Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Conservative politics make me a bit sad

I'm a bearded pinko greenie. A rather colourful description for my political predilection.

I was listening to the radio this afternoon to a commentator who surmised my ilk as not trusting of the common man. According to this numbat we lefties expect the population to do wrong and thus require regulations to prevent society from falling apart. Where as conservatives prefer the open fields of freedom, where good men will do good by their fellows while turning a buck.

Others define us as urban ideologues with no understanding of "how the world really works." Australia is mourning the loss of life & livelihoods in the terrible Victorian bushfires. Conservationists and specifically National Parks & Wildlife Service are whipping boys De Jour for allegedly prioritising trees over safety.

I've heard more than one commentator argue that the current financial downturn was in fact caused by excessive & badly applied regulation of the financial sector. This apparently encouraged poor decisions made on regulation compliance, instead of profit with appropriate probity.

Let me tell you why I think the way I do.

A child born of the poor does not have an equal go in life as a child of the rich.
Pick your measure; life expectancy, education levels, chance of incarceration, or potential future income. All these factors are heavily dependent on or directly associated with your parent’s wealth.
This is injustice personified. Any and all affordable steps should be taken to rectify this.
Most people accept that the colour of or language spoken by your parents is immaterial to the quality of your person. Why do we still allow a kid’s life story to be dictated by the income of the family he happened to be born into?
I recognise that self-interest is the engine of our economic progress, but for a football player to sign a contract worth millions while children die of preventable illnesses is simply obscene.

Through millions of years of evolutionary pressures or by act of God or Gaia, either way, we were blessed with a suite of biodiversity. A deck of flora & Fauna cards if you like. We have recklessly thrown these cards away before realising the value of them. Imagine any card game; now discard 10 percent of cards from the deck at random. What chance is there of a satisfactory outcome? Again I say any and all affordable steps to conserve the remnants of this natural heritage should be taken.

I have written and deleted about a gazillion sub arguments, qualifications, riders, caveats and expansions, but I deleted them. This is as close to a succinct summation as I can come up with. Hopefully it goes some way to explain why the NeoCons, Free Marketeers, Libertarians et al leave me cold and a little sad.


  1. "A child born of the poor does not have an equal go in life as a child of the rich.
    Pick your measure; life expectancy, education levels, chance of incarceration, or potential future income. All these factors are heavily dependent on or directly associated with your parent’s wealth."

    I dunno if I agree whole heartedly with that. Motivation and hard work might be the difference between the two but in this society - or the one I live in - everyone has the chance at being whoever and whatever they want. It's what you do with those chances is what counts.

    I think what you're saying is part of why many don't achieve all they can be in and around lower socio economic areas. People tell them because they are poor they can't achieve their own personal greatness, therefore they don't. THAT, IMHO, is the greatest injustice to the less wealthy members of this society.

    There's zillions of examples of people who went 'Screw You' and stepped up outta 'their lot' through hard work.

    What's your definition of success?.

  2. Interesting, I see what you are saying, hear actually NBOB, I also do see Mokos POV ref education as well.

    It’s a simple fact that more doors are open in more different ways to those who’s education costs are significantly higher.

    Its not a given they will however achieve greatness, nor is it a given that persons of a lower socio economic background will not achieve greatness, but the fact remains, the ability to earn more is more prevalent in the higher income demographic and thats not having a shot at them. Ability or opportunity to not guarantee success, there are plenty I cases out there I suspect.

    Its my view, that whilst we have this current flawed somewhat model of education we, significantly improve what we offer and increase the probability of those in that lower bracket of achieving more. This aids society on an overall basis, as for the deck of cards, I would not say that we have thrown away at random some, we tend to know the results of our actions. In that, you could then draw the conclusion we have selectively murdered flora and fauna to meet or own requirements based on a very selfish short term view.

    As for tree huggers, well I do rant and rave, but the simple fact is we need them, just like we need all demographics in society, well not ALL, but those that help counter balance against the extreme. Its here where we have screwed the pooch, for allowing one side to take control we dilute the balanced view, yes it’s not easy, but a little more intelligence applied would go a long way.

    Its here then that we find the issue is not really with either side of the fences participants, but rests more squarely with those for whom the decisions is about popularity and keeping the votes. Fix this group and you are at least heading at a reasonable pace down the right path. Not saying they are culpable, just they simply do not know any better, its been conditioned into them from the moment they walked into the political juggernaught and left reality to a large extent behind.

  3. Moko.
    Success = Opportunities for stimulating & rewarding work appropriate to asprations, satisfying long term relationships & sufficient free time to participate in sport / recreation & comunity activities.

    They are not my opinion - they are Bureau of statistics numbers - and they hold up in every country.
    You are right, many have risen beyond their childhoods, but by far the majority do not, due to lack of access to high quality education, books in the home, A grade medical, etc etc etc.
    Ask any teacher you know about the non-material resources in the poorer state schools V.S. the private schools.
    EG: A guidance counseller that is a trained professional V.S. some happy-clappy chaplain that the school gets cheap. What difference do you think that would make? To how many kids lives?

    There is also the 2 edged sword of self identification.
    A: Few "succesful" people will admit they were born with a silver spoon stuck in their arse, it's all "self made man" despite daddy's trust fund.
    B: The Wacol / Beenliegh kids see so many of their elder sibs unemployed & with substance abuse issues that they pretty much asume that is where they are headed - so why try at school?

    It's so fucking unfair it makes me Pick-up-a-gun angry.

    Then the Neocons justify their fuck everyone else attitude by banging on about dole bludgers or Welfare Queens. Adults make decisions & live with the consequences. The kids don't, they get stuck with the consequences of their parents shit decisions.

  4. NBob, In the end it's about balance. An Unquestioning social state provides little reason for work and innovation and so stagnates with high unemployment. However Pure capitalism in the end will fail as in the end you can only screw over 'the people' so many times.

    In the end it's about culture and a fact of life is that most of us will take the easy route hence the failiure of so many aboriginal settlements due to the lure of 'sit down money'. Those members of our indigenous community that have stood up and said 'no, not for me thank you' have in my minds shown how much better they are than alot of us white fellas who slope around doing the bare minimum.

  5. Quality professionals surrounding our kids is the BIGGEST issue. I most definitely am all over that. My dad was a teacher - and a good one that cared - that end up having a breakdown over the grief he got from everywhere. His spirit just gave up. The worst thing that happened with education was giving parents a say beyond how they thought their kids were going.

    Money is an issue, I agree, in regards to creating a quality education system. But I don't think it's the only problem. Having a support network for the teachers and listening to what they say regarding their needs is just as, if not more.

    My missus' sister is a deputy principle, but has been a principle until she opted out due to having to take on all and sundry just to keep the joint going. From what she's been saying a lot of the teachers are just as bad as the big mouth feral fucking parents that harass them like pitbulls. Many don't fight for the kids, they just don't give a shit. Half her staff are on stress leave just cause it exists. Many PROFESSIONALS have been scared off from the profession by the profession itself. ESPECIALLY men.

    The basic foundations of the education system for the kids is flawed beyond anything that resembles a working, functioning enterprise.

    But still, I truly believe that life is about choices. I don't feel sorry for the paint sniffing kids I've had to cop abuse from off over the last two years. It's not that I hate them, it's that I make a conscious choice to do the right thing and go to work everyday where I can see the benefit in selling drugs and robbing banks.

    I'm solely responsible for who I am and how I function in this society. It's all about choices whether you've got money or not. I refuse to say, 'Society's fucked so behave how you will. It's not your fault'.

  6. Hmm interesting arguement and like Chaz (oh no) I think you have to find a balance.

    There needs to be rich and poor to provide incentive to achieve, but society needs to provide a base level of healthcare, education and support so even the poorest have hope.

    Bob, I disagree with your definition of success. I see success as achievement of goals and has little to do with opportunity.

    Moko the schools issue is interesting. My wife has worked in Student Welfare and to me it seems that the issue is one you have touched on "he worst thing that happened with education was giving parents a say beyond how they thought their kids were going". You are on the right track, many parents have passed the responsibilty of parenting to the schools and then have the nerve to bitch about the job they are doing. We need to get parents back to parenting so that schools can get back to educating.

  7. "We need to get parents back to parenting so that schools can get back to educating."

    Exactly. Someone at the top needs to make some big and unpopular decisions to make that happen. This breeding incentive is aimed at the wrong people....or the wrong people are benefiting the most from it. Why does someone on the dole, or single parents, need subsidised day care?. Why not subsidise parents who work so they CAN work?. And like the Muslim argument over at JB's I'm not having a go at welfare recipients, but the government.

    Why not encourage people to get educated and work, instead of making it a viable option for under 18 year olds to breed?. Yep, many have succeeded in being a young mum, shit happens in the heat of the moment blah blah, and I'm not saying penalise them for it but let's be realistic, many are breeding purely for the financial gain at a young age now. They're not looking long term and THAT has a flow on effect with the child's upbringing....doesn't it?.

    The government themselves are creating and exacerbating the societal problem of the gap between the wealthy and the.......disadvantaged.

  8. On a possibly related issue - I note that the Medicare levy is to be raised so that I have the opportunity to fund poor peoples' dental work. It is not the politics of this that gets me mad - more the result - wouldn't it be a good thing to have thousands of destitute young toothless women prowling the streets!

  9. Ok, good argument gentlemen. Now's here's something else to think about. My sons husband walked out on us when the youngest was six months old and I was too ill to work.
    I suppose I was what you could call a Welfare Queen. We lived in one of the well known armpits of Brisbane. Poor as, the boys both going to poor state schools. All the negatives you can think of.
    My oldest son has been a member of the Defence Force for the past two years, among other things been attached to the Federal Guard, etc.
    My younger son walked straight out of grade 12 into a full time apprenticship, he was and still holds the record for being the youngest person in Queensland to ever begin a school based apprenticship in his field.
    Niether son has been in trouble in anyway. Never son even smokes.
    So where does the argument go when one mother refuses to believe or allow her sons to believe you are condemed to a certain life, simply because of your circumstances.
    Life is what you and you alone make of it.
    If I had not believed this myself, I would have been long gone years ago.

  10. Woking ass backwards (just like a commie would.)

    DD - Your boys are a credit to you and a testiment to your parenting. As I said above it is not an inescapable sentance like in a caste system (think India, or GB 100 years ago) but anything that can be done to support families in a similar situation should be done.
    Tough question. When you were on "struggle street" did you and your boys get dental checkups every 12 months as recomended? How about access to the best & most motivated teachers? While the rich kids did. Your fault? no. Fair? Not frickin likely.

    Lerm, I can see an upside, but as a married man...

    Moko. You have indirectly put your finger on one of the pinch points.
    Is it better to have a safety net that is abused by scumbags, or no net at all? I vote the former.
    As for under 18 trailer trash getting knocked up to buy a big telly, that points more to poor parenting & education than anything else in my book. Get them into education (finish senior then TAFE / Uni) into a job and support their kids to not make the same mistakes.

    Naut. One of things I like most about Web 2.0 is access to people who disagree with me.
    Disagree away.
    I see your point, but I'm talking about opportunities as signs of a successful community - if people don't make the most of those opportunites well that's their problem at least they had as level a playing field as we could give them.
    "There needs to be rich and poor to provide incentive to achieve, but society needs to provide a base level of healthcare, education and support so even the poorest have hope." Without the 2nd part of this sentance I would have gone ballistic as you can't leave kids to drown as an object lesson to other kids to learn to swim. But as you put it in, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Im not doing this to preach or convert, just to try and express myself outside the usual insult throwing & generalisation.

    Chazf. Good point well made sir.

  11. While I couldn't afford dental check ups every 12 months, when they did go neither one had cavities. All through their childhood, neither does Wonder Kid now. Like you said the parenting comes into it here, in between the teeth brushing thing there was also the diet, which is what made sure the kids didn't end up with a mouth looking like a zebra.
    The teachers didn't have much choice with me, from day one I have been shall we say, a force to be reckoned with if I thought the teachers weren't doing the right thing. And the ones who were good, got nothing but my support and gratitude. I am also the type of mum who took up a lot of the slack in the teaching when needed. And by the same token when the gifted one wanted something decent to read in grade three I had Moby Dick on hand among others, which he loved.
    A lot of very young parents don't realise, that after the handouts of money, medical, and all other 'gifts' they are still the parent and have to actually be a parent for their child to grow.
    I gave up a hell of a lot for my kids, and I am glad I did. I didn't get a degree, or a career like a lot of people thought I would. But I have my Masters in Mum.

  12. I would comment but I'm not witty enough



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I was the proud recipient of the worlds first monkeys ass to human face transplant. Friends of the donor monkey says it took well, I'm not so sure.