The Dim-Post

September 2, 2012

Crazy when you think about it

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 2:37 pm

New Zealand Anarcho-communists – who claim that all property ownership is theft – won a surprising ally today, with former ACT leader Rodney Hide writing in the New Zealand Herald:

Who would have believed it? Singing a song can make a river yours. Plus give you a chunk of a power company and a say over how that company’s run.

Well, that’s what the Waitangi Tribunal says . . . Grown-ups have written this report. And you work each week to pay them to do it. It’s extraordinary stuff.

It is a pretty crazy idea – the concept that simply singing a song, or, now you mention it, marking some symbols on a piece of paper, or changing bits in a database – signify ownership of a piece of the planet! But anarcho-communists shouldn’t get too excited. Hide is still a staunch defender of most private property rights. He just thinks we should set a statue of limitations on property litigation laws to ‘ensure certainty’, and, coincidentally, preclude Maori from exercising their historic property rights. Everyone else’s property rights are really important.

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36 Comments »

  1. I love that equating. And it makes perfect sense, because they’re both systems for regularising property ownership.

    The scary thing is that that’s actually standard libertarian doctrine – property belongs to whoever stole it most recently and it’s the job of the state to discourage theft using all means in its power. The “forget the past, what counts is now” stuff only applies while they have lots of stuff. It’s always fun dealing with a libertarian who has been dispossessed of something, especially when it’s been done by non-state actors – that’s when their “extort taxes at gunpoint to hire mercenaries to GET MY STUFF BACK’ is most obvious.

    Comment by Moz in Oz — September 2, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  2. It was Hide who howled the loudest about corporate “property rights” when Telecom’s monopoly was watered down a few years back. What Roger hath wrought let no-one put asunder.

    Comment by Joe W — September 2, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  3. I think his point was that song singing was never a signifier of ownership, not that it is some sort of outdated system.

    Comment by Swan — September 2, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  4. Swan: which simply shows that Hide’s system of property ownership is a) racist and b) fails to deal properly with pre-literate cultures (because (a)). Either way, its not an approach we should take seriously.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — September 2, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  5. The “forget the past, what counts is now” stuff only applies while they have lots of stuff.

    Wow. You just quoted my manager (context: he doesn’t like our existing contracts and wants to renegotiate).

    Comment by Flynn — September 2, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  6. Swan: which simply shows that Hide’s system of property ownership is a) racist and b) fails to deal properly with pre-literate cultures (because (a)). Either way, its not an approach we should take seriously.

    So can when can we expect land stolen from lower North Island and northern South Island iwi by Te Rauparaha to be returned to them – or at least some reparations paid? Or is that settlement stuff just for Pakeha?

    Comment by Daaaaaave — September 2, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  7. Look, if being White isn’t about conveniently defining “property” such that land formerly belonging to darkies by definition belongs to us instead, what’s left? Morris Dancing? World Wars? Rodney’s standing up for our cultural traditions – if Tariana Turia was White, male, bald and looking like someone with a serious steroids addiction, this is just what she’d be saying.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 2, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  8. I suspect Rodney Hide chose the comments that were published in response to his column. They certainly didn’t publish mine, which made the same point you make here, Danyl: That the treaty is a document about property rights and Mr Hide doesn’t seem to be too worried about the property rights of the heirs of the people who signed the Treaty.

    Didn’t see a single comment making that point though I know I certainly made it and doubt I was alone in doing so.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — September 2, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

  9. Ah, but what everyone here forgets is that rights – be they human or property – are both contigent to Randroids like Rodney Hide and readily measurable on a sort of sliding “Galt index”, where the richer and more powerful you are the more rights you have. Thus, a rich white banker may run down poor Koreans with near impunity, or beneficiaries may be targetted for eventual sterilization, or an entire race of white colonial Galtian overlords may take from the natives what they wish on no other basis than their newly acquired land and wealth makes it right.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 3, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  10. ACT and Hide were the first party to side with Turia over the foreshore and seabed kerfuffle. They argued these were a property right, so its quite wrong to say Hide is now singing a different tune when he discusses the “ownership” of water.

    JC

    Comment by JC — September 3, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  11. “ACT and Hide were the first party to side with Turia over the foreshore and seabed kerfuffle. They argued these were a property right, so its quite wrong to say Hide is now singing a different tune when he discusses the “ownership” of water.”

    Are you sure it wasn’t the Green Party?

    Because on June 23, 2003, then ACT MP Stephen Franks stated that Labour should pass a law to confirm that foreshore and seabed are the Crown’s, or held on grant from the Crown; and on June 27, then ACT leader Richard Prebble issued a media release stating that Labour should have legislated the foreshore and seabed into the Queen’s chain and that it belongs to us all and no claim should be considered.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — September 3, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  12. I’m sure I can remember ACT making the ‘property rights’ argument in defence of Maori rights to have their case heard back in 1999.

    From Scoop: http://bit.ly/NKIDux 1999, they were pushing for an ‘urgent resolution’ – because the claim caused uncertainty for aquaculture businesses. By 2002 they were in full blown one-law-for-all race-baiting mode http://bit.ly/NKIDux.

    Comment by pete — September 3, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  13. The foreshore and seabed should be jointly owned by the British Crown and the Maori Crown from an official standpoint. The Treaty of Waitangi is dated and differs depending on how you read it and in what language you read it in, but there is no mistaking that the Maori signed it believing that they would continue to have ownership of land, foreshore, seabeds, etc. Therefore, to clear things up and to be fair to everyone, it (foreshore and seabed) needs to be jointly owned (by both Crowns) and a new treaty needs to be drafted and signed in regards to this.

    Comment by Dan — September 3, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  14. So can when can we expect land stolen from lower North Island and northern South Island iwi by Te Rauparaha to be returned to them – or at least some reparations paid? Or is that settlement stuff just for Pakeha?

    Its for wrongs committed by the government. The example you raise is a private wrong between the iwi concerned.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — September 3, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  15. Customary rights are all very well, and granting cash & money to various groups in settlement, too. But how does the ave Maori in the street get to benefit from it? Are we simply giving wealth to a Maori elite and are too afraid of being labelled racist if we ask where the money has gone?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 3, 2012 @ 1:45 pm


  16. Ah, but what everyone here forgets is that rights – be they human or property – are both contigent to Randroids like Rodney Hide and readily measurable on a sort of sliding “Galt index”, where the richer and more powerful you are the more rights you have. Thus, a rich white banker may run down poor Koreans with near impunity, or beneficiaries may be targetted for eventual sterilization, or an entire race of white colonial Galtian overlords may take from the natives what they wish on no other basis than their newly acquired land and wealth makes it right.

    Aint that the truth.

    Comment by George D — September 3, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  17. Clunking Fist raises a very valid point and I think there should be measures put in place by iwis to spread their wealth more evenly.

    Comment by Dan — September 3, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  18. Do property rights depend on their distribution to the average person in the street now? I’d have thought that was up to companies and their shareholders. Iwi members vote in their corporate leadership – the govt telling them how to run their affairs is a bit like nationalising them.

    Comment by Trouble — September 3, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  19. Don’t forget that in Rodney’s version of history, Maori back in 1840 had “no concept of ownership”… though two paragraphs later, they *did* have such a concept, just no traditions for enforcing it (“A Maori could own only what he could grab – and hang on to.”)

    Also, these gems:
    The Roman and English legal systems that declare “possession is nine-tenths of the law” and “finders-keepers”
    Really??!

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 3, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  20. “Are you sure it wasn’t the Green Party?”

    I was thinking of some things Hide said and repeated by Colin James a year or two back:

    http://www.management.co.nz/Editorial.asp?eID=54415&Wcat=70

    “ACT was the only party which argued the property rights line in the foreshore and seabed furore in 2003/04. The party said iwi should be able to pursue due process through the courts. National belatedly rediscovered property rights with new intakes of MPs from 2005.”

    JC

    Comment by JC — September 3, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  21. I don’t think the government should tell iwis how to manage their affairs, I think iwis should put measures in place on their own to distribute the wealth more equally. This would be beneficial to everyone because the government would potentially be spending less money on welfare, because iwi payments to individuals would be dramatically increased. I think that is the responsibility of each iwi to do at some point.

    Iwis are only going to get richer as time goes on and, technically speaking, the wealth belongs to everyone in the tribe. So, while I am not advocating that the government interfere with distribution measures at this point, the time may come when the government has so little money and the iwis have so much money and that will be a viable and appropriate step in the future, possibly.

    Comment by Dan — September 3, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  22. Iwi are just as vulnerable as any other corporate entity to the slings and arrows of commercial fortune – the idea that they’ll inevitably get rich enough to pick up the state’s social services role without compensation for it is hopelessly unsupported by reality.

    Comment by Trouble — September 3, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  23. Finders-keepers is largely the law if an item has been abandoned, or its owner cannot be found.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — September 3, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  24. Incidentally, iwi picking up the state’s social services role with compensation for it seems to be the essence of Whanau Ora.

    Comment by Trouble — September 3, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  25. JC. The way I remember it is that the ‘let them go to court’ line became operative shortly after Franks decided that they wouldn’t win in court.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 3, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  26. 22.Iwi are just as vulnerable as any other corporate entity to the slings and arrows of commercial fortune
    …as Ngati Tama found out earlier this year:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10799666

    (Lazy headline writing: Both Taranaki and Ngati Tama are iwi in the Taranaki region. I bet a few who kaupapa to Taranaki did a double-take at that headline.)

    Comment by Ataahua — September 3, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  27. Sancy:

    While I think you’re full of shit most of the time. a la “Ah, but what everyone here forgets is that rights – be they human or property – are both contigent to Randroids like Rodney Hide and readily measurable on a sort of sliding “Galt index”, where the richer and more powerful you are the more rights you have.”

    I do agree with “Thus, a rich white banker may run down poor Koreans with near impunity”

    Then you fall back into wankwording with “, or beneficiaries may be targetted for eventual sterilization, or an entire race of white colonial Galtian overlords may take from the natives what they wish on no other basis than their newly acquired land and wealth makes it right.”

    Comment by Tim — September 3, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  28. Finders-keepers is largely the law if an item has been abandoned, or its owner cannot be found.

    That’s where Australia has it so much better, since there were no people here before white settlement.

    Still offended that the “Immigration Museum” in Melbourne holds strongly to this view, despite a number of people asking them to correct it.

    Comment by Moz in Oz — September 3, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  29. “JC. The way I remember it is that the ‘let them go to court’ line became operative shortly after Franks decided that they wouldn’t win in court.”

    Could be. But I recall it helped me ground various Maori claims in a legal framework.

    JC

    Comment by JC — September 3, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  30. It is not about “owning water”. It is about we have used this water for (insert time frame) and (insert uses)..

    The water can be shared but we retain customary/hereditary rights to usage of that water. Tampering with that supply affects us and ours.

    The National Party does not “own” water any more than Maori does. The National Party cannot sell those usage rights away, as much as its American wall street leader would like to (NZ is to be raped, the barbarians are not at the gate, they run the place.)

    It would be interesting to see the reaction of farmers if rivers/lakes they have “rights” to were suddenly available to organisations heavily reliant on that water resource and able to do whatever was needed to alter the availability of that water.

    How different is that from a group of home owners having a shared driveway and one owner setting up a toll gate? Not much.

    The depressing thing is that an American Wall Street trader who loves little league baseball and who has no understanding of New Zealanders, is allowed to get away unchallenged by anyone.

    I wonder what pakeha trout fishers think about what happens to “their” river?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 3, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  31. Are you pissed again Pete?

    Comment by Tim — September 3, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  32. a statu[t]e of limitations on property litigation laws to ‘ensure certainty’
    He coincidentally uses the same language we heard from the Howard government across the Tasman in response to the Mabo decision. Howard described his legislation — denying any avenues for Aborigine groups to claim any prior-use land rights — as ‘providing certainty’, unburdening them of the uncertainty of knowing they had rights but not knowing how far they extended.

    People were disappointingly ungrateful about his noble gesture of generosity.

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — September 3, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  33. Yeah let’s provide uncertainty to the 99% and certainty to the 1% Maori elite. Whaddaya call the 1%ers now?

    Comment by Tim — September 3, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  34. So can when can we expect land stolen from lower North Island and northern South Island iwi by Te Rauparaha to be returned to them – or at least some reparations paid? Or is that settlement stuff just for Pakeha?

    Once said iwi can demonstrate that they signed an agreement with Te Rauparaha that he wouldn’t conquer their lands, and would instead protect them and treat them fairly in exchange for his extending sovereignty over their land. But I doubt Ngati Toa would be convinced that what Te Rauparaha did wasn’t acceptable within the bounds of tikanga as practiced in the early nineteenth century.

    Oh, and the settlement stuff is for the New Zealand Crown, which isn’t Pakeha, but the sovereign power over a diverse society, as well as for those iwi who can demonstrate that the Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi in its dealings with them.

    Comment by Mackey — September 3, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  35. All this wanking on about how Te Rauparaha was bad and the Maaries should be grateful for the benevolence of Old Whitey misses the point.

    The British Crown had their chance to take Aotearoa by force — in 1840 they had a few thousand troops here and could have brought in more if they’d wanted to make a go of it. The problem was that they were vastly outnumbered by a superior fighting force, well-armed and supplied, battle-hardened, cohesive and loyal, with an exceptional understanding of the strategies and tactics necessary to win. The New Zealand Wars, which the British very nearly lost despite having, by then, established enormous strategic and manpower advantages, demonstrated that a full-scale invasion in 1840 would have been a bloodbath and anyone who tells you otherwise is deluded.

    Wisely, the British realised that it was a non-starter and treated with the natives instead; a strategy that bought them sufficient time and goodwill to establish a beachhead and, after decades of military, civilian and political effort, establish themselves as the dominant force. So they more or less got the outcome they wanted anyway. But they didn’t get it by swordright — they got it by Treaty.

    If Whitey honours his contracts, there can now be no talk of might being right. They had their chance, they saw how it was going to end, they wisely took the Treaty path, and now we’re all bound by that decision.

    And thank goodness for that.

    L

    Comment by Lew (@LewStoddart) — September 4, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  36. Imagine if National had solved all the hoo-haa around downloading music with John Key standing up and saying that he believes that no one owns sound?

    Comment by Michael — September 8, 2012 @ 12:04 pm


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