Thursday, March 04, 2010

David Garrett makes headlines again

A post appeared over at Kiwiblog yesterday (latterly identified as written by Jadis) responding to Michael Laws' call for voluntary sterilization of parents who have perpetrated the worst abuse on children. David Garret contributed a couple of comments, The Standard slammed him for it in their typically misleading modus operandi and now it has made MSM.

No discussion is possible in this country about people's rights and ability to procreate and parent without someone inevitably turning it into a hysterical accusation of advocating eugenics.

Let's not forget what is driving this discussion. The horrid abuse and sometimes possibly merciful death of children who were never wanted, got in the way, provided a target for sadism or relentless cruelty for someone who hasn't emotionally developed because they were treated the same appalling way.

I am not defending Laws or Garrett. But I am defending the freedom of expression without misrepresentation.

For the record I also made a comment;

Most (but not all) of the worst abuse goes on in benefit dependent homes. Some people have babies for the wrong reasons, one being that they are meal tickets. If you doubt that, watch the family wrangles that go on in the court over custody when a beneficiary parent stands to lose their source of income. Having had children for the wrong reasons they do not make good parents. So another approach could be to make using a long-acting contraceptive a condition of receiving welfare. In order to keep getting an income from the state the mother cannot have any more children. Anyone using the DPB the way it was intended would be avoiding having more children anyway. No need to sterilise men or women. No coercion.

At the same time, for people not already parents, change expectations. No more open-ended, easy-to-get-on and easy-to-stay on welfare. Reforming welfare isn’t the whole answer. Like others I do not think there is a total solution. Child abuse, like other crime, will always be with us. But we shouldn’t be encouraging it by attaching substantial cash incentives to babies.


That's needs further clarification. In the worst cases the children would have been removed and the welfare would be the dole. But in general anyone on the DPB should, in any event, be using contraception.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frankly there's only three things wrong with David Garrett's policy:
* the $5,000 bribe to bludgers
* It only applies to abuse, not all bennies and bludgers
* It's voluntary


This goes to show that ACT's future lies with adopting Garrett's and Boscowen's policies, not Roglas!

Anonymous said...

RadioSocialism covered that this morning.

Lots of emails just now all positive

A few more simple policies like this are all ACT needs to be sure of getting over 5% next time around.

Anonymous said...

"But I am defending the freedom of expression without misrepresentation."

Sadly, this will never be the case in NZ.

Axe the Tax is a perfect example of why not.

kurt

Anonymous said...

Frankly, given that Garrett also believes the dole and DBP should simply be abolished - the poiicy og a $5000 sterilisation bonus comes pretty close to compulsion.

The real difficultly, as Annette King pointed out, is the moral hazard: this pays bludger women to abuse their existing kids!!

That's why there shouldn't be any bonus, and why this cannot be "voluntary". Let's be clear: bludgers aren't citizens and don't deserve civil rights such as the right to have kids.

Lew said...

Lindsay, no discussion is possible in any country of about people's rights and ability to procreate and parent without someone bringing up eugenics because any state-mandated infringement of those fundamental human rights for any purposively-selected group of people constitutes eugenics.

It's perfectly reasonable that eugenics is brought up when Garrett, or anyone else, brings up a selective government-operated sterilisation programme, because that's what it is. If you want to defend it, go ahead and defend it. But don't pretend it ain't what it is.

L

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, no discussion is possible in any country of about people's rights and ability to procreate and parent


Complete and utter tosh. Bennies and Bludhers and WFFers don't have any rights: certainly no rights to help themselves to any more of MY TAXES!

without someone bringing up eugenics because any state-mandated infringement of those fundamental human rights for any purposively-selected group of people constitutes eugenics.

Once again: having an endless number of kids on the back of productive mainstream Kiwis - many of whom would love to have more kids but can't afford it because of Taxes to pay for bludgers kids or because they worked until they could afford kids - THIS IS NOT A HUMAN RIGHT!


It's perfectly reasonable that eugenics is brought up when Garrett, or anyone else, brings up a selective government-operated sterilisation programme, because that's what it is. If you want to defend it, go ahead and defend it. But don't pretend it ain't what it is.

Crap: genetic testing and abortion on the basis of disease or race is eugenics. Preventing the poor from multiplying is simply good policy.

JCUKNZ's blog said...

I see a certain irony in first condeming the abuse and killing of children and then suggesting the use of contraception which after all is the killing of life on the way to the woman.

In making that comment I am being as big a troll as Anon 6.50 for sure.

Lindsay said...

Lew

"It's perfectly reasonable that eugenics is brought up when Garrett, or anyone else, brings up a selective government-operated sterilisation programme, because that's what it is. If you want to defend it, go ahead and defend it. But don't pretend it ain't what it is."

Who said it would be government- operated?

Good God. It could be even worse than state eugenics. Private eugenics for profit!!

I am only surprised you haven't extrapolated to this evil eventuality.

Lew said...

Anonymous, I'm only going to respond to the extent of saying that your conception of rights differs markedly from that which our governments are required to uphold. I'm talking about the real world, not the one you wish existed.

Lindsay, all in good time. But knowing that Garrett is a lawmaker rather than a clinician gives the hint that this is policy he's ruminating over, not implementation.

I note you didn't actually engage with (much less dispute) my point. So, as I say: go ahead and defend it, if you can. As someone who had a bit of time for the old classical liberal/soft libertarian ACT party but who has none for the new liberthoritarian ACT party, I encourage you to shout your defences of Garrett's pronouncements and his proposed solutions from the very rooftops.

There are very few policy platforms with potential to make ACT less electable than it already is, and this is one of them.

Cheers,
L

Anonymous said...

There are very few policy platforms with potential to make ACT less electable than it already is, and this is one of them.


Simply and demonstrably not true.
Winston first holds - what - about 4% of the vote.
these kinds of policies will be very attractive to that demographic.

ACT should turn itself into some kind of "national gathering" party - gathering together everyone who stands for the national values of productivity and self-reliance!

Lew said...

If it's demonstrably not true, Anonymous Coward, then I await with interest the coming demonstration.

L

Anonymous said...

Over on The Standard we have this reaction:

Garrett: Sterilise the poor
Written By: IrishBill -
Date published: 2:59 pm, March 3rd, 2010 - 98 comments

ACT MP David Garret has called for a programme to sterilise the “likes” of Chris Kahui and Maxine King. By which we can only assume he means poor, brown, people. Sack him.

Anonymous said...

Look at the latest polls, Lew, this plays really well in middle NZ!

Biorealist said...

"o another approach could be to make using a long-acting contraceptive a condition of receiving welfare."

There is in fact a temporary 3 monthly birth control shot which would be appropriate for protecting against pregnancy.

http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/contraception/contraception_depo.html

Biorealist said...

##It's perfectly reasonable that eugenics is brought up when Garrett, or anyone else, brings up a selective government-operated sterilisation programme, because that's what it is. If you want to defend it, go ahead and defend it.##

Lew,

The word eugenics is tabboo and intelligent people can reflexively dismiss the idea. In fact they can shut down discussion on that basis.

Curiously, people tend to link it to the Nazis, but mainly they practised dysgenics by targeting the most intelligent group (Ashkenazi Jews have an average group iq around 2/3 of a std deviation above the European mean).

The other significant point is that their approach, and that in Buck vs Bell (the Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes ordered sterilization) was that they were mandatory. In a liberal democracy maybe the State shouldn't have that coercive power, but what is wrong with offering incentives?

In terms of child abuse, it seems it would have a measurable impact.

Your objection seems partly to be that it is inconsistent with a libertarian position. But there seems a good case for govt intervention - I think George Monbiot makes a good point here:

"The democratic challenge, which becomes ever more complex as the scale of human interactions increases, is to mimic the governance system of the small hominid troop. We need a state that rewards us for cooperating and punishes us for cheating and stealing. At the same time we must ensure that the state is also treated like a member of the hominid clan and punished when it acts against the common good. Human welfare, just as it was a million years ago, is guaranteed only by mutual scrutiny and regulation."

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/10/23/libertarians-are-the-true-social-parasites/

Biorealist said...

sorry, taboo not tabboo

Lew said...

Anonymous, if it's so popular, I why is every politician in the country -- including the one who initially raised the idea -- is running a mile from it?

Biorealist, thanks for a considered and substantive engagement.

The word eugenics is taboo and intelligent people can reflexively dismiss the idea. In fact they can shut down discussion on that basis.

It's not so much that the word eugenics is a taboo, but that eugenics itself is, due to its history and the philosopical, ethical and symbolic issues it raises. This is as it should be: everyone, even Garrett, would probably agree that, in general, eugenics is a bad thing. This is why I say if people want to defend it, they're welcome to, but they should be honest about what they're defending.

Given this history, and these knotty problems, we should shut down such discussions of implementation of any eugenics-like programme until such time as the principles which lie behind have been properly thrashed out in the public sphere. What Garrett and his supporters seem to have been trying to do is skip over that discussion to one of pragmatic implementation, and that way lies ruin, because it fails to take account for all the bad and wrong and downright evil stuff which has gone before. Garrett didn't even know the barest facts about the one example he cited -- the Indian implementation. And given his views on other topics, he is in my view the very last person who ought to be leading the discussion.

In a liberal democracy maybe the State shouldn't have that coercive power, but what is wrong with offering incentives?

As I've argued at great length elsewhere, the function of the incentives named (the particular amounts of money, contra deals like less prison time; etc.) is to limit the scope of the programme substantively to "undesirables" such as the poor and the brown. This is why the background discussion must be had first -- so that any implementation, however well-meaning, does not end up being eugenics by default. Not that this proposal was at all well-meaning.

Your objection seems partly to be that it is inconsistent with a libertarian position.

That's not my objection to the proposal, it's my objection to so-called libertarians and small-government conservatives favouring it. It's inconsistent and self-serving. I've argued this elsewhere, too. Might be worth you reading this thread for a start.

L

Biorealist said...

**It's not so much that the word eugenics is a taboo, but that eugenics itself is, due to its history and the philosopical, ethical and symbolic issues it raises. This is as it should be: everyone, even Garrett, would probably agree that, in general, eugenics is a bad thing. This is why I say if people want to defend it, they're welcome to, but they should be honest about what they're defending.**

I can't see how eugenics is any worse than dysgenics (which is the trend in most developed countries as the most educated women tend to have fewer children). In fact, it seems a truism that having a smarter population is better than the alternative?

There is a fair amount of research showing that the smarter the population is associated with a number of macro economic and improved social outcomes:

"A large amount of studies published in the last two decades has shown that cognitive ability
levels of societies are relevant for the development of positively valued aspects of peoples
and countries. Following an economic research tradition “human capital” is relevant for
economic growth and wealth (Hanushek & Kimko, 2000; Lynn & Vanhanen, 2002, 2006; Jones &
Schneider, 2006; Weede, 2006; Rindermann, 2008a). In addition, cognitive ability of nations has
a positive impact on political development, in that it helps building up democracy, the rule of
law and political liberty (Simpson, 1997; Rindermann, 2008b). Intelligence, knowledge and
the intelligent use of knowledge also have beneficial effects on health, for instance they act as
a brake on the spread of HIV (Oesterdiekhoff & Rindermann, 2007; Lakhanpal & Ram, 2008;
Rindermann & Meisenberg, 2009). Finally, cognitive competence is relevant for the
development of modernity as a societal and especially as a cultural phenomenon consisting of
education, autonomy, liberty, morality and rationality (Habermas, 1985/1981; Meisenberg,
2004; Oesterdiekhoff, 2008; Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg, 2009). Societies at a higher ability level
develop more complex, more evidence-based, more ethical and more rational world views."

Talent Development & Excellence
Vol. 1, No. 1, 2009, 3-25

http://iratde.org/issues/1-2009/tde_issue_1-2009_03_rindermann_et_al.pdf

**Given this history, and these knotty problems, we should shut down such discussions of implementation of any eugenics-like programme until such time as the principles which lie behind have been properly thrashed out in the public sphere.**

Fair enough.

***Anonymous, if it's so popular, I why is every politician in the country -- including the one who initially raised the idea -- is running a mile from it? ***

Because, people reflexively associate it with the Nazis. Even I, someone who thinks birth control shots should be a condition of getting the DPB, have this association.

Also, people are very status conscious. Holding "incorrect" or "unenlightened" opinions can result in a catastrophic loss of status. So of course, politicians are going to avoid anything that is associated with Nazis. (although, as noted above, the nazis generally practised dysgenics and the earlier proponents actually included Winston Churchull, and socialist Planned Parenting Founder Margaret Sanger).

--will take a look at your link later.