The Dim-Post

May 31, 2013

Parental responsibilty

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 8:53 am

Every now and then I hear someone in my liberal, left-wing enclave (either real-life or online) wonder at National’s enduring popularity in the polls and question as to why anyone still supports them. Well, the Al Nisbet cartoons and the widespread public support for them are a pretty awesome explanation.

nisbet

There’s a large – mostly white, predominantly male, generally older – section of the population for whom unemployment, child poverty, Maori and Pacific educational under-achievement and poverty related diseases simply don’t exist as problems. To them the real issue facing the country is welfare-bludging and the vast unproductive class of brown people living lives of lavish indolence, drinking and smoking and gambling in their taxpayer funded homes crowded with expensive consumer electronics. When you think like that, the idea of spending more money to feed the already spoiled children of welfare-bludgers is simply risible. Hence Nisbet’s cartoons and all the online comments and vox-pops agreeing that the state shouldn’t provide breakfasts for poor children because ‘parental responsibility’ and that Nisbet’s cartoons ‘represent a reality’.

Speaking of reality. According to the latest MSD benefit fact sheets (which tell us, incidentally, that the majority of welfare beneficiaries are Pakeha) there are about 2000 people recieving an Invalid’s benefit who are caring for dependent children aged under six years.

Let’s be conservative and assume that there are that many again caring for children between six and twelve and that they’re caring for 1.5 children each and you have 3000 primary school children right there who are growing up in poverty while being cared for by a person suffering from a physical and/or mental illness.

I think it’s safe to assume that these children are over-represented in the cohort of kids who are turning up to school without food. We keep hearing that the solution to this problem is ‘parental responsibility’, not state (or corporate) welfare. But it’s not the fault of these children they were born to parents with depression or schizophrenia or a painful skeletal-muscular disorder that requires that parent to remain heavily medicated. And those parents can’t just magically stop suffering from chronic diseases that compromise their ability to care for their children. Most parents love their kids – if they would they could.

There’s no actual proof that Nisbet’s bludgers exist. The children enumerated in the MSD Benefit fact sheets do exist – but this is where the idiocy of welfare-bludger rhetoric has bought us. People literally want children growing up in conditions of terrible poverty to go hungry because of their commitment to a race-based political fantasy.

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46 Comments »

  1. Massive strawman Danyl. I love it how you think you are so all over what people who disagree with you actually think.

    Comment by swan — May 31, 2013 @ 8:57 am

  2. “To them the real issue facing the country is welfare-bludging and the vast unproductive class of brown people living lives of lavish indolence, drinking and smoking and gambling in their taxpayer funded homes crowded with expensive consumer electronics. When you think like that, the idea of spending more money to feed the already spoiled children of welfare-bludgers is simply risible”

    I think there are some people like that – but there is a huge group who don’t think that way directly, but because of the way certain issues are framed will agree with the group. I remember growing up in a Taranaki/King Country, and even though that has a reputation in these sorts of things often the value judgment involved was one of “people should have to do something to live” … hence why the concept of working for the dole was pretty popular.

    If we shifted the frame so that the value of an individual and what they can produce were seen as separate, we would more clearly look at policy.

    I’d also avoid saying it is just a problem on one side of the political spectrum – the excessive focus on work, and inherent types of sexism and racism, exist all across society.

    Comment by Matt Nolan — May 31, 2013 @ 9:03 am

  3. I think it’s safe to assume that these children are over-represented in the cohort of kids who are turning up to school without food.

    I think so too. But do you really think basing our assessment of the problem on the existence of this group would in some way be more sensible than basing it on the existence of the wasters we read about occasionally in the newspaper?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 31, 2013 @ 9:15 am

  4. Danyl, please don’t got stigmatising disabled beneficiaries as blithely as the people you are complaining about stereotype others. You can do better than this.

    Comment by Sacha — May 31, 2013 @ 9:21 am

  5. “my liberal, left-wing enclave”

    I move in similar circles (plus a few God-botherers) and a common refrain is: “Oh, I don’t watch (free to air) television any more”. If they ever did, then most nights of the week they would see top-rating programmes called “Bludging Brown Bastards”.

    OK, they’re not actually called that. It’s Renters or Motorway Cops or Fisheries or something. Title varies, theme doesn’t. Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are getting their prejudices reinforced every night, and the “enclave” don’t even know it’s happening.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — May 31, 2013 @ 9:21 am

  6. I think the gist of what Danyl is saying that NZ is a tolerant place as long as you conform exactly to the stereotypes and know your place. The EEO Commissioner’s report in 2010 found no evidence of bludging either.

    http://www.neon.org.nz/nationalconversationaboutwork/

    No Right Turn covered it here:

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2010/07/national-conversation-about-work.html

    On the subject of disabilities, this is what the report said:

    “People with disabilities face considerable difficulties securing and sustaining employment and problems of underemployment. Disabled people with tertiary qualifications experience the same level of unemployment as non-disabled people without qualifications and in general disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.”

    Comment by Will de Cleene — May 31, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  7. They say the past is another country, and a lot of the deniers who go on about welfare bludgers grew up in another country, the pre-Rogernomics & pre-Ruthenasia New Zealand that didn’t have poverty, that didn’t have massive inequality, that didn’t have hungry children, where benefits were adequate to live on and where anyone who worked hard could get overtime and double time and better their families by dint of hard work.

    These deniers – whose public face is overwhelmingly white, male, middle aged and bigoted – have also been the main beneficiaries of Rogernomics that produced the dire social outcomes we face today, cementing themselves into an upper middle class elite. So as a class, they dare not admit the truth, because to admit the truth would also mean they would have to admit their role, admit their political guilt, their social failure, and their economic culpability in the situation our country now finds itself. The arrogance of the average white middle aged male makes this admission of guilt an impossible exercise in cognitive dissonance so instead they retreat and cling to a race-based political fantasy.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 31, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  8. The question is, can these fat white males be converted or will we have to set up death camps? (Or, more efficiently, go house to house shooting them in the head. The big mistake Stalin and Pol Pot made was to ship the enemies of society off to camps and keep them lingering around. If they’d killed them in situ, they might have been more successful).

    Comment by rich — May 31, 2013 @ 10:30 am

  9. Soylent

    Comment by Sacha — May 31, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  10. “…can these fat white males be converted or will we have to set up death camps..?”

    Oh, you are so drole, so clever! How ever can anyone compete with such devastating ripostes?

    The point is we have to stop assuming that everyone is motivated by goodwill and will inevitably have a Scrooge like revelation when presented with the facts by the ghost of welfare present. Many of the people who live in the race based fantasy Danyl describes don’t know the reality of modern New Zealand because they are information poor; they don’t know because they don’t care to find out, or because they now think the poor are different and they are not responsible for them.

    This is hardly unique. Do Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson and Bill Birch and John Key really think we could defy forever the social lessons of the rest of the world with their cruel and hair brained economic experiments? What we are seeing are the inevitable consequences of growing inequality and class difference, especially when – as is often the case – class and race mix. The attitudes expressed by Nisbett are no different from those you’ll hear from any number of third world upper middle class elites for whom the poor are invisible, or dismissed as somehow inferior. The upper class in Chile will tell you the Indians are indolent; The Venezulean Castilian elite will confidently inform you the mulatto is naturally lazy; the Southern gentleman will tell you blacks are simpletons who squander their money, the rich man in Bombay will tell you a Dalit is different and the architect of his own misfortune.

    Cartoons like this tell us one thing for sure – the left will only get for poor people a fair share from the likes of the people Nisbett appeals to when they take it, and not by asking politely.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 31, 2013 @ 10:53 am

  11. I believe Nisbett declared himself as “further to the Right of John Banks” on radio yesterday. Mmmmm…
    On Cambell Live last night the question was “Do you think the cartoons reflect reality?”
    A staggering 77% said Yes. What does that mean?

    Comment by xianmac — May 31, 2013 @ 11:08 am

  12. A staggering 77% said Yes. What does that mean?

    I guess it means 77% of Campbell Live viewers think schools really will have to watch out for Superannuitants and beneficiaries putting on school uniforms and trying to pass as school pupils. Maybe Campbell’s audience tends to take a lot of drugs before they watch the show (it would certainly help make it bearable, so perhaps more plausible than I at first thought).

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 31, 2013 @ 11:28 am

  13. The “conservatives are evil, liberals are good” line is becoming pretty tedious.

    The way some go on one would think the foreshore and seabed act and the Urewera raids occurred under National.

    And just because a liberal claims they aren’t racist that’s no guarantee they aren’t when it comes to their actions.

    Comment by NeilM — May 31, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  14. Ironic that there is a rally cry, in the posting, against the racial stereotyping as shown in the cartoon, only to be followed up by similar racial stereotyping “There’s a large – mostly white, predominantly male, generally older – section of the population” in the spiel.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    So stereotyping one race is bad but stereotyping another is good?

    Comment by Gerrit — May 31, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  15. “A staggering 77% said Yes. What does that mean?”

    It perfectly illustrates why New Zealand has become a low wage economy over the years. Divide the working and middle classes through racism. The Southern Strategy adapted for the South Pacific. Talk about slitting your own throats.

    Comment by Furrball — May 31, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  16. “Every now and then I hear someone in my liberal, left-wing enclave (either real-life or online) wonder at National’s enduring popularity in the polls and question as to why anyone still supports them.Well, the Al Nisbet cartoons and the widespread public support for them are a pretty awesome explanation.”

    I’m firmly entrenched on the Left and don’t have a problem with the cartoons. If you’ve chosen to be offended by them, don’t look at anyone else and make assumptions about them, go look in the mirror.

    Comment by Ross — May 31, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

  17. In terms of the cartoons themselves, I think they are ungracious, unfunny and nasty portrayals – less David Low and more “the Eternal Jew” in spirit. But if Nisbett wants to draw them, and newspapers publish them, and people support them for theat, then that is their right, just as it is my right to draw the obvious conclusions as to what sort of people who think these are funny really are.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 31, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  18. “…it is my right to draw the obvious conclusions as to what sort of people who think these are funny really are.”

    Of course. Just as it is my right to question the IQ of the sort of people who would judge others that they wouldn’t know from a bar of soap.

    Comment by Ross — May 31, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  19. “A staggering 77% said Yes. What does that mean?”

    It means the lefties watching a lefty show agree with the cartoon.

    JC

    Comment by JC — May 31, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

  20. A while back I had to pick up some emergency groceries at Manukau Pak’n’Save. I could not believe the purchasing — and thus eating — habits on display. Aisle after aisle of enormous about-to-drop-dead-of-diabetes Polynesians with trolleys full of jumbo-sized bottles of carbonated sugar water, chocolate biscuits, chips, and candy bars.

    It was fucking nuts. The produce section was almost devoid of shoppers, but the “confectionary” aisle was a madhouse.

    Is it racist to observe that, in one’s personal experience, many Polynesians seem to have strange household-budgeting priorities?

    Comment by SHG — May 31, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  21. Is it racist to observe that, in one’s personal experience, many Polynesians seem to have strange household-budgeting priorities?

    Nope. Nor is it racist to observe, in my personal experience, that sleek, middle aged white blokes seem to have strange honesty priorities in the financial and political sectors. But I wouldn’t infer anything from that other than some sleek, middle aged white blokes are mendacious crooks.

    If you were to say though that said Polynesian folk had odd budgeting habits because of their inherent Poly-ness…..

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  22. “If you were to say though that said Polynesian folk had odd budgeting habits because of their inherent Poly-ness…..”

    Researchers do that often enough to explain why fat is an important part of their diet, lack of resistance to European diseases or alcohol, why refined bread etc leads to obesity and so on. Off memory the RRC has to be able to say that something is at the level of a hate crime before a comment or cartoon can be defined as racist. Mostly only Winston approaches that level (against Chinese).

    JC

    Comment by JC — May 31, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

  23. Researchers do that often enough to explain why fat is an important part of their diet

    But I’m pretty sure researchers don’t say, “Because these people are Polynesian, they purchase these goods, which makes them fat”, that is equating race as opposed to some other factor – like education – to poor spending decisions.

    I’m not saying the RRC is right. I think racism is almost entirely subjective and essentially unmeasurable on an individual basis, unless as you point out that by commission and intent, it clearly invokes some form of hate crime.

    Personally, I think the cartoon is merely a low-brow dogwhistle. Nothing more.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  24. Metiria Turei’s first response is to criticise Devoy. Maybe if the Greens didn’t ape Peters they’d have some credibility,

    And talking of apes, Eddide Mcguire’s going to have to do some remedial racial vilification work.

    Comment by NeilM — May 31, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  25. Bit hasty there with your witticism Neil?

    When you are talking about someone aping something, you are not talking of apes. ‘Aping’ is a metaphor, what you were talking of was Metira.

    How what she said resembles Peters is also something that could use explaining, because it’s not obvious. Or at least to me.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 31, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  26. As I pointed out elsewhere (and please excuse the C&P),

    How does Nisbet know “parents of children who are starving spend money on vices”? Because he happens to read one or two instances in the media, which jump on such stories for their sensationalist value?

    How do he know that addictions aren’t a factor? Because the media doesn’t bother to look BEHIND such cases?

    And how many “parents of children who are starving spend money on vices”? 100%? 50% 1% Less than 0.1%? Sweet stuff all?

    Are the benefit cuts of the 1990s a factor?

    Is the global financial crisis a factor?

    Is the rise in unemployment from 3.4% in 2007 to over 9% (according to Roy Morgan polling) a factor?

    Is the minimum wage set at $13.75 a factor?

    What about rents at $300 or $400? Is that a factor?

    What about electricity prices that rose over 75% since 2000 – do you think that’s a factor?

    Or increasing fuel costs, prescription charges, etc?

    Does it even matter when something like a cartoon reinforces a prejudice – not challenge it?

    That’s the thing about prejudice: no thought or deep analysis required. Just repeat what the previous bigot said.

    Comment by Frank Macskasy — May 31, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  27. So what makes this cartoon racist but say Once Were Warriors not racist? Is it just that Once Were Warriors was actually funny?

    Comment by gazzaj — May 31, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

  28. #22: JC: “Mostly only Winston approaches that level (against Chinese).”

    Also Kyle Chapman, but the vast majority likely see him as a big, fat, running joke.

    Comment by deepred — May 31, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

  29. Sanc: “These deniers – whose public face is overwhelmingly white, male, middle aged and bigoted – have also been the main beneficiaries of Rogernomics that produced the dire social outcomes we face today, cementing themselves into an upper middle class elite. So as a class, they dare not admit the truth, because to admit the truth would also mean they would have to admit their role, admit their political guilt, their social failure, and their economic culpability in the situation our country now finds itself. The arrogance of the average white middle aged male makes this admission of guilt an impossible exercise in cognitive dissonance so instead they retreat and cling to a race-based political fantasy.”

    And such denial is reinforced with a good supply of barbed wire, concrete barriers, and hired guns.

    “This is hardly unique. Do Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson and Bill Birch and John Key really think we could defy forever the social lessons of the rest of the world with their cruel and hair brained economic experiments? What we are seeing are the inevitable consequences of growing inequality and class difference, especially when – as is often the case – class and race mix. The attitudes expressed by Nisbett are no different from those you’ll hear from any number of third world upper middle class elites for whom the poor are invisible, or dismissed as somehow inferior. The upper class in Chile will tell you the Indians are indolent; The Venezulean Castilian elite will confidently inform you the mulatto is naturally lazy; the Southern gentleman will tell you blacks are simpletons who squander their money, the rich man in Bombay will tell you a Dalit is different and the architect of his own misfortune.”

    Too right. Just about every country has a variant of the same theme – a sense of born-to-rule entitlement. The counter-jihad brigade – including but not limited to Pam Geller and Robert Spencer – has a similar world view expanded to a global context. The Nisbet affair will only become a proper race hate issue in the unlikely event someone actually goes Breivik/McVeigh on Cannons Creek or Otara, and says the cartoon made them do it.

    In years past, armed revolution was the natural response to such born-to-rule-ism, only for the results to not always turn out as planned. These days, the most powerful weapons of the powerless are WikiLeaks, Anonymous, and other outlets of hacktivism.

    Comment by deepred — May 31, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

  30. Too right deepred, WikiLeaks and 4chan are the answer to Maori and Polynesian unemploymen, well said. Champagne socialists say “NO” to poverty!

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — May 31, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  31. Overall an outstanding article. Thank you for drawing attention to the harm disability does financially. This is what I see at the
    benefit rights service, an over representation of disabled persons in hardship.

    However, some of your commentor’s can’t seem to string a sentence together. It’s off putting & perhaps you should edit them out.

    Comment by K — June 1, 2013 @ 9:19 am

  32. “The Nisbet affair will only become a proper race hate issue in the unlikely event someone actually goes Breivik/McVeigh on Cannons Creek…”

    Where is Redbaiter these days?

    Comment by Judge Holden — June 1, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

  33. DM: “There’s a large – mostly white, predominantly male, generally older – section of the population”
    I read that and I thought, should I respond with:
    “That’s why I read this blog: because it is genuine and doesn’t descend to using stereotypes”
    Or:
    “A lot of former Labour voters then?”
    (Woohoo, and Sanctimonious doesn’t disappoint, it seems that all that’s wrong with the world is my fault as a white middle-aged man. I think he forgets that many of us were barely born during that “other country time, and so it’s his FATHER’S generation that he is talking (shit) about. And clumsy use of the word “denier”, bro: it’s dumb enough to use it against CAGW skeptics, quite another to use it against in such a cack-handed way against bene-bashers.)

    “Nor is it racist to observe, in my personal experience, that sleek, middle aged white blokes seem to have strange honesty priorities in the financial and political sectors.” Especially considering how underrepresented they are in those industries!

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 1, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  34. Big Kahuna, anyone? GeeMorg might be full of wind (unlike Sanc, he only TALKS about killing cats) but the main thrust of his idea is redistribution. Which I thought you lefties would be in favour of. But, no, politics is all about power and creating dependencies and gratitude, patronage, and that what all the major parties have brought to us in recent years. And it’s what ya’all (and kiwiblog) seem to wallow in (NeilM excepted).

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 1, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

  35. “politics is all about power and creating dependencies” – never quite understood where that notion came from. Please explain further.

    Comment by Sacha — June 1, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  36. Sacha, Helen’s toxic comments as it became clear that she was going to lose power. WFF, Hours Free-ECE, “unprecedented engorgement” of the public sector. You know: middle class welfare, bribes for the electorate. Then, seeking power, the blue-lot swallow a load of dead rats.
    Who knows where it COMES from, but I suspect that there is a percentage of the population who want the power that being in government brings. Gilmore, Peters, Key, Muldoon, Cunliffe, etc.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 1, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

  37. Oh I get the power stuff, but it seems a stretch to say creating political ‘dependency’ is the motivation for social policy. Do the Nats foster corporate dependency in the same way, in that framing?

    Comment by Sacha — June 1, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

  38. It was an interesting coincidence – having race relations hit the headlines in Oz at the same time.

    A couple of things struck me as interesting.

    That sports codes should have programmes to counter “racial vilification” and that aborigines are more commonly called “indigenous” rather than aborigine – without much angst.

    But I suppose 40,000 years is hard to argue with.

    I like McGuire bit he did make a mess of things with the King Kong comment.

    Comment by NeilM — June 2, 2013 @ 2:54 am

  39. A complicating factor is that lifestyle changes, such as diet, can have a delayed effect – only showing up in 2nd or 3rd generations.

    So the effects of increased fat, sugar and alcohol that patents consume can manifest in children or grandchildren.

    So the predisposition to unhealthy diet is there for them without having to have indulged themselves.

    Which complicates the issue of individual responsibility.

    Comment by NeilM — June 2, 2013 @ 9:58 am

  40. “but it seems a stretch to say creating political ‘dependency’ is the motivation for social policy”

    Announcing interest free student loans shortly before an election would have to be a pretty good example of this.

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — June 2, 2013 @ 10:02 am

  41. I can see student loans and WFF policy having that effect, but why not apply the same framing to say tax cuts for our wealthiest or sweet deals for corporates?

    Comment by Sacha — June 2, 2013 @ 10:11 am

  42. Neil, calling Koori ‘indigenous’ is not much different than calling Maori ‘natives’. I doubt it has been their decision somehow.

    Comment by Sacha — June 2, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  43. “Neil, calling Koori ‘indigenous’…”

    Adam Goodes is from South Australia, not NSW.

    Comment by NeilM — June 2, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  44. There’s a centrist compromise to be considered here that appeals to children in poverty with parents that spend money unwisely and the mostly white and mostly older demographic of the population that wants less handouts to those on welfare. More food in schools and less money from welfare.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 3, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

  45. “but why not apply the same framing to say tax cuts for our wealthiest or sweet deals for corporates?”
    Who says we’re not? Corporate welfare (which includes funding for RWC2011) is far less justifiable than social welfare.

    (But of course I’m all in favour of tax cuts for those who pay heaps.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 4, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  46. Sorry: and a portion of the population benefit from corporate welfare. Recipients of corporate welfare convince themselves that they have “earned” it. (And add LOTR etc to RWC2011!)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 4, 2013 @ 1:30 pm


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