This piece first appeared in the NBR in 2017.
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 which emotes rather than reports and analyses.
On her own account she grew up Mormon but jumped to Socialism becoming President of 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 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 said: “If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that's a blatant failure. What else 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 isn’t.
It’s part of the media-manufactured Jacinda-mania 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 thousand 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 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 very policies causing the very problems concerning her rather than treating their 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.