pm  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

Selective quoting isn't really a great rebuttal, Jordan...

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."

Margaret Thatcher, 1987.

8/26/2005 01:57:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Jordan, please! Your blog is a patchwork of selective quotes. But my selective quotes do nothing to ridicule Smith - I think they give a fair sense of his thoughts. I did not selectively quote you either, given that is pretty much the entire text of your original comment. So, I'm not really sure you raise a fair point that I have quoted selectively, and consider it more an attempt to dismiss my post.

You also completely ignore the point I made about the moral failings of Clark and the Labour government. A case of "the greater good" and "the ends justifies the means" I suppose.

And given the Labour ideology is for the government to deliver more government based services (funded by tax revenue), a true to form Labour government will raise taxes, especially after the spending spree Cullen earlier said we cannot afford.

New Zealand should know that a Labour government means even more tax increases or new taxes in the next term. Something I doubt you could honestly deny, and certainly not pledge.

Finally, I have not stated my views on the definition of liberalism, I have just critiqued yours. I can only take your comment "your perverted views of Liberalism" to simply mean anything that does not agree with your views.

This is indeed one word grabbed by the left, the neo-communists if you will, in their effort to up-market socialism. Or is that now called "social democracy"?


8/26/2005 02:15:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...


Jordan thinks that government and community are interchangeable. I have always thought that the stronger government gets the weaker community gets.


The Left want to highjack the very concepts of community and pervert it. And then tell us we want to destroy it when nothing could be further from the truth.

8/26/2005 02:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cullen has already announced his intention to place a capital gains tax on all shares in overseas companies

8/26/2005 04:31:00 pm  

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