Thursday, December 01, 2016
Australia: When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?
This highlights something I have long said. Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking. But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment. All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.
In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household. What else was he to do? Shut the kids out on the street? He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.
The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but taking a very mild view of the matter. He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think
The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.
The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.
Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.
Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.
The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.
The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.
In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".
"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."
Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".
But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".
However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.
The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.
Final Statement of Geert Wilders at his Trial
Mr. President, Members of the Court,
When I decided to address you here today, by making a final statement in this trial against freedom of speech, many people reacted by telling me it is useless. That you, the court, have already written the sentencing verdict a while ago. That everything indicates that you have already convicted me. And perhaps that is true. Nevertheless, here I am. Because I never give up. And I have a message for you and the Netherlands.
For centuries, the Netherlands are a symbol of freedom.
When one says Netherlands, one says freedom. And that is also true, perhaps especially, for those who have a different opinion than the establishment, the opposition. And our most important freedom is freedom of speech.
We, Dutch, say whatever is close to our hearts. And that is precisely what makes our country great. Freedom of speech is our pride.
And that, precisely that, is at stake here, today.
I refuse to believe that we are simply giving this freedom up. Because we are Dutch. That is why we never mince our words. And I, too, will never do that. And I am proud of that. No-one will be able to silence me.
Moreover, members of the court, for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have. Every day, I am reminded of that. This morning, for example. I woke up in a safe-house. I got into an armored car and was driven in a convoy to this high security courtroom at Schiphol. The bodyguards, the blue flashing lights, the sirens. Every day again. It is hell. But I am also intensely grateful for it.
Because they protect me, they literally keep me alive, they guarantee the last bit of freedom left to me: my freedom of speech. The freedom to go somewhere and speak about my ideals, my ideas to make the Netherlands -- our country -- stronger and safer. After twelve years without freedom, after having lived for safety reasons, together with my wife, in barracks, prisons and safe-houses, I know what lack of freedom means.
I sincerely hope that this will never happen to you, members of the court. That, unlike me, you will never have to be protected because Islamic terror organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, and who knows how many individual Muslims, want to murder you. That you will no longer be allowed to empty your own mailbox, need to carry a bulletproof vest at meetings, and that there are police officers guarding the door whenever you use the bathroom. I hope you will be spared this.
However, if you would have experienced it -- no matter how much you disagree with my views -- you might perhaps understand that I cannot remain silent. That I should not remain silent. That I must speak. Not just for myself, but for the Netherlands, our country. That I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country. Against Islam and against terrorism. Against immigration from Islamic countries. Against the huge problem with Moroccans in the Netherlands. I cannot remain silent about it; I have to speak out. That is my duty, I have to address it, I must warn for it, I have to propose solutions for it.
I had to give up my freedom to do this and I will continue. Always. People who want to stop me will have to murder me first.
And so, I stand here before you. Alone. But I am not alone. My voice is the voice of many. In 2012, nearly 1 million Dutch have voted for me. And there will be many more on March 15th.
According to the latest poll, soon, we are going to have two million voters. Members of the court, you know these people. You meet them every day. As many as one in five Dutch citizens would vote the Party for Freedom, today. Perhaps your own driver, your gardener, your doctor or your domestic aid, the girlfriend of a registrar, your physiotherapist, the nurse at the nursing home of your parents, or the baker in your neighborhood. They are ordinary people, ordinary Dutch. The people I am so proud of.
They have elected me to speak on their behalf. I am their spokesman. I am their representative. I say what they think. I speak on their behalf. And I do so determinedly and passionately. Every day again, including here, today.
So, do not forget that, when you judge me, you are not just passing judgment on a single man, but on millions of men and women in the Netherlands. You are judging millions of people. People who agree with me. People who will not understand a conviction. People who want their country back, who are sick and tired of not being listened to, who cherish freedom of expression.
Members of the court, you are passing judgment on the future of the Netherlands. And I tell you: if you convict me, you will convict half of the Netherlands. And many Dutch will lose their last bit of trust in the rule of law.
Of course, I should not have been subjected to this absurd trial. Because this is a political trial. It is a political trial because political issues have to be debated in Parliament and not here. It is a political trial because other politicians -- from mostly government parties -- who spoke about Moroccans have not been prosecuted. It is a political trial because the court is being abused to settle a political score with an opposition leader whom one cannot defeat in Parliament.
This trial here, Mr. President, it stinks. It would be appropriate in Turkey or Iran, where they also drag the opposition to court. It is a charade, an embarrassment for the Netherlands, a mockery of our rule of law.
And it is also an unfair trial because, earlier, one of you -- Mrs. van Rens -- commented negatively on the policy of my party and the successful challenge in the previous Wilders trial. Now, she is going to judge me.
What have I actually done to deserve this travesty? I have spoken about fewer Moroccans at a market, and I have asked questions of PVV members during a campaign event. And I did so, members of the court, because we have a huge problem with Moroccans in this country. And almost no-one dares to speak about it or take tough measures. My party alone has been speaking about this problem for years.
Just look at these past weeks: Moroccan fortune-seekers stealing and robbing in Groningen, abusing our asylum system, and Moroccan youths terrorizing entire neighborhoods in Maassluis, Ede and Almere. I can give tens of thousands of other examples -- almost everyone in the Netherlands knows them or has personally experienced nuisance from criminal Moroccans. If you do not know them, you are living in an ivory tower.
I tell you: If we can no longer honestly address problems in the Netherlands, if we are no longer allowed to use the word "alien," if we, Dutch, are suddenly racists because we want Black Pete to remain black, if we only go unpunished if we want more Moroccans or else are dragged before a criminal court, if we sell out our hard-won freedom of expression, if we use the courts to silence an opposition politician, who threatens to become Prime Minister, then this beautiful country will be doomed. That is unacceptable, because we are Dutch and this is our country.
And again, what on earth have I done wrong? How can the fact be justified that I have to stand here as a suspect, as if I robbed a bank or committed murder?
I only spoke about Moroccans at a market and asked a question at an election-night meeting. And anyone who has the slightest understanding of politics, knows that the election-night meetings of every party consist of political speeches full of slogans, one-liners and making maximum use of the rules of rhetoric. That is our job. That is the way it works in politics.
The Muslim Non-Shooter at Ohio State
"What you need to know about the shooting at Ohio State," blared a headline at USA Today.
Well, first of all, what you need to know is that it wasn't a shooting at all. It was evidently an 18-year-old Somali refugee — a legal permanent resident of the United States and a student at Ohio State University — who drove a car into a crowd before jumping out to cut and stab people with a butcher knife. (Ohio State is a gun free zone, after all...) A campus security guard opened fire, killing the would-be murderer. (College cupcakes protest cops until they need one.) Several people were hospitalized with injuries, some critical, from either the car or the knife.
Media reports about such attacks are notoriously inaccurate, as various outlets scramble to be the first out with a "news alert." And the template for such incidents is to blame a "gunman." But somehow we don't expect to now see reports of the "carman" or the "knifeman."
NBC notes, "The motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance." No doubt. After all, it was modeled after attacks in Minnesota and California, as well as another that was slightly more famous — the one in Nice, France. In that attack, as in the aforementioned and countless other attacks, the Islamic State-inspired radical perpetrator yelled "Allahu Akbar!" as he took the lives of innocent victims. In Nice, 85 people were mowed down by a terrorist with a 15-ton truck. In September, The Washington Post reported on the model, as well: "The attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis often appear to be spontaneous and opportunistic. Many are undertaken by young, unmarried Palestinians. The most common weapon used is a kitchen knife. The second most common is the family car." Check, and check. The Islamic State has called for such attacks.
Meanwhile, the attacker's Facebook page featured a few clues: "America, stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak... By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday." Furthermore, "I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured EVERYWHERE. Seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma led to a boiling point."
Well, it's not Ohio State students torturing and killing Muslims (and Christians and Jews and others). It's Islamic State radicals.
So you might say that, while the motive is unknown in terms of the official investigation, it is not a reach to speculate that radical Islam is, as usual, the culprit. Yet Obama has imported 43,000 Somalian refugees, 99% of whom are Muslim.
Can Democrats Quit Identity Politics?
For the Democrats, no activity is immune from reflexive accusations of sexism and racism, not even soul-searching.
The initial postelection debate on the left has brought some tentative breaks with the party’s oppressive and self-limiting identity politics. And they have been met, predictably, with a furious counterattack wielding all of the usual rhetorical weapons of identity politics — lest fresh air penetrate the intellectual and political hothouse where transgender bathroom issues loom incredibly large and it is forbidden to say “all lives matter.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, is mounting a challenge against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and argues that Democrats are hurt by a paint-by-numbers view of politics. “We try to slice the electorate up,” Ryan said on “Meet the Press” over the weekend. “And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’”
Ryan might have pointed to a critique of his own leadership bid by a writer at the website ThinkProgress, who opined that his run against Pelosi “is how sexism works.” How so? Ryan is a male; Pelosi is a woman. Q.E.D.
Outside of its political effects, this style of argument is childish and intellectually deadening, yet is too ingrained and widespread on the left to be extricated easily.
A recent essay in The New York Times elegantly diagnosed the problem and inadvertently illustrated it. Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and highly respected intellectual historian, wrote that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”
His piece itself occasioned a moral panic, focused overwhelmingly on how Lilla is, in fact, himself a white male. His op-ed was denounced from the left as “the whitest thing I’ve ever read,” and part of an “unconscionable” assault on “the very people who just put the most energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump’s ascension.”
Most reprehensibly and sophomorically, a Columbia colleague, Katherine Franke, accused Lilla of promoting a “liberalism of white supremacy” (and, for good measure, of “mansplaining”). One wonders if Franke has any conception of words and arguments as a means to persuade rather than to excoriate and shut down debate, or any inkling of her own self-satisfied intolerance.
Bernie Sanders has entered this debate over identity politics, and, incredibly enough, as a voice of reason. He is cautiously on the side of less emphasis on race and gender. “It’s not good enough,” Sanders said the other day, “for someone to say: ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” (Whom possibly could he have been thinking of?) The Vermont socialist argues, not surprisingly, that his style of populist economics is the real key to appealing to working-class voters.
The Sanders approach will have a lot of allure for Democrats, since it promises renewed political success on the basis of Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, only more so. There’s nothing more comforting to any political party than the idea that the true religion is also a reliable vote-getter.
What Democrats won’t want to grapple with is that their problem with Middle America goes deeper than an insufficiently socialistic economic agenda, and deeper than their hard-to-control instinct to call people who disagree with them names. To have broader appeal, Democrats will actually have to meet working-class voters partway on a few cultural issues, whether it is abortion or guns or immigration, even if their concessions are symbolical or rhetorical.
This is what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he made inroads into what would come to be known as Red America. This will be a truly painful step, and surely anyone advocating it will be accused of every -ism and -phobia in the book.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.