One with a gun or twenty with clubs?

Would you prefer to have twenty people bash you to death with clubs, or one shoot you until you died? Either way you’re still hurting and dying. This principle is why I really don’t get people who say it’s okay to take away people’s rights so long as we do it by referendum- whether it’s the Māori seats, a child’s right not to be hit in an abusive manner under a defense of correction, the right of any two people to marry regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation- whatever.

The point is there is no difference between a totalitarian regime imposing a specific injustice because of the word of Dear Leader, and 50+% of us deciding to rob some portion of the rest of human rights. In matters of protections from abuse or entitlements to civil rights, the people who will actually be affected should also agree they aren’t needed before we start talking about a referendum at all.

And, to the current specific case before us with the upcoming referendum: seeing we don’t enfranchise kids, perhaps we should be even more careful about taking away their legal protections over some populist whip-up with no real weight of argument behind it. Let’s be neither the twenty with clubs nor the one with the gun, when we could instead so easily be a society of parents and other caregivers who realise that “corrective” violence, even when it starts off not hurting, just isn’t worth it. 🙂

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14 thoughts on “One with a gun or twenty with clubs?

  1. Pingback: One with a gun or twenty with clubs « Still Truckin’

  2. Just to reiterate the point made in comments on the prior post, who exactly decides what is and is not a human right, Ari?

    While I like your idea that the affected minority group should agree to any potential rights loss for that group, it does raise a few practical problems.

    If applied to a group receiving a benefit (say rich people getting tax cuts), would that minority group (rich people) voluntarily give up their ‘human right’ (tax cuts)? Unlikely, even though the vast majority don’t consider that ‘minority group’ getting tax cuts to be a ‘human right’.

    And why would we ask a minority group (under-16 year old children) if they want to be smacked or not (the human right to not be subjected to violence), when we don’t even recognise that group’s right to have a voice politically? i.e. through voting?

    If we consider under-16 year old children mature, rational and responsible enough to give a serious viewpoint on S59, why wouldn’t we let them vote? And if so, how young would you let them vote? Would smacking those considered too young to vote be okay?

    Just a few practical problems with your methodology. The crux is still the question of who determines what are human rights.

  3. Squaredrive asks: “who determines what are human rights.”

    Tell us then, squaredrive, who does?

  4. It seems reasonable to insist that, where ever possible, interested (i.e. those affected) parties should have a major say in leglislation pertaining to them. Whereas in the case of most non-infant children this could be achieved by polling them, it seems that sound objective observation of non-verbal behaviour could also play its part. This method can (and I believe, should) be applied to our treatment of animals where it is patently obvious that many other creatures share our faculty to experience pain.
    Howver, I think voting rights should pertain to rationality rather than sentience.

  5. Just to reiterate the point made in comments on the prior post, who exactly decides what is and is not a human right, Ari?

    Well, I’d say human rights aren’t something any central authority can hope to exhaustively list- we just assert them as we see the need, and if enough people agree they get implemented. I’d perhaps define a human right as a principle of soceity necessary to ensure practical equality, although that is perhaps open to interpretations that’re too broad.

    If applied to a group receiving a benefit (say rich people getting tax cuts), would that minority group (rich people) voluntarily give up their ‘human right’ (tax cuts)? Unlikely, even though the vast majority don’t consider that ‘minority group’ getting tax cuts to be a ‘human right’.

    Tax cuts that favour the rich are not only not necessary action to advance social equality of opportunity, but they actually work against that goal.

    And why would we ask a minority group (under-16 year old children) if they want to be smacked or not (the human right to not be subjected to violence), when we don’t even recognise that group’s right to have a voice politically? i.e. through voting?

    Because children are smart enough to have opinions and express them, we just deny them enfranchisement because we want to leave them some time to be free of the full responsibilities of adulthood, and to have a chance to be informed before they start voting. Or at least that’s the reason I’d be reluctant to lower the voting age significantly. There are plenty of under-18 teenagers who I trust more to vote than their parents, for instance. 🙂

    I also think there’s a big difference between asking some kids to talk about issues that directly affect their life on a day-to-day basis, and expecting them to make abstract decisions based on economic, social, and environmental philosophy. Polling kids on issues that matter to them directly lets them make better decisions than fully enfranchising them would.

  6. Oddly enough Ari, I see your idea of politically enfranchising children as State-sanctioned political-abuse.

    Parents are not normally perfect – and some are even ‘abusive’. Sometimes they are so heinously abusive the police must take responsibility along with government agencies.

    Usually that abuse is fairly obvious to anyone around, unless people are ignoring it – and I don’t know that you can legislate against the neglect of the wider community when a child is being really, openly abused..

    However, what Sue Bradford’s law did was step in far too closely between child and parent. It was not about abuse – a ‘smack’ is not abuse.

    Not being able to smack your child when they are misbehaving according to your spoken words – is not going to prevent psychotic people maiming children.

    I have to really emphasise that it is not ok to poll other peoples’ children on political issues, and all issues you could poll on are political, George Orwell would give you a few reasons why..

  7. Just to be clear… my idea was not to enfranchise children. I’d actually rather we left them out of this. altogether.

    What I am saying though, is that if some people are so set on taking away their new legal protections that we need to ask people if the new protections work, kids should get to be the ones to say they’re not working before we do anything, not their parents. The parents aren’t the ones who needed more protection from child abuse 🙂

    Usually that abuse is fairly obvious to anyone around, unless people are ignoring it – and I don’t know that you can legislate against the neglect of the wider community when a child is being really, openly abused..

    If you don’t think that hitting kids with weapons being excused by juries is a case of ignoring child abuse and made this law necessary, I’m not sure I can find any common ground with you there. This legislation was one small step among many, and overall they made a big march forward- but we can’t afford to take any of those steps back, especially not when all of the scare-mongering about parents being incarcerated hasn’t even had the faintest glimmer of truth.

    However, what Sue Bradford’s law did was step in far too closely between child and parent. It was not about abuse – a ’smack’ is not abuse.

    It may not always be abuse, but just like a tackle in a rugby game, it was always technically an assault. There is no reasonable force defense for rugby players, so why did parents need one when our kids were getting bashed so often?

    Not being able to smack your child when they are misbehaving according to your spoken words – is not going to prevent psychotic people maiming children.

    It may if they’re so uncontrollably wild that they have to smack their children around everywhere and enough people who got the right idea from the new law dob them in just in case. This law helps edge the border cases back in favour of raising our kids without violence. While I don’t think we should punish parents who indulge in violence against their children in ways that don’t cause lasting harm, I actually think that encouraging fully nonviolent parenting will help bring about a culture change that makes abuse less likely and easier to spot.

    I have to really emphasise that it is not ok to poll other peoples’ children on political issues, and all issues you could poll on are political, George Orwell would give you a few reasons why..

    Kids are their own people as well as their parents’ charges. The reasons I have for being reluctant about polling them or enfranchising them are related to the merits of doing it from a kid’s own point of view, not from that of their parents.

    Not that I devalue parenting or anything, just that I disagree strongly with the idea that young kids are somehow an extension of their parents rather than their own people who still need nurturing and protecting a bit more than full adults do.

  8. Tough one. I’m not a parent so I have never wanted to smack a child, except for perhaps, a sibbling!

    I think a smack must be a parents last resort..but only a parent in the home will know when that is.

    I worry about the psychological implications for children knowing that their parents do not have a right to smack them when they are misbehaving.

    When you are a kid – you can’t always understand why your parents stop you from behaving a certain way..you often will challenge their ruling out of a sense of being ‘your own person’..but then when you grow up..often you come to understand why your parents did what they did.

    Children are their own people and an extension of their parents, but if you had a politico asking them about how they felt about their rights as regarded their parents – its making them open to another kind of more subtle abuse..possible brainwashing.

  9. I worry about the psychological implications for children knowing that their parents do not have a right to smack them when they are misbehaving.

    I think most kids really want their parents to be in charge and give them fair rules to live by. If a kid is pining for attention that way something else is wrong, and I think we should be offering parents the kind of support that helps find their best way out of those situations, S59 or no. 🙂

    Children are their own people and an extension of their parents, but if you had a politico asking them about how they felt about their rights as regarded their parents – its making them open to another kind of more subtle abuse..possible brainwashing.

    Well, right, neutrality of polling is even more important with kids because not all of them will do so well at detecting a leading question. Like I said, it’s an idea that’s difficult and makes me uncomfortable, but if we can’t agree that adults shouldn’t have the right to remove kids’ protections on their own then it’s certainly better than saying that because you’re a parent you can decide that your child does not need thorough protection against violence, because maybe you might lose your temper and make a mistake in your parenting.

    I think the job of parents in terms of their interaction with their kids is more along the lines of setting up boundaries- knowing that the right to unlimited chocolate is just a kid wanting to be indulged or making a joke, for instance 😉

  10. Okay now your old brother and I am NEW…..
    No this ain’t no weak chick….and I ain’t two steping to any of you!!!!.
    I am the REAL shit and so you need to work for you and yours!!!!
    I am so special and I am tired of playing nickels for dimes!

    So ReWIND…..or go SLOW
    Me and my FAMILY is staying LOW-LOW
    I can RISE hella high if I CHOSE to!!!!
    It’s called stocks and BONDS!!!!
    I need a new House with a fence and a yard!
    So i know I am HARD!!!!!
    Not a weakling BABY
    and this little birdie will never SING!!!!
    All the HOES have already SUNG….
    ” DUM, DUM,DUM!”

  11. When a girl is motivated she will do what it takes to make things right between Families….
    No matter what it takes,
    No matter how many mistakes she makes she will never give up!
    She hangs on and remains strong thru the storm…..
    She will always remain calm and always learns to get along!

    When a boy is motivated to get things in the right direction he keeps his mouth shut and keeps pressing on!
    Boys are smarter than girls in different ways,
    This is a no longer a secret it’s all about the truth!

    People should stop lying so much,
    and keep their mouths shut…….
    Because they are different in so many things!
    Talent comes and goes
    Which direction in life,
    Only God and You know!

    I was always ahead of the years 10 thousand years ago…..
    Already ahead of the Show……
    How do I know?
    The Bible tells me so!

    Thank God is ahead of my Life….
    and I will always move forwards in a new Direction
    Thank God for living Right every day….

    No matter where,
    No matter how long it takes….
    I will just be me…..
    and keep pressing on…..
    Until God comes to take me Home!

    So I am thankful for my E&T….
    Thankful and grateful for my E&J……
    Without them I wouldn’t Henessy and be without my Remi!

    So I will be a Ruff Ryder for LIFE!!!!!
    I will try not to be ashamed what these Haters said or did….
    One day when I make it BIG……
    It’s not how low can I go it’s how HIGH can I Rise!!!!!

    So here is the Answer Sky High…..
    This angel in disguise will keep soaring HIGH!!!!

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