NZers like their fascism, the way they like their racism – casual. The “feeble and passive-aggressive New Zealand culture” Passionless People have given birth to a User Pays culture politically adrift in an ocean of selfies.
The NZ working class and upper classes who had bleed, fought and died shoulder to shoulder in World War One and Two built an egalitarian country that declared everyone deserved equal share from the harvest just as they had equally suffered and sacrificed on battlefields far from home. The universality of our experiences have shaped us as NZers and it is that universality of experience that the Left draw so much strength from.
Nobody benefited more from that universality than the Baby Boomers who boomed on universal state assistance. The terrible irony is that so many baby boomers who have fought and changed society from the Vietnam protests, nuclear free protests and Springbok protests, have not ensured that the universality of State support has been kept for everyone. That universality has been replaced by a user pays culture, the offspring of whom have zero idealogical compass.
They pay and get used.
Gen Xers and Gen Y have to pay for their own education, save for their own retirement, while also trying to save for a deposit on a house in a property market speculated out of reach by Baby Boomers.
The anger at this generational inequality has political power but no voice. The first Party to tap it could win the election.
John Key’s easy laid back cult of no personality, dorky Dad routine helps dissipate the Kiwi little brother complex. ‘He’s a dick like me’ is the low threshold of acceptance we aspire to.
He’s a politician who doesn’t like that boring old politics stuff and it’s difficult to engage the plight of 270 000 children in poverty when the Prime Minister is doing the Harlem Shake while planking, derping and photobombing Paddy Gower dancing Gangnam styles.
The cultural fetishism of the individual above all is a necessary addiction for neoliberalism and combating narcism with solidarity is a culture fight the next progressive Government must be serious about tackling.
If you want to build pride in egalitarianism you exemplify by doing. Better Public Broadcasting. Civics classes for students and new migrants. Lower the voting age to 16 to expand the democratic franchise. Reintroduce universal Student Unions. A Digital Bill of Rights for the internet. Feed all children in decile 1-4 schools. Capital gains tax to help our propertied Baby Boomer generation give a little back. Mandatory public holidays including a new mid-week public holiday called ‘Kiwi Day’ where everyone volunteers for a day to do some good community deeds.
The next progressive Government intends to challenge the neoliberal economic structure, they must also be prepared to seed cultural changes by providing universality of services to give the next generation an opportunity as good as the boomers.
If the left can’t encourage cultural universality, this is the future…