International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Nanny State’

Can’t see the wood for…

Both DPF and MacDoctor have bloged on the Herald’s scaremongering about removing of protection on trees.

You’ve got to marvel at the idiots they describe. These people seem to think that only The Government is protecting these poor trees – that the second any law change is past, each and ever land owner will pull out the chainsaw and get to work.

This attitude is so ignorant that it beggars descriptions. Do they ever realise that there are a great number of trees in this country that predate any protection at all? I wonder how they survived?

But there’s another side to protection.

I remember a few years back, when the government decided that farmers could no longer sell timber from native trees on their land.

What happened? Well, farmers overnight saw what was previously an asset fall to zero value. Instead of holding, say, 10 acres of valuable trees, they now had 10 acres of land locked up for nothing. So quite sensibly, farmers simply bulldozed into the nearest gully or cut them up into firewood for their own use. They then sowed the cleared land and ran sheep.

I also knew of one resident in Dunedin a few year ago who told me that trees beyond a certain diameter were automatically protected. Now, I don’t know if that was true or not, but I know for a fact that trees that might qualify on his property were dispatched in preemptive fashion. My acquaintance felt that it was better destroy a tree that might later need removing rather than keeping it and later be faced with the massive paperwork.

In fact, I once heard that Israel was once a very nice place to live – milk and honey and all that – until someone decided on a tree tax…

As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can’t just protect (or tax) things and expect there to be no negative results.

Better to treat people like adults and let them realise the benefits themselves – you’d be suprised, most people actually like trees. They just don’t like being told they have to like them.

How useful is the nanny state?

No Right Turn attacks the opponents of the nanny state:

Complaining about the “nanny state” has been a key theme of National’s campaign, even if they have to make up things to complain about. But here’s something which might want to make people think. Tomorrow night is Guy Fawkes night (yes, when we celebrate an audacious attempted act of terrorism / enact a mindless anti-Catholic ritual / set things on fire for the hell of it). And for the second year in a row, fireworks will only be on sale for four days, only in packs, and only to over-18’s – a perfect example of Key’s “nanny state”. But as a result of this, my newspaper is completely empty of the “child loses eye to fireworks” stories we usually see. In fact, according to a Newstext search I just did, there have been no reported injuries so far (there has however been one dead horse).

Now, I’m a conservative. I’m not a libertarian. That means that I believe in a sensible, but minimal amount of regulation.

The problem people have with the nanny state is not regulation per se, but the fact that everything is regulated “for our own good”.

Yes, in the case of fireworks, I support this – it’s worked. It’s saved millions of dollars in fire callouts for starters. I blogged about this last year.

But why does the goverment find it nessessary to stop parents from smacking their children? Why does the goverment see fit to dictate how efficient my light bulbs must be, or how efficient my hot water must be?

The biggest looser if I have inefficient hot water is me, though higher bills. Ditto for lights. I have made it clear that I have in fact replaced all my light bulbs since starting this blog, purely because it saves me money. I am looking at my hot water now, but again, I am the direct looser if my system is inefficient.

Now, should a parent smack their child using reasonable force, there is actually by definition no harm whatsoever to anyone. At best, this saves 1 lawyer every two years from having to argue a case for child abuse. Of course, the fear is that this law will mean that good parents will be persecuted by CYFS and perhaps the police.

So state regulation can be beneficial, harmful, or just pushing people to do what they know is in their best interest.

Clearly if you get rid of the latter two categories, we would all be better off. But somehow the government doesn’t seem to trust us anymore to make simple decisions, even if those decisions make us better off. So instead of legislation covering problem areas, we have legislation in every possible area, needed or not.

Worse, every time people are not trusted to make a decision, the mentality that “someone else” should be responsible gets more ingrained, the expectation of “safety” from ill becomes greater. And the government finds yet another area there people are not doing what they are supposed to be, and we get another law.

That’s the nanny state. Treating adults like babies, removing decisions at every turn “because it’s for your own good”. Whether or not any given regulation works or not is completely and utterly irrelevant.

Ban those bulbs

I was driving to work 2 days ago, and suddenly what was news sounded like it came from some sort of parallel dimension.

They announced the government was going to ban conventional light bulbs. What I still can’t get over is that they spoke of this as though it were the most routine thing in the world.

Worse yet, they showed not the slightest concern when it was revealed that this massive intrusion into consumer’s choices needed no law change.

Of course, as with all goverment actions of the “totally immoral” sort, the Green party is behind it.


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