Saturday, August 13, 2005

Liberal Wellington

The Sunday Star-Times' morality survey has shown that Wellingtonians are just more liberal about these things than Aucklanders:

The survey commissioned by the Sunday Star-Times reveals that, while 36 per cent of Auckland respondents disapprove of sex before marriage, only 23 per cent of Wellingtonians do.

When it comes to gay sex, only 26 per cent of Wellingtonians disapprove, compared with 44 per cent of Aucklanders and 41 per cent of Cantabrians. While only 26 per cent of the rest of the country admit they might cheat on their partner, 32 per cent of Wellingtonians think they might stray under some circumstances.

The liberal trend is echoed in other survey results, ranging from attitudes to pornography, drug law enforcement and euthanasia.

I put it all down to the civilising influence of decent coffee.


Hear hear sir

Posted by Anonymous : 8/13/2005 03:07:00 PM

I blame those conservative North Shorians (South Africa anyone?) and the South Auckland Pacific Island churches for skewing the moral landscape. As Johann Hari said, we never require nwe immigrants to check in their anti-liberal attitudes at the border but foster their separateness through multiculturalist moral equivalence.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 8/13/2005 03:33:00 PM

There's a reason I'm choosing Wellington instead of Auckland.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/13/2005 04:19:00 PM

I thought north shore only had asians... Oh wait.. that might explain it...
Now Im not sure if Im making a joke or being serious.

Posted by Genius : 8/14/2005 10:03:00 AM

I am actually suprised that that many people disapprove of sex before marriage at all. What century is this?

Posted by Amanda : 8/14/2005 11:26:00 AM

The sort of century where a NZ university lecturer gets flamed for refusing to teach Intelligent Design. The 19th, I think.

The problem in Christchurch of course, isn't the immigrants... well, actually it is, but it's the First Four Ships ones. Still, no-one lives in a whole city at once, and the same city that returns Gerry Brownlee also sends in Tim Barnett time and again.

Posted by Ghet : 8/14/2005 12:25:00 PM

"32 per cent of Wellingtonians think they might stray under some circumstances."

How is cheating civilised?

Posted by Muerk : 8/14/2005 01:36:00 PM

Muerk: It's not - it's the other bits that are (here's another: 58% of Wellingtonians approve of gay adoption, vs 37% of Aucklanders, and 42% of Chchians).

And OTOH, the question that you're responding to is really about falliability, not ethics.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/14/2005 04:19:00 PM

I'm glad you made that statement I/S, that cheating isn't civilised. Because no matter how liberal you are, a partner messing around is very hurtful. I see your point about falliability though.

Posted by Muerk : 8/14/2005 05:26:00 PM

It's not cheating, it's admitting the possibility of cheating. While not disagreeing with your point at all. US surveys seem to indicate that Conservatives are no less likely than liberals to cheat, but less likely to admit the possibility of doing so. I don't think just denying the possibility makes you particularly moral.

But I would say that.

Posted by Ghet : 8/14/2005 08:00:00 PM

Muerk - how can anyone pass judgement about right/wrong without understanding the specifics of a given relationship?
I personally think cheating is wrong in principle, but the wording "think they might stray under some circumstances" opens the field pretty wide.. say you're young, your partner suffers a grave physical accident.. do you divorce them, never have sex again, or cheat? Some people might choose cheat and I'd have trouble condemning them for it.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/15/2005 08:17:00 AM


I don't condemn any person, but I do condemn the behavior. Even when cheating is understandable, it doesn't make it acceptable, as I'm sure the betrayed partner would know.

Posted by Muerk : 8/15/2005 09:51:00 AM

There's a huge gray area between saying something is 'acceptable' and 'condemning' it. That would be the realm of 'hey, this is none of my business'.

Posted by Ghet : 8/15/2005 11:22:00 AM

More importantly, the realm of "hey, this is none of the government's business". Adultery may be bad, but we don't want to get into the habit of throwing people in jail or stoning them for it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/15/2005 11:49:00 AM

I agree: both that cheating on your wife is almost always immoral and that it should not be illegal. Some things are not the govts business.

To give a non-random example: while I think what Don Brash did when he had an affair was quite immoral (the lying, the cheating, etc), I don't think arresting him for it would have improved things for anybody.

(I was a bit reluctant to bring Don up, both because anyone trawling my moral life for the last twenty years wouldn't find a saint and because I generally agree with ghet about the "none of my business" bit. But I can't get back the fact that a history of living a lie is a bad thing in a wannabe PM. Some people need to be held to higher standards than the general mob. But it's when his party stands up as a champion of morals and family values that my hypocrisy meter really jumps.)

Posted by Icehawk : 8/15/2005 12:09:00 PM

Ice: certainly its worth pointing out hypocrisy (and Don's vote on Stephen Franks' attempt to gut the Human Rights Act is a wonderful example - or else he just didn't think about it), but beyond that I really don't care. It's an ordinary human failing, and I don't expect political leaders to be morally superhuman.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/15/2005 12:37:00 PM

Well said, Ghet.
There's a couple of problems with morals:
1. they're generalisations, and reality is wont to be greyer.
2. they're so rational (as is our culture), whereas such a large part of human nature is irrational.

The freedom/obligation continuum is a personal choice.. for some people the right to express themselves when and how they want is more important than refraining from hurting someone else.
So I just don't see that there is any external/objective 'morality' about this. Note I'm saying there's not real cause/effect or damage done, only that there's not an objective right/wrong.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/15/2005 01:14:00 PM

As a card-carrying member of the "complacent latte-drinkers of the chattering classes" (as opposed to what? Paranoid Tui-sluggers of the grumbling classes?) I felt a surge of pride that Wellington was apparently less bigoted than the rest of the country. There may be a link between coffee and liberalism (all those mid-century central European Jewish emigres, perhaps?), but education seems like a more important factor:

Of course, the whole survey is a pile of crap, not least because it fails to distinguish between morality ("is it right to sleep with so and so?") and ethics ("is it right to hurt or deceive someone?"). Nevertheless, if National voters are so disapproving of infidelity, perhaps Dr Don is having a little squirm right now.

Posted by Tom : 8/15/2005 05:28:00 PM

I certainly don't think adultery should be illegal.

Posted by Muerk : 8/16/2005 09:19:00 AM

No, adultery shouldn't be illegal - but if you've has entered into a civil contract with your partner / spouse / whatever, then it's reasonable for it to be upheld in court.

E.g. let's say I marry you, and we pledge sexual fidelity ... then I go and sleep with your sister. Bang goes the no-fault divorce, because I'm in breach of my contract. I certainly shouldn't be able to claim any of your property as a result of the divorce, and could in theory be sued for damages.

This is one of the many reasons I'm so in favour of civil unions ...

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 8/16/2005 09:49:00 AM