In defence of Western Civilisation from our modern vandals

And half of those vandals are internal. Here is a twelve step program from Jordan Peterson. It is hard to believe that such common sense still exists and can be said in public, but here it is.

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And if you are interested in the full text, here is the entire two hours.

This is Peterson’s own background briefing to the presentation:

Conservatism has all-too-often found itself unable to articulate a coherent positive doctrine. By this I mean specifically that the laudable conservative tendency to preserve the best of past has too-often manifested itself in a series of “thou shalt not” statements, instead of laying out a manifesto of fundamental values that might serve to unite people around a set of common ambitions. I am attempting to rectify this problem with this statement of principles, some of which I believe might have the additional virtue of being attractive to young people, looking for mature and forthright purpose and responsibility.

I am not making the claim that the statement is perfect, comprehensive or final.

I will just add that it’s not perfect or final, not least because it is mostly pragmatic but lacks the moral grounding that is essential. The left is filled with people who are evil to their very core but believe they are only doing good. Without a proper moral basis for action, there is no foundation for anything. Socialism is great on paper, and when we have perfected humanity we can bring it on. In the meantime, every such experiment is inevitably disastrous for everyone other than those who are at the very top of the pyramid. We have found a way to bring peace and prosperity which are through the principles laid out, but there is a deeper understanding required which only an Edmund Burke and an Adam Smith can supply.

Posted in Conservative politics, Cultural Issues | 54 Comments

Tax or Spend

Earlier this week, Adam Creighton wrote in the Oz about a large bubble if interest only loans due to convert to interest and principle – Home loan truths: interest-only borrowers face $120bn time bomb.

Also recently, Merryn Somerset Webb wrote in the Financial Times about the impact on asset prices from the reversal of Quantitative Easing (QE) into Quantitative Tightening (QT) and the (obvious) impacts on interest rates and asset prices – Payback time for QE looms — and it will be expensive.

Now Somerset Webb’s article was UK centric, but she did note that former US Federal Reserve Chairman, in 2010:

made no secret of the fact that one of the main points of QE was to shove up bond, house and stock prices and make everyone feel better.

Overlay the above with the general tweeking/tightening of prudential lending standards by APRA, comments by the RBA Governor that the next interest rate change will be upwards and the potential for even further lending standard tightening as a result of the banking royal commission.

The net result, some serious pressure on asset prices and house prices.  Creighton already noted:

regular falls in Sydney house prices, slowing price growth elsewhere and falling demand for home loans.

In this light, questions need to be asked about the Labor Party’s proposed changes to capital gains tax and negative gearing.

In a climate of declining asset prices and increasing interest rates, will it be politically possible for a Labor-Green coalition government to further increase taxes on capital with particular focus on investment property?  Will a Labor-Green coalition government spend every cent of revenue that it won’t collect, as occurred with the mining tax, jack up the Federal debt?

Here’s a question for those political and economic journalists out there – ask Mr Shorten and Mr Bowen whether they will proceed with their property tax grab if the external environment has already hammered the sector?  The golden tax goose is looking a bit unwell.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

David Bidstrup: Is public ownership of electricity assets “socialism” or just common sense?

This article looks at the history of electricity generation, the reasons why governments’ were intimately involved in it and the reasons why they chose to exit the industry and create the godawful mess we have today.

I fully expect to be vilified by the free market aficionados but I am old enough not to bother about name calling and think that the facts always point to the truth even though they are often difficult to find. My example is the state of SA although there are parallels with Victoria and probably other states.

Reliable cheap energy has always been a major driver of industrialisation and it still is today. This point seems to be lost on those who implement policies that raise prices, reduce reliability and cause industries to close their doors and lay off employees.

South Australia started off with a private supplier of electricity, The Adelaide Electric Supply Company, (AESCo), who provided electricity in the metropolitan area of Adelaide. They saw no reason to make large investments which might have long delays before getting a return so the chances of luring industry to SA with cheap and abundant energy were slim.

Premier Tom Playford had an agenda to industrialise SA and looking back he was very successful in doing this. It is hard to imagine that the busted arse place we have become was once a fairly vibrant economy producing cars, cotton fabrics, television sets and whitegoods as well as steel making, ship building and oil refining. The demise of many of these things was the advance of “developing” countries where cheap labour priced the domestic products out of the market, (Japanese TV sets for example), and what was not killed off by that was squandered by the idiots that followed after Playford ended his career after 36 years as Premier.

Playford “nationalised” the electricity industry, (with the enthusiastic support of the then Labor opposition), and formed ETSA which had the charter to expand the capacity and coverage of the electricity grid, ensure reliable power and keep prices as low as possible. In association with the Housing Trust which provided cheap land, factories and housing for workers and the Engineering and Water Supply Department that ensured water supply and sewerage facilities and with a pragmatic approach that reduced bureaucracy the results were impressive.

Capital works were funded with public debt. ETSA consistently covered debt repayments and provided an annual dividend to government coffers. The organisation was driven by engineering with forward plans to build power plants that would cater for future growth in a manner where there were no power shortfalls. Incidentally, people I know from that era tell me the SA/VIC interconnector was built to take excess power from Loy Yang when power growth in Victoria stalled. This saw the cancellation of the next power station on the books. Those who knew the traps occasionally took time out from their lawn mowing rounds to try and raise the alarm but were ignored. The same happened when reservations about “renewable energy” were raised. Silence.

It seems fashionable to believe that ETSA was “sold” for reasons of inefficiency but that is not so. The Bannon Labor government’s insane “State Bank” fiasco, where 2 small banks were merged,(but someone forgot to remove the government guarantee), put under the control of a department store manager and eventually crashed and burnt as the experiment in “Merchant banking” failed miserably. It left a large debt, “guaranteed by the government”, which needed to be repaid and there was no money in the till. It was the time of the “economic rationalists” and the “user pays” principle so the obvious source of the cash was to sell some family silver. ETSA was first to go. There are parallels with the fate of the SECV in Victoria in the aftermath of their state bank’s Tricontinental disaster and the collapse of the Pyramid Building Society.

18 years have passed and we are still in the grip of idiots. No one “in power” seems to have the slightest idea of the damage that has been caused by chucking taxpayers money at the “renewables” carpetbaggers so they can build useless wind farms, large scale solar farms, batteries and the fantastic Snowy 2.0 and then having us pay them for the privilege of ruining the economy. People clap when good power stations are destroyed and we are plunged into chaos. The stupid focus on “climate change”, “emissions reductions” and the vilifying of coal is insane and needs to be fought with all our might.

Many years ago I learnt the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Effectiveness is “doing the right thing”; efficiency is “doing the right thing as well as possible given the situation that applies”. Someone could be the most efficient producer of button up boots but it would not be effective. No one wants them.

People seem to be afraid to voice an opinion lest they be branded a socialist or a communist or some other epithet but I could not care less. If I am any “ist” it would be a realist.

In a previous post on Catallaxy I saw the following:

 It’s not that those who forget history get to repeat it, but those who do not learn from history end up being led around in chains.

That is where we are today and where I fear we will stay unless there is a rush of “common sense” to the head. The “leaders” of both sides of politics need to recognise the error of their ways and understand that what they fervently wish for is not achievable. What are the chances?

Posted in Guest Post | 73 Comments

Wednesday Forum: April 25, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 1,561 Comments

David Leyonhjelm guest post on nuclear necessity

Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro is in the headlines for acknowledging a simple fact, that nuclear energy is inevitable in Australia. Hysterical opposition from those with little knowledge about nuclear power has already begun.

The problem with any discussion on nuclear power is that it is fraught with misinformation promoted by hysterical nuclearphobes. Nuclear power evokes fear of the unknown, because we don’t have nuclear power here in Australia. We’ve also been repeatedly told that it’s scary and something to fear.

We may live in an age that values feelings over facts, but psychologists tell us that the best way to tackle a phobia is to confront it; to take a closer look, and to understand the details, thus removing the mystery upon which irrational fears rely.

Those willing to do that find nuclear power is no big deal. In much of the rest of the world it’s just a normal means of energy production, growing from 3.3 per cent of global electricity generation 40 years ago to 10.6 per cent today. It is a significant energy source in countries like South Korea and Sweden, while in France it provides 75 per cent of electricity generation. The United States, United Kingdom and China are expanding their use of nuclear power by developing small modular reactors which are cheaper, safer, more flexible and generate little waste.

There are 400 nuclear reactors in the world now, and will be over 500 within 10 years. More than 60 are under construction currently and China plans another 200 by 2050.

This global growth in nuclear power is occurring despite the 2011 disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami killed 20,000 people. It’s often forgotten that the resulting meltdown of an old and poorly located nuclear power plant, while it prompted significant upheaval, actually killed no one.

It may contradict the beliefs of the flower power generation, but the nuclear power industry is significantly safer than other large scale energy-related industries. Fossil fuel power, hydro power and wind power are each more deadly, both in absolute terms and relative to the power they produce. A 2006 review commissioned by the Howard Government came to that conclusion and it remains true today.

An Australian nuclear industry also has the potential to create a secondary industry based on the safe storage of waste products. With vast uninhabited, geologically stable land, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory could become world leaders in the field of nuclear waste storage. If a small country like Sweden can safely generate nuclear power and provide for the safe disposal of waste, so can Australia.

Australia has around half the world’s known uranium deposits. We currently export uranium to other nations that reap the benefits of nuclear energy, and there are more export opportunities to come, yet we are rejecting the benefits ourselves. Meanwhile our household energy bills continue to rise.

Australia is the only G20 country with a blanket ban on nuclear energy. If we are genuine about tackling the energy gap, the soaring cost of electricity and our commitment to emissions reduction, we need to dispel the myths and let the nuclear industry flourish.

David Leyonhjelm is a Senator for the Liberal Democrats

Posted in Australian Story | 107 Comments

You know you are living in a police state when

You know you are living in a police state when you get 8 months in jail and a 12 month driving ban, not for speeding, but for having a laser jammer and giving the police the finger.

But don’t fret.  The police in this police state maintain a website and twitter account to promote (celebrate) their successes.  For safety and crime statistics you need to go to a different place.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 45 Comments

Sheltered Workshops

In yesterday’s Australian, Adam Creighton wrote a wonderful piece on the state of the Australian Financial Services “industry” – Time we lifted the lid on these sheltered workshops.

Whilst waiting for someone to lodge a complaint against Creighton and the Oz with the Australian Human Rights Commission for the derogatory use of the term “sheltered workshop”, Spartacus was reminded of the wise words of Nassim Taleb as it relates to breaking up the vertically integrated financial services behemoths.

Taleb wrote/said (can’t remember which) that any organisation that is the beneficiary of a government guarantee (actual or implied) is for all intents and purposes a government entity.  And as such, the managers of such quasi government entities should be remunerated as public servants.  At least until these entities are no longer the beneficiaries of government guarantees.

Taleb posited that if such rules were applied, these entities would be broken up so fast, our heads would spin.

He gave 2 examples to support his idea:

  • In the feeding the people industry, restaurants go broke every day without anyone noticing.  Yet, were a large supermarket chain (yes like you Coles and Woolworths) to get into financial distress, the conga line of lobbyists and glad handlers would converge on Canberra faster than a rat on cheese.
  • In the financial trading industry, hedge funds also go broke every day.  Yet, and readers may recall 2007/2008, were a large bank to get into trouble from trading (and notably not from the provision of core banking), a conga line of regulators would converge on Canberra on behalf of the banks.

The Australian Financial Services industry has long ago moved into the State Monopoly Capitalism territory where it is no longer survival of the fittest, but rather survival of the fattest.  And in this case, the banks are Hansel and Gretel and the Government is grandma fattening them up so as to eat them.  In this case however, not to exactly eat them but rather to tax them within an inch of their lives.  You see, in a competitive market, there are no super-normal profits and hence no rivers of tax gold for our political overlords to spend on things.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Canada in the news

Quite a dismal surprise to find Toronto in the midst of one of our modern forms of multicultural horror. I am particularly struck by the outrage expressed in this CTV headline: 10 dead, 15 injured in Toronto van incident. Incident, as in: oh, incidentally. Adding this:

Deputy Police Chief Peter Yuen told reporters Monday afternoon that police received multiple calls around 1:30 p.m. about a vehicle “driving on Yonge Street, striking a number of pedestrians between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.”

Yuen said one suspect was in custody, the van had been located and all available resources had been mobilized to investigate the situation. Sources told CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson that the suspect is Alek Minassian.

“I want to assure the public, the rest of the city (is) adequately policed,” Yuen said.

No doubt everyone now feels reassured. Of course, the ones who are likely being policed are those speculating in public about who the killer was and why he had done what he did.

And also from the Old Dominion, and indeed also from Toronto, we have: Jordan Peterson on Kanye Backlash: Candace Owens Is Right to Object to ‘Victimization Narrative’.

On Monday, Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor and author, said it’s “very, very dangerous” for the radical left to divide people into two groups — those who are victimized and those who are the oppressors.

Meanwhile Shania Twain apologizes after saying she would have voted for Trump. Retrospectively, she now says she is sorry she said it, but doesn’t change what she really would have done on November 8, 2016, had she been an American and not from the frozen north.

Posted in Terrorism | 14 Comments

Q&A Forum: April 23, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 116 Comments

No Dr Gigi – We Don’t Want Your Advice

Arrogance.  Thy name is Public Servant Academic.  Actually Dr Public Sector Academic.

Reported today in the Daily Telegraph, High-profile academics go public to push Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to increase taxes.  Gee.  A bunch of people who would not know what the private sector was are demanding more tax revenue.  Who would have thunk it.

Led by the Ponds Institute:

An open letter urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to reject tax cuts for families is part of the left-wing Australia Institute’s Australia Doesn’t Need Lower Taxes campaign and includes at least 37 signatories who have taxpayers to thank for their employment.

But the coup de grâce came from UNSW academic Gigi Foster who is reported to have said:

that if the nation wanted advice­ about what was best for it “you are basically stuck asking for it from people whose work is paid for by the nation”.

Well.  Dr Gigi.  The nation is not actually asking for advice, especially from the likes of you.  The nation probably knows what is best for it without your advice.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments