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Breakfast, Chickens and Graham Kelly, Diplomat

Peter Cresswell: Breakfast, Chickens and Graham Kelly, Diplomat


THE BEST OF NOT PC
Three 'Not-PC' opinion-pieces by Peter Cresswell from his Blog Not PC
www.pc.blogspot.com

This week:
1. Graham Kelly, Diplomat
2. "What nuisance?" And who came to it
3. The miracle of breakfast

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1. Graham Kelly, Diplomat

Well , Graham Kelly is clearly no diplomat. And we might remember that as Labour Housing spokesman our present High Commissioner to Canada called for all State houses to be lifted up and turned north to face the sun. So apart from causing offence, being an idiot, and being a Labour party hack, is he any sort of historian?

Well, if you read his comments in the speech he gave to the Canadian Senate -- the one that has now got him in so much trouble -- you might well wonder why he chose a senate inquiry as a place to break into stand-up comedy (perhaps he thought that compared to the Canadians he might be considered a humourist), but apart from the usual exaggerations for comedic effect I can't see that he's historically incorrect in what he's reported to have said.

So is it now 'racist' to tell the truth and to joke about it? Are we all just too bloody ready to be offended?* As Stephen Fry said in the 'Blasphemy Debate,' when someone says to you as if it's the final word on a matter 'I'm offended by what you said,' the correct answer is "So fucking what?"

But Stephen Fry is not a diplomat either.

A list of those in a lather about being 'offended' includes (in no particular order) Aaron Bhatnagar, Sir Humphreys, Tariana, the Green Party, Kenneth Wang, Whale Oil, Kiwi Pundit, Pansy Wong, John Tamihere, Georgina Te Heuheu - and Uncle Tom Cobley and all are queuing out the back to take seconds.

Kelly's full testimony can be found here.

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2. "What nuisance?" And who came to it

What sort of person moves next door to a chicken farm and then complains about the smell?

The sort of people who live in Inglewood in Taranaki perhaps, who come to the nuisance and then seek to make windfall profits from someone else's destruction. Story here.

I have no sympathy for people like Greg and Debbie Mitchell of Humphri es Street Inglewood who move into a place knowing there's been a chicken farm just across the fence since 1966 and then complain about the smell. Neither does the common law -- at least, not in some jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, where the common law is unenumbered by statute law such as our own Resource Management Act, the principle of coming to the nuisance would apply.

Not here. According to the Regional Council Hearings Committee decision, the business of Inglewood chicken farmer Dallas Green must close within five years.

Whilst most if not all of the submittors have `moved to the nuisance', the fact is that this is no longer an appropriate location for this type of operation... The operation is now bounded on both sides by small lot residential development with no buffer areas of rural land.

This is a classic `reverse sensitivity' situation.

If land prices do rise enough, then eventually it will become uneconomic to farm chickens there ayway, but this council have basically given this farmer five years to clear the decks and bugger off.

It's time to end the practice of zoning and of rule by town planners. It's time to put a stake through the heart of the RMA. And perhaps it's time to give back legal teeth to property rights, and to the doctrine of 'coming to the nuisance.'

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3. The miracle of breakfast

There'll never be a perfect breakfast eaten until some man grows arms long enough to stretch down to New Orleans for his coffee and over to Norfolk for his rolls, and reaches up to Vermont and digs a slice of butter out of a spring-house, and then turns over a beehive close to a white clover patch out in Indiana for the rest. Then he'd come pretty close to making a meal on the amber that the gods eat on Mount Olympia.

- O. Henry

Of course, O. Henry wrote those words nearly a century ago, and even then was writing them with a bit of a wink. We need neither long arms nor a big breakfast table to feast on this breakfast of the gods -- we enjoy it now, as O. Henry did then. All that's needed is the division of labour and the freedom to trade; the 'invisible hand' of the market does the rest.

As Adam Smith said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest." The butcher, the brewer and the baker "direct [their] industry in such a manner as [their] produce may be of the greatest value," and we are the beneficiaries of their labours -- each "intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

There's nothing miraculous about Smith's 'invisible hand,' it is simply the recognition that when each producer trades the fruits of their labour, they each win by that trade. In the words of the economists, when I trade my apples for my neighbour's oranges to the goods are moved from 'lower value' to a 'higher value'; that is, value the oranges more than my apples, and my neighbour values my apples more than his oranges. The sum result of this and every voluntary trade is that both traders win - everyone kicks a goal! -- and from each trade new wealth is created thereby: the economy is greater for the sum of the higher values achieved, and my breakfast table is richer by some freshly squeezed orange juice. The same is true when I pay for butter from Vermont to be brought to my breakfast table: the chain of trades necessarily increases the wealth of all involved.

Frederic Bastiat identified the miracle himself when observing that sleeping Parisians worried not about their next breakfast:

On coming to Paris for a visit, I said to myself: Here are a million human beings who would all die in a few days if supplies of all sorts did not flow into this great metropolis. It staggers the imagination to try to comprehend the vast multiplicity of objects that must pass through its gates tomorrow, if its inhabitants are to be preserved from the horrors of famine, insurrection, and pillage. And yet all are sleeping peacefully at this moment, without being disturbed for a single instant by the idea of so frightful a prospect. On the other hand, eighty departments have worked today, without cooperative planning or mutual arrangements, to keep Paris supplied. How does each succeeding day manage to bring to this gigantic market just what is necessary - neither too much nor too little?

Bastiat of course knew the answer to this seemingly complex puzzle: what ensures that Paris is fed is freedom. More specifically, an individual's freedom to think, choose, act, produce and to trade his produce with other individuals. By working to satisfy his own needs and wants, the free individual produces new values, and makes life better for all of us who have ourselves produced something to trade with him.

The 'miracle of breakfast' is that it is really no miracle at all. It is the fruit of freedom.

*******ENDS********


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