Introductions and Disclaimers

Hello everyone, I’m James K and most of you will know me as a frequent commenter here.  I’ve been asked by Erik to have a go as a full contributor at The League.

First of all, thanks to Erik and the rest of the Ordinary Gentlemen for this opportunity.  I’ll try to be interesting.

But before I can be interesting, I have an issue to cover that I’ve been able to skirt as a commenter, but need to address directly as a blogger.  As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I’m a government employee – a policy analyst in the service of the New Zealand government.  This means I have a professional obligation to abide by the Code of Conduct for the State Services, and in order to do that I need to exercise a modicum of caution in how I approach blogging:

1) Let me be clear, that I am blogging and commenting here as a private citizen, exercising his own opinions.  I do not represent my Department, or any agency of the New Zealand government and nothing I say should be construed as an official position of the New Zealand Government.  In fact, I’m not even going to tell you which Department I work for, ultimately it doesn’t really matter what issues I specifically work on since policy work is all much of a muchness, the details change but the basic principles do not.  And I can’t go into details of my work anyway.

2) To preserve my political neutrality I will not be discussing the details of New Zealand partisan politics.  I have views on the merits of my country’s various political parties, but I decline to share them.  Honestly I would think the details would bore most of you anyway.  After all being interested in your own country’s politics is bad enough, but only a freak would take an interest in another country’s politics ;)

3) No war stories.  I have picked up a number of amusing anecdotes in my time in government and I will be telling you none of them.  I have leaned quite a lot about general principles of policy formation, but I won’t be disclosing specifics.


Having said all that, here’s a few ways I think I can contribute to this fine blog:

1) I’m not American.  New Zealand may be an Anglosphere nation, but we still have quite a different cultural idiom than the US (especially around politics).  I hope this will give me the ability to shed new light on issues by bringing an outsider’s perspective to American debates.

2) I’m a libertarian that works for the government.  That has to be worth hours of comedy gold.  In seriousness, government-employed libertarians are not unheard of (Milton Friedman worked for the US government in his youth), but they are rare.  I think this gives me a fairly unusual viewpoint.  I care about making government work better, but at the same time I believe that often that is best done by having government focus on its core functions.  I believe government is inefficient, not because government workers are too lazy to do a good job, but because no one is competent enough to do some of the jobs that are expected of modern governments.  Plus some of that inefficiency exists for a good reason.  Oh, and for the record, I’ve never even read anything by Ayn Rand.

3) I’m an economist, specifically I have a Master’s Degree in economics (with a specialisation in trade and environmental economics, as well as econometrics) and approach my policy work from an economist’s perspective.  While I’m not entirely clued-in on the educations of the other Ordinary Gentlemen, economists are a sufficiently eccentric bunch that I thought it was worth mentioning it.

And I think that covers it.  If you have any thoughts as to what you’d like me to post about, let me know in the comments.  In any case, you should be hearing more from me soon.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.

29 thoughts on “Introductions and Disclaimers

  1. Cheers, JamesK, although writing under a pseudonym should be cover enough for writing your real thoughts. But perhaps NZ has a Patriot Act thingee that will hunt your IP down and fire you.

    I meself am thoroughly interested in the politics of the Anglosphere as test cases and “controls” on the experimental variables. France or Egypt will tell us less about the USA than NZ. [Or Oz.]

    I believe government is inefficient, not because government workers are too lazy to do a good job, but because no one is competent enough to do some of the jobs that are expected of modern governments.

    Yes, we in the US have had that problem with our presidency of late. [One from each party, for those keeping score at home.] Perhaps you have identified the problem in this, your very first post!

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    • Since James K is actually part of my name its more of a psuedo-pseudonym really.

      And I’ve done my due diligence, ultimately I have the same rights of free expression as anyone else, It’s more about risk management than me doing anything I’m not allowed to do (trust me, if I wasn’t allowed to do this, I wouldn’t be doing it).

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  2. Welcome James. I’m delighted to have our very own kiwii at the League.
    So is it true that New Zealand is to Australia like Canada is to the US? I’ve had a couple Ozzies tell me as such; but then they would wouldn’t they?

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  3. Department of Hobbits, isn’t it?

    Welcome aboard! I’m sure Erik will show you where the break room is, where we pick up our paychecks (paycheques for you) and the master list of all the commenters we’re about to ban.

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  4. Thanks everyone for your kind welcomes. I’ll be away from home for much of the day, but I except I’ll have my first substantial post up some time tonight (tonight my time, so sometime in the next 8-12 hours).

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  5. Burt:

    I’m busy as hell, doing a trans-media thing, and finishing off the two existing book series. There are people trying to pitch a TV show for GONE but as always, long odds.

    I found this place by looking for you. Classy digs.

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