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Whose Values?

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, December 31st, 2011 - 140 comments
Categories: child abuse, poverty - Tags:

Scott at Imperator Fish has kindly given us permission to syndicate posts from his blog – the original of this post is here

Another brutal attack on a young child and yet more hand-wringing.

“If only we could do something” people cry, as if nothing can be done and these are just random acts committed by evil people.

If only it were simply a matter of writing these people off as evil. Unfortunately, the evil these people do is very often the result of their own upbringing.

The reasons why people hurt children are complex, and it isn’t always possible to determine whether a particular initiative or intervention would have succeeded in avoiding a tragedy.

But blaming the problem on a lack of values or morals in individuals, as some have, misses the point. It remains a fact that child abuse is more likely to take place in low income families. This is perhaps the reason why rates of abuse within the Maori community are so high. What feeds much of the violence is poverty and all the problems that spring from it: unemployment, lack of education, untreated mental illness, substance abuse, and poor health.

It’s all too easy to just dismiss the problem as one of lack of morals or values. It certainly isn’t a question of religion or lack of faith, otherwise children raised in religious institutions around the world wouldn’t have for centuries been subject to systematic abuse and predation. Is it about a failure to understand right from wrong? In some cases the people committing the offences have lived with violence all their lives. They were subjected to it as children and know few other ways to deal with errant kids.

There’s no one magic bullet, but if people want to talk about a lack of values, they could start with the set of neoliberal values that saw thousands thrown onto the scrapheap and left to stew during the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. We are still paying the price for the massive trauma caused to communities in the name of greed as our elected officials slashed and burned the state sector, causing huge unemployment and condemning many families to a generation of poverty. And who were the beneficiaries of this “necessary sacrifice”? Mostly the shareholders of those overseas companies that bought our assets for a song and then gutted their workforces in the name of efficiency and maximising profit.

The same forces have been responsible for the diminution of the union movement over the last thirty years, a movement that has been responsible for ensuring most of the benefits workers now take for granted.

It is little wonder that in New Zealand the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. In the book The Spirit Level, authors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argued that nations with greater inequality between rich and poor fared badly when it came to various social problems.

But if the solution to the problem of violence against the young was simply a matter of teaching the right values, what values would we want people to adhere to? Surely as a minimum we would want people to be respectful and tolerant of others, and to show compassion towards those unable to fend for themselves.

These are values that have been sorely lacking amongst our political and business leaders for at least three decades.

If we want to talk about values, let’s start at the top. How about the values that see the CEO of Christchurch City Council awarded a massive pay rise even as ratepayers are struggling with the trauma of multiple quakes, many of them facing financial ruination. Whenever belt-tightening is called for it almost never seems to happen at the top.

If we want to reduce the impact of poverty and income inequality, then we must create a system that values and supports everyone, not just the high-flyers and the wealthy.

But what hope have we of ever coming to terms with the problems caused by poverty when we continue to shift the nation’s wealth into the hands of those who already have more than they need?

140 comments on “Whose Values? ”

  1. Good post, I was thinking about the staff of the Parlimentary Service who lost their jobs while MP’s got a $7000 pay rise. 

  2. seeker 2

    “If we want to talk about values, let’s start at the top. How about the values that see the CEO of Christchurch City Council awarded a massive pay rise even as ratepayers are struggling with the trauma of multiple quakes, many of them facing financial ruination. Whenever belt-tightening is called for it almost never seems to happen at the top.”

    Tim Hazeldine made really interesting, related points regarding the horrendous growth of inequality in his Herald opinion piece yesterday entitled, “Greedy Warriors of Privilege Threaten our Decent Society.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10775801

    He eventually asked:

    “Is there any objective reason why vice-chancellors’ pay should have increased in real terms four times more than pay on the shop-floor?

    The answer is: no. No objective economic reason justifies these income discrepancies……..

    Nor is there any objective rationale – in terms of increased contribution to the economy – for the even larger pay discrepancies generated in the private sector. Why does the New Zealand economy now need 26 chief executives to be paid more than $1 million a year, when 11 years ago we had none?”
    ————-
    A good comment after the article pointed out that “human nature is too shallow to leave unregulated”(Tonto) Ain’t that the truth!?!

  3. millsy 3

    To be honest, this left-wing socialist doesn’t see neo-liberalism as the key cause of our child abuse rates.

    I think that it is our culture of violence and aggression that causes this. The whole ‘give them a bloody good hiding’ and ‘harden the fuck up’ mentality so often espoused by the right (and occasionally parts of the left). Some people end up taking it too far.

  4. RedLogix 4

    “human nature is too shallow to leave unregulated”

    I’m less sure. It’s a neat aphorism, but I’ve always been less comfortable in defining ‘human nature’ than most.

    Even the most cursory glance over history shows what an immensely variable thing ‘human nature’ is, from the downright evil and brutal, through the ordinarily banal and venal, right up to the evanecsently inspired, heroic and enduring. Oftentimes even in the one life.

    Moreover in the Western context, it’s an idea frequently conflated with the peculiarly Catholic notion of Original Sin. For these reasons alone I don’t find the term ‘human nature’ a very useful term. Clearly human behaviour is a very complex outcome of concious belief intersecting with unconcious instinct… or what I’d suggest in the case of human beings is better termed ‘evolved preferences’.

    The behaviour of most species of the higher animals is heavily determined by instinct, and changes little from generation to generation. By contrast human evolution over the last 4-7m years or so was marked by at least four outstanding milestones:

    1. An upright bipedal stance allowed for more efficient locomotion, placed our eyes higher above the ground, and freed our forelimbs to carry tools.

    2. The loss of most of our hair allowed us to sweat over the whole of our bodies, allowing us to safely track and hunt prey to heat exhaustion. But this could only be achieved if we co-operated in tight hunting groups.

    3. In most species the males compete as individuals for the right to mate and either cannot tolerate the close presence of each other, or form strict pack hierarchies. Humans solved this problem in another way; instead we competed at a cellular level in multi-male, multi-female groups. Contrasted to most species human females are rather difficult to get pregnant; we often have hundreds of acts of intercourse for every live offspring. In fact the female reproductive tract is exceedingly choosy about which sperm it allows to fertilise it’s eggs.

    4. All this extended our life expectancy and slowed the maturation process. Caring and protecting for infants and children was now a constant demand, that no one individual, or even a pair of parents could hope to meet. It had to be done by the whole group. All children were cared for and fed by the entire band, the biological mother retaining emotional links to the child… while biological paternity was unknown nor relevant.

    In this intensely co-operative crucible we stumbled upon the habit of thinking symbolically. It’s a capacity that appears in mid-puberty around the age of 14, and I’d suggest is most characteristic of what we think of as ‘being human’. It is the ability to routinely form abstractions, ideas and beliefs that allows us to overlay our mammalian instincts with concious intent.

    It is the genesis of all the religions, all the philosophies, sciences and arts. No other creature offers any behaviour remotely comparable. It is the ink in which our extraordinary history is written, for both good and bad.

    Nonetheless a mammal we remain. We are never in this life divorced from this creature within. And for all of our conceit around free will, the most significant matters of our lives are pretty much hard-wired into us as our genetic inheritance. And the better we understand this mammal, the more coherence we can bring to understanding our lives, our drives and desires.

    Humans spent at least 4m years in small groups (less than a hundred) as nomadic hunter-gatherers. For most of human evolution there were likely less than several million individuals anywhere on the planet; food and resources were rarely an issue. If things got a little scarce in one location, the group merely moved on to another. We rarely had to ‘work’ at feeding ourselves more than 10 hours a week. And crucially the group was small enough for everyone to know everyone else intimately. It was a simple matter to know who was contributing positively accordingly to their ability and who was cheating on the group. We were strict egalitarians, for while individual differences would have been natural and unavoidable.. the group thrived by harnessing them co-operatively for the good of all.

    The more ancient instincts of competition and status-seeking were strongly moderated as anti-ethical to the success of the group. The notion of private property served no useful purpose and was exceedingly weak or non-existent. It is in this setting that our ‘evolved preferences’ arose, and that we are at our most comfortable and happy.

    Ever wondered why so many families will go back to the same summer holiday camping ground year after year? Ever noticed how the kids automatically (if they’re allowed) instantly form a little tribe and run about having the time of their lives? How the parents kick back, relax, share food (and oftentimes a little extra-marital sharing too) and generally get a little tribal themselves? How different it feels to our ordinary lives that are so drab, conformist and unfree by comparison. Sure it’s only a weak facsimile of the real thing our instinct craves, but it’s near enough to feel good. For a few weeks a year.

    This has turned into a really long comment. My point is this. ‘Human nature’ is a far more subtle thing than we give it credit. It’s not inherently shallow, nasty or brutal. It’s not inherently noble or good either… but I make the case that it is far more co-operative, caring and empathetic than conventional wisdom holds for.

    • Nice comment red.

      Human nature is an interesting concept with obviously all of human experience falling into it – the good, bad and the ugly. I agree with you that it is more co-operative, caring and empathetic than many would have us believe. The addictive consumerism and excessive selfishness seemingly so visible doesn’t reflect our true natures IMO.

      On a slightly related note a big thanks to all of the Standard team – this blog is essential and i love it.

      2012 is going to be a big year I think and I wish everyone all the best for the future.

      • seeker 4.1.1

        @Redlogix 31.12.11

        regarding: “human nature is too shallow to leave unregulated”

        Thanks Redlogix for taking the time to write a really worthwhile, thoughtful and uplifting comment in reply to my rather ‘shallow’ apparent dismissal of the wonder spectrum that is human nature. Have only just felt well enought to get back you.

        I was beginning to feel unwell as I was writing my comment – my head was going a little light and wobbly. The result turned into a bit of a disconnection, where I took a quote out of context (originally it had been made in relation to money, wealth acquisition and the economy) and when using it in the above context should have said, ‘human nature can become so shallow that it should not be left unregulated …… especially when it relates to money, business etc.’
        “ain’t that the truth” was the result of a very bad head wobble. I knew there was something wrong but had such head woolliness that I didn’t have have the mental strength to correct and just went to bed.

        Later I came back to see if it looked as glib and probably ‘untruthful’ as I was beginning to fear and found your outstanding, informative comment which put human nature back into a more balanced perspective thank goodness.

        I took one look at your comment and thought,” Wow, how did you manage to do that Redlogix?” (especially from the frail perspective of my incompetent ‘woolly’ head), ” Brilliant. All is right with the world again, someone has stuck up for us humans, and politely corrected my faux pas”– I then staggered back to bed where I have been ill until a little while ago.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Read this to learn about small community human nature in 17th century (Black Death) England.

          http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/eyam_and_the_great_plague_o.htm

          • Vicky32 4.1.1.1.1

            Read this to learn about small community human nature in 17th century (Black Death) England.

            I saw an emotional and wonderful TV drama about this in the 70s… one of those events that shows that people can be wonderful! (As the 10th Doctor (Who) always says they are.)

          • seeker 4.1.1.1.2

            A wonderful example of the selfless heights human nature can reach.Thanks CV.

            Living in the UK for my entire school life, we studied history from ancient to modern, through primary and into secondary. I loved it.

            History is full of inspiring stories of mankind which are, unfortunately all too often, offset by stories of man’s cunning, lust for power, greed and selfishness. However by hearing of man’s guile as well as his wisdom and stature one can become aware of higher standards and values to aspire to, rather than the dross and cruelty that shysters and tyrants imposed on their fellow beings.

            Learning about the history and development of mankind has invaluable merit which is why I really appreciated the comment of RedLogix @2.2 .

            “Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” wrote Bern Williams.

            I think many great people throughout history, like the courageous and selfless Rector William Mompesson and his fellow villagers from CV’s link, knew this to be correct.

  5. Thomas 5

    Economic liberalisation is also responsible for the crap weather we’re having.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Its also responsible for the lack of mine safety this country has suffered from, billions of dollars worth of capital extraction by Australian banks, and the lack of private investment in broadband infrastructure. Figure that.

  6. Skeptic to the max 6

    The article angers me as it  sets up stereotypes again, and assists in the ‘blindness’ that assists the child abuser and leaves children at risk again. It creates new myths such as the discussion that poverty is to blame, or ‘neoliberal’ politics- these are an excuse for child abuse??? This never has been substantiatiated in any research!
    Child abuse is not specific to any socio-economic, ethnic or cultural variables nor to any specific vocation of adults from unemployed to judge’s children for example.
    As many ‘pakeha’ and other children are killed in New Zealand by their caregiver/ adults as are Maori children. Women overall in the Family Commission’s report based on CYFs stats, abuse children more than men in NZ.
    International studies such as Shante Dube’s with sampling of 17000 participants have nearly half of all child sex abuse committed on boys by women. Most CSAbusers are white, middle class or above, with well above average intelligence. They are not priests or any particular person; that stereotype in itself is dangerous.

    Child abusers are the people in YOUR house and next door, usually “good upstanding community” people.  ( try any of expert work of Carla VanDam Forensics/ Prof . PhD in this area). The “grabber” type scenario of Turangi is “uncommon”. The “groomer” carries on everyday right beside you and no-one jumps in their car to travel to the courts to see these people. The babies, YES, are younger than this poor child and they are NZ’s dirty little secret and the more we don’t talk about it, or publish misleading distractions the greater the aiding and abetting and ‘tools’ for the abusers. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of CSA, let alone given attention to neglect which is at the bottom of criteria for attention for the types of abuse vetted on our children.

     For a NZ context try “Hidden in Front of Us” a new book on all child abuse.  I was at the Parliamentary launch of the book and the ‘victims’ in the book (who came to Parliament to be heard and give voice to the “silence” condonned and perpetrated at every level), would blow all the ‘stereotypers’ away. MP’s if they chose to attend had myths shattered everywhere to help all of us know and prevent CA. Paula Bennet put in a last minute apology and then Bennett didn’t fund the CM brochure for a mailout; instead her work’mate’ was given the $2m dollars for a cliched/copied material, Parenting toolbox. The Green paper is a shocker…a “look I’m pretending to work on it”; when in fact all of the case studies, the research, the experts have been shouting the answers already for years. For another- NZ research experts. http://www.childmatters.org.nz

    The main causes of child abusers still being able to prey on children at alarming rates is naivety ( ignorance ), apathy, or willful lack of action by others. SECRECY and SILENCE, number one tools of abusers and those around them- aka save your own ass, spouse, family member, interests and reputation before the child. Nearly all of the ‘survivors’ who did or didn’t make the “Hidden in Fromt of Us” book and in much significant research globally KNEW THAT AT THE TIME OF ABUSE  ( and commonly not one off but sustained abuse over long periods) THAT SOME OTHER ADULT KNEW THEY WERE BEING ABUSED. ! The betrayal these victims felt from their neighbours, family, community was diststressing and palpable in that room.
     Just some of those myth-busting stats for you!

    • Thanks for this post – it doesn’t resort to ideologiocal blame gaming but touches on the nitty gritty of a shitty problem in our society. Abuse has been going on for much longer than some convenient political change. (And ‘poverty’ has been much worse for much longer than the current trite use of the term as a convenient excuse for things).

      The main causes of child abusers still being able to prey on children at alarming rates is naivety (ignorance), apathy, or willful lack of action by others.

      And the rest of us don’t help at all by giving the abusers and the aiders and abetters of abusers convenient and irrelevant excuses to divert attention from them continuing to stuff up kid’s and adult”s lives.

      As members of families and communities and this country we all have responsibilities to address our epidemic of abuse. We need to wise up and speak up.

      • fmacskasy 6.1.1

        “…it doesn’t resort to ideologiocal blame gaming…”

        Sheeting home responsibility to successive neo-lib governments = “blame gaming”

        Calling welfare recipients ‘dole bludgers’ = ok.

        Yeah, I’ve noticed that tendency. “Taking responsibility” is a Big Thing for the new right – except of course when it applies to new right governments. Then it’s someone elses’ fault.

        Because, as we all know, welfare recipients have been at the helm of governments since… well, always!

        And the rest of us don’t help at all by giving the abusers and the aiders and abetters of abusers convenient and irrelevant excuses to divert attention from them continuing to stuff up kid’s and adult”s lives.

        “Irrelevant excuses”?! Ah, now we’re onto the blame-gaming… On form, as usual.

        Tell me Pete, did you watch the excellent Bryan Bruce doco on Child Poverty? If not, I encourage you to see it.

        It may give you an idea as to what social disconnection and alienation is about.

        • Pete George 6.1.1.1

          Tell me Frank, how much do you think lack of moiney and lack of employment opportunity do you causes violence and abuse?

          Why do many poorer people – including Maori – not abuse their kids? And why do people with plenty of money and in positions of political and religious power abuse kids?

          Struggling financially can put added pressures on families – been there, done that – but it shouldn’t be an excuse for hurting those you should be caring for.

          Being engulfed with a modern obsession with ‘poverty’ may just result in an expecation of a quick financial fix to a much more complex and deepseated problem.

          • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1

            Again, try reading Puddlegums comment at 9.3.

            Poverty is the sense we are talking about is NOT just a lack of income; he defines it very thoroughly and concisely as:

            As a starting point, I’d argue that child abuse of this kind is the result of poverty -= understood as an interconnected condition comprising overlapping ‘deficits’ in financial capital (access to financial and other forms of material needs), social capital (interpersonal and institutional connectedness and complexity) and personal capital (personal skills, capacities, knowledge, etc.).

            Note carefully the three primary components of poverty; a lack of finacial, social and personal capital. So yes the problem is complex and multilayered. No there is not one single silver-bullet to the problem.

            But what we DO know is that economic inequality, in particular the kind of neo-liberal reforms that we flung ourselves into in the 1980’s .. exacerbated impoverishment in all three of these capital factors.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.2

            “…it shouldn’t be an excuse…”

            Who said it was an excuse? Everyone else is talking about cause and effect, there’s nothing excusable about it.

            “a modern obsession with ‘poverty'”

            That’s right, it’s just a fad, isn’t it.

            “a complex and deepseated problem.”

            That you are doing your best to ignore.

          • fmacskasy 6.1.1.1.3

            Tell me Frank, how much do you think lack of moiney and lack of employment opportunity do you causes violence and abuse?

            I think you’re quite aware that as poverty and unemployment increase, so do stresses on human beings. The quakes in ChCh, for example, created further unemployment. And guess what? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/domestic-violence/news/article.cfm?c_id=178&objectid=10671808

            The evidence is there. You just need to look for it.(Or not ignore it.)

            Struggling financially can put added pressures on families – been there, done that – but it shouldn’t be an excuse for hurting those you should be caring for.

            Ditto. But so what?

            For one thing, society was more cohesive; social services not under strain and cost-cutting; unemployment was lower; and the income gap not as great.

            And just because your family (and mine) had support and a measure of good luck, doeasn’t mean that all families are the same.

            I think your problem, Pete, and that of mainstream middle class society, is that you haven’t really seen the underclass in NZ. Most certainly you don’t understand the minute-by-minute; hour-by-hour; day-after-day, grinding lack of hope that you and I fail to “enjoy”.

            And all the while, the consumer-products of a wealthy nation are thrust into the living rooms of such families, via television. I wonder how that must make the poorest of the poor feel? Angry? Resentful?

            No wonder they don’t care. They have to “switch off” just to keep from “exploding”. And when they do finally “explode”… http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/and-so-it-came-to-pass/

            As Irish comedian, Andrew Maxwell put it, so very succinctly,

            “Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper. “

            Maxwell got it, Pete. You don’t.

            • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.3.1

              Yes. The right love misusing the word ‘envy’ as an especially nasty form of victim bashing.

              Yet they ignore the simple fact that living life hand to mouth, with no hope of any dreams ever coming true, the rug being repeatedly pulled out from under you every time something goes wrong, while at the same time having the having the baubles of material wealth dangled constantly in your face is a perfectly understandable justification for anger and resentment.

              It’s one thing to ‘aspire’ to a better life if there is a reasonable hope that it may come to pass; if you can see family, friends and neighbours achieving it for themselves.

              It’s another thing altogether when the ladder has been pulled up and you keep hearing that it’s all your fault that you can no longer reach those bottom rungs anymore.

              Update: We’re cross-posting a bit. My comment here pretty much responds to your comment below.

              Same here, I too grew up in a family with no television until I was almost a teenager… nor was there ever a lot of spare cash around. But crucially we were able to pay off a mortgage on a good home in a good suburb, send us kids to good schools, sensible middle of the road churches, get to play sports, scouting, tramping… associate with other kids and families who had similar upwardly mobile paths. Going to University was more or less a given. Ours was a pretty sheltered, safe and predictable upbringing.

              But all that was predicated on the fact that both Mum and Dad had stable professional incomes (an accountant and teacher) and could pay for it all… even if there wasn’t much cash left over each month for luxuries.

              • And equally it’s a problem when they are continually told it isn’t their fault and that they ‘deserve’ more help and money from others.

                There has to be a balance.

                • it ISN’T their fault pete – there is no balance, never can be, never will be. Balance is for those who sit in the middle – privilege-balancing. Fuck balance i say – let’s sort this shit out but start from that position – not trying to find a balance.

            • Pete George 6.1.1.1.3.2

              No, I don’t get it.

              And all the while, the consumer-products of a wealthy nation are thrust into the living rooms of such families, via television. I wonder how that must make the poorest of the poor feel? Angry? Resentful?

              Maybe I don’t get it because I grew up in a poor family with no television.

              Marketing and consumerism is pervasive – and encourages many poor people to remain pooer than they need to. Just handing out more money to them will solve what? Will it reduce violence? Or result in more sales for the labels and franchises and multinationals and moneylenders?

              RedLogix – I do get what Puddlegum is saying, he is on to it more than most. That reinforces a point I have tried to make, just labelling it ‘poverty’ avoids the complexities of the problems – and the possible solutions.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                What possible solutions? You haven’t proposed any, beyond the suggestion that we ignore the bleedin’ obvious.

                • Read what Skeptic to the max said.

                  • RedLogix

                    Yes I did. It largely focusses on just sexual abuse alone, does a lot of handwringing, offers no useful explanation and no useful solutions.

                    Very not helpful really.

                  • Hi Pete George,

                    At the interpersonal level of course we should intervene when we know something is happening (i.e., child abuse). Part of my interest is in why we don’t.

                    Aristotle called it ‘akrasia’ – the lack of will to do the ‘right thing’. What circumstances give rise to akrasia and what circumstances minimise it?

                    Individualistic societies tend to generate fear, deception and lack of trust at the interpersonal level (along with more positive traits). Also, life becomes an increasingly risky venture, so far as the individual is concerned – almost by definition. Unfortunately, encountering risk continuously does not always bring out the best in us. 

                    Talk to people today about why they are less likely to go out onto their streets to intervene to try to stop some antisocial act. Partly it’s because they are afraid that they will be the only ones to do so (i.e., a lack of trust in – and sense of solidarity with – those around them) and, therefore, they will simply buy themselves a whole lot of trouble if they do go onto the street.

                    Given that they already experience their lives as a series of stressful efforts that they have to bear purely as individuals (i.e., less of a sense that others will – or will want to, or should feel any obligation to – help them) then it’s hardly surprising that they won’t want to get involved in so-called ‘other people’s business’. Why add a very stressful event to an already stressful life?

                    Those whose lives are most stressful (which correlates with less power which, in turn, correlates with less ‘capital’, in all its forms) are most likely to express that response. You don’t rock a boat that is barely above the waterline.

                    Individualistic societies (rhetorically and materially powered along as they are by the notion that we are market actors in, principally, a competitive relationship to each other) gently (and often not so gently) push people to respond with avoidance of personal responsibility rather than with a sense of obligation to others and to the common social experience.

                    It’s important to realise that any form of economy comes along with a whole set of social implications – including sets of social behaviours that tend to ‘work’ (for individuals) in order for the economy to function ‘effectively’.

                    For example, cooperation, reciprocity, mutual trust and the like are characteristic of collectivist, flat or low-hierarchy societies largely because the economic form supports just such behaviours (It isn’t because ‘savages’ are ‘nobler’ than us, so to speak.)

                    Our modern economic form works against those dimensions of social relationship – including mutual trust – no matter how much we all may like to think that the economic form is a ‘neutral’ force vis a vis our social processes.

                    In consequence, as a general trend people will care less – at least in their practical efforts – in our kind of society than in others (including our own in the past).

                    No doubt most would still say  – and genuinely feel – that they care, of course. But the social conditions are less and less ones that will trigger and support those practical efforts of caring. Each of us weighs the calculation (whether we realise it or not) towards a conclusion that leads to avoidance of responsibility or obligation to the welfare of others. 

                    The good news is that, as RedLogix said at comment 4.0, our evolutionary history has ensured that we have ample potential to act with the social and moral ‘virtues’ – should our world (and the circumstances that each individual experiences) draw it out of us.

                    Some people today may indeed be ‘bad bastards’ beyond any possible means of redemption. But that’s not the point – which is to create the conditions in the future that lead to fewer outcomes like that.

                    Anyway, that’s how I see it. 

                    • fmacskasy

                      Talk to people today about why they are less likely to go out onto their streets to intervene to try to stop some antisocial act. Partly it’s because they are afraid that they will be the only ones to do so (i.e., a lack of trust in – and sense of solidarity with – those around them) and, therefore, they will simply buy themselves a whole lot of trouble if they do go onto the street.

                      Given that they already experience their lives as a series of stressful efforts that they have to bear purely as individuals (i.e., less of a sense that others will – or will want to, or should feel any obligation to – help them) then it’s hardly surprising that they won’t want to get involved in so-called ‘other people’s business’. Why add a very stressful event to an already stressful life?

                      Spot on, Puddlegum.

                      In effect, if people feel individualised, rather than as part of a community sharing similar values – then they will act as individuals. And individuals’ main concerns are for their own wellbeing, not that of the community.

                      When there are exceptions – such as trhe late Austin Hemmings – the rest of us see it as something extraordinary; unusual; almost inexplicable.

                      Yet, such behaviour should be the norm (his intervention – not his death) rather than the unusual.

              • fmacskasy

                That reinforces a point I have tried to make, just labelling it ‘poverty’ avoids the complexities of the problems – and the possible solutions.

                “Solutions”? yet you dismiss concerns about poverty as a “fad”?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      “…some other adult knew they were being abused”.

      The police, for example. The CYPFs employees, the lawyers, the judges, the families, and the neighbours. They all know. In fact, many of them have been saying for years that destructive government policies destroy, well, people’s lives.

      It even made the headlines yesterday. Funnily enough, the article does make mention of one group of people who aren’t listening:
      “Brooking provided free books to MPs in September, but National members were the only ones to refuse the offer.”

    • Treetop 6.3

      Skeptic to the max, I absolutely agree with your last paragraph. A predator knows which child to target, (an unattached, isolated, disconnected child). When the child’s parents are unattached to the child emotionally, important clues are overlooked e.g. change in a child’s behaviour or mistaking behavioural change for another reason e.g. they are always moody, they don’t like the offender, (unknown what they are doing). A child may cope by dissociating the criminal offending, but down the track the abuse will cause some kind of impact as it is likely that there will be a trigger e.g. a betrayal of some kind, an awareness of the violation, ongoing PTSD.

      I am against single parents being forced into work before their youngest is 14 as this will put children at risk of all forms of abuse. I am not against seeing at risk children being placed in day care or after school care while the parent/s attends sessions with a psychologist so their behaviour can be assessed and the appropriate therapy given or parenting sessions (a mentor in the home if necessary). All too offen the abuse is intergenerational or something terrible happened to the parent e.g the child may have been conceived by a rape, (this happens more than people realise in NZ. If pre DNA testing days, paternity may be unknown and if today cost of DNA testing may be unaffordable).

      I was heartened to read before the new year that Bennett has done something about compensating some children who were abused while in Social Welfare care, (some cases go back to the 1940s) and the victim is now well into old age. A life blighted by being perpetrated against in childhood, then fighting the system for decades and had the abuse not occurred how different their life may have turned out.

      Anger is an emotional response to discomfort and unless the individual cause of anger is addressed the anger will continue and in particular children are at the most risk of being targeted. Anger, violence, childhood neglect, addiction, ill health, poverty or ignorance of child development is no excuse for causing harm, however it may be a contributing reason for the behaviour.

      Breaking the cycle is imperative:
      1. Reporting and communication between agencies and a timely response according to the situation.
      2. Adequate government funding for public education.
      3. Adequate training by social workers/police/doctors/nurses/teachers.
      4. Authority taking responsibility for abuse occurring under their watch (historical or current).
      5. Careful monitoring of children whose parent/s have a history of harming a child.
      6. Family offering assistance to parents or an organisation who the parent can have home support with until they are able to manage.
      7. Relatives/neighbours being ears and eyes for the child and not to be dismissive when there is concern for the child/rens welfare.

      This list is incomplete.

  7. Nick K 7

    So it’s all Richard Prebble’s fault. What a shallow and pathetic “analysis”.

    If only we had Eastern European socialism; then we’d all be rich, healthy and wise.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      A comment here from Bill pretty much has already said what needs saying.

    • warren 7.2

      No, if we had Scandinavian Capitalism/Socialism
      (it’s not a choice of just one or the other, a mixture of the two works fantastically well and I can’t understand why others can’t see this too)
      we would all be rich healthy and wise.

      Why are people so blind to the Scandinavian model? It works so well both economically and socially. Why are the whole world not following suit?

      • mik e 7.2.1

        nick k even Singaporeans model isn’t to bad either.
        A balance between capitalism and socialism is the word!
        Ying and Yang!
        Its been happening for thousands of years!
        Countries that have a more pragmatic approach to this balance do better both socially and economically!
        Countries that follow ideological socialism or the equivalent capitalistic system seem to fail .

        • fmacskasy 7.2.1.1

          “Countries that follow ideological socialism or the equivalent capitalistic system seem to fail .”

          My thoughts precisely, Mik.

  8. randal 8

    gee.
    if I vote nashnil will I get funding “and” a van too?

  9. chris73 9

    “But blaming the problem on a lack of values or morals in individuals, as some have, misses the point. It remains a fact that child abuse is more likely to take place in low income families. This is perhaps the reason why rates of abuse within the Maori community are so high. What feeds much of the violence is poverty and all the problems that spring from it: unemployment, lack of education, untreated mental illness, substance abuse, and poor health.”

    If this is true then you would think that pacific people would register roughly equal being that they’re generally as poor (if not poorer)

    Hospital admissions of children after assaults, 2008-9, by ethnic group:

    * Maori, 41 per 100,000 people

    * Pacific, 22

    * European, 11

    * Asian, 9

    Source: The Children’s Social Health Monitor

    Yet Maori are nearly twice as bad as Pacific people (in fact nearly as bad as everyone else put together)

    • chris73, what is your explaination for the ‘bad’. You seem to be arguing that the quoted paragraph is not true and poverty isn’t a factor – I’m just not sure what you have left after taking that out or is it the ‘lack of values and morals in individuals’ angle.

      • Populuxe1 9.1.1

        The over-representation of Maori in these statistics, like the over-representation of Pakeha in white-collar crime, is largely economic positioning. Of that I have no doubt. But the insidious aspect is the resignation to povery and the “culturalisation” of it (with the associated hostility and lack of individual responsibility, engagement and empathy – the inverse of the rich elite’s “born to rule” mentality) in general that is the big worry. I can’t fint a reference to hand, but studies have been done on the culturalisation of violence and crime in US ghettos. Traditional extended whanau have disintegrated in the post-colonial environment, and gangs have become a brutalising influence on young Maori men in low socio-economic communities. And these are just a few of the factors that would appear to come into play. And IMO senior Maori of influence have been far too long worrying about the collective mana of Maoridom and not owning a problem. But not this new “Maori are a warrior people ” bullshit – who DOESN’T come from a warrior people?

        And no, domestic violence isn’t a “Maori” problem, it’s a human problem. But in saying that, while it is true that child murder figures for Maori and Pakeha are about equal, the figures for violent abuse are not.

      • chris73 9.1.2

        Lets be honest, there is no way on earth that I could possibly come up with a solution to this problem. I say this because more intelligent people then myself have spent longer looking at this problem and still nothing changes.

        The only thing I could suggest that maybe hasn’t been suggested already is buying back forests, farms, the old ministry of works etc etc and reinstituting the old hiring practices of taking anyone on.

        Even if it means hiring someone to push a broom around a warehouse, make coffee or over-building a dam.

        Of course there are also many negatives to this but I’d suggest that the first thing to do is to admit there is a problem with a section of society rather then pretend there isn’t.

        • millsy 9.1.2.1

          There are a lot of white rich people who abuse their children. People like who carry on about abuse being a Maori problem let the Christians who throttle their kids with their church ties off the hook, and they keep on belting their kids after church.

          • chris73 9.1.2.1.1

            Yes there are however by saying that you’re trying to minimise the fact (see above figures) that maori kids are abused nearly 4 times as often

            Until you actually admit there is a problem you can’t fix it, so stop being an apoligist because you’re hindering not helping

          • Vicky32 9.1.2.1.2

            People like who carry on about abuse being a Maori problem let the Christians who throttle their kids with their church ties off the hook, and they keep on belting their kids after church.

            You know that this happens every day, hey? How do you know it, and when and why? It seems to me that you’re making allegations you can’t substantiate because you know that Christians are a very popular hate group here…
            Ianupnorth, DtB etc I am looking at you! 😀
            Of course there are rich white people who abuse their children, but it does no good to anyone to pretend that they are the majority of abusers! Do you, like Ianupnorth, believe (or pretend to) that all Christians are white and rich? Cos that’s absurd.

            • millsy 9.1.2.1.2.1

              There was some god-botherer who got let off by a jury for shaving his child’s hair and tried to strangle him with his church tie. He was a Christian Vicky, you know one of those people who think the sun revolves round the earth, which was made by someone waving a magic wand, and who think the state should criminalise people’s sexual activites, and living/family arrangements.

              • Populuxe1

                He might have been a Christian, millsy, but it sounds fairly likely that he was also a violent nutter as well. “Suffer the little children” doesn’t mean what you think. I, for the record and am agnostic trending to athiest, but to assume that everyone who professes Christianity is some kind of inflexible fundementalist, conservative bigot, or worse, is just ridiculous.

                • felix

                  Thing is, P, our Vicky objects strongly to any suggestion that any christo can do any wrong and cries that she’s being oppressed whenever anyone suggests otherwise.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Actually felix, I’ve been a shadow here for a while now, and most of the time Vicky only says something when someone makes an egregiously nasty generalisation about Christians. I could care less about invisible sky faeries, but I do believe in fairness, and in this instance she’s quite right. By no means do all Christians advocate corporal punishment. Show some manners.

                    • Vicky32

                      By no means do all Christians advocate corporal punishment. Show some manners.

                      Thank you Populuxe1! Your fair-mindedness is most appreciated! 🙂

                    • felix

                      Who said “all Christians” Pop?

                      This is exactly the erroneous extrapolation that Vick likes to make.

              • Vicky32

                you know one of those people who think the sun revolves round the earth, which was made by someone waving a magic wand, and who think the state should criminalise people’s sexual activites, and living/family arrangements.

                That’s simply insane bigotry millsy. No Christian has ever believed that the sun revolves around the earth (you’re now going to screech about Galileo, and that will simply prove your ignorance, as the whole Galileo thing was much more complex than it’s presented..)- and we certainly don’t now.
                Also aside from a few thousand Americans, most Christians are happy to accept evolution. Also, as I have pointed out before, the scientist who first presented the concept of the “Big Bang” was Goerges Lemaitre, a French priest.
                I think your true issue is sexuality, as is usually the case with the angriest of the angry-men…

                • McFlock

                  No Christian has ever believed that the sun revolves around the earth
                    
                  Wow. That’s as sweepingly stereotypical as millsy’s comment. So no pre-Copernican peasant believed the geocentric model when the priest used it to explain day from night? Not one, huh? And the church was just faking it?

                  • Olwyn

                    Vicky is right though, in saying that it was never so simple as that. To begin with, the Pythagoreans had modeled something approaching the heliocentric universe, so the thought had been around for some time. Furthermore, Galileo was the one with the burden of proof, since he was challenging the status quo, and from what I have read, the mathematical models they were using, derived from those formulated by the Greeks, and taken from geocentric perspective, did actually work.Galileo’s modeling did not meet the standard needed to displace current thinking, it was not just a matter of shutting him down because he challenged the church. Blaise Pascal, a deeply devout and very clever man, was from time to time scornful of uninformed papal pronouncements on science, but that by itself did not get him into trouble. You need to be careful of stories that have their origins in 19th century scientistic hubris. Religion does not rule out careful thought, and its absence does not rule out stupidity.

                  • Populuxe1

                    And McFlock is correct – there has demonstrably been all sorts of mental gymnastics by various Christian sects over the centuries to literally justify descriptions in Genesis and various archaic Biblical expressions like “the four corners of the world”. The Platonic geocentral view held sway, particularly in theological circles right up to and beyond Copernicus. You’ll have to concede that one Vicky, theological history supports it.

                  • Vicky32

                    So no pre-Copernican peasant believed the geocentric model when the priest used it to explain day from night? Not one, huh? And the church was just faking it?

                    “Priests used (it)  to explain day from night”, huh? Where did you get that idea? Many people have the idea that our ancestors were idiots – they weren’t. I’d like you to define “peasant”…are you imagining something like grubby Monty Python characters? Also, I’d like you to define “the church”… there’s no such monolithic thing, and never has been. 
                    I recommend that you read some history… check out Wikipedia for a more nuanced and less denigratory view of things…
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliocentrism
                    also this
                    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1995VA…..39..573P
                     

                    • McFlock

                       Also, I’d like you to define “the church”… there’s no such monolithic thing, and never has been. 
                       
                      The pope would beg to differ. Or don’t Catholics count as “Christian”?
                         
                      Your  linked abstract would tend to support the position that some christians at some time, did indeed believe the sun orbited the earth. Most succinctly in the sentence ” At the time of the Copernican revolution, there was no conceivable alternative to a geometric conceptualization of mankind’s centrality in the Universe. That is why geometric decentralization was fought against with such intensity.”
                        
                      So while millsy might have been unfair to tar all christians as being exclusive brethren-style cultists, your position that everybody in the medieval period were advanced astronomers is equally bigoted.
                       
                        
                      Oh, and I do read history – and have refreshed my memory of christian history as I was taught in school (and one or two things since then). I even checked out heliocentrism and geocentrism in Wikipedia. I try to take my blinkers off when I’m reading, though. 
                       
                       

          • chris73 9.1.2.1.3

            Anyone that knows me knows I’m athiest.

    • McFlock 9.2

      Interesting. Why did you choose 2008-9?
      Is it because that happens to be the 2-year count that provides the highest Maori rate (and the biggest gap between Maori and Pacific) in a graph that tends to bounce around a bit? Why didn’t you use the five-year aggregate rates that include confidence intervals, so we can see how much is down to stats noise? Table 1?
        
      Now, table one shows higher rated for Maori than Pacific (though nowhere near twice, which is what Chris cherry-picked). But Chris is still writing cheques his stats can’t cash. Firstly, poverty and deprivation are measured using surveys spread around the country. This will skew the results for Pacific Islanders, 40-50% of whom live within one local authority area (Counties Manakau). Secondly, the measures involved are for prioritised ethnicity, where if a person has Maori and Pacific Island lineage they are recorded as Maori, in order to most accurately represent the Maori population (i.e. prioritised Maori is someone with any maori ancestry), then Pacific and so on.
       
      Long story short, it’s valid to say Maori have a higher rate of child assault that Pacific Islanders. It’s also valid to said that for the total population, there is a clear relationship between child assault/neglect/maltreatment and poverty/deprivation. It’s equally valid to say that it is strongly indicated that Pacific Islanders have higher deprivation/poverty levels than the Maori population. But the statement that poor Maori have a higher rate of child assault than poor Pacific Islanders is wishful thinking.
        
      But then I think you know this, because someone reading the Childrens Social Health Monitor closely enough to pick one datapoint on a graph would also have read the notes on data interpretation and seen a more specific table with rate-ratios and confidence intervals. You’ve just crossed the line from “possible idiot” to “active liar”.
       
       

      • chris73 9.2.1

        I chose it because it happened to be in the article I was reading but if you think that Maori don’t beat their kids in higher numbers then other ethnicites then good on you.

        You’ve just crossed the line from head in the sand to joris de bres, well done.

        • McFlock 9.2.1.1

          What part of “Long story short, it’s valid to say Maori have a higher rate of child assault that Pacific Islanders” did you not understand?
          So now your source wasn’t the monitor, it was an “article” reporting on the monitor. I think I’d like to read that article. Got a link or reference?
           
          But then if you knew what you were talking about, you would have known that the corellation between child assault/maltreatment/neglect admissions and deprivation is much higher than any ethnic comparisons you care to bring up. That was in table 1. At a wild guess, that’s why they’re all in the same table.
            

          • chris73 9.2.1.1.1

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10775559

            If you fail to see theres a problem then you can’t fix it. You probably also think that Maori don’t get sent to prison more often as well, no doubt you have some interesting reasoning to explain that as well.

            I would like to think we live in a country where groups at highest risk get the most help but no because you would then have to say what groups they are…and that would be bad wouldn’t it.

            • McFlock 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh, okay – it was the Herald who cherry-picked the data, and you took NZ MSM bullshit as gospel truth. Back to “possible idiot” status.
                 
              It’s all very well saying that one ethnic group has higher rates of X than another, but there’s no plausible, demonstrable, ethnicity-based explanation. We do know that the observed relationship between deprivation and child maltreatment is many times stronger than that between ethnicity and deprivation, we know that some ethnicities have, overall, greater deprivation than others. We also have a number of plausible explanations for a relationship between poverty/deprivation and maltreatment.
                
              Given two relationships with child maltreatment – one economic and one ethnic – you choose to concentrate on the much weaker ethnic factor. Why is that?

    • chris73, these statistics raise an obvious question: Maori in which circumstances contribute most to these hospital admissions?

      As they stand, the statistics tell us next to nothing about child abuse – unless we opt for some inept ‘its their genes’ or ‘its their culture’ explanations.

      Part of the problem with official statistics is that they are usually gathered at far too gross a level (e.g., identified ethnicity, SES category, etc.). That means that attempted explanations (and policies based on them) tend to resolve at this gross level as well.

      It’s simply too expensive to do theoretically informed research that pursues causal sequences of variables on a national scale. Of course, it isn’t actually ‘too expensive’ it’s just that we refuse to spend the money on this because we have other priorities (such as not being taxed ‘too much’).

      As a starting point, I’d argue that child abuse of this kind is the result of poverty -= understood as an interconnected condition comprising overlapping ‘deficits’ in financial capital (access to financial and other forms of material needs), social capital (interpersonal and institutional connectedness and complexity) and personal capital (personal skills, capacities, knowledge, etc.).

      For many people in New Zealand, all of those forms of capital have been degraded and become increasingly scarce largely as a result of the reforms instituted beginning in the 1980s.

      I assume those responsible for those reforms just thought that they could get something for nothing. That is, that they could get greater economic ‘vitality’ without any necessary reduction in those forms of capital. They were wrong – probably because they had impoverished understandings of human behaviour and human society.

      To that extent they were not unlike the Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke who seemed to think that the overweening social cohesion they could see in action on a daily basis was so ‘natural’ and strong that the proposals they put forward in the economic realm to ‘release’ the energy of individuals would not threaten it. Locke was wrong about that, to which the history of industrialism’s destruction of all forms of pre-existing social systems (i.e., viable communities) repeatedly testifies.

      As for ‘individual morals’ being asserted as the starting point of an explanation – well, that just begs the question of the cause of ‘individual morals’ (i.e., it is, in effect, an assertion that they are uncaused which is about as helpful as a very unhelpful thing).

      • RedLogix 9.3.1

        Cripes pd. Sometimes I think you’re wasted on us.

        poverty -= understood as an interconnected condition comprising overlapping ‘deficits’ in financial capital (access to financial and other forms of material needs), social capital (interpersonal and institutional connectedness and complexity) and personal capital (personal skills, capacities, knowledge, etc.).

        I’m going to have to memorise that 😉

        • Anne 9.3.1.1

          I’m going to have to memorise that

          So that next time you’re in the Supermarket car-park and you see a mother belting the living daylights out of her kid you will be able to quote it to her? 😉

        • Puddleglum 9.3.1.2

          Thanks RedLogix, much appreciated.

          The usual distinction is between ‘physical’, ‘human’ and ‘social’ capital, and ‘financial’ capital is usually reserved for standard investment (of course). Helliwell and Putnam (2004) give brief definitions for physical, human and social capital on page 1463, at the start of section 2.

          They also distinguish between ‘bonding’ (within a group) and ‘bridging’ (between groups) social capital. 

          They argue that:

          Advocates of the ‘social capital’ lens have reported robust correlations in various countries between vibrant social networks and important social outcomes like lower crime rates, improved child welfare, better public health, more effective government administration, reduced political corruption and tax evasion, and improved market performance, educational performance, etc. (Putnam et al. 1993; Verba et al. 1995; Knack & Keefer 1997; Sampson et al. 1997; Putnam 2000; Woolcock 2001).

          Nevertheless, I liked my terms more in this context, because I think they reflect an individual’s experiences of what they have available to them (money, skills, ‘friends’).

          Whatever terms, it’s about having your hands on financial/physical resources (partly dependent upon the state of – and form of – the economy), various personal skills and knowledge and social networks (that often depend upon the other two – but they all depend upon each other) and the trust, reciprocity and ‘third party’ benefits they provide.

          • Puddleglum 9.3.1.2.1

            Sorry, that was page 1436, not 1463.

            • RedLogix 9.3.1.2.1.1

              I’m not used to reading academic literature .. but after sticking with that Helliwell Putnam paper a bit I found it very interesting. Thanks.

              I’m struck by one para on the same page:

              Money can buy you happiness, but not much, and above a
              modest threshold, more money does not mean more happiness.
              Moreover, some evidence strongly suggests that, in
              fact, it is relative income, not absolute income, that matters
              most (Easterlin 1974, 1995, 2003; Kasser & Ryan 1993;
              Blanchflower & Oswald 2000). It is not my income itself
              that makes me happy, but rather a favourable comparison
              between my income and yours. This is one parsimonious
              explanation for the otherwise quite striking and startling
              fact that although real per capita incomes have quadrupled
              in the past 50 years in most advanced economies, aggregate
              levels of subjective well-being have remained essentially
              unchanged

              Does this reinforce Wilkinson and Pickett’s work which suggests that humans are very psychologically sensitive to the steepness of the social graidient they find themselves in. In other words, the more dramatically unequal incomes are, the more unfavourably we regard our own?

              And that this disastisfaction applies regardless of whether we are in the bottom 10% or the top 10%?

              • Does this reinforce Wilkinson and Pickett’s work which suggests that humans are very psychologically sensitive to the steepness of the social graidient they find themselves in. In other words, the more dramatically unequal incomes are, the more unfavourably we regard our own?

                Yes.

                In fact, I think Wilkinson and Pickett rely on just this kind of research for their social psychological ‘mechanism’ to explain the deleterious effects of inequality.

                We are a species that is particularly prone to what are termed ‘social evaluative threats’. Being a highly social species, one of our main evolved concerns is with our ranking and reputation in relation to others.

                Their argument about the ‘mechanism’ that connects income inequality with health, psychological and social dysfunction is based around this propensity. The physiologically based emotional stress caused by our tendency to be sensitive to others’ evaluations of our competence, looks, achievements, etc. will have its greatest (deleterious) effects on our well-being in more unequal societies.

                There’s an emerging body of work on the evolution of this propensity and on its neurology (and on the development of the neurology – i.e., how our brains get sculpted by extraordinarily subtle aspects of our early social world and experiences). 

                There’s also a convergence of the research – from the neurological, evolutionary and psychological through to the sociological and anthropological – that seems to reveal a pretty consistent picture of what may be ailing many people in today’s world. 

  10. If this is true then you would think that pacific people would register roughly equal being that they’re generally as poor (if not poorer)

    Thank God for the church’s influence eh…and the positive influence of extended family networks still adhering to traditional values.

    but that is waning in the younger generations. Meaning theres a powder keg of young, uneducated jobless and self serving godless souls waiting to blow up in our faces.

    • Populuxe1 10.1

      Also PIs are immigrants here, not an indigenous people that has been worn down by colonisation. But as a Pakeha, I recognise that no government can magically erase nearly two centuries of unfortunate history. The government, least of all a Nact one, cannot empower people to suceed unless people empower themselves first. I believe Centre-Left governments are the best at giving people the tools to self-empowerment. Nacts seem to think they can only give permission, and only when it suits their interests. Statistics, generally speaking, are not racist – there is an issue that appears to affect Maori most significantly, and the Iwi and the Maori and Mana parties need to be engaging with urban Maori, and working with Labour and National and anyone else who will listen, to tackle it.

      • pollywog 10.1.1

        Also PIs are immigrants here, not an indigenous people that has been worn down by colonisation.

        Remembering of course Maori are PI’s and those PI’s have a history, in most of their indigenous lands, of being worn down by colonialism.

        …just saying is all 🙂

  11. Brett 11

    The problem is these people are base level, they are like animals, they don’t reason things out, they just react.
    The whole jist of this post is bull shit.

    • McFlock 11.1

      “these people”?
      There’s an attitude that will “reason things out”. /sarc

    • RedLogix 11.2

      Hi Brett.

      Well I’d have less problem with that statement if you went on to ask the next question. How do ‘these people’ get like that? What do you think might be the root cause?

      • Brett 11.2.1

        Why do these people get like that.
        From my experience, it’s just what you have been brought up with, poor role models,no idea about what is right or wrong or just born evil.
        Sometimes people just fall into that sort of lifestyle but you tend to find they are the ones that eventually move out of that sort of situation and back into the mainstream.
        It’s the ones that have been “hard wired” to live in that sort of environment that are the real issue, unless a individual is totally removed from that environment he/she will never change because that is the world they know.
         
         

        • RedLogix 11.2.1.1

          I’ll reply here rather than below.

          Well yes I can see how that’s an attractive argument, it’s simple and satisfying, but doesn’t really take us anywhere useful. Or as Puddlegum at 9.3 above put’s it:

          As they stand, the statistics tell us next to nothing about child abuse – unless we opt for some inept ‘its their genes’ or ‘its their culture’ explanations.

          Inept is a great word for it. Yes you’ve landed on an explanation, but it’s kind of like explaining thunder and lightening by suggesting that it’s the gods arguing in the heavens…. a nice story on a wet night… but doesn’t take you to an understanding of electricity and all that this leads to.

          It’s an explanation that tacitly assumes nothing can be ever be systemically changed… and that the mean underclasses will always be with us. Cue lots of handwringing, but nothing ever improving.

    • Populuxe1 11.3

      Bullshit, “base level animals” use expressions like “these people” and, well, “base level” and “animals”…

    • fmacskasy 11.4

      Brett, I suspect the reason you hold attitudes like that is that it’s simpler and easier to blame the victimes of economic inequalities, rather than thinking deeply on the issues.

      Like the Old Days, where (some) people blamed women for wearing short skirts for being raped. Those sorts of “value judgements” require no thought; no insights; and no deep analysis of what’s going on. But by blaming the victim – “case closed; not my problem”.

      But it IS our problem. No man (or woman) is an island and the consequences of poverty and inequality WILL land on your doorstep one day and when you least expect it.

      And the irony is – it’s not impossible to address these critical problems. In fact, we’ve achieved outstanding things already, when we put our minds to it; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/party-like-its-nineteen-fifty-two/

      • QoT 11.4.1

        Women getting blamed for being raped due to their short skirts is “Old Days”? ‘Cause, um, SlutWalk was only last year …

        • Populuxe1 11.4.1.1

          Don’t get me started on the subject of Slut Walks. Let’s see – a senior male cop in Canada crudely and clumsily puts what mothers have been telling daughetrs for centuries – that the world isn’t perfect, not everyone is a good person, and that you need to take some responsibility for your own safety to avoid whatever small percentage of sexual assaults are comitted by opportunist creeps in bars (yes, I am well aware the vast majority of rapes are comitted by someone known to the victim), or even simple unwanted sexual advances, or drunken mistakes etc etc, and this somehow leads to some women bizarrely internalising the patriarchal capitalist commodification of women’s bodies to the point that they embrace the trappings of objectification and oppression as some kind of self-empowerment, and adopt a name that most women would rightly find offensive to really misquidedly make a point by turning a very serious issue into some kind of embaressing farce. My male brain really, REALLY doesn’t get it. NOBODY said ANYTHING about BLAMING the victim. Only a complete f*$&ktard would suggest otherwise. But the way a simple piece of well-meaning advice has been twisted to suggest something quite evil and wrong, and then responded to in a way that completely undermines the issue, would be laughable if it weren’t so astonishing and sad. Ok, said my piece, flame away…

          • marty mars 11.4.1.1.1

            pop – no one got you started, you did it all by yourself for some reason.

            • Populuxe1 11.4.1.1.1.1

              Touche mm – but ample evidence methinks of how a serious issue can get lost in the distracting ideological bunfight that surrounds it.

              • I’m reminded of Tim Wise’s description of what seems the best way for me

                “Folks of color cannot depend upon the advice and counsel of white people so as to fashion strategies for their liberation; neither can women, LGBT folks or the poor count on the suggestions of men, straight and cisgendered folks or those with money to secure their ultimate freedom. Simply put, even when our intentions are good, we cannot possibly know what it is to be in the position of the oppressed in those categories to which we do not belong. Even when one is a member of a marginalized group in a particular category (like gender or sexuality), this will not be sufficient to inform them as to what it means to be black, or Latino, or Asian American or indigenous to this nation, if they are racially privileged as whites.”

                That makes sense to me and I also believe in his other comments on how to support other groups

                “This is not to say that those in privileged identity groups have no role to play in the creation of a more just society. Of course we do, as allies. That means that what we can do and should be doing, so as to make more successful whatever strategies are ultimately chosen by the disempowered as they seek to overcome their position, is figuring out how we can use our status to open doors, to challenge policies that maintain inequity, and to combat the mentality of denial and indifference that too often grips our number. That is our role: to soften up the underbelly of support that the current systems of racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism rely upon so as to do their damage.”

                http://www.timwise.org/2011/12/if-i-were-a-poor-black-child-white-saviorism-and-the-politics-of-personal-responsibility/

                Anyway, just some thoughts…

                • Populuxe1

                  Fair enough, mm, and in part I agree that solutions are best coming from the interested party, but it would be foolish to ignore outside information. Would a black woman be better off to ignore the advice of her gynocologist just because he is a white man? (yes, I know that’s overly reductive, but more concrete examples are only likely to offend and I’m tired of arguing the non-point of my personal bigotries tonight) Is it not just possible that a senior police officer might have some valuable insights into a terrible crime? It would not be logical to assume that some value might not be gained from an external observer, any more than it would be logical for me to ignore an Innuit’s advice should I find myself stranded in Northern Canada. Feelings run high in social issues, of course, but somethimes they, and notions of epistemic privilidge just get in the way of perceiving the nature of the problem.

                  • QoT

                    I think you might want to avoid over-reductive arguments, Populuxe, especially touching on the issue of black women’s relationships with white doctors. Look, I googled that for you too, but let’s just consider that early forms of the Pill were tested on Puerto Rican women without informed consent and drop in the words “Tuskegee” and “syphillis” and leave it at that.

                  • McFlock

                    “senior police officer”? Nope, a constable, the junior partner in a pair of officers doing the presentation.
                      
                    And causal associations in a population need macro research to identify, not one guy, the chance encounters he has had, and the baggage he might bring with him.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Thank you for correcting me McFlock, I misremembered based on the extent of the reaction and should have checked back. And yes, you are absolutely right about casual associations, however I wonder if such macro research is even within our computational power. Would that it were.

          • QoT 11.4.1.1.2

            NOBODY said ANYTHING about BLAMING the victim.

            “If you didn’t do X you wouldn’t suffer Y” =/= blaming? Doubleplusgood!

            • Populuxe1 11.4.1.1.2.1

              Ah, the unhelpful binary logic of the self-righteous. That’s like saying it would be my fault for getting melanoma because I didn’t stay out of the sun – which of course is bollocks, a bit like your analysis of what I said. Blame – unhelpful negative criticism after the fact – is not equivalent to helpful pre-emptive caution. But extrapolating your position, we must never ever give any kind of advice or warning about rape because we may inadvertantly offend someone obviously just waiting to be offended. Good luck with that as a strategy.

              • McFlock

                Oh joy, this again.
                Rape is not melanoma. Melanoma is a non-sentient condition with many causes, reducing its individual incidence basically down to chance. Rape is a crime intentionally committed by a sentient human being.
                   
                Scientists have demonstrated a link between melanoma and sun exposure. Scientists have not demonstrated a link between rape and skirt length.
                   
                Scientists have determined some individual factors that a person can easily identify (such as skin type) that make melanoma more likely, so individuals can take more invasive preventative action. Scientists have not identified prominently displayed individual factors that indicate someone is more likely to rape someone else.
                  
                None of these are reasons why I get pissed at the “but the officer was only trying to tell wimmin how to keep themselves safe” line. The reason I get pissed at that line is that anyone doing a personal safety lecture should know that the key problem in addressing sexual assault is offence reporting rate, not fashion sense. Indeed, fashion sense isn’t even a factor. But after listening to his presentation, it is more likely that someone who is assaulted in an evening when she wore a short skirt will believe she provoked the assault, and will be therefore less likely to report it. Making it more likely that [usually] he will get away with it and do it again. Shit public safety strategy.
                 
                  
                 

                • QoT

                  I especially like how Populuxe themselves has acknowledged that “stranger in a dark alleyway” rapes are by far the minority of cases, but still wants to act like policing women’s clothing is magically effective advice which totally affects rapist victim choice.

                  • Populuxe1

                    QoT, if you stop listening to the voice of the chip on your shoulder, the point (which clearly I am not getting across to your satisfaction) is that clothes, a side issue, has through a pointlessly defensive ideological battle come to dominate public awareness and distract from the serious issue.

                    • QoT

                      Yes, I’m the one with the chip on my shoulder, because I’m totally the one who made a point about side-issue-distraction …. buried in a GIGANTIC paragraph about how it’s just common sense and that poor Canadian cop was just trying to save those stupid slutty girls!!!!

                      Yep. My chip, for realz.

                      To address what you’re now claiming is your actual argument? I think plenty of big, complex issues best rise to prominence and public discussion through small, iconic things. And I think knocking down the bullshit – which you are still propagating – that clothing has anything at all to do with who rapists choose to rape is a pretty solid starting point to address rape culture from.

                      But hey, I’m the one with a chip on my shoulder, you’re just trying to get through to the silly armchair feminist who has no idea how progressive movements work. Good for you.

                • Populuxe1

                  McFlock – Melanoma can happen to anyone, anytime with or without exposure to the sun, it can only calculated in terms of probability. Like wise rape can happern to anyone, anytime, regardless of what they wear. My original point was about the absurdity of the chain of events eventually leading away from the original problem into a circus of irrelevance. Actually there are many different kinds of rapists, from your pre-meditated to your opportunist, to your date rapist, to your really really judgment impaired drunk and many more -all foul, all requiring different awareness strategies. And by the way men get raped too, and it’s not usually about what they’re wearing, but if the topic becomes so sensitive we can’t examine strategies, we can’t do much about it. And yes, improved reporting rates are essential, and police these days are far better trained in sensitive approaches than ever before – so maybe that’s the message that needs to be gotten out. Depictions of fictional rape in television drama certainly doesn’t help.

                  • QoT

                    Oh, well, if we’re talking about strategies:

                    – Stop excusing rape when rugby players do it
                    – Stop creating a culture where victims don’t come forward because they’ll be called sluts or liars due to their wardrobe or profession or history
                    – Stop redefining rape into categories like “forcible rape” so some assaults aren’t treated as being important
                    – Stop cracking jokes about prison sex, or “surprise” sex
                    – Stop treating women like meat, or like they’re always available for sex due to their wardrobe or profession or history
                    – Protect your mates from becoming rapists by not letting them have sex with unconscious people, or not leaving them alone when they’re drunk in case they do something to someone else that they might regret
                    – Don’t apologise for your skeevy mates or say that we can’t call out prominent leftwingers/progressives on their behaviour because that Hurts The Cause

                    Oh shit, I see the problem there, all of these are difficult. Telling women it’s their job to “prevent” rape, when by your own admission the usual “tips” are utterly useless, is eeeeeeeeasy.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Yes, and all of those are important, but by making a massive issue out of the dress thing, you’ve effectively distracted from all of those important things. But then there’s nothing very rational about rape – it’s a hideous thing, and the victim is just that, a victim, not in any way at fault, it’s not about fault. And quite frankly any individual should be thoughtful about minimising the risk of OPPORTUNIST violent crimes – which includes things like mugging, bag snatching etc etc – it wasn’t pre-meditated crimes under consideration.

                  • McFlock

                    “Don’t dress like sluts” is not a crime prevention strategy, because there is no causal link or even demonstrated higher incidence of “dressing like a slut” and rape. And yeah, slutwalks might have become a “circus”. But they sure helped a lot of people address the issue within themselves and empower them to say “it’s wrong, there is no excuse of provocation”, which IS a crime prevention strategy.
                        
                    As for the argument that “police these days” are much more sensitive: The cop made the statements that started it all on April 3 2011. Which is kind’ve the problem.
                     

                    • Populuxe1

                      Surely the more serious issue is that he wasn’t corrected or repremanded by his superior? In which case there is a very serious issue that needs addressing. And this is one individual in Canada, that doesn’t say anything about police forces in the rest of the OECD.

                      “But they sure helped a lot of people address the issue within themselves and empower them to say “it’s wrong, there is no excuse of provocation”, which IS a crime prevention strategy.”
                      If it did, I’m delighted, but I suspect there may be many women, perhaps more conservative or finding their understanding of feminism in conflict, equally potential victims, who were just put off by it because they didn’t identify with the way the message was presented – ie, the “circus” aspect.

                    • McFlock

                      I would suggest that one reason the protest resonated across the globe is because the “don’t dress like a slut” view is not restricted to one police officer on the other side of the planet.
                        
                      And if every campaign that might “put off” some people were rejected, there would be no advertising, ever. But there did seem to be a definite benefit for a lot of people, male and female.

              • QoT

                I’m sorry, Populuxe, but I entirely lack the inclination to educate you on basic social justice thinking around rape culture. I did google it for you, though! Who knows, you could learn something about how “helpful advice” which places the onus on women to avoid a crime committed by other people doesn’t exist in a vacuum or something.

                • Populuxe1

                  Oh QoT, where to begin?

                  (1) The onus is on anybody, regardless of gender, to take some resposibility for their own safety in an unpredictable world containing some very evil people waiting for an opportunity to take advantage. The problem is the many conflicting messages about how best to do this.

                  (2) Men get raped too, far more frequently than you might guess, with substantially lower reportage rates than women, for very similar reasons of misplaced shame.

                  (3) “Rape culture” will only get dismantled if it is continually talked about and discussed, and even bad advice examined so that people will know why it is bad – not shouted sown and jumped all over, which leads to further confusion.

                  Get of your cross, QoT, people who actually want to make a difference probably need the nails.

                  • QoT

                    You’re so right, Populuxe, I’m just finding things to be offended by because I’m full of hate and I’ve never done anything etc etc. I mean, I never discuss and dissect rape culture on my blog or anything.

                    Whereas you’re just Fighting The Good Fight by … right, repeating discredited “avoidance” tips which have 0 effect on whether a person is victimised by a rapist. And refusing to accept how those tips just feed into a culture in which reporting rates are low and conviction rates are lower.

                    Boy, I’ve sure been told.

                    • Populuxe1

                      No QoT you haven’t been told, that would imply you listen. I am doing nothing of the kind you suggest – I don’t even have a horse in the race (and having once been accused by a rape crisis worker of only being close friends with a woman because I was trying to have opportunistic sex with her, despite being quite obviously and openly gay, you’ll forgive me if I don’t automatically assume rape culture is entirely one sided). Potential rape victims are being bombarded by conflicting messages, and stupid political stunts over clumsy misstatements (which most people should by now be aware is baloney anyway – and not, I suspect, what was intended to be said in the first place, or has been taken out of context by the media) distracts from any clarity a potential victim might hope to have. I’m so sorry I haven’t read your blog, I’m not omniscient. I shall remedy this forthwith.

                  • felix

                    Hey Pop,

                    Wanna point out where the “don’t dress like a slut” advice fits into any of your three bullet points?

                    • Populuxe1

                      I thought I’d leave the stupid comments to you, felix

                    • felix

                      So you can’t.

                      Because it doesn’t.

                      As you knew all along. Fuckwit.

                    • McFlock

                      Hang  on, P, I think I’ve got it.
                      Cop makes ignorant statement that perpetuates rape myths.
                      People spent time criticising the ignorant statement.
                        
                      But people criticising the ignorant statement does not address the other issues around sexual assault.
                        
                      But isn’t criticising the criticism of the ignorant statement in itself a distraction from the other issues around sexual assault?
                       
                       

                  • prism

                    @Populuxe1 I don’t know where you will get to with this rape thing. The answer comes back like a ball bounced against a wall – men rape and they bloody well shouldn’t.

                    Now that’s hard to disagree with, and we know all women go through life as Untouchable Girls until they choose not to be, so don’t make any mistakes as to full agreement to sex, right up to the last second. Women of course aren’t interested in casual sex and so are highly distressed when a man takes his opportunity to hard talk a lady into it, or goes ahead with the simple-minded idea that she would like it if she wasn’t too drunk or sleepy to know . Julian Assange found that out.

                    One of the things that women do to show how uninterested they are in sex is to wear deeply cut necklines and tiny little short skirts. One shows lovely smooth breasts and the other lovely smooth legs. But don’t look at them!! That’s what causes men to make mistakes about women’s intentions.

                    What men should do is wear 70’s style shirts unbuttoned to the waist with some manly neckgear, and perhaps codpiece-like padded underpants as I understand Mick Jagger used in his stage performances. Then hot women could approach him in a straightforward fashion.

                    Or perhaps either sex should wear a little neon sign that flashes I’m Hot. For men and women this cuts out the misunderstanding and there’ll be no confusion about the meaning of a clothing style. Even nudity for women or men would not be misinterpreted (the neon sign may have to be velcroed to his chest hair in this case or an off limits sign for women in the shape of a chastity belt or such atttached to pubic hair for women).

                    I feel that there are too many crossed wires in all this business, and hopefully we can get it sorted out this century so we can happily co-exist for a good long time, or when the sun burns out whichever comes first.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Boo hoo! It’s not fair! Women dress pretty and I just can’t help myself!

                      Her “intentions”? Perhaps she intended to madden you with lust to make it easier to steal your wallet, but here’s a clue: she is not responsible for your response, you are.

                • prism

                  QoT
                  “Rape culture” It sounds like something that is grown and harvested. Maybe that is why there never seems to be anything worthwhile said about it that will lead to a lessening of incidents. It would not be so satisfactory and lucrative review means of preventing it. No all that is heard is disagreement with everything said that doesn’t support the stance of the female as a victim.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I figure that unless you are John Key you hold primary responsibility for your own personal security, not anyone else.

                    Now if someone decides not to exercise that responsibility in a thorough and sobre way in order to minimise the physical risks that they expose themselves to, there’s not much you can do as a third party, to assist them.

                    I know ED docs and nurses who think that kids should get home by midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And that doing so would prevent a lot of assaults, serious injuries, and yes, rapes.

                    • McFlock

                      I know ED docs and nurses who think that kids should get home by midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And that doing so would prevent a lot of assaults, serious injuries, and yes, rapes.

                      Aha – finally found where this discussion happened before.
                      To paraphrase what I said before, there’s a major difference between asking everyone to drink less (or otherwise change their risky behaviours) and suggesting that unless you as an individual live a monastic life (never drink, dress conservatively, lock yourself away by sunset) you’ve contributed to a crime committed by another person against yourself. And in the case of sexual assault in particular, the latter approach is counterproductive because it decreases reporting rates and thereby protects rapists.
                        
                      The main reason violent assaults and some types of rape would be reduced if everyone drank responsibly and had early nights is simply because everyone who got all assaulty and rapey when they drank wouldn’t get drunk.  Not because because there’d be no vunnerabal wimmins dressed like sluts stumbling around at night.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.5

      Brett that’s a strong reaction, please explain how you reason it out.

  12. Brett 12

    Ok
    Years ago when  I was on the dole and on the bones of my arse,I got to spend some time with some real nasty individuals.
    Lets just say the effects of Neoliberalism weren’t exactly a driving factor in how a lot of these people behave.
     

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Sorry Brett, perhaps we’re at cross purposes. I would like you to use reason to justify your position, but all you have offered is a personal anecdote. Have you ever heard of “confirmation bias”?

      • Brett 12.1.1

        Have you ever heard of “confirmation bias”?
        Are you implying practical experience counts for nothing?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1

          No, I’m saying that individual opinions are notoriously unreliable.

          Your remarks above seem a bit confused: on the one hand you say that individuals are like that because they are base animals – ie: the cause is genetic, and then you explain that the environment creates them and the solution is to remove them from that environment. And then what? Fence it off so no-one can ever go back there again?

          Makes more sense to fix the environment.

      • prism 12.1.2

        One Anonymous Bloke?
        Talking about reason when talking about sexual practices is a bit ripe don’t you think?
        If reasoning came into it, sexual relations would be a vastly different activity. Women and men would avoid each other as much as possible I would think only coming together on one night or day a year. Very environmentally smart that.

        But emotion and unconscious hormonal urgings keep us in relations despite our better judgment. Perhaps the man-hating amongst the rape-sensitive should start up some women-only hang-outs where unwary women can disport themselves entirely safely overdressed or under-dressed. Course they might have to watch that they aren’t hit on by butch femmes but that probably is just a myth.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.2.1

          Sexual practices? I asked Brett to provide a reasoned argument in support of his statement at 11.

          I’m not sure what the rest of your comment is driving at beyond an attempt at humour.

          • prism 12.1.2.1.1

            1AB
            Well I did attempt to use reason and think through beyond the often shallow posturings on this important matter, and finished with some humour that is usually sadly lacking from discussion. Rape is not something to be humorous about of course but the anaphylactic reaction to the mention of women’s involvement in it does lend itself to a wry laugh.

  13. RedLogix 13

    That’s fine Brett. They’re not called ‘the mean streets’ for nothing.

    So maybe you’d like to have a go at the question I put above; how do ‘these people’ get like that? What do you think might be the root cause?

    I know for example that I had the privilege of a decent middle class upbringing, a good education and as Puddlegum details above, the financial, social and personal capital to make a steady, relatively prosperous way in this world.

    But then right now I only have to look over the fence, literally, to see young people largely deprived of that same capital I enjoyed… and I can see the dramatic difference in outcome for myself.

    That’s a large part of my explanation; what’s yours?

  14. randal 14

    face it.
    new zealand is infantilised and banal.
    the country is saturated with media telling everyone else to be happy.
    and.
    we have had twenty years of postmodernism and teachers telling kids only their own truths count.
    yesterday in the Herald the driver of a crashed car is reported as saying, “it wasn’t my fault. I didnt want to drive”.
    Later on in the day after the sports segment on TV1, Jenny May Coffin said to Allison Mau, “see, you have have just learned something now, haven’t you.” That was unprofessional and childish and and exemplified the continual use of dishonest and disrepectful interrogatives in the media.
    Now with the advent of charter schools we are about to get a full measure of religious bias and bigotry to boot.
    The answer is there are no values in this country except bourgeois venal commerciality and childish one upmanship.
    very sad.

    • Populuxe1 14.1

      Wow randal, I doubt New Zealand is as infantalised and banal as your sweeping generalisations. Postmodernism is a legitimate response to the recognition of a whole range of groups marginalised by the homogenising mincing machine of modernism, and classicism before it – nor have the best bits of modernism disapeared. Nor is what is called “postmodernism” particularly new, elements of it are as old as civilisation. You might want to define what you think it means, so I can be sure you actually understand it.

      Kiwis might be a complacent people, but we are not all as stupid or solipsistic as you make out. I feel sure most New Zealanders having heard the crash driver say “it wasn’t my fault. I didnt want to drive” would have immediately thought “what a loser”, and your example from TV1 news is called “banter” and it has always been with us and guess what, were doing it here – mainly because it’s fun and not everyone in the world is a joyless robot.

      My only objection to charter schools is that they will inevitably be run by the private sector for profit, much of which will, hypocritically, be extracted from government grants and hand outs aside from fee-paying parents. I am not, in principio, against specialised schools – people have a right to choose where to send their kids provided the fees are not absurdly out of reach of the general public. Are you, for example, against Maori schools, or single sex schools, or trade schools? Religiously affiliated schools have been with us for a very long time – I went to one myself, a Catholic very liberal Vatican II school, which turned out to be a lot more flexible, open minded, tolerant, diverse and with a broader and more detailed curriculum than many state schools.

      And as for your statement “there are no values in this country except bourgeois venal commerciality and childish one upmanship” – well the existence of this forum would seem to prove you disingenious and wrong.

  15. Vicky32 15

    Sigh McFlock…
    you said

    The pope would beg to differ. Or don’t Catholics count as “Christian”?
     
    Having spent many unhappy hours trying to convince atheists and Protestants that of course Catholics are Christians, I find that particular sneer against me deeply ironic! However, I sigh whenever someone bleats that “the church” has always said or done a particular thing. There are and always have been many ‘churches’ (including the Orthodox) and there are literally billions of Christians, not all of whom think alike or ever have!

    So while millsy might have been unfair to tar all christians as being exclusive brethren-style cultists, your position that everybody in the medieval period were advanced astronomers is equally bigoted.
     

    I never said (of course) that “everybody in the medieval period were advanced astronomers” – I simply said that they were not, as you implied, morons! (By the way you ought to have said “everybody.. was’ not were… I was not in any way bigoted (against whom? :D) – another language error on your part.)
    I concede that some people (perhaps most at that time) did believe in a geo-centric view – but not because “the priest told them”. Every child does until she learns otherwise as she grows. The human race learns…
    But Populuxe is right – this is all a huge distraction from the point! You guys do that a helluva lot – create a huge diversion with your religion bashing – and then eventually blame me for it – simply because I just don’t want to let your general nuttiness go unchallenged. End of diversion now, please?

    • chris73 15.1

      I’m an athiest so something thats always confused me is if Jesus was jewish how did he end up being worshipped by the christians? I’m thinking it must have something to with not being able to worship himself?

      • ropata 15.1.1

        JC was of Jewish descent on his mother’s side, divine descent on his father’s side. In Christian theology he is considered one of the 3 persons comprising the divine Trinity. Thus he is worshipped as “God the Son”, alongside “God the Father” and “God the Holy Ghost”. (big daddy, junior, and the spook !)

        The word “Christian” means follower of Christ, one who confesses a foundational creed, for example.

      • McFlock 15.1.2

        Being a bit cocky for someone who stuffs up his sources aren’t you, Chris?

    • McFlock 15.2

      You challenged millsy’s “nuttiness” with statements equally as nutty, and so you were challenged as well. And then when you get pushed you start grammar correcting. 
      Wikipedia opens the relevant article with “A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.”
       
       

  16. randal 16

    wow pop.
    you right.
    I dont understand a friggin word.
    I just make it up as I go along.
    and if you think its just banter then you are a just as big a flake as the manques who are employed in these positions who have never read a book in their lives and who think life is keeping score and how much stuff you got.
    how much stuff you got pop?
    and btw.
    do you think social problems have a cause or are they just random?

    • Populuxe1 16.1

      Well randal, I don’t have very much “stuff” at all, being a humanities grad and therefore poor, and I have even less “stuff” now after the Canterbury quakes. And of course social problems have causes, though if they didn’t it would probably be human nature to invent them. And I really don’t see the point in making huge sweeping moral judgments about people whom I only ever see reading prepared scripts for an hour a night and who have never actually done anything to me (that would be a trifle nutty)… How do you actually know they’ve never read a book – but wait, you don’t, you’re just making prejudicial judgements because it makes you feel better for some reason.

  17. randal 17

    well if you dont see the point and cant be bothered thinking about what I said then its your problem not mine.

    • Populuxe1 17.1

      No, I can’t se the point as you haven’t expressed one, unless it’s in some kind of code – otherwise I’d be happy to address it. You might want to pop your tinfoil thinking cap back on and get back to me on that 🙂

      • felix 17.1.1

        And you might want to pull your head in and realise that you don’t get to set the terms for how other people make their points.

        • Populuxe1 17.1.1.1

          I do when they are addressing their points to me, felix, or at least I have the right to expect them to be cogent.

  18. randal 18

    I dont really want anything to do with you.
    you are just here trolling and obfuscating and pretending there is nothing that can be done.
    begone.

  19. DeepRed 19

    Ladies & germs, we have a solution!

    (With apologies to Jonathan Swift.)

    http://kumararepublic.blogspot.com/2011/12/modest-proposal-indeed.html

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