This article by Harry Leslie Smith in The Guardian is emblematic of so much of the world right now. No he’s not a young “bleeding heart” progressive, he’s a farmer who fought in World War II.
This belief that the disadvantaged and the unemployed are the authors of their own misfortune has rained down hard on on our young people. Since the 2008 crash, the young of Britain have faced crippling unemployment rates that still hover around 16%, exorbitant higher education costs and housing expenses that guarantee a lifetime of debt repayment.
The same could be said about many, many places. Here in Sydney for example, young people face one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world. With our new government, university deregulation could triple student fees and our universal healthcare system may require co-payments for first time. In light of Gough Whitlam’s recent departure, it’s all the more sinister.
Unfortunately, this nonsense comes form both sides. One of the more incidious motivational lines we’ve all heard usually goes something like this:
“With passion and motivation, you can achieve anything!”
The unavoidable corollary is that people who aren’t accomplishing their dreams merely lack passion or motivation. It places the blame for people’s circumstances directly on them. Pardon the French, but that’s as bullshit as those who parrot “personal responsibility” in defence of welfare cuts.
I say this as a middle class caucasian Australian male in his late twenties with a university degree and a stable job. I can take some credit for this, but my circumstances have made it easier in ways I can’t even appreciate. To say nothing of the government assistance that let me study. I’m extremely lucky, and damn it if I need reminding of it sometimes.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, stop blaming the victims.