Saturday, August 29, 2009

When the government protects us from ourselves...


Case in point, a story from the UK Times, titled "Social workers out to scupper 13-year-old girl’s round-world voyage"

Mike Perham sailed into the record books yesterday as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly but his entry is under threat from a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, who wants to make her own round-the-world voyage. Today she will find out whether the Dutch courts will let her do it.
Laura’s parents have agreed to her plans, but the Dutch Council for Child Protection is so concerned about the potential dangers of the trip that it has asked Utrecht District Court to grant it temporary custody of her so that it can keep her on dry land.

WHAT DID I JUST READ!?!?!?!? They want to have custody of the child because her parents are allowing her to pursue her dream of sailing around the world? Are you kidding me? From all accounts that I have read, there are no accusations of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect.

So on what grounds do they have to seek custody? I did a Google search on the "Dutch Council for Child Protection" and found the Youth Policy in the Netherlands website where I found this tidbit of information:
Child abuse in the Netherlands is approached primarily as a family, medical or psychosocial problem. Criminal law only appears in the case of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse. The provisions of the Dutch Criminal Code are tailored to these forms of child abuse. Unless deliberate harm to health can be demonstrated, legislation provides no opportunities to prosecute parents who have neglected or psychologically abused their child.
So, the government officials are now able to predict the future. They are basing their request on the POSSIBILITY of harm occurring to Laura on her voyage.

The Council for Child Protection fears that her plans could be linked to a need to impress or win praise from her relatives. “Laura has divorced parents and it is very normal for a child of this age to be very local to the parent [he or she] was living with,” said Richard Bakker, a spokesman. “How much does she identify herself with her father, who is a good sailor?”

So, parental rights should now able to be overridden by the FEARS of what COULD occur in the future? What kind of precedent does that set for the Netherlands? Will a parent lose custody of their child because they drive a car that could possibly crash, thereby injuring their child? What if they feed their child junk food too often? What if their child is obese? What if, what if, what if?
This is a perfect example of how government mission creep always leads to the trampling of the rights of the citizenry. Once everything is abusive, nothing is abusive.

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