Friday, November 4, 2011

"The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed"

Guicciardini once wrote "L'imitazione del male supera sempre l'esempio; comme per il contrario, l'imitazione del bene è sempre inferiore". For those of us who, like myself, never pursued Italian beyond Latin .. this translates as
He who imitates what is evil always goes beyond the example that is set; on the contrary, he who imitates what is good always falls short." 

For anyone who's followed the progressive political plagiarism of NZF's policies over the previous two decades, the meaning of the above quote will be clear.

What Guicciardini meant was that it is very difficult to copy the beliefs and actions of another and put them into practice without losing something in the process. When seeking to wreak destruction, this is hardly likely to lead to a less damaging result. When attempting to perform good works, this failure tends to lead to less effectual (indeed, inferior) works. Something is overlooked; something is missing. The imitator cannot fully grasp or become the ethos behind the action, and thus cannot fully replicate it.

An apt summation of the first part of the quote is provided by the neoliberals of Labour's (arguable) past, and ACT.
(I hope nobody minds me referring to Rogernomics as 'Evil')
The first time around, from '84-'90 as is a matter of historical record, Labour did fundamental and thus far unrepaired damage to the Kiwi economy. The ACT Party, not realising quite *why* the twilight years of the Lange government took their cabinet-collective-responsibility foot off the accelerator ... then spent most of the next two decades attempting to push the neoliberal revolution further. Indeed, Roger Douglas's foundational work of ACT party mydeology, was entitled "Unfinished Business". The jaundiced, economically quasi-literate minds of ACT sought to outdo their predecessors.

As you can see, the imitation of evil begets greater evil.

The imitation of good, by contrast, is often flawed. The best recent example of this is supplied by Bill English.
(I hope nobody minds me talking about English intending to do something positive)
National recently proposed to make Kiwisaver compulsory (with an opt-out), showing they've finally started to comprehend the point NZF first articulated some fourteen years ago about compulsory savings being good for an economy. It's only taken them three decades to see the advantage of a pension-based sovereign wealth fund.
The problem, however, is the date English chose for its introduction. Half-way through the upcoming decade .. and only once we've reattained budgetary surplus. Now, excuse me for being pessimistic .. but assuming we have an economically incompetent National-led government for the next three years, returning to surplus within that timeframe doesn't seem likely. In other words, inferior imitation turns a good start gets turned into an empty, wasted opportunity.

Similar examples abound from the Labour party. They want to  keep our existing state assets. Great. Let's take this to its logical extension. We want to start buying back the necessary ones which *they* flogged off. This was why the NZF-Labour administration 2005-2008 bought back TRANZRAIL.

Now this last point is interesting. It indicates to me that it's possible to correct the behaviour of a minor party (a stratagem known to the Campaign for Change as "the tail wagging the dog"). The same thing arguably happened with the Foreshore & Seabed Act 2004, wherein NZF's intervention kept Labour on-course (despite pressure from its breakaway Maori turncoats) and ensured crown title.

In sum, I came into this party with one burning sentiment.

"What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be
 read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. I want this country to realise we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos. I want everyone to remember why they need us."

I used to think that meant New Zealand needed NZF as a sort of eternal champion ... a Marquis resistance always there to guard against the return of rampant Neoliberal agendas.

I now realise it also means New Zealand needs NZF for something more akin to our traditional "Keeping the Bastards Honest" role. We should also be there to guide their hands. We are, after all, in the persuasion business - it thus only makes sense to ensure that the works we've inspired are not of inferior quality.

Say what you will about us ... but we're inimicable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment