Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nia and Jhia

I’m sure John Key and the members of his new government
would be shocked to be told that, before they even take
office, they’re already condemning several infants and young
children to violent deaths at the hands of family members.
Yet when a government comes to power emphasizing above
all the importance of economic growth, business efficiency
and increased profit, it is making its priorities very clear. It
betrays itself constantly as an administration beholden to
numbers, not human beings; monetary values, not moral
ones. Defenders of that kind of politics will say "Yes, but
greater economic prosperity equals higher living standards
equals happier people equals less stress and strain equals
less domestic abuse and violence." That might just possibly
be true if Keysian economics delivered equal benefits to all;
but we know from experience (just look at the recent reigns
of Bush, Blair and Howard) that centre-right governments
inevitably favour those at the richer end of the scale, leaving
those at the other end on the same old roundabout of
poverty, unemployment and welfare dependency—the very
conditions in which domestic violence is likelier to occur.
What John Key and friends have to understand is that the
true price of unlimited economic growth—or rather, of a
political commitment to that chimera—is invariably paid by
children, women and those less able to protect themselves.
The chain of causation may not be easy to see, especially
from behind the mirror glass of a 25th-floor boardroom,
but it can be traced. This is an argument not against some
people making more money than others but against some
people making obscenely more money than others, and
against money being the measure of all things. The most
passionate pledges one hears from Key and co are along
the lines of getting New Zealand back into the top half of
the OECD rankings or matching Australia's productivity or
removing restrictions on commercial development. Yet on
the day of the general election the New Zealand Herald ran
a story revealing that violent assault has become the main
cause of facial surgery in this country. Eighteen years ago,
road accidents accounted for 33 percent of such operations;
that figure is now just seven percent, while the percentage
attributable to violent assaults has risen from 31 to 42. It
would be a tremendous thing—we can dream, can't we—if
all the combined energies of a new administration could be
brought to bear on stopping the torture, murder and sexual
and physical abuse of children and women in New Zealand,
in the same way that a really dedicated campaign has
succeeded in bringing the road toll down by more than half
and saving thousands of lives. In the names of Nia Glassie
and Jhia Te Tua, and all those who have suffered and
continue to suffer and die brutally, needlessly like them,
I call on John Key and his new government to make this
their supreme goal.

"A world must be overturned, but every tear that flows and
might have been staunched is an accusation; and a man
hurrying to a great deed who knocks down a child out of
unfeeling carelessness commits a crime."—Rosa Luxemburg


Steve Withers said...

"Hear! Hear!"

But you know they won't. They didn't last time and they won't this time.

Kiwis just opted for the primary local proponents of the global system that collapsed 2 months before the election.

Those same proponents can't see (won't - but what does it matter) that the 'solutions" they advance are failed solutions.....run aground on human failings every bit as much as Communism also ran aground on humand failings.

All these *ologies and *isms....and they all fail. It all comes back to us and our selfishness and weakness and willful blindness when we choose not to see.

Time will tell, but the signs aren't good......and still I wonder why people made this choice. It appears to have been made on faith rather than certain knowledge of what was on offer.

Faith is an increasingly evil thing in my eyes. This must be the path to Hell that was paved with good intentions.

Pdogge said...

Indeed, indeed. You are so sadly, spot on. We become every day a dumber and dumber society an a less caring one.

adamsmith1922 said...

I would agree with a campaign to root out family violence.

I fail to see why you appear to think it is incompatible with economic growth.

You appear to suggest that economic mediocrity and lack of violence go hand in hand