Those who seek to divide have historically - and will always - work forwards from self interest and focus on differences that keep us, as people, apart. They do it to secure power and control.
This “strategy” is not new, it has happened forever. It’s in play in war zones and where despots rule, all over the world. Social disharmony and civil unrest are a politician’s best friend.
The wise and prudent concern themselves with similarities that bring us closer together. They work backwards from outcomes focused on greater overall societal good; not forward from individual self-interest.
This is why policies that look to improve the health and socio-economic status of Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand are good for everyone, not just Māori.
Sadly those incapable of independent thought, buy into persuasive “group think”.
The moronic concept of “individual responsibility” being their justification. And of course, it sounds logical. Especially when you come from a secure safe socio-economic background.
Regrettably there’s a massive percentage of the population (primarily Maori) that don’t come from such backgrounds, who don’t have access to opportunities. Sadly, far too many Maori are born into third, fourth, and now fifth generation social welfare, drug and alcohol dependence. That’s a fact, the poorly informed wilfully choose to ignore.
A mailed fist will never address these societal issues. All it will do is increase crime and incentivise widespread civil unrest.
Here’s why - simply because when you ain’t got nothing to lose, you don’t fear fines or prison. Poor people can’t pay fines and for many, prison is an enormous “relief”.
It costs hundreds of millions to build a prison and well in excess of $100k a year to house each prisoner. Heck, we’d be better off paying them $80k to stay out of prison.
Here’s the thing though - building private prisons is “profitable” for those who win contracts to build them and those who get paid to operate and manage them - why?
It’s all paid for with your tax money so the contractors all know they are going to be paid and gouge...oops, I mean charge, accordingly.
These societally disadvantaged people start so far behind the starting line of life, many never even make it to the start (eg babies and children beaten to death and those with foetal alcohol syndrome). The disadvantaged don’t know what they don’t know.
The unthinking put up atypical examples and arguments like, “I managed to do it, why can’t they?” That’s numbnuts deficit thinking. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain why they can’t.
What’s worse is these disadvantaged people (predominantly Māori) are unlikely to ever know how to “break the cycle”. Simply because they don’t have access to basics like: positive role models, adequate affordable housing, economically healthy food, good education, financial literacy, or acceptable easily affordable and accessible health care.
I’m no bleeding heart liberal. If you are a recidivist offender and do the crime, you must do the time. And some people are so evil they need to be locked up with the key thrown away for their and our safety. A Black Power leader told me that.
Now that said, if we really want genuine societal change, we need the courage to focus on the drivers - not the symptoms of crime which I outlined here in a previous article.
Boris Sokratov is a Bulgarian-Māori and has whakapapa to Te Rarawa Ngati Haua. He was the producer of the Nutters Club Radio Show. He helped establish the Key to Life Charitable Trust that supports mental health advocate Mike King.