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O’Sullivan and Garrett, strange bedfellows?

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, March 6th, 2010 - 6 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, health, racism - Tags: , , ,

It’s strange. I would have thought that Fran O’Sullivan and David Garrett were at complete opposite ends of the extreme Right. O’Sullivan is a pro-business liberal or libertarian, Garrett is a knuckle brain conservative. But actually, they’re not so far apart. It seems both believe in freedom for the rich and control over the poor (the latter, perhaps the necessary corollary to the former).

Incredibly O’Sullivan goes into bat for Garrett over his sterilisation comments:

“The Government could simply make sterilisations free and provide additional targeted assistance to help them cope with their existing brood.

Looked at rationally, such grants could even be seen as economic in the long-run from the parents’ perspective – as well as the Government’s.

Plenty of middle-class parents stump up for the financial cost of sterilisation procedures once they have completed their own families.

Why shouldn’t assistance be available to those who can’t meet sterilisation costs?”

It’s one thing for a government to provide contraception , including sterilisation, for free. That’s good because it gives people options, freedom.

But bribing the poor to not have kids, that’s a kind of capitalist eugenics.

It is only the poor that would be bribed by Garrett’s $5,000 payment or O’Sullivan’s slightly more chilling sounding “additional targeted assistance”. That actually takes choice away from people, there are many who couldn’t afford to turn down O’Sullivan and Garrett’s bribes.

But that’s no trouble for the extreme right. The poor Atlases are being dragged down by carrying the ‘leeches’ (as Ayn Rand termed you and me). Better to bribe the poor to be sterilised.

In a weird passage, O’Sullivan tries to justify sterilising the poor by harking back the the eugenics practised in the early 20th century:

“Ironically, state-sponsored sterilisation programmes are part of New Zealand’s past. Just 40 years ago, our state-run mental hospitals still contained many ageing women who had been committed by their parents and left to rot.

The files revealed some of these women were committed on the basis of “moral degradation”: Having a baby out of wedlock.

Something which the Government happily picks up the bill for these days through making the domestic purposes benefit available to young, partnerless women.

But certainly didn’t in the 1920s and 1930s when many hapless women were sent away.

In those pre-pill days, some of these institutionalised women were subsequently sterilised to prevent them from having more children.

What is also notable is that most of those women were Pakeha – not Maori.”

Come on Fran. You’re seriously saying ‘well, the government did it before, it’s OK now’? It was barbaric eugenics then, and it would be the same now. And of course it was mainly Pakeha is State-run mental institutions for having babies out of wedlock. That’s a Victorian value system, not a Maori one.

To be fair to O’Sullivan, she gets it right on Whanau Ora:

The Maori Party claims that Whanau Ora will enable “Maori solutions to Maori problems”.

But the details are fuzzy.

There are no guarantees that Whanau Ora funds will not be subject to misuse. There are also no guarantees that Whanau Ora will in fact reduce the societal costs New Zealand already shoulders as a result of the levels of murders and child abuse committed by Maori.

That’s why the taxpayer funded programme’s success needs to be judged on hard metrics like the progress made on reducing child abuse.

A billion dollar programme that no-one can define, even in vague terms, that will involve turning over public money to goodness knows who in ‘high trust’ contracts, and give no guarantees of improved outcomes.

6 comments on “O’Sullivan and Garrett, strange bedfellows? ”

  1. Rob 1

    Garrett’s comments were quite awful but I just don’t seem to see anywhere near that same level here. From reading the whole article there were 3-4 points that I disagreed with but overall I thought she wrote quite a balanced opinion on it. I also am not clear from reading the article whether that targetted assistance means helping parents to raise their own children or if it is an incentive but am not going to blame her for it whilst it is unclear.

    I don’t think sterilization should ever be subsidised to encourage people to do it. If people are poor parents then the state should provide the support to ensure they were better parents or to move them to a more safe and conducive to learning environment. It should however be free to all and people who can’t cope with more kids or have a likeliness of giving inherited conditions to their children would probably go for it if they felt it was right. I think the fact that she starts the narrative on state sponsored sterilization in the past is started with “ironically” and the way she discusses it “left to rot” shows that she doesn’t support it herself and differentiates it from her own view.

    She certainly takes a pragmatic approach towards the government which I enjoy. Thank you for posting about it probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise.

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    I too tend to like Fran because she’s pragmatic. That passage about the 20s and 30s is certainly a little weird to say the least. But I think you’re unfairly maligning her by taking that first passage you’ve quoted and equating it to Garret.

    There is a world of difference between saying “Hey, you pauper, look!! 5,000 shiny new dollars if you let me cut your bollocks off. It’ll only cost you round a grand, and you can keep the rest for cigarettes and booze” (the Garrett approach) and saying “sterilisations could be made free” (Fran’s approach).

    I’ve been chided elsewhere for my “personal dislike” of Garrett, as though espousing disgusting ideas shouldn’t engender disgust in the hearer. But “make sterilisation (and all forms of contraception) free” was precisely the line I took.

    Psychologically and sociologically they’re a world apart.

    I’ve been poor and I have four children. If the state had simply informed me sterilisation was available to me or anyone else regardless of social status, I’d have considered it in the same frame of mind I’d have considered having knee surgery – weighed the pros and cons etc.

    If OTOH Garrett said to me “you look like the type we don’t want any more of… here, cop 5 grand to stop you turning out any more runts” I’d have shoved each one of those shiny gold dollars right up his clacker.

  3. SPC 3

    It just goes to show how far the right would go to prevent the underclass breeding – even give people free health services or money.

    No wonder they prefer immigration of aspirational people like themselves to training the local underclass for jobs. Of course their aspiration is often the minimum wage in Oz.

  4. Gooner 4

    Nothing is free.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      No, it’s not and the most expensive bunch of people on the Earth are the rich.

  5. DeepRed 5

    “No wonder they prefer immigration of aspirational people like themselves to training the local underclass for jobs. Of course their aspiration is often the minimum wage in Oz.”
    In apartheid South Africa, Japanese businessmen were referred to as ‘honorary whites’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary_whites)

    Even if subsidised sterilisation was available, I doubt the takeup would be very high unless some kind of coercion was involved, e.g., “If you don’t consent to sterilisation treatment, your benefit will be halted”.

    There’s little to stop it being extended to people the state simply doesn’t like.

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