Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Editorial Image

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  • B Jones, in reply to Scott Chris,

    whose greater statistical propensity to bear children outside of a stable relationship or become infected with STDs freer access to contraception is simply pragmatic social policy.

    Citation bloody required. Also, if that's your problem, then offering long term contraceptives that don't protect against STDs to existing beneficiaries is not the solution. It's not pragmatic if it doesn't work in practice.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Raising the specter of eugenics smacks of paranoia imo.

    I’m all for a positive contraceptives policy. But for it to work, the stigma needs to be taken out of it – as I’ve said before, who’ll want to go to a family planning clinic if they’re going to get labelled a slut or a baby-killer? And proposed policy, unwittingly or not, is slapping a giant ‘slut’ sticker on contraception and assuming it’s always the woman’s fault. It’s said the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    There's always been a thin dividing line on this issue - Alberto Fujimori crossed it.

    Personally I think it’s not so much Mengele and Auschwitz, as it is Goodsex and Sexcrime.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to DeepRed,

    Would a trip to Auschwitz give them any food for thought? Or would they remain stuck in the mud?

    I think you go too far, Red. I don't think we're in danger of slipping into a fascist state anytime soon.

    who’ll want to go to a family planning clinic if they’re going to get labelled a slut or a baby-killer?

    Is that really what's happening?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3494 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Lilith __,

    I think you go too far, Red. I don’t think we’re in danger of slipping into a fascist state anytime soon.

    Perhaps. But there's a sense of separating out the 'other' as an easy target by the faith-based, which is detracting from the real issues. Are sex-ed and awareness perceived as too 'PC gone mad'? We all know abstinence is scientifically proven ineffective.

    Is that really what’s happening?

    Not overtly, and we're not at America's level so far. But I'm left with the impression that it's fixated on attacking the symptom.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Scott Chris,

    greater statistical propensity to bear children outside of a stable relationship or become infected with STDs freer access to contraception is simply pragmatic social policy.

    I recently read that the demographics on young single mothers is skewed in part by the fact that rich white girls are much more likely to get abortions.

    This government's interests are in demonising a particular group in the eyes of the population, making them out to be lazy and incontinent - that a beneficiary's situation is not just one of their own device, but wilfully so. The government isn't cutting any costs by providing contraception to a needful demographic - they're cutting costs by justifying benefit cuts across the board, down the road.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Grant Buist,

    Many thanks indeed Grant!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    And further to my points, one only has to listen to Michael Lhaws on a good day. Change all the nasty stuff he talks about to Gypsies and Romani, and you get the general idea. It’s easy to dismiss him and his compatriots as fringe lunatics, if so many people aren’t gullible enough to believe him. To Scott Chris et al, I should emphasise that I'm talking about wider societal attitudes rather than goverment itself - governments these days seem largely to reflect attitudes than influence them.

    It’s Propaganda 101 – divide, dehumanise, divert. Grant Buist actually did a cartoon on that in the latest Capital Times.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Danielle,

    Deborah’s links roundup of local writings about this might help us to work out why this particular policy has very little to do with ‘pragmatism’.

    I don’t disagree that this policy does pander to the intolerant Laws-listener type demographic but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea, unlike, say, the inane 3 strikes legislation.

    Framing ideas in terms of their political implications will never lead to practical solutions, just to the usual partisan bickering – so I tend to try to think apolitically.

    Ultimately, when it comes to addressing the problem of long term welfare dependency and breaking the social reproduction cycle the most effective approach inevitably involves both coercion and incentive, both of which are anathema to the opposing ends of the political spectrum.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Scott Chris,

    the problem of long term welfare dependency

    (italics mine)

    Or as some of us might call it, “poverty, disability, trauma, desertion, lack of education or opportunity”
    “Welfare dependency” sounds, and is, a whole lot more complicated if you break it down into its component parts.

    And poverty isn’t restricted to beneficiaries.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3494 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Scott Chris,

    the problem of long term welfare dependency and breaking the social reproduction cycle

    The fact that you've identified this as a problem and described it this way is not apolitical. Another way to describe the problem is that the levels at which state support were set in the 90s are too low for many recipients to bootstrap themselves out of poverty, because they damage local economies and people's health and education prospects. When life's a game of asshole, it's not apolitical to wonder what the losers are doing wrong to keep losing, or to dream up policies to make it less attractive to lose and more appealing to win.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Scott Chris,

    so I tend to try to think apolitically.

    Okay, then, let's say for a moment we buy into your premise that poor people (but only the poor on benefits) breed too much. Which I don't. Why would a pragmatic policy increase the cost of the most commonly-used forms of contraception? And why would a pragmatic policy focus solely on women, and not also on men?

    And then a pragmatic policy maker might also notice this: having a baby doesn't affect outcomes for poor women.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I don’t disagree that this policy does pander to the intolerant Laws-listener type demographic but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea, unlike, say, the inane 3 strikes legislation.

    My thoughts exactly. Both liberals and conservatives in the deep dark past have been guilty of eugenics policy in the name of improving the human race. Interestingly, card-carrying libertarian Rightist Jim Peron has said racism is the driving factor behind family planning in the 1st and 3rd Worlds.

    It reinforces my argument that contraception needs to be de-politicised and de-stigmatised for it to work best, unfortunately culture war for fun & profit is highly lucrative. Lack of knowledge is by far the biggest factor in teen pregnancy and its associated issues, not moral decay as the faith-based dogmatists would have us believe.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    And why would a pragmatic policy focus solely on women, and not also on men?

    Also, why would a serious policy be funded at $1m over four years?

    When you consider that, it looks more like a dog-whistle than a policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Seeing as people are talking about the contraceptives issue, here's a link to a post I wrote adressing some of the points people are making: (1) it's not actually "free"; (2) it doesn't actually improve choice; and (3) it does have racist overtones.

    "Free" contraception: disingenuous, or just plain nasty

    Plus I had a opinion piece published in the Dom Post on Tuesday, which draws on the study that Emma has referenced above, plus some other evidence to argue that it's a matter of giving women and girls better options, not just a matter of giving the access to (some) contraceptives.

    Give teens better options than pregnancy

    The subbing isn't mine. For working purposes, I titled it: "Doing the hard yards on teen pregnancy"

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And further to my points, one only has to listen to Michael Lhaws on a good day. Change all the nasty stuff he talks about to Gypsies and Romani, and you get the general idea.

    Actually, no - Red. If you want to draw that analogy, let's go there and do it properly and honestly. Perhaps you should haul arse to Berlin and stand in Bebelplatz and look at this for a while. Then turn around and look at the facade of Humboldt University -- not only were thousands of volumes from that great institution's libraries destroyed on that bonfire, hundreds of Jews and "ideologically unreliable" staff lost their jobs - if not their lives. An institution famed for its emphasis on scholarly rigor and integrity built over a century was gutted in a few short years.

    Do some research into what the bland term "Aryanization" really meant for German publishing, radio and newspapers.

    I wouldn't piss on Laws if his head was on fire, but cheap (and dishonest) Nazi analogies trivialize the violence done not only to thousands of individuals but a nation's sense of cultural identity. There's a large part of the world where that's not just a rhetorical trope but real, and in many ways still raw, history.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the social reproduction cycle

    What does this phrase even mean?

    (I have a feeling the definition is going to cause my teeth to grind uncomfortably, but I have to ask anyway.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3669 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    When you consider that, it looks more like a dog-whistle than a policy.

    Yeah, it seems pretty obvious they don't actually want people to take it up. What astonished me was when Key said, basically, "It'll only be offered to beneficiaries who ask for it." That's not legal. If you have an entitlement, WINZ are required to tell you about it. WINZ staffers are legally required to make this "offer" to their clients.

    it does have racist overtones.

    I believe, due to relationship strains and the need to full-time parent, the parents of special-needs children are disproportionately likely to be on the DPB.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4378 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to DeepRed,

    Lack of knowledge is by far the biggest factor in teen pregnancy and its associated issues, not moral decay as the faith-based dogmatists would have us believe.

    Yes I agree, therefore dog-whistle or no, any move to make contraception more readily available and socially acceptable is a positive one as far as I’m concerned. (and thinking politically for a sec, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to see the intolerant sector of the electorate split their vote between Winston First, ACT, National and the CCCP)
    ________________________________________________________________

    Apparently my use of the term social reproduction is a little dated – Cultural Reproduction would appear to be the favoured sociological description these days.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Cultural Reproduction would appear to be the favoured sociological description these days.

    Ah, I see: "Groups of people, notably social classes, act to reproduce the existing social structure to preserve their advantage." Like well-off people supporting governments that cut taxes and reduce social assistance programmes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 819 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to B Jones,

    Like well-off people supporting governments that cut taxes and reduce social assistance programmes.

    A good example, yes.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to DeepRed,

    We all know abstinence is scientifically proven ineffective.

    Are you referring to the Virgin Mary? Coz that's not really science, you know...

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    What "advantage" is "preserved" by staying on the DPB, though? Unless you're saying that rich people are preserving their advantages over beneficiaries using cultural reproduction, as B points out.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3669 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Danielle,

    What “advantage” is “preserved” by staying on the DPB, though?

    Perceived advantage as in relative to your social context. For instance the younger brother of a gang member may well seek to emulate his sibling by joining a gang because he believes this will be to his advantage. In doing so he will adopt his brother’s value system.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Buist,

    Attachment

    It’s Propaganda 101 – divide, dehumanise, divert. Grant Buist actually did a cartoon on that in the latest Capital Times.

    Sure did!

    Wellington, NZ • Since May 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It's all very well asserting that the Nazis were incomparably evil, and that any attempt to compare more recent evils to them is an insult to the immortal deceased or whatever.

    But it is a fact that right up to 1939 (or 1942 in the US) the "respectable" right was right behind Hitler as taking the neccesary measures to deal with the real problems of the German nation.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4501 posts Report Reply

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