Monday, 5 July 2010

Why versus How

The National-led Government is looking at the kind of restrictive measures that would have got the Tighty Righties crying "OMG Fascist Nanny Statism" a few years ago, for example making it harder for young people to buy knives and alcohol.

What strikes me as short-sighted about this kind of thing is that it looks solely at the How, rather than thinking about the Why. Why do some people walk around with knives in their pockets? Why do some New Zealanders drink until they pass out, every weekend?

If we spent some money, even taxpayers' money (which I understand is convertable on a $1NZ=$1NZ basis), on finding out why these things happen then we would surely be better placed to make effective restrictions, if necessary, that actually delivered results. Given that there are academics and indeed Government bodies that have already done some of the work, maybe those could be dragged out from The Place Where Well-researched And Informed Analysis That Disagrees With Current Govt Thinking Goes To Rot.

We might even find that the answers to these societal problems lay not in restricting access to the objects that we see as the convenient cause of the problems but instead in addressing the behaviours that lead to stabbing other people or binge-drinking. Stuff like anger management, feeling disempowered and isolated, emulating poor behaviour in role models, poverty, and lacking effective communication skills.

But looking at Why is a much longer term project than a 3 year parliamentary term allows for. So we remain stuck tinkering with the How.

1 comment:

A Nonny Moose said...

I've been thinking this for a long time, in regards to anything youth orientated. It's concerned hand waving by the government to make the older voting bloc - ie, the ones that matter to them - feel good about themselves. "We've done a service to youf, now get the hell off my lawn".

It surprises me how quickly people forget what it's like to be young, and the associated pressures.