Rodney Hide: Reflecting on five years under Ardern
The column below, The Limits of Cleverness versus Capitalism, appeared in The NATIONAL BUSINESS REVIEW, October 27th, 2017. It is followed by a postscript.
I have concluded our new prime minister Jacinda Ardern is clever stupid.
She's quick, has good analytical skills and communicates well. There's no doubt she's clever.
But she's stupid on how the world works and lacks thought-through principles and values. She bobs along on feelings and sounding good and thereby perfectly in tune with a media that emotes rather than reports and analyses.
By her own account she grew up Mormon but jumped to socialism, becoming president of the International Union of Socialist Youth. She substituted one whacky religion for another. Her work experience is university and Parliament, first as a Labour Party staffer, then as an MP.
She's driven by belief, not understanding. She can't argue ideas and must dismiss her opponents as uncaring or not yet enlightened. The shortcoming in opposing ideas is not the ideas themselves but the moral deficiency of those expressing them.
When asked if capitalism had failed low-income New Zealanders, the prime minister-designate said: "If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that's a blatant failure. What else could could you describe it as?"
"Hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive." That means "hundreds of thousands of children" dying because of material want. It's nonsense. There would be UN relief missions and international popstars having concerts to aid New Zealand were her claim true.
It's part of the media-manufactured Jacindamania that such rubbish claims are passed over. She cares, that's enough. It's as if her nonsensical hyperbole underscores the extent of her caring. "Yes, she might have been out by a few hundred children, and yes, they're not exactly not surviving, but her heart is in the right place."
The problem of poor and neglected children is not the fault of capitalism but of welfarism. Generations of handouts have robbed too many of any sense of personal responsibility even for the care and upbringing of their own children.
It's perfectly respectable now not to provide for yourself, nor house your family, nor commit in any way to your partner in child-making and to have children without the ability to provide or care for them.
It's not your fault. You're a victim. Capitalism has failed.
Ms Ardern's blinkered, if not blind, view of the world sees her advocating more of the policies causing the very problems concerning her rather than treating the cause.
No facts, no analysis, no experience would shift her view. Her socialism is her religion.
I'm a white, privileged male. I would say all of the above, wouldn't I ? I'm threatened by a female in charge and fear that my greedy exploitation of the poor is at an end. There, I dismissed my argument myself to save her supporters the effort.
Postscript, November 27, 2022
Facts and reason don’t drive Jacinda Ardern’s government: emotions and feelings do.
And what of disagreement? How does she handle that?
Without rational discourse, there are no peaceful means for resolution. We see that now with her administration.
It started innocently enough. The Prime Minister simply “refutes” opposing viewpoints by dictate. There are no facts nor logic, just emphatic statements. The word “refute” is stripped of its meaning and the word deployed as a political weapon. Her position and declaration are deemed sufficient. She cares. Those of opposing points of view clearly do not. Prime Minister Ardern is the High Priestess declaring what is true and not true, what is right and good, and what is not.
What should have been a joke was taken seriously. On her tyrannical covid policy she declared her government the sole source of truth.
All Opposition was dismissed.
And now it is sinister.
Our government uses our money to contract the Main Stream Media to pimp policy, not as ads but as content and editorial policy.
Debate and dissent have died. There is one way: the government’s way.
Dissent is labeled misinformation and disinformation. Those with opposing viewpoints are ridiculed, bullied and criminalised. They are dangerous.
Everyday people have licence to bully, harass and snitch. Teachers bully pupils as transphobe for stating the biological fact that every cell in your body (except your gametes) defines your sex.
The Main Stream Media abuse and bully opponents of government policy and suppress dissent.
We have lost rational discourse. Those with opposing views are dangerous. Their views must be legislated against.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is far more capable than I ever appreciated. She has transformed New Zealand more than any other Prime Minister. Her greatest achievement is to ensure our children never exclaim the princess has no clothes.