There is a growing consensus that the independent senators have a lot to offer – especially when you look at those representing established parties. This now is a common reaction around the world, and is reaching some kind of hideous apotheosis in both the US and the UK.
There are of course exceptions. David Leyonhjelm is one of them. He does have a problem with the notion of rational thought. Anyone who uses the label ‘libertarian’ should be an object of caution. The senator has unfortunate views on guns and other subjects where he feels disposed to strike a pose as someone who is against government intervention – such as with compulsory packaging for cigarettes. Every law in some way restricts your freedom. To object to a law because it does that is to say nothing.
There is some controversy in Sydney about restricting hours for selling alcohol in public venues. These are described as ‘lockout’ laws. Since those laws restrict freedom, the Senator objects to them. This of itself is nonsense. In yesterday’s AFR, the Senator said:
Recently, in response to public criticism of Sydney’s ‘lockout’ laws, we had Professor Peter Miller telling all and sundry that ‘behind every number is a tragic story – you only need to ask the emergency department doctors, police, paramedics and surgeons who have to clean up the awful toll.’
Yes, violence causes injury and doctors are paid to treat the injuries. But their involvement is a matter of choice; they are not compelled ‘to clean up the awful toll’. Indeed, they don’t have to do trauma or emergency medicine, or even medicine itself, at all. Moreover, no one is forced to join the police or ambulance service.
In fact, doctors demanding lockouts because they don’t like treating the victims of violence is equivalent to teachers demanding parents keep dumb kids at home. They should do their jobs, or find a job that they’d rather do.
It is terrifying that a person who can be as stupid as this is on our payroll and in the legislature. The simplest form of logical failure is to state a proposition which you think warrants a conclusion when it does not. The Latin phrase is non sequitur. People do not have to work in rape crisis centres, but that says nothing about rape or how to control it. The preposterous notion that a doctor can refuse to treat someone because he is in some obscure ideological sense ‘free’ to do so merely shows how dangerous the notion of ‘freedom’ is with an idiot like David Leyonhjelm.
The AFR is my favourite paper, but I wonder why it gives space to galahs in politics like this.
As it happens, the same edition of the same paper carried an item headed ‘Elderly will be in charge, but why should they vote?’ It was written by two academics in economics at La Trobe University. It is non-stop bullshit.
What is needed to redress the balance is some practical, low–cost and politically tractable method of making the age-distribution of the voting public younger, which will better match optimal intertemporal (consumption and taxation) preferences to better fulfil this intergenerational contract.
The world is going to come to an end because there are too many old people with too much political power and the solution of these academic economists is to make voting for them optional.
Many elderly Australians, who struggle operationally to get to the polling booth on election day, would no longer have to worry about receiving a cruel fine in the mail – not to mention those who simply do not like having to vote. Many others would, for the sake of their children and grandchildren, agree about the need to offset the age profile distortion of government influence.
Making voting optional for elderly Australians can be seen as a democratic way of correcting the political implications of demographic skews. By better balancing the intergenerational contract, the proposed arrangement would lead to public policies and a fairer, more sustainable, and conducive to future economic growth.
This is a particularly sad example of what happens when you put people in boxes and say that they are all the same. It is a case of labelling. George W Bush spoke recently of Donald Trump. He said his father had told him that labels are what you put on soup cans. I should declare my bias. I am 70 and I have paid a lot of tax. I object to being put in a box on the first ground without reference to the second.
Poet of the month: Philip Larkin
This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old–style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.