Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Cultural insecurity

Colin James' column in the Herald this morning focuses on cultural insecurity as an election issue. But while he talks about National's efforts to exploit it for political advantage, he totally glosses over the reason for this insecurity - which is a shame, because its quite illuminating. IMHO most of the big political debates at the moment - the Treaty, civil unions, the greater cultural and political influence of Maori - are symptomatic of generational change, with National on the side of the old, and Labour on the side of the young. New Zealand has changed dramatically over the past thirty years - and for the better, IMHO - and now National is trying to turn the clock back on that change. While economically they look back to the 90's, culturally, they look back to the 50's, when the country was run by and for Dead White Males, we had "the best race relations in the world", and Maori were a little brown ministral show we trotted out for royal visits.

The problem for National is not just that we have moved on since then, but that an awful lot of New Zealanders have grown up in a society which is open, tolerant, and inclusive, where the Treaty is regarded as our constitutional bedrock, and where Maori culture is something for us all to be proud of. And we're growing more numerous. Meanwhile, the people National is trying to appeal to - the Dead White Males - are dying by the day. Which means that in the long-term, their cultural project is doomed. To paraphrase Kruschev, demographics is on our side, and we will bury them - literally, in many cases. In the meantime, though, they're not quite dead yet. And they may still have the electoral power to fuck up the future so they can spend their golden years untroubled by the fact that things have changed. Only time will tell...


What do you mean "dead" white males? Also, you'll find the more diverse NZ gets the more fucked up it's going to get. Lowest crime rate - monocultural Japan being a case in point. More Maori means more crime, simple as that. 60 minutes the other night demonstrated this.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/20/2005 08:58:00 AM

If only your comments about young New Zealanders were true.... I know to my cost that while young NZers are definitely out of step with National on some tolerance issues- sexuality springs immediately to mind- far too many of them (us, I should say) fall right in line with National's policies on Maori, especially the much-bandied about gravy train/no more Treaty "hand outs"/Maori culture is not relevant to me because I'm Pakeha and therefore I shouldn't have to pay for it/see it/acknowledge my responsibility to it bullshit.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/21/2005 12:30:00 AM