Monday, 4 July 2011

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: I divorce thee, I divorce thee,I divorce thee

_McGRathLibertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath invites you to come on down to his surgery for an inoculation against this week’s stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.
This week:

  • NZ HERALD: “Swim star 'divorces' parents - A 17 year old New Zealander wins a court battle to allow him independence from his parents so that he can compete under his own steam as a swimmer without his parents' permission…

THE DOCTOR SAYS: This sort of situation may become more common over time, as social norms evolve. With 18 year olds now having the vote and being considered adults, there will be 16 and 17 year olds who feel they are ready to take on the rights and responsibilities of adulthood, and who are entitled to take that case before a court equipped to hear it. (Equally, there is very little option left to parents when their offspring will not accept 'house rules' and declare they wish to charter their own course through life.) 
    Of course, for the teenager this will mean having to finance all their living expenses and the cost of leisure activities, health maintenance and the like, and pay rent if they wish to remain living with their parents. It will mean teenagers having to do the time if they do the crime, or parents being expected to settle the bill for their children's misdemeanours - but not the taxpayer having to pick up the tab, as is too often the case now. 
    In a society based around respect for individual rights, there would need to be a clear indication as to exactly when parents pass onto each of their children the rights they hold "in trust." Either this would happen at age 18, or earlier if the child decided they were ready to assume adult responsibilities. 
    The Libertarianz Party supports the court's decision but hopes that in time the process of 'divorcing' ones parents could be streamlined and settled outside of the formal (and expensive) justice system through mediation and therefore with the consent of both parties.

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Fair enough comment, as far as it goes. Deborah points out that if you want to make sure that MPs rejected in electorate seats don't sneak back to the trough through the back door, then cross MMP and SM (supplementary member) off your list of options. Personally I like the sound of Single Transferable Vote, as you can vote for only those candidates you like, in order of preference. 
    But the Libertarianz Party's preferred electoral system is any system you like—provided the activities of our elected “representatives” are strictly limited to the protection of individual rights. Ideally, New Zealand would be a constitutional republic, a 'New Freeland' as it were. 
    Years ago, a handful of Libertarianz Party members wrote a suggested constitution for New Zealand that has stood the test of time. It is set on the bedrock of a principled defence of human rights, not the liquefaction of a 'living document' that can be interpreted to mean whatever the government of the day wants it to mean.  
    Basically, the Libertarianz Party doesn't have an opinion on the system by which MPs are elected but what they are able to do once they have been. We want more freedom and less government, regardless of how our governments are elected.

Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by
each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.

- Hugo Black (American jurist, lawyer and politician best
known for his absolutist belief in the Bill of Rights)

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath

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