Kiwi Polemicist

November 21, 2009

• Right to silence under threat

A crucial freedom is under threat. This is from the NZ Herald:

Momentum is building for a law change to prevent families from stonewalling police when a child has been assaulted or killed.

Public outrage over cases such as the unsolved death of 3-month-old twins Chris and Cru Kahui [what public outrage? I certainly haven't seen any - have you?] has thrust the issue into the spotlight, and the Government will soon have a report from the Law Commission suggesting what should be done.

Meanwhile, a senior Christchurch policeman who has overseen child murder cases has put forward his own proposal.

This would see New Zealand follow in the footsteps of Britain, where parents and caregivers who withhold crucial information can be jailed.

On Wednesday, a coroner’s inquest in Christchurch heard that the shaking death of 7-month-old Staranise Waru in February 2006 remained unsolved as the child’s parents were no longer willing to co-operate with police.

The parents, Nyree Hopa and Robert Waru, repeatedly chose not to answer questions at the hearing into their daughter’s death on the basis that they could incriminate themselves.

Justice Minister Simon Power told the Weekend Herald he had asked the Law Commission to speed up a review of the law that dealt with assault, injury and homicide.

“I understand that the commission’s soon-to-be-released report includes a new provision to better address situations where it’s difficult to identify the responsible offender within the family context and ensure that those responsible for protecting vulnerable children are held to account.”

The proposal put forward by Inspector Malcolm Johnston, of Christchurch, is similar to the culpable parenting law in Britain.

The right to silence would be removed, and parents or caregivers would be forced to co-operate with authorities trying to determine how a child has been harmed, and who did it.

I believe that the right to silence and the right to avoid self-incrimination [1] are essential ways of protecting individuals from the overwhelming power of the state. When the state can compel you to talk under threat of imprisonment there is no privacy left, and the police are experts at twisting what you say. Quite simply, you are screwed. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

If you’ve studied logic you will know that it is impossible to prove a universal negative, e.g. ‘there is no life on other planets’ [2]. It is extremely difficult or impossible for a defendant to prove a negative, i.e. ‘I didn’t do it’. Positives can be tested and proven or disproven, e.g. if I claim that there is a copy of the Eiffel Tower on the moon it is perfectly reasonable for you to ask me to produce evidence to support my claim. Similarly, if the state is claiming that someone committed a crime (a positive) then the onus should be upon the state to prove that its claim is correct.

Removing the right to silence and the right to avoid self-incrimination simply makes it easier for the state to prove its claim that you committed a crime. When the state already has overwhelming power, an unlimited budget, and the individuals involved in prosecuting you have a personal vested interest in proving you guilty (it’s good for their careers), then removing those rights is dangerous in the extreme.

Already there are limited circumstances in which people have no right to silence and must produce documents on demand, but child abuse is the first instance of this erosion of rights which will affect the wider public. The state is using child abuse to erode your rights because beaten children attract public sympathy, and anyone who opposes the removal of the right to silence can be portrayed as protecting child abusers (boo, hiss go the politicians and the media).

Watch for a removal of the right to silence in other situations. Removing the right to silence in cases of alleged child abuse is simply a way of putting the frog into cold water before turning up the heat.

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1. As far as I know NZ does not have a legally protected right to avoid self-incimination. Here I am taking it as an implied right that is subsequent to the right to silence.

2. For a variety of reasons I believe that there is no sentient life on other planets, but I never claim that this is proven or provable.

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July 19, 2009

• Update: Sweden wants to outlaw homeschooling done for religious and philosophical reasons

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

• This is an update to my post titled Sweden wants to outlaw homeschooling done for religious and philosophical reasons. This is an important issue, so please have a look at that post.

When I wrote the earlier post I wanted to read the text of the proposed law but was unable to find a way to translate the PDFs. Now HEF has an email from Rohus, the Swedish homeschooling organisation, which says in part

The actual proposed law reads like this:

Chapter 22 (my translation):

§18
A school-aged child can be allowed to fulfill the school obligation in other ways than what is stated in this law. Permission shall be given if…
1) the operation appears to be a fully satisfactory alternative to the education otherwise available to the child according to what is prescribed in this law.
2) insight into the operation [by the authorities] is provided, and
3) there are extraordinary circumstances

§19
Permission according to §18 can be given for up to one year at a time. During this time it shall be tried how the operation turns out. Permission shall immediately be withdrawn if it can be assumed that the prerequisites according to §18 no longer exits. A decision about withdrawal of permission takes effect immediately unless other decisions are made.

[...]
In the preparatory text, the possible acceptable “extraordinary circumstances” are: geographical difficulties, special medical care or a short term stay for foreign families in Sweden.

That’s crystal clear: the Swedish government wants to make homeschooling illegal for Swedish families unless there are geographical difficulties or special medical reasons. Even this will only be allowed if the state authorities believe that the education given is “fully satisfactory” (by their definition, presumably), and if it’s not permission will be withdrawn immediately. It sounds like there’s no appeal and the state thugs will immediately force the children into state schools. Note the use of the word “permission”, which clearly shows that the state considers children to be its dominion or property*. Parents should not need the permission of the state if they wish to homeschool, because their children are their dominion.

As I said in my earlier post, this is Socialism/Marxism with the gloves off, showing it’s true totalitarian arrogance.

Will we see a lot of Swedish homeschool families moving to remote areas?

What do you think about this proposed law?

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Related posts:

Paula Bennett claims ownership of all New Zealand children

A biblical perspective on home schooling and state schooling

The problem with democracy – Part One (Democracy brings in immoral rulers who make this type of law)

*New Zealand is just as evil, requiring parents to get permission for homeschooling and sending state assessors enforcers into homes to check that the standard of education meets the standards required by the state. This is the same state that runs an education system that produces functionally illiterate teenagers who (I presume) stop counting at 20 because they run out of fingers and toes (males have an advantage and can go all the way to 21).

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July 17, 2009

• Internet censorship has arrived in NZ

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

This is serious shit. I normally avoid profanity, but I cannot think of another phrase that adequately and succinctly describes this situation.

First we’ll have a look at the situation then we’ll get to my views on it, which may melt your socks. My sources are the NZ Herald articles that can be found here and here.

The situation is thus:1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual

The department [of Internal Affairs] this week announced its new Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which it said would help fight child sex abuse. The $150,000 software will be provided free of charge to ISPs in a couple of months and will reroute all site requests to Government-owned servers. The software, called Whitebox, compares users’ site requests with a list of banned links. If a match is found, the request is denied.

This is optional for ISPs (so far), but virtually all of them have taken the software and the list of banned sites is secret. In effect, every time a person in New Zealand wishes to visit a website their request for access to that website will go through a government computer, and that computer will only allow you to view a website if it’s not on the government’s list of banned sites. To put it another way, every time a person in New Zealand wants to visit a website they have to go through a government checkpoint, and government staff will say “Yes, you may visit that website” or “No you may not visit that website”. Do you have any idea of the implications of this? Here are three of them:

*****1-> The state now stands between New Zealanders and the internet, which is where you’ll find free speech and anti-state opinions that have been stifled elsewhere. The state wishes to control public opinion and the internet makes that agenda difficult, unless the state can control what people view on the internet. That’s why China puts so much effort into internet censorship, and internet access is virtually unknown in North Korea. Making international phone calls is extremely difficult or impossible there, so the country is basically a closed room where the state controls the content of books, newspapers etc.: internet censorship in NZ is the thin end of the wedge and North Korea’s measures are the thick end of the wedge.

*****2-> The state can keep a record of who visits what website, when they do it, what pages of the website they view, what links they click on, and what they download. In the UK ISPs (an ISP is the company you pay for internet access) already keep this information – and more – for two years at the request of the government, and the government wants to put the information into its own database.

*****3-> The state has the ability to block access to any website that it thinks is undesirable. The Department of Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Unit web page says

One of our roles is to make sure that New Zealand’s censorship legislation is enforced, and so help protect people from material that is injurious to the public good.

For now the government is blocking access to child pornography: how long before it decides that other websites are “injurious to the public good” and won’t let us view them? Will the list of banned sites still be be secret then?

The concept of “public good” is a Socialist/Marxist one and very vague – basically the definition of public good is whatever the current ruler of the country deems it to be. States use “public good” to justify their actions: “It’s in the public good to outlaw hate speech free speech which offends some people and [supposedly] threatens public order, so let’s do that”.

The doctrine of “public good” implies that our society is a collective and that each person should seek or allow that which benefits the collective. What garbage: a society is a collection of individuals who seek that which benefits themselves, and when they’re allowed to do so without government interference everyone benefits.

This might melt your socks

I have never viewed kiddie porn and it’s hard to think of anything that might be more disgusting. I have a personal moral code that considers all forms of pornography to be immoral and sexual acts with children (paedophilia, which I understand is shown in some porn) to be an extremely serious crime. But I will not attempt to impose my morality upon others and I believe that viewing child porn should be perfectly legal. Why so?

I believe that viewing child porn should be legal because it does not violate the non-aggression axiom, which says

It is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property.

Simply viewing dirty pictures does not violate the personal rights of those children (i.e. it does not initiate invasive violence against them). To put it another way, simply viewing the pictures does not harm the children. However, making the pictures/videos does violate the personal rights of children¹ and therefore I believe that that should be illegal.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I believe that viewing child porn is despicable, but it does not harm children and therefore should be legal². I believe that making child porn is despicable³, but it also harms children and therefore it should be illegal.

I don’t know about you, but I never asked the state to be the Personal Morals Police. The state has no right to make illegal those actions which it considers to be immoral but do not violate the non-aggression axiom.

What do you think about state censorship/control of the internet and the points I have raised here?

What can you add to my list of three implications of state censorship of the internet?

Related post:

Australian government is calling internet censorship “cyber-safety”

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1. unless the child is above the age of consent and freely chooses to participate. What the age of consent is and how you determine the age of consent is is a can of worms that I am not going to open here :)

2. some say that viewers of child porn are harming children because they are creating a demand for the pictures and encouraging people to make them. Balderdash: no one is compelling anyone to make child porn, therefore those who do make child porn are doing so as a matter of choice and are entirely responsible for the harm done to the children.

3. more despicable than viewing

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July 13, 2009

• Sweden wants to outlaw homeschooling done for religious and philosophical reasons

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

This is from Rohus, a Swedish homeschooling organisation. My comments are in blue:

The 16th of June, 2009, the Swedish Government presented its proposal for a new Swedish School Law, that has been in the works for many years.

The position on homeschooling in the suggested law is a return to darkness. It is unbelievable. Homeschooling will NOT be permitted for those referring to philosophical or religious reasons according to the European convention on Human Rights!

The added words used to make home education virtually impossible, are FOUR:

“Education otherwise is allowed if… there exist extraordinary circumstanses.”

“Education otherwise” means education outside the state system. What is the definition of “extraordinary reasons”?

The reason given is:

“…that the education in school should be comprehensive and objective and thereby designed so that all pupils can participate, regardless of what religious or philosophical reasons the pupil or his or her care-takers may have.” (our emphasis)

This is essentially dishonest. State education always has and always will teach the state ideology; after all, the state does write the curriculum. Remember that one of the ten steps for the transition to communism proposed by Marx is free state education. In the Communist Manifesto he also says:

“Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class”.

Thus, the proposed law argues:

“…there is no need for the law to offer the possibility of homeschooling because of religious or philosophical reasons in the family. All together, this means that this proposed change cannot be said to contradict Sweden’s international obligations [i. e. Human Rights Conventions].”

This is Socialism/Marxism with the gloves off, showing it’s true totalitarian arrogance. Personally I don’t give a damn about Sweden’s international obligations, I just want to see Swedish parents free to choose how they educate their children.

A few families homeschool due to distance or medical problems, but I believe that the vast majority do so for religious or philosophical reasons, so this effectively outlawing the vast majority of homeschooling. This also amounts to discriminaton against religions and philosophies. To put it another way, this is persecution of religions and philosophies by the state. Oh, I forgot: the Church of the State is supreme over all, so that makes persecution of the others ok.

The quotes above are my translations from the proposed law on page 584. The proposed law can be downloaded in Swedish from the Swedish Government homepage – here.

The proposal is now out for review and Rohus will submit a very stern review to the government’s proposal. The review closes on October 1st 2009. The re-working of the proposal will be finished by the spring of 2010. The final proposal will then be voted on by Parliament during the spring/summer of 2010 and will take effect in July of 2011. Due to the many changes in the proposal, it will take about a year for all schools to adapt to it. And for home educators… many may emigrate, if the law ends up the way the proposal reads today.

The Swedish Government is making homeschooling illegal, for religious or philosophical reasons, thus showing off its worst totalitarian socialist roots. We need international support to show that Sweden, as a member of the international democratic community, cannot take such a position. As Sweden is often seen as the great social utopia of the world, it is important for Swedish homeschoolers to win this battle. Any and all help is appreciated immeasurably.

Sensible international comments about the new Swedish school law can be sent to: registrator@education.ministry.se

Please, also sign our petition HERE if you want to support us in our work to ensure that home education stays a legal alternative to school. They’re collecting signatures internationally, so go for it.

To add insult to injury, when Swedish homeschoolers go to the government website they read this:

The new Education Act – for knowledge, freedom and security
[...]
The new Education Act includes education from the kindergarten up to adult education. The law is a coherent laws which will form the base of knowledge, choice and security in all kinds of schools and other activities covered by the Education Act.

If that’s not hypocrisy, what is? What about the “freedom” and “choice” of those who wish to homeschool for religious and philosophical reasons?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Sweden becomes like Germany, where homeschooling is illegal and the state persecutes homeschoolers by taking their children into state custody and fining or imprisoning the parents.

Two words describe the situation in Sweden and Germany: evil and totalitarian.

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I believe that the state should not be involved in education in any way whatsoever.

What do you think about the Swedish government’s plan to outlaw homeschooling for religious and philosophical reasons?

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Hat tip: HEF

Related posts:

Who is responsible for uneducated children? (Part 1)

Paula Bennett claims ownership of all New Zealand children

Does homeschooling impair social skills?

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July 11, 2009

• Update: sitting on your roof is illegal

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

This is an update to my earlier post Sitting on your roof is illegal.

The NZ Herald is reporting that Hamilton City Council will not be fining those property owners who let people go onto their roof and watch the Hamilton 400 car race. That’s good, but the situation still stinks. Why so?

1-> Sitting on your roof and watching a car race is still illegal. As I said in my earlier post, that’s a violation of property rights by the nanny state.

2-> The agents of the nanny state still intend to go around before future races and warn them that sitting on the roof is illegal. This is a form of coercion.

3-> Have a look at why the council issued the fines and why it plans to warn people in the future:

Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock said yesterday that the council had sought legal advice and decided to cancel the fines.

He said staff had issued the notices because “it was unsafe use of the buildings for a purpose they weren’t designed for and that if we didn’t take action then we would be creating a liability for the council and the ratepayers”.

But lawyers told him yesterday that if the council clearly informed residents they were acting in an unsafe way, it would not then be liable if anyone was hurt while watching the event from a roof.

“If somebody fell off the roof and was killed and a government agency or the affected party’s family was looking for someone to take action against, to hold responsible, the advice we’ve had is that with having warned the property owner then we’ve shifted that obligation fully on to them and we’ve taken reasonable steps,” Mr Simcock said.

“If we’d done nothing, then we’d probably have some liability ourselves.”

So the council started a police action in order to cover it’s own butt. The world has gone stark raving bonkers when it is possible for the following sequence of events to occur:

  1. a city council does not warn people that standing on a roof and watching a car race is unsafe
  2. people, of their own free will and on their own property, climb onto roofs and watch a car race
  3. people are hurt after a fall or a roof collapse
  4. the council is held legally liable because it didn’t give warnings

What is the underlying assumption behind all this? The underlying assumption is that the city council is responsible for the safety of those who live in the city and that it has a duty to warn people when they are doing something unsafe. This is a nanny state notion: a parent is responsible for the safety of his child and has a duty to warn that child when he is doing something unsafe. Clearly the nanny state people think that the the city council has a parental role.

The state is not a parent and it should not attempt to adopt a parental role. Like everything else, climbing onto a roof and watching a car race is a matter of personal responsibility.

What do you think about the legal system that makes it possible for a city council to be liable because it didn’t warn people that standing on a roof was unsafe?

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