In what is a concerning trend, the NZ Herald has twice this week published opinion pieces advocating extreme forms state control that will supposedly reduce child abuse.
I have already written about Tapu Misa advocating forced sterilisations, so now let’s turn to Deborah Coddington, who quotes Bob Harvey as saying:
Enough is enough. We have to toughen up and say some people right now are just not fit to be parents … some children should not actually be allowed to go home. Doctors, nurses and midwives can tell, they know as soon as that baby is taken out the door it will go into a home of neglect and dysfunction.”
He blamed, in part, the Privacy Act which “stops us sharing information. We need to think carefully about whether our laws are putting individuals’ civil liberties ahead of the welfare of our children”.
Harvey is proposing that children be taken away from parents at birth, which is no less extreme than Tapu Misa’s idea of forced sterilisations.
I agree that some people would be doing everyone a favour if they didn’t have children, but the real issue here is whether or not the state should be taking children away from parents.
Here are my thoughts regarding this pernicious proposition:
1) Who gave Harvey the right to judge who is and is not a fit parent? He is displaying a totalitarian attitude and extreme arrogance when he says “some children should not actually be allowed to go home”.
2) This proposition of Harvey’s entails a presumption of guilt, thereby violating one of fundamental legal principles that protects citizens from the overwhelming power of that state.
3) what is the definition of “neglect and dysfunction”? There is no objective standard for this and the state has the guns and prisons, so the state will always decide. Harvey implies that “neglect and dysfunction” is the threshold for state intervention, which is worryingly low however you define it. This is yet another state attempt to take control of children away from parents.
4) This proposition is based upon the unfounded assumption that children will be safe and well when raised in state care. Experience will show otherwise: click here, here and here for examples. I believe, although I cannot prove, that these articles only show a fraction of what happens in CYF “care”. How many of the suicides were due to ill treatment? Looking after someone else’s children is like driving a company car: human nature is that we don’t give the same level of care for something that is not our own.
Apart from the obvious types of abuse, CYF “care” brings another type of harm to children: instability. Children want and need routine and security, but most children in state care go through many foster homes. This leads to anxiety and difficulty with forming close relationships, amongst other things. Children tend to act out their distress, so wards of the state are more likely to be ill-behaved and delinquent.
5) “We need to think carefully about whether our laws are putting individuals’ civil liberties ahead of the welfare of our children”. People with this sort of attitude are such a menace to society that I’m tempted to introduce them to a firing squad.
Consider these points:
- Harvey clearly believes that civil liberties are a nicety that can and should be removed when they are inconvenient.
- this carries the implicit assumption that the state’s version of good child welfare is of higher importance than individual civil liberties.
- this is based upon the unwarranted assumption that it is the state’s job to intervene when child abuse is occurring or may occur.
- it is illogical to commit a mass injustice – the violation of civil liberties – in an attempt to right a small number of injustices perpetrated against children (the leftist mainstream media will always make the problem seem larger than it really is).
- the same reasoning was behind Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law.
- the state will use any excuse it can to gain more control over individuals and this is a cunning way of doing it. By using child welfare to justify the violation of civil liberties, any objectors can be accused of aiding and abetting child abuse.
Samuel Dennis summed up the situation nicely with his comment on my earlier post (I am taking this out of context but I think that it is safe to do so – emphasis added):
I think we are being slowly indoctrinated that it is the State’s role to fix everything, and there are no moral absolutes, so people come up with these suggestions without even considering whether that is the role of the State or whether it is morally correct or not.
What do you think about this proposition from Harvey? Post a comment and share your thoughts.
Click here for a biblical perspective on child abuse.