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Title: Brash's views and voting record are consistent Credit: Jim Peron Comment Thursday 1st April 2004 - 12:00pm1080777600 Article: 203 Rights
 
Self-described "liberal" commentator Jim Peron disagrees with columnist Craig Young's analysis of National Party leader Don Brash's positions on social and Maori issues. Craig Young is often insightful but I do think that sometimes he just doesn't get the point, and his article Queer Eye on the Brash Guy is one example. First, Young's analysis is still tied to the outdated and deficient theory that there is such a thing as a Right-Left political spectrum and what isn't Left must be Right. Politics is far better divided into four quadrants: authoritarian, libertarian or classical liberal, socialist, and conservative. One can be a Left-authoritarian or a Right-authoritarian and people like the Maxim Institute are what I call "socialists of the soul" who believe that an individual's private life belongs to the community and must be used for the "social good of all". The socialist and the conservative both believe that individuals must subordinated himself to the collective but differ as to when this should be done. The conservative leaves individuals free economically but demand control on private morality. The socialist balks at social subordination but wants to shackle the individuals economic choices. The authoritarian does both and the liberal does neither. Young asks: "How can [Brash] reconcile what seems to be a liberal voting record on issues of personal morality with anti-intellectual Maori-bashing?" I find that a dumb question which tells us more about Young than about Brash. First, Brash's views, unlike Young's, are consistent. Second, his critique of special race-based privileges is liberalism at its best. The Civil Union Bill critiques special privileges based on sexual orientation: ie, legal privileges only reserved to heterosexual couples. If it's wrong to hand out rights based on sexual orientation then it's wrong to hand out rights on the basis of race. I see Brash as the consistent one. Mr. Young is free to hold his opinion but what exactly is so "anti-intellectual" to the view that all races should have the same rights and access to government services? Mr. Young thinks Brash is resorting to a mixture of "centre right social liberalism and anti-redistributive populism." Yet the classical liberal tradition, which Young really doesn't seem to grasp, has always said that the state exists to protect rights not to act as the grand social engineer. I do think Brash is sometimes inconsistent such as on legalising drugs. But on a whole he supports the extension of individual freedom and rights and that includes the right of people to keep what they earn through their own hard labour. Equality before the law is the theme of the Civil Union legislation. And it is the principle which Labour has violated in it's attempts to buy off the Maori vote via preferential treatment. Jim Peron is the Executive Director of the Institute for Liberal Values www.liberalvalues.org.nz Jim Peron - 1st April 2004    
 
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