Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention;
Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless breeding“. The previous letter writer, a Mr Smith, parrotted the usual prejudice,
For too long, family numbers have blown out of control, because the state, funded by people who took a responsible attitude towards family numbers, has been there to pick up the tab, and this has bred a culture of entitlement
The problem with people like Mr Smith is that no thinking is required when making such puerile statements. He just repeats what he’s heard from elsewhere.
It’s worthwhile recalling that before the Global Financial Crisis – caused by well-educated, white old men (and predominantly, they are usually always White Old Men) – unemployment in New Zealand in the September 2007 Quarter stood at 3.5% – or around 79,000 people.
By 2012, that had rocketed to 7.3% – or 173,000 of our fellow New Zealanders.
That’s 95,000 men and women who went from wage and salary earners – to the “lifestyle choice of luxury living on unemployment” .
Even with unemployment currently at 5.6%, there are still 137,000 people unemployed – 58,000 more than seven years ago. Factor in a growing problem of under-employment, and it becomes apparent very quickly why we have growing child poverty in this country. Especially when the definition of being ’employed’ is working only one hour a week (or more), whether paid or un-paid.
When public or media attention is focused on high unemployment and poverty and government policies – the causation of these problems is slated home to the GFC.
But taken in isolation, when the focus is on families suffering the effects of unemployment and poverty – the problem is slated home to “individual responsibility”.
The ignorance of people like Mr Smith is a kind of self-inflicted, Orwellian, double-think. No brain-power required.
By blaming individuals, and pointing to a so-called lack of ‘personal responsibility for indulging in irresponsible sexual activity’, Mr Smith is saved from the task of having to think through the issues. (Or else he’s just jealous he’s not ‘gettin’ some action‘, as our American cuzzies phrase it so eloquently in ghetto/under-class idiom?)
The next time Mr Smith or one of his clones parrots the same preconceived prejudice, they should be posed the question; what do we do with the children of workers who were in work, but now aren’t?
Option A: Adopt the Eastern European gangster method and sell them into sexual slavery?
Option B: Adopt the Asian method, and chain them to sewing machines in sweat-shops, churning out Nikes and trendy t-shirts bearing witty social-justice slogans for Western consumers?
Option C: Or just go with the ISIS technique of mass extermination?
Once we sort out that little “issue” (because actually calling these things problems then demands solutions – an ‘issue’ only requires a cuppa tea and a chat), we can turn our attention to more pressing matters, according to our esteemed Dear Leader;
Damn. Which one?
Maybe we should ask Mr Smith. Perhaps it’s something he has thought deeply about?
The Listener: Letters to Editor 20 September 2014
Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey: September 2007 quarter
MoBIE/Dept of Labour: Labour Market Reports – Employment and Unemployment – March 2008 Quarter
NZ Herald: Unemployment up to 7.3pc – a 13 year high
Reserve Bank NZ: Employment
Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey – Definitions
Statistics NZ: Introducing new measures of underemployment
Fairfax media: Key moves for poll on change to flag
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 September 2014
= fs =
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $20.20/hr
~ Marriage equality - Yay! Got that one!
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ State housing for life
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Stronger communities
- The Rise and Rise of Daddy State: MSD blackmails NGOs for private data
- 2017 – Ongoing jobless tally
- Trumpwatch: The Art of Deflection
- Trumpwatch: Fake News, Soft News, and Non-News
- The Mendacities of Mr English – The covert agenda of high immigration
- Election ’17 Countdown: The Promise of Nirvana to come
- Trumpwatch: “… then they came for the LGBT”
- Election ’17 Countdown: Joyce – let the lolly scramble begin!
- Election ’17 Countdown: The Strategy of Ohariu
- Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War
- The Mendacities of Mr English – Social Services under National’s tender mercies
- Trumpwatch: Muslims, mandates, and moral courage
- Trumpwatch: Voter fraud, Presidential delusions, and Fox News
- Cutting taxes toward more user-pays – the Great Kiwi Con
- St John management applies tourniquet to workers’ throats
- Letter to the editor – Juliet Moses does NOT speak on my behalf!
- The Legacy of a Dismantled Prime Minister
- Trumpwatch: Trump escalates, Putin congratulates
- Protestors condemn Russian involvement in atrocities in Aleppo
- The Sweet’n’Sour Deliciousness of Irony: Russia accused of meddling in US Election
- Charter Schools in a Post-Truth Era
- The Dismantling of a Prime Minister – Completed
- The Mendacities of Mr Key # 19: Tax Cuts Galore! Money Scramble!
- The Rise of Great Leader Trump
- An earthquake separates John Key and ‘The Iron Lady’, Margaret Thatcher
- When Life is a Lottery
- The seductiveness of Trumpism
- 2016 – Ongoing jobless tally and why unemployment statistics will no longer be used
- Trumpwatch: Black Ops from the SIS and FBI?
- Expose: Winston Peters; the 1997 speeches; and neo-liberal tendencies
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- 446,839 hits