Wednesday, January 07, 2015
How sharpie Sharpton gets paid to not cry ‘racism’ at U.S. corporations
Want to influence a casino bid? Polish your corporate image? Not be labeled a racist? Then you need to pay Al Sharpton.
For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.
Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with the activist preacher after leaked emails showed her making racially charged comments about President Obama. Pascal was under siege after a suspected North Korean cyberattack pressured the studio to cancel its release of “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un.
Pascal and her team were said to be “shaking in their boots” and “afraid of the Rev,” The Post reported.
No payments to NAN have been announced, but Sharpton and Pascal agreed to form a “working group” to focus on racial bias in Hollywood.
Sharpton notably did not publicly assert his support for Pascal after the meeting — what observers say seems like a typical Sharpton “shakedown” in the making. Pay him in cash or power, critics say, and you buy his support or silence.
“Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him. Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal & Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group that has produced a book on Sharpton.
And Sharpton, who now boasts a close relationship with Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio, is in a stronger negotiating position than ever.
“Once Sharpton’s on board, he plays the race card all the way through,” said a source who has worked with the Harlem preacher. “He just keeps asking for more and more money.”
One example of Sharpton’s playbook has emerged in tax filings and a state inspector general’s report.
In 2008, Plainfield Asset Management, a Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund, made a $500,000 contribution to New York nonprofit Education Reform Now. That money was immediately funneled to the National Action Network.
The donation raised eyebrows. Although the money was ostensibly to support NAN’s efforts to bring “educational equality,” it also came at a time that Plainfield was trying to get a lucrative gambling deal in New York.
Plainfield had a $250 million stake in Capital Play, a group trying to secure a license to run the coming racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Capital Play employed a lobbyist named Charlie King, who also was the acting executive director of NAN.
Sharpton has said that most of the Plainfield contribution went to pay King’s salary. King’s company, the Movement Group, was paid $243,586 by NAN in 2008, tax records show.
Harold Levy, a former New York City schools chancellor who was a managing director at Plainfield at the time, has denied the contribution was made to curry favor with Sharpton or anyone else. But a year later, as the battle for the racino license heated up, NAN raked in another $100,000 from representatives of the AEG consortium, which was the successor company to Capital Play.
One AEG member emailed another in 2009 saying, “Sharpton lobbied [then-Gov. David Paterson] hard over the weekend on our behalf,” according to the state inspector general’s 2010 report on the corrupt racino licensing process.
In order to discredit SL Green, one of the rival bidders whose plan included a Hard Rock Hotel, an AEG executive sent another email outlining tactics to conscript local leaders to its cause.
“We are going to need it, and we are going to need . . . Sharpton to piss on hard rock,” according to the undated email cited in the IG’s report. Sharpton denied he lobbied on behalf of AEG.
The donations, meanwhile, came at an opportune time for Sharpton, as NAN was deep in debt to the IRS in 2008. It owed $1.3 million in unpaid federal, state and city payroll taxes including interest and penalties.
AEG viewed its payments to Sharpton as more of an insurance policy so he wouldn’t scuttle its chances by criticizing the group, said a source familiar with the racino controversy.
Sharpton raised $1 million for NAN at his 60th birthday bash in October, with donations rolling in from unions and a corporate roster of contributors including AT&T, McDonald’s, Verizon and Walmart.
Companies have long gotten in line to pay Sharpton. Macy’s and Pfizer have forked over thousands to NAN, as have General Motors, American Honda and Chrysler.
NAN had repeatedly and without success asked GM for donations for six years beginning in August 2000, a GM spokesman told The Post. Then, in 2006, Sharpton threatened a boycott of GM over the planned closing of an African-American-owned dealership in The Bronx. He picketed outside GM’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. GM wrote checks to NAN for $5,000 in 2007 and another $5,000 in 2008.
Sharpton targeted American Honda in 2003 for not hiring enough African-Americans in management positions. “We support those that support us,” Sharpton wrote to the company. “We cannot be silent while African-Americans spend hard-earned dollars with a company that does not hire, promote or do business with us in a statistically significant manner.”
Two months later, car company leaders met with Sharpton, and Honda began to sponsor NAN’s events. The protests stopped.
Sharpton landed a gig as a $25,000-a-year adviser to Pepsi after he threatened a consumer boycott of the soda company in 1998, saying its ads did not portray African-Americans. He held the position until 2007.
As for Sony, Sharpton denied that his meeting with Pascal resulted in a donation to NAN. “I have had no discussion with her about money,” Sharpton told The Post. “There was never even a remote discussion about money.”
Civic Virtue in Decline
As we enter 2015, it's worth looking back on some key cultural indicators from 2014. Here is one bad omen: According to a 2014 Associated Press-GfK poll, Americans' sense of civic virtue is in serious decline. "I don't see any recovery," said Rutgers University Professor Cliff Zukin. "The people who were 40 two decades ago aren't as engaged as the people who were 60 two decades ago. This generational slippage tends to continue."
The poll was a reprise of questions asked in 1984, and it focused on six civic-oriented activities: voting, volunteering, jury service, reporting crimes, knowing English and keeping on top of news and public issues. Only voting and volunteering were embraced as enthusiastically as they were 30 years ago, yet even those numbers are not particularly encouraging. Only 28% of Americans consider volunteering a "very important obligation." And while 75% characterize voting a central obligation of citizenship, talk is cheap: Voter turnout in the last presidential election dipped to 57.5% of eligible citizens compared to 62.3% in 2008.
Voter turnout in 2014? The 36.4% of eligible citizens who bothered to vote represented the lowest turnout in any election cycle since World War II.
Most Americans do feel some sense of duty to the nation, with 90% characterizing the reporting of a crime one has witnessed, voting in elections, knowing English and serving on a jury when called as "somewhat important" obligations of citizenship. And a majority of Americans consider them "very important" obligations. Yet with an exception for voting, those majorities have declined by an average of approximately 13 percentage points over the last three decades.
Leading the pack are adults under 30 years of age. In every category except volunteering, they were less likely than elder generations to see any obligation, and also felt less obligated than young people of the past. Even more ominously, nearly one in four feel no obligation to keep informed, volunteer or speak English.
Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, suggests one possibility for the decline. "There are a lot of arguments about how our society has shifted toward a rights focus instead of an obligation focus," he explains -- even as he remains relatively unconcerned, adding, "It's a little early to pull the alarm bells about the demise of our civic culture."
No, it's not. And while a rights focus versus an obligation focus may account for some of the decline, the 800-pound gorilla is far more obvious: The American Left has virtually removed the concept of American exceptionalism from the classroom, and cheapened the concept of citizenship itself.
With regard to exceptionalism, the New York Post explains that the teaching of civics has been "largely abandoned" in today's public schools, and according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which bills itself as "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas," those students are less proficient in American history than in any other subject.
Furthermore, what little history they do learn has been twisted to conform to the leftist agenda. As we reported in July, the College Board, the company responsible for the SAT exams and a number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has radically redesigned American history curricula to dispense with such things as learning about our nation's Founders. Mark Alexander noted, "The College Board, which sets the curriculum-testing bar, makes only two references to George Washington, one to Thomas Jefferson, and nowhere to be found are Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, among others." In their place, students will learn about class, race and gender wrongs.
One such example is that set by the cities of Seattle and Minneapolis, where Columbus Day has been kicked to the curb in favor of "Indigenous People's Day" -- in all its grievance-mongering glory.
Thus the obvious question arises: Why would one be expected to feel a sense of civic virtue toward a nation one either knows little about, or has been taught to view with contempt?
As for cheapening citizenship, what could be more obvious than the Left's obsession with granting many of its privileges to illegal aliens? Once again California leads the way, as illegal aliens can now get driver's licenses in that state beginning this year. Not to be outdone, the New York City Council is considering a bill to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. That follows Mayor Bill de Blasio's signing of a bill last July providing municipal ID cards to city "residents," regardless of immigration status, beginning this year. De Blasio also signed a bill in November barring the city from alerting federal authorities to illegals in city custody and subject to deportation proceedings, except in rare cases.
And last, but certainly not least, Barack Obama unilaterally decided he will not enforce immigration law against five million illegal aliens -- illegals who have and will compete with American citizens for jobs, and many of whom already receive government services, including welfare and Medicaid.
And legal immigrants who were once expected to assimilate into America's "melting pot" society have been told to "celebrate their differences," which goes a long way toward explaining the reluctance to learn English.
The concerted effort to tarnish the civic pride that American exceptionalism engenders, coupled with the effort to denigrate citizenship itself -- which is exactly what creating politically motivated exemptions for lawbreakers represents -- are all the explanation necessary as to why civic virtue is in decline.
In the same 1961 speech in which Democrat President (and leftist icon) John Kennedy uttered the words "ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country," he also told the nation that "[w]e dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first [American] revolution." Six years later, Ronald Reagan made it clearer in his inaugural address as California governor: "Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction." Civic virtue and the obligations of citizenship cannot be separated from the preservation of freedom. We allow their continued deterioration at our own peril.
Is 2015 The Year History Rebels Against Progressivism?
Is the “arc of history” straining against its preordained leftward course? Or, to use a pop culture reference, has progressivism finally jumped the shark?
Recent events all seem to be either going against basic Progressive assumptions or exposing their imperial ideologies as having no clothes. For a conservative, progressivism has become the gift that keeps on giving.
Does progressivism put too much stock in the abilities of scientific elite to manage the collective? Think Jonathan Gruber and all the climate change science shenanigans. Is Keynesianism a failure and the free market the way to go? Think the economic stimulus vis a vis the oil boom as the true driver of job creation. What about President Obama’s “reset” button with Russia and the assumption that the world would get along if only America would give up its dominance? Think, well, every international event since then.
Is it progress to get “the people” to link arms as they march into the glorious future and share their collective burdens, like, in health care? The realities of Obamacare and the recent election have another thing to say about where “the people” really are at. Or how about the various “narratives” driving Progressive cultural thought—on black-white relations, on campus rape—all falling apart one by one, exposed as the deceptions they are. They can’t even get the world to warm up a bit!
Progressivism’s problems go even deeper, to the very foundations of its ideological assumptions.
Progressivism was birthed from the marriage of Darwinism and social gospel millenarianism. The belief was that God had pre-programmed human DNA to bring about His kingdom as humanity evolved to higher consciousness. This kingdom would emerge through collective political action guided by scientific experts and engineers, an organic whole moving as one, no different than the bats or bees.
It might seem as if the pendulum is swinging back to the Right. Yet, that doesn’t factor in an arguably far more important factor, and that is culture.
That vision simply doesn’t hold anymore. Progressives falsely premised their movement on the unassailable assumption that the only way to attain a collective vision is through centralized government action. Meanwhile the Internet is changing our thinking about education, health care, and investment in ways that make the original vision of progressivism seem, well, ridiculously outdated. It can collectivize action in far less dictating, far more personal, and freer ways. It’s allowing parents like me to say, “Hey! Twofer! My kids can learn online and not get killed.”
If enough people start thinking this way, soon an entire education industry goes the way of the horse and buggy. The same potential exists for health care, retirement investment, and charity, all things the Government Party believes are best managed by, well, government. The trending reality is that the younger the person, the less likely are they to expect Washington to manage their lives. They’d rather look to their smart phones and manage their own lives. Think Uber drivers versus street cars.
So it might seem as if the pendulum is swinging back to the Right. Yet, the above analysis doesn’t factor in an arguably far more important factor, and that is culture, specifically pop culture or media culture. This takes us beyond the politics of the day into spiritual and psychological mechanisms, the determinant forces in our daily world shaping us as people. On this score, we have a ways to go to be considered Rightward. And this isn’t just a reference to gay marriage and transgenderism, even if those are indicators. It has to do with the generally Gnostic nature of American spirituality as reflected in its pop culture.
American Pop Culture’s Gnostic Meta-Narrative
When social commentators employ the word “Gnostic” to describe the leftward tilt of our culture, they don’t mean Americans are joining the Ecclesia Gnostica (in California, of course) or personally giving their heart to some divinity in the Gnostic myth, some Cosmic Christ or Sophia figure. They mean that it’s the ultimate meta-narrative, an overarching context, a cosmic framework in which we place events and persons to make meaning of our world. Insofar as American culture is driven by pop culture, that meta-narrative is Gnostic.
The Gnostic meta-narrative is essentially the heroic journey of Self against the stifling oppression of this world’s ‘systems’ and ‘powers-that-be.’
The Gnostic meta-narrative is essentially the heroic journey of Self against the stifling oppression of this world’s “systems” and “powers-that-be.” According to ancient Gnosticism, the known world is the creation of a lesser demiurge—what most call “God”—as the result of a grand cosmic mistake. This demiurge, along with his “archons” (literally the “powers-that-be”) set up all the systems of the world and its various laws and ruling principles.
Importantly, language is a critical part of the grand crime because it denominates reality, the fabric of which Gnostics deny. Through language the evil demiurge traps our minds into delineated patterns of thought, all rooted in what we falsely think is reality, like little micro-narratives we each have due to our cultural context and from which only a few enlightened ones can escape. (I paraphrase from one Gnostic text proposing liberation from language itself: “aaaeeeieiiiaaaaoooooooooaaaiieeee!!!” Not so different than some of the speaking-in-tongues voodoo otherwise known as leftist thought out there today. Goodness, spend a few awe-inspiring moments at this parade of logical fallacies doubling as an anthem to absolute nonsense.)
Beyond this delusive cosmic arrangement exists the good “God,” the true source of our Selves—ultimately an echo of our Selves—a pre-cosmic, unable-to-be-named (we’re beyond language here), universal “Self field” (Carl Jung’s term) that we’re all collectively part of prior to our births. I am now a Self, a spark of God, trapped in a physical body, but if I wake up to my origins in this other plane, I can begin my journey “home.” This happens when I attain “gnosis,” an esoteric knowledge transcending the current cosmic arrangement. I pretend a beyond-narrative perspective, because I believe I see everything sub specie aeternitatis.
Gnostic Progressivism’s Non-God God
This latter trait has always marked the Progressive mind, this claim to possess a knowledge transcending culture-bound dogma and philosophy. But more than that, the Progressive takes the next step and establishes this knowledge as prescriptive for society. It’s why progressivism has become a species of godless fundamentalism: Sure, we know there’s no God but we also know these absolute truths about what we should do with the environment, economics, and culture. Somehow meaningful assumptions sneak into their necessarily meaningless cosmic architecture, all with a patina of scientific reasoning: Studies show bats all work together; it’s where evolutionary psychology would have led you, too, if you weren’t so dumb and conservative. As if dumb conservatives are an evolutionary anomaly the Left needs to fix, because, um…who appointed them?
We know there’s no God, but we also know these absolute truths about what we should do with the environment, economics, and culture.
This is where their “God” comes in. They grant themselves, somehow, an absolutist cosmic framework by which they determine we’re something other than randomly evolving sludge. If they were consistent with their scientific, materialistic assumptions, they would conclude our species has a destiny no different than previous species destroyed by a meteor. A meteor? Global warming due to man’s individualism? What’s really the difference? Nature—both astronomical and human—is a capricious bitch. Yet somehow Progressives imagine a cosmic truth transcending cold reality—No, really, we are destined to work together and make a difference!—and can’t understand why the rest of their less enlightened species goes on with life as if it’s all what Darwin said, survival of the fittest, adaptation, and—what do all the teens say? Random.
Does this not summarize the lessons we’ve learned over the course of Barack Obama’s presidency? In a sense, Progressives are playing chicken with human nature, believing that if they unmoor humanity from the notion of a God their evolved DNA will lead them to paradisiacal islands where love rules. Of course, only faith can affirm such thinking, and here Progressives would be loath to recognize they are a species of nineteenth-century Evangelicalism. In truth, random evolution could just as well take the ship of humanity careening toward the Bermuda Triangle, where, well, Vladimir Putin, the Islamic State, and other realities prove far more enduring.
Rebelling Against the Elites—Or Co-opting Them
Let’s move along to another theme in the Gnostic meta-narrative, the archetypical role of the archons (the powers-that-be) and their “systems.” A Gnostic’s Weltanschauung is filled with the dark reality of these various systems of suppression: The evil Koch brothers and Halliburton are the archons running the world and setting up systems of control! And on and on. Patriarchy, the law of economic scarcity, the biological reality that male and female are reproductive designations, the twin-cylinder engine of meritocracy and self-interest that drives socialization, the stubborn persistence of ethnic and national boundaries, the language oppressively dictating our reliance on labels and designations for true communication: all these systems, the Gnostic says, are essentially evil.
Take church and ‘change its paradigms’ from doctrines, rituals, and sacraments to images, music, and emotion.
Rebellion, or antinomianism, or deconstructionism against these systems becomes the obvious next step. Burning bras; upending marriage law; screaming at economic realities like scarcity, meritocracy, and self-interest; rioting; treating national borders like arbitrary designations; reducing thought to image-based engagement; such iconoclasm constitutes the necessary breakdown of the old order and its systems.
But let’s back up a bit. There have historically been two kinds of Gnostic. One believes this world can’t be fixed, so why change it? For him life is a desperate quest to escape this earthly veil of tears. We’ll leave this kind of Gnostic alone in the mountains, monastery, or his mom’s basement; he’s harmless. The other kind concerns us, because he believes that, once we awaken to the demiurge’s overlordship of this world, he can take the reins and run the world for the good of humanity—a good, of course, understood only by the Gnostic.
These latter Gnostics are those who embarked on the “long march through the institutions.” Are marriage, church, state, language, and the free market evilly-conceived archons guarding the gates of their various systems, preventing the liberation of Self? Don’t destroy these institutions; deconstruct them, and then construct the new order under their old names. Take church and “change its paradigms” from doctrines, rituals, and sacraments to images, music, and emotion. Take marriage and make it so unidentifiable that positive law becomes its only support. Take the forms of constitutional rule and make them roving lodestars for constantly changing penumbra. Take over the magical powers of marketing but use these powers to take back Kansas for the good guys.
Forging New, ‘Benevolent’ Powers: the Narratives
For the Gnostic-progressive, everything boils down to competing meta-narratives; everything is about “optics.” There is no essential reality, only interpretations according to various narratives. The game is just one big power quest of who will control the narrative? Likewise, there are no flesh-and-blood people filled with good and bad, but only two-dimensional characterizations according to the Gnostic archetypes.
Gnostics believe life is the story of the Self’s liberation from (or reconstituting of) family, church, economic, national, linguistic, and bodily realities in order to pursue the heroic journey of Self-divinization.
Darren Wilson and Michael Brown were not flesh-and-blood people possessed of the capacity for good or evil seen in the light of what actually happened, but symbolic characters in the narrative which preordains the interpretation of their actions: evil cop (archon guarding the gates of the “system”) suppresses innocent black man (an oppressed Self seeking liberation) engaged in lawlessness (Self iconoclastically breaking bonds of the oppressive system of property ownership, racial hierarchy, or whatever).
The same is true for the college rape narrative, the facts be damned. Or the narrative pinned to murder done by an American Muslim screaming allahu akbar! No terrorism to see here; Islam is a peaceful religion; go back to your regularly scheduled programming. Shut up and accept what the pretty people on the news tell you to believe.
Or consider gay marriage and transgenderism according to the Gnostic meta-narrative. The idea that sex can be abstracted from the physical body, based on something science calls the reproductive system, and reconstituted in its current weird ways is nothing short of madness. (Try doing this to the digestive system, say, by institutionalizing public post-meal vomiting at Bob Evans as a form of “alternative eating.” Hey, who are you to say bulimia is a “disorder”? Didn’t psychology call homosexuality a disorder until 1973?) The only way we can arrive at this point is through the Gnostic reading of humanity, which says the Self has nothing to do with the physical body, but rather the body is nothing more than vesture to be tailored any way one wants.
It’s all rooted in the narrative of one’s “Self” being liberated from the stifling oppression of the body and its various determinations (like genital), rooted in the Gnostic notion that life is the story of the Self’s liberation from (or reconstituting of) family, church, economic, national, linguistic, and bodily realities in order to pursue the heroic journey of Self-divinization.
Pop Culture and the Gnostic Meta-Narrative
Pop culture elites almost always assume this meta-narrative. It criss-crosses American culture at all points. It explains neo-evangelicalism’s “New Reformation” focused on self-esteem and “changing paradigms” of worship, trading 2,000 years of tradition for the Swedish self-massage otherwise known as “contemporary worship.” It explains the dominance of pop existentialism in Hollywood’s scripts, existentialism being a species of Gnosticism (see Hans Jonas). It explains deconstructionism and the decline of language, to be replaced by the magical use of language, or cynically using it for social manipulation. It explains the decline of logic and linear or propositional thinking, to be replaced by memes, symbols, logos, and other such sigils. It explains the liberating role given over to the erotic, music, and drugs. It explains our addictive society, ever seeking that buzz, that ecstasy, that utopian life which, of course, can’t happen—nature and reality being what they are. That leaves only melancholy and depression, another sign of America’s pathological Gnosticism. Recall the general melancholy, even suicidal ideation, following the movie “Avatar” a few years back. Returning to real life was downright depressing.
So long as our minds marinate in electronic wonderlands and see the regular burdens of reality as a prison cell to escape, the American soul will always be slouching toward political and cultural collectivism, because we will ever be susceptible to promises that things can “change for the better” or that the world can become “a better place” provided we support some person or movement promising the fulfillment of that hope. We’ll also be ever seeking that charismatic leader sold as the voice and promise of the collective vision.
The Gnostic meta-narrative pretends non-conformist individuality, its focus on the Self and all. It seems so rebellious and antinomian, but only in the way a television ad convinces you and 20 million other people you’re being unique by rebelling against convention and buying these jeans. The dynamic defines so much of Leftism: Rebel against convention, be yourself, and now join that throng of zombies linked arm-in-arm to save the world while the emotive chords of “Imagine” tinkle in the background. Because together we can make a difference! It goes back to Martin Heidegger himself, who after midwifing existentialism became a fascist. Go figure.
Can the Right Take Control of the Narrative?
Can the Right take hold of the meta-narrative and craft its own conservative archetypes and storylines? Can the Right own popular culture? Based on decades of evidence, no, because the facts of life are not a narrative, or the product of optic-crafting or image-manipulation. They just are, and that doesn’t captivate or sell advertising. Pop media is escapist, and who wants to escape back into reality?
To redeem nature or rebel against it. Is that not really the question marking the difference between conservativism and progressivism?
In Gnostic terms, the facts of life are the enemy. So long as our minds are saturated in the meta-narrative that reality and the facts of life are cosmic antagonists in our personal heroic journeys, we’ll never truly embrace—I mean in a long-term, fundamental way—the conservative orientation. True, every day people come to realize the facts of life are something to redeem and not rebel against, but until we see a mass movement of Americans rebelling against mass media itself, or popular culture, these will be exceptions to the rule.
To redeem nature or rebel against it. Is that not really the question marking the difference between conservativism and progressivism? If it is, the fault lines of how this question is answered go back a long, long way, to the question whether the Divine Logos took on human nature to redeem it, or whether, as the Gnostics said, God is so outside this cosmic framework that he couldn’t and wouldn’t do such a ghastly act.
No contraception, no dole
By former Australian Labor Party politician GARY JOHNS. As so often happens, Gary has drifted Rightward over the years
IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.
This is not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents. Such a measure will undoubtedly affect strugglers, it undoubtedly will affect Aboriginal and Islander people in great proportions, but the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant.
Large families of earlier generations were the result of the combination of absent contraception and the need to have many children, in order that some survive to care for parents in old age.
These conditions do not now apply. Infant mortality is minuscule in all sectors of society, and the taxpayer picks up the tab for aged care.
Therefore, there should be no taxpayer inducement to have children. Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it. But no one should enter parenthood while on a benefit.
It is better to avoid having children until such time as parents can afford them. No amount of ‘‘intervention’’ after the fact can make up for the strife that many parents bring down on their children.
As commissioner Tim Carmody wrote in the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry report in 2013, ‘‘some families will never rise to the challenge or have the capacity or commitment needed to take responsibility for the children they bring into the world’’.
And so it was that taxpayers were confronted with two cases over Christmas. Both happened to be indigenous, but of course, many non-indigenous cases abound. The first, in Cairns, involved a single mother with nine children from five fathers.
The usual allegations of failure to support were levelled at authorities. Gracelyn Smallwood, the enduring indigenous north Queensland activist, wanted ‘‘a 24-hour culturally appropriate service’’ for such mothers.
Indeed, all manner of culturally appropriate support has been forthcoming, but as Carmody found, ‘‘the growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has severely outpaced the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers’’.
Better this woman had fewer children. Better men on benefits also could be prevented from having children.
Which recalls the second case, in Redfern, of contested parenting between the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and a grandmother for her daughter’s, and an absent father’s, six children.
Until June, the grandmother was caring for her six grandchildren and two of her daughters at different times, in a small two bedroom house in Redfern.
The department had taken the children and placed them in foster care.
The facts suggest the outcome was fraught, whatever the court’s decision about who ultimately cared for the children.
The grandmother, the mother and the absent father have been long-term alcoholics and drug abusers. But again, the large number of children made the burden intolerable.
The department outlined a long list of issues that faced the grandmother, for which it suggested multiple interventions.
These included help with her parenting; child protection counselling; drug and alcohol relapse prevention; literacy and numeracy assistance; respite care service; medical, dental and school appointments for the children; issues with the children’s behaviour; issues with people (including family members) staying overnight in the home; children spending time with the parents; children spending time outside the home; housing problems; financial problems; and other concerns about the safety or welfare of the children.
Other than that, everything was just fine.
The department had a long history of involvement with the grandmother from when she was 16, with her first child.
The grandmother had started drinking alcohol at age 12 and went on to use a range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The grandmother was not focused on her children when they were young. Indeed, her mother was the main carer of her first three children.
The mother acknowledged drinking alcohol to excess, being subjected to assaults by the father and leaving the children unsupervised. There had been a number of ‘‘risk of harm’’ reports related to both parents’ abuse of alcohol and poor supervision, for example, leaving the children unattended while they were at the local pub.
There was serious domestic violence between the parents.
Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife. As for inadequate non-beneficiaries, we just have to grin and bear it.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.