Youth suicide and the meaning of life
New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the world – two or three young people per week kill themselves by some means.
While there may be a variety of triggers that lead to suicide; arguments with parents, failure in exams, breaking of relationships, rejection by friends, financial stress, loneliness, etc, if we focus on triggers or spout platitudes, we obscure from view something far more important, something I simply don’t hear addressed.
Our culture teaches kids that the world is ultimately meaningless. It does this at every level of the education system and through virtually all media. How? By denying that the universe has been made and therefore has a purpose. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that if the universe is ultimately meaningless, then so also are you as a part of the universe.
Now while this ultimate meaninglessness can be lived with if kept out of your face, when some stress in life occurs it can rise up and grab the young person by the throat as it were, enabling them to pop the pills, tie the rope or pull the trigger. If we teach kids that life is meaningless, then we shouldn’t be surprised if some of them conclude that life is not worth living.
The death penalty and the ‘sacredness of life’
Alex Colman (March 18th) says my question regarding the death penalty, ‘who says that life is sacred?’ does not require an answer. He implied that obviously life is sacred (inviolate) and therefore there should be no death penalty. Well I’m afraid it is not at all obvious, so an answer is required.
At all levels of our public education system, and promoted through virtually all media, human beings are presented as chance products of a mindless universe. This view was promoted vigorously on the recent ‘Human Body’ program on TV, and the Broadcasting Standards Authority has just ruled that by presenting it without competitors, it was not biased as it accurately represented current scientific orthodoxy. Such a view however destroys the idea that human life is sacred, saying that ultimately it is without meaning and value.
And this view is being applied! We have Government sanctioned executions of 15000 innocent unborn children each year, and talk of legislating euthanasia; we have an increasing number of people killing other people; and we have one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world. Yet ironically we have the life of murderers being defended on moral grounds!
You can’t argue meaningfully from this view that human life is inviolate and the death penalty morally indefensible because ultimately within it, all moral arguments are meaningless.
Colombine High School & Hitler
The shootings at the Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, once again have Hitler and his Nazi’s implicated and demonised. But the demonising process distorts reality and blinds. Hitler’s support did not come from a handful of disaffected youths but from a large majority of the pre-war German population.
Likewise today, Hitler’s heirs are found not just among those that explicitly associate with his name, as the trench coat brigade apparently did. They are found among those who support the ideas he promoted, but who would never draw a connection to him because of the demonised image that prevails.
For example those who support abortion and euthanasia could have felt very comfortable living in pre-war Germany, and no doubt would have voted enthusiastically for Hitler’s approach which was so near their own.
Kenneth Starr & ‘Presidential Assassin Hall of Fame
Tom Scott, in his cartoon of September 23rd, showing three candidates for his ‘Presidential Assassin Hall of Fame’ – John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and Kenneth Starr, got his third candidate wrong by a country mile. To be accurate as opposed to being politically correct, in place of Starr he should have put Bill Clinton shooting himself in the foot.
Why is Starr made out to be the baddy when all he is doing is exposing the utterly appalling behaviour of the President? Why should a person judicially empowered to pursue the truth be put on a par with cold blooded murderers? Perhaps because we no longer believe in truth, and so twist things to our own ends. As the Editor of the Post basically said the other day, lying is OK. Well if lying is OK, then it’s OK – in court, at work, in the media, in marriage – and certainly don’t expect kids to grow up valuing honesty, when they see us treating it so casually. Nor should we be surprised as our country goes down the ethical gurgler.
Augusto Pinochet & London High Court
The High Court in London ruled the Augusto Pinochet was immune from arrest because he was Head of State at the time he allegedly committed the crimes he is accused of.
Some may say, ‘But that’s not just. Since when have Heads of State been above the law? Isn’t there something wrong here?’
If you believe in absolute standards and a higher law, yes. But if not, no. Why shouldn’t Heads of State be above some law? Who’s to say they shouldn’t be the originator of law and not bound by those they make?
That is actually no more arbitrary and lacking in foundation than the present law of New Zealand. Maybe we appeal to some sort of historically derived convention, but there are plenty of historical precedents for dictators also. The differences should not blind us to the arbitrary nature of both. All law grounded in humanity is arbitrary.
There is one simple solution to the ‘toxic television’ Karl Du Fresne referred to in his ‘Opinion’ article (April 7th) that apparently is so far outside the square for most it escapes mention. Get rid of the TV. Don’t just turn it off. Get rid of it! Right out of the house – and for good!
Why for crying out loud is there so much moaning about the low quality of programmes, the banality of Holmes, and the endless Ads, etc? Is it that this thing has become the one absolute essential for living – without which we would die? Has it got to where no matter what is on, no matter how inane, trivial, toxic or debauched – or how much of it is of this nature, we will watch it?
Get a life! The TV media bods may consider themselves God’s gift to us all – mistaking delusions for reality – and most New Zealander’s apparently are conned. However this is one home where they have zero influence. They are just not part of our culture. Life is too rich and too short to waste on illusions.
‘We have to stop being so bloody pompous’
Dave Tomlinson via an interview with the Evening Post’s Phil Pennington (Insight, Nov 23rd), takes pot shots at everyone he thinks can be identified as an ‘evangelical’. The article reports Tomlinson as saying, ‘We have to stop being so bloody pompous’.
With all due respect, if he stopped ‘being so bloody pompous’ himself, then perhaps we could follow his example.
Sentencing violent criminals
On Saturday 14th Dec, you reported the case of a 25 year old man who pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping, seventeen charges of burglary, one of robbery, one of aggravated burglary, and two of using a document with the intent to defraud.
He was sentenced to six years imprisonment for each kidnapping, one year for each burglary, four years for the aggravated burglary, two for the robbery and two years each for the attempts to defraud. This adds up in my reckoning to 39 years, not a bad sentence when one knows, as I do, the huge amount of trauma, loss and insecurity this person caused his victims, in particular his last kidnap victim.
If that was it, one could rest assured at least the offenses had been taken seriously. However one then read the last sentence in the report: `The terms were to be served concurrently’. Suddenly a 39 year sentence is reduced to six as a maximum!
Pray tell me, how does thirty nine years mean thirty nine years when in reality it is only six or less? And how can one serve sentences concurrently? It is as much an impossibility as it would have been for the offenses to have been committed concurrently. Concurrent sentence serving is an absurdity.
On top of this, victims continually get shut out of the system, and virtually never – as in this case – have any restitution made to them in spite of their losses. This is just one case in thousands where victims and those who stand with them can only shrug their shoulders in disillusionment. Will we ever say as a community, that we have had enough of this judicial madness?
‘Christmas: What if it’s true?’
Libby Purves, in her otherwise brilliant article, ‘Christmas: What if it’s true?” (Dec 14) said, ‘Atheists often point out sternly that it is perfectly possible to be a moral and ethical person without religious belief: and so it is.’
This claim by atheists is nonsense, so Libby shouldn’t have blessed it with her agreement.
To claim in this way to be a moral and ethical person is to presuppose a universally applicable moral code against which human behaviour is measured. For atheists no such code exists.
An atheist’s moral code is what they choose for themselves. If they choose to kill babies or Jews they are moral; if they choose to lie and cheat, or be kind and compassionate, they are moral. Ultimately there is no difference between right and wrong. By definition everyone is moral! Therefore to assert from within their own worldview that they are moral is hardly to make the most profound of statements!
For their statement to have meaning they must step out of their own worldview and into one they claim to utterly reject. In doing so they shoot themselves in the foot, as well as acknowledge there is a real, permanent difference between right and wrong.
Libby should have pointed out that one consequence of ditching the worldview which provides the deep meaning for Christmas, is that philosophically, meaning is ditched from all of life, morality included.
The logic of Liberalism
How ironic that Lloyd Geering (March 29th) should rail against `fundamentalist Christians’ for claiming to have the truth, while he himself does precisely the same thing. He asserts absolutely it’s a relativistic world; that he knows the origin of all religions; that Christianity is wrong; that `God’ and `Christ’ and `Resurrection’ are just symbolic and humanly created, having no objective reality; that there is no supernature, only nature; that we are God, through being the only standard-makers and meaning-givers there are for life. He even claims to know about salvation, though clearly he’s got no idea what it would look like.
Given `in the universe everything, including religion, (is) relative’, as he claims, then I presume he would not object if someone knocked down his door, smacked him in the face, raped his wife, slit his kids throats, and burnt his house down. I mean everything is relative isn’t it? If someone thinks such actions are right for them, who does Lloyd Geering think he is to say they are wrong? If everything is relative, then everything is relative!
It’s all very well to pontificate from isolated ivory towers, the comfort of his rocking chair, or the pages of the Post. But when his ideas stalk the streets of Kelburn and literally smack him in the face, it could be another matter. Then again, he may rejoice the ideas he’s given his life promoting are being lived out around him!
The `World Court’ and nuclear weapons
The `World Court’ has ruled that nuclear weapons should be outlawed, calling them `the ultimate evil’- but was undecided about their use in self-defence. Many have greeted the decision with jubilation. However something lurks here which would be laughable, if it wasn’t so serious.
If the court had said nuclear weapons were OK, what then would these people have said? I imagine it would have been something like, “Who do the judges think they are – God?” or, “Stuff the World Court. It’s out of touch!” So, if we like the decision, we praise and accept it. If we don’t, we ridicule and reject it!
Clearly the appeal to the world court is not an appeal for real justice, or to any real standard of right and wrong. Transparently it is an attempt to gain an appearance of legitimacy for what we want. In other words it’s all about power and manipulation, not ethics, even though cloaked in ethical words.
This shouldn’t surprise us. It’s comes straight out of the philosophical desert late 20th century secular cultures are stuck in, a wasteland far worse than any produced by a nuclear bomb. The first move necessary to get out of this hole is to acknowledge there is a real higher law on which justice is based, and that this law is grounded in the character of the Creator of the Universe. Until this move is made, our appeals to `justice’ and our ethical statements, are actually without substance.
Richard Dawkins at Victoria University
Richard Dawkins, British author and University Professor, addressed a full house at Victoria University recently. Arranged by the New Zealand Sceptics Society, the lecture was supposed to show the great superiority of atheism and evolution, over the view which says the world has been made.
Britain’s leading evangelist for atheism and evolution, Dawkins’ sang the praises of a universe so large it removes totally all human significance, and asserted the sole purpose of bodies of any sort is to ensure the survival of DNA. `Science’ (he really meant `atheism and evolution’ but that’s an intentional mis-identification) had very little to offer ethics he said. Of course on that he’s almost right, so he should have passed ethics by without further comment. But he didn’t.
Dawkins, the fanatical evolutionist, simply does not want to live in an evolutionary world! Darwinism, he claimed without the slightest justification, provides an illustration of how NOT to order our society! Not for him natural selection in human relationships! Not for him the consistent evolutionary approach of Hitler! No Sir! Instead he runs to his enemy, the Judeo-Christian worldview, to provide him not only words and concepts, but kindness and compassion with which to fend off the horror of a consistent application of what he has committed his life to!
It says something about the insight and religious commitment of most of those present that they loudly applauded this man.
Stephen J Gould at Victoria University
Recently, ‘Living Treasure’ (the title ‘Living Treasure’ was given to a number of celebrities invited to NZ to speak or perform during the time of the New Zealand 1990 celebrations. RM), paleontologist, ardent evolutionist Professor S J Gould spoke to an overflow audience at Victoria University on the Darwinian Revolution in Thought. He was applauded loudly at the end and thanked profusely for such a stimulating and thought-provoking lecture, one which gave insight into the breadth of his scholarship, reading, and cultural appreciation.
What did this man say that brought such a response?
He told us that the truly radical thing Darwin said (which he agreed with) was that nature was purposeless and amoral. He said very few followers of Darwin over the past 150 years had had the guts to acknowledge this. Most had naively believed in ‘progress’ and ‘meaning’, ideas totally foreign to Darwinism, rather than being ‘liberated’ by realising there was no purpose to anything. Man, as much a part of nature and as much an accident as anything else, was also without meaning and morals.
How could anyone applaud such nonsense? It amounted to applauding one’s own meaninglessness and amorality. Yet the university hierarchy was there and applauded! If Gould is correct, and given his starting point there is no doubt he is, what is the point of universities and their stringent rules and regulations?
For goodness sake, if things don’t mean anything, why bother to speak and why does he rant so against creationists? Isn’t he assuming the very things he denies?
At the end of his talk he eulogised wisdom by tearing a passage out of context from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Ironically his talk had all the characteristics of folly as described in that same book.
PS: There was an interesting sequel to the publication of the above letter which I learned of about a year later. A lecturer at Victoria University who is a Christian, saw the letter, photo copied it, and, I understand, posted it on most of the notice boards at the university. I only found this out when he came to speak at the church I am part of and I introduced myself to him. He then told me of what he had done.
Boring moralistic rhetoric from homosexuals
Once again (July 10th) the boring moralistic rhetoric pours from homosexuals or their sympathisers. And once again some of them try their hand at Biblical theology but as usual turn it into a self-serving justification of moral abominations and unnatural practices. Robert Perry strings six negative adjectives together to try and impress upon us how Presbyterians are – you guessed it – homophobic!
But then S R Hammond excels him/herself in getting the Bible wrong.
- Where does Jesus say that unrepentant sodomites are his ‘brothers’?
- None of the ten commandments reads, ‘Love they neighbour as thyself’.
- The ‘image of God’ does not include moral perversion and unnatural acts. Yes, sorry, God is selective.
- We are born different – male or female – but no, ‘hermaphrodite, lesbian and homosexual’, are not some of the God created differences. These latter derived from human rebellion against God and his created order.
- No where does it say in the Bible it is a cardinal sin to condemn our fellow man.
- No where does any God-given right of equality mean all human actions are acceptable.
Six wrong out of six has to be a fail.
A ‘…dreary and inadequate abortion clinic…’
I was interested to note on reading the Insight article on Wellington Hospital, ‘The $52 Million Question’ (July 13), that a priority for the first 20 million spent, was ‘Moving Parkview Clinic on to the hospital campus’. This was elaborated on by saying that Parkview is a ‘…dreary and inadequate abortion clinic…’
I guess the present or new facilities could have the sort of treatment Hitler gave to the death camps – pleasant landscaping; nice, positive and encouraging words over the entrance – or perhaps happy, smilely faces could be pasted on every window and wall. I mean who wants death facilities to be ‘dreary’ places? And following Hitler, who on earth wants them to be inadequate! What is needed is efficiency, dis-assembly line stuff – only the unborn don’t have gold teeth to scavenge, or enough hair for mattress’s. I guess their skulls could be used as paper weights.
In ‘the Proposed Design’ I searched in vain for a plain identification of where the new, bright, exciting, and efficient Clinic was to go. The nearest I could find to it was in number 7 – ‘mortuary’.
The anti-smacking brigade
Comments made by Commissioner of Children Roger MacLay about the moral abuse deceptively committed against children by the Wellington City Gallery with their Keith Herring exhibition, made me think him quite responsible. But his recent proposal to outlaw smacking hasn’t produce the same result.
The anti-smacking brigade are either illogical, or have a false view of human nature.
Their flawed ‘logic’ says: ‘because physical discipline is physical, it is abuse’, or, ‘because some physical discipline is abuse, therefore all physical discipline is abuse’, You may as well say ‘because some speech is abusive therefore all speech is abusive’, which is just as silly. The conclusions don’t follow.
Human nature, especially that of children, seems understood to be morally angelic, never ever needing to be directed forcefully into morally acceptable paths. Such a view flies in the face of reality, and runs directly counter to what our Maker says regarding human nature at present.
Yes, of course physical discipline may at times be abuse. But for goodness, the solution is not to outlaw valid physical discipline but deal with the abuse and the philosophical and situational grounds that lead to it.
Further, I find it ironic that the Commissioner of Children crusades against parents and physical discipline of children, yet fails to crusade on behalf of the 15000 plus unborn children physically killed dead every year by State sanctioned killers.
A despicable ‘get rich quick scheme’
I am not financially rich, nor want to be, nor am likely to be (though I am immeasurably rich in many other ways), but I find it hypocritical in the extreme for the media to brand the financial scheme discussed in ACT MP, Owen Jenning’s office, as a ‘get rich quick scheme’, as though this is somehow a low down, despicable thing for them to plot.
Who knows how many New Zealanders every week are attempting to ‘get rich quick’ through Lotto, Scratch Kiwi, Horses, Dogs, Casinos, Poker machines, and in a rapidly multiplying number of other ways, and yet we never hear these cast in a negative light but as fun, excitement and entertainment, and all surrounded with light and colour and eye blurring action.
These all suck millions of dollars out of the disposable income area of local economies (over the whole nation that is billions of dollars!) with the corresponding loss of jobs, production and a host of other things. And this is not to mention the increase of pressures applied through them to individuals and families as a result of the loss of this money from their budgets, and the massive increase in need for non-productive social service agencies to deal with the many and varied detrimental effects.
Why aren’t the real villains targeted?
A ‘…softly spoken woman’ abortionist
How ironic that Margaret Sparrow, chief abortionist at the Parkview abortion clinic, who has killed thousands of children before they could be born, should be photographed alongside the photographs of two smiling children. (‘Rebel for a cause’, Post Sept 2)
‘Its hard to imagine,’ says the interviewer, ‘this softly spoken woman’, ‘(c)onservatively dressed in tartan skirt, navy sweater and cardigan with immaculate black hair and piecing blue eyes,’ ‘on the leather couch of her modest Kelburn home’, ‘has been at the forefront of protests for…abortion for more than 25 years.’
Likewise it is hard to imagine that refined, immaculately groomed and outfitted, classical music loving, devoted family men, who were Nazi death camp commanders, presided over the brutal murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. They also were masters at semantic camouflage.
A materialist’s solution to abortion
Jenny Shipley, in heralding the latest Government proposals to reduce abortion, articulated classic philosophical materialism. The reasoning goes like this: We have a problem, ie abortion. As material is all there is, the problem must be a material problem. To solve a material problem you need a material solution. What material solution could solve abortion? Great Scott, of course! Why didn’t we think of it before? The pill!
The problem is, abortion is not a material problem at all! It’s a moral problem. However because materialists deny morality (at least they do when it suits them), they cannot not address the issue as a moral problem and so completely miss the point. Unfortunately the Government and Mrs Shipley have functioned in this case as materialists and so have missed the point and will solve nothing.
Let’s make abortion more readily available
We should worried – it seems like our leaders have not grasped elementary logic.
Phil Goff says the the present abortion laws have failed to curb the rising incidence of abortion, therefore we need to make abortion more readily available. Pardon?
Evolutionists and narrow minded comments
C Burns (May 9th) in reference to evolution said that it was ‘logical and well documented’. He also said that ‘… to suggest that evolution did not and is not happening is narrow-minded and unfortunately typical of many religious people’.
Unfortunately Burn’s poncy, narrow-minded comments are typical of all too many evolutionists who assert ad nauseum that evolution is documented etc, without offering any evidence to support their statements. Other recent examples can be found in the National Geographic, the New Scientist, and the Listener.
I challenge Burns to give us some hard, incontrovertible evidence to back up his claims. Why doesn’t he begin with the origin of life, because for a process to occur it must start occurring. If it is impossible for biological evolution to start, it has never occurred, full stop.
I invite Burns to put his money where his mouth is.
Presbyterians and homosexuality
Don Borrie, in commenting on the possible split in the Presbyterian Church over whether or not it should ordain or licence as ministers or elders those who commit homosexual acts said, ‘…also, what will happen to people who refuse to declare their sexuality?’
I wouldn’t have thought that would create a problem because there are only two sexes! In all my life I’ve only had a problem working out whether I was looking at a male or a female one or two times. Even in these cases, if I had been allowed a closer inspection I’m sure I would not have had a problem determining the sex of the individual. As it is I’ve never had a problem when looking at a minister to know what sex I’m looking at.
Now what could be a problem for the Presbyterians, is knowing whether or not the potential minister or elder secretly commits perverted sexual acts – perverted that is as defined by the Bible which these same ministers or elders are supposed to uphold, and by the creation which homosexual acts violate.
Lambeth Conference & Anglo’s African Bishops
Well there is some consolation. Even though the Presbytarians didn’t get it right at their General Assembly, at least the Anglican’s did in ruling at their Lambeth Conference in England that sodomites cannot be ordained as priests. Clearly what the New Zealand Pressies need are a few more equivalents of the Anglo’s African Bishops, who haven’t succumbed to accept perversion of language, perversion of doctrine, or perversion of practice, as many of their western counterparts have.
Homosexuals and the First Commandment
Somewhat emotively, Tim Wright (18th March) charges all Christians with being `ignorant and morally corrupt’. He makes this charge because he claims some people were `throwing abuse at the members of the Devotion Parade’, and that these people were Christians. Now I don’t know whether any such people were doing any such thing as I wasn’t there – I would not attend such a parade. Given the tone of his letter I suspect a degree of overstatement.
But putting that to one side, Tim made a pretty basic mistake in his letter. He said, `…they (Christians) forget the first precept of Christianity which is to love thy neighbour as thyself.’
With all due respect, Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind. To love your neighbour comes second. It is precisely because homosexual acts are so clearly stated to be contrary to the Creator’s moral and design intentions for human beings that Christians are also opposed to such practises.
On the basis of the second command they then warn people indulging in such practices they are running foul of God’s word and world. Such warnings express love just as do warnings about dangerous corners on roads, warnings on poison bottles, or warnings about the destructive effects of addictive drugs.
Given the tone of his letter, anyone who disagrees with homosexual acts and their promotion and says so – no matter how mildly, would cop the charge of throwing abuse.
The Governor General and the 10 Commandments
The Post editorial of October 23rd, focused on an address presented by the Governor General, Sir Michael Hardie Boys, to the Wellington Prayer Breakfast and excerpted in the Post’s ‘Friday Forum’.
The editorial said, ‘The Ten Commandments are still pretty sensible guidelines for living, even in the 21st century and regardless of whether one is an adherent of the Jesus story or not.’
This statement is a fundamentally flawed. The primary commandment of the ten is the first which says, ‘I am the Lord your God…You shall have no other Gods besides me’. The other nine commandments build on and depend on this one.
Many over the last couple of hundred years have thought it possible, even desirable, to have the commands – and the safety and security they bring – without the God of the commands to intimidate us. But leave out the God of the commands and the commands reduce to suggestions without moral clout. Superficially they may look the same, but actually they change from absolute values to relative values. You shall not commit adultery? You’re joking! On every hand our culture encourages us to commit adultery. Without the Creator of the universe acknowledged as commanding it and judging violations, each person is free to do as they want, which is precisely where we are at, and we are paying for it.
Home schooling Yeh!
Each year a human interest story of a parents trauma of seeing their five years old off to school appears around this time. Yet the trauma for parent and child alike is so unnecessary. Why send them to school at all? Why not keep them home to enjoy them and educate them yourselves? And increasing number of parents throughout the country are doing just that and finding breaking the established educational moulds and expectations is just fantastic. After ten years of it our family is immeasurably richer for it.
Smoking – and mint, dill and cumin
So smoking has been hit again – 5 cents extra tax per fag. If the money is to pay for the health services required to deal with smoking induced health problems smokers voluntarily bring on themselves, fair enough. Far too many people off load the costs of their ‘life style choices’ onto the rest of us.
However it seems the Labour government is concerned here with more than just getting people to carry the costs of their own choices. For all the world it looks like Helen Clark and others are on a moral crusade, as though smoking is one of the worst of all possible evils and must be stubbed out – or at least priced out.
As I reflected on this, some insightful words from the past sprang to mind. ‘Straining out gnats and swallowing camels’ is what they said – taking a high and mighty stand about some dried weeds, while neglecting the really important things, ‘justice, mercy and right living’.
Just about sums up these modern day Pharisees.
Frying under 5000 mushroom clouds – big deal, or what it means to be truly human!
Professor Lloyd Geering has prophesied (Post, July 6) that the writing is on the wall for us human beings as it was for the dinosaurs. “Our careless destruction of the earth,” he says, is “because we do not appreciate fully what it means to be truly human.” And what does it mean to be truly human? We must recognise that the idea we are created is a myth – that actually we are a byproduct of evolution, “thrown up almost by accident at the end of a vast span of cosmic time.” Why did he insert the word “almost”? It either is an accident or it isn’t. Is he trying to have a bob both ways – to cash in on the Judeo/Christian ideas of purpose and design while holding the evolutionary scenario which denies them?
He goes on to say that the overthrow of traditional explanations of human origins “has been a revolution…we are just beginning to work through its implications.” This sounds very learned and discerning but is patently false. The implications of this view have always been as plain as day to those who have had the guts to to face them. If we have been thrown up by accident then there is no real morality or purpose and any words that suggest them are meaningless. To buy this idea is to reduce human beings to zero. Is that what he wants us to appreciate?
He implies we should do something to save our future but that assumes we are worth saving. Where does that come from? The product of a cosmic Monte Carlo game has no value to save so if we all fried tomorrow under 5000 mushroom clouds, big deal. There would be no tears shed at our demise and no obituary written. The universe would simply revert to the state it was in for the 4.5 billion years prior to our arrival.
Perhaps it is important to appreciate what it means to be truly human but clearly Professor Geering doesn’t.
To Liz Gordon – NZ Member of Parliament, re Bill
Member of Parliament
Thank you for your response to our letter opposing the Prostitution Reform Bill. I have some comments about what you wrote.
‘Removing the illegality of soliciting hardly makes it a compulsory industry.’
We did not say it would, nor do I know anyone who would say so. Thus your comment is a straw man. What it seems to indicate however is that you are not taking into account the educational aspects of law – that is, that a law sends a message to the population at large and informs them about what is and is not acceptable behaviour. What decriminalising will do is send out the message that prostitution is acceptable behaviour. Legalising any behaviour, legitimises that behaviour, and once behaviour that has been suppressed through law is legitimized, the incidence of it will increase. This in turn will increase the harmful effects of it, because with increased incidence, the total amount of harm will increase. The negative consequence of prostitution will not cease simply because it is made legal. The harm is inherent in the behaviour and will not stop at the passing of a law, only by the individual prostitute ceasing to prostitute themselves.
‘There is no justification in keeping prostitution illegal until it can be convincingly demonstrated that legalised prostitution “entices men to be unfaithful” to their wives.’
Nor is this what we said! Prostitution per se increases the incidence of unfaithfulness relative to a situation where no prostitution exists. If you increase the availability of prostitution, as this Bill will do through legitimizing prostitution, you will increase the incidence of unfaithfulness. Of course it is not the only thing that increases unfaithfulness (i.e. pornography also does) but it does so never the less. By legalising prostitution, you will increase unfaithfulness simply because the amount will increase as a result of what happens when an illegitimate behaviour is made legitimate. I do not know to what degree you care about faithfulness, sexual or otherwise, but I care a great deal about it.
‘Men do not use prostitutes because they are available, except in the sense that if prostitutes were not available they would find other physical outlets for their desire. On the contrary prostitution has developed to assuage those desires.
The mind boggles on this one – but I do note your Freudian slip that ‘men use prostitutes’. Exactly right! Prostitutes are ‘USED’! That is one reason my wife and I oppose it. Prostitution dehumanizes, and depersonalises the prostitute through them being ‘used’ – you have said it yourself. I for one have a great deal of difficulty getting my head around the fact that women’s groups and a woman MP – actually most if not all woman MP’s – would legitimize through law behaviour that uses, thus dehumanizes and depersonalises anyone, but primarily in this case, women. I have too much respect for women to be party to anything that dehumanizes and depersonalises them, and am surprised that you as a woman are willing for women to be used in this way.
‘Can you demonstrate to me a single country where outlawing prostitutes has resulted in their non-existence?
With all due respect, it bothers me greatly that we have people in Parliament who do not seem to have grip on logic, and who thus persist in using straw men arguments to justify their stance. Who has ever said that ‘outlawing prostitutes’ will result ‘in their non-existence’? We certainly did not. We are not dreamers! The purpose of a law against unacceptable behaviour is to reduce the incidence of it, and to drive underground those perverse enough to persist in it never the less. In an ideal world a law may be sufficient to remove the behaviour altogether, but we do not live in an ideal world.
Laws against pedophilia reduce the incidence of it and drive those who practice it underground. Laws against theft provide a check against thieving, and drive thieves underground, or at least into the night – mostly. Laws against smoking are intended to reduce the amount of smoking that is done. Does the Government think that by passing laws to limit smoking that it is going to make smoking non-existent? Of course not. But it is intent, never the less, on reducing the amount of smoking that goes on.
Any purported ‘disastrous consequences for’ prostitutes ‘or their clients’ due to them being ‘driven underground’ results from the disaster that prostitution inherently is. You will not stop the so-called disasters by legalizing and thus legitimizing this disastrous behaviour. You will only increase the number of ‘disasters’.
I cannot support your proposal and believe that Tim’s bill provides the best option for a democratic society’
I’m sorry, but I can’t see the point of you introducing the idea of ‘a democratic society’ into the discussion. Virtually every other MP who has expressed support for the Bill and has given me reasons for their support have said the Bill will allow, and I use Jim Anderton’s words ‘…for more effective health promotion work and enable issues of prostitutes’ employment rights to be addressed.’ While I find these reasons specious, shortsighted, and morally unacceptable, at least they relate, even if in a specious manner, to the issue. ‘A democratic society’ does not appear to relate at all.
Parliament lowered the drinking age against strong opposition from those at the coalface where the effects of alcohol abuse are seen. The results are now becoming evident suggesting the critics were right and Parliament acted unwisely. I predict the same will happen if this action you are bent on taking is implemented. The statistics highlighting the reality of what is occurring at present are against you.
For the sake of the women (and men) being used and damaged in New Zealand at present as a result of prostitution, and for the increased numbers who will be used and damaged in the future if this Bill is passed, I would ask you to reconsider your support for the bill.