Marc My Words…
3 December 2005
Narrow-mindedness is ignorance dressed up as certainty
Moral indignation is rarely moral; it is mostly indignation of the self righteous variety, made up of a whole lot of "I
told you so" strictures accompanied by unpalatable prescriptions of what we ought to do. We get a few of these every
year. Someone with an axe to grind invites an ideological representative from some impressive sounding organization to
come and spend a week here, do some thorough research over a cup of Bovril and a pink lamington and then lecture us
about how we're falling short.
This time around it was a United Nations 'expert' Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen who after nine days knew enough about
our country that he could issue a two and a half page proclamation stating the tiresome and the predictable. Amongst his
many concerns were the different life expectancies between Maori and non-Maori. Also the disparity between Maori and
non-Maori in their representation in the crime statistics. The good professor went on to note that Maori efforts to seek
redress for past "land grabs by the Crown and white settlers" had only been partially successful".
The whole thrust of Professor Rodolfo's disquiet could be summed up in the human rights concerns facing New Zealand in
dealing with its "indigenous people". Its par for the course to have well meaning theoreticians expound their two cents
worth, it keeps them off the streets and makes us all momentarily ashamed of being white, middle class, and part of the
nasty elite that supposedly perpetuates the institutional racism we're being accused of.
It is ludicrous that we should consider the advice from some pompous professorial ass from beyond our borders who is
regurgitating a politically correct recommendation distilled from a human rights perspective that is itself politically
correct. The whole question and answer tautology is based on a number of false assumptions anyway.
Since when has the mere assertion of human rights violations based on race been considered tantamount to guilt anyway?
Has it not occurred to any that discrepancies in life expectancies could more readily be based on the known factors of
diet, exercise, and life-style choice?
To simply refer to mortality rates as a function of race is to throw our hands up in despair and blame race. That would
be utterly stupid and absurd.
If you want a decent shot at living a long life then put away the fish and chips, the bags of lollies, and the fifteen
slices of toasted white bread saturated in butter. Get up off that couch, turn the TV off and get active. Instead of
complaining that the only things that fits is a pair of 6XL elasticized track pants and all the while finding fault with
the Treaty of Waitangi, take a good look in the mirror. Where are the malicious white people forcing you to eat and
drink so much rubbish?
It is also true that men die before women - and it isn't because women are the first to be rescued from sinking ships!
Who should we blame for that? In New Zealand women are catered for by the politically correct Ministry of Women's
Affairs. There are breast and cervical screening programmes, Women's Refuge, and a host of other gender based programmes
sponsored by the taxpayer.
And men? No prostate screening (despite a higher death rate than breast and cervical cancer), not much to help men who
have been sexually abused, or who have been sidelined in their role as fathers, and certainly no Ministry to advocate
for men's needs. Should Kiwi men run to the UN and plead our paucity of human rights? Maybe, just maybe, we should just
own the problem and advocate for ourselves instead of weeping into our beers and saying how cruel life is for us poor
defeated men! Hell, we're not even allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children on airplanes without automatically
being assumed to be a paedophile.
That is despite all the evidence to the contrary! There has never been a case of sexual assault on a plane between a man
and an unaccompanied child. If there was any need to reduce the possibility of sexual abuse on a plane, then the
policymakers of Quantas would be better off by banning family members and step-fathers from sitting near their kids -
since they are the groups most likely to offend! The very idea that one gender is singled out on a presumption of guilt
is as stupid as singling out race as a presumption.
And as for crime? It's true that Maori and Pacific Islanders are over represented in prison. But the gender disparity of
criminal offending is much greater than that between Maori and non-Maori. Arbitrarily creating stereotypes are
meaningless unless accompanied by causative factors. Potentially we could find a whole list of identifiers that would be
Are we supposed to conclude that Maori or Pacific Islanders are inherently more evil, violent or less socially
responsible? That would be an utter absurdity! It would be as dim-witted as the politically correct Society of St.
Nicholases in Switzerland which has recently issued a ruling to its 100 professional Santa Clauses banning them from
allowing children on their laps after parents expressed concern about close contact between their children and the men.
As a group pornographers as a group are overwhelmingly white, male, and middle class. So too are the financiers of the
drug pushers. The point is there is an abundance of stereotypes if we want to find them. Race is not the main cause for
being in prison; it is the choice to commit crime, and then be caught - period. It sounds so obvious, I'm almost
embarrassed to say it. The longer we perpetuate causes that aren't really causes (like race), the more we create
expectations that people will live up to.
In an odd way, the more that people with a string of university degrees underscore the race based inequalities, the
greater the propensity to attribute fault to race, and do less to address the problems. There is the unintended
consequence in which the public is subjected to the psychological pressure to conform not only to provide the obligatory
resources but the foundation of blame is laid on another segment of the population. The result is counterproductive and
feeds the very bigotry that is denounced.
No one can deny that inequities have occurred in our past. Those injustices happened right across the board. We do have
a choice: do we want to be retarded by grievances from our past or to move forward as a nation solving problems as they
arise? We have seen our share of wars and the one lesson we have learned from is that blood was spilled by both Maori
and non-Maori in defending our shared future. It would not honour them if we betray their unity of purpose in battle by
remaining divided in peace.