Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fierce Creatures

This is probably of marginal interest at best to the great majority of our readers, but in the spirit of the New Year break being a time of looking for something to read, here it is anyway:

There's an an argument of personal interest to me that was kicked off (unintentionally) by Bill Ralston on this blog post, and continued over at this one on Blog Idle.

The argument is about two assumptions (that were made by Ralston's commenters, not him, I hasten to add):

1. Libraries are irrelevant now because knowledge is on the internet.

2. There is no good reason for public funding of libraries.

Obviously, being a librarian myself, I think both these assumptions are wrong. But I also agree with the Blog Idle commmenter who wrote "hell hath no fury like a librarian scorned." As a group, librarians are unbearably precious about our "profession" and overly fond of whinging along the lines of how we should get paid more like other, similar professions, because our work is just as complicated. Hello-o?! Suppose all the cops, nurses and network administrators were suddenly kidnapped by aliens: "Holy shit! What are we gonna do now?" Now suppose all the librarians were suddenly kidnapped by aliens: "Meh. We'll train some more." So I'm going to try and avoid contributing to that well-justified reputation for preciousness and self-importance.

That necessary disclaimer dealt with, on to the assumptions:

1. Libraries are irrelevant now because knowledge is on the internet.

Library managers continually have to deal with this foolishness from the people running their funding bodies (including universities, where you'd think the people running things would know better). These funding bodies, whether city councils or university administrations, are usually run by people with backgrounds in accounting or management, ie people to whom "knowledge" is an abstract and unfamiliar concept. The fact is, the free public internet is mostly what librarians call a "quick-reference tool." If you want any depth to your knowledge, you're going to need a library (or a large sum of money).

Assumption 1 contains within it the additional assumption that libraries and the internet are mutually exclusive. This is also wrong. Much of the really useful stuff on the internet, eg books that aren't so old they're out of copyright, most of the world's scientific research etc, is only available on a subscription basis. In other words, libraries have the same purpose in the internet age as they have had in the print age (which isn't over yet, dumbass - go look for a decline in the number of print publications and you'll find the graph is pointing the wrong way). If you didn't know yourlocal library was doing this for you, go ask to have it demonstrated - you may have access to a lot more internet content than you realised.

2. There is no good reason for public funding of libraries.

This assumption involves that old familiar practice of letting your ideology do your thinking for you. Don't; it just makes you look creepy. Here's the thing: the great majority of things you want - food, clothes, transport etc, are best handled by the market, but there are a few things that really aren't best handled that way:

* natural monopolies (stuff like roads and sewerage disposal)

* entities too powerful to be in private hands (stuff like police and the military)

* and a few things to which the costs are significant and the benefits largely intangible, but which most people want to have available in their city (stuff like parks and libraries)

The first two are fairly uncontroversial, but that last one seems to be utterly offensive to Ayn Rand enthusiasts. The very notion that we can make something better than the sum of its parts by pooling our resources seems anathema to them. This is one reason I love public parks and public libraries - they're constant physical reminders of why libertarianism is crap.

This leads kind of indirectly into what Bill Ralston was actually arguing for:

Auckland’s Deputy Mayor David Hay came up with an idea that might see some of the bureaucratic fat liposucked from the local body. He’s advocating the council set up holding companies to run things like the zoo, the library and the art gallery.

He makes the point that currently such outfits are run directly by boards of councillors who know bugger all about business and even less about the institutions they control.

The council can retain general oversight of the operations and their strategic plans and the holding companies are responsible for running them effectively and efficiently.

I don’t know why it doesn’t subcontract most of the council’s functions to private enterprise.


This has a certain surface plausibility, but it's based on a false premise. People who work in the private sector often fall victim to the assumption that if the market is the best provider of food, or cars, it must logically be the best provider for everything. It's the flip side of the socialist's assumption that if the public sector is the best provider of universities or libraries, it must logically be the best provider for everything. Tempting, but just plain wrong.

It's true that private enterprise is generally more cost-efficient than the public sector, but that's because private enterprise operates in a competitive environment that enforces cost-effectiveness - rather like natural selection in evolutionary terms. If you operate private enterprise in an environment that lacks that "natural selection" mechanism, it's no more efficient than the public sector. This is significant, because public services like libraries tend to involve exactly that kind of environment.

On this basis, the fact that libraries "are run directly by boards of councillors who know bugger all about business" is of little relevance. A background in business is, if anything, more of a handicap than an advantage in an enterprise which is all about giving people stuff for "free" (ie, at the public's expense). Doing that in a useful and sensible way requires a whole 'nother attitude and set of skills.

The other part of Ralston's sentence though:

such outfits are run directly by boards of councillors who know bugger all about business and even less about the institutions they control

now that really is a worry, but there's not much could be done about it.

50 comments:

ZenTiger said...

Good post. Libraries serve a valuable function, long may they exist.

Having said that, I've been working on a related post. More reason to finish it now.

I believe public organisations outsource far too much, rather than performing the tasks themselves. The net effect is that the staff numbers stay the same (more managers to manage the outsourcers), the costs go up (paying for extra managers and the outsourced company who wants to make a profit on top of doing the work) and suddenly the public organisation is free from responsibility for outcomes (not our fault, fire the outsourcer and repeat previous actions)

Turning the library into a profitable business defeats the point of the library.

Equally, my local library seems to think it is also a DVD rental store. They should exit that market.

I'd like to see more access to source materials (scientific studies, government publications etc) even if it were via closed reserve. If my local library has these things, they hide it quite well.

investigate said...

Have to agree with you Milt...there are some things that transcend profit and loss scenarios, and libraries are part of those.

There are many books published which may be uplifted from the shelf only once a year. Who's to know whether that's the book that will inspire the next Einstein or Beethoven, or lead to a cure for cancer by making its reader consider a long-forgotten piece of information?

No system is perfect, and unfortunately libraries are sometimes staffed by rabid left-wingers who scoff at conservative book burning whilst indulging in their own equivalents.

But even so, I'd rather have a well-stocked publicy-owned library, even as a make-work scheme for the unemployable :), than one purely run for profit that concentrates only on popular books.

ZenTiger said...

The religious section of the local library seems to be a small shrine to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, with a growing selection covering the religion of peace.

I think they traded Knox, Aquinas, Pope John Paul II, Noll, Newman, Chesterton, CS Lewis and others for a subscription to time magazine and a Richard Dawkins DVD.

Blair said...

Look, I really want to be convinced of the "public good" of publicly funded libraries. Sorry, I just don't see it.

Considering every school and university has one, why are the council propping ones of their own up? Why don't the council own video rental stores? The difference is not as vast as one might imagine.

Anybody can educate themselves and access a library. That is not the issue. But it seems that a council-run library is superfluous in this regard. It's an incredibly inefficient way of giving people access to knowledge. And really, who are we kidding? How many low socioeconomic people out there crawl out of the crab bucket through access to a library? You'd get better value out of saving that money and granting a few scolarships.

Oswald Bastable said...

With the price of books these days, the option of renting on from the library is more and more attractive.

I've been doing it for years- much of my reading is in the not for free section. I don't see why they can't have a fee on membership, books loaned and run on at least a 'break even' fee structure.

No reason that they couldn't be selling books and magazines either. The local one sells off older books, hires movies and charges for photocopying and internet access. So they accept that these services require some form of cost-covering- some probably turn a profit- that photocopier is always in use.

It also acts as a payment agency- mostly for various local body taxes.

As for the internet replacing libraries- call me old-fashioned, but I like to read from an actual book!

And to give credit where it is due- our local librarian is probably the only person on the council payroll that is worth what she is paid!

Ollo Chubb said...

Yes I like it how Libraries provide resources for free - for everyone in the community. Give them over to private enterprise and we would become consumers paying for everything they have to look at. Not a great way for financially challenged people studying to get out of the rut they find themselves in.
Ralston seems to be getting carried away with his new found love of the capitalists by the sounds of it, he needs to calm down a little.

Psycho Milt said...

I'm chuffed this wasn't the reader-repellent I thought it might be.

Zen: govt docs are a pain in the bum. A lot of govt stuff is available online but difficult to find - public libraries generally won't catalogue much of it but university libraries will. Try searching them, it should all be freely available. Your public library should have a bunch of e-journals available that will include a reasonable number of science journals.

Ian wrote: unfortunately libraries are sometimes staffed by rabid left-wingers who scoff at conservative book burning whilst indulging in their own equivalents.

Sad but true. NZ librarians are generally crap at defending speech they don't like, as evidenced by Zen's experiences in the religion section of his library.

Blair: as I said, the benefits of things like parks and libraries are largely intangible. That doesn't make them any less real.

It's true that schools and universities have libraries, but their collections are specifically targeted at their users and their users consist solely of students of those institutions. That's not much use if you're not one.

The benefits of a library are centred around the written word, even if public libraries have developed an irritating sideline in DVDs and their computers are largely used for TradeMe and YouTube. The more you read and the more widely you read, the better your reading comprehension, your general knowledge, your ability to write, your ability to form a cohesive argument, and so on. The easier we make it for people to read widely, the more capable we become as a people.

It's tempting to fall into the trap of thinking that the internet does that for you at home, but most of the time it doesn't. Most of what you read on the internet merely reinforces your errors, as you read crap by other people who also don't know the difference between ie and eg, or who also write "myself" when they mean "me" or "I." Relying on authorship like that is to embark on a downward spiral, as evidenced by pretty much every journalist under 40.

It's also tempting to imagine, as you do, that what libraries are providing is little different from what a video store provides. That's wrong, for the reason described above. There is simply no comparison, and it's unfortunate that public libraries have muddied the waters by going into competition with video stores.

sagenz said...

geez PM, start the year with a discussion about libraries. One of your basic premises is flawed. The library subscribes to a number of journals and publications that the humble member of public has neither the means nor the inclination to do. You justify the library subscribing on the basis of efficient and free community access. Going to my local or specialist university library is very inconvenient. I should be able to access the same information electronically. At present we all pay to subsidise the access of a few. I pay a fee to join a library. That gives me free access to many specialist books and periodicals that I do not want to subscribe to. I would happily pay a fee to give me limited access to a wide range of periodicals.

The physical library is dying. the dvds are there to raise customer numbers to justify the funding. The online library is much more efficient. It may well be a library continues as a physical social meeting centre staffed by experts.

As for librarians, there is definitely a job for people to sift vast amounts of data (books, magazines) and classify it. Bloggers do it for news. There is a market gap for those seeking more than wiki is able to provide in a specialist area of knowledge. How much more preferable would it be if you were able to answer visitors questions, classify the relevance of data to your membership and earn your salary by laptop from a beach on a tropical island.

Psycho Milt said...

Sagenz, your public library most likely already does make a wide range of periodicals available to you online - all you need is your library card number to access them. A few years back now, NZ libraries got together and cut a deal with the three big online periodicals services (EBSCO, Proquest and Gale), the main NZ one (Knowledge Basket) and the big reference services (Encyclopedia Britannica and Oxford University Press). The big libraries subsidised the small ones so everybody gets a go.

You need to keep in mind that the community doesn't consist entirely of computer-savvy people with broadband internet connections. There's also the fact that a lot of the information that would actually be useful to you is not online and your only options are going to be visit a library or buy it yourself. Visiting the library is the better option for most people, especially if the kind of thing they need is expensive, hard to get and only likely to be used once.

If you think the physical library is dying, you should visit one. In the library system I work for, we're having to increase the size of our buildings. Admittedly, that's in a university system rather than a council-run one, but the principle is the same in both: there's no drop in demand for books, combined with a huge increase in demand for computers because so much info is online now.

Local Body Librarian said...

For what is available through your public libraries check here

http://epic.org.nz/nl/epic.html

[Not there are a range of subscription options so not all libraries subscribe ot the same resources, check with your local library to find out]

Danyl said...

I tend to agree with you Milt, but I also felt like moaning about my library for a bit.

Previously they had all the science books on the eight (and highest) floor, which meant all our undergrad students needed to walk up eight flights of stairs or spend half their day waiting for the lift. At least they had somewhere with a nice view to study.

Then our IT department took over the 8th floor - got to put all those HUNDREDS of non-technical middle managers somewhere! - and all the science books were moved to the stacks on floor zero, which meant that our students had nowhere to study. (They initiated a bloodless take-over of the first floor from the religion and philosophy students).

Then floor zero flooded - access is now restricted but the students can request books and the library staff will find them and bring them up.

Naturally this all happened during the exam period . . . the administration seems weirdly uninterested in how their decisions might impact on the students.

Psycho Milt said...

This is sadly familiar territory, Danyl. An essential attribute for a good University Librarian is the ability to successfully defend the Library's collection and study space against marauding university administrators. We're seeing that at my place right now: with one new library under construction and another scheduled, our UL is fighting constant battles to prevent university administrators swiping large areas of the floor space to turn into offices for administrators. You'd imagine the question of whether to shaft the customers to make life easier for administrators would be a no-brainer, but given that the administrators control the money, it's actually strongly weighted in their favour.

In your case, the Library had its UL position vacant for quite a while, and now has somebody new in the job, so the battles most likely either weren't getting fought or were even more unequal than usual. I've met your new Librarian a couple of times - she seems very capable and I suspect shares with other North-of-England types an aversion to enduring bullshit, so things might look up next year.

Anonymous said...

Where to start

Umm you whole post is so commie it's crazy? For a start, we should just privatize the police as a subscription service - once we done that then it will be damn well clear libraries should be private too?

To defend the libraries having books on dawkins and Islam - more likely to be driven by what people borrow than what the librarians want. DVDs and CDs well again - libraries usually have a more ecelectic choice than your local DVD shoppe. If you believe the bludgers shpuldvbe able to read and to listen to Bach then those are good things.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Hello Milt. Compliments of the New Year to you.

Anon. "Where to start"

Better you hadn't. This IS a literate blog.

And now, where was I? Oh yes, Libraries.

About three months ago my phone system (and internet connection) went down for more than a week. I discovered the local library has a free high speed internet connection and so, for a week, I used it, half an hour at a time. I could even book a time for the next day.

I noticed the majority of users outside school hours were immigrants seeking residency and/or unemployed Kiwis seeking job interviews. Nothing wrong with that. A mighty fine service.

Recently I wanted to to track down some commentary on my early settler ancestors and with a minimum of fuss I did this through the library service via the convenience of my own keyboard. Once the donkey work as done it was a simple matter to drive over to the Auckland library, sit down with a small book published in 1873 and read a first hand account of the extraordinary savagery, brutality and duplicity of one branch of Northland Maori.

Is there a Waitangi Tribunal to which Pakeha can bring their grievances for redress?

James said...

Sigh! Milty the force monger misses the point.....again.Public libraries are maintained by force....the stealing of money by politicians for the reading privileges of a few by the many....bludging in other words.


And where is the justice in stealing from poorer ratepayers to subsidies the reading whims of the middle classes....? A bit wonky on the old socialism there comrade.


As private libraries can and are allowed to exist then theres no reason for the State to be involved....and it has nothing to do with its only legitimate function which is rights protection.


The crux of the matter is....if you support public liberies (or "public" anything) you support State theft and violence against your fellow citizens...have the balls to own up to that fact.

James said...

A good pirece on the scourge of public libraries ....



http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Landauer/The_Scourge_of_Public_Libraries.shtml

James said...

"The very notion that we can make something better than the sum of its parts by pooling our resources seems anathema to them."


Another lie Milty,do you keep count?....co-operation by consenting people is what Libertarians is all about.But what is being glossed over by you and others is that this is State backed enslavement of some people and their property to the wishes and whims of others.....

If you neede someone else to be harrassed by State goons to allow you to read and "educate yourself" you are a scumbag and deserving of contempt.

WAKE UP said...

A joke, not quite on topic perhaps, but worth keeping in mind;

Q: how many free marketeers does it take to stop a Panzer division?

A: none, the market will eventually take care of it.

James said...

Q: how many free marketeers does it take to stop a Panzer division?

A: none, the market will eventually take care of it."

The market did take care of it in 45....free people,the component parts that make up the free market fought and destroyed the socialist monsters who would have put them in the gas chambers.


I bet that still rankles with you eh fascist? ;-)

Danyl said...

The market did take care of it in 45....free people,the component parts that make up the free market fought and destroyed the socialist monsters

Funny, my book on the Battle of Stalingrad skipped that bit. Must have been written by a socialist.

Psycho Milt said...

Come now Danyl, a small fraction of the German forces were indeed beaten by people from Western democracies, who were, er, um, largely forced to participate by their oppressive governments.

I read your linked article, James - your man has an impressively ugly and unpleasant vision of society, I must say.

I sometimes wonder what it must be like down the pub with a bunch of libertarians:

"Fuck off, I'm not getting you a Heineken, you bludger! When it was your round, I only ordered a Speights!"

"Oh yeah? Well, you ate three of those wedges I paid for, you thief!"

Ah, good times...

Oswald Bastable said...

That sounds more like LIBRARIANS.

With Libertarians, the trick is to keep up with the drinks being shouted!

Psycho Milt said...

Libertarians, librarians, it's all the same thing if you're dyslexic.

Redbaiter said...

James the Liberqueerian is quite right. This is a collection of gangsters arguing over how they should spend their stolen money. Socialism/ Communism is so endemic in the minds of NZers.

Early libraries were made available through charitable donations or subscription. This is how it should be.

That libraries are good or bad or contain this or that is all so much smoke. Here Milt is asking (perhaps with a hint of guilt? [naah, impossible]) should workers have money forcibly extracted from their earnings by a group who consider themselves of superior judgment to that worker, to build and operate libraries.

The answer to any civilised human being is of course no. To the socialist it is yes and once you begin to argue with him on whether the theft is justified, he has already won.

Psycho Milt said...

Actually, he's already won the moment you distinguish yourselves from anarchists by accepting the need for govt in the first place. From that point, all we're arguing about is "to do what?", which is a matter of opinion.

What is this shadowy "group" I supposedly represent, which mercilessly robs the poor, defenceless worker to fund parks and libraries, Redbaiter? Last time I looked this group consisted of the ratepayers of the city, which includes all the "workers."

WAKE UP said...

Well James, that's the last time I waste a joke on you...

...but you've at least done me a favour, by proving once and for all that lefties have no sense of humour - even when the joke works FOR them! :) How telling that joke (with an appropriate mild disclaimer to boot) makes me a fascist is something only a desperate mind could suggest.

Oh I forgot - too subtle for you, of course.

So here it is, in words as simple as I can put them: the point of the joke is that while "market forces" may indeed ultimately "take care of it", there can be chaos, merry hell and death and destruction in the meantime. Duh!

WAKE UP said...

I suppose I could add at this point that the first time I heard that joke, it was in the form "How many LIBRERTARIANS... etc etc" :)

James said...

Wank up said:...but you've at least done me a favour, by proving once and for all that lefties have no sense of humour - even when the joke works FOR them!"



What does Lefties having no sense of humour have to do with me? I'm a Libertarian.

In fact you would be to the left of me judging by your comments...;-)

" :) How telling that joke (with an appropriate mild disclaimer to boot) makes me a fascist is something only a desperate mind could suggest."


I fronted your crap joke and pointed out it was in fact inaccurate....diddums! ;-0

"So here it is, in words as simple as I can put them: the point of the joke is that while "market forces" may indeed ultimately "take care of it", there can be chaos, merry hell and death and destruction in the meantime. Duh!"


Well as you again seem so ignorant of just what Libertarins belive, making this kicking Im giving you in this battle of wits hardly fair as you are unarmed I'll point out yet again that...Libertarians belive in a strong State,but a SMALL State limited to the protection of individual rights...from BOTH foreign and domestic threats.Nothing else.Hence a well armed and ready armed forces are not optional....they are a requirement if freedom is to remain....get it? Duh!!!


danyl said: "Funny, my book on the Battle of Stalingrad skipped that bit. Must have been written by a socialist."

Your book must also have skipped the bit where the West (US) sent millions of tons of materials and weapons to the "workers paradise" which despite having the most abundant resources and manpower availible still needed the goodies only the running dog Capitalists were able to provide to stave off the Nazi's...off the back of the millions of productive individuals creating wealth in the mostly free market West....(FDR's fascism aside.)


Milty blinds himself to the eternal fact that stealing from one person to fund the choices of another is still wrong and destructive no matter what warm fuzzy "good intentions " may be behind it...


Win to me on the moral high ground...yet again.....unless you can make a case for enslavement of some to others being ok...?

Redbaiter said...

"Actually, he's already won the moment you distinguish yourselves from anarchists by accepting the need for govt in the first place."

Y'know Milt, I really try to be patient with you, but when you make such dumbarsed assertions as the above, and apparently believe them to be unchallengeable truths, then what the damn hell is left but for me but to label you a complete fucken dropkick??

There is government Milt, confined to providing a law abiding environment wherein people can live work and produce in a place where basic laws are enforced, criminal behaviour is punished and international foes are kept at bay, and there is re-distribution of wealth. The two are separate concepts.

What category do you think legislating to steal money from workers and provide other people with books comes into?

Of course such things can attract majority support, especially when amorality is rife such as it is in any socialist society, (Paul votes to steal from Peter).

..and if you feel libraries are supported by ratepayers, why not put an opt in/out box on the rate notice? (You wouldn't dare of course.)

That is why in any democracy there is a need for a constitution that limits the role of government and specifically denies any wealth redistribution.

Otherwise the amoral bludgers will just become numerically superior, (as they are in NZ at the moment), and eventually, due to their short sighted ignorance and their sloth and avarice and greed, bring us all to the chasm.

If NZ had such a constitution, libraries would not be funded from taxes, but from donations and subscriptions. As they should be, and we would all, including those who use libraries, be the better for it.

James said...

Oh and this gem from milty...

"Actually, he's already won the moment you distinguish yourselves from anarchists by accepting the need for govt in the first place."

Realising the need for a State to maintain order and dispense justice is hardly the preserve of socialists...who want the State to bring about "fairness and socialist justice"....by force agisnt innocent people.
Realising the need for an objective State dedicated to the protection of individual rights is however almost entirely the preserve of Libertarians..A referee is needed to maintain order in many areas...

"From that point, all we're arguing about is "to do what?", which is a matter of opinion."

The two positions are:to protect individual rights and to leave peaceful people alone...the Libertarian position, or to mould and force people along a path desired by those who are the State...the Socialist/conservative position.

Its claer cut....freedom or force...which do you support?

James said...

What Redbaiter said! ;-)

Psycho Milt said...

James wrote: Win to me on the moral high ground...yet again

and

...this kicking Im giving you in this battle of wits...

How old are you, James? 15? 16? Or is it just arrested development?

Redbaiter: your inability to understand logic is not my problem, but in the spirit of philosophical debate, I'll explain the logic for you.

1. The moment you accept the requirement for a govt, you accept that a State is going to be co-ercing people at their own expense.

2. Having accepted that, you only make yourselves look foolish when you berate non-ideologues for accepting that the State is going to co-erce people at their own expense.

3. Therefore, unless you're an anarchist the only outstanding arguments are around "coerced to do what?" and "to what purpose?"

You're entitled to your opinions on those questions, as am I. I've made a case in my post that it makes sense to publicly fund things like parks and libraries as the costs are significant, the benefits largely intangible and the great majority of people expect to have these things in their city whether they use them or not. Now, you can argue against that but spluttering about "Theft!" and "Force!" and "Slavery!" just makes you look silly. Hope this helps.

Psycho Milt said...

Redbaiter: I guess it's only fair I also address your argument (James doesn't have one).

..and if you feel libraries are supported by ratepayers, why not put an opt in/out box on the rate notice? (You wouldn't dare of course.)

Just as we don't dare put in opt in/out boxes for Police or the Army. The problem is, there are a great many people like James who wish to enjoy the benefits of civilised society without being expected to chip in for its upkeep (and who at the same time whinge on about bludgers, FFS). As an example, we all accept the need for a govt; and yet, if there was an opt-in box for whether to contribute to the costs of Parliament or not, how many people would actually tick it?

That's the situation: the citizenries of the Western world have some things they regard as essential to maintaining civilisation at the level we've become accustomed to. That uncontroversially includes Parliaments, police forces, judicial systems and armies. We realise that there are people like James out there who want to enjoy the benefits of society without having to chip in for it, so we enforce payment. It's not "theft," it's membership fees - you want membership of this club, you gots to pay the fees and obey the rules.

All well and good. But unfortunately for you and James, people in the cities of the greatest civilisation this planet's ever seen have overwhelmingly decided that civilisation at this level also involves parks, playgrounds, playing fields, museums, art galleries, libraries, statues, memorials, all kinds of things. Same problem for the people who don't want to chip in - you want membership of this club, you gots to pay the fees and obey the rules.

There is of course no real co-ercion involved; if you and James object to the fees and rules of this club, you're welcome to go and join another one. But there you run into a problem - pretty much everyone in the civilised world disagrees with you. You guys are really going to have to go and form your own stunted version of society if you disagree with everyone else to this extent.

Redbaiter said...

"Just as we don't dare put in opt in/out boxes for Police or the Army."

Oh yeah, libraries, as essential to civilisation as a Justice system and International Security. Try it. See how many people would opt out of the justice system and protection by NZ's armed forces as opposed to funding libraries. That argument almost trumps the "anarchy is the only alternative to socialism" theory that was the thrust of your last pitiful example of gross self deceit.

Just admit it for once. There is no moral reason for you to be taking money from people by force to fund such socially peripheral items as libraries when it can be done by charity.

This charade you attempt would be such a burden on the conscience of anyone with any sense of morality, they couldn't live with themselves. It staggers me to see you so unashamed in posting here such weak and transparent deceit.

Redbaiter said...

"But unfortunately for you and James, people in the cities of the greatest civilisation this planet's ever seen have overwhelmingly decided that civilisation at this level also involves parks, playgrounds, playing fields, museums, art galleries, libraries, statues, memorials, all kinds of things"

For fuck's sake. This is not the point. The point is compelling people to pay for them by taxes. What the fuck is wrong with your head??

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Brace yourself for the shock, PM.
I agree with you.
I see no point in the library here renting out DVDs.
But for the public good of education, libraries have a place.
I say this using one of the PCs in the library's computer room.
yes, the mobile broadband did not work in my parents small village.

Psycho Milt said...

Thanks for your timely comment, FFM - it helps demonstrate that the people James and Redbaiter call "socialists" are actually the overwhelming majority of the civilised world's population.

Just admit it for once. There is no moral reason for you to be taking money from people by force to fund such socially peripheral items as libraries when it can be done by charity.

"I" am not taking money from people to fund libraries Redbaiter, except in the sense that I also am a ratepayer like everyone else, so my view that libraries should be paid for in this way is as valid as any other ratepayer's. Nor is that money taken "by force" - if you're unwilling to accept the determination of your fellow ratepayers regarding the fees of living in our city, you'll have to find another one, that's all.

It's true that public libraries, schools and hospitals once were dependent on charity, just as transport was once dependent on the horse. They were superseded by better ways of doing things. You may have a nostalgia for outdated, inferior systems, but it's a minority view. No doubt there are also people who think it would be better if the world's shipping went back to using sails (so much better for the environment!) but there's a fairly obvious reason why few people would be keen on the idea - it would be a retreat to an inferior method.

The point is compelling people to pay for them by taxes. What the fuck is wrong with your head??

Well, given that the bit you quoted comes immediately after I explained why we need to enforce payment for them, I'm left wondering what the fuck is wrong with yours. See, you keep writing as though I'm some kind of freak for recognising that these things are essential features of Western cities and that we therefore need to fund them publicly just the same as we do police, justice systems, roads, sewerage etc. Well, I'm not the freak here. Fact is, mine's an uncontroversial view shared by the bulk of the Western world. If you doubt that, count up how many major cities in the West don't subsidise or fully fund parks and libraries. Are there any? (I really don't know, but every one I've lived in or visited has been doing things my way.) That's a hell of a lot of people who also accept that yes those things are essential requirements of civilisation.

Redbaiter said...

You're just a dickhead Milt, with your lame attempts to justify your immorality by repeatedly saying it is acceptable because it is supported by the majority. I covered this in my first post when I alluded to Peter voting to steal from Paul. Majority support is no substitute for logic or morality, but it appears to be about all you have. That said, AS I HAVE ALREADY STATED, put an opt in /out box on the rates notice and you soon see the truth of this bullshit.

BTW (big yawn), nobody is arguing over whether libraries or such are a good thing or not, the disagreement is over their funding. I don't see that FFM's post supports compulsory funding.

Why is it so hard for people to grasp the real issue here?? Just because you or Joe or Pete or Sue or Jane or whoever might "like" something IS NO FUCKEN REASON FOR THAT SOMETHING TO BE FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS. You are stealing money from people who have earned it and have a prior right to it and may want to spend it on something THEY fucken well like. Jeez you collectivists are fucken ignorant ill mannered savages.

James said...

"The problem is, there are a great many people like James who wish to enjoy the benefits of civilised society without being expected to chip in for its upkeep (and who at the same time whinge on about bludgers, FFS)"

Milty...when you keep up with these bare faced lies about your opponents positions there is obviously no point trying to debate with you.

You know full well Libertarians are amoungst the very few who actually DO want to pay for what they want and use...but not be forced to pay for that which they don't.You and yours most certainly ARE bludgers...Its YOUR side that comes and waves the gun in our faces to fund your whims and wishes...not us.

Your view isn't right just because its held by more people....truth and falsehood aren't determined by the numbers of aderants to one position or another...its objective fact produced by the reality we all share that has the final say.Fact: Human beings by their nature require liberty to realise their potential as humans...without it they are being deprived and life cheated...get it?

There is no reason at all that you can provide that justifys the repression of the rights of free consenting peoplewanting to trade between themselves unhindered...unless its the desire for power over others which is after all the socialist goal.

Psycho Milt said...

This is getting nowhere. Here's my last word on the subject:

We all agree that it's reasonable for society to fund some services through taxation. At issue is only the extent of those services.

You declare it immoral to fund through taxation any service you personally feel should not be funded that way.

That is a false premise. It is not immoral for the citizens of your country to decline to accept your personal preference as the measure of what services should be provided through taxation. What is immoral is to attempt to disenfranchise them by declaring your own preference the only valid one.

Redbaiter said...

This is getting nowhere.

YOU'RE getting nowhere because all you have is false claims of majority support at the same time as you refuse to test this by providing an opt out option.

"We all agree that it's reasonable for society to fund some services through taxation. At issue is only the extent of those services."

Wrong. I do not agree that it is the government's responsibility to transfer money from one man's pocket to another's, for libraries or any other fancy, merely because the recipient of the funds has voted for a politician who has promised to deliver those funds to that voter.

The government's role is to provide a legal framework for trade and the pursuit of happiness. End of story.

WAKE UP said...

JAMES: to the astute observer, there is no difference between Libertarians and the Left, they're both totalitarian (and inhumane) ideologies in disguise.

As someone once wisely said: Libertarians are just conservatives who want to smoke dope.

(and judging from your posts, I think that may fit you perfectly :)

James said...

"JAMES: to the astute observer, there is no difference between Libertarians and the Left, they're both totalitarian (and inhumane) ideologies in disguise."

Ha ha oh please! Come on then ninny no friends...spell out just how this is the case....this should be a laugh.Of coures I expect you to refer to ACTUAL Libertarian positions and principles....not your usual bullshit straw man slurs..


Milty....the case for what role the State has to play has been spelt out by Ayn Rand for one in the most basic and non contradictory terms...simply that if the State trys to do anything other than protect the rights of the individual like redistributing wealth or regulating consentual activity amoungst people it has become a rights violator itself and has priviledged some people and penalised others by definition....get it? People have become unequal in the states eyes and when that happens what you have is a dictatorship....not a civilised society.When the State starts picking winners by discriminating it has lost its legitimate status and deserves to be disbandered and good,objective Government put in its place


When you call for the State to do something for someone ask yourself ..."at who's expense? By violating who's rights? If you can identify a victim who losses for someone else to "win" you have found where the States role has exceeded its bounds and should be leashed.

James said...

"We all agree that it's reasonable for society to fund some services through taxation. At issue is only the extent of those services."

Answered in my previous post.

"You declare it immoral to fund through taxation any service you personally feel should not be funded that way"


No...it IS immoral to fund a service by threaterning a person with force to give up their lawfully held property for the benefitof others when that person wants nothing to do with that service...it is just as wrong as burglary and assult is in society and for the exact same reason.

It is because its OBJECTIVELY wrong to take someone elses property by force that I and others oppose it...its the principle.The standard used to judge this is mans life and the requirements of it as its nature decrees....reality is what it ois...A is A.

Psycho Milt said...

Jesus H. Fucking Christ! I know I said I'd given my last word on this, but then I never before had a libertarian come along and claim their view of govt is the correct one because Ayn Rand said so! Thank you James, this has made my day.

WAKE UP said...

It must be real tough on Libertarians when they realise that the world is actually real, that most people live in the middle, and that extreme philosophies and ideologies never work past their use-by date.

Cheers Milt; my last word on this one too.

James said...

"Jesus H. Fucking Christ! I know I said I'd given my last word on this, but then I never before had a libertarian come along and claim their view of govt is the correct one because Ayn Rand said so!"

I didn't say that fuck nuts...you are lying yet again.I said she,FOR ONE,had made a simply and non contraditory case for what the States role should be....you can't refute it or even attempt to so resort to smears and evasion...typical lefty and a losser.

Wank up...who cares? You offered nothing so your silence is probably the best move you can make....;-)


Game to me and Red....zing!

Redbaiter said...

"Jesus H. Fucking Christ! I know I said I'd given my last word on this,"

..and I knew you would break that promise. Flexible on everything, that's liberals for you.

WAKE UP said...

Sorry folks, it's irresistible...
-----------------------
JAMES, watch this space. Reality bite coming soon, to a planet near you - and your theories won't save you (and, I'm inclined to say, I'm not sure that I'd be bothered trying to help you either).

"But I'm a Libertarian", he screamed, as the fundamentalists took him away :)

James said...

;P !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


;-)