Will women lose in culture clash?

January 20, 2014

Speaker David Carter wants to modernise parliamentary protocols.

The move was prompted by a cultural clash over women’s place and Maori custom and initial reaction suggests women are going to lose.

It follows an incident during a powhiri last year where two senior female MPs were made to move from the front row of seats, reserved for speakers.

Chairman of the oldest local Maori authority, the Wellington Tenths Trust, Morrie Love, says there is no shift in society that warrants change at this stage.

He says by accepting the form of the powhiri, the area for that time is deemed a marae, and protocol needs to be genuine and authentic to marae tikanga.

One could ask where Mr Love has been if he doesn’t think there’s a shift in society at warrants change.

However, goNZo Freakpower has an explanation for the continuation of women being seated at the back:

. . . I’m not convinced by the justifications of protecting women from taniwhas and bad atua for hui seating arrangements. My theory is that it’s a face-saving gesture to the old male kaumatua. Men go deaf more readily than women, and the old geezers sit in the front seats to better grasp what’s going on. The sharper eared wahine can hear just fine from further back. . .

That might not help women be treated as equals but it is a better explanation for the practice than any others I’ve come across.


No Missionaries

January 31, 2012

GoNZo Freakpower wonders if a sign saying No Missionaries will keep unwanted people from his place the way a No Junk Mail sign keeps unwanted rubbish from his mailbox.

If it doesn’t he could follow the example of a friend who keeps a Bible reading by the door and quotes it at anyone who calls on a mission to convert her to their brand of religion.

Or he could try tears – it worked for me.

Our baby son and I had been home for only a couple of days after his eventful first couple of weeks of life during which he’d stopped breathing several times and had multiple seizures when we had to return to hospital.

My farmer and I decided it would be better if I drove down to Dunedin myself so I could keep the car down there. It seemed like a good idea until he went to the stock sale with our daughter leaving me at home alone.

A few minutes later some religious peddlers knocked on the door.

When I opened it they asked how I was. I said, “My baby’s dying,” and burst into tears.

They took one horrified look at me and fled.

I admire missionaries who do practical good but have never understood those who only preach. This experience reinforced my prejudice – if they’d taken their faith seriously they would have offered to help.


Did you see the one about

September 23, 2010

Same planet, different world Oswald Bastable on bookless homes.

Mapping internet sensation stereotpypes – Lucia Maria has found some new world wit.

Muppets in blue goNZo Freakpower casts the blue end of the blogosphere as Muppets.

How did the poor come to be poor – Anti Dismal on why understanding wealth matters more than understanding poverty.

Building inpsectors – Credo Quia Absurdum Est on why practical experience beats the a bloke with a folder.

Reaching Atip – Cactus Kate explains fashion week.

Be careful Gareth – Patrick Smellie on the fine line between integrity and hubris.


Zero tolerance of hypocrisy

September 18, 2010

It’s difficult to understand how senior members of a party could be told by a prospective candidate that he had been through court for identity fraud without ascertaining all the facts.

But when Rodney Hide was interviewed by Mary Wilson on Checkpoint last night he said he hadn’t known the details of David Garrett’s case.

This reflects very poorly on the party and its selection processes.

It’s even more difficult to understand how a man who had been on the wrong side of the law himself couldn’t understand the need to be open about it before entering parliament when he wanted to take such a hard line on crime.

Garrett may have been discharged without conviction in a court of law. But his failure to disclose the full details of his past before he was elected make him guilty of hypocrisy in the court of public opinion which has zero tolerance for the h word .

P.S. goNZo Freakpower has dug up a photo of an Act campaign billboard.


Right to die gives right to kill

July 23, 2010

When proponents of euthanasia talk about the right to die they omit to explain that it involves other people and would also give the right to kill.

Would health professionals who are bound by the Hippocratic oath to do no harm want to do that?  Is it fair to ask them to? Even if the answers to those questions were affirmative, how could we be sure decisions would always be based on medical and humanitarian grounds?

Macdoctor points out the dangers of a financial incentive to hasten the end of dying patients.

This brings me to the central problem I have with human euthanasia.

It is a cheap cop-out.

Least I be called insensitive in the face of Dr Pollock’s eloquent and  emotional letter, let me say that I say this entirely in the context of medical practice. I do not consider Dr. Pollock’s desire to die rather than suffer a “cop-out”, I consider the legalisation of euthanasia to be a cheap (and nasty) alternative to adequate palliative care. And therein lies the chief dilemma.

Governments being what they are, as soon as euthanasia is legalised, there will immediately be a subtle drive to euthanase dying people.

 Would it be possible to have safe guards that ensure that those who wanted to opt for voluntary euthanasia  could without the danger that others would feel pressured into it?  They may feel they have to opt for an early death, not for their own sakes but that of their family and friends or even because they felt they were using scarce resources and wasting the time of the people caring for them.

Most of us think if we were severely disabled we would opt to forgo treatment, but would we?

Theodore Dalrymple writes of a man whose life support was about to be turned off until he blinked:

Mr Rudd, 43, was injured in a motor accident. He was paralysed and thought to be severely brain damaged. . .

However, taken to the neuro-intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, he was kept alive by the miracle of modern technology, without which he would undoubtedly have died.

His close relatives and doctors thought that the life he now had was not worth living. They prepared to turn off the machines keeping him alive. They thought this is what he would have wanted. It is also what most of us probably would have thought too.

At the last hour it was noticed he was able to move his eyes and that by doing so he could communicate a little. And what he communicated to everyone’s surprise was that he wanted to continue to live, even the life that he was now living. In other words his relatives and the doctors, with the best intentions in the world, had been mistaken. . .

That would have been a fatal mistake.

Dalrymple goes on to explain about Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) and how that measure could influence treatment.

Health policies are often decided on the basis of QALYs. Interestingly and alarmingly the QALY assumes that the life of a quadriplegic (someone paralysed from the neck down) not only has no value for the person who lives it but has a negative value for him: that is to say such a person would rather be dead and in fact would be better off if he were dead.

Whatever they thought before they were paralysed, however, most quadriplegics think their lives are worth living.

With a few exceptions, such as the young rugby player who was accompanied by his parents to Switzerland to be able to be given assistance in suicide, they don’t want to die. The fact that before they were paralysed most quadriplegics thought (as most people, including health economists think) that life as a quadriplegic would not be worth living but change their minds once they are quadriplegic, has very important implications for the idea of living wills.

In fact it invalidates the very idea. It is impossible to decide in advance what would be intolerable for you until you experience it.

When discussing this situation most of us think we would choose death rather than a life with severe impairments, but how can we know how great the desire for life, or death, would be until we are faced with making a choice?

When euthanasia is spoken of, it’s usually described as providing a merciful end, but would we feel the need to hasten our deaths if we could have a painless and natural one instead?

Dalrymple raises another problem. If we did legalise the right to kill, where would we draw the line and how would we stop it moving?

One of the problems with assisted suicide and euthanasia is what the Americans call mission creep. We live in non-discriminatory times: why should only certain categories of patients have the benefit of what Keats called “easeful death”? Indeed, when euthanasia was legalised in Holland it was not long before a psychiatrist killed a patient with supposedly intractable depression.

Why should only the terminally ill and the quadriplegic have the right to assisted suicide or euthanasia? Do other people not suffer equally, at least in their own estimation?  An old saying goes that hard cases make bad law and it is also true that there are pitiful cases in which a quick death would seem a merciful release.

Unfortunately it is well within the capacity of carers to make suffering unbearable and therefore death seem the preferable, quick and merciful option. And if people have a right to death on demand then someone has a duty to provide it, otherwise the right is worthless, a dead letter.

Who is this person who has such a duty? Will we strike off doctors for refusing to kill their patients? This is something that the indomitable Mr Rudd would not approve of and I think he deserves to be heard.

Euthanasia is not the same as choosing to forgo treatment. It is not passively letting someone die or even giving pain relief which might have the side effect of hastening death. It is actively killing and if we give the right to do that how can we be sure it wouldn’t be misused?

Rather than agitating for the right to die we should be agitating for the right to live with dignity and without pain.

The right to die sounds like control is in the hands of the patient and I struggle to see any difference between that and suicide.  But euthanasia is much more than that. In legalising the right to die we’d also be legalising the right to kill.

UPDATE:

Lucia Maria aat NZ Conservative has similar concerns in  euthanasia raises it’s ugly head again.

Dim Post is cautiously in favour of legalising euthanasie but also sees the dangers in death panels.

goNZo Freakpower supports legalisation in any last requests,

So do Brian Edwards in the doctor and the right to die and Richard McGrath at Not PC in Cancers – personal and parliamentary.

Lindsay Mitchell asks what happend to the death with dignity bill?


Did you see the one about . . .

July 21, 2010

I’m not finished with Duncan Garner yet – Brian Edwards gives credit where it’s due.

Dinner with the Stars – Not PC asks  where and in which period in history you’d pick as being the best in history in which you might get a large number of your heroes around a dinner party table.  He also has a post on the malapropisms of refudiation.

Vagrant spotted in Parnell – Inquiring Mind gets satirical.

Under Aotearoan skies – goNZo Freakpower takes us star watching.

Star the nineteenth – In A Strange Land continues her stellar effort for Dry July.

Question (and answer) of the day – Keeping Stock found a gem from question time.


Quote of the day

June 26, 2010

Australian political scientists are petitioning for the introduction of new unit of time; the Rudd. It has an uncertain half life, but almost never lasts as long as you think it will. . .

. . . Congratulations, Australia. Your main female role model politician is no longer Pauline Hanson. You might become civilised yet.

You can read the rest at  GoNZo Freakpower.


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