Let’s have a sensible discussion on health without resorting to class warfare
The metropolitan region that sprawls out of Sydney is a vast expanse of geographic space extending from the Pacific coast to the Blue Mountains. Naturally, this region, home to Australia’s largest city, is characterised by wealth inequalities that are reflected in its geographic make-up. The tendency for Sydney’s geography to mirror social status has resulted in the Eastern half being more affluent than its Western side, which is something that many of us accept as just economic reality. The most affluent residents live in the Eastern suburbs and Lower North Shore region, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hailing from the former.
This notable factor of Sydney’s geography has increasingly been exploited and taken advantage of by the mainstream media. The tendency of the leftist media to bring up this aspect of Sydney has contributed to the creation of an East-West schism, a divide between the two major regions of this city constantly exploited by the media every opportunity it gets in order to cause outrage. This was nowhere more clear than in a recent article by, lo and behold, the Sydney Morning Herald, which reports on the correlation between the health of the city’s residents and the suburbs in which they live.
The new information released by Health Tracker clearly shows a difference between the East and West when it comes to obesity and exercise. It is this piece of information that takes the central point of a Fairfax article, providing the audience with the latest example of how the mainstream media is exploiting such differences to stir up emotions. Phrases such as “People living in the affluent suburbs that hug Sydney’s coast and harbour are markedly healthier than neighbours just a few kilometres to the west, exposing the health effects of the city’s economic, social and environmental inequities”, make clear the author’s purpose.
It does not require much contemplation to figure out what the author is trying to imply: as always, the Eastern suburbs have it much better than the West, and it just so happens that the former is the wealthiest region in Australia. It also happens that the unhealthiest suburb is Homebush Bay, which is located in the more prosperous Eastern half, but Fairfax conveniently leaves that part out. It is this sort of language that contributes to unwanted phenomena like class consciousness, and ultimately contributes to greater division and conflict among different demographic groups. It’s this sort of hallmark leftist rhetoric that we see from Fairfax in an attempt to highlight apparent injustices experienced by the West simply because the East is richer. The ‘health divide’ is definitely a problem, but things will only get worse if the left calls for regressive policies, such as harmful sin taxes like those on sugar.
Inequalities are natural, and desirable. Attempts at removing inequalities is a transgression of the natural order, and will only exacerbate the problems we already face. One only needs to think of Venezuela right now or historically Soviet Russia to get an idea of what happens when humans transgress this natural order. Inequalities not only preserve stability and mirror nature, they also provide a glimpse of the difference between those who work hard and work smart, and those who resort to laziness and give in to failure. It is this framework that must guide our response to East-West divide, especially when it comes to health.
In regards to the health of our children, which the Fairfax article lays emphasis on, we live in a day and age where every student is catered for. This may have its benefits, but it also has its burdens, especially regarding sport and exercise. Today, students are able to choose “reading” during sport, a phenomenon resulting from the left’s attempt at catering to “non-sporty” students. We see a general leftist trend where sports and athletic activities are considered violent and aggressive. In Victoria, boys are already being discouraged from being masculine, which can condition them into rejecting stereotypically masculine behaviours like sporting activities. When schools are discouraging sport, and allowing students to choose reading instead, half our city’s students will not receive sufficient exercise. Those in the East can afford weekend sport, those in the West are not necessarily able to.
The left’s attempt at declaring war on our traditions includes trying to draw public opinion away from the importance of physical activity. This is harmful, and the current education system reflects this. More and more students choose activities during a school’s designated sporting time where the only physical activity involved is walking up to the library or computer lab led by a morbidly obese teacher who equally disapproves of physical activity. A growing feminisation of males has contributed to this, as mentioned earlier, sport is now too masculine and thus aggressive. Strength and valour has given way to weakness and victimhood.
Of course, even if schools don’t have a proper sporting schedule, affluent parents are able to choose a variety of weekend sporting activities for their children. It just so happens that most affluent parents live in the Eastern suburbs, thus reflecting the results on the map that Fairfax tries to conjure up outrage over. So, in a day and age where schools do not have effective sporting programs, how can less affluent parents place kids on weekend sport? The answer does not lie in subsidising weekend sport. This only leads to more government spending, and will achieve very little as there is neither an incentive nor real purpose for parents to use this opportunity.
The best strategy to handle this problem is by allowing sports fees to be tax deductible. This will encourage parents to actually place their kids in sporting activities in order to pay less of their money to the government, and the more they pay, the more exercise the children will receive. It was Pauline Hanson who revealed this idea in response to the left’s attempt at pushing for a sugar tax, where she rejected a new tax in favour of policies that will provide an actual incentive for parents to place their kids in sporting activities.
Real, practical solutions are needed to tackle problems regarding health, especially that of children. If the left continues to use this problem to spark class conflict or promote regressive policies, the problem will only get worse. If the left side of the political spectrum cares about our children, then it will cease publishing material that seeks to outrage people based on unrelated correlations and support a sensible discussion on health. If it refuses to do so, then it is the responsibility of the right, the part of the spectrum still dedicated to common sense and facts, to save our children from more harm.