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.

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