Sunday, July 09, 2006

Personal note

A newcomer to this blog has described me as "cynical and obsessive" but nevertheless thinks I am "genuine".

I am all of these. Maybe I should apologise for having gotten into something of a funk over the past two weeks. When children are murdered I feel responsible.

This is the task I set myself five years ago, when Lillybing died. I would attack this practice of allowing people to use children as meal tickets and then giving not a damn for their wellbeing. When an extreme case like the Kahuis hits the headlines I feel like I am failing.

I have been accused of grandstanding. Believe me, I'd rather go away and paint or play piano or read all of the books I've bought or borrowed from the library. It's not ME I want any spotlight to go on. Its the utterly crass, destructive, insane laws that ensure things are going to get worse for some NZ kids.

That's all.


Anonymous said...

The reason I like this blog is that it adds NEW material to the blogosphere. Too many others just regurgitate. Thanks for making us think about stuff. Maybe some of us may even change our behaviour or attitudes.

Progress isn't visible.

Don't burn out.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work Lindsay. I find your blog is a great source of valuable, well-researched information on important subjects.

I don't often comment on your posts, but I do visit regularly. Thank you.

Phil said...

Good on you, Lindsay. Take heart and ignore the detractors - they'll always be critics sniping from the sidelines. Keep focused, stay on track and remember (when times get hard) there's a ton of support out there for brave souls such as yourself, dedicated to making a difference. Chin up & fight the good fight!

Anonymous said...

Only someone who doesn't know you could say that. Keep up the good work. True compassion means not faking reality.

Payne said...

You have a great blog Lindsay. I'm just sad that you did not make it into Parliament.

Your blog makes people think. keep at it.

I've added you to my blogroll.

Spirit Of 76 said...

Stuff 'em Lindsay. Pinkos are only concerned with their egos and the image they portray; you know, their self-engendered, well rounded sense of "equity" and "fairness". It takes real courage to ask the tough questions, especially as many of us know, the answers aren't often easy.

Rick said...

I know what you mean about feeling responsible. Hope you don't feel alone in that.

As well as keeping up with current events this blog is an encyclopedia resource we'll have need of in the comming libertarian revolution.

backin15 said...

I'm the new comer and though I'm sticking to my views, I apologise if you were offended by my comments.

A blog's a place where you both express and consider views; I don't doubt your motives or your conviction but I think some of your comments ought to be challenged and are more ideological than practical.

I too am affected by the Kahui deaths. It is vital that solutions are found that help avoid these senseless deaths but no one has a monopoly on grief, nor on solutions to protect children from poverty and violence.

I hope you are not implying that because I do not agree with your approach, that I am not equally concerned to find such a soluion.

Anonymous said...

There has never been a period in human history that was free of senseless violence against children. And yet, even if you go back to Bismark's earliest reforms, the concept of State welfare has been around for less than 200 years. Therefore, I cannot see there being a causal tie between welfarism and violence against children. In fact, I would argue strongly that state-sponsored programmes such as free-education, laws against child exploitation, maternal support programmes (such as Plunket in NZ), public health (particularly mental health)...the list goes on...have done much to relieve child suffering.

Who knows what really led to the death of these innocents (the Kahui twins)...but it is likely to be a much richer story than just welfarism. We owe these dead innocents a lot more than just focussing on one dimension of a very complex problem of failure and senseless violence.

KG said...

It's a damn fine blog Lindsay and a voice that's desperately needed in NZ today.
Perhaps the problem your critic has is that people are too used to hearing recycled platitudes, not hard truths.

KG said...

"Therefore, I cannot see there being a causal tie between welfarism and violence against children. In fact, I would argue strongly that state-sponsored programmes such as free-education, laws against child exploitation, maternal support programmes (such as Plunket in NZ), public health (particularly mental health)...the list goes on...have done much to relieve child suffering."

That attitude beggars belief.
If those things have done much to relieve child suffering, how come NZ is a world leader in child abuse? Just how bad would the figures be without those programs? 100% of children abused? Maybe only 98%?
Clearly those programs are NOT fixing the problem. The causal link between welfare and child abuse is indisputable and to claim otherwise is either stupid or wilfully dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's right. Anyone who disagrees with your position is stupid. Fine. Then I am stupid for noticing that you claimed NZ is "a world leader" in child abuse. Surely then, according to your logic, the Scandanavian countries must be world leaders in child abuse...given their comprehensive welfare systems? I am also stupid for noticing that child abuse pre-dates the welfare state. Boy, and I must be really, really thick for also noticing that not all abusers are on welfare.

Anonymous said...

crasster is right. There is no proven link between welfarism and violence against children. Such a study would obviously not be possible.

However, through (perhaps) personal experience and simple observation, it is hard to escape the gut feeling that welfarism may not be the cause, but a strong indicator.

So crasster, if you look at the last 20 NZ child murders by a family member, and the majority of those were from welfare homes, would you not have to yield that welfarism was possibly a factor?

It may not be the actual cause, but welfarism can be genuinely used as a marker to indicate a genuine risk.

(I realise "wefarism" casts a wide net, so it would require definition in this case. Perhaps "entrenched welfarism" or "multi-generational welfarism...", whatever the data suggests)

Unknown said...

Crasster, belt and KG - Crasster was actually fairly astute in his picking of the Scandanavian countries as his example, although not for the reason (s)he thinks.

I'd suggest you have a look at:

The keys being:
"The size of unemployment compensation, sick pay and pensions depends on the amount of income the individual has previously earned"

"Unemployment benefits are calculated as a percentage of previous earnings, and are taxable.
The benefit period is limited to 3 years."

Yes Crasster - the Scandanavian countries are a perfect example of how to have low child abuse etc. Treat welfare as a (well funded) safety net, give people incentives to work and don't allow it to become a lifestyle...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
Fear not, your blog is very useful and does show the way...
Your ability to have some internal reservations and to consider them fully is a strength...
This may be a "roller coaster ride" from time to time for you, but you have many supporters..

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Having blogged extensively on this already I will only say that the link exists. To call it "causal" is an error. But people with a tendency towards child abuse and neglect are more likely to be on welfare. That has been proven through a study of the available data. That doesn't mean ALL people on welfare fall into this category.

Comparisons between Scandinavia and NZ never tell us very much given the two populations and histories are so different. Also work requirements are tougher in Scandinavia.

Yes, child abuse has always happened but the escalation of welfare over the last 30 years has exacerbated the incidence. I'll blog some comparative data. (Again I am not saying welfare directly caused the child abuse but furnished the associated lifestyles.)

And thanks for all the supportive messages. Really appreciated.

Oswald Bastable said...

Could it then be said that those who abuse the welfare system, are those more inclined to abuse childrem?

By abuse, I'm talking about those who use the system as a lifestyle, not a safety net. Athough they may well be fiddling the books!

backin15 said...

Oswald, you've certainly identified the speculative theory; now all you need to do is ignore all evidence to the contrary.

Oswald Bastable said...

And your evidence is where?

backin15 said...

Hang about, surely you're not going to try the "so are you but what am I" routine? I've asked Lindsay and commentators on this blog to adduce evidence that welfarism causes violence against children - that's where this started.