Violating ourselves, redux

datePosted on 23:48, May 10th, 2011 by Lew

A long and largely futile discussion has been running in response to my latest post about the Treaty, and the responsibility that Pākehā have to honour it, according to our own standards of conduct.

This post is nothing more than a formal clarification of the argument. There are really only two contentious points of principle in my case, and they are the following:

(1) Whether the Treaty was materially breached.

(2) Whether honouring one’s agreements in good faith is, in fact, a philosophical baseline of Pākehā culture.

The first premise is the subject of a very considerable literature. The legal weight of the Treaty and its breaches have been exhaustively documented: authoritative accounts have been written by (at least) Walker; King; Belich; Kawharu (junior and senior); Durie (two of) and Orange; not to mention the reams and reams of material deliberated upon by the Māori Land Court and the Waitangi Tribunal. Treaty breaches are simply a matter of historical reality. Anyone who denies them is ignorant of the facts of the country’s history; is at odds with the views of every qualified expert in the field; the courts, and the official position of the Crown. If you don’t believe the Treaty exists in force and has been materially breached, you quite literally don’t know what you’re talking about.

The second premise is also the subject of a very considerable literature from within the European enlightenment tradition which also gave us the philosophy of liberalism which underpins most of our society — Locke, Mill, Smith, many others. Strong contracts are at the foundation of our pluralist-capitalist society, and in this system, strict enforcement of contracts is a fallback position when good faith and the honour of the two parties fails. Since there is no ultimate authority to enforce the Treaty of Waitangi and to compel the Crown to make good its breaches, as a matter of practicality it falls to the Crown’s adherence to its own stated principles.

If (1) and (2) are both true, Pākehā have a responsibility to negotiate with Māori in good faith to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution of the breaches. This is my argument. It is not, contrary to the beliefs of those who appear to accept neither of these propositions, a very contentious one.

L

62 Responses to “Violating ourselves, redux”

  1. Andrew W on May 11th, 2011 at 09:43

    Well, as those are not points that I’ve been debating in that thread, I guess this post must be addressing the arguments of someone else.

  2. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 09:46

    Andrew, the point is that you’re not addressing these arguments in the other posts. You’re arguing all sorts of additional detail which I have, regrettably, also been guilty of. But my initial argument rested only on those points.

    Do you accept them, or not? If not, which do you not accept?

    L

  3. Danielle on May 11th, 2011 at 09:41
  4. Danielle on May 11th, 2011 at 09:43

    Heh. Let me try that again.

    [deafening silence]

  5. Andrew W on May 11th, 2011 at 10:11

    Lew, (1) is not disputed, I’m surprised you asked as you’ve made that point many times and I haven’t disputed it.
    (2) is also not disputed, the problem we have is that on this planet; what should be honoured, what can be honoured and what will be honoured are different things. God knows the point has been made often enough these last few days that the past cannot be undone.

    Danielle

    [deafening silence]

    Excellent!

  6. Paul on May 11th, 2011 at 17:20

    So, Andrew W, your position is not based on what is right and wrong (or true and false) but about what is realistic? That is, in the literal sense, a pragmatic position. Is that a fair summary of what you have stated above?

    If we cannot use the Treaty as a basis to decide the rights and wrongs, and we cannot use the contractual basis of liberal democracy, then aren’t we only left with the will to power? The victory of the strong over the weak?

    If not, then on what basis are we to work out the healing of our history and the forging of our future, that is not merely the will to power/

  7. SPC on May 11th, 2011 at 17:42

    I would put it that there are two established positions

    1. the offer by Bolger and iwi acceptance of those offers is a de facto alternative to any full and final compliance (this would be why in the use of the term full and final settlement is used – Orwellian language). This comes with the idea of moving away from the Maori electorate seats once the loss of land/taonga claims have been settled.

    2. continuing moves towards a compliance, including the retaining of Maori electorate seats (the concept of partnership in compensation for loss of iwi chieftainship).

  8. Andrew W on May 11th, 2011 at 17:57

    Paul, you assume that the will to power is the only pragmatic course, in fact (as I interpret the way you’re defining it) it’s a solution that almost never exists within societies in the human world.
    Maori exist, they have grievances, their demands for compensation will continue for the foreseeable future, and they are a political force. I can see three theoretical solutions to the issue of compensation; 1. Genocide, 2. give them everything they want and keep giving until they’re either satisfied or they own everything in the country 3.continue negotiations with everyone being satisfied that at least there is a negotiation process and let that continue until just about everyone in the country is part Maori and the exercise is deemed redundant.

    1 and 2 ain’t gonna happen.

  9. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 18:16

    Andrew, so you agree with me after all. Good to know.

    Paul has the core objection exactly right — you purport to disagree with an argument of principle on grounds of practicality, in such a way as to dispense with the principle because it’s unworkable.’ You circumscribe all principled options in favour of a position which rests on — as Paul says — the fact that Māori are unable to force Pākehā into compliance. And that’s why your argument is a perfect illustration of my point.

    My case hasn’t been about the practicalities — in the initial post I disclaimed this as ‘a wider question and one to be properly decided by society at large. The legitimate classical/pluralist liberal position to take here is to concede to the factual positions in principle, and then develop a solution based on what is practical. Good faith requires that proven and documented breaches be admitted and taken responsibility for even if full restitution is impossible. After all, we expect murderers to show remorse and express apologies to the families of their victims even though nothing of the sort will bring them back.

    Don Brash, whose ahistoricality regarding the Treaty was the target of the initial post, does the same thing; although to your credit you at least accept premise (1), which he appears not to do.

    L

  10. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 18:20

    SPC, I think your argument is generally correct and that the former position describes, for the most part, the National party view of the Treaty; whereas the latter position describes the position of the Labour, Green and māori parties.

    Both positions are really only partially compliant with my argument as to Pākehā traditional legitimacy here, since both approaches place many very strict limits on both the process and eventual outcomes which continue to stack the deck against Māori. But both are streets ahead of the position advocated by Brash (and the position held by National while Brash was its leader, since, apparently, repudiated.)

    Under previous governments — both National and Labour-led — iwi and hapū have placed caveats on Treaty settlements, and there exists a small but growing body of precedent which (as I understand it) could permit review of settlements given later game-changing developments — foreshore and seabed being one example. While no doubt the Treaty’s enemies will cite these as examples of Māori ‘never being satisfied’ that isn’t the case — such provisions are either agreed to by both parties, or they emerge from court judgements as to legal right and are therefore legitimate.

    L

  11. Trouble on May 11th, 2011 at 19:45

    iwi and hapū have placed caveats on Treaty settlements, and there exists a small but growing body of precedent which (as I understand it) could permit review of settlements given later game-changing developments — foreshore and seabed being one example.

    That’s not my understanding. Could you elaborate or provide citations?

  12. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 20:06

    Toruble, my knowledge of the detail of this isn’t clear. I can’t lay a hand on the main thing I read it in, but there are a few references to the prospect of settlement review in the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur. The case in point mentioned in this document is, if I recall, regarding oil & gas reserves, which the Crown has unilaterally refused to negotiate as part of settlements, but which the Waitangi Tribunal has found should be eligible for inclusion in some cases.

    Edit to add: Still can’t find it, but my understanding is that a stock part of Treaty settlement text is something like ‘this settlement covers breaches up until [date] but [claimant] reserves the right to pursue claims arising from Crown actions taken after that date.’ The point being that a Crown action circumscribing some activity or resource a claimant had, or reasonably thought they had, could give rise to an additional claim. The distinction between ‘historical’ Treaty claims (those which had to be made before whatever arbitrary date in 2008) and those which are current becomes relevant here.

    L

  13. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 20:50

    The Treaty contains just three short clauses, and deals with the government of New Zealand, property rights, and citizenship. Those principles must be upheld. Where there has been a clear breach of the Treaty – where land has been stolen, for example – then it is right that attempts to make amends should be made.

  14. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 20:53

    I acknowledge that there are problems of Maori socio-economic disparity in some places, mostly rural. We will focus our welfare reform efforts on those areas. We will not have entire townships, and some suburbs, on the dole.

    Welfare recipients will be offered retraining, and offered some activity by which they can earn, and be seen to earn, their welfare cheque. Their children will see their parents constructively engaged in the community each day, not marginalised by it. That, more than anything, will restore their dignity.

    But these are not Treaty issues: they are social welfare issues, and Maori New Zealanders who are in need are as entitled to assistance as any other New Zealanders who are in need.

  15. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 21:03

    Lew – Do you think the statements above are racist?

    I just read the Orewa speech again and am at a loss to see how it is racist.

    I agree with your redux points and from the statements above so does Dr Brash.

    Can you point to specific statements of Dr Brash’s speech that are racist. That after all was the point of the original post affirming your agreement with Danyl.

  16. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 21:05

    And once more we get into litigating the detail. Though it’s nice that we have agreement on the basic principles now.

    Entrenched poverty and social dysfunction can’t be decoupled from Treaty breaches, because they stem from Treaty breaches. Māori were stripped of their economic bases and forced to work for subsistence wages (historically differing payment regulations represent another another breach) and eventually to urbanise and become separated from the cultural systems due to their lack of an economic base. Fifty million acres — fifty million acres! To decouple them is to argue that the proceeds of fair sale from that land (or from economic exploitation of it; rental or cropping or whatever else)passed down through the four or so generations since the majority of breaches occurred could not have possibly made a difference. And that’s just the land — plenty more was taken or destroyed besides.

    It certainly has made a different to the modern-day landed gentry of the big farming stations to whom many of those stolen acres went.

    L

  17. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 21:09

    Phil, are you serious?

    Danyl’s analysis has it in a nutshell: it seeks to deny and minimise the historical reality of Māori experience, but not to reverse the very large wealth and power transfer from Māori to Pākehā which characterised that experience. He wants to pretend that this post-transfer status quo is a sort of Year Zero position of fundamental equality. It’s not simply ahistorical; it’s selectively ahistorical.

    I’ve also pointed you and others to Jon Johansson’s paper on the speech. I assume you haven’t read it.

    L

  18. Trouble on May 11th, 2011 at 21:25

    Para 41 of the Rapporteur’s report:
    Finally, under the Government settlement policy, all settlements of historical grievances, that is, those arising from acts or omissions by the Government before 21 September 1992, are final; in exchange for the settlement redress, the settlement legislation will prevent the courts, the Waitangi Tribunal, or any other judicial body or tribunal from re-opening the historical claims. … This lack of independent review contributes to a feeling on the part of Māori of an imbalance of power in the settlement process, as well as a feeling that the settlement process is at times unfair.

  19. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 22:27

    Lew – Basically you are talking nonsense.

    My generations back family came out on a boat about 1840. The father died on the way out and the mother went into domestic servitude in order to feed the family.

    Not all Maori land was stolen. So I would argue on balance that Maori started from a higher base than my family and yet when my grandfather retired in the sixties he owned 5 farms.

    This is what it really comes down to. The very large proportion of early settlers had no money either so your argument of an economic base simply does not wash. That does not mean that historical wrongs should not be righted.

    My belief is that Pakeha started with more education and a culture that rewarded aspiration. Is it racist to point out that Europeans had a more advanced culture than Maori when settlers arrived. Inevitably that gave them a head start but that is completely different from your point.

    But the critical point is that some non Maori also suffer from lack of advantage. That makes it a social welfare issue not a racial issue. And that is the point of what Brash says

    I have not read johannsen but will do so and comment further

  20. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 22:40

    Phil, you have your anecdata, and I have the historical fact that, of 60-ish million acres of land, about 50 million had been confiscated by the year 1900. Many settlers may not have had anything to start with (my earliest NZ ancestors walked from Riverton to Christchurch because they were short on options) but, being European in a system being set up by Europeans for Europeans, they could get jobs and were less at risk of being cheated than were Māori. And many of them got given that land which was stolen, or bought it for labour, or for trivial sums of money. Ask yourself: where did those five farms come from? I know a bit about that, too, since some of my more recent ancestors bought some confiscated land from the Crown, for a trivial sum. Beat that with a stick.

    And, yes, it is racist to claim that European culture is ‘more advanced’.

    L

  21. SPC on May 11th, 2011 at 22:43

    Phil, Maori culture was based around an economic collective, a collective dispossessed of its assets is disabled. The Pakeha society was built around private individual ownership and Maori were not part of that culture. The alienation that is affected on a subjugated population, combined with subsequent population decimation explains why they were outperformed by those individual families who had to (and were able to) travel around the the world to get the chance of a better life.

  22. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 22:44

    Are you referring to this?
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/wp-content/politicalscience.pdf

    Or is wading through that simply a punishment for disagreement and the real paper is elsewhere

  23. SPC on May 11th, 2011 at 22:46

    Much of the appropriated land was given on leases to migrants, later these migrants were allowed to own the land (one of the great electoral bribes in our nations history).

  24. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 22:53

    Indeed, while Māori were legislatively prevented from leasing their land out — so the only option was to sell it, or work it yourself. Assuming you could keep hold of it longer than the first uninvited Crown surveyor turned up to tell you that your boundary was the river where the boundary had always been, and raise a lien against the land for his services (which you couldn’t pay because you didn’t have the capital to establish a working farm and you weren’t allowed to lease land to anyone who did).

    And assuming the Crown didn’t allege that a drunken brawl in town constituted a rebellion, send in the Constabulary to suppress it, and then raise a lien against your land for that unwanted service as well (even though you had nothing to do with said brawl).

    And assuming …

    L

  25. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 22:56

    Lew – What is your factual basis for claiming 50m acres?

    I checked govt history website and read 4m

  26. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 22:58

    Lew “And, yes, it is racist to claim that European culture is ‘more advanced’.”

    I pointed out “was”. Genuinely please tell me why that is a racist statement.

  27. Paul on May 11th, 2011 at 23:05

    Phil, my family also came out here with nothing, then my great great Grandad ended up being the mayor of a significant provincial town in the Waikato. Could have a Maori man won the mayoralty in a small provincial town in the late 19thC, the early 20th, the 1930s? I doubt it.

    I would like to see you back up this assertion from a single historical source: “The very large proportion of settlers came out here with no money either…”

    As Lew emphasises, 50 Million acres! That land was taken at the behest of Pakeha landless settlers like our forebears and sold cheaply to them on cheap credit.

  28. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 23:06

    Phil, it’s a back-of-the-envelope figure which (in addition to outright confiscation) also includes illegitimate or fraudulent purchases, ‘rebellion’ seizure, lien forfeiture and so on. Ngāi Tahu alone lost more than 34 million acres to raupatu, this figure having been agreed by the Waitangi Tribunal and accepted by the Crown.

    Edit to add: I’m not going to give you a lesson on the history and practice of ethnocentrism. I spend enough of my time teaching people the basics of the subjects they’re trying to argue against me as it is.

    L

  29. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 23:29

    Lew – My guess is that you narrowly define culture. There are some fascinating books out there about why various parts of the world developed faster than others. For example despite the Indus valley being the first place where agriculture developed it did not maintain that headstart.

    I define culture reasonably widely to include technology and development. If we agree on that definition we can have a more fruitful discussion about whether European culture was more advanced.

  30. Lew on May 11th, 2011 at 23:39

    Phil, you couldn’t guess more wrong. My wife is an anthropologist; a cultural anthropologist whose field is complex — modern — societies. So I define it very broadly indeed. And yes, I’m familiar with Jared Diamond and the like, and while their arguments are interesting, I think it’s fair to say there’s a bit more to it than all that.

    But that doesn’t really matter to the question of advancement. It’s meaningless to say that one culture is more ‘advanced’ than another. Culture is not linear. Or more precisely, the comparison is not necessarily meaningless — comparative ethnography is a pretty important thing — but at the very least, any determination as to ‘advancement’ will never be more meaningful than the determiner’s ability to set aside their own ethnocentrism.

    The fact that you are apparently unaware of yours — the fact that you suppose your own ethnocentrism is a sort of objective universalism — suggests rather strongly that such an exercise is futile in this case.

    L

  31. Phil Sage on May 11th, 2011 at 23:51

    ” It’s meaningless to say that one culture is more ‘advanced’ than another.”

    Lew – Lets just agree that when you make statements like that it is indeed pointless to try to have a discussion on that subject. You must be violently rejecting any kind of objectivity in the cause of relativist equality.

    The five farms came from bush broken into productive farmland. Whilst we attach economic value to bush nowadays, it was not the same 150 years ago.

    I have read the Johannson article now. It was worse than I expected it to be. It misrepresented Brash statements. But I am now curious to know your translation of ‘He iwi tahi tatou’

  32. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 06:22

    I’m really getting sick of this. I’m arguing a topic — which wasn’t at issue in the post, so it’s an indulgence — from within the modern norms of the field from which it emerges, and despite not knowing that field you claim I’m talking bollocks.

    Well, bollocks. You can’t measure the ‘advancement’ of culture with an objective metric, like a ruler. Any measurement needs to be taken on culturally mediated metrics. Since the measuring tool is not objective, the measurement can’t be objective, see? It’s not rocket science. As I say, there is value in the comparative approach, but it needs to be methodologically rigorous and careful not to slump into ethnocentric conceits. Your approach is neither.

    Five farms from bushland, you say. Bushland with no economic value? To your forefathers, perhaps. But you can be damned sure it had economic value to its original owners. And still, from whom were they bought? Were they bought? Was the price fair and the agreement freely made, or was it done under threat, as most was? I don’t expect answers to these in your case — it’s unjust to personalise this — but the point remains that the land was not simply ‘terra nullius’, lacking in economic value or human ownership.

    ‘He iwi tahi tatou’ means just what Hobson claimed it did. But it is telling that Brash places so much value on one nice-sounding phrase which isn’t even in the Treaty, but so little on the black-letter text of the Treaty itself, and on the events which came after it.

    L

  33. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 08:20

    Trouble on May 11th, 2011 at 21:25 said:

    Para 41 of the Rapporteur’s report:
    Finally, under the Government settlement policy, all settlements of historical grievances, that is, those arising from acts or omissions by the Government before 21 September 1992, are final; in exchange for the settlement redress, the settlement legislation will prevent the courts, the Waitangi Tribunal, or any other judicial body or tribunal from re-opening the historical claims. … This lack of independent review contributes to a feeling on the part of Māori of an imbalance of power in the settlement process, as well as a feeling that the settlement process is at times unfair.

    OK, so either we’re going to see the settlement industry come to an end soon or the rules are going to be rewritten so that it can continue indefinitely, neither option will do a damn thing to lift the poorest Maori out of their defeatist mindset.

  34. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 08:24

    Lew, now perhaps you can turn this into yet another opportunity to accuse me of having some self serving motivation.

  35. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 08:29

    If the meritless-presumption-of-bad-faith cap fits, Andrew…

    L

  36. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 08:41

    I guess you’ve made it very clear that you’re only willing to give lip service to the group of Maori I’m referring to Lew, for you it’s far more fun to address those really big and important issues of the wrongs of 100 or more years ago, and then pretend that compensating for those wrongs will somehow dramatically change the lives of the people I’m talking about, it won’t, you know it won’t, but that doesn’t fit with what you’ve been preaching all these years, so you have to sweep that inconvenient fact away because accepting it isn’t good for your ego.

  37. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 08:44

    Well, Andrew, you’ve got your view; me and pretty much everyone who knows anything about the subject have ours.

    L

  38. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 09:07

    Heh, on the point I’ve made above, which has been my main point throughout, that ‘the Waitangi settlements will do little, if anything, to change the defeatist attitudes of the poorest Maori, and that without somehow changing those attitudes they’ll never be able to pick themselves up’, you’ve so far had no allies in this discussion.

  39. Phil Sage on May 12th, 2011 at 09:32

    Actually Lew I think what Andrew and I were hoping for was an open and honest discussion of real issues that we normally get from this blog.

    Instead, for me, it is a genuine insight into a world that I did not really believe existed except in the world of parody. I have come to view you as having and expressing honestly held views so I take your statements above at face value.

    I am frankly incredulous that someone as intelligent as you so obviously are can be so wrapped up in the righteousness of their beliefs that they are unable to have a discussion that gets past something as simple as the fact one culture can be more advanced than another.

    If you take one thing from this exchange Lew make it the following. Question your value system. The Emperor has no clothes!

    You can accuse me of ethnocentrism or voodooism or being a Justin Bieber fan or whatever insult you might wish but it will not objectively change the fact that a culture or a society that can produce a musket is more advanced than one wielding greenstone clubs or carved wooden sticks.

    I dont need an advanced degree in anthropology to be able to figure that one out.

  40. Phil Sage on May 12th, 2011 at 09:41

    my opening sentence does not imply you were not being honest.

  41. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 09:44

    I think the “more advanced culture” thing is fraught with ambiguity, cultures undoubtedly change with changing technology, but while the technology can be more or less advanced, the term “advanced culture” is one I personally wouldn’t use, Phil perhaps you should switch to using the word “complex” instead, as when a society becomes more technical it’s culture becomes more complex.
    To illustrate; Does a culture that’s complex, but running down into decadence, as sometimes happens, have a more “advanced” culture than a less technological, but progressing society?

  42. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 09:44

    More advanced by what standard?

    Oh, by your standard.

    And by that standard you have decided (based, essentially, on a trivial survey of weaponry and some ‘I reckons’) that your culture is the one you deem more advanced. What a shock.

    If you can’t see how uncritically idiotic this is, there’s really no point.

    Edit to add: Incidentally, ‘complex’ is no better as far as a culture is concerned.

    Seriously, guys, this type of thinking has been utterly discredited for decades. Not coincidentally, since the second world war, whose major antagonists were its strongest proponents.

    L

  43. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 10:02

    ‘complex’ is no better as far as a culture is concerned.

    culture:
    # An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
    # The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group

    Does these get more complex as a technological society gets more complex? Yep.

  44. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 10:04

    I’m in I-read-a-dictionary-definition-now-I’m-an-expert autodidact hell.

    I’m done.

    L

  45. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 10:08

    As opposed to make up your own.

  46. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 10:14
  47. Danielle on May 12th, 2011 at 10:26

    It is truly amazing the merry dance some people will lead you during an argument to avoid a) learning something they might not know and b) thereby accepting any responsibility for institutional racism, historical wrongs, or indeed any type of privilege.

    It’s really simple: Own it. Try to fix it. >>note to Danielle: crude insults are off-limits (Pablo)<<

  48. Sacha on May 12th, 2011 at 11:31

    There’s a short name for folk who argue to avoid discomfort at their own part in things: children.

  49. SPC on May 12th, 2011 at 12:09

    Andrew, you question whether Treaty settlements are a means (not the only means of course) to bridge the income and wealth inequality gap in this country.

    The short answer is yes.

    And by not simply being charity given to an underclass, this does more to respect Maori culture and restore Maori mana as an indigenous people.

    The need for this was seen as long ago as Muldoon’s
    government that established kohanga reo and tu tangata (and even Mana Enterprises to rebuild Maori entrepreneurship). But without Treaty redress there was no basis for success in what were clearly identified need to revive the language, restore the pride and provide opportunity.

    Other Treaty principles are behind Maori Party advocacy for whanau ora, since we know programmes targeted towards Maori do work (such as reducing smoking levels).

    The whole “industry” is about empowerment and beyond the gravy train there is the role modelling this creates as to Maori status and place in the wider economy and society (including Maori media). Children see their parents investing in business ownership and running agencies of state such as in whanau ora.

    The iwi trust funds will, as revenue flows are invested in educational opportunites and venture capital for Maori business start-ups, eventually improve income levels of Maori.

    The fact that many iwi have yet to conclude settlements or have only recently done so, even that forerunners such as Tainui and Nga Tahu are still in the early phase as to bearing fruit.

  50. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 14:40

    Thanks SPC, that’s much more along the lines of what I was driving at, changing attitudes and breaking down that alienation and defeatism, resources targeted in that way will be far more effective in making the changes that will flow into combating that defeatism, the benefits of the gravy train will in comparison be more beneficial to well connected Maori.

  51. Pascal's bookie on May 12th, 2011 at 15:32

    If Māori talk about us behind our backs and have bad attitudes then we shouldn’t have to honour the treaty.

    Honouring the treaty wouldn’t necessarily fix everything that’s bad about the situation many Māori are in; so it’s a distraction and we should stop talking about it.

    Are those the arguments?

    They look like it to me, and it’s pretty hard to see the hurtfulness in saying that they are bad faith arguments when the question is “Should we honour the treaty out of respect for ourselves?”

    Even if those things are true, how do you get from there to justifying not honouring the treaty?

    And if the question is ‘how do we honour the treaty’, then how can we possibly get an answer that isn’t, ‘find a way to satisfy both sides’.

    And if that is the only answer, then how is starting out by saying you think ‘Māori will never be satisfied’ anything other than petulance?

    Aren’t we bound to try without poisoning the well with all this sort of stuff?

    Can people honestly say that they think it’s terribly unfair that there is suspicion amoung Māori when this is what the dominant discourse is like?

  52. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 17:55

    If Māori talk about us behind our backs and have bad attitudes then we shouldn’t have to honour the treaty.

    Honouring the treaty wouldn’t necessarily fix everything that’s bad about the situation many Māori are in; so it’s a distraction and we should stop talking about it.

    Are those the arguments?

    They look like it to me,

    Well, then you haven’t been following the discussion, or you’re just building strawmen.

    And if the question is ‘how do we honour the treaty’, then how can we possibly get an answer that isn’t, ‘find a way to satisfy both sides’.

    And if that is the only answer, then how is starting out by saying you think ‘Māori will never be satisfied’ anything other than petulance?

    I certainly don’t dismiss the possibility that a mutually satisfactory conclusion can be reached, but I think that it’s possible that we’ll continue negotiations with everyone being satisfied that at least there is a negotiation process and that’ll continue until just about everyone in the country is part Maori at which point the exercise is deemed redundant.

    Pascal what’s your response to:‘the Waitangi settlements will do little, if anything, to change the defeatist attitudes of the poorest Maori, and that without somehow changing those attitudes they’ll never be able to pick themselves up’?

    The only person to attempt to refute that is Lew, whose refutation consists of the word “bollocks”, not a very comprehensive refutation in my view.

  53. Pascal's bookie on May 12th, 2011 at 18:16

    I think that even if true, (which is completely unknowable), it’s utterly beside the point of whether or not we should honour the treaty.

    Because it is so beside the point, I wonder why you are so fixated on it.

    The treaty isn’t a social welfare policy, so why would the things you are talking about have any bearing on the matter?

    You claim it’s a strawman, but perhaps you can explain why you keep bringing it up and explain how it relates to the question of whether or not Pākehā citizens should support honouring the treaty.

    Can you honestly say its unreasonable for there to be Māori suspicion about Pākehā good faith, given the dominant discourse Andrew?

  54. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 19:21

    “I wonder why you are so fixated on it.”

    I wonder why people like you and Lew don’t find the issue of disparity between Maori and Pakeha New Zealander’s a something to ponder and discuss. Half the prison population Maori, so many of the babies and young children beaten to death in our society are Maori, we know this problem is associated not just with Maori but with a specific section of the Maori community, but you think that hey! Waitangi settlements will solve it, you might hear the calls of “honour the treaty! honour the treaty!” Maybe that’s the squeaky wheel you hear, but it’s not the one I hear.

    “The treaty isn’t a social welfare policy, so why would the things you are talking about have any bearing on the matter?”

    Go through the discussion, whenever I’ve tried to get discussion going on the problems of this specific segment of Maori society Lew switches topic, suggesting that I oppose Waitangi settlements and am using my argument that Waitangi settlements won’t do much to solve the problems of this segment as a way to argue against Waitangi settlements. Apart from my suspicion that it’ll just roll on and on I haven’t said a word against settlements. I think Lew is just fighting the same fight he’s always fought.

    Phil summed up what I’ve been saying all along:

    Lew – I think you are scared to address Andrews point. You either deny that defeatist expectation of racism exists in Maori homes and go against all kinds of social research indicating that aspirational homes bring up aspirational kids or you agree with his point and accept that there is a wider and more difficult issue to addres in overcoming Maori underperformance.

    What Andrew is saying is simply that no amount of compensation for perceived or actual wrongs will overcome the defeatism.

    That’s not an argument against the Waitangi settlements, that’s an argument that the Waitangi settlements won’t solve the problems I’m talking about, but frustratingly Lew just drags it back to the settlements.

    Can you honestly say its unreasonable for there to be Māori suspicion about Pākehā good faith, given the dominant discourse Andrew?

    Do you think the parents that beat their kids to death pay a lot of attention to negotiations between Iwi and the Crown? They run their households the way they do because they’re alienated from the society that they deal with every day, to them it’s personal, they bring their kids up to be hard and not to trust them or society, because they as individuals are personally so often in conflict with society.

  55. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 19:46

    Please help Lew! My reply is in the spam filter again.

  56. Pablo on May 12th, 2011 at 19:57

    Andrew:

    I do the bulk of the spam filter checking and so it is usually a short delay before it is noticed. For some reason you, jh and PB have been sent to the filter regularly. I am happy to say that the filter is not configured to detect contrary opinion.

  57. Andrew W on May 12th, 2011 at 20:03

    Thanks Pablo

  58. Lew on May 12th, 2011 at 20:35

    Andrew, sorry about the comment in spam.

    Briefly: you’re misrepresenting me. I don’t mind talking about the disparity between Māori and Pākehā, but not in this context. The reasons for this I’ve laid out in some detail, but let me collate them all together so there’s no doubt.

    1. The whole premise that Māori dysfunction is caused by their attitude, rather than by the material and cultural circumstances imposed upon them by Pākehā society (largely as a consequence of Treaty breaches which marginalise them and stripped them of economic and cultural capital) is, to put it mildly, bollocks. Not only have you provided no sort of evidence other than ‘I reckons’, but your case is contradicted by the limited data we have on the topic — the businesses established by Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, and the social and community projects undertaken with the profits of those businesses, for example. Moreover, your argument just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. As I said: it’s the equivalent of arguing that the reason the Wellington College First XV can’t beat the All Blacks is that they lack the necessary will, rather than the fact that they’re up against the best team in the world.

    2. These two posts aren’t about Māori, they’re about Pākehā. Trying to shift the focus away from the responsibilities of Pākehā to honour the Treaty and toward Māori has the effect of blaming them for the effects of circumstances materially caused by Pākehā actions. I’m not going to entertain such blatant victim-blaming here. Even if it isn’t just a tactic to avoid responsibility (which I don’t believe) is offtopic in this context. If you want to talk about Māori dysfunction, there are plenty of other places you can do so without derailing an existing debate to terms which you perceive are more favourable to you.

    3. The moment you start talking about ‘parents that beat their kids to death’ in terms of a general policy response for Māori, you’re engaging in a propaganda discussion, not a policy discussion. Your whole line of reasoning here has been to generalise from the worst examples out to the wider population of Māori. Because there will always be outliers, you’ll always be able to claim that the proposed policy track isn’t working if it suits your case. It’s dishonest, and given other unreconstructed anti-Māori sentiments expressed here, it’s very tempting to assume it’s just thinly-disguised racism.

    In short, it’s just not worth discussing. It’s not that I don’t have a retort; it’s just that I’d hoped to not have to indulge this sort of idiocy any more than I already had. I don’t intend to spend any more.

    L

  59. Phil Sage on May 12th, 2011 at 20:42

    Lew – If you have had enough of us you can always engage with your mate Chris, he has just posted referencing yours. :)

  60. James on May 12th, 2011 at 21:07

    By the standard of respecting human life and the objective requirements of its survival and prospering then Western Culture is vastly superior to all others….not perfect,but still better than any others by that standard…which is the prime one.

  61. [...] a follow-up to this post and discussion here. Tags: Danyl Mclauchlan, Don Brash, One Nation, Psycho Milt, Tino Rangatiratanga, Treaty of [...]

  62. [...] Chris Posted on 22:37, May 12th, 2011 by Lew Chris Trotter has written a response to the previous discussions regarding the Treaty, titled Talking Past Each Other. I would usually respond there, but Blogger [...]

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