Herald Columnist Garth George

Garth George: Abortion at the heart of all abuse

4:00AM Thursday Nov 27, 2008
By Garth George
The New Zealand Herald

Predictably, the convictions for the inhuman torture and murder of little Nia Glassie have generated the usual outrage, breast-beating, anger, criticism and demands for something to be done.

It is sound and fury, signifying nothing. Because child abuse, sometimes fatal, is here to stay. And the same goes for violence against women.

We have brought it on ourselves. We have bowed to the blandishments of liberalism, immorality, materialism and hedonism and have set aside most of the moral and legal strictures which for centuries formed the mortar which held societies together and kept them from self-destruction.

For nearly 50 years, we have presided over the gradual unravelling of the fabric of our nation through the breakdown of the traditional family unit upon which community cohesion has always depended.

And we have allowed the wondrous differences between men and women to become so blurred that we no longer know whether we’re Arthur or Martha.

So now we are beginning to pay the price. No matter what we try to do, the price will get ever steeper in misery, pain, terror and despair for the victims, and frustration, anger and shame for the nation.


They will treat symptoms, rarely with success, but the fundamental causes, which are now so firmly embedded in our way of life that they are irremovable, will continue to fester and erupt and spew out their poison.

I have said it before and I say it again: The number one cause of abuse against women and children is abortion.

Listen to the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Never mind that she was a Catholic nun; her views are held by scores of thousands of New Zealanders, and their logic is inescapable.

“… the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion,” she said, “because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

“… The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.

“It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts – a child – as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want … It is a very great poverty to decide that a child must die that you might live as you wish.”

It was never intended that the law should provide open-slather abortion, but it was framed with at least one loophole so big that the pro-abortion protagonists were through it in a flash.

The second major cause of violence against women and children is the belief held by too many women that they should not just be equal to men but, in all but physical appurtenances, are the same.

This is an illusion: men and women are different physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It astounds me that in this age in which knowledge of the makeup of the human being is greater than at any time in history, we will not concede that men and women are genetically programmed for differing roles.

The assumption by so many women of the roles traditionally exclusive to men has left many men in confusion, frustration and anxiety, and more are lashing out because they feel their maleness is under threat.

I find that inordinately sad. You can call me a sexist until you run out of breath, but I believe that God left creating woman until last because he wanted to make sure he got it right. The result was the creation of the most perfect and wonderful creature in the world.

There are other reasons for the violence that riddles our society – multiculturalism, greed generating poverty and a growing deprived underclass, television and the internet, for instance. They, too, present insoluble problems.

So we will continue to reap what we have sown. Be assured that the harvest will be bountiful.

One thought on “Herald Columnist Garth George

  1. Erika_23 Post author

    You Choose Sexism
    (By Erika Sirimanne – 19th December 2008)

    Sexism today is such a dirty word. Beginning with the first wave of feminism it has been bantered about, used to label a plethora of issues. Depending on your perspective it can mean a variety of things, but simply it refers to the discrimination or devaluation of an individual or group based on their sex or gender. Some would think those two words – sex and gender – synonymous, but others would argue to the contrary.

    Sex indicates biological differences, whereas gender is a social construct. So while Herald columnist Garth George contends that ‘men and women are genetically programmed for differing roles’, where is his proof? Perhaps the difference is not in our genetic makeup, but more so in the roles society persuades us to undertake. From birth boys and girls are prescribed two very different standards of behaviour for living. Boys should play with cars, be robust and assertive; while girls should play with dolls, be demure and diplomatic. It is acceptable for boys to be rowdy, enjoying the rough and tumble of play, yet girls are not so nearly encouraged. In this way we emboss children with a blueprint for living, an attitude that pervades all aspects of life and is considered entirely normal. But is it normal?

    George would have us believe that indeed it is, nonetheless I tend to disagree with him. Society attaches certain characteristics to the idea of masculinity and femininity and then connects these ideas to male and female biology. Masculinity is commonly associated with assertiveness, strength and dominance. Conversely femininity represents passivity, nurturing and sub-dominance. The unfortunate bonding of these dichotomies to male and female biological differences has cemented the notion that to be male is to be masculine and vice versa. Consequently this provides the rationale for the separation of women and men in both the public and private sphere. In the home, women roast the chicken while men mow the lawns. In the world of paid work, men lead the team while women support it.

    Scholars may argue that these gender identities are the result of the historical division of labour, hunter-gatherer, protector-nurturer; however how relevant are they in the milieu of today? More importantly what happens when someone breaks this identity mould? How does a homosexual male fit in with the concept of masculinity? Likewise do we consider a dominant female leader with no children feminine? Our understanding of masculinity and femininity is greatly influenced by the media, our upbringing and our culture. Frankly, there is no definition and who’s to say there is a right or wrong way. Yet as time passes more and more people struggle to fit this mould and as a result they are ostracised, ridiculed and marginalised.

    New Zealand along with the rest of the world is in a constant state of flux, therefore it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate and categorise individuals into pre-prescribed roles. We now experience great labour and capital mobility as the world becomes ever more globalised and sex, age, sexuality and ethnicity factors are no longer constant. As a result the lines between masculine and feminine, male and female are gradually blurring. In recent times the world witnessed the monumental election of an African-American President to one of the world’s most powerful nations. If racial divisions are gradually eroding, why is that gender bias still remains strong – so strong in fact that journalist Garth George proudly labels himself a sexist with no fear of reprimand or shame?

    Perhaps the answer lies in individual attitudes. George’s attitude toward women and men relegates them to certain activities and roles – an attitude that possibly originated from values and traditions taught to him as a child. He claims that a return to those older traditions celebrated in the past would bring about greater social order and harmony and we would be almost certainly extricated from our current problems. True in part that as a society we have lost some positive qualities, however it is greatly irresponsible and ignorant to associate abortion with violence as the primary cause. It is an insult to every victim of violence to lay blame outside the perpetrator. Every person who raises their hand against another does so with the exact intention of harming that person, either physically or psychologically. It is a conscious decision that bears no excuse. Rather than embrace growing diversity and become involved in the discourse of solutions for violence, George chooses to devalue women and their right to be heard. Rather than accept that violence committed in any way, shape or form is the result of one’s attitude, he chooses to believe that abortion, multiculturalism, and equality of the sexes are to blame. In this way George’s attitude both supports and exacerbates a worldview which tolerates violence and discrimination. Quite simply, people like Garth George guarantee the continued existence of such social evils.

    Sexism is what it is – devaluation. It’s not a politically correct term, rather it refers to a chosen state of mind. Sexists choose to treat people differently depending on their sex and they chose to enforce stereotypes on those around them. I simply don’t understand why anyone would knowingly, willingly display such prejudice, but I suspect such an attitude originates from some modicum of fear – fear of a world that is changing or fear of what challenges one’s values. In any case society is not an unstoppable force. To change the attitude of one individual begins a chain reaction of transformation within society. To alter the sum, start with the parts. Maybe George can lead the way.

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