Posted by BE on July 15th, 2013
I generally define myself as ‘a Socialist’. This may seem at odds with living in the most expensive suburb in New Zealand, having no mortgage or other indebtedness, dining out on a regular basis, treating Rarotonga as you might treat a bach and, in general, being what people euphemistically call ‘comfortably off’.
If I were a supporter of the National Party, I’d probably argue that being ‘comfortably off’ was the product of more than seven decades of application and hard work and that, if I could do it, every other able-bodied and averagely intelligent Kiwi should be able to do the same. We aren’t a Third World country after all.
That would be a dishonest argument because I’m one of the laziest people you could hope to meet, rarely apply myself to anything for long and have got through life largely on my wits, a unique ability to read other people and, according to the late lamented Rob Muldoon, ‘an intriguing Irish accent’.
I can’t claim responsibility for any of those characteristics. Heredity and environment combined to make me what I am. I’m what they call a ‘hard determinist’. But that’s another story. Except for this: you can’t be a hard determinist and judge other people as if they were the authors of their own misfortunes – or fortunes.
If this sounds a bit nutty, the science of genetics is very much on my side. On almost a daily basis we are discovering that this or that characteristic, trait, predisposition, behaviour is genetically determined. Even the psychopath has a defence – there’s an important bit missing from his brain. Read the rest of this entry »