Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Child Poverty and the Irresponsibility of Not Engaging with Causes: A Challenge to MSM.


Here we go again; I’ve grown to hate this post with all its variations, but given the shameless nonsense being spoken this election year which voters will be taking to the emoting booth, this post is the antidote. On TV One's (last) Sunday report on child poverty via solo mum of six, I am extracting from my previous race relations post the final one third regarding the issue of child poverty, with my challenge to MSM reporters and Left politicians to ask the necessary questions about causes, because only those questions can address this cycle of child poverty created by welfare dependency. Despite being an extract, I’m sure you’ll pick up the context. Incidentally, that race relations post didn’t update on Blogger blogrolls so many regulars didn’t read it (pity as it was new perspectives on the issue, and controversially the classical liberal position against one law for all, given Maori have every right to pursue self-determination).


Extract follows …


Back to the topic at hand, before the Whyte interview, Native Affairs ran a piece on the dearth of housing for the poor, however, for me, it ended up being about something entirely else, which further served to demonstrate an annoying miss by the Native Affairs reporting – though I hasten to note, a lack of rigour (nerve) shared by all current affairs on TVNZ and TV 3. (Indeed, I’ll put a plug in for Maori TV, the channel I watch as much of as any other, due to its exceptional movie selection which beats every station bar none, plus the channel runs some of the best current affairs, such as Native Affairs.)

The story on housing was framed by interviewing five – from memory – individuals who were living it dire conditions. The opening interview was a teenage mother who had been living in a car with her baby; the woman – sorry, girl – had herself been brought up by her solo dad living on a benefit. The father of the girl’s baby was neither seen nor mentioned: that is, he’d scarpered from both his fatherly, and financial responsibilities.

Stop. In those last two sentences how many bad life choices, across three generations, are evident? The summation of those bad choices is called a cycle. And then it got worse. Apart from a single respondent who was a male living in his car, the remaining three respondents were all teenage girls, all with babies, the final one had had not long given birth to her second – conceived while living in a car, as was the first, presumably – all living in appalling circumstances, not a teenage father in sight, and no extended family for support. For those readers I am annoying right now, if you read that and can guess the multitude of problems I have with these girls and their missing, irresponsible sperm donors – they aren’t fathers – then even as huffing and puffing with your indignation, you were thinking the exact same thing as I was.

Which brings me to my beef with the reporting of this piece. The circumstances of these teenage girls with their fatherless babies is disgraceful and my first reaction is to emote: give them money, house them, do something! And yes, something must be done – don’t run the arrogant high and mighty Left tactic on me assuming I’m some heartless bastard while you have a monopoly on compassion; these girls and their children have to be catered for, yes, but this cycle has to be broken and that won’t be done by subsiding future births. For surely it is also compassionate to understand why too many people are making not just these irresponsible, but insane life decisions, and on how our welfare state incentivises this. What chance have these babies got of breaking the cycle of their parent? From memory, pursuant to the last statistics I read on Lindsay Mitchell’s blog, we are up to one in four babies now born into a family dependent on a benefit. Perhaps the Native Affairs selection was unrepresentative, but four out of five, really? We will never understand this cycle until we face it and ask the hard questions which the Native Affairs reporting did not ask: namely, why did you girls decide to get pregnant when you were in no position financially nor emotionally to raise children; on getting pregnant, why did you decide to first take your babies through to term, and then on doing so, keep them; where are the fathers?

Hard arse isn’t it. But we have to be hard to break this cycle. As to where are the fathers - Liberty Scott speaks well to this point:


In an age where contraception is cheap and universally available, without shame, to anyone of breeding age, where it is possible to trace fathers of children through DNA testing to prove their responsibility, child poverty should be exceedingly rare.


What the reporter of this piece never did, nor have I seen it done on similar reports run by current affairs on the networks – remember mum of eight, ninth on the way with her Sky decoder – was give us the backstories, with the shame of that being all long term solutions come from those backstories, not patch up after-the-birth welfare solutions. My challenge to Native Affairs on stories such as this is to go beyond the level we were given here and investigate causes, not just make causes out of the welfare patch-ups that set lives lost on the next cycle of dependency. And same to the networks, thinking of Bryan Bruce’s appalling documentaries before the 2011 elections, and Nigel Latta’s fluff pieces showing currently - his opening piece on inequality was one-sided nonsense - as Karl du Fresne writes, Latta as celebrity, not journalism.

While I’m on welfare patch-ups - I've lost control of this piece anyway - the Green’s announced policy of paying the In Work Credit for children of those Not In Work, to be called Children’s Credit at cost of $400 million a year, is callous, cynical nonsense: how can they not understand the direct result of that policy will be many more children born into poverty? Again, it’s called a cycle; look at the lives of these four girls and their children on the Native Affairs piece. This disregard for responsibly assessing (obvious) consequences is cruel. Lindsay Mitchell states it well enough:
Yet the Greens see no value in paid work. No value in children growing up with working role models.No value in actually earning an income; participating, contributing and producing.

All they see is a quick cash cure (with no guarantee the money will be spent on the children) which comes with the almighty risk that more children will grow up welfare dependent as the financial rewards of working, as meagre as they are, disappear.

I must have said it hundreds of times. Welfare made families poor. More of it is not the answer.
Economist Matt Nolan also makes a pertinent point regarding the untested assumptions underlying redistribution, and the avoidance of hard choices to fix causes:
Comments like this are a bit misleading “Kiwi kids growing up in poverty are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital, five times more likely to die of cot death, and 27 times more likely to get rheumatic fever, and die earlier than those who are better off.”:  This doesn’t tell us what the marginal impact of income transfers will be – as we need to know WHY this is occurring within a group.  Is it income adequacy – or is lack of income adequacy correlated with some other factor that drives these outcomes (education, cultural/social institutions?).  These questions are ugly – but if we are interested in dealing with certain outcomes we need to put some effort into understanding the outcome, rather than inferring that income transfers alone will solve it.
Or as I said to Metiria:

Before I move on, my use of ‘cynical’ in that tweet was correct on a party level, but not on the personal level of Metiria, I regret using it and will use a further post to retract, sorry Metiria, but these topics press my buttons because they are so important. Morgan Godfrey has recently published on The Daily Blog, an interview with Metiria, which contains further examples of that type of every day racism people of my upbringing cannot comprehend in how thoroughly and intimately it soaks the lives of non-pakeha, but in which Metiria also says, referring to her Left roots:
“I come from a working class Maori family, but we had a very strong upbringing… we were the household where everybody would come and stay if they were in trouble, particularly financial trouble. There was a constant flow of people… My parents, at the same time, wanted to create a middle class life for us. On the outside we had a very flash house, but on the inside it never had any carpet or anything.”
In that statement is the point of difference between Metiria and myself, which is between the Left ethic and myself. If the welfare state resulted in extended whanau/families functioning like that, it would have been an arguable success. But welfare has done the opposite, as shown in this Native Affairs piece, by atomising community and family relationships. From pages 77 and 94-95 of David Schmidtz’s contribution to David Schmidtz’s and Robert E. Goodin’s important 1998 book, Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility: For and Against:
If communitarians are right to say Western society has been atomized, then surely one of the causes has been the state’s penchant for making itself (rather than the community) the primary focus of public life….
What explains market society’s unparalleled success in helping people to prosper? The key, I have argued, lies in background institutions, especially property institutions, that lead people to take responsibility for their own welfare….
The welfare state would have made people better off if it had led neighbors to rely on each other and on themselves, but it seems to have done the opposite.
One of the Green Party’s electioneering techniques this year is Twitter followers photographing selfies holding boards bearing the Green slogan, ‘I’m party voting Green because I care about people’. Well to the Green Party I say do you arrogantly think I don't? And you're not stupid people, yet you avoid the hard questions and the hard reality of poverty from which the only solutions to poverty can come, and choose policies that will only grow poverty: why is that?
And this is before we get to the obvious philosophical argument of tax as theft, and why are single people, and couples who choose not to have children, forced to fund the life choices of those who do? And look at the surveillance, the destruction of rights and privacy, required to run the tax state to pay for it – it makes GCSB and SIS look circumspect.
So Jamie, why not drop the race card for this election and concentrate on a single policy you could politick that you understood, being to get us over that foundation stone of dependency we have created, and which once deconstructed would begin quickly paring down the size/need of a welfare state so that it would be of a scale almost unrecognisable in two generations: that is, electioneer on a single policy of stopping the state paying for childbirth and child raising, and stopping this in all its forms. This is where it will get hard but is necessary so that people begin making prudent life choices, not the insane choices I see around me. So, middle class welfare in the form of Working for Families goes. If you are on the DPB with four children on the day of the election, fine, but no payment for any more children conceived while on DBP. No DPB for teens having babies, instead, either think before procreation about your circumstances, or, failing that, look to your family and extended family to provide for you and the new baby, or else there is adoption or abortion. I always have to cover myself in pieces like these, saying I can hear the emoting yells of ‘uncaring monster’ hurled at me as I write, and you can't punish the children, but I’ll put the money I’ll be saving in tax on the eventuality after two or three generations there will be a preponderance of caring extended families again, especially if in a separate Maori system, whanau is strengthened, rather than this destruction and alienation of community and family that welfare has wrought as evidenced by these lonely girls in the Native Affairs piece.
That one measure, don’t pay for child birth and child raising, keep welfare ‘only’ for exceptional circumstances, not the rule always created, will stop the child poverty cycle, turn the tide on the big brother state, and with that the dependency which crushes aspiration. Instead of as in the UK currently where there are twice as many children with a TV in their home as a biological father, resulting in homes of increasing domestic violence born of the poverty cycle of welfare, we will have a society characterised by a peaceful diversity, fulfilled people in supportive families, and prosperity.



  1. "that is, electioneer on a single policy of stopping the state paying for childbirth and child raising, and stopping this in all its forms."

    I have no doubt that is what it would take to make a dramatic change in the space of a generation or less. I'd make a case for suppporting mothers who have been in a consistant relationship 'in the form of marriage' for three years, and who have separated because of abuse or abandonment. Frankly that would likely take us back to the 1970s where about 8,000 mothers were on welfare with their children, rather than the 90,000 today. That and time limits would transform this sector.

    1. Yes, definitely. I was moving more to that in my 'welfare for the exception, not the rule created'. Extract was from a long, rambling and constantly evolving post. But mainly, just break this cycle of the promise to pay that exists pre-conception.

  2. The father of the girl’s baby was neither seen nor mentioned: that is, he’d scarpered from both his fatherly, and financial responsibilities.

    A mother can always escape her motherly and financial responsibilities by adopting the baby out. It's not ideal but that's okay isn't it?

    You seem to be holding fathers to a higher standard.

    1. Quoting my second to last paragraph:

      "No DPB for teens having babies, instead, either think before procreation about your circumstances, or, failing that, look to your family and extended family to provide for you and the new baby, or else there is adoption or abortion. "