Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Jacinda Ardern and our Hunger for Change

Andrew Atkin
We hunger for change because we are not happy. But why not? 

My claim: On an instinctual level there is a part of us that knows that New Zealand is no place to have children. In spite of modern material wealth we are in fact strangely poor.

Well the New Zealand Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern, believes that capitalism has failed. Her belief is to be expected as she was once the leader of a young communist group. Understandably, it will be almost impossible for her to develop her economic understanding as her ideology will run deep. Anything pro-capitalism will seem intrinsically wrong to her.

Regardless, the better question to ask, is where did Jacinda Ardern's belief first come from? In my view, it comes from being partly right - kind of. When she was young she probably sensed that something was not at all right with the society she lived in, and I would say that feeling in itself was right. But unfortunately right feelings need to be married with right thinking, and intellectually speaking Jacinda is immature. She is stuck in a youthful ambition that is terribly mistaken. 

One striking signal that suggests Jacinda is at least part right in her contempt for capitalism is with fertility. Capitalist western society, as we know it, has failed in that our fertility rates are collapsing. As dramatic as it might sound, we are in fact on a path to biological extinction.

People--and in particular Caucasians--tend to not want to have children anymore, and if they do have children they do so late in life and often for abstract reasons. 

So often they don't have children because they just love kids, and feel the authentic prosperity that makes them want to bring them into their lives. But instead have children to bring meaning to a meaningless life, to create someone who might love them unconditionally (because their parents never could), or to conform to social expectations because they're afraid of feeling like a loser, etc.

From an evolutionary perspective western society can be seen as a failure. And because our society is seen as capitalist, it becomes an easy (though crude) stretch to say capitalism has failed because the fertile western family is dying.

So why exactly aren't people having kids like they used to? Or more specifically, why don't they even have the desire to have kids?

We in the west have made some serious mistakes which have hurt us, and we have yet to see and accept those mistakes for what they are. But those mistakes are not capitalism. Let me suggest what I believe are some of the real problems.

1. Institutional schooling that suppresses a real feeling of community. 

The problem with schooling (other than it being cruelly boring) relates to over-crowding and forced-associations, in particular forced-associations with emotionally disturbed children.

Note. There has never been any need to institutionalise a child to have them learn. Especially not today, where almost any educational material can be streamed from a cellphone at virtually no cost.

2. The destruction of religion without respecting its social role, and its importance in keeping the 'petty' parts of life in perspective. 

-Note, the author is not religious. 

3. Social pressures driving people to prioritise careers over the world of the family, leading to the fragmentation and finally estrangement of immediate family, extended family, and real friends leading to a typically shallow social life. 

4. The empty promise of extra wealth being able to achieve what it simply cannot. Inducing people to chase rainbows rather develop a "real life".

5. Outsourcing childcare to strangers at very young ages, badly damaging children's socialisation.

6. Artificial urban land restrictions that force high-tension high-density living for all but the wealthy (this is not at all conducive to making families).

7. Artificially increasing the cost of having children (severely).

8. Anti-discrimination laws that stop people from creating their private townships in their own idealised image. (It's very important to isolate toxic people when creating a family environment).

9. A work life that is high-tension due to forced-associations. Respect that exists only in relation to your ability to serve the bottomline, and interpersonal degradation as professional relationships must too often be fake relationships. This is draining on people, and stress directly contradicts the instinctive impulse to bring children into your life. Especially as it induces a fundamental feeling of resource insecurity (You no longer make commercial sense? Find another job - if you can).

The result, I believe, is a society more split from the world of the family than we realise. And when people are split from the world of the family they see little point in creating an additional family for themselves. How can we expect people to want children when all they can see is latent parasites in their lives? 

Not only does the cost of abandoning the family (psychologically and socially) result in reduced fertility, but I believe it also robs people of their ability to be happy, because being without a family--or only having an empty family--is not how humans are supposed to be. I believe we cannot be happy without a good family base or at least a good "tribal" base. Money cannot replace this kind of basic human need, though we live our lives as though we think it can.

But again, knowing that something is wrong should not lead to an overthrow of the erroneously demonised capitalism, which in truth has given us so much. Everything that I have previously highlighted has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with intrusive ideological government, going right back from about 200 years. And that is a toxin that Jacinda Ardern, in her best of intentions, will only aggravate because she is an under-educated ideologist - not a social scientist or an economist.

The revolution we need is not the one Jacinda is thinking of. Her ideas--formed in her teenage years--have failed catastrophically wherever they have been tried, and will only turn New Zealand into another Venezuela. No thank you Jacinda - we can do better!

What we really need is a cultural revolution that marries the opportunities of modern technologies and new understandings provided by modern research, with a respect for the importance and functionality of older traditions. 

We also need to give government back to the people. But that, I believe, will only happen if we radically decentralise our big (giant, actually) government into small and highly autonomous units. Until then, your politicians will continue to be bought-and-paid-for nobodies parroting whatever line will keep them and their backers in business. Not a government by the people, for the people, but a government that manipulates rather than 
authentically representing people.

Here is my outline for Decentralised government.

Note: I don't want to create the impression that we should all try to create families because it's the path to happiness. That would be putting the cart before the horse. I think having kids can be a very bad idea of you don't truly want them. Once the damage is done, it's done. We need to look closer at the foundations that create our suppressed will in the first place - and start from there.