Colin James of the Herald claims that there’s a change in the wind. The winds of postmodern, materialist philosophies have blown through academia with their idealised and fictional view of the human condition. For example, Larry Summers‘ observation of statistical data pointing to innate gender differences provoked an outraged response from the feminist lobby. The social sciences have been particularly affected;
Psychologists Rogers H. Wright and Nicholas A. Cummings have written a very important book on this subject entitled, “Destructive Trend in Mental Health: The Well-intentioned Path to Harm.” Neither Wright nor Cummings have a history of conservative ideology but they both agree that modern psychology is being driving more by politics than by legitimate science. Cummings writes, “Psychology and mental health have veered away from scientific integrity and open inquiry, as well as from compassionate practice in which the welfare of the patient is paramount. Psychology, psychiatry, and social work have been captured by the ultraliberal agenda, much of which we agree with as citizens. However, we are alarmed with the damaging effect it is having on our science, our practice and our credibility.”
The London Zoo has now gotten in on the act, sowing confusion in young minds with a bizarre exhibit:
According to news reports, the human “captives” in “The Human Zoo” exhibit at the London Zoo are identified by a sign that reads, “Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment.”
The London Zoo’s Web site identifies “The Human Zoo” in these terms: “The four day event aims to demonstrate the basic nature of man as an animal and exhibit the impact that Homo sapiens have on the rest of the animal kingdom.”
Observing the scene, several children asked, “Why are there people in there?” Polly Wills, spokeswoman for the London Zoo, was ready with an answer. “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals . . . teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate.” She admitted that some zoo visitors might see the exhibit as just a way to “have a gawk at people,” but she clearly has a larger purpose behind the display. She wants to redefine what it means to be human.
The idea that humans are “not that special” is the central theme of the London Zoo’s exhibit. Agence France-Presse reported that the zoo released a statement indicating that the purpose of the display was “to highlight the spread of man as a plague species.”
I hope New Zealand is indeed on the cusp of a major change of direction, as Colin James indicates:
Don Brash’s quaint, or disingenuous, comment on being courteous towards a belligerent Helen Clark was not just gender politics. It took us into a branch of one of the deep contexts of this election, our very liberal society.
The branch Brash touched on is civility. In our sorts of societies the rules by which we rub along have frayed, or seem to have. Deference, respect and courtesy seem to have vanished into “me”-centred consumerism.
This was a tightly corseted society in the 1960s. Now nearly anything goes, thanks to the generation who shouted down Sir Keith Holyoake in 1969 and then revolutionised the economy and value system in the 1980s.
In 2003 Michael Cullen admonished the Labour conference not to get too far ahead of its core voters’ understanding and tolerance.
He had a point. Wage-workers, once Labour’s core vote, are no longer locked in. A much higher proportion of “blue collars” now vote National than 30 years ago, when Sir Robert Muldoon first attracted the conservatives among them.
Might civil/moral conservatives here come to operate a similar long lever through the National Party? No one knows. But it is at least possible that this election is on the cusp of a general reversal from liberalisation to a conservative track, that this is one of the election’s deep undercurrents.
If so, what is that undercurrent’s wellspring? Cultural security: “What’s happening to my country?” We are used to examining elections in terms of economic, social and physical security. Cultural security is now firmly part of the mix.
I for one feel totally alienated by Labour’s constant pandering to special interests at the expense of “mainstream New Zealand” (to coin a phrase). They have fashioned NZ into their flawed collectivist vision; but Kiwis with a greater sense of purpose and direction for this country won’t accept the lowest-common-denominator approach.
National and ACT are the lone voices in Parliament speaking of a future where people can improve their lot, and achieve excellence. Sounds better to me than being reduced to a caged primate dependent on peanuts from the egregious Labour Government.