Shock in the Burbs: A Bolt to the True Blue

The readers of Melbourne’s Herald Sun went into deep shock yesterday, when former Dutchman, and contrived controversy confectioner, Andrew Bolt launched his missiles of mockery in support of international pop sensation Madonna’s right to spend her wealth on acquiring African orphans.

Mr. Bolt railed against “explosions of sanctimony”, “foaming instant hate”, and “professional consciences” in his deep analysis of the issue, but it wasn’t the controversy around the complexities of International adoption that had the ‘burbs reeling, (mostly they don’t care provided the kids can pass the citizenship test), instead it was the deliberate impugning of the aspirational battler, because right at the start of his article Mr. Bolt said this:

No wonder so many huff-puffers were so angry at hearing this news on their wide-screen plasma TVs that they heaved themselves off their plush sofas to waddle to the phone and file their complaints.

Outrage. That was the reaction from vast swathes of middle Australia, not to mention the smaller cohort of asthma sufferers in the community. Plush Sofa’s and Plasma-TV’s? If middle Australia hasn’t got these things already, then they’re out there battling away trying to get them. I suppose Mr. Bolt, elitist that he is, has moved up to a wall sized rear projection unit, and a Jason Recliner. Well it’s alright for some, but this was an H-bomb of Holier-than-Thouism blasted at the proud beating heart of aspirational Australia. Just at the same time that they’re struggling under the burden of debt created by those very same aspirational trophies. With no thought of a compassionate head tilt or even the tasteful use of alliteration to soften the impact, Bolt has left a wounded and shocked nation on its knees.

But the final unconscionable poke in the eye comes with his description of their gait. They waddle! Mr. and Mrs. Average Australia waddle to the phone says Mr. Bolt. Too timid, too elitist to call them FAT right to their face, he has to mask his sneering contempt behind a shamefully subtle little word picture.

No doubt Mr. Bolt’s friend and colleague Piers Ackerman, who readily admits to his own problems with duck-like perambulation, will be having a word or two with him at News Corp’s weekly script preparation and rehearsal sessions. Hopefully Mr. Ackerman passes on the message that Mr. Bolt’s skinny Dutch arse will be no longer welcome on the plush sofas of middle Australia until he wakes up to himself and realises who in the end is paying his bills.

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whyisitso
whyisitso
15 years ago

Yeah, this undeserving wretched orphan should be returned to his orphanage forthwith so that he can die at 23 with the rest of the orphans. Unless Madonna can rescue the whole five million or so of them she shouldn’t discriminate. How dare this kid be allowed to live to a ripe old Western Old Age and die of obesity at 77. We have to realize where these primitive races are better off. Much better for every one of them to live in misery in their own culture than to live three times as long in decadence in the West.

Well spotted Rex!

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

whyisitso

Strange as it may seem to you (and Andrew Bolt), this is not a simple black/white or left/right issue. I don’t know about America, but Australia has very strict requirements in relation to inter-country adoption, implemented under the Commonwealth-State Agreement for the Implementation of the Hague Convention on Protection and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

Gaby
Gaby
15 years ago

This is an especially egregious line in the context, as we all know how this jingle goes, which many of us probably used in primary school to pick someone as “it” for brandy or pigeon toe…

“Sorry for interrupting, but exactly how long should you spend going eeny meeny miny mo in a roomful of half-starved children needing adoption?”

Rex
Rex
15 years ago

Whyisitso,

I in truth do have an understanding of the complex and difficulties of intercountry adoption, But Mr. Bolt helps no one when he decides to use African kids as pawns in his ongoing war against the “compassion industry”.

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
15 years ago

Thx for your comment Ken.

It still makes me think that we know not what we do.

Our response is to ban things, when we ought to be able to make educated guesses (shouldn’t we?) as to where allowing easier adoption might do more good than harm. (For instance in countries where there are lots of AIDS orphans.)

As in so many areas, we ban things to avert our gaze from the unpleasant, rather than with much intention to do good. We did the same with the equal wage case for aborigines.

We may even do it – it seems – with campaigns against child labour. Child labour is a horrible practice to us. But certainly some studies which haved seemed reputable to me (from memory by the World Bank not some right wing think tank – sorry don’t have time to look up the links now) have looked at the aftermath of action to prevent child labour – it’s been worse.

Matt
15 years ago

With a website called righthinker.com and an Ayn Rand quote at the top of my page, I am the antithesis of the type of person who might be seen to be criticizing Andrew Bolt, however his article is bizarre, misses the point and very much out of any mainstream conservative thinking.

As a conservative, you should be pro-family, out of all the kids in Africa with no parent, Madonna chooses one with a dad to adopt! Unlike Andrew, I’ve actually spent time at an African orphanage and believe me that these kids would do anything to stay with their mum, dad or relation, no matter how bad their situation is. Family comes first if you are a conservative, last if you are a Marxist.

The second point where Mr Bolt fails as a conservative is that a child is not a commodity. If Madonna wants to spend money on a jet, a watch, a house, that is none of our business. Buying and selling children goes against everything a thinking conservative would stand for.

Finally, Madonna is spending money in Africa but here is the catch. As part of her package, money is being spent on teaching children Kabbalah. I didn’t realise that Mr Bolt had suddenly become a fan of mysticism but surely money would be better spent on education, mosquito nets and health care. A thinking conservative would prefer that as an educated healthy workforce is more likely to lead to a stronger economy and therefore less foreign aid. An inner-city trendy would be more likely to spend money on Kabbalah lessons for impoverished children.

Ken Parish
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Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

Nicholas

I both agree and disagree.

I agree that there should be quite a few more countries approved for inter-country adoption. I’m quite sure that there are numerous additional countries whose adoption and orphanage systems are reliable and non-corrupt. I strongly suspect that one of the reasons why there aren’t more countries approved is simply that it is a low priority for DFAT/DIMA to negotiate inter-country agreements on this subject.

However, I strongly disagree that we should simply open the system up and make “educated guesses”, even in the case of countries with high HIV death rates (i.e. all of sub-equatorial Africa and much of Asia). The sad reality is that there isn’t heavy demand among wealthy westerners for “special needs” ovserseas adoptions, including those with congenital conditions or disabilities, and probably including those whose parents had HIV (even if the child doesn’t). Adoptive parents mostly want a perfect little child; they’re not interested in inheriting what most seem to regard as someone else’s problem. It may be significant in this respect that the toddler that Madonna has chosen is one whose mother is said to have died in childbirth (rather than having died of AIDS). Thus the reality of opening up the system and making educated guesses is likely to be that not very many HIV orphans would get adopted, but lots of babies would be abducted or sold by parents into the resulting thriving deregulated baby market. Certainly it’s highly doubtful that the utilitarian balance would be positive.

skepticlawyer
15 years ago

Okay, I’ll throw some bait into the pot (as someone who had a shocking childhood and whose father attempted to adot me out before birth). First words from the nun to my mum after I was born: ‘Do you still want to adopt this child?’

How about leaving this up to the market? Lots of indigenous kids were ‘stolen’ as such. Some missed out, some did well. We need to work out in absolute terms whether being left to fester in one’s own culture is actually a good thing. Is it? Is it not? My partner was (almost) a member of the stolen generations. What does that mean?

Jen
Jen
15 years ago

I wish I’d been adopted out. Life was hell at no.45 Orchard St. Far too many catholics in our family – too many brothers and sisters. I knew before birth I was meant to be an only child – the huge family thing was obviously part of my karmic journey. I’m sure it taught (is teaching) me something neccessary for self-realisation. Vexation and bother mainly.

So it is in this context that I say …
Had anyone resembling Madonna expressed interest in rescuing me from the burbs of Melbourne I would have understood that the stupid karmic journey was going to stop and a little Kabbalah offer relief regarding my overcrowded conditions.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

“(almost) a member of the stolen generations”??? You know you wanted someone to ask, so it would be inhospitable to ignore the gambit.

skepticlawyer
15 years ago

I wrote this comment over at Darlene’s place (go here).

I’m of the view that there were a pretty decent number of Aboriginal kids removed from their parents, sometimes for fairly pointless reasons, sometimes for good reasons. I say this because my partner is Aborignal (1/2 and 1/2, for those interested), and certainly attracted the attention of the welfare authorities. He comes from Wreck Bay Aboriginal Reserve.

That said, I strongly suspect that the children who were removed (both black and white – remember the Liverpool kids?) were often removed because of paternalism run riot. People in government were utterly convinced they knew better, and acted accordingly.

My libertarianism is probably showing by now, but I still think the point is a valid one. Governments love to think they can help people, that they’ve got access to the best research and the best know-how. But they don’t. They’re run by flawed individuals just as private corporations and small business are.

My partner is of the view that it’s actually easier to justify Aboriginal child removal now (and he has some scary stories), but that this is as a result of what happened then. People in power were convinced they knew better.

Neither adoption nor retention is pretty, because it involves dealing with people who are either interested or uninterested in keeping children in the family home. Other people have strong views about this, despite the fact that all trhe available evidence indicates that human beings are only interested in their offspring for genetic reasons.

And leave Madonna alone. If she has the money to do that, and to pay the baby farmers, then so be it. When the time comes, I’ll be intersted in David Banda’s view, but that’s some way off yet.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

“That said, I strongly suspect that the children who were removed (both black and white – remember the Liverpool kids?) were often removed because of paternalism run riot.”

I’m quite sure that what you say was sometimes correct. But let’s take the Stolen Generations. Stolen Generations case No. 2 (Cubillo and Gunner) effectively found that the claimants couldn’t prove that they’d been “stolen”. In part that was because it was too late,

skepticlawyer
15 years ago

I prett much agree with you, Ken, although I still think that taking kids out of functioning communities (for all that we may disdain the way those communitites run things) is a bad idea. These days, though, the Aboriginal/Poor White family unit is so busted that it’s almost impossible to put your hands on a half decent, half compassionate answer to anything.

I still say that what Madonna does on her own dime is her own concern. If it’s illegal, I’m interested. If it’s just an argument about compassion and who has the most of it, however, then her critics probably have more problems than she does.

Amused
Amused
15 years ago

skepticlawyer

what exactly does ‘leave it to he market’ mean in respect of adoption, whether intercountry or otherwise? Do you mean that there should be no regulation whatsoever of who gets to buy and sell children, or do you mean that the issue of what to do with children who are not properly cared for by their biological parents, either because they don’t exist any more or because they can’t/won’t provide for theior children, is not one in which either public policy or the law has a proper interest?

What do you mean ‘people are only interested in their children for genetic reasons’? Does this mean that a person who is not genetically related to a child is therefore a more worthy carer, because he/she is a less ‘genetically interested’ carer? What on earth are you talking about?

I really want a 21st century Swift to peruse libertarian blogs. Wish I had the talent. Sigh.