Ideology behind anti-smacking lobby
Trickery, ideology and a largely sympathetic media behind anti-smacking lobby
As usual with the corporal punishment issue, with the publicity surrounding Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act I see a mass of misleading and biased media coverage. Having followed attempts to ban smacking in N.Z. for 25 years, I can say categorically that it is ideologically driven. Therefore, instead of reasoned and informed debate the N.Z. public is constantly being deceived and misinformed.. The issue is invariably masked with devilishly fallacious argument and extreme and emotive rhetoric to sway public opinion.
Hence the latest pretext for this push to abolish CP: that the present law is inadequate because it “allows” parents to even use whips etc. on children. It allows no such thing. It only allows for reasonable force to be used, and if the courts/juries make problematic judgements and cannot even determine that using whips etc. is unreasonable, then that is a problem for the courts/juries to sort out, or for a clarification of the definition of what constitutes “reasonable force”. It is not good reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater and abolish a parent’s right to administer reasonable force to an errant child.
Before getting to the ideological aspect of this issue, just a few examples of the typical deviousness and straight-out dishonesty perpetrated by the anti-CP brigade, and note how their excuses to abolish such legislation change over time.
25 years ago Section 59 of the Crimes Act also allowed for CP in schools. Parents had the same right as is in today’s Section 59, but back then they also had the right to delegate it to school staff, kindergarten staff etc… (“to any child or pupil under his care”) to administer punishment to their children.
By 1981, however, the radical (Auckland) Feminist Teachers formed CAVE (Campaign Against Violence in Education). The attack was on to remove half of Section 59 : the right of parents to have schools administer CP on their behalf, if deemed necessary.
Also behind CAVE was the (Cuban-aligned communist) Trotskyist Socialist Action League (SAL, now Communist League); one of their key lobbyists was Matt Robson, then a teacher at South Auckland’s Tangaroa College and later a lawyer, and now a Progressive MP. As well, SAL leader back then, Keith Locke, is now a fellow Green M.P. of the sponsor of the bill, Sue Bradford. She of course is a communist, but of the Maoist variety.
Throughout their 1980’s campaign CAVE used every trick in the book to deceive and mislead the public about their real goal and the ideology driving them. They rigidly stuck to the line that they were simply opposed to “violence” and wanted a “violence-free school system” etc. Oh, no, they had no intention of trying to have home CP abolished, a goal which I constantly accused them of.
I could write a book about all of the trickery involved with that campaign and of the activists who paraded unchallenged through the media mouthing their supposed concerns about “violence in schools” (“We don’t hit big people”… “children will grow up to be violent” etc.)
Then, after the 1989 removal from Section 59 of parents’ right to have CP administered in schools, the battle turned to removing this right from parents in the home. Yet we never read or hear of this historical background to the issue, let alone of the insidious ideological influence behind it. To reveal that would just be the death knell to the credibility of the whole anti-CP brigade.
So what is its real background? I’ve mentioned the Feminist Teachers and the Trotskyist S.A.L. but it gets even deeper than this. It goes back to the very United Nations itself. Take for example the N.Z. anti-CP group EPOCH (End Physical Punishment of Children). Beth Woods is spokesman for that group as well as for UNICEF, and UNICEF has an “Anti-War Agenda” which includes “the resolving of differences without violence”.
The N.Z.Herald of 13th March 1996 had a refreshingly revealing feature on this headed “Violence is children’s way of life”. Because of many worrisome aspects of children’s lives worldwide, UNICEF has launched this Anti-War Agenda which aims to protect such children.
However, reported there, “it is also seen as consolidating awareness of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The report then lists the main points of that Anti-War Agenda, one of which reads :-
Education for peace as part of the school year, all countries should include methods of resolving conflict that develop mutual understanding and show how differences can be resolved without violence.
Interestingly enough that Herald report appeared the same morning as media pandemonium erupted about a so-called epidemic of school bullying, which it transpired (after I had notified ZB’s Leighton Smith and he had investigated further) was a deliberate anti-violence campaign concoction, pure and simple, with “statistics” from the office of the Children’s Commissioner, who of course is a UN representative, no less!
So the UN, “peace” campaigners, “anti-bullying” campaigners, “child rights” activists and general fellow leftists, including the atheistic Secular Humanists who are notoriously anti all legitimate authority, are all part of the “anti-violence” mix here, and ultimately the international anti-war pacifist movement. Also, no surprise that our very leftist Labour Government is to support the Bradford bill to Select Committee stage. It will be no coincidence that one of its favourite (list) MP’s-in-waiting, long-time political lesbian Maryan Street, was a key figure in Feminist Teachers when CAVE was founded around 1980-81.
Now for some present day examples of dishonest, misleading and emotive CP debate and just plain unsubstantiated hokum:-
Plunket. Radio N.Z.news 12th June 2005. Spokesman Deborah Morris-Traver (?) says smacking children creates fear, undermines their mental health and wellbeing, and sense of trust between parents and children, “and therefore it doesn’t teach children to — er — alter their behaviour in a positive way….research shows it is not an effective form of discipline.” (All entirely unquestioned and unchallenged)
Plunket N.Z. President Kaye Crowther, interviewed by Paul Henry on Radio Live 13th June 2005. Ostensibly, their concern was simply with the alleged inadequacies of Section 59, (i.e. in relation to recent puzzling jury decisions etc.) yet she hedged every time she was asked hers and Plunket’s view of ordinary, reasonable smacking (which she insisted upon calling “violence”) making it only too clear that their true, deeper concern was to have smacking banned altogether : “It’s no longer acceptable….want to make N.Z. a safer place….violence not acceptable anywhere..”
So while Plunket gives the impression that their support for Bradford’s bill is concern about the alleged inadequacy of Section 59, and, therefore, that they would be satisfied with it if there were more satisfactory court outcomes, etc., it seems that they really oppose any corporal punishment whatsoever , even the most reasonable, but are reluctant to admit it!
Sue Bradford. Interviewed by Paul Henry on Radio Live, on 10th June 2005. She also rigidly described all smacking as “violence” and even “assault”, no matter how light it might be. She artfully declared that her bill “Just simply repeals Section 59. It doesn’t do any more than that, e.g. suddenly criminalise smacking.” No, that would require further legislation, which would be sure to follow!
However Bradford did reveal a little of her extreme views. When Maxim Institute’s Greg Fleming said that repealing Section 59 would take away a parent’s authority, “and we don’t want to do that”, she lamely retorted : “It’s really the old idea that parents have such control over their children that we can assault them quite badly” etc….
To a question of wanting a legal definition (in Section 59) of what is acceptable physical force, she doesn’t want this : “Because then all you’re doing is calibrating what degree of violence you’re allowed to use against our children”. Then, a veiled admission to what really motivates her : “We belong to the Convention on the Rights of the Child — that you don’t commit acts of violence against children!” Moreover, that same day on Radio N.Z. Morning Report she expressed the hope that children also would send in submissions, if and when they are called for on her bill!
I’m sure there will be some opponents of CP, perhaps swayed by the traditionally one-sided debate on it, who are well intentioned and with only the most honourable of motives. Nevertheless, the evidence of over 25 years convinces me that overall, diehard anti-CP lobbyists can be sly, shifty, slick talkers, dishonest and hypocritical. They talk around what they really believe and really want; anything, it seems, but admit outright their true deeper motivation and goal — the UN – child rights — undermining of school and parental authority, and “empowering” of youth – because they will well know that that would be the death knell to their credibility and there would be a public uprising against them.
So the linking of inadequate court decisions on corporal punishment cases of late to a call to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act would seem to be but one more convenient pretext for pushing this covert ideological cause. After all, it has been bubbling along for 25 years, certainly long before the occurrence of such recent worrying court outcomes.