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‘Women and children first’

  • July 8th, 2008

When I was growing up ‘women and children first’ was the axiomatic rule of modern chivalry. The rule encapsulated our care for the vulnerable and the community duty of the strong.

Only a carefully reinforced spirit of self sacrifice can make the strongest ensure the weakest are safe before they use their strength to save themselves.

We celebrated cases of our strong putting the vulnerable first as the marker between the morality we shared as a society drawn from Britain, and the ‘dog eat dog’ morality of the peoples we felt sorry for. They clearly had less reason for self respect.

Reading today about the boom in sales of stab-proof vests and body armour in Britain I was reminded of something almost missed a few years ago when Labour brought in the Arms Amendment Bill No 3. This Bill is languishing in Select Committee, I hope because Labour is now too ashamed to progress it.

For it will make it unlawful for people ouside our State apparatus to have body armour.

That’s right – not only may you not defend yourself effectively, you may not even protect yourself passively, on the remote possibility that your body armour could be used by a wicked person to defeat the bullets of our (un-armed) Police.

We’re now a society that tells its strongest to hide while vulnerable civilians find out whether murderous robbers are still about. That is enough of a reversal of morality. The left, which spent so much time scoffing at the supposed selfishness of the capitalists has now told the strongest workers to look after themselves first. Women and children come second.

One British manufacturer mentioned teachers as their big growth market. A vicious generation showing  their contempt for law with thousands of stabbings, is cause for panic. Would they say teachers can wear armour but not the children who are at greater risk?

Events show daily that the strongest can not possibly protect the innocent everywhere in a stretched out land, unless the innocent  are called on to help as they did routinely until 30 years ago. The only justification for abolishing ‘women and children first’ has been  shown to be false. We’ve now got the results of the experiment. Several decades of the strong first making themselves safe they could better ensure the safety of those they’re sworn to protect.

Sadly is seems it’s just encouraged the wicked to see themselves as more staunch than the  cops

‘Women and children’ (and liquor store and bank and service station employers) must not be prohibited from getting the same protections without which the strong and the brave will not venture out.




  • Mike Mckee
  • July 8th, 2008
  • 2:10 pm

Thank you for bringing this up Stephen as it highlights the very wrong attitudes that have become prevalent in NZ and elsewhere.

To turn around the country on this issue we need to have people in place who are able to articulate the changed attitude and values in order for it to come right.

How can this happen with Crown Law and the NZ Police being the very organisations that are perpetuating the wrong thinking.

Do we have to sack people to make them come right?


Stephen, those in glass houses should not throw stones.

I’m absolutely shocked you’re trying to blame the left for a problem that was created by free marketeers (in Labour in the 80’s, then National and ACT in the 90’s).

I’d be fascinated to hear your explanation of how the reforms since 1984 are the fault of the left, as to whether you accept that outside of your ivory tower, the social destruction wrought by two decades of free market economic experiments has put ‘women and children’ at the mercy of the invisible hand in a now unstable society.

It’s these experiments fueled by people like Roger Kerr, Richard Prebble and Roger Douglas that have created an individualistic, dog-eat-dog society in New Zealand that was previously protected by social democrats in both National and Labour before 1984.


  • Jack
  • July 9th, 2008
  • 10:39 am

Who cares who caused what? All I care about is how do we fix the problem.


You need to go back further than the 80s to find the breakdown in values Stephen is talking about. You talk about economic experiments but social experiments have been more far-reaching. The rejection of the nuclear family, lifelong commitments, adoption, voluntarism over force, useful stigmas, etc all propagated by the state-harnessing left liberals (as opposed to libertarian liberals) have had more repercussions than economic reforms. Social democrats are responsible for the idea that the state can provide just as well as family or friends or community groups. That is the idea you can trace dysfunction to.
All you achieved with benefits for all (welfare, health, education) was an entitlement mentality from which then stems rationing, resentment and rancour. That is what drives so much of the ugliness we see today.

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