The health of people is tied in to the health of societies. There are strong correlations between the health of a society and the freedoms it allows. In turn as freedoms, particularly of expression and speech are eroded the health of societies will be affected.
Some news items and a quote got me thinking this week. The quote was from Dr Thomas Sowell “One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce and canonized those who complain”. The first article was an op-ed piece by Gary Johns in The Australian called Profiting from disadvantage. The second news item was about WA lacking “up to date” anti-discrimination laws. The third was a speech by an Indigenous member of parliament.
What are the connections?
The trend over the last 40 years has been increasingly to blame anyone and anything for any misfortune that befalls us. As society has progressed and genuine hardship (by historical or even global standards) has receded in the Western world, tolerance for any perceived slight or less than ideal life means someone has to pay.
Personal responsibility or that we may be the authors of our misfortune are not a consideration.
As Adam Creighton wrote, also in The Australian “ Conspicuous compassion is becoming the norm.” He went on “… the profusion of government regulations purportedly for the wellbeing of the ordinary person has entrenched the belief that any misfortune is someone else’s fault. They have bolstered the notion that every mistake and intemperate comment deserves peremptory and relentless sanction by all and sundry”.
Not surprising then that The Equal Opportunity Commission was concerned that it was not able to act on all the complaints it received. And that recommendations, to government for expanding areas of discrimination had came from a report prepared by the Equal Opportunities Commissioner!
Is there are conflict of interest here? Any government agency requires “funding” for its existence. The best way to argue for more funds is to complain that you have too much work. And if there was not that much work to do, then look to expand your potential market.
Which leads me to Gary Johns’ piece which gave a number of examples of market expansion;” you don’t have to be black to be a black, you don’t have to be poor to be poor, you don’t have to be a woman hater to be a misogynist..” he wrote. “Such is the slide in meaning attached to these and other, once bountiful political campaigns that swarms of professionals have to be employed to keep the flames of outrage alive”
Why? Because, their jobs and careers depend on it! The last thing anyone who is an “advocate” needs is for individuals to be able to support themselves and not be in need of welfare or support. People who can take responsibility themselves do not need others to be outraged on their behalf.
And their health and wealth benefits.
Hiding behind some “offence” enables deflection from the real issues as the Australian PM has used to her advantage. No need for any accountability when you can claim to have been “offended.
Real misogyny is the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousfazai in Pakistan by the Taliban for wanting to go to school. It is not criticism in a parliament by a man who has a woman as his chief of staff and who raises money for women’s refuges.
Gary Johns nails it thus “Equal employment opportunity officers, equal rights officers, professional busybodies and lobbyists throughout Australia are diligent at seeking out slight and insult or massaging group data to prove some organized evil within society”.
And what is achieved for those who may be genuinely poor or in need of assistance? Precious little. Australia’s first female indigenous politician told parliament that opposition to a development which would provide jobs and income for Aboriginals was being opposed by “people of advantage” from Green groups who seek to act on behalf of the Aboriginals.
Some of them had hackled an Aboriginal elder during a traditional ceremony! Yes we are really here to help you.
Hence, the canonization of those who complain. It keeps many in jobs, which are not productive. In turn taxpayers subsidize these non-productive roles. People like Federal treasurer Wayne Swan demonize these same taxpayers.
It was Ayn Rand who wrote “We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where government is free to do as it pleases, while the citizens may act only with permission.” I fear we have reached inversion.
Governments waste squillions and just shrug it off. An individual who gets the slightest thing wrong can face hounding by government agencies. And if the agency is wrong there is no redress.
It is little wonder stress levels are high in society. Much of it is driven by inept government, which in turn seeks to silence or deflect any criticism. To quote Voltaire; “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”.
The health of societies is linked to the freedoms citizens enjoy. At some point citizens will need to stand up to governments, which undermine their freedom and health.