Kiwi Polemicist

January 4, 2010

• No need to make cellphone use while driving illegal

In my earlier post titled Cellphones aren’t allowed while driving, you naughty children I slammed the recent law which made driving while using a cellphone illegal and proposed a better alternative. Now, there’s an article in the NZ Herald which supports my contention that there is no need for yet another law in this police state which tries to drown us in a stinking swamp of legislation.

Here’s the article in its entirety:

A Dunedin woman who was too busy texting her friends to notice the patrol car following her has been charged with dangerous driving.

The 25-year-old, who was returning from a trip to Naseby, was spotted by members of the public crossing the centre line on State Highway 1 between Waikouaiti and Dunedin, Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said.

She was also alleged to have reached speeds up to 140km/h, Ms Aitken said. A marked patrol car followed the woman, with the officer observing her car crossing the centre line and exceeding the speed limit.

The driver was pulled over before Pine Hill where she admitted she had been texting a friend. She is to appear in the Dunedin District Court this month on the dangerous driving charge.

I simply cannot see any need for a ban on using a cellphone whilst driving when there are already laws that cover the results of doing such a thing in a dangerous manner.

Can you see what is happening here? Instead of merely wanting to punish wrongdoing (as in the case of the woman above [1]), the state is wanting to prevent wrongdoing, by making the use of cellphones whilst driving illegal. The only way to prevent wrongdoing is to take away the freedom of people by putting up fences around them and that, in my humble opinion, is unadulterated evil. When Big Brother and Nanny State start copulating we get cops controlling what you and I do in the course of our daily lives.

I believe that talking and texting while driving is dangerous and inconsiderate of others, but I do object to making it illegal.

Please read my earlier post in order to see a better way of dealing with people who use cellphones whilst driving.

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1. I would not classify what this woman did as wrongdoing because she did not breach the non-aggression axiom. I would classify what she did as stupid and inconsiderate of others in the extreme (I’m not saying that she’s stupid – I’m saying that she did a stupid thing).

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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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November 7, 2009

• Cellphones aren’t allowed while driving, you naughty children

The police state has slain another freedom: now talking on a hand held cellphone whilst driving is illegal [1]. This is from the NZ Herald:

For frontline road police such as Sergeant Ashley Gore, the ban on using hand-held phones while driving could not have come soon enough.

“We have been waiting for the cellphone ban to come in because we have seen a lot of bad driving and so many near-misses,”

Naturally the policeman and the NZ Herald trumpet the party line, whilst ignoring the fact that talking on a hands free phone while driving is about as dangerous as talking on a hand held one.

The NZ Herald goes on to say

Even before the ban, police were able to charge motorists caught driving erratically while on the phone with careless use of a motor vehicle.

Great, so now if you drive erratically whilst talking on a hand held cellphone you can be prosecuted for two offences instead of just one [2]. That’s like having state executions where they shoot people twice in the head despite the fact that once would suffice.

The cop’s statement typifies the attitude of those people who rule this country:

We have been waiting for the cellphone ban to come in because we have seen a lot of bad driving and so many near-misses

The key phrase there is “near misses”. Most of the time people manage to talk on a cellphone without causing any problems, but the state punishes the majority in order to ‘protect’ them from the minority [3]. Again and again our masters see something that causes occasional problems and they decide that it must be made illegal in order to maintain social order and justify their parasitic careers. It Is Important To Be Seen To Be Doing Something is their motto. It’s the same with the anti-smacking law: a tiny minority of people beat their children to a pulp so giving a swat on the rump steak was made illegal for everyone [4].

Here’s a better way. Talking on a cellphone while driving doesn’t violate the non-aggression axiom, so make it legal. At the same time, bring in restorative justice so that those who damage person and/or property as a result of driving whilst talking on a cellphone bear the full cost of the consequences of their actions, including medical care for the injured [5]. At present the cost of medical care for the injured is borne by every taxpayer, so offenders are shielded from the consequences of their actions. When people see what the potential cost of driving whilst talking on a cellphone is – far, far greater than a $80 fine – the sensible ones will stop the practice. The foolish ones will continue their habits no matter what system is in place, but at least with my plan they will receive a huge and just self-inflicted punishment rather than a paltry $80 fine from the state.

Making people bear the full cost of the consequences of their actions is a fair and just way of reducing the dangerous practice of driving whilst talking on a cellphone. It is also consistent with the laws of nature: when a child puts his hand on a hot stove the pain teaches him to stay away from hot stoves.

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Related posts:

The NZ Herald delivers state propaganda

What is a “social contract”?

Referendum on anti-smacking law: John Key gives the finger

1. Arguably it’s not a slaying of a freedom, but rather a removal of a permission. Experience shows that any ‘freedom’ we have only exists because the state allows it to exist. If you have trouble believing this, consider the fact that the state can take your house and property at any time, it can take your children if abuse is even suspected, it can force medical treatment upon you and your children, it controls what you put into your body, and it can take as much of your money as it wants to. New Zealanders have no legal means with which to to control the government, therefore the government is the de facto absolute ruler over them. You are a vassal, a pawn controlled by the state.

2. You can also be prosecuted if the phone is not ‘secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle’. That’s right, you can’t put the phone on the seat beside you and use a hands free kit. For the full details see clause 23 here (PDF 96KB). The plain-English version (it’s as close to plain English as a bureaucrat can get) is here.

3. Who needs enemies when they have friends like that? The ban on using cellphones whilst driving is fundamentally a violation of property rights, i.e. it violates your right to do whatever you like with your property unless you violate the non-aggression axiom in the process. Think about it: Nanny State (Big Brother’s sister) is sitting in the back seat of your car and telling you that you cannot pick up the cellphone that you own.

4. That was one of the publicly stated motivations for the anti-smacking law. Here’s my version: our masters believe that smacking is wrong so they force everyone to parent as they do. This action arises from their conviction that every child is the dominion of that state not the dominion of their parents (as shown by the fact that parents must get permission from the state before they can home school their children). See footnote 1.

5. If someone is killed the offender should provide for that person’s dependents, providing what the deceased would have otherwise provided. At present every taxpayer bears the cost of providing for the dependents (via the welfare system) and therefore the offender is shielded from the consequences of his actions.

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July 22, 2009

• Police should make a decision and stop the torture

Filed under: Justice/Police — Tags: , , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 10:00 am

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

This is from the NZ Herald:

Leonida Gashi, 18, died after she was knocked down and dragged 400m, after tripping and falling in front of a Metrolink bus as she left the Lantern Festival in Auckland on Waitangi Day.

Police say they finished their investigation two months ago, but are waiting for their legal team to decide whether to prosecute the driver.

This bus driver has, in my humble opinion, been tortured for at least two months because an overworked and/or incompetent police force can’t make a decision. He’s probably under a great deal of stress, wondering if he’s going to face a charge that could end his career. I’d like to know how many decades were required for the investigation.

Some would say that this is cruel and unusual punishment. The police should make a decision and stop the torture.

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July 13, 2009

• Private parenting matters are public business. Yeah, right.

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

This is from Stuff:

Police are defending the actions of a father who became hopelessly lost with his deaf daughter and asthmatic son, after they went pig hunting in dense Northland bush over the weekend.

George Barbaer, 40, his 13-year-old daughter Trinity and six-year-old son George Junior built their own shelter and survived on chocolate and berries for two days as wild weather pounded the region.

The trio were found safe and well about 2.30pm yesterday, after going into the bush on Friday morning prepared only for a day walk in the Mangamuka Ranges, about 40km southeast of Kaitaia.

They wore light clothes and had very little food with them.

When they were finally found more than 48 hours later, they were doing “remarkably well” despite being very cold, Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe, who led the search team, said today.

“They’re used to living in this environment up here and they sought shelter at night and held it together.”

He did not think the trio were unwise to go into the ranges on Friday morning as the stormy weather was not forecast to hit the region before the evening, he told Radio New Zealand.

“On this occasion they got caught out by the weather.”

He said George Junior was not necessarily too young to be out pig hunting with his dad.

“I believe they teach them very young up this way and that’s quite normal behaviour for rural kids in any environment I believe.”

The area the three were found in was very thick bush and even the most experienced of hunters could become disorientated, Mr Metcalfe said.

I’m curious about the use of the word “defending” in the first line: has someone criticised Barbaer, or is this word just used for dramatic effect?

I’m glad to see some some common sense from the police (rather than calling child welfare because a father took his six year old hunting), but there is a darker, censorious subtext in this article. Barbaer chose to take his children hunting and this is a entirely a private matter between him and the mother of the children. The fact that the reporter considered it important enough to get a police opinion on a private parenting matter shows that in our society it is generally considered permissible, even good, to poke your nose in when it’s supposedly a matter of child welfare. The fact that the policeman was willing to give an opinion on a private parenting matter shows that he considers private parenting matters to be public business.

The reporter and the policeman are no less guilty than the citizen-spies that I wrote about in my earlier posts:

The anti-smacking law lets citizens be agents of state terrorism

Update: The anti-smacking law lets citizens be agents of state terrorism

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