SA entertainment venues – A concrete example of how statist politics harms humans

29 01 2010

Here in Australia it is common for governments to use taxes in order to host sports events, build sports stadiums, and to give to sports organisations.  It’s also common for taxes to be spent on building arts theatres, galleries, youth arts programs, grants for artists etc.  Considering sports events are already hugely successful and popular, and would clearly survive with private investment alone, why do governments need do this?   For the arts, it’s an even more compelling question.  Art is a human need existing since time immemorial.  There is always art no matter what kind of government, so again, why? 

I think governments should properly have no role to play in sports and should have no role in the arts, because in order to achieve anything they must first necessarily destroy private capital (via income and other involuntary taxes).  I believe that the government should not be permitted to do this to individuals.  In addition, I believe the result is that inevitably less people are satisfied overall than would have otherwise been in the absence of the government intervention.  eg/ Governments around the world, including our own, are reknown for sponsoring politically motivated art and pathetic modern art that the vast majority of the general public have no interest in what so ever.   

Often governments claim that sponsoring sports/arts events or building sports stadiums/theatres will attract tourism or other revenue.  They call it “investment”.
This is a classic example of the dishonesty of politicians and the ineptitude of the mainstream media.  As previously stated, “investments” first require a destruction of private wealth and therefore destruction of potential private investment – by force (tax).  It is therefore not correct to call government theatre building for example an “investment”.  A more accurate description would be, forced wealth re-distribution via a middle man (enter government bureacracy). 

In addition, why should tourists be favoured at the expense of others?  Why should particular sports/arts fans be favoured over non fans?  Why should the big construction company capable of building a stadium be favoured over all other industries? 
An unjust abuse of power IMO. 

Not only are governments behaving in a way I consider immoral, by violating my right to my life and therefore my property (instead of doing their job and protecting my rights), they are also hurting the hip pockets of everyday Australians.  For example this study shows that government sponsorship of sports events costs more to the average tax payer than the “revenue” generated by the event.  “Taxpayer Subsidies for Major Sporting Events” 

“This paper concludes that major sporting events do not appear to generate sufficient extra tax revenue to justify the expenditure of taxpayers’ funds”

South Australia has a current, clear and concrete example of how the state government has hurt ordinary people by wasting their money.  We tax payers are currently footing the 52 million dollar bill for building a new 2500 seat venue next to the Entertainment Centre (a 5000 seat venue).  However, we already have a government sponsored stadium less than 1 km away that holds 3000 people!  It’s called ETSA Park Netball Stadium, and the government spent over 11 million dollars building this stadium about 10 years ago.  I see no reason why this stadium could not host all sorts of events and I have heard that tax payers are actually paying for this stadium not to be used.  ie: The stadium use is restricted in exchange for a tax payer subsidy!  I cannot provide evidence for this however and would probably have to track down the annual report from the state government’s “Office for recreation and sport”.  However, if anyone has any further information, please fill me in.   
Directly across the road from the new venue is the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel.  A fine example of a successful venue that for many years now has regularly hosted bands and still has no pokies.  The Gov is capable of holding at least 500 people.  We also have a 500 person government venue about 1 km away in the city called Fowler’s Live.  We have a slightly larger venue called HQ bar on West Terrace, a stone’s throw from the new venue.  In addition, we have a grand old 2000 seat theatre called Thebarton theatre in South Australia.  Once again, this theatre is centrally located, and is perhaps 2 km from the new venue.  This theater was built in the 1930s by the Thebarton council however they planned to demolish it in the 1970s.  Thanks to private interest and efforts it was saved.  From Thebarton theatre’s website:

In 1981 Weslo Holdings Pty. Ltd took over the lease of the Thebarton Town Hall and renamed it Thebarton Theatre.
The building had deteriorated significantly in the latter years of the Council’s management and Weslo Holdings had to spend more than $1million on redeveloping the theatre.
It was fitted out with new foyers, toilets, electrics, carpets, seating, administration areas, bars, and confectionary and merchandise areas.

Weslo Holdings Pty Ltd is very proud of the fact that, except for the initial loan of $350,000 taken out by the council (the interest on which (and some) was paid by Weslo Holdings Pty Ltd), all other development (over $1.0 million worth) has been undertaken and paid for by the company. Further upgrades including the beautiful old interior will be undertaken in the near future.

As a side note, this theatre has also been heritage listed, meaning the state government now has strict control over what can and cannot be done with this theatre, for example when it comes to attempting repairs, renovations or upgrades.  Considering the theatre wouldn’t even exist today if the council had gotten it’s way, this seems quite unjust to me, although perhaps the managers aren’t too worried about this, I don’t know.  

This old theatre hosts many events these days.  I am quite fond of this theatre mainly because I’ve seen some great shows there and there’s a little charm to the place. 
Unlike recent government projects that are inevitably hugely expensive failures, like the unprofitable wine centre and the recent tram line extensions, this theatre is of course, profitable – now.  But, their job has been made harder.  As a 2000 seat venue, they will have to compete directly with the new state government’s 52 million dollar venue.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they have already lost shows. 

We can only hope that the new venue doesn’t now run at a loss too. (over and above the current loss of course).  I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, perhaps you can imagine how 52 million dollars could have otherwise helped the lives of decent ordinary hard working South Australians had this money been left in the hands of those to whom it rightly belonged. 

This is yet another concrete example of how statism harms human life.  The danger and seriousness of unchecked statism should be obvious in our culutre considering the horrifically violent 20th century where, nationalism, facism and socialism were in vogue.  But this is not the case. 
eg/ I strongly doubt you will find any article (apart from this one) discussing the destructive 52 million dollar injustice I have just identified.  You’ll probably find a few praising it though.


Lord Monckton on Alan Jones’ radio show

29 01 2010

I immensely enjoyed this interview with Lord Monckton.  Lord Monckton needs no introduction as I’m sure all global warming skeptics have followed his efforts over the years. 

I was greatly pleased to hear Lord Monckton was interviewed by Alan Jones simply for the exposure he would have received.  Alan Jones is one of Australia’s biggest talkback radio hosts. 

Monckton makes a few great quotes, for example:

Monckton makes a similar point to the famous Junk Science page on the Kyoto Count Up! (one of my favourite links for sending to environazis).  He points out how even if all western nations cut their emissions by 30% (which is 6X the Rudd’s government’s current aim!), the alleged change to global average temperature would be 0.02C.  ie: Unmeasurable! All this for the bargain basement price of trillions of dollars! (ie: a lot of human life). 

“…..and it’s that kind of utter disconnect between the real world and the policies that the world governing classes are following that is so extraordinary” 

I was also very pleased to see Monckton stand up to Kevin Rudd.  Kevin Rudd apparently personally attacked Monckton in his public speech.  Monckton draws attention to Kevin Rudd’s use of ad hominem.  
Certainly in my repeated experience, Kevin Rudd is pathetic on an intellectual level – IMO, an embarassment to himself and the country. 

I also commend Lord Monckton for pointing out the reality of the “climate change” debate.  ie: Environmentalism is about politics, not about the environment.  The real danger to humanity is totalitarian government.

And finally I had no idea that our PM K Krudd, took 114 staff in a jet to Copenhagen (publicity staff , photographers included of course) at the taxpayers expense.  Appalling.

Australia’s Dog Fence.

28 01 2010

Why God hates your country.

25 01 2010

Initially I thought this site was comedy but I’m not actually sure, I think it might be serious.    

Simply click on the country you come from and find out why you’re going to hell! 

I must admit to enjoying the explanation of John 3:16. 

Here’s the intro to Australia:  “When you throw the standard that the Lord your God set since the foundation of the world right out the window, what you get is a country that has NO morals!  Every year that evil country known as Australia holds numerous Fag Pride Parades.”

The growth of Pentecostal Christianity.

19 01 2010

I was brought up as an Anglican Christian by my highly religious mother.  But it all seems so foreign and ridiculous to me now, approximately 10 years after I made the choice to accept reason into my life and be healed :). 

Even when I was an introverted, superstitious and highly religious child I thought the Pentecostal types were a little creepy and weird.  Today, I really think they’re crazy.  The talking in tongues, miracle healings, banning sex before marriage.  Early morning TV shows where old people are pushed out of wheel chairs.  Ughhhhh.  But according to some, Pentecostal Christianity is actually the fastest growing religion!  

I’ve never attended a Pentecostal service however I did once attended a “Planet Shakers” conference at the Entertainment centre, run by the Assembly of God Church when I was about 20 or so.  My reaction toward what I assessed as thousands of brain washed teenagers behaving very strangely; horror. 
A friend of mine with Polish heritage actually has a funny story of trying to hook up with an attractive girl obsessed with the Assembly of God church.  He attended a service and apparently they did a bit of the old talking in tongues routine (see glossolalia).  So he spouted off something in Polish but surprise surprise, even with the power of the holy spirit, the interpreter got the translation totally wrong.  (God hates the Polish :)).    

Anyhow, Paul Hsieh has a nice but disturbing little article on the NoodleFood blog that links to this article:  “New face of religion in Latin America” 

What’s distrubing?  The fact that in terms of politics, the Latin American Pentecostal Christians are generally more socialist while still retaining the typical anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, drug prohibition, censorship friendly views of the Christian right in the US.  ie: The worst of both worlds combined.  As Paul notes, this position is more consistent with Christian doctrine. 

Paul states: “if we want America to survive, we must be willing and able to advocate our ideas — namely, reason, ethical egoism, and individual rights”

I agree and also encourage those friendly to Objectivist ideas to proudly and loudly point out the fundamentally anti-reason, self immolating, collectivist attributes of religion generally and to suggest superior alternatives.

Eating in New York. Caveman diets and caveman policies.

18 01 2010

I read two articles related to diet today.  The first was a very interesting piece on fairly extreme paleo dieters and exercises who live in NYC.  See:

Personally I hope this movement is growing although I can immediately see fundamental points of disagreement between my ideas and this crowd.  I suspect these “cavemen” may believe something is good for you simply because it is primitive or from the caveman era.  Similar to those who believe tradition is good in of itself.   

Anyway, why is this interesting to me?  Because I have been a low carb eater for at least 2-3 years now.  I was having some IBS type symptoms a few years back and found that reducing total carbohydrate content (yes, I think the low GI crowd have got it wrong too eg/ see this article) yielded the best results.  The gasteroenterologist told me there was nothing I could do about my (relatively mild) symptoms apart from trying fibre and probiotic supplements.  However higher fibre loads definitely made things worse in my case.  And I never noticed any improvements from probiotic supplements even though I tried a few brands, a few different bacteria combinations and also attempted to source the highest bacteria counts possible. 

I heard some news about both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (more serious conditions than mine) being treated with low carb diets and I decided to try it out.  I have never looked back.  I felt better and I also started discovering what it is to really enjoy eating.  Energy levels improved and apetite reduced.  Gone were the days of slamming half a litre of coke and a packet of potato chips and then 30 min after my sugar splurge, I’m once again craving something sweet and struggling to concentrate due to a slight feeling of malaise. 

My approach was to simply limit my total carbohydrate count to less than 72g a day – the advice dished out in the book “Life Without Bread“.  This isn’t easy for a beer drinking chocolate loving man like myself, but it’s doable and it’s definitely been worth it in my case. 

At this point I should also recommend Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  Taubes is a science journalist and his book is excellent in that you can quickly determine that Taubes is someone interested in knowledge and certainty itself.  Taubes wants to find out, how can we be sure of what we think we know? (applied to the field of nutritional science).  In addition Taubes discusses the political interference in the areas of nutritional science and education.  He effectively (although it’s not the aim of his book) demonstrates the negative effects on society that necessarily follow from government intervention. 

Basically, I simply think the hypothesis that our bodies have evolved to eat certain food types to be very compelling.  I don’t believe 10,000 years or so of agriculture is enough time to adapt the human disgestive system over to grain based eating – especially considering that evolutionary type pressures are reduced in modern human societies. 

When I exercise (not nearly enough) I also adopt a similar approach.  I’m very sceptical of what I call the Rocky IV bad guy approach (Ivan Drago as played by Dolph Lundgren).  Rocky IV’s Soviet nemisis had all the latest training equipment and Soviet reasearch behind him as opposed to poor old Rocky who had to do it tough, Jake La Motta style.  In the movie, Dolph uses weight machine (ie: not even free weights) isolation exercises. 

Personally, I believe weight exercises like the bench press to be unnatural movements that are not optimally tailored for how our human bodies were built.  I generally think that most muscle gains through isolation, machine weight training will not result in functional strength gains even if they do increase muscle size. (some weight exercises are better than others of course)  Additionally, I think weights junkies are basically risking tendon and bone injuries for the sake of looking good.  (I should also note that I believe muscle mass to be largely governed by genetics anyway).  eg/ The myostatin deletion in Belgian Blue cattle    

Functional strength is what is important for your daily activities and health.  Both body builders and marathon runners are not optimally healthy.  Marathon runners look terrible with very little muscle mass.  On the other hand, body builders (if my suspicions are correct – based on word of mouth combined with Matt Furey’s ideas) are generally useless against their own body weight (eg/ push ups, chin ups) and useless at intense aerobic activities (eg/ A few minutes flat out on a punching bag).  Both these types of athletes have higher rates of heart attacks for example. 

I prefer exercises like short sprints, push ups, chin ups, bridging, hand stands, burpees – that type of thing.  I also think aeorbic training is over-rated. 

I think Cross fit training, the Tabata method and Matt Furey amongst others are on the ball in terms of evolutionary friendly exercises to get the most out of human bodies. 

Both these two lifestyle choices that I have adopted, (ie: my low carb eating plan and my preference of body weight calisthenic type exercises as opposed to going to the gym) are minority positions.  Low carb eating is not recognised as being healthy due to the fact that when you lower carbohydrate intake you almost certainly raise fat intake (something that doesn’t concern me in the slightest).  To live my life as I wish to live it, I need to be free to choose the food I want to eat.  The freer I am to look after my health the better for me and for everyone in society.  And everytime the government steps in whether it be through propaganda, industry protection, increased taxation, regulation, or outright bans (my state already controls school cafeteria menus), my choices become more time consuming and more costly to enact. 

So to my dismay, immediately after my interesting read about the cavemen in NYC, I read another article on the plan to forcibly”encourage” NYC restaurants to cut salt in their dishes.  I mean come on!  NYC already banned trans fats and requires calorie counts on menus.  Nanny Bloomberg doesn’t seem to understand or care about freedom.   

See  “Citing Hazard, New York says Hold the Salt”

It is simply not the role of the government (a monopoly agency of destructive force) to tell the populace what to eat.  As soon as this is attempted politically, the government necessarily violates its duty to protect its citizens from force by initiating force itself.  There is no way around this no matter how you tweak the regulations. 

When governments initiate force, human lives necessarily suffer because humans cannot operate at full capacity without freedom to act out their thoughts.  And the costs of government initiation of force will always outweigh the benefits.  Physical initation of force against another is wrong full stop.  It’s wrong because initiating violence is harmful to human life (Human life is the ultimate standard of morality in Objectivist ethical theory).  It should be eliminated from society as much as possible (there’s no happy medium like so many people want to believe).  Governments while being the agency entrusted to achieve this goal as much as possible, are still no exception.  They too shouldn’t be allowed to initiate force.  When they do, even in small amounts, there will be negative consequences. 

As the second article I read today demonstrated, it’s all too easy to find many examples of how ever greater applications of state force are occuring and negatively affecting human life on this earth. 

In politics, there’s one simple fact that surely we could all one day agree on.  Socialism and fascism failed!  The 20th century proved beyond a doubt just how big a threat statism is to human life and prosperity. 
Wake up world, your government won’t save you.  It will kill you. 

In the meantime, I’ve just learned that Stalin and Hitler apparently got a bad rap according to that typical lefty idiot and Chavez-o-phile Oliver Stone.  He’s making a miniseries to put these thug leaders “into context”.  My initial thoughts are that he will fail badly and that he should instead read The Ominous Parallels by Peikoff.

Update:  One day later and I’ve been alerted to (H/T Oactivists email list) this article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper:  “Ban butter, to save our hearts”  (I believe the lipid hypothesis is definitely false unlike the doctor quoted in the article).  Anyhow, looks like I could be buying my butter on the black market soon the way the world is going!