Saturday 28 March 2020

How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?

Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they been infused with that sacred fire the Ancient Greeks called charisma? Which of New Zealand’s prime ministerial contenders, the incumbent or the challenger, shows the most signs of Fortune’s favour?

NEW ZEALAND POLITICS under the Lockdown will be played out in two locations. The Beehive: where Jacinda Ardern and her key ministers and advisers will oversee the national effort to eradicate the Covid-19 virus. Parliament Buildings: where the Epidemic Response Committee, chaired by Simon Bridges, will hold the Prime Minister, her government, and the country’s leading public servants to account. Live broadcasts of government announcements and committee deliberations look set to provide New Zealanders with some of the most dramatic political performances of the Covid-19 drama. While the Lockdown lasts, these exchanges will constitute the beating heart of our democracy.

It didn’t have to be like this. Another Prime Minister, another Government, would have dared the Opposition to withhold its support from a State of Emergency declaration and put it before the House of Representatives regardless – relying on its majority to carry the day. The Government’s political surrogates would have denounced viciously any Opposition party foolish enough to abstain or, worse still, vote “No.” In a crisis as serious as New Zealand’s Covid-19 epidemic, any suggestion of non-co-operation couldn’t help but marginalise – even demonise – an obstinate Opposition. A more Machiavellian Prime Minister would have found it impossible to resist the temptation to manoeuvre his or her principal adversaries out of electoral contention, or, failing that, out of the public eye (which amounts to the same thing) in this way.

But not this Prime Minister. Understanding that any marginalisation of her opponents; any diminishing of accountability; would remove the incentive to carry out her duties openly and effectively, Jacinda deliberately subjected herself to Bridges’ scrutiny.

Secrecy not only encourages incompetence and failure, but it also allows them to remain hidden. It is a powerful testament to the Prime Minister’s personal determination to bring the New Zealand people safely through this crisis that she has refused the protection which secrecy and exclusion provide. The better Bridges does – and is seen to do – the more Jacinda will have to lift her game.

The onus now falls upon her colleagues and her officials to look after the PM by not stuffing things up!

It is only fair to acknowledge, however, that there is an element of benign Machiavellianism in giving Simon Bridges the starring role in the Epidemic Response Committee drama. If he does his job responsibly and well, then Jacinda’s performance will improve.


But, if he performs irresponsibly and badly: if he cannot resist the siren song of reckless negativity; if he simply cannot live with the thought that a consistent display of moderation and competence on his part will only enhance Jacinda’s prime-ministerial performance; then he will be drawn to the Dark Side of the political Force – and the whole country will be watching.


Which can only mean that we, the voters, are winners too. Because even in the midst of this unprecedented  public health emergency, and the economic crisis it has spawned, the logic of representative democracy continues to play itself out. Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they been infused with that sacred fire the Ancient Greeks called charisma? Which of New Zealand’s prime ministerial contenders, the incumbent or the challenger, shows the most signs of Fortune’s favour?

The answer is located not only in the minds of New Zealand’s voters, but in their guts. As always, in the rough and tumble of democracy, political outcomes owe at least as much to how we feel, as to what we think.

So, one day into Lockdown, how are you feeling? What do you think?

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 27 March 2020.


Max Ritchie said...

This is clever politics by Labour. Bridges will have to play his hand carefully and has more to lose than Ardern. But it’s also statesmanlike and will enhance the PM’s reputation, at least initially. 10/10. Now up to Bridges and his team including the impressive David Seymour.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Being on lockdown as something akin to being on a spaceship but perhaps in a castle under siege but I prefer the spaceship analogy. Posted this on a blog where there is some humour. Not very hopeful about posting it here, but..........who knows, the regular posters here might lighten up.

Star date 27/03/20. 4.5 days into this voyage and I am a little worried about the crew. While searching for the captain yesterday to find out why she had not uplifted spreadable cream cheese from the stores I found her folding washing. When I gently suggested that perhaps this was my job, she said "‮kcuF‬ off number one, I'm bored." Whereupon I retreated to my cabin without raising the important issue of cream cheese. Looks like I'll have to venture into the stores myself to find the spreadable sort.


Dear diary. Day 3.5 of the siege and our situation is not yet dire. Although I hath't to speaketh to the confectioner the present day about spending too long in the garderobe at which hour I did want to ‮ssip‬. He did reply "Hie thee to the ensuite oldie." Which I could not do for as I did dilate, it was occupied by the wardrobe mistress. "Then wend to the one in the stable." He did sayeth. To which I did hath't to sayeth – "Alas this, I am not putting mine arse on a seat in lodging where the temperature is very bitter cold – approximately 4 ‮gnikcuf‬ degrees ersling. I knoweth thee hath't thy tablet in thither and art not reading Shakespeare but moo likely Chaucer or that heathen Rabelais whipe thy arse and receiveth out Knave. Whereupon he did leave grumbling leaving but one sheet on the roll. I wilt speaketh to the wardrobe mistress about this – It cannot beest tolerated considering mine fusty sir's bladder.

Trev1 said...

Ardern has already lost. It is becoming clear to most people that the government failed to respond to the pandemic threat in a timely manner necessitating this costly lockdown and drastic loss of civil liberties, as well as very likely causing more people to become ill. The borders should have been sealed at least a month earlier with rigorous testing and quarantining of returning New Zealanders. This isn't hindsight, many were calling for stronger measures during that time. However the government's "strategy" appeared to be to wait until the disease was spreading in the community before acting. However the government finally acted after senior medical experts urged it to do so publicly, and a petition started by a doctor gathered over 120,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. There must be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the decision-making that took place.

Kat said...

"Which of New Zealand’s prime ministerial contenders, the incumbent or the challenger, shows the most signs of Fortune’s favour?"

Ha! its a no brainer Jacinda Ardern is destined to fulfill the prophetic words of Annette King who said that Jacinda will become as much a loved PM as Mickey Savage was.

Chris Trotter said...

In answer to Guerilla Surgeon's challenge.

March, the 28th inst, 2020.

This pestilential time leaves me cruelly bereft of the louche companionship to which I have, alas, become accustomed. The taverns and the coffee-houses being closed, by order of our stern young Queen, I am robbed of all my usual diversions.

By God! I shall be forced to open some of the ridiculous quantity of books I have somehow amassed over these many years. All for show, of course. When you earn your bread by scribbling, it is only seemly to appear to be interested in the scribblings of others. A brotherhood of scribblers - if you will. Pershaw! If my brothers and I cannot shout our blasphemies and mutter our sedition in the taverns and the coffee-houses, well fortified by the beverages of art and prophecy, then what will become of us. How can we steal each others thoughts when we are not present to hear them?

Still and all, there is the magic looking-glass. While the Plague rages outside, its phantasmagoric excesses will have to suffice. But, I fear this device of the Devil will prove treacherous to our hopes. Verisimilitude is no substitute of a stout shake of the hand or a sweet kiss on the mouth.

Damn this pest!

Kat said...

The Nation 27 03 2020

On Thursday last week New Zealand's borders were closed to all foreign arrivals.

Sir John Key acknowledged Jacinda Ardern has been criticised for this, with people saying it came too late.

"I know from being in that job that while maybe one person's perspective, you have to weigh up a lot of different things," he said.

"So to say close the border like she did, on one hand that will save lives but that's an immediate recession which affects the most vulnerable who are the least equipped to deal with it..."

He refused to criticise Ardern saying that not only would it be unjustified, but it's not what the country needs.

"This is a time we all have to pull together on this. This isn't a political issue - it's a catastrophic health emergency that the whole world is facing."

Advice to the Trev's of this world, shut the procreational up.

Katharina Zia said...

I feel it's a mistake for her to allow Bridges and co the opportunity to drag her down. Its a mistake
right now emotionally and energetically because this is a time when Ardern needs all the available energy she has
to be on top of this pandemic, and to guide us New Zealanders through it successfully. I just feel it's wasting precious time.
We have seen how they - Bridges and Bennett - behave and they will use this opportunity to harry her
to death if possibly they can, using hypocrisy as their flagstaff.
They don't know how to have a productive, meaningful and mature discussion about anything.
Perhaps she knows this- which is why she is allowing it, knowing it will make them look bad.
But in the end it is a drag on her energy and she needs all the energy she has right now
to deal with this pandemic, and we don't want her suffering from burnout along the way.
So I don't see it as a positive step at all.

Tom Hunter said...

No matter how smiley and sunny she is she's going to get dragged down by the daily requirement to tell people why they can't do things and have things. It won't show for a while but I reckon after a couple of weeks all but the most one-eyed Jacinda fans will begin to tire of seeing her as The Stern Leader.

It won't be her fault but people will want sunniness and that will increasingly be hard for her to deliver.

greywarbler said...

I only hope there aren't Trev2 and 3 etc. What a lot of moaning minnies.
I feel a Python coming on. Pies lesu domine.

David George said...

I'm uncertain how this governing arrangement works but it would be a great abuse of trust if, in the absence of parliament, it was seen as an opportunity to introduce contentious and unrelated (to the pandemic) legislation; Little's anti speech legislation for example.
The lock-down response we have chosen seems to have been the preferred option pretty much every where. Sweden is an outlier; keeping the majority of institutions and businesses open and relying on quarantining the vulnerable, general hygiene and social distancing to limit the surge in contagion and the gradual development of herd immunity. See how that goes.
The big question is can this disease be eliminated by following the lock down plan. For NZ it's entirely possible; the entire planet? If not we would have to continue with an official policy of extreme xenophobia (strictly speaking a "phobia" can only be applied to an individual) indefinitely and, for example, pretty much the end of our international tourism business as a consequence.
There has been some very foolish advice, the New York mayor's call (up until quite recently) to keep using the Subway among the worst and directly responsible for the terrible explosion of cases there. Many of us will be extremely reluctant to use any form of mass/public transport for a long time I imagine.
Lot's to think about. Good luck to all.
David George.

Max Ritchie said...

Kat says that the Government and it’s leader must not be criticized? Well, thousands of New Zealanders have news for her. For one thing criticism is healthy. Abuse is not and tortuous variations on foul language is abuse. Entry restrictions and processing have been badly handled - there’s no doubt about that. Now there may be good reasons for that but on the evidence 2/10. Much else has been handled well, particularly the politics. But Jacinda is not Michael Joseph Savage. Not by a long shot.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well done Chris.
Six days of quarantine due to the beshrew and we art running out of provisions. I hath sent the scull'ry knave out in 'rd'r to buyeth provisions, but that gent cameth backe with v'ry dram except some of the vilest s'rt of alcohol, which that gent deems behoveful to survival. ‘T seemeth i shall has't to venture out myself, particularly as th're is some urgency about the cream cheese situation dammit all, is yond a fire i seeth in Pudding Lane? oh well, to Whitehall and w'rk and thence to the sultaness heade? Or tup the maid? decisions decisions.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

One good thing to come out of this bloody awful situation is that my son is working from home, and no longer has to drive half asleep, or spend close to 12 hours of the day travelling to work and working. And I suddenly realise how much time I spend worrying about that – at least the driving – and it's a weight off my mind. Compensation for having wife and son underfoot all damn day. Personally I hope they keep it up after the emergency. I can certainly dismiss the grumbling about having no one to talk to while he works.:)

Odysseus said...

Looking at the timeline of decisions taken in relation to the pandemic, it appears that only the last-minute abandonment of the memorial event planned for Christchurch on 15 March cleared the way for the tightening of border controls. Once the Pasifika Festival planned for the same weekend in Auckland was finally cancelled by Mayor Goff and its organizers, the continuation of the Christchurch gathering became politically untenable. Immediately following its cancellation Ardern announced the requirement for all those entering New Zealand (except from the Pacific Islands) to "self-isolate" for 14 days. Cruise ships were also banned till 30 June, although it appears this did not apply if they were already in New Zealand waters, eg the Le Laperouse which came into Wellington and offloaded its passengers on 16 March. A Royal Commission of Inquiry, as was held after the 1918 flu pandemic, is essential.

Jens Meder said...

I almost feel guilty to admit, that with the retirement wealth reserves I have saved (accumulated) during my life until retirement, there are practically no problems for me at all in the current situation, even though the shut-down restrictions are even more restrictive on me because of my age over 70.
Should I be congratulated or condemned for that, as having been greedy and deprived the poor of a chance to own (or reap the benefits) of the wealth owned by me now, as is done in some "altruistic" Socialist states ?
But if the poor (or the state) had not saved the wealth owned by me now, then would they (and we all) still not be just as poor as poor are now, myself included, if I (or the state) had also followed the imprudent attitudes of the "non-greedy" spendthrifts ?

And are not those in a way even more selfishly greedy, who do not want any their wealth left intact for posterity to help building up widening wealth ownership so that no children will be born into "have nothing" poverty eventually ?

At least I and a prudent state are still able to deliver donations and welfare expenditure for a while without going into serious debt or currency devaluation through excessive QE (Quantitative Easing), which is ultimately beyond a certain point when all the reserves have been exhausted - unsustainable and useless for poverty alleviation.

Kat said...

Well Max here I was thinking it was John Key I heard say he "refused to criticise" Ardern and that "not only would it be unjustified, but it's not what the country needs.." But hey its also a sentiment I happen to embrace.

And here I was ready to give Mr Key a rare deserved bouquet along with the parliamentary opposition who have ceased their theatrical political criticism and moved into a constructive state of scrutiny.

There will be time enough for criticism and ego defense when the war is done.

Max Ritchie said...

We should have restricted travel before we did. John Key may not think so or want to say it but if we just say that everything the government does is perfect then it’ll continue to make mistakes. Of course blog criticism (or praise) won’t change much. But it will give you another chance to wish for the MoW. Did you ever use its services? I did, for over 20 years. Good engineering, awful make-work. NZR had the same function of reducing unemployment with even worse results. Not a good idea. Galleys, salt mines and the treadmill much the same - very bad ideas.

Max Ritchie said...

Kat: read Croaking Cassandra on this topic, and the comments. The Government needs to hoist in Mr Redell’s comments and note the “war footing” recommendation. Carping and moaning no, but constructive criticism most certainly yes. You can’t turn the clock back but are we really on a war footing now?

austringer said...

Our Prime Minister,with cogent belief,in our specialist viral health care experts,along with health daily proffesionals in our hospitals and local practacing surgeries advice,has acted with stern resolve, and to minimize as best we all can, how we now find ourselves, WITH COMMUNITY DILLIGENCE ,to the health care advice of our health care proffessionals in this self, street,appartment bubbles.
The other side of the fence,or should say Parliament,across the floor,has with all its futile negativy,has come to the bubble with reluctance,with hypocrit words like,we salute all those health care workers,all those designated industries we salute them,realy was it not in the weeks prior to this cognet lock down,you where riddiculing the minimum wage rise,hypocracy.

austringer said...

The President,of America,they will the people be glad when this one is gone,a global virus pandemic,and maybe,i may decide to lock down close the raods to the infection,close down the city and its affiliates maybe close down the state.This is the mind set of the american president,thank god we are not living in america,the governor of the the state said ,i dont understand the meaning of locking down our state,what capitalist brain dead mind sets they must have,profit over people,our up town wannabbe,who aint getin nothing but the back benches,as shall his deputy,like ONE TIME CHANCERS WHO,unlike shiply and creech,stabed spud bolger to gain control,and them giving the nats the biggest kicking at the ballot box.Ask key boy his most inluential politician he respected,said shiply,what a pair a self serving low fruit pickers.

David George said...

Thank you Kat, you came to the same conclusion as Trev at the end and fair enough.
Interesting times and, yes, we should all play along but I don't see general criticism of the Government's actions/inaction being suppressed for long if the overseas examples are anything to go by; governments that have largely followed similar paths to our own. Our MSM have been almost entirely supportive so far but there will be a lot of resentment building in the people the longer this carries on.
It's only a couple of weeks ago that our borders were largely open (save having a card waved at you saying stay indoors) and the advice was to wash your hands and don't be mean to the Chinese. Obviously a huge question mark over A/ the advice to the government from the health department and B/ the extent to which any advice was followed. We shall see.
Agreed, there is no need for unreasonable criticism (I don't think Trev's comments were) or, on the other hand, childish adulation. The government appear to be handing it reasonably well at the moment considering the circumstances.
People don't always behave reasonably however; there is looting and disorder breaking out in Italy at the moment and the real possibility of the imposition of marshal law.

David George said...

Oops, it was Max, not Trev you were responding to Kat. Sorry.
BTW Was it only 17 days ago that Jacinda's Christchurch memorial event was still all go and Phil Goff made the (uncharacteristically courageous) call to cancel Pacifika? Seems like a different world.

David George said...

A helpful and hopeful comment:
"Epidemics, depressions, and wars are natural aspects of life. If we become weak, one of these ills eventually will destroy our society. For (insert country of your choice) to survive, each of us must stay connected and committed to our communities and nation. As the Director-General of WHO has said since the beginning, we can survive this well if we support each other. We have the resources. We need only the standard virtues of compassion and courage plus some wit and willpower."

Fisherman said...

Chris, The lockdown has certainly had the effect of making everyone in NZ aware of the severity of the situation. However, common sense must now prevail at all levels if we are to have any chance of moving forward from the lockdown.
We are constantly reminded that there are daily updates available on the ministry of Health’s website. However, these updates are clearly censored and inadequate. This is an abuse of power on the part of the government and a significant failure in their duty and responsibility to the people of New Zealand. The individual case report was made totally useless, on Saturday, by the removal of the details field and the incomplete nature of the report does not inspire confidence.
The Covid-19 current case details report is the government’s direct path to the public. It should inform us and assist us in helping get on top of this epidemic. Detailed information including specific locations and case interactions would help the general populous fight the disease. Instead, through a withholding of information, the government is taking all power away from the public and they are instead asking us to simply do as we are told.
We know from the American experiences that the disease takes between 2 and 11 days to show symptoms after infection with an average of 5 days. We also know that the primary means of infection are close contact with an infected person for a significant period of time or, the touching of mouth or nose after touching an infected surface.
New Zealand and New Zealanders are unique. An informed and proactive population could do so much more in terms of defeating this disease than any central government response will ever achieve. It is a great pity that New Zealand is not being given the opportunity to shine.

John Hurley said...

A lot of what we have heard from the MP's team appears wrong.

1. Masks work and people can make their own.
2. The virus can travel in "clouds" up to 30 meters (staying in aircon systems and vents.
3. 60 to 86% of cases are asymptomaic but still infectious.
The virus itself merely kills people but what is always more important is the future. One economist said NZ's ideal population was 2 million (and I discount those with the polluted views of the vested interest). The Black Death was followed by a healthy economy: farming widows quickly remarried combining properties and wages rose. By contrast real wages in tourism and hospitality have been falling here, it is an inconvenient truth "no one wants to talk about". The head of Tourism Holdings says there is a danger "of people coming and buying assets cheap". Simon would be right into that as they will be "Kiwi,Kiwi, Kiwi" (the housing market all over again).

Rowan G said...

We can only hope that some of the wiser members of the National Party caucus advise Simon Bridges not to stuff up the job the Prime Minister has given him.

Kat said...

Ok, I am not going to insult anyone's intelligence here by defining the finer points of difference between criticism and scrutiny.

However here are a couple of excerpts today of blatant political criticism from a prominent commentator who had a live radio on air chat with the PM.

"Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not a Government festooned with great talent. A lot of these ministers under other governments would barely be making the tea, far less have a portfolio...."

"The longer this goes on the more suspicious I get that this is a PR exercise for the Government, and they are as interested in how this plays for them politically, as they are for the lockdown itself and our wider wellbeing...."

This commentator has the ears and eyes of many of his so labeled "idiots" in the country. I am not holding my breath waiting for all the inevitable political conspiracy claims made by this commentator's thousands of "idiot" followers.

David George said...

A couple of days ago I mentioned the Swedish corona virus strategy. There is a very good article up on UnHerd at the moment explaining and discussing their approach.

Also, coincidentally, one on the Danish strategy and practice just up on Quillette.

Good luck All,
David George.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I suppose we should have expected this thing to be politicised. Naturally conservatives balance the number of people who are going to die, against "getting the economy going again." I notice none of them are volunteering to be the first to die, but there you go. In actual fact, as someone has already noticed, the world economy is so integrated that it's impossible for one small country like ours to get its economy going again – at least without the Chinese getting the economy going again. So it's all a bit moot.

And of course large companies seem to be taking advantage, by not paying their bills. Some companies are price gouging, and the reaction of landlords hasn't been particularly charitable either in many cases. I wonder how this fits in with Kiwi Dave's conservative philosophy?

What worries me a little, maybe not so much in New Zealand, is that cranks are coming out of the woodwork with quack cures. Mega church leaders are holding church services still, because they feel that either God will protect them, or that people's spiritual welfare is more important than their physical health. People are being lied to – a lot. Still, freedom of speech right? And the dead are simply collateral damage. The price of freedom.

David George said...

It is indeed regrettable that politics should be a factor Guerrilla Surgeon. These are problems requiring real human inputs (judgement and values) that ideology, as always, is ill equipped to offer.
I'm not prepared to offer blanket condemnation or praise; the morality or philosophy and consequent actions of individuals is just that; individual. In any case the options have been shut down by government decree; no one (residential) can be evicted for non payment of rent.
Commercial leases have a clause (27.5) that, in the event of an emergency and the business being unable to operate by order of a "competent authority" (government etc.), rents shall "cease to be payable". It appears, since we're in a state of emergency, that business tenants have an out.
Not so the landlords, the standard business disruption insurance policies (applicable to both landlords and tenants) have an exclusion for "interference to the business caused by or arising in connection with any infectious animal or human diseases".
So no help from that quarter. Please note: this is not professional advise - check with your lawyer.
My daughter and her husband have a small panel beating business and two young children. They face a very difficult future hence my interest and concern.
I don't think we should be too dismissive of the implications of a wall of failure of operations such as theirs.

Wayne Mapp said...

From what I saw of the Special Select Committee, it was working as I expected. But I am sure it will become more focussed and forward looking.

It is unclear whether the PM has actually telephoned the Leader of the Opposition in the last couple of weeks. It would certainly be the convention to have done so. In these sorts of emergency (and this is bigger than any in my lifetime) the PM of the day invariably takes the Leader of the Opposition into their confidence to explains thing and also seeks their views.

Given the background of the two, I would hope that this has happened. It will make the SC process way more efficient and effective.

Bonzo said...

GS said "I suppose we should have expected this thing to be politicised. Naturally conservatives balance the number of people who are going to die, against "getting the economy going again." I notice none of them are volunteering to be the first to die, but there you go."

Anybody with half a brain balances the future damage to our economy and the lives of our citizens against the avoidable deaths caused by the coronavirus. Otherwise we'd be in lockdown until a vaccine was produced and emerge blinking back into the light only to find we couldn't afford to buy it. Cost v benefit. It's what we pay the politicians to do. Leadership. It's why they age rapidly. The 'Feelz' and empty virtue signalling don't cut it in the real world.

JanM said...

"It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in"

David George said...

There was an interview (not in NZ) with a 72 year old chap, he said (from memory) that he would rather take his chances with the virus than see the economy and the future of the younger generations trashed. I guess you could say, GS, that his response is the essence of conservatism; the value of sacrifice and a reflection of the unwritten contract between the generations.
We are all beneficiaries of the priceless gifts we have received from those that came before; the infrastructure, the culture and it's institutions. The conservative position is that it is our responsibility to preserve and protect those, and, for those coming behind, to not only do likewise but to improve and adapt them for a changing world. The parents represent our culture and inheritance in the commandment: Honour thy Father and thy Mother - an injunction to conserve and improve not arrogantly dismiss.
Some quite frightening projections from Bagrie recently on the economics and employment future. Probably a good election to loose coming up with some very constrained options for the "winner" and a lot of pain for the people.

greywarbler said...

What have you big thinkers got against paragraphs and using the enter key for a line space? It only takes a micro-micro of a second. To keep up there is so much to read, a para gives a pause for the end of that joined-up thought before the next starts.

A space is as good as a brain holiday of a second, which is all we can have in these fast-moving times.

greywarbler said...

How do I feel? Good, about this new move long awaited and begged for.

Thinking of JanM comment above, with many of these 'dads' who know f-all about living and trying to be good people, for many sad reasons indeed, it is better to have them far away from the tent. Making them own up to fathering a baby by legal force and pursed-mouth punishing preachies, just incurs a feeling in them of resentment, even hate, and then a feeling of ownership without love and commitment. That's a hateful brew with a bitter taste.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Bonzo. Unfortunately the people who are advocating for a return to work – admittedly these are mostly wealthy people in the US - seem to think that those who will die are "expensive to maintain and unproductive." The rich of course will receive the best of medical care. We should in fact do everything to make sure that the consequences for workers and for small businesses are minimised. But even so, you seem to have missed my other point that it's just not that easy to get the economy working again because the world economy is now so integrated. There are probably some few undeveloped places where this won't matter quite so much, but until China has got on top of this and has started producing/buying again our economy is not going to return to normal no matter how much we pay the politicians to make these decisions. Someone with half a brain might have seen that. Oh shit I'm so trying to be polite given my limited time here at the moment – although that has increased just a tad with the lockdown I guess.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Funny Kiwi Dave, all those epitome is of conservatism you keep going on about, such as concern for future generations and so on I associate with social Democrats rather than conservatives. Still, I guess if conservatives actually lived up to their precepts the world might be a better place.
Unfortunately, there are far more stories like this.

Than like this.

gnomic said...

@ kiwidave 1st April 12:21 Probably the person you are referring to is one Dan Patrick aged 69 and lieutenant governor of Texas. The man who is prepared to take one for the human team for the sake of a better future for his grandchildren.

"I respect all faiths and religions, but I am a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third, and I praise Jesus for this moment and this day."

Among his various claims to fame he gave Rush Limbaugh his start as a radio host way back in 1969.

"No one reached out to me and said, 'As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival, in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?"' Patrick remarked. "And if that's the exchange, I'm all in."

It's a point of view. Even the Donald was spinning that line at one stage. Was that around the all over by Easter day? I don't think the President is lining up with Dan still on sacrificing the seniors.

@ Bonzo

"The 'Feelz' and empty virtue signalling don't cut it in the real world."

Yah waddeva. So you apparently know what goes on in the 'real world'. Got any links for that or is it just your own personal opinion?

David George said...

GS "concern for future generations and so on I associate with social Democrats rather than conservatives"
That's because you choose to rely on what you already believe rather than taking the bother to find out what the conservative philosophy actually is. I posted some links to help you; try reading some of the great conservative thinkers of our time - Roger Scruton, Jordan Peterson, Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray etc.
Social democrats are internationalist and statist with little more than contempt for the cultural heritage, local communities and the value of the family. Control freaks really.

Melanie Phillips:
"People in the so-called “red wall” constituencies that used to be solidly Labour are down to earth. They are hard-working and thrifty. They greatly dislike money being thrown down the drain.

Red wall people take a dim view of “woke” progressivism and social engineering. They value family, community and nation. It was the onslaught on these values by Labour’s embrace of globalisation and liberalism that drove them to the Tories. They wait for measures from this government to support married parents and stay-at-home mothers. They wait for this government to end the child abuse involved in purportedly changing the sex of “transgender” children, to speak up against victim culture and to restore freedom of speech by getting rid of “hate crime”. They may find they wait in vain.

The paradox is that the future of conservatism lies with working-class people. That means adopting the traditional values in which they believe.

The classless Boris Johnson made it safe for working-class people to reject the Labour Party, which they had come to believe was deeply unpatriotic. If, however, he ignores the truly conservative values of his unexpected constituency, he will find that this newly blued wall promptly turns red again."

David George said...

Thanks for the writing tips Greywarbler. There's a very good couple of examples above from austringer on what not to do - or, perhaps not to write under the influence.
The value of writing, for me, is that it develops thinking, but only if you do it correctly.
Here's part of the intro to a very good guide to writing. Link below.

"The primary reason to write an essay is so that the writer can formulate and
organise an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about something
Why is it important to bother with developing sophisticated ideas, in turn? It’s because
there is no difference between doing so and thinking, for starters. It is important to think because action based on thinking is likely to be far less painful and more productive than action based upon ignorance. So, if you want to have a life characterised by competence, productivity, security, originality and engagement rather than one that is nasty, brutish and short, you need to think carefully about important issues. There is no better way to do so than to write. This is because writing extends your memory, facilitates editing and clarifies your thinking."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh dear Kiwi Dave. Unfortunately I tend to judge conservatives by their actions rather than what they say. For instance, the Fletcher bosses taking a 15% cut in their salaries – versus laying off a whole lot of ordinary workers. It's even worse in the US as I might have mentioned. I think you should probably read a little bit more about social democracy if you think many of those values don't belong there.

For instance:

"In contrast with many liberals, social democrats believe that freedom has financial and social preconditions. It is not only about securing negative
freedoms but ensuring what is called 'positive freedom'. What does the legal
right to publish your own opinion help, if you cannot write or do not speak
the proper language? And what helps the right to go to school, if the school
fees exceed your financial capability? Are you free to study? Only basic
education and financial security can enable some freedom of choice."

Social democracy maintains that freedom must go beyond the theory and making everyone equal under the law, to make sure that everyone has equality of opportunity. That's the major difference I see between social democracy and conservatism. Conservatism tends to leave everybody who doesn't have financial resources stuck in the mud.

And I'm sorry but if Jordan Peterson is an example of conservative thinking I would have to reject conservatism on those grounds alone. As I have explained before, the man plunders other people's work outside his area of expertise, misinterprets it, and spouts it back to tell people what they want to hear without actually considering his own ignorance on the subject. He has been repeatedly picked up on this by actual experts, but neither he or his fanboys take the slightest bit of notice. And it unfortunately reduces my respect for anyone who can't see this. Because outside of clinical psychology the man is as ignorant as buggery.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I must say also Kiwi Dave that your categorising of the left as internationalists leaves me a bit gobsmacked given that it's the left that has consistently pointed out the inequalities which globalisation have both created and worsened. Particularly those sociologists that you people seem to despise for various reasons. (Seriously trying to be polite here.) It's the extreme right – or rather the conservative to libertarian end of the spectrum that is internationalist, because they make the most money out of it, given that they transfer their businesses to cheap labour countries and their money to places that tax them less. As far as I can see the only people on the right who are not internationalist are the fascists and nationalists of various sorts.