A nasty cartoon-poster appeared in a local shop window attacking Metiria Turei: ‘When the left needed a hero they got a thief’ read the slogan and I suddenly realized this whole episode has revealed the sub- fascist side of things that can appear as an underbelly of NZ political culture, with beneficiaries a hated marginal minority supposedly ripping off the system and needing to be punished – not too distant from Aryans jeering at Jews forced to scrub footpaths.
photo: radio nz
The persecutor-victim-rescuer dynamic has been at the heart of this story: Metiria set herself up as spokesperson and example of the beneficiary victim, thus inviting persecution. She got that alright and then needed rescuing by the left. But meanwhile, family members felt they’d been, in turn, made victim and therefore needed to persecute in order to rescue themselves. The newly energized Labour Party also felt persecuted by the whole episode and needed to rescue themselves. On it goes. The Greens should of course be familiar with the dynamic: after all, the planet is victim and needs rescuing – that’s core business.
It’s actually a terrible pattern, for it keeps on spiraling down – ending up in ethnic cleansing and death camps.
In human interactions the solution is simple: adult negotiates with adult and in this instance the adult position is clear: Every civilized society has a benefit system to ensure subsistence to those who cannot gain satisfactory paid work: the unemployed, the disabled, the solo parent, and the aged. If there is no system or if the amount is insufficient, these people are stressed, leading to dysfunctional family situations, hunger, violence, crime, kids unable to learn, prostitution etc. The facts are there. The only question is, having known for thirty years or more that the present regime provides insufficient benefit levels, why, as a society, we haven’t taken steps to alleviate the stress? When research shows clearly that we should do something, we don’t do it. Why do we persecute these people?
Metiria tried to dramatise this situation and failed, perhaps not failed, but it wasn’t a good outcome, as a sort pf martyrdom followed. Is there an adult on the other end of this negotiation? Unfortunately, no. And that’s the real problem. The persecutor remains adamant. It will probably take the Universal Basic Income to disappear this persecutor, to put in place an equable regime of subsistence, rather than rags to riches stories, crime stories, celebrity stories, the usual lies that people are fed.
When it comes to the planet as victim, the dynamic is complex, for the planet doesn’t care, even if it became a barren rock flying through space. Caring requires consciousness, so this is actually a people to people issue. Are we prepared to make the sacrifices, the adjustments required to stop further warming or are we going to create millions of victims, who will then persecute us by becoming refugees, boat people, terrorists, beggars? And who we then, in turn, persecute.
We know this, yet we do nothing much, for behind these dilemmas is an economic and political system based on the persecutor-victim-rescuer dynamic and the ‘there is no alternative’ mantra. When we need heroes we get thieves.
Back to the drawing board.