Hutt River’s secession and heraldry are neither a political statement nor a
publicity stunt. They resulted from one man’s determination to save his wheat
farm from ruinous government mandates. In 1970, after fighting a losing battle
to repeal a stifling wheat quota, Leonard Casley and several of his neighbors
declared independence from Australia. “We seceded to protect our lands,” says
Casley, “to stop our lands from being taken from us.”
For more than four decades the self-made monarch has matched wits with
irritated bureaucrats and politicians. So far, he’s come out ahead.
Reason Magazine ran a good piece on Hutt River Province in Western Australia. See my article on secession (more writing on secession's constitutionality planned once I get time):
This article on Forbes.com has been making the rounds lately. Some of my favourite:
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young
Most Australians see the government as a vast public utility established to take care of us when we need it by providing a ‘safety net’ for the destitute. The logic is as follows: we’re a community, and it’s our responsibility to collectively provide for those who can’t provide for themselves.
There’s no doubt that it feels good to have people take care of us. When our girlfriends, wives, mothers, fathers or brothers buy us presents and show they care about us by hugging us and saying nice things, we feel a sense of connection to them.
Similarly, Australians feel protected when government sets up paternalistic agencies like the Department of Human Services (responsible for Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, Disability Services and Hearing Services). The welfare state is a necessary function of government, according to its proponents, because it shows that we’re part of a community that cares about each other.
That’s the argument anyway.
There are a few problems with this fairytale story (which is taught almost without question in schools and universities throughout Australia).
First of all, caring and sharing is great – but only if you do it without hurting anyone else. If I steal $50 from my friend Peter and then use that $50 to pay Paul, I haven’t done anything commendable and don’t deserve to be treated like a saint. On the contrary, I’ve done a despicable thing. I’ve taken something that doesn’t belong to me. While it may be true that Paul needs the money more than Peter, that doesn’t in any way justify my actions, either legally or morally.
The problem with a welfare state is that it relies on theft to finance its operations. I am speaking of course, of taxation.