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Moral Compass

By   /  April 12, 2014  /  21 Comments

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Some days I find myself dismayed at the state of our country. I look around and I hear and read things and find myself at a loss as to what has happened here. Sympathy, empathy and understanding seem to be slipping away before our very eyes.

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Some days I find myself dismayed at the state of our country. I look around and I hear and read things and find myself at a loss as to what has happened here. Sympathy, empathy and understanding seem to be slipping away before our very eyes. Judging and commenting on other people’s lives with sometimes little or no facts seems to me to be the new “normal”. There are certain catchphrases that are often repeated on social media like “If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them” and “if you don’t like low wages, just up skill”. Great quotes, if only it were so simple. I also this week have disappointingly seen a new spate of beneficiary bashing, a National Party hobby, with calls of “lazy people, just get a job”. Those Ghost jobs, that aren’t there. I have to say these often thoughtless comments that some spew out are mostly quite ridiculous.

How does it help progress anyone’s life, when through often uncontrollable circumstances they find themselves in a financially difficult position, to then be told “you shouldn’t have had children”. Life changes, plans go wrong, shit happens. Right wingers have often thrown that line at me when I try to explain how tight our one income has become, with rapidly rising living costs, and little or no pay rise. And then the favorite old chestnut of “just up skill” comes out. In our circumstances, my husband is the most qualified he can be already. So does he change career now? Go to university? Just how do we do that, with two kids, a high mortgage and all our bills to pay, would that not then make us “bludgers”, who the right wing also loves to hate. Not every low wage worker can simply “up skill”, there isn’t the room in our society for every cleaner or care worker or road worker to drop their lives, children and homes and retrain in a new career. And who would then do these jobs? Society is simply not designed for us all to be degree holding intellects, doctors, accountants or teachers. We would still need supermarket workers and care givers. That is how our infrastructure functions.

I am no political expert, I don’t really consider myself as political. I am new to this game that is politics, I have very little knowledge of NZ political history, I am truly a beginner. I do however have a social conscience, a compass inside me that helps me decide what is right from wrong. For me politics is not about personality or who shouts loudest, it is my moral compass that shows me the way, be it left, right or centre, I will follow it.
What is happening in our country is larger than politics, the whole fabric of society is changing. People are judging others for circumstances they find themselves in and then commenting with the power of anonymity from behind a keyboard with their “advice”. It is none of our business and we would do well to remember that. Our country is changing, it is becoming a dog eat dog place, an everyone for themselves game of survival. I don’t like it. Stop passing judgement on others lives, stop looking for someone to attack or blame. For my voicing of my own moral compass, I have been called a “looney leftie” and my favorite a “dirty hippie” all simply because I care about other people’s lot in life. So be it, if they are my labels, I wear them with pride. All I want for all of us is a fair slice of the pie, a chance of lifetime jobs and free education, food on the table and a home for all, a fair go for everyone, not just some. We should not let other people influence our own moral compass, before it’s too late, do what is right for all, for our children, not just yourself. This country is about all of us, not just you or me. Let’s pull together and make this place great.

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21 Comments

  1. john l says:

    well said, Sam..I hope everyone will stop..and think.. and vote. Society is changing..a few people saw this happening years ago, but we have not seen the changes come home to roost as they have now.

  2. countryboy says:

    Fabulous Post @ Samantha Anderson .
    I love it when Human Beings write from the heart and you did a stellar job .

    You’re not the only one that’s noticed a shift in morals to accommodate the new economy . Because all that you’ve written is as a consequence of our ‘ new economy ‘ . It’s all about , to do with , and revolves around the lust some have for money . For money and it’s associated mental illness , the perception of ‘ power ‘ . The ability to be able to wield ‘ power ‘ , i.e. to be able to force people to dance , like trained monkeys to the organ grinders tune .

    A ‘ friend ” who later became my employer , who later became my non-friend , once said to me , as his other ‘ friends ‘ and acquaintances worked down in the yard for a pathetic few dollars an hour confided in me . His gravely voice sent a shiver up my spine . His eyes narrowed . ” I don’t care about the money . I’m in this for the power . ”
    He’s now a very wealthy property developer in Auckland and has many fingers in many pies . He also has many , many enemies .
    But so what ? He’s rich right ?

    The ‘ But so what ‘ element of the above comment is that while he did what he did , he spread his psychopathy about like a disease .

    The dilemma that you make reference to here began in earnest when the parasites wriggled out of the Labour party back in the 1980’s .
    When the Unions were castrated and the employment contracts act became law , the psychopaths had a feeding frenzy .
    Within the work force ;
    Old friend ships and working relationships suddenly gave way to competition within the work force . Soon , nobody trusted anybody else . Secrecy became fashionable . Sneaky little deals were done for the Bosses favourites behind closed doors . I’ve seen it happen .
    If one were to regard those days as the insemination period for the parasite that we know today as Neo Liberalism then surely the gestation period is over . Now , the parasite has taken over the hearts and minds of normal , healthy minded and by and large loving , trusting , empathetic human beings .
    The result is what you’ve very ably pointed out here .
    Neo liberalism has parasitised an entire population of otherwise normal human beings . It’s very presence has caused an avalanche of dysfunction to start moving down hill and it’s sweeping everyone before it . No one is immune to it’s terrible progress . Not even the rich . They must now try and function within a decaying society as much as anyone else . They breath the same air and who do they call when the sewers get blocked ? No one with a degree I can tell you that . ( Unless they’re foreigners trying desperately to survive here . )
    I believe that it’s fixable though . I believe that we can turn around and head back out of this awful cul-de-sac that we’ve been lured down by our abusers with their promises of lollies and treats . ” Just don’t tell anyone about the details of your employment contract or everybody else will want in on what you’re getting . ” ( Wink , handshake , gesture to leave office )
    The first thing that must be done is to hold those responsible accountable . roger douglas . ruth richardson , jenny shipely , richard prebble , don brash et al should be charged with treason . No , seriously . They behaved in a treasonous , traitorous way . They did knowingly jeopardise our futures for their personal wealth creation . They took our resources and infrastructure from us to sell for their profit . In other words . They stole from us . They were/ are in positions of power and influence and they used those positions of power and influence to steal our tax paid for stuff .

    They must be held accountable ‘ in a court of law ‘ . ( Hahahaahahaahahaaa a aa a ! Jesus ! I actually believed what I’ve just written . I’m such a silly old bugger sometimes . I forget that the NZ Law Courts is the incubator of the Parasite . )

    Moving along .

    Once their ( read their names again listed above ) stitches are unpicked in the ‘ Courts ‘ ( Muffled giggle ) all their diseased guts will spill out along with our wealth including the dead from broken hearts , the suicide victims , the sick from anxiety , those who decided to leave their homelands and their loved ones to try to survive , all those beautiful little kids who’re now rotting in prisons , our wonderful indigenous peoples who are now the most incarcerated of all indigenous populations in the world . Out will come the lies and deceit . They whoring and boozing . The privileged information on public assets shared to corporate filth for their profit and how much do we pay for electricity ? Seen a decent fish in the supermarkets lately ? Where does all that fruit and all those vegetables really go ?

    To get them into a position of being closely questioned is at once easy , and difficult . Even I have been able to ask very difficult questions of ministers of the Crown . The difficulty is being able to broadcast the results . An even greater difficulty is for us to get past the incredulity and on to Action .
    We can vote . We can also wank on the day then have a beer with one’s mates . The latter seems more favourable than the former because as Plato once said ” The price to pay for not participating in ones politics is to be ruled by evil men . ” And women , as can be seen by the horrors in frocks that I assume were once female humans .

    We can strike . Oh , wait . No we can’t can we . No Unions anymore . And since we’re all kept busy blowing our lives away chasing usury interest rates charged to us By foreign banks , we can’t afford the down-time .

    Hmmmm . What to do ?

    I have an idea .

    We make our POLITICIANS DO THEIR JOBS ! Now , there’s a novel idea .

    Instead of us living in hope , poverty and distress , lets make sure they live in fear . Of us . How about 50,000 people gently knock on bill English’s door and get him to detail his latest cunning swindle ?
    How about that some 50 k gently knock on paratas door and ask her to explain to us her genius . How about the 50k gently yet forthrightly suggest to bennett that her giant brain is conjuring up injurious collateral damage from our youth with her medieval social welfare policies ?

    Because , if we don’t take back our country from the Parasites that rule us for their agenda , things , I’m afraid don’t look good . Do they ? No .

    Oh , and watch this awesome 13.14 minute talk by Ed Yong on Parasites .
    Parallels anyone ?

  3. Tom says:

    What is happening in our country is larger than politics, the whole fabric of society is changing.

    It’s been like this for a long time now. This documentary does as good a job as any at explaining why (part 1 of 3).

    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/145347/The_Trap_Fuck_You_Buddy_BBC/

    Hard to see a way out.

  4. Mike the Lefty says:

    Agree with everything you say and you say it well. The right have commandeered the MSM to the extent that people who make mistakes, have misfortunes or are not successful should feel ashamed because they are failures. Well I say to the right and their pompous copy holders like Henry, Slater and Farrar – you are the ones who should be ashamed of yourselves – for your arrogance, greed and pride. Don’t you dare to tell me I should be ashamed of myself for being a left supporter, f…u!

  5. XRAY says:

    Great piece. Its the brave and very flawed new world of NZ at least since the 80’s.

    You are so right, there isn’t room for everyone to be that cardio thoracic surgeon, that futures trader, that entrepreneur, much the same as we can’t do without that driver, that cleaner, that shop assistant, that mechanic, that employee in general.

    Sadly this is the ACT mantra of; If I take care of my self and everyone else did the same things would be brilliant. Not everyone has the connections, or the particular mental aptitude/personality or the background or the health to do so. Not everything works out the way you plan.
    Everyone who lives in civilised society needs to help each other or contribute to society not just me, me, me, I’m alright Jack brigade!

    In fact we all have our strengths and weaknesses and if we combine those as a unit we’ll get somewhere.

    Once not having a job was bad, now having a job but being “low skilled” is also bad and a red flag to be crapped all over, having a semi skilled job is also not really good enough and something other more astute observers can look down their noses at. Not having an academic qualification is also seen as very poor form.

    And yet criticising tall poppies is bad (ask Mike Hosking) and not trusting the wealthy is also very undesirable. After all they run us and we should love and respect them.

    We can’t all be Sir Owen Glen and thank God for that!

    • Danyl Strype says:

      Everyone who wants to understand how this country became a pioneer in cradle-to-grave social welfare, then a few generations later, slipped into greed and beneficiary-bashing, would do well to watch Alister Barry’s excellent documentary ‘In a Land of Plenty’:
      http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/in-a-land-of-plenty-2002

      The “personal responsibility” dogma of the right is based on the myth of a Rational Economic Actor who springs into existence fully formed, and fully independent, and lives for ever. REC doesn’t “bludge” off parents for the first 17-20 years of his existence. REC doesn’t learn to understand the world from an education system which – public or private – has been built up by generations of teachers and academics. REC doesn’t get sick or have accidents, so he doesn’t need doctors, hospitals, ambulances, or ACC, also systems built and improved over generations. If REC does need anything from anyone else, he buys it with his money which also springs spontaneously into existence in response to his merit, and depends in no way on the work of anyone else.

      In reality of course, we are unavoidably interdependent with millions of other people, in a complex society, from the day we are conceived. What happens to our communities, and the people we share them with, happens to us, as the Spirit Level demonstrates. The best way I can serve my *enlightened* self-interest is to do everything I can to help others get ahead too, so that they are better placed to help me when I need it. The “every man for himself and devil take the hindmost” philosophy of the NatActs and the Randroids only benefits those who get to replace communities with commodities from which they can profit, and live in decadent loneliness. Charles Eisenstein’s book ‘Sacred Economics’ (despite the naff title) is an excellent exploration of these deeper philosophical issues.

  6. Intrinsicvalue says:

    Hi Sam, you make some good points, particularly when you say “All I want for all of us is a fair slice of the pie, a chance of lifetime jobs and free education, food on the table and a home for all, a fair go for everyone, not just some.” Where we will disagree is that in my opinion we are not far from that position now. NZ is the most egalitarian country I have even lived in r visited. We are essentially just one large middle class, with very few super rich or genuinely poor. The level of inequality in NZ is moderate by global standards, and s virtually unchanged from 10-15 years ago.

    Our welfare system ensures that those less fortunate or who fall on tough times have a safety net. The problem is that that safety has become, for too many, a dependency that is soul destroying, and that has brought about inter-generational welfarism.

    The use of the expression neo-liberalism is completely inaccurate when applied to NZ. We have a mixed market economy. If we genuinely had neo-liberalism, we would not have half of the welfare safety net we have, we would most certainly not have WFF, and we would have flat taxes, not progressive ones.

    In my opinion the country is well and truly on the right track. We have an economy that is considerably stronger than in as in 2008, our business sector is far more stable and confident, and the Government is living within it’s means. It’s up to each of us to build on that, by taking responsibility for our own lives, as well as the lives of those we know who are in need, and stop relying on the Govt. to answer and address every perceived wrong.

    • Cheryl Jackson says:

      @Intrinsic Value Are we living in the same New Zealand? When was the last time you walked through a main centre CBD and counted the number of homeless people? How many beneficiaries do you even know? I would defy you to find one beneficiary who is able to put food on a table for an entire week without approaching a W& I caseworker for a food grant or a foodbank. Try and find a family on minimum wages who can provide the necessities of life without assistance. Its well known and fact that people are not able to bring enough income into their home each week, working people. This isn’t ‘made up’ just to wind up the ring wing voters, these are facts. Business might be doing well, the economy might be looking up, there might be wealth out there again but the inequality gap is widening, that is documented fact, not rhetoric and far too many people in a country like ours are not able to share the largess. Its inexcuseable that people are going hungry but its fact that they are. And the Government is not living within its means, the Minister of Finance has overpromised and has actually revised his earlier prediction somewhat

    • @ IV – spoken like a true ACT supporter.

      Nice to know you have the “courage of your convictions” by putting your name to your right-wing beliefs.

    • XRAY says:

      Bill English has posted 5 straight years of deficits, and he might, just might squeak in with a surplus but that’s only after flogging off tax payer assets.

      So after years of recession or low or no growth and no idea we are not stronger than 2008, rather for the large part we have gone backwards although I accept the wealthy are laughing, (Audi, BMW and Mercedes sales are booming apparently!).

      The same garbage of confidence and growth was trotted out to justify Ruth Richardson’s horror story years in charge of treasury. It’s just that after a true nightmare anything seems good.

      • intrinsicvalue says:

        “Bill English has posted 5 straight years of deficits…”
        During the worst recession in a generation.

        “and he might, just might squeak in with a surplus but that’s only after flogging off tax payer assets.”

        No, the country is now forecast to deliver long term fiscal deficits. Unlike the position National inherited.

        “So after years of recession or low or no growth and no idea we are not stronger than 2008,”

        That’s just not supported by the facts. Our debt to GDP is less. The economy is growing, whereas in 2008 the economy had been tanking for 2+ years. We have returned to surplus 4 years before forecast based on what Cullen left. Inflation and mortgage interest rates are lower. Net incomes are higher.

        The success of this Govt. contrasts very favourably with the failure of the last.

    • fatty says:

      “The level of inequality in NZ is moderate by global standards”

      Comparing NZ with the rest of the world is pointless. It’s called a downward comparison.
      ‘hey, look over there, someone is worse off than you’…’hey, IV isn’t that stupid, look at this moron on youtube’…’hey, NZ isn’t that bad, think of what life was like in the 15th Century’…blah blah blah

      Some of us have faith in our ability to create a better society. Chin up IV, try to have some self-confidence

    • Andrea says:

      You say: ‘The problem is that that safety has become, for too many, a dependency that is soul destroying’ yet you fail to notice that it is the system that is the problem, far more than the people in receipt of it.

      It is not safe to leave the system because it is so unresponsive, so tardy, and so unfit for purpose – so people who cannot access those ‘jobs for life’ (personal shudder) choose the lesser of two awfuls; staying under the dead claws of WINZ, rather than taking on short term work, which may be all that’s available beyond the cities.

      Assistance that used to be there – for meeting the whims of employers, usually – has gone. No help for people in transition or changing to ‘meet the needs of the market’. No doubt for cost-saving reasons… A skeletal service only, now.

      Please always remember that the government is not ‘living within ITS means’. Those are OUR means and the current bunch of chumps aren’t serving the nation well at all. Too much money going to the few, not the many. Too many up to the last notch before the final 30cm of bare leather on the belt because we’ve been waiting for most of a working lifetime to see the wondrous results of ‘the stronger economy’.

      You cannot take responsibility for the lives of those in need. You can get the boulders off the path and stop shifting the goal posts, though. Most people are able to work things out in their own best interests. Big Sibling seldom ‘knows best’.

      And, Intrinsic Values, if it was you using this nom de guerre to post recently on the Herald – I liked your post. Thanks.

  7. Mike says:

    One of the basic wishes of a libertarian is as follows……”I should be allowed to do what I want when I want on my own land so long as it doesn’t encroach on the rights of others to do the same.” But that is only half the story. The other half involves the fact that the unemployed or destitute have a legal right to a portion of the taxpayers money in the form of a benefit.

    The majority of NZers have never or almost never had the need for a state benefit of any kind, and tend to view the perceived needs of a beneficiary with a sense of frustration. The one thing that all nett taxpayers have in common is that they know the value of a good education and the need to know all the relevant facts before a decision can be made. You may see it as judgemental and patronising, but you must be careful not to judge too harshly. All I read in this blog is opinions from people who for one reason or another have had a run of bad luck or circumstances leading to financial hardship. To get to where I am now, I found it necessary to “get inside the heads” of the high fliers, to know how they tick and to try to think how they think. That, and building relationships and forming business contacts was the breakthrough.

    Unfortunately, while one man can claim a legal entitlement to an unearned portion of another mans income, he must accept that there may be a certain amount of uninvited criticism and/or advice in return.

    Take it on the chin and be glad for the free advice, unless of course you are happy to live hand to mouth for a considerable time.

    • Andrea says:

      Should you ever read any of this ‘free advice’, you’ll find it’s short on actual practical instruction and long on sermonising.

      You chose to ‘get into the heads of high fliers’, working on the premise that ‘success leaves clues’, and you found the clues, after the usual trial and error process.

      You mention ‘good education’ – the sort of ‘everyone KNOWS what I mean!’ comment which is about useless for practical purposes. Good for whom? Good for what? Good for when?

      Please come to realise that the world of work you know was deliberately manufactured at horrendous human cost more than 200 years ago. It needed a large volume of people, from 4-year old shutter keepers in mines, to the elderly picking oakum in workhouses for a subsistence, with the threats of export, capital punishment, or penury to keep them under control to serve industrialisation and mercantilism.

      Now that world of work doesn’t need all those people. The old puffery ‘work hard, keep your nose clean. One day you’ll be rewarded well for your diligence’ – comes from the same sooty sack as ‘you’ll get your reward in heaven’.

      The agreement has been broken: ‘give up your independence and self-reliance and come and work for us and we’ll look after you. We’ll teach you skills and give you Things and raise the Able and Virtuous above their lesser fellows (women included).’

      Now: if you can restore those ‘plentiful work’ times – preferably without the workers needing to go into debt to survive the downturns – then you can grizzle about covering welfare.

      But, if you can’t, then start working with all those high-fliers to bring in something far more inclusive.

      And, as Deming said very clearly – first cast out fear. Its departure from the world of work and employment is long overdue.

    • fatty says:

      ”I should be allowed to do what I want when I want on my own land so long as it doesn’t encroach on the rights of others to do the same.”

      Cool story Mike.
      I hope you have removed yourself from capitalism, since buying most products within our system relies on others losing their right to freedom. If you buy a milk product in NZ you contribute to the damage to land owned by anyone with land downstream of a diary farm. If you buy a product made in China then you contribute to the loss of private property in China, and you stimulate the inherent violence that the Chinese economy relies on. If you went to a public school in NZ you used and benefited from public investment in your own knowledge formation. If you ever go to the doctor or use a road you are using social land and capital for your own benefit.

      See how your brand of libertarianism is a myth?
      Don’t be a leech. Go detach yourself from society and go live in the woods if you think you’re so moralistic. Stop being a burden on society. You disgust me

  8. Marc says:

    People underestimate the power of media, and that is private, commercial media, which dominates the media these days. They do “shape” thinking and mindsets and attitudes that people have. The constant inundation with commercial advertising, with selfish messages, with commoditising every aspect of life, including “being” as a human creature, that must have consequences.

    The consequences are new forms of judgment, based on selfish interest, on excluding ones not jumping on the bandwagon, and thus also creating materialistic, consumerist behaviour that people follow.

    Any person who examines carefully how media operate, what messages they send out (very aggressively often), will see what is going on. We are all exposed to the corruption by media serving their own interests, and the interests who finance them. It is a worldwide trend, so I am not surprised to see what I see, but it scares me.

    We live in an age of modern day “mob behaviour”, if you do not follow the herd, you are the “enemy” or a “burden”, that is what is going on. People judge by “value”, and if a person is living on a benefit, or costs the health sector a lot, they are judged accordingly, as a “burden to society”, that needs to be “minimised”.

    It is in the worst form creeping fascism what we are confronted with! “Moral” judgment and behaviour are different to what they used to be.

    • Andrea says:

      It’s old, Marc. The old ‘crabs in a bucket’ ploy to keep the peasants from causing a ruckus.

      Sad, really.

  9. YogiBare says:

    It’s possibly unfair but, every time I read one of Mike’s comments, I’m reminded of something I read about goldfish being totally oblivious to the water surrounding and sustaining them.
    The capitalist/neoliberal – call it what you will- system seems to have served him well, it’s the watery world he happily swims in. He offers swimming lessons in his world to people who will drown as they are less accomplished swimmers or have no gills.
    Naturally this crude psychoanalysis may be entirely wrong. W.C. Fields told us not to drink water because fish f**k in it, perhaps Mike is simply mudding our “crabs in a bucket”.

  10. ”From,Christchurch” , As a society we have expections, that everyone works for the good of society and will come to the aid of those in need ,,, ”What happens when there are people that seem to do neither and are only concerned with their own good ,, ”For most ,,,social ethics is something that is ingrained from the time that were a small child ,, but for others they lack in any ethical responsibility , ”The lack of ethics can cost suffering at several different levels including human suffering ,,financial loss and emotional distress , ”In this city the rivalry and finger pointing comes to light with politicians as well as other government officials , ”This can now especially be seen during election and other government decisions and policy – makeing ventures ”When this behavior happens it is sometimes hard to remember that there is a code of goverment ethics that is supposed to be followed ,,”Just as there is resonsibility of corporations like Insurance providers and other (key) people towards social responsiblity ,,the same is true for all government officials at all levels ,,There are many levels of government ethics ,, ”’ But one of the the largest is the code of honor and honesty for all that serve the public regardless of elected or apported to maintain the well being of an entire city ,,”Country myself and family still waiting on help from the Goverment what ever that is ,,”’,Vero,,” EQC,,” Lumleys ,,”Benson and Westpac Banking insurance systems to kick start and help us , ,,,Jules

    • YogiBare says:

      You go, Julian, I’m hoping one of the highly ethical and civically minded bloggers on this site will try and help your cause.
      Have you contacted TV3’s Campbell Live, they have done a lot of shows sympathetic to the plight of your city?

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