It's only 10 to 15 years since many of us were fighting the introduction of Paid Parental Leave, Working for Families, interest-free student loans AND Kiwibank - Jim Anderton's pet project and National's latest pragmatic point-of-sameness.
The principles behind that opposition have not changed. But our current government has abandoned them.
My son, who is no intellectual slouch, has taken to ridiculing the free market.
I point out that libertarianism cannot be blamed for the last recession. That no libertarian would support government bailing out private financial institutions. YES he says but you would support deregulation of them.
I counter that deregulation can only succeed when consequences are real; when they cannot be avoided through bail-outs.
So, he says, you would support allowing financial collapse just to teach people consequences?
You get the circular nature of these exchanges.
The up and coming voters have been taught to blame greed and exploitation on the free market (which has not actually been free) as if the free market is just a beast that governments tolerate; that governments can and should control in the pursuit of utilitarian goals.
The collective memory of a society functioning without (or at least with a smaller) welfare state - mass compulsory wealth redistribution - is fading.
Mass redistribution brings with it commandeering control of each major aspect of life - education, health and welfare. Once government assumes the responsibility for financing provision of these, it must then gradually assume control of each and every personal action which imposes an associated cost.
The idea remains abhorrent to me.
Earlier dissenters seem lulled or numbed into submission. NZ may have a so-called right-of-centre government but Labour's 'Third Way' has triumphed.
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