Lindsay Perigo interviews Muriel Newman about the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, the foreshore and seabed, and today's hot political issues.
Perigo screens on Stratos TV, Sky 89, on Thursday at 7.30pm.
On the last Friday of May, students from all over the country bunked school to support School Strike 4 Climate rallies. They called for ...
Great stuff Muriel - an excellent interview! You should be back in politics.
A great informative interview. Muriel, you aquitted yourself well.
Really..? She avoided Perigos potent question about democracy crushing human rights.She identified Big Government as a culprit which is true but missed the point that its democracy that empowers Big Government (in NZ's case).
Well done Muriel and a shame it wasn't on mainstream media.
Both of you were offering good insight to what is happening in NZ.
I am mainly interested in Mr. Perigo's introductory remarks. The background scenery suggests Mr. Perigo fancies himself as the quintessential Renaissance man.
The foundation of the American political system was unique to its historical, political and environmental circumstances. Much of it made sense as a response to those factors. Because of their constitution and their time warp thinking - that nation is sailing very close to complete collapse - captive to its own constitution. Muriel Newman surely got that right. It makes no sense today - for them or us. The problem of course is the peculiar emphasis on radical individualism which emerged from rather simplistic ideas on epistemology and psychology which following Descartes, celebrated individualism as the only unimpeachable justification of anything. Nowadays this is called methodological individualism.
The mechanistic (corpuscular) metaphysics of the period and its solipsistic implications was the root of this. Descartes, Newton, Galileo and Locke and of course Hobbes subscribed to it. In political philosophy it generated the metaphysical notion of individual rights which required a completely unrealistic fiction of a social contract to justify rights and laws i.e. social arrangements. There is in fact no metaphysical justification for individual rights. There is an instrumental case for individual rights but putative rights are one thing - enforcement is an entirely different matter! That requires a community consensus that can withstand most challenges. So the Enlightenment philosophers and politicians got it wrong.
The reverse is in fact the case. Homo sapiens are in fact irreducibly social (and linguistically cultural) animals. This means that rights, individual or otherwise, require community endorsement. The history of this truth can be traced back to the beginning of literate civilization. Mr. Gaddafi is belatedly discovering this for himself. Ethnographic studies suggest the general principle goes back a long way.
The technical arrangements to explicate this endorsement are of course an evolving process. Societies that get it right are likely to be stronger in the long term. Tyranny (and oligarchy) is a short term arrangement. Given enough time - the populace will win concessions. Democracies tend to prevail in the long term because internal motivation prevails and Democracies have less destructive transition issues. Even schoolboys know that Mr. Perigo.
Mr. Perigo deplores Democracy (and the masses). I imagine the word "plebian" figured prominently in his schoolyard banter. He obviously thinks 49% robbing the 51% is preferable to the reverse. Most of us don't - and we outnumber you Lindsay which is my very point!
Brilliant interview. So clear and concise. If only ACT voters had elected you leader when they had the chance after Richard Prebble resigned then ACT could well be a party of power. You got my vote then and you continue to do so. Well done. I will be placing this site on my favourite places to visit. Cheers.
“Democracy will last until Congress discovers it can bribe people with their own money”.
Alexis de Tocqueville noted this in his 1835 classic book Democracy in America.
How wonderful it was to see an intelligent debate conducted in a civilised manner by two such well-informed and clear-thinking participants. Muriel - you are needed now on the national stage. Your beliefs provide an achievable road map to a position that Lindsay would find comfortable. Rodney should step down and you be invited to lead ACT back to its roots as a progressive, liberal party of reform; not one that fiddles at the edges.
Most sensible countries have constitutions to act as a brake on otherwise unbridled political action. They are not always effective instruments - Germany had an excellent one with one major flaw - enabling provisions - that Hitler exploited, with general approval, to install his dictatorship.
I understand Muriel's hesitations about the time not being ripe to create a constitution of merit and worth, but surely the way to stop racial preferences and all the other evils that are perpetrated today, is to have a constitution. After all, we can do no worse than what is going on at present, and if fundamental rights are entrenched in constitution then this will be far more effective in curbing power-mad politicians, who would give away their grandmothers if it bought them votes, than what piecemeal opposition achieves, or more usually doesn't achieve, ar present.
"The foundation of the American political system was unique to its historical, political and environmental circumstances. Much of it made sense as a response to those factors. Because of their constitution and their time warp thinking - that nation is sailing very close to complete collapse - captive to its own constitution."
Sorry but you fail.The US has long abandoned its Constitution which protected individual rights against the will of the collective.The US suffers under big,regulating Government that would horrify the Founding Fathers if they could see it now.The Rights to life,liberty,property and the pursuit of happiness are little more than quaint words in the modern US.What's needed is a return too the values and principles of the Constitution before its to late....for if the US falls to total statism then what hope for us?
And Muriel falls far short of being a leader for ACT....she's no Classic Liberal
James is right in one respect. The Constitution is honoured in the classroom and media and nowhere else. The reality is that the American taxpayer is subsidizing big business in many ways. But that is what happens when a constitution is so sacrosanct that reality has to conduct its business away from public scrutiny. Democracy will be increasingly compromised until it becomes just another "American Idol" show fronted by the Glenn Becks of this world.
The Founding Father's vision failed because it is based on good intentions and a spurious psychology. Societies and communities based on mistrust will never last.
Pity we dont have the first past the post electoral system still in place. I seriously doubt we'd be even having this conversation if it was still there.
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