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

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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

An Animal Comparison

The courier man delivered an exciting package from Mighty Ape yesterday 🙂

The first book is Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihi, PhD.

I first became aware of this book during my Gender Studies paper at the beginning of last year. I wanted it back then, but time went by and I forgot all about it. My Sociology paper this semester reminded me about it, and I wasn’t going to let myself forget this time!!

It’s full of great tid bits of information, like how male giraffes prefer the company of other male giraffes, and how male ostriches will put on a much more elaborate mating dance for other male ostriches compared to those they put on for female ostriches.

There’s also an examination of the different types of family groups and coupling that goes on within the animal kingdom. Coupling doesn’t always mean the grouping of two in this instance, there are occurrences of pairs, triads, quads and more throughout the kingdom. There are also many instances of homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, transgender, omnisexuality, non-monosexuality etc.

This is the quote that first piqued my interest:

The scientist gasps and drops the binoculars. A notebook falls from astonished hands. Graduate students mutter in alarm. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the granting agency what they’re seeing.

A female ape wraps her legs around another female, “rubbing her own clitoris against her partner’s while emitting screams of enjoyment.” The researcher explains: It’s a form of greeting behavior. Or reconciliation. Possibly food-exchange behavior. It’s certainly not sex. Not lesbian sex. Not hot lesbian sex.

Six bighorn rams cluster, rubbing, nuzzling and mounting each other. “Aggressosexual behavior,” the biologist explains. A way of establishing dominance.

A zoo penguin approaches another, bowing winsomely. The birds look identical and a zoogoer asks how to tell males and females apart. “We can tell by their behavior,” a researcher explains. “Eric is courting Dora.” A keeper arrives with news: Eric has laid an egg.

Susan McCarthy


The second part of the exciting delivery was my very own copy of Animal Farm by George Orwell. After Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, this is my favourite book.

It’s a fantastic satirical look at Communist Russia, with Stalin and Trotsky being characterized as Napoleon and Snowball the pigs. They lead a revolution against the drunken Mr Jones of Manor Farm. The civilians of Russia are shown as the other farm animals.

If you haven’t read this yet, I strongly advise that you do. You won’t regret it.

Remember:

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

Everyone is Equal…

…only some are just more equal than others
Animal Farm – George Orwell

I was reminded of the above quote, which is a brilliant academic response to Communism, when I came across the following comic:
Looking For Group (click to embiggen)

Side Note: the Looking For Group comic is inspired by World of Warcraft and other such MMORPGs, though the author, Sohmer, is not actually a player of World of Warcraft (as stated in the his introduction of Looking For Group Vol. 1). I highly recommend giving it a look 🙂

Side side note: now I must get on to convincing J to let me purchase Looking For Group Vol. 2 & 3 😛