“Use the (reasonable) force, Luke!” by underground

To accompany my blog on statistics used to support arguments, I thought I’d post a few thoughts on the repealing of section 59 of the Crimes Act, and on lobby groups in general. These thoughts are no doubt unpopular, but it’s good to disclose ones opinion! It is somewhat simplistic, there are a few generalisations and even an admission of ignorance. However this is far more honesty and sincerity than you would ever get from the deceitful lobby groups in this country. I’m not finished with them on this blog!

The lobby groups that campaigned against the bill before it became law were all too often inclined not to argue about the issue at hand, which was that abusers were using the defence of “reasonable force” to get off assault charges, but opted for scare-mongering and redundant biblical “spare the rod, spoil the child” arguments. Personally, I can see the need for the law, and although I can appreciate parents concerns and the complexity of the issue, it appears to me it will be forgotten in the future and accepted by the public, like smoking laws or the outlawing of violence against women. As I am not a parent, I cannot speak from experience, so I cannot pretend to understand how difficult it is to raise a child/children today. But that does not mean that I believe with any less conviction that those that have campaigned strongest against the law either hold weak arguments, have sadist tendencies or misinformed opinions. Perhaps I think this because those that were the most vocal in objection to the law were usually rabid religious fanatics or vote hungry politicians, who may have drowned out the voices of rational objectors. But when most respectable organisations (Barnardos, Plunket and even some respected religious institutions) and child experts support the law, I am inclined to respect their opinions over those who I tend disagree with on every other occasion. That’s my position on the issue anyway.

I think instead of engaging in intelligent debate, the lobbyists like Family First have opted for propaganda and smear campaigns in their fight against particular laws. This is typical of a lot of debates in this country and it gets us nowhere. So whilst one may claim a particular poll proves that New Zealanders feel a certain way about an issue, what it may perhaps illustrate even more successfully, is how uninformed we are on an issue. Ultimately, this is my main objection with referendum, true tyranny of majority in action.



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[…] “Use the (reasonable) force, Luke!” […]

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