THE HAPS

We hope political scandals will recede and make way for some policy debate. New Zealand certainly needs it with morale at record lows up and down the country. That is not just the view of Free Press, it is the trend of right direction/wrong direction polling for a year.

VALUES, NOT POLITICS 

New Zealand is in a funk, and it’s not just because the mighty  AB’s are losing at home games to leprechauns and Argies.  

There’s an un-Kiwi sense of lawlessness on the streets. People  arriving back in New Zealand say it’s like that scene from the Lion King  where Simba returns and the hyenas have taken over.

The reconnection from COVID has left us a global laggard, we  hear Air New Zealand is the last airline insisting on 12 hours of masking at  many international airports.

There’s now an open question about whether the roads have more  orange cones or more potholes. Waka Kotahi’s solution is to reduce the speed  limits instead of fixing the roads.

We are the first society in modern history to reduce our travel  speeds.

The Government told kids to stay home from school for months on  end, and many of them never regained the habit of regular attendance. It may  be because they’re not getting valuable instruction from their elders like  the last 5,000 generations of the human race, but instead subject to the ‘child  centred learning’ experiment. You can do child centred learning anywhere  including out on the streets.

The country that led the world in one-person-one-vote is now  busily trying to divide itself into different political classes. In every  area from infrastructure and planning to health care delivery.

At the centre of New Zealand’s problems a Government that  believes in determinism. It believes life is like bad weather, determined by  forces far beyond anyone’s reach and most people’s comprehension (yes,  ironically the weather is one thing the New Zealand Government actually does  think it can change).

The opposite idea, that each person is a thinking and valuing  being, with the ability to change their future, is a foreign concept.

As the new History Curriculum says, everything in New Zealand is  shaped by colonisation, something that no living person was part of. The rest  is shaped by identity, depending on your birth you might be a victim or an  oppressor.

It’s not clear which message is more destructive for the next  generation. Is it worse to be told you are born of an original sin, or that  you’re born special and wronged? What they have in common is that the future  is determined by forces beyond your control.

We wonder why young New Zealanders are depressed and anxious,  when the underlying values of the Government tell they that they’re  spectators in their own future.

As if to prove the point, the Government whacks anyone who takes  initiative. Farming the land to grow food? Whack. Starting a small business  that employs people, whack, whack. Had the temerity to buy a second property  and rent it to provide someone else a home? Whack, whack, whack.

You do not deserve to succeed on your efforts in a predetermined  world. You were probably just privileged, and if you don’t understand that  there’s something wrong with you. Get with the programme!

That’s only half the story though. No credit for successes is  one side of determinism. The other side is no responsibility for failures. In  the criminal space, we are now paying the consequences of having few  consequences for crime. The criminals who face the lightest consequences are  doing the most to prove the point at the moment.

The kids doing ram raids prove determinism wrong with their  ingenuity. The law affords them protection for being helpless, and they use  it to their advantage. Being safe from prosecution acts as their own  comparative advantage, doing the dirty work for their older bosses who are  vulnerable to prosecution.

A truly extraordinary example is the teacher, reportedly an  excellent relief teacher working in Auckland Schools, who is accused of  pulling a kid’s earphones out. We have been told he may now be required to  spend his life savings defending himself.

If a problem defined is a problem half solved, then the solution  to many of New Zealand’s current problems lies in a rejection of determinism.  What happens today is not because of anything that happened 200 years ago, or  any other factor that we aren’t able to change with enough will and  ingenuity.

Changing the future is both possible, and difficult, so there  should be a connection between effort and reward for doing it. With that  touchstone, you can get a long way to solving nearly any policy problem New  Zealand currently faces. The reason Labour cannot solve problems is that they  are blinded by determinism.

 

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