Understanding and trust

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, May 2nd, 2010 - 10 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Left - Tags:

I was watching a couple of clips from the debate on workers’ meal break rights, the one where the Maori party decided to vote against workers’ rights. In one of the clips, Michael Woodhouse said something very interesting.

You probably haven’t heard of Michael Woodhouse. He’s a first term Nat. His one claim to fame is having the same surname as Owen Woodhouse, the architect of ACC. I’m pretty sure they’re not related and it wouldn’t matter if they were but, nonetheless, Michael gets to read the patsy questions on ACC to Nick Smith as he dismantles the wonderful scheme that Owen created.

Anyway, Woodhouse was speaking on the amendment bill weakening workers’ rights to a break and said “I was heard it said that political discourse requites two things: trust and understanding. And it’s certainly true here. Labour don’t trust us and we sure as hell don’t understand them”

I think it’s very enlightening that he chose to put it that way.

The Right don’t understand the Left. They can’t understand that people can be motivated by something other than short-term, self-centred greed and hatred of those who threaten that.

We see it in John Key’s comments that he couldn’t understand why Michael Cullen had spent his life in public service saying ‘he could have made a lot of money in the private sector’.

We see it in the conspiracy theories that Righties generate about climate change – they can’t understand that we could be motivated by a long-term outlook for the interests of everyone and the planet, so they invent bizarre fantasies where scientists are in it for the money.

And, of course, we see it in the myth of that people on a benefit are all bludgers. They simply can’t understand that the Left sees benefits as a safety net for people who fall on hard times, not some scam.

On the flip-side, we on the Left do understand the Right – it is the greedy, nasty, vindictive, knee-jerk, short-sighted, and stupid drives that sits deep in our reptilian brain. And that’s why we don’t trust them.

10 comments on “Understanding and trust”

  1. Armchair Critic 1

    It’s hard to understand the left if you believe St. Ayn when she told you:
    Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life…
    Personally, I’m thrilled to have a whole range of purposes beyond achieving my own happiness.

  2. ianmac 2

    Some anthropologists argue (no reference) that there is a genetic predisposition which leads people into certain occupations. For example similar types head to the army, or police force. Those people would be less likely to enter social welfare, or teaching.
    There is said to be a similar effect on those who choose a so called “right wing” direction which suggest that they are genetically unable to understand or sympathise with the “left.”
    It is quite probable that a right winger is really unable to “get” that anyone would do things except for financial gain. Therefore the belief is confirmed that beneficiaries are bludgers. Sort of Mars v Venus?

    • Zorr 2.1

      I recently read some interesting stuff about that as regards the research in to it. The material that I read (no links available atm, will look later) stated not so much a “genetic” inability (though the predisposition towards certain kinds of thinking was discussed) but more a “nurture” issue where the understanding of one side of the argument strangely (?) enough blinded the thinker to be unable to understand or empathise with the other side.

      The ability to step outside oneself and to be able to empathise and understand those on the other side of the fence from us in any argument is actually an uncommon skill and should be respected more highly as its use can lead to a more harmonious society.

  3. Tigger 3

    The right doesn’t want to discourse. They aren’t trying to reach consensus on emissions trading, for example, even though Labour were ready to talk. They don’t want to understand the left. Righties to tend to lack empathy.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The right think that they have answers for everything. It’s one of the reasons why they tend to the authoritarian mindset.

  4. Olwyn 4

    Firstly, and speaking as a lifelong left winger, what you are talking about is what the right wing has come to mean, even to right wingers. There have been times when the left-right debate has been more about how the social good is best served, rather than whether it should be served at all. Disregard for this question by the right begins with Thatcher, and as far as I can see has never been amended, though Jim Bolger seems to have very much wanted to amend it. The right of the modern sort do not actually care about trust, except perhaps among themselves – why would you endorse notions like trust when power better serves your purposes? The thing with trust is that it creates obligations that are defined by quaint notions such as universal respect, that apply to everyone and not just to the underlings. The right do not welcome such restraints upon their “freedom,” preferring to impose restraints on the less-powerful, whether it works socially and environmentally or not.

  5. Bill 5

    You forgot to mention that alongside beneficiaries being in it solely for the money, so are the homeless and the beggars. ( Many an eccentric millionaire dresses down and spends their time seeking loose change, don’t they?)

    Seems that without money to motivate, most (all?) righties would be inert. Which might explain why they can’t understand the vitality of people who aren’t in it solely for the money never mind people who aren’t in it for the money at all.

    Can’t we just round them all up and send them to a big room with lots and lots of monopoly boards?

    edit. I trust the right much more than the left. Their stupidity, venality and cunning are utterly predictable whereas some on the left are sneaky little bastards

  6. Jim Nald 6

    Woodhouse: “trust and understanding … Labour don’t trust us and we sure as hell don’t understand them'”
    MartyG: “I think it’s very enlightening that he chose to put it that way. The Right don’t understand the Left”

    The Left understand the Right better than the Right think, and THAT is why the Left don’t trust the Right !

  7. just saying 7

    Damn, just tried to delete this (before the edit deadline was up) on the grounds that Bill said it better, and after reading what he wrote, just felt embarrassed by this.
    Go Bill

    [lprent: trashed it for you. Yell if you want it back. ]

  8. Rob M 8

    Explains the bemused look you get midway through random conversations with business types (after they’ve found out what you do for a living) that seems to say: “This guy’s sharp, why isn’t he rich?”
    From then on they’re not listening, but looking for flaws.

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