Liam Hehir on conservatism, religion and Jacinda’s baby

An interesting perspective, that somewhat matches mine, from Liam Hehir over the news that Jacinda Ardern is having a baby:

When the news broke about the prime minister’s pregnancy, Internet people asked me if I was upset about it. Why would I be upset?

Is it because, as a Christian, I should be angry that the prime minister conceived a baby out of wedlock? If that kind of thing really offended me, I would have to say goodbye to a lot of really close friendships.

My religion teaches that marriage is the optimal arrangement for family formation. It also teaches a lot of other stuff that Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford presumably don’t subscribe to (like the importance of going to mass on Sundays, for starters). But we live in a pluralist society. I want my personal ideals to be tolerated so I tolerate the ideals of other people.  

I think Liam Hehir is a Catholic. But I too am a Christian. Personally I don’t think the wedlock argument says much at all except about the person making it. I rarely set foot in a church, but that is between me and God and no one else. Toleration of ideals does not mean agreement with them.

Is it because, as a conservative, I’m supposed to chafe at working mothers for some reason? It’s true that, in my own life, I am the breadwinner and my wife has sacrificed her career to raise out children. But that’s just how the economics of our family situation has worked out.

I think I would like to be a stay-at-home dad. I’m under no illusions what hard work raising children is. My wife recently had to spend two weeks in the hospital with our youngest son meaning I had to look after our older two. It was mentally exhausting. But they grow up so fast and it was satisfying to be able to spend so much time with them.

I’m a fiscal conservative not a social conservative. Each person makes their own calls about parenting. I personally believe that children need at least one full time parent. It matters not whether it is a dad or a mum, but one of them fulltime. I do struggle with people wanting children and then spending every waking moment at work, while someone else brings up their children. But each to their own. Again I don’t agree with it and I do wonder why they wanted children in the first place. Most of the people I know in that position are women, but that is happenstance I think, rather than design.

Is it because, as a critic of her ministry, I should take a reflexive position against anything Jacinda Ardern does? Since critics of John Key wrote songs about murdering him and bedding his daughter, and publicly bullied his son, is the expectation now that I have to do the same?

Sorry, but I choose not to be so deranged. I won’t be pleased to see Labour get a bump in the polls, of course, but that’s no reason to withhold the decency of being pleased for them on the announcement they are expecting. I have a lot of political disagreements with a lot of people but I’ve never been extended anything other than congratulations and offers of help whenever we’ve had children.

I gave up being tribal more than a few years ago. I found blind allegiance to a team silly, in sport as in politics. Blind allegiance leads to ill-informed decisions, and sycophancy which leads to parties or teams destroying themselves. Sycophancy was part of the reason National lost the election under Bill English because no one in the party was allowed, in fact they were shouted down, if they dared to hold a contrarian view. I want no part of any team or party that adheres to that sort of behaviour.

When conservatives can only say that they are happy for Ardern, there is this great sense of disappointment. In their eagerness to have monsters to fight, some people going out of their way to find anonymous blog comments to tout some kind of massive right wing meltdown. Do they really believe that the handful of people with enough time and not enough interests to to spend hours each day posting dozens of mean comments on blogs are somehow representative in any way of “the right”

On the face of it, this is kind of weird.

But do you remember Stuff White People Like, that blog from around 2008? The “white people” in question were the type of woke, amateur urban design enthusiasts that we might today call the Twittering classes. It was pretty funny.

Anyway. here are a few excerpts from post #101, “Being Offended”:

“To be offended is usually a rather unpleasant experience… [It] is such an unpleasant experience that many people develop a thick skin and try to only be offended in the most egregious and awful situations. In many circumstances, they can allow smaller offenses to slip by as fighting them is a waste of time and energy. But white people, blessed with both time and energy, are not these kind of people. In fact there are few things white people love more than being offended…

It is also valuable to know that white people spend a significant portion of their time preparing for the moment when they will be offended. They read magazines, books, and watch documentaries all in hopes that one day they will encounter a person who will say something offensive…”

That sounds about right.

Yep, it does sound about right. I’m not offended by Jacinda Ardern having a baby. I am offended by the mis-truths about it all.

I first met Jacinda Ardern in 2008, for about 3 hours. I got the impression then that she really was only doing politics for other people, I still believe that. Maybe having a child is her way of saying stuff you I’m doing something for me before I end up like that barren old bag Helen Clark. I don’t think she expected to “win” the election and plans for children were already well underway. I fully expect her to put her family first, I know I would, and quit parliament before the end of the year…or at the very least quit being PM.

 

-Medium


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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