Kiwi Polemicist

August 31, 2009

• Deborah Coddington has lost the plot

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

Deborah Coddington is supposedly a libertarian, a person “passionately advocating individual liberty”, according to the cover of her 1998 book Liberty Belle. Now she says this:

Here’s a question for the Act Party: If its leader would sacrifice his ministerial portfolio for his “one law for all” policy, why does this party of principle advocate a different law for children when someone accused of perpetrating violence against a child comes before the court?

I cringe when I read overseas headlines proclaiming that despite New Zealand’s dreadful reputation for child abuse, we want to defy international trends and bring back pro-smacking legislation [1].

How to explain why we’d do this, especially if you talk about child murders like James Whakaruru or Nia Glassie? [2]

Commentators who sneer Sue Bradford’s law change hasn’t saved a child from death miss the point.

It’s illegal to hit an adult but that doesn’t stop adults from murdering each other. [3] (source)

That is not a libertarian position. A libertarian does not support a law which restricts personal liberty by making it illegal for parents to use force for “the purposes of correction”. A libertarian does not support a law by which a totalitarian nanny state controls how parents respond when their children misbehave. As for calling a smack – usually a swat on the rump steak or similar – “violence”, that is a gross distortion of the truth befitting a Marxist like Sue Bradford and conduct unbecoming for a libertarian.

Deborah Coddington has lost the plot and I cannot consider someone who holds her views to be a libertarian or a passionate advocate for individual liberty. Perhaps she’s headed back to her left wing roots.

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1. Coddington has fallen for the fallacy/lie which says that outlawing smacking will reduce child abuse, and making smacking legal again will lead to a rise in child abuse.

2. This argument is specious in the extreme because it’s pretty obvious that the people who murdered these children won’t be bothered by an anti-smacking law.

3. They don’t miss the point, but Coddington does here. People point out (“sneer”) that the anti-smacking law doesn’t save lives because for a long time Bradford said that the anti-smacking law was about reducing child abuse. When she announced her anti-smacking bill she said “Section 59 [of the Crimes Act, which then permitted smacking] adds to the whole culture of abuse of children that is still so rampant in New Zealand society”. Several years later she said “the epidemic of child abuse and child violence in this country continues. My bill was never intended to solve this problem” (source). As I said in my earlier post, Sue Bradford Is A Liar.

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