Jim Hopkins on current issues

Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Zero government - that's the way

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In the beginning, our predecessors wouldn't have known what to do with a zero budget, but they managed to invent, create, achieve, overcome, adapt and adjust without one.
In the beginning, our predecessors wouldn't have known what to do with a zero budget, but they managed to invent, create, achieve, overcome, adapt and adjust without one.

Our ancestors didn't need official minders, so why do we have to have so many today?

In the beginning, our predecessors wouldn't have known what to do with a zero budget, but they managed to invent, create, achieve, overcome, adapt and adjust without one.

The thing with governments is that everybody thinks we need them. We don't, of course, not really. Yes, it's nice to have a government, but not essential. We needn't panic if the World Health Organisation discovers a deadly virus that could wipe out all the people in the governments all over the world.

It wouldn't matter much. We'd cope. We've had heaps of practice. For the greatest part of our time upon this seemly orb, we didn't have any governments of any kind, yet we got by. We wandered out of Africa without benefit of passports or departure tax. We got quite good at hunting (ask a mammoth) without needing a spear licence. We worked out how to farm without some lemon-lipped Green person telling us our cow limit.

When we created our first cities, we didn't need gobbledegook like a Spatial Plan. Those paleoliths who painted aurochs on the walls of their caves didn't need resource consent or health warnings and OSH never popped in to check their scaffolding.

Governments got started when one big hairy bloke decided he needed to go mob-handed when he attacked another big hairy bloke. So he invented conscription. Then he found half his geezers couldn't beat an egg so he invented taxation to pay for hired clubs who could.

That's how the rot set in. From such bellicose beginnings hath sprung a seething plethora of rules, regulations, statutes, edicts, policies, prohibitions, proclamations and decrees that would beggar belief if it weren't for the fact that we've got 'em.

And budgets too; like it or not, we get one of those every year. Sometimes, it's a Zero Budget. ("Ladies and gentlemen, here's the Budget. There's nothing in it. Thank you very much. Any questions?") Yes. What's the point?

Well, it gives us something to moan about. That's the point. It's not fair. That's the point.The gummint should have done something else. That's the point. There's always plenty to get hot and bothered about. And plenty of opportunities for campaigners, alarmists and lobbyists to clobber the gummint for not spending more on this, that or the other.

Fair enough. You may agree with some of them. But remember this. Anybody who insists the gummint should be funding whatever they want funded is someone who's too scared to ask their neighbours to pay for it of their own accord. Either that, or they have asked their neighbours but couldn't persuade them.

That's part of the problem with governments. As soon as you get one, people start thinking of things it can do. And governments are usually keen to oblige. It's the nature of the beast.

There's ample evidence of this. For the past 100 years, we've had governments that couldn't defend our borders if their lives depended on it (which they would) yet they've been perfectly happy to squander squillions on things like our clean, green image or running constitutional reviews.

And we don't need a constitutional review. You can't review something you haven't got, for heaven's sake, and we haven't got a constitution, or not a written one, anyway. So, unless the review is instructed to produce nothing in writing, it's a total waste of money.

As is the dosh we spend on our clean, green image. Sorry, John, but if tourism spending and such is evidence of councils being fluffy, frivolous and not sticking to basics, that criticism applies equally to governments.

Our tourist industry is big enough and lovely enough to sell itself. Let'em do it. Everybody else does. Bug out.

The same goes for all this public health malarkey. Everybody knows jogging is the price you pay for atheism. The problem with oblivion is no-one wants to visit. That's why gyms are full of people who're afraid of dying - alongside multi-sport fanatics, men who want to look stronger than they are or recently separated ladies hoping to scrub off some cellulite before the next Mr Right turns up.

We all scoff vitamins. Or know we should. There's a host of companies flogging a multitude of health remedies and services. Let them push the anti-smoking, low fat, pump iron message.'Cos they will. They've got a vested interest. Bug out.

The more you consider what governments do, the more you realise they needn't bother. Everyone's banging on about a Zero Budget today. But no-one's discussing how it might have been a Sub-zero Budget - with billions off the books.

Instead of blithering on about whether to go New Left and neo-liberal, perhaps we should try being neo-anderthal. Then we might rediscover the personal capacity to invent, create, achieve, overcome, adapt and adjust that took our old folks all around the world without a government, statute or Budget in sight.

- NZ Herald

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