Hand Mirror on can’t feed don’t breed

Written By: - Date published: 3:04 pm, May 30th, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: human rights, poverty, welfare - Tags: ,

We don’t have any particular permission to reprint posts from The Hand Mirror, so here are just a couple of extracts, and a recommendation to head on over there and read the whole thing:

A response to the Can’t Feed Don’t Breed Brigade

On Monday the NZ Herald started a week-long series looking at the gap between rich and poor in Auckland. On the first day they examined two families – one well-off and one struggling. The first had two kids, 10 and 13, the second three children, all aged 3 and under. … Comments such as these were made:

“Agree though that life is all about choices and looking at the big picture of deciding to have 3 kids (and another from a prior relationship) to support when not in a strong enough financial position points to perhaps the wrong choices being made along the way.”

“I agree that an average worker should expect to be able to support a family on average pay, but three or more kids I think is pushing it. You shouldn’t enter into a situation you can’t afford to maintain, that’s irresponsible in my view.”

When did we decide that having three kids constitutes a large family? …

What also bugs me is how, like with so many issues that come up through a feminist prism, this is about pretending that you know more about someone else’s life than they know about it themselves. Second guessing the life choices of others is a game I’d rather not play. There could be many reasons why people have 2< children (or indeed any children, one child, no children). Maybe there was a contraceptive failure, or cultural pressure to have a big family, or a desire to have children of different sexes, or they had the financial resources at the time of conception, or any range of other reasons that are theirs and not yours, or mine.

And what’s are the assumptions made by those saying the equivalent of “you shouldn’t breed more mouths than you can feed”?

  • People’s financial situations don’t change over time – or at least they don’t get worse.
  • Someone can totally foresee how much more each child will add to their outgoings.
  • Contraception is fool-proof and freely available and widely used and not socially, religiously or culturally discouraged for anyone.
  • Abortion for economic reasons is legal and accessible.

None of these is an accurate assumption. Taken together they in fact look quite ludicrous, and the last one in particular I find quite chilling. Those advocating for the termination of pregnancies which are going to put financial pressure on a parent, based on projected income, well, there’s a name for that. …

Read on for more…

34 comments on “Hand Mirror on can’t feed don’t breed”

  1. Endorsing eugenics is hardly new, but it is disgusting people still endorse it after it fell into disrepute, after a rather horrible chapter of human history.

  2. Roy 2

    Contraceptive failures happen. They happen to intelligent responsible people who use their contraception correctly.
    Unexpectedly losing one’s job and financial security also happens, also to intelligent responsible people who were doing their job well.

  3. Sosoo 3

    This gap is not about the choices of individuals.

    This is why the argument never goes anywhere. Yes, we can all admit that it’s not a simple matter of choice, and that there are many other factors, but people do make poor choices and it contributes to them ending up in poverty. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous and just gives the right wing nut cases free ammunition.

    I fully accept that people have children for stupid reasons and don’t think very carefully about it. This is just a narrower generalisation of the fact that people often have sex for stupid reasons and don’t think very carefully about it. I’m happy to admit that many people with children they can’t really afford have made dumb choices.

    It doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference to the case for providing welfare or poverty relief.

    No punitive welfare measure will ever make a difference, since the main reason people make dumb choices is that they are incapable of responding rationally to incentives (all of us do this to some extent). Only a right wing moron could think that additional incentives would somehow work on people who are hopeless at responding to incentives in the first place. The fact that many of the RWNJs suggest sterilising the poor and other massive human rights violations to combat the scourge of child poverty just shows that they have no worthwhile suggestions.

    So we’re left with children who, through no fault of their own, have to be provided for. The rest of us just have to lump it, since there is no feasible alternative. So what if this “incentivizes” some people to have children they would not otherwise have had? The alternative is worse.

    When insisting on personal responsibility produces ridiculous consequences, we rightly shunt it to the side. Why many on the left insist on accepting the premises of this tired old argument is beyond me. The correct response to “people on welfare are lazy bums” is “so what?”.

    • Murray Olsen 3.1

      Well said. We cannot afford to argue using the individualistic framework of the right. We need to take back the ideological battlefield. They can no longer be allowed to tell us what is important. If a parent buys an extra packet of smokes a month because their kid gets Weetbix at school, so what? That’s about what it would come down to. Hardly a heavily addicted smoker. Why is money so tight when it comes to feeding kids that it’s even an issue?

  4. Macro 4

    ” The correct response to “people on welfare are lazy bums” is “so what?”.”
    QFT
    Love it! 🙂

    • KJT 4.1

      “Some people on welfare are lazy bums, so what! why punish their kids”.

      We should tell the stories of real people on welfare.

      When I had three kids, on a very good wage, I didn’t know that 5 years later I would be struggling on and off the invalids benefit. For the next 11 years.

      Or my very good friend whose millionaire husband left her for a younger model. He has never contributed any support. All his income is in a family trust.
      She had to juggle between obtaining qualifications for a job, and bringing up two kids on the DPB.

      Or Mene Mene, on Campbell live, trying to do his best for his kids on a miserly part time minimum wage jobs. I thought it was a bit sad when he said that he was grateful for more hours on minimum wage. How much was Fyfes bonus last year?
      I bet you anything, his kids turn out to be useful members of our society.

      Or the teenagers I know, who have been shunted for years between employers who pretend to give them a full time job, to get the WINZ subsidy, then find an excuse to sack them so they can get another subsidised worker.

      What do the Gina Reinharts and John Keys of this world contribute?

      • Sosoo 4.1.1

        None of that changes the need for a welfare system.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        What do the Gina Reinharts and John Keys of this world contribute?

        Nothing.

      • bad12 4.1.3

        Yes that situation made me angry, here’s a bloke that plays the game and what the capitalist system offers Him in return is one room in a boarding house for His whole family,

        i bet that under the new system of allocating State Housing He and his family cannot even make the ‘B’ list, incidently and way off topic, it is the Mene Mene’s of this world of which there are 1000’s if not 10’s of 1000’s which have me voicing opposition to Labour’s KiwiBuild plans,

        It is the Mene Mene’s of this world that should be being housed at 25% of their income for as long as They think they need such housing,

        It is the Mene Mene’s of this world that provide the grunt that runs the economy and who have no certainty of hours of work or if they will have work at all,

        When i think of Mene Mene’s situation i cannot help but be struck by the thought that he and His family are hardly better off than the cotton picking slaves of some southern plantation circa 1800’s…

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    You just don’t get this kind of critical thinking by reading commercial papers like The Herald, in fact they seem to discourage it.

  6. KJT 6

    One of the best arguments for eugenics is Gina Reinhart.

    We should not allow such despicably parasitic and antisocial people to breed.

    They use way more than their fair share of resources, steal from the rest of us and make the economy less and less functional with obscene accumulations of wealth.

    • So, if I understand this correctly, there’s nothing wrong with eugenics per se, we just need to be applying it to the right people?

      • NickS 6.1.1

        +1

        Eugenics is pretty much unethical for normal human populations and imho pseudoscience riding on evolutions coat tails.

        Inbreed ones are another matter entirely though *coughcough*

  7. Just out of interest, why cant you reprint posts from the hand mirror here?

    Surly its public domain.

    A couple of years ago one of their posters, took a whole post I did at my blog and reprinted it at their blog.

    The posters there seem to think that it was okay to do that.

    So Im pretty sure they will be okay with you guys, reprinting posts here.

    • felix 7.1

      i godda bad feeling about dis

      • Brett Dale 7.1.1

        They will be fine with it, they have no problem with a copy and paste of someone’s blog
        post at another blog, without credit to the author. Since both the standard and the hand mirror share the same ideology, (well the hand mirror is more centered) then it wont be an issue.

    • r0b 7.2

      As you know I don’t mind quoting a lot of a work, but personally I would always seek permission before reprinting a whole work. Just my preference.

      It’s a bit tricky with cartoons though – hard to reprint just a part – but I always try to link / acknowledge the source.

    • lprent 7.3

      Just out of interest, why cant you reprint posts from the hand mirror here?

      There are copyright issues that we try to keep at least an eye on. Plus it is irritating to authors when people just grab content and plonk it on their site (especially when they don’t attribute). There is an extensive list of IP numbers and ranges who are currently unable to even read this site because that is what they have previously done, either to us or to someone else.

      So we will quote segments from other peoples posts and other media wrapping our own opinions over it. We put up the whole of other peoples posts only where we have permission or there is an explicit renunciation of copyright. They always go up under notices and features to make it clear that we did not write them.

      We have arrangements with a number of sites that we can put up their material when we want to. Mostly this has arisen from many previous requests to do so. It is a bit more difficult for THM because it (like here) is a collective and many of the authors have pseudonyms, so it is harder to get permission from the author of a post.

  8. weka 8

    I largely agree with Julie’s great post, esp the points about abortion access and people who argue choice while we don’t have legal abortion for economic reasons.

    I disagree about the family size thing though. We should be decreasing or at least holding steady our population for economic, environmental and future-proofing reaons. More than 2 children is a problem across the board. Personally I’d target wealthier families because they consume more, but I don’t think making the argument that in the past families were bigger is a smart response to poverty at this time in history. If we take the collective social view, then family size has impacts across society and is not just a personal or family issue.

  9. jcuknz 9

    However people slant this discussion the fact remains that the world is a finite place and it doesn’t need so many people if we are going to avoid wars to kill off the surplus population so in my view for the time being one child is all families should have. For the less well off this will mena that the whole family will have a better life, for the rich they shouldn’t be able to escape rules. Having more than one child is grossly irresponsible, the world doesn’t need them.

    I doubt veery much if many will have the brains to see and accept my position but at least I am happy that my son and DiL think alike with me on this matter so we are not contributing to world disaster and extinction of the human race through over population and the resulting problems.

  10. tracey 10

    Yes… anyone who doesnt share your world view has no brains?

  11. jcuknz 11

    I do not expect that many will accept my position on this but at least those with brains will appreciate the facts of the situation.
    Having large families was acceptable in my childhood but that is no longeer true in a world getting smaller every day and finite resources.
    I see the solution as universal socialism where people do not need to have children to look after them in old age which is the reason for having children in many countries, thankfully not needed in New Zealand and similar countries.

    People burble on about their rights and ignore the reverse … their responsibilities.
    Another fact for you …. You cannot have a Responsible Society unless the populace is respionsible to the Society and in this discussion to the world.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    12 hours ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    14 hours ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    20 hours ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    1 day ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 day ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    2 days ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    2 days ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    3 days ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    3 days ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    3 days ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    4 days ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    6 days ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    1 week ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    1 week ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Motel bill blows out as Nats fail to deliver emergency housing
    Minister Amy Adams has admitted at select committee that National has now spent $22m on putting homeless families in motels as it fails to deliver the emergency housing places it promised, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, how out of touch are you?
    What was going through Jonathan Coleman’s head in the Health Select Committee this morning when he claimed he was unaware that an estimated 533,000 people have missed out on a GP’s visit in the last 12 months due to cost, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Divided we fall
    I’m getting pretty sick of the politics of division in this country.  The latest example was yesterday’s comments from NZ First leader Winston Peters having a good go in the House at driving up fear and loathing towards people of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Electoral Amendment Bill to enhance democracy
    Democracy will be enhanced under Labour’s Private Member’s Bill which will have its First Reading today, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police underfunded despite rise in crime
    As crime continues to rise dairy owners are scared for their lives and communities reel under a record increase in burglary numbers, it has now been revealed that Police received less than three quarters of their bid in this year’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Road pricing years off, public transport investment needed now
    With road pricing still years away, Labour will step up with investment in public transport to ease Auckland’s congestion woes, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call to protect Easter Sunday in Auckland
    Auckland’s Labour MPs are backing the community to protect Easter Sunday by retaining current trading restrictions in the city, says Labour MPs Aupito William Sio and Michael Wood.  “The Government’s weak and confusing decision to delegate the decision over Easter ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.3 billion shortfall in health
    The funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.  “We used to have a health ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Catherine Delahunty: My Mataura River visit
    On June 1st the Greens swimmable rivers tour visited the Mataura river and communities connected to it. All we need now is a Government willing to set clear strong rules and support the new conversation about measuring our success by ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago