There's a reason we often talk about "faceless bureaucrats": it's because when bureaucrats attack, they do like being faceless. They don't like being exposed publicly. That way, perhaps, they can maintain the illusion to friends and family they're still human beings.
But many of them aren't. Power corrupts, and the near-absolute power delivered to many of them tends to corrupt absolutely. Many faceless bureaucrats have been corrupted by the scads of discretionary power allowed to them under NZ law, and they enjoy abusing that power and hiding behind the law. Many of these faceless bureaucrats are just Jobsworths ("it's more than my job's worth), but many have crossed a crucial line, going beyond any actions that can be called human -- going beyond arsehole into "some kind of urinary tract."
Exposing these pricks is like lifting a rock and watching the bugs scuttle and crawl around. When entrepreneur David Henderson was done over by the IRD, for example, he wrote about and photographed the pricks who had been doing him over. They hated it. And he won. When people tell their story to The Free Radical, outlining how they were done over by bureaucratic scum, they're always advised to name and photograph the pricks responsible. They hate it.
And now, as you would have heard yesterday, when people are allegedly being done over by faceless bureaucrats at CYFS -- removing children without cause; dividing families; placing children in foster care where "care" is the last of the things dispensed -- and a website is created exposing the faceless CYFS bureaucrats alleged to have perpetrated these monstrosities against good New Zealanders without any concern from the supposed watchdogs, instead of investigating the monstrosities the head of CYFS is concentrating his public energies on shutting the website down -- "working 24/7," says Ministry of Social Development CEO Peter Hughes, to have it shut down. (As Bernard Darnton observes, "Given the nature of the Internet, any information that is censored will no doubt just pop up somewhere else.")
They hate it, and they're so used to bullying they think they can bully the anonymous authors instead of confronting the claims. Remember that in libel cases, truth is an absolute defence.
When bureaucrats attack, they do like the anonymity of power; they do like being being faceless, and they really hate being exposed. As Clive Dunn used to say, "They don't like it up 'em." Clearly, the CYFSWatch website has touched a nerve. Has it touched a nerve because there is truth being exposed? Or does CYFS just dislike freedom of speech?
UPDATE 1: Remember that the law and the system offers little opportunity for recourse to people done over by departments such as CYFS. Argues the CYFSWatch website:
With the power to seize children without requiring evidence, the power to prevent parents access to their children without sufficient grounds, and the protection of the Childrens Commissioner, the Ombudsman, and the Ministry of Social Development to act negligently with impunity, it is time to turn the spotlight onto CYFS, a "corporate cult", and hold them accountable for the carnage they cause.If you remove the possibility of bureaucrats being held accountable in law for their actions, then you leave the people they do over few other options.
UPDATE 2: A fellow libertarian suggests, "a series of webpages for people to post their horror stories of an increasingly authoritarian state run amok with misguided social schemes? It will highlight how state solutions are generally the wrong ones and the danger of putting state power in the weak hands. If nothing else it will be a useful historical record for referencing
the state's stuff-ups." For example:
- RMAwatch (exposing Regional/District Council abominations)
As my libertarian friend says, "the web is a great tool for free speech, use it or lose it."UPDATE 3: No Right Turn's Idiot/Savant is on the case with this commentary:
Read I/S's full post here.
It should come as no surprise that people hate CYFS. Any organisation which separates parents from their children, however justified, is going to attract a fair amount of strong feeling - even if they had a perfect record and their interventions were never based on vicious smears by ex-partners, and never resulted in tragedy. Being composed of fallible human beings, working in often very murky situations and against the backdrop of a society which will not tolerate children being left in reportedly abusive households (which in turn promotes a "better safe than sorry" attitude), CYFS' record is far from perfect - which hardly encourages those they deal with to like them. Apparently, though, people aren't allowed to express this hatred or criticise their actions on the internet. The Ministry of Social Development's response to the CYFSWatch blog, which provides an anonymous platform for people to recount their bad experiences with CYFS, and "names and shames" the social workers involved, is simple: lawyers have been instructed todo whatever is necessary to get rid of this website
In a democratic society, this response is simply chilling. [It sure is.]A comparison with the (now departed) RedWatch is appropriate here....
UPDATE 4: Following on from yesterday's post, how about a website for PAROLE-BOARDwatch? Case stories of Graeme Burton, Bailey Kurariki and Stephen Anderson could be a good start: their stories, along with the stories of the people who let them out, or who are considering letting them out. Is there any reason the people who choose to put us at risk shouldn't be held accountable for their actions? Shouldn't justice be seen to be done, in full view instead of behind closed doors?
LINKS: CYFSWatch website
CYFS to gag name-and-shame site - Bernard Darnton, Section 14
Ministry will shut down critical website - Lindsay Mitchell
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Free Speech, Bureaucracy