Waitangi Day 2013

Seeing as the arguments are the same every year (I didn’t even acknowledge it last year), here’s my post from 2011.  Nothing has changed.

Happy Waitangi Day 2011

Here’s a bingo card which sums it all up nicely (and actually does a way better job than my post does):

Waitangi-Day-bingo

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If you’re reading this anywhere but That Girl, Fae or a feed reader without attribution, it has been STOLEN! Who knew that my stuff was that good? ~ Fae

Creative Commons License
That Girl, Fae by R Simpson-Large aka Fae Teardrop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand License.

An Appalling Reality: Children in Poverty at Home

A sponsorship programme used to feed starving children in Third World countries is now being used to help poor Kiwi kids.

Children’s charity Variety has launched a scheme that allows people to sponsor an individual Kiwi child living below the poverty line for $35 a month, or about $1.15 a day.

The money will pay for things such as school trips, stationery, doctor’s visits, books and prescriptions.

Jo Moir and Michael Forbes, The Dominion Post

poverty_q42Jq_17844How much worse does this situation have to get before the government steps in and actually does it’s job?  This is a huge violation of the social contract that we are all bound to.  We, the people, pay taxes, in return the government is there to protect us.  That is how First World countries maintain their status as a First World country.

The fact that there are 270,000 children living in poverty right now shows the gravity of the problem.  According to the last census in 2006, the total population in New Zealand was 4,027,947.  That was projected to have risen to 4,405,200 by 2011.  Children under 15 years of age were projected to total 893,700.  So that’s a staggering 30%.  Almost a third of this country’s children.  I’m embarrassed.  That’s far too many to just be put down to parents not doing a good enough job looking after their children.

And the fact that this isn’t even the first charity program to be launched to attempt to cover this need.  KidsCan has had one running for nearly a decade, to ensure that at least some children have access to the necessities that some of us take for granted.  Even Fonterra got involved by starting their Milk for Schools program.

The government shouldn’t just be standing back, letting charities and businesses fill in the gaps that they continue to ignore.  The lack of effective response to the current housing crisis, particularly in Christchurch and Auckland, certainly isn’t helping the whole situation.  They need to get their shit together.  At least try to develop a more effective way to combat the increasing unemployment that isn’t just finding ways to exclude people from being eligible (it’s now at 7.3%).    Change policies so that the minimum wage is raised to something that is actually a living wage, so people can start to actually support themselves and their families, as well as providing extra support for those still in need.  It’s disgusting.

H/T Holly Walker, frogblogBomber, TUMEKE!; Idiot/Savant, No Right Turn, one and two

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If you’re reading this anywhere but That Girl, Fae or a feed reader without attribution, it has been STOLEN! Who knew that my stuff was that good? ~ Fae

Creative Commons License
That Girl, Fae by R Simpson-Large aka Fae Teardrop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Morality, is it Merely Subjective?

This is an essay I submitted for my philosophy paper this semester. I have included the comments from the marker at the end for those of you who are interested.

Is morality just subjective?

Morality is just subjective. We all view the world in a subjective manner, and morals are not exempt from this. In this essay I will use arguments for marijuana use and against marijuana use by pro-drug and anti-drug groups to prove that a person’s morals purely depends on the way that they view the world around them. It is a person’s values and perception of the world that determines their morals and what they consider to be ‘moral facts’.

A person who is a member of an anti-marijuana group believes marijuana use is morally wrong. This belief predetermines the facts they search for and find credible. Accordingly, there is nothing morally wrong with marijuana usage if the person belongs to a pro-marijuana lobby. They also determine facts in the same way as a person who is anti-marijuana. These could be considered as ‘moral facts’, but is there such a thing?

How can something be good, yet simultaneously bad? James and Stuart Rachels do not believe there are such things as ‘moral facts’ and sum up the idea behind Ethical Subjectivism:

People have different opinions, but where morality is concerned, there are no “facts”, and no one is “right”. People just feel differently, and that’s all there is to it.

This explains how both the anti-marijuana lobby and the pro-marijuana can believe that they are morally correct at the same time. They both believe they have the facts on their side. How can marijuana be a gateway drug to harder drugs and potentially destructive behaviour and criminal behaviour, while at the same time not having this effect at all? Both of these ‘facts’ put forward by pro-marijuana and anti-marijuana groups are in direct contradiction with each other. They cannot both be factually correct at the same time.

“Moral truths are truths of reason; that is a moral judgment is true if it is back by better reasons than the alternatives.” ‘Moral facts’ are only factual when back by reasonable evidence. Choosing the acknowledge some evidence, or skewing it to match your own values, such as what the pro and anti lobbists have done, is not a reasonable approach. This is letting your own morals and values get in the way of what is reason. It is self-fulfilling to then use this ‘evidence’ to back up your argument as to why your morals and values are correct, and the other person’s are wrong. This is how morality is subjective.

Pro-marijuana and anti-marijuana lobbies are two examples of how ‘moral facts’ are not factual. The evidence used to support these ‘facts’ is subjective. It is located with reason which is blocked by predetermined morality and values in its ability to truthfully determine what is reasonable and factual.

Bibliography:

Parents. The Anti-Drug., (n.d) Drug information: Marijuana myths, retrieved 22 August
2011 from: http://www.theantidrug.com/drug-information/marijuana-facts/marijuana-myths.aspx

Rachels, J & S, (2010), The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 6th Ed., p. 33

Top Dutch, (n.d), The real truth: Behind the 10 most lied about myths, retrieved 22
August 2011 from: http://www.joint-rolling-guide.com/marijuana-myths-and-facts.html

Comments

You attempt to provide a consistent argument in defence of your claim that morality is
subjective. However, your argument isn’t convincing because you fail to analyse the
issues fully or to extend your argument..
You make general claims about the ‘moral facts’, but do not clearly define what you mean.
The marijuana debate is merely one example, in which biases are obvious. You need a
greater range of examples to justify your argument.

53% C

What am I? The Explanation of a Left-wing Liberal Feminist Socialist

Note: following is an essay I submitted last semester for my Political Science class

Would I describe myself as a liberal? Yes I would. I would even go as far as to describe myself as a Left-wing liberal feminist socialist. I believe that you should not be restricted by law from doing anything, providing your actions do not cause harm to others. In conjunction with this, I believe that the State should provide support, financial and otherwise, to those who are unable to support themselves through no fault of their own.

A person does not need to come from a particular part of the political spectrum in order to identify as liberal. During the South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate on 5 May 2011, current United States Congressman Ron Paul, while he is Right-wing, made clear his liberal position by stating that the laws against heroin, cocaine, and prostitution should be revoked. “The freedom to use drugs … is equivalent to the freedom of people to ‘practice their religion and say their prayers.’ Liberty must be defended ‘across the board … It is amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way … but not when it comes to our personal habits.’” Paul’s argument is that the majority would still not use cocaine or heroin if they became decriminlised (Gerson, 2011). It is the belief that people are more responsible and able to look after themselves than they are given credit for, mainly because the State takes away the chance for them to prove themselves through making laws and regulations which dictate how people are to live their lives. This is backed by being opposed to ‘Big Government’. People with the same political beliefs and values as Ron Paul are libertarian, or utilitarian liberals.

My own feminist beliefs are very much utilitarian. I have, and should have, the freedom to choose what types of clothes, shoes, and makeup I wear. It is my own happiness that matters, and it is having that freedom of choice that is the point of feminism, something which third wave feminism in particular is very focused on (Jervis, 2004). A woman being told that she is not allowed to wear revealing clothes, high heels, and stay home to raise a family because those things are all anti-feminist is just as oppressive as the patriarchical environment that feminism is supposed to be fighting against. Being a feminist is about having the freedom to be sexually empowered and being free to choose what is right for yourself, above the opinions and claimed rights of others.

On the other end of the the political spectrum, there are people like Sue Bradford. These people, rights liberals, are more in favour of ‘Big Government’, providing the State uses its power through laws and regulations to the benefit of the rights of the people, and therefore increasing the freedom of the people. During Bradford’s time as a Member of Parliament for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand from 1999 to 2009, she passed three Member’s Bills through Parliament for the benefit of the New Zealand people. These were: “… amending s59 of the Crimes Act so that children now receive the same protection in law as do adults; lifting the youth minimun wage to adult rates; and extending the length of time some mothers in prison can keep their babies with them” (Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, n.d.). Through these bills, Bradford increased the freedoms of the, often, neglected and forgotten members of New Zealand society. If a child in New Zealand suffers from child abuse, they are now free to have the offender charged with assault, and the offender cannot claim they used reasonable force. Young adults/the youth employees in New Zealand are now free to be recognised that they are just as capable at their job as an adult employee, and receive the appropriate remuneration for their work. Female prisoners are now free to bond with their baby, potentially creating a stronger relationship between mother and child.

Bradford “… [helped] bring about genuine, positive solutions to the unemployment, poverty, social and environmental problems which plague so many people and their communities in Aotearoa today”, and it is these problems which infringe on people’s ability to be free (Green Party, n.d.). This is where socialism blends in with the principles of rights liberalism. Unfortunately, there are always members within a society that are unable to support and provide for themselves. Where utilitarian liberalism is more focused on the happiness of the majority over the suffering of the minority (where the minority are the unemployed, the sick, and the elderly etc), the blend of socialism and rights liberalism is more about setting up a system which looks after the disaffected minority, who are often struggling against the rest of society through no fault of their own. This goes against utiliarian liberalism because it enables the development of a ‘Welfare State’ and encourages growth of a ‘Big Government’. While I do not favour ‘Big Government’ (especially in terms of who I am allowed to sleep with, what happens in my bedroom, and what I put in my body being regulated and restricted), I also do not favour small government, where people are bascially left to their own devices. I would much rather pay tax which goes to the support of the disaffected minority now, because there is a chance that in the future I may become a member of that affect minority, either through illness, inability to find a job, or some other misfortune, and the tax paid is my insurance that I will also receive help and support.

I am a Left-wing liberal feminist socialist. I believe I should have the freedom to make my own decision about how I live my life, who I live it with, and what I wear while I am living it. If something happens to me which means I am no longer able to properly participate within society, then the State should provide me with support until I am fully functioning again.

Bibliography:

Gerson, M. (2011, May 11). Ron Paul favors legalizing heroin: Texas congressman deservers first-tier scrutiny. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from:

 http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Ron-Paul-favors-legalizing-heroin-1374192.php

Green Party of Aotearoa NewZealand (n. d.). Sue Bradford. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from:

 http://www.greens.org.nz/people/suebradford

Jervis, L. (2004, Winter). The end of feminism’s thirdwave: The cofounder of Bitch magazine says goodbye to the

 generational divide. Retrieved on May 13, 2011, from: 

http://www.msmagazine.com/winter2004/thirdwave.asp