Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Nanny takes the benefit away?

The commentariat is all a-twitter this morning about the Social Welfare Minister* imposing sanctions on beneficiaries if they don’t send their kids to the doctor and along the road to learn finger-painting.

Now you can argue all you like about the desirability of making kids visit doctor's’ clinics and finger-painting classes—and Lindsay Mitchell did this morning on State Radio when she was allowed to get a word in—but to object to the sanctions because beneficiaries’ liberties are being infringed by them, because this is a “nanny state intrusion,” is, well, it’s absurd.

You could only object it’s a nanny-state infringement of your liberty if you consider beneficiaries’ benefits to be an entitlement, to be a right. You could only object if you’re blind to where the money for those benefits comes from, which is from working people stretched to the limit—working people, many of whom can’t afford to have children themselves; working people, many of whom have one parent going out to work just pay the tax bill—working people from whom money is extracted to give to other people, who are not working.

If you’re going to object to people’s liberties being infringed here, then let’s start where it starts—with the basic infringement of liberty that  constitutes the welfare state.

* * * * *

* …or whatever title she has this week.


  1. ""You could only object it’s a nanny-state infringement of your liberty if...""

    That makes an assumption on who sets the conditions for benefits. The greater argument is that what happens to beneficiaries today will happen to taxpayers tomorrow, "for the greater good of society"

    Leighton is getting some very good calls on it.

  2. Obviously welfare is your right if you have previously been employed, since you are only reclaiming money that has been taken from you by the state.

  3. @Walter: That's not a right, that's a rationalisation.

    @KP: What, Paula will take non-beneficiaries benefits away?

  4. So Walter, if someone burgles your property, you have a right to burgle someone else's?

  5. I'm suprised who is objecting to my argument, since this is the rationale used by Objectivists to justify Ayn Rand collecting welfare.

  6. Ayn Rand isn't the objectivists' version of Jesus. I'm sure that not everything she did was perfect, and it would be contra to the philosophy she promoted to automatically assume that because Ayn Rand did something, it was automatically right.

  7. Walter 2 wrongs don't make a right. *see what I did there*


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