Excusing ‘the bash’
By Peter Cresswell of Not PC
An unusually patronising article appeared in the NZ Herald, back in July 2006, purporting to explain once again why, as one do-gooder put it on ‘Campbell Live,’ “we’re killing our chooldren” ( which once again had me yelling, “What’s with the ‘we,’ white man? You speak for yourself. I didn’t kill them!”)
Anyway, the article by Simon Collins entitled ‘Salvation Through Racial Pride and Self-Awareness’ was as thoroughly racist, collectivist and wet as it sounds from that title, and full of excuses for Maori who bash their kids, and for women (and men) trapped by the “male will for power and control.”
“Why are we still where we are?” asks one “former drug dealer” who has now exchanged dependency on drugs to a dependency on racial identity and the supernatural (he is now a pastor who, he proudly says, “chose the Charisma church because its pastor was Maori”). Once again, you might ask “What’s with the ‘we’? ” This chap’s ‘insights’ seemed to be included as some sort of expert or specially insightful commentary on why “we Maori” are killing “our” children — and a better example of pathetically inept group-think on such a tragic topic would be hard to find.
“The way we think and the way we see things is totally different to our European brothers and sisters,” says this idiot as some sort of excuse for ‘Maori alienation in a Pakeha world’, echoing no doubt what he’s heard from group-think academics in counselling sessions over the years.
It’s just different values. So with a Maori, you can drop in at your [relative’s] house, sleep for the night, have a big feed, because we have been brought up in the same community.
With Europeans you have to ring them up, make an appointment for Sunday at 10am, and don’t overstay your time. So we are different.
As I write this I hear sounds of cleaning up coming from my kitchen, where friends are cleaning up after dropping in unannounced last night (as they so often do here) and staying over for a big feed. The proposition of this Charisma church bigot is so fatuous it hardly even serves as an argument, yet these are the sort of paper-thin ‘differences’ between Maori and non-Maori that are frequently cited by blowhard academics and their fellow-travellers like Collins to argue that “after years of assimilation, differences like these” need to be recognised, or “the bash” is the inevitable result. Hence the nauseating title of the patronising piece: Salvation Through Racial Pride — about as vile a proposition as one could imagine.
As P.J. O’Rourke points out so pithily, the very idea that racial differences are so important is absurd.
Finally, people are all exactly alike. There is no such thing as a race and barely such a thing as an ethnic group. If we were dogs, we’d be the same breed. George Bush and an Australian aborigine have fewer differences than a lhasa apso and a fox terrier. A Japanese raised in Riyadh would be an Arab. A Zulu raised in New Rochelle would be an orthodontist. I wish I could say I found this out by spending arctic nights on ice flows with Inuit elders and by sitting with tribal medicine men over fires made of human bones in Madagascar. But, actually, I found it out by sleeping around. People are all the same, though their circumstances differ terribly.”
It is those terrible circumstances all commentators are trying to explain, but the focus on race has made too many I’ve read in recent days ignore P.J.’s important point, and two very important things that underly his point.
The first is Maori culture itself — as distinct from the race of Maori — and the failure of that culture yet to fully embrace individualism. As more than a few Australian rugby coaches and commentators pointed out last week in relation to the haka, it is — or at least has been — a tribal culture that values savagery and bloody violence. About that those Australians were accurate, and if ‘we’ weren’t so bloody precious about things we’d recognise that.
As Alan Duff points out in the Herald, in a piece that appears opposite Simon Collins’s apologetics (in more ways than one), the “base line” for the Maori culture “is a Stone Age societal model which patently does not work in the modern world.”
Most of this is due to not developing as individuals, which includes of course taking responsibility as an individual [says Duff with unerring accuracy]. If the group says no, we’re okay, we don’t have to change. Then no change occurs.To continue with the collective, whanau, hapu, iwi societal model is a fatal mistake. A fatal mistake. For in not developing individuality we continue down the declining slope of anonymity in a collective. Of no-one willing to make decisions – especially unpopular decisions – for fear of standing out from the crowd, going against the collective will. Individuality is as fundamental to a society’s development as property rights.
The quality of debate in this country on Maori issues is poor, cowardly, non-analytical, and none of it serves the Maori people well. Like social welfare, which many of us have warned about for years, every government benefit takes another breath of the recipient’s self-respect away. Until they choke on self-hatred and maim and kill themselves and others.
Which leads to the second point, one too often ignored, the very faculty that underpins individualism: the fundamental human quality of free will.
It is our ability to make choices — moral choices — that is part of what makes us distinctly human beings. We — none of us — are merely the helpless playthings of blood, of genes, of upbringing. Adult human beings have the power of choice. We have free will.
No one, has to bash their children, they either choose to, or they chose to take the actions that led to that. Commentators talk glibly of a ‘cycle of violence,’ but not every person bashed by their parents goes on to become parents who bash; not every “poor working class Maori” bashes their kids. People who do are not depraved because they’re deprived — they’re just depraved. Not every human being who grows up in despair is trapped by that. It is fundementally a matter of choice.
Positing race or upbringing as a reason for bashing children or for avoiding the responsibility of becoming an adult human being merely provides an excuse to those who refuse to exercise any free will in their own lives, and to make any positive choices themselves. Alan Duff is right, as he has often been right before.