Thursday, 8 March 2007

1 March 2007 - Garth George - Bill rides roughshod over the public will
Garth George: Bill rides roughshod over the public will

5:00AM Thursday March 01, 2007
By Garth George

The thing about Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill that gets right up my nose is not the stupidity and futility of it but that parliamentarians are permitting it to proceed in the face of the opposition of a vast majority of the populace.

It's not that the amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act will in the long term have the very opposite effect of what is intended, but that its promoters and supporters must be fully aware that up to 80 per cent of New Zealanders don't want a bar of it.

That's not new, of course, and neither is the fact that in every case that a majority in Parliament have gone against the wishes of the people who put them there, the results have been disastrous.

In 1977 the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act was passed in the face of stern public opposition. In 1986 the Homosexual Law Reform Act became law in spite of an opposing petition with more than 600,000 names.

More recently the public majority have been ignored while politicians have, among other things, lowered the drinking age, legalised prostitution and mandated civil unions. And, it should be noted, all but the drinking age law were introduced into Parliament while Labour governments were in power.

However, this is a Green Party initiative and when it comes to social engineering, the pinkish socialists of the Labour Party can't hold a candle to the bright red Greens, whose determination to force us all to live the way they think we should makes the old Soviet politburo look like a bunch of benevolent uncles.

I always thought that democracy was created so we could have, in Abraham Lincoln's immortal words, government of the people, by the people, for the people. But that doesn't seem to be the way of it any more.

Thanks to the corruption of our electoral system, democracy has transmogrified into government of the politicians (if our electorate tosses us out, we can stay on as party list members), by the politicians (we know best, so you'll do it our way), for the politicians (we'll stay in power no matter what we have to do or what odious compromises we have to make).

I always thought, too, that so-called conscience votes were just that - an opportunity for parliamentarians to vote according to their personal beliefs and not have to toe the party line.

No more. The rotten electoral system, with its self-serving coalitions and alliances, has put paid to that, too, and now we have Labour whips flogging their MPs into line in case their vote might offend an individual or group on whom it depends to govern. You can smell the stench of that from North Cape to Bluff.

The ostensible reason for the Bradford bill is that it will help deal with the epidemic of child abuse which afflicts this nation. It won't, of course - band aid solutions never do - and in the meantime it is taking the focus off the real causes of child abuse, most of which have resulted from ill-considered ideological legislation.

Jim Hopkins last Friday fingered the very worst - open-slather abortion. I agree wholeheartedly. It has been said time and again in this column that murdering babies in the womb is the most vicious and violent form of child abuse.

And don't try to tell me that a baby isn't a baby until it is born. I sat entranced a month or so ago while a couple of friends showed us a DVD of the earliest ultrasound scan of their baby, which is due later this year. I marvelled at the tiny human being floating in the womb, head, trunk and arms and legs and hands and feet perfectly formed and her minuscule heart ticking like a metronome.

And I grieved anew for the tens of thousands of such little ones torn from the womb in the past 30 years to the extent that we can no longer replace ourselves as New Zealanders and have to import foreigners to make up the numbers.

And I know that until we as a nation return to accepting the fundamental truth that human life is sacred and begins at conception, and that the traditional family is the best and safest place to bring up children, tots and toddlers in their hundreds will continue to suffer abuse, neglect and, too often, violent death.

But the bitterest irony of the anti-smacking fiasco is that in progressing the bill the Government and its running dogs will, in the words of Craig Smith, a Palmerston North father of eight, "alienate, threaten and criminalise the best allies any government could ever have in the pursuit of a peaceful, orderly society - responsible, hands-on parents".

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