White New Zealand

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Richard Goulter

“What if your entire life was a lie?” was one question a friend asked me on a vlog of his. It strikes me as a cheap, getting to know you type question; & I apparently didn’t much bother to talk much on the video. (It was late at night).

“Falisifiability” - being able to check whether something is wrong - is important for that kindof reason: How do you know you’re not wrong? If you were wrong, how would you be able to tell?

I’m reading through Jonathan Haidt’s excellent “The Righteous Mind” at the moment.
In the book, & in many of the articles/videos discussing ideas from the book, various useful models come up: “reason is the lawyer/press-secretary to the emotions”, reason is like the rider guiding an elephant; a moral intuition strikes first, followed by strategic reasoning & post-hoc justification of the moral judgement. – When an idea is morally pleasing to us, we ask “can I believe this?”, when an idea is morally repugnant we ask “must I believe this?”.

Recently I’ve seen more opinions in NZPol which imitate & reflect the same values I come across in the US-part of my Twitter feed. (I guess this is due to increasing exposure to NZ blogosphere, rather than these opinions growing recently).
This post on the Andrew Judd issue is a good example. Here we have a non-confrontational “not calling actions racist” “racism-without-racists”, followed by the main point that if NZers were ‘more educated’, then everyone would be a left-leaning Labour/Green-voting good citizen. (So bravely calling out Paul Henry demonstrates why The Spinoff’s positive review of The Paul Henry Show is amusing; because Henry is gross & not to be tolerated). – I don’t think it’s a strawman to say that the post’s author would then further agree: white people should be allies to oppressed minorities, & should listen to what they have to say, as such people have experienced things the privileged haven’t. – The post certainly extols the virtue in feeling discomfort on such issues.

I don’t particularly hold issue with points like “people born to rich parents can more easily go to university than those whose parents haven’t gone”, etc.; de-emphasising the value of hard work seems dangerous to me, though. (Does it incentivise people to work harder if told the reason they fail is due to others, rather than lack of hard work?).

But “you’d agree with me if you were educated” seems blind to the notion that the opinion-holder is fallible; although, certainly everyone benefits with more information. (Any implication that NZers aren’t educated on such things ‘because racism’ is amusing; but I guess that’d be an uncharitable interpretation).
“Just listen, don’t argue” is nice as a communication method (& surely necessary, at times); but “don’t disagree, because of your identity” doesn’t seem a great truth-seeking strategy.
The idea that ‘white people objecting’ is just ‘racists’ doing what racists do seems unfalsifiable: white person disagrees they’re racists = white person is racist; white person agrees they’re racists = white person is racist.

Overall, it rather seems to be lefties saying “it’s morally necessary that you hold socially-left attitudes”. – I guess the proper next step would be discussions of effective policies on “where to from here”.

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