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The Right is Wrong

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Things have certainly changed in New Zealand politics. Roger Douglas, the architect of the great revolution in New Zealand economics in the 1980s and the founder of the libertarian Act party, has been rejected by his natural ally, John Key, leader of the center-right National party.

Yes today Prime Minister Key said he could cope with anyone as leader of Act except for Roger Douglas! I don’t blame him at all of course, because Douglas is a crazy ideologue and is far more interested in continuing his unfortunate economic experiment than making practical changes which are genuinely better for the country.

So it looks like extreme libertarian economics is out for the the foreseeable future. A lot of people will be very relieved about that! But it also shows how National has become more of a populist party rather than a traditional conservative and business focussed one. Key has demonstrated on many occasions that he would rather do what is popular rather than what is right (not that those two things are always mutually exclusive).

So I guess that means that Act won’t be able to pursue their pure economic objectives and will continue along the populist route which their current leader, Rodney Hide, obviously prefers. But if National want to occupy the center-right populist postion will that leave room for Act? I don’t think so which is why I think Act will cease to exist.

Political norms and trends proceed in cycles, moving from the left to the right and back again, and it certainly seems obvious at this point that we are moving away from the right oriented policies of the past. I guess this happens because neither the left nor the right can offer any real long-term gains and the voters inevitably grow tired of both after a few years and vote the other back in.

This might not seem to make much sense but, in the end, the left and right need each other. Theoretically the left make the big changes and the right maintain the stable, sensible status quo. I know that is a gross simplification but there is some truth in it.

National could easily be dragged down by the self-destruction of Act so they are obviously being careful about how they manage their association. And Act are caught between their two power groupings: the libertarian purists can’t win because neither the public nor their allies want them, and the populist grouping has been thoroughly discredited through the hypocritical actions of its main members: Garrett and Hide.

If I didn’t despise the bunch of ideological misfits and cynical populists in Act so much I’d almost feel sorry for them! As it happens I just enjoy every new step they take to their inevitable doom!

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