If the Straitjacket Fits ...

105 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Stephen Judd,

    Stibbons, I know you to be a man who seeks to understand the universe. Here's an important rule: never give a monkey the key to the banana plantation .

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    In some ways we have a lack of *real* problems:

    50 years ago we'd recently had a major war that ended in 30 million dead and nukes being used for the first time. Russia and America had thousands of said nukes and the propensity to use them. Most countries suffered from double-digit inflation and very high unemployment, often at the same time. People were still dying of polio and smallpos.

    Most of that is now fixed. Osama might kill a few thousand, but he's never going to make one million dead, let alone thirty. Economic management has advanced to the stage where most economises haven't had more than a mild slowdown in the last ten years. And most people die because they've reached the age where their bodies wear out.

    So governments are looking for other things to fix - like the fact that children misbehave, people who eat too much get fat and boys of all ages want to do dumb things.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    That's a good point. And surely if we no longer have these big problems, surely we don't need so many politicians to make up new ones. :D.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Head,

    Pratchett quote for the win, Mr Judd!

    Speaking as someone who has been known to express a deep affection for the nanny state (although usually as it applies to welfare; the same attitude which wants kids to learn through hurting themselves is IMO easily extracted to the mindset that wants people in financial difficulty to learn from financial hardship...) I think legislating for responsibility - because there are idiots and malicious people out there - is inevitable and sometimes necessary. But in the case of the hot-button issues - fireworks and drinking age - I'm tempted to disagree, and not just because I'd go from being able to buy alcohol and have a drink in a pub without my parents (who live in a different city!) to, well, not being able to. The problem is not that 18 year olds can't drink responsibly, because there are many countries where 18 year olds can and do; the problem is that they are encouraged to drink irresponsibly. The frequently-given examples of France and Germany and half a dozen other countries, where drinking is managed appropriately, remains relevant. Teenagers in New Zealand (And the States, and Australia, and elsewhere) are enamoured of heavy drinking because it's fun, not because the drinking age is too low. Acclimatising kids to drink responsibly is the only way to really address this problem - maybe fewer 20 year olds will seek to drink irresponsibly, but in my experience 20 year olds who choose not to drink heavily do it because they're sick of it, not because they have realised the error of their ways and are afraid of hurting themselves.

    Frankly, the more society seeks to paint teenagers as irresponsible and divest them of the ability to make choices, the less responsible nineteen, I can get married or join the army, I might already have been in the workforce for a year or more, my parents no longer have legal guardian status for much (except of course student allowances). I am functioning as an adult in society and making a lot of decisions significantly more important than deciding whether or not to have a drink.

    *shrug* But in other cases I totally buy into the nanny state, so who knows?

    Te Whanganui-ā-Tara • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    As far as I'm concerned the bunch down in welly are nowhere near the model I'd seek for social responsibility or ethics. It has been quite astounding the barefaced corruption that this government has been repeatedly caught at. These people want to tell us how to live? Banning something just gives it added cachet and in terms of fireworks that's just a dumb idea. I liked the idea of licensing for purchases (could be extended to year round supply) and could be run by police in the same fashion as firearms licenses are at present, with vetting processes etc. Myself I managed to convert a replica flintlock pistol made in 5th form engineering at Waitakere College in west auckland ('side) to take a double happy and fire a metal projectile like a small socket nearly 80m, heh.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    As far as the drinking age is concerned I'm in agreeance with Te Brown about the split level solution, 18 for bars (supervised consumption) and 20 for off license purchases (unsupervised drunken falling). I had many years experience in hospo before becoming a school teacher and saw lots of really dumb stuff mostly perpetrated by teenagers who seemed to think it was there right and in some cases civic duty to endanger the general public. It wont be hard to implement at all nothing changes for bars 18-19s can still enjoy a beverage in a comfortable and safe environment while slightly (and I emphasise slightly) more mature people can purchase for their own use outside of a licensed premises. It is the most logical solution which means this being NZ, it'll never happen.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    When I was at school there was a standard way that teachers seemed to deal with problems: one person misbehaves, the entire class must be punished. So if one kid chewed gum in class, the rest had to join them in scraping discarded gum off the concrete.

    So it is here. Some teens are getting drunk and vomiting their way down Courtenay Place, some people are torturing cats with fireworks, some people are taking way too may party pills and doing both of the above and, therefore, we must all be punished.

    Look how many teachers are in the Labour Party. It's no coincidence.

    But I would ban fireworks just so my next door neighbours couldn't keep me up for three days with them....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    But I would ban fireworks just so my next door neighbours couldn't keep me up for three days with them....

    Actually, I have another idea... why donm't we ban your neighbours (and their ilk) instead?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Tui
    I think learning some things by making mistakes is good but to suggest that I might extend that idea to also think we shouldn't help those who've made serious fianacial mistakes and now need the communitys' (governments') help is a little harsh.
    The thing for me is there are some things I believe it is appropriate for the nanny state to get involved in but that does not mean I think the nanny state should be involved in everything and vice versa.
    In other words there are places where I draw a line.

    When it comes to allowing undeveloped brains to be in charge of lethal weapons I do think the state has to step in.

    When we are talking about drinking age ... well the analogy I drew the other day when I first replied to Russell was of our coffee culture. There are enough studies done that strongly suggest that coffee - in excess - is not good for developing brains. It's probably not a good idea to give your 5 year old a double espresso with a perfect crema.

    And you know what, I doubt there are any barristas in NZ who would give a 5 year old an espresso. Should we legislate to make sure in never happens? - er no - because we don't need to legislate. Because education has done the job already.

    Teenagers, those irresponsible animals that I personally think should not be allowed to drive, know pretty well the effects of 12 espressos before lunch. And while they might spend a large amount of time in coffee houses they generally don't drink coffee to excess. How the heck have we managed to establish a mature balanced (if somewhat fanatical) culture around coffee and failed utterly to create the same mature balanced culture around alcohol.

    The answer I think is by taking a mature balanced approach to coffee. On Sunday mornings throughout Auckland definately and I bet throughout NZ the coffee machines churn out a huge number of fluffys that allow children to partake in the culture of the cafe without any risk. As they grow older most preteens get to try coffee and learn their limits. As teenagers many have abused coffee at some time and paid the price in the evil "I missed my coffee this hour" headache. But they don't do it often and they learn the joys and risks of coffee. Compare that with the way most children are exposed to alcohol.

    If only we learned how to drink alcohol the same way.

    So I'd love to see the drinking age laws loosened and teens taught (in school?) how to drink and have fun without getting smashed. Banning alcohol will never teach the teens how to drink for pleasure and not for pain.

    So personally I'd like the nanny state out of the alcohol debate. But that doesn't mean I want the nanny state out of everything - I do want them to raise the driving age - I do want our community (the state) to provide a safety net for people when they stuff up their lives. There are issues where I want the state to be involved and issues where they have no role, and each issue needs to be debated on it's own merits. Drawing analogies from one issue and applying them to anoher is fraught with risk, a risk to be avoided of course.

    Again does any of this involvement supress innovation - I have no clue. But to be honest I haven't seen a real connection raised yet, except perhaps the Jaapanese model but there you are looking at a hugely different culture.

    So here's a question

    Are we actually any less innovative now?

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Not just the Labour party, but yes there does seem to be a disproportionately high number of them there. I'd be more inclined to think that was due to the highly unionised nature of that particular workforce and the close links between the union movement socialism and the Labour party. As far as collective punishment goes its not something I'm into, my charges know that if they mess up they will be held responsible, not their peers as well. That's just a sure fire recipe for bullying.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    So I'm guessing that you're a teacher now, Reece. Glad to see a slightly more enlightened attitude to punishment there. But generally the people who caused everyone to have to stay after school were the bullies anyway. Which was the problem with the system - the teachers wanted us to dob in the culprits but no-one ever would for fear of getting the shit kicked out of them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    right you are. Yeah I remember those days too, especially one particular homosexual intermediate teacher who delighted in mincing about flexing his cane like some sort of phallic symbol. Kind like some of our current police force do with their pr24s.
    Just wondering?
    Has anyone been having issues with bandwidth since teleclown 'unleashed' broadband speeds? Myself I had a 3.5 Mbs connection that ran at that speed all of the time. Since the unthrottling of the local loop it hasn't run at anything over 1.2 Mbs! I wonder will Teleclown make adjustments to bills accordingly or just charge and barge.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Kiwiliz,

    I do not like all this legislating to 'protect' people and children from themselves. I see some schools in america are banning tag in the playground incase someone gets hurt. Children need to play and risk getting scrapped knees etc, and the odd broken bone. It helps them work out in their heads what limits there are. they need to stretch, they need to run around, they need to experiment with finding out what they cannot handle and what they can.
    Raising the drinking age has the same affect, there will be no chance for teenagers to find out what they can't and can handle, and do they magically become responsible when they are 20?

    I have watched the increase in the nanny state for a while now. Too much legislation. Whatever happened to taking responsiblity for your own actions or stupidity? You got it wrong you learnt. Now we are increasingly taking those life lessons away from teenagers until we 'deem them old enough'. and when they are chronologically old enough what then? They are let loose with few life lessons.

    Korea • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Head,

    <b>Bart said</b>:

    I think learning some things by making mistakes is good but to suggest that I might extend that idea to also think we shouldn't help those who've made serious fianacial mistakes and now need the communitys' (governments') help is a little harsh.

    You're quite right, and I wasn't thinking of you specifically or, actually, anyone posting here. Even if I had been, it's a distraction from the point and was a sloppy paragraph; sorry! [FWIW, generally when talking about the nanny state that's the context I'm talking in, which was the reason I mentioned it.] I also thoroughly agree with your points about education and I think your coffee culture example is hilarious.

    As for being less innovative... I think there's less immediate social pressure to be innovative, actually. Most people live in cities where on a daily basis problems have immediate and convenient solutions. Innovation is fostered by a need for a convenient solution that is not available, combined with creativity etc etc etc. The point is, what with the population drifiting citywards and progressive modernisation of... well everything, possibly discourages or makes irrelevant innovation. I don't really think it's a product of being nannied though - the connection between creative problemsolving and experiencing a lot of pain as a child seems a little dubious to me ;)

    On the subject of collective punishment and teachers (and, wow, inappropriate grudges much?): it's undeniable that punishing the many for the crimes of the few is, you know, crappy. On the other hand, I think banning or restricting sale of x because of the stupid and dangerous stuff subset a of large group A does is less about punishing A by denying them access to x and more about protecting both a and A. Which could probably be achieved by better education, but nevertheless, I wouldn't interpret it as a punishment.

    Te Whanganui-ā-Tara • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Tui Head,

    Crud, we really need to be able to edit! (I wonder if they'd consider enabling basic HTML tags though?)

    Te Whanganui-ā-Tara • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    "Children need to play and risk getting scrapped knees etc, and the odd broken bone. It helps them work out in their heads what limits there are. they need to stretch, they need to run around, they need to experiment with finding out what they cannot handle and what they can." Couldn't agree more, Liz. As a teacher in public kindergartens of children between the ages of 3 and 5, I'm always seeking ways to create environments that provide a challenge and provoke some development of risk assessment. How do children learn how to assess risk, and what constitutes risk, if they never face any?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    Has anyone been having issues with bandwidth since teleclown 'unleashed' broadband speeds?

    If you're not a Telescum customer and you're in a high uptake area then yes, you probably will see slowdown. Xtra customers ultimately get priority at the exchange but you didn't see it when everyone was throttled down. Just another weapon in their anti-everyone-else arsenal.

    I'm in agreeance with Te Brown about the split level solution, 18 for bars... I had many years experience in hospo before becoming a school teacher and saw lots of really dumb stuff.

    Annnd... they will still be able to drink in bars under that system, so that wouldn't solve the problem.

    *shrug* But in other cases I totally buy into the nanny state, so who knows?

    Thing is, I don't think we are a nanny state yet, but I believe we are well on the way.

    I was trying to make people consider that there is actually a downside to keeping people safe from themselves. I agree that a fireworks ban would probably cut down on injuries, but I strongly argue that the cost to our culture is too high. And it's not only banning fireworks, but the whole ethos around molly-coddling everyone.

    Lobotomise everyone and we get the same effect without a lot of pesky law-making.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    (to clarify, saying that the society you see today is not a nanny state, so don't get too comfortable claiming you're fond of it)

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    "Annnd... they will still be able to drink in bars under that system, so that wouldn't solve the problem."

    Missed the point hamish, The idea is that host responsibility precludes excess drinking to intoxication and thereby less bad effects on an unsuspecting joe (or jolene) public. This assumes that licensees actually are interested in host responsibility, which is a whole other discussion.
    Also regarding the internet speed thing I'm with xtra so if I am getting priority at the exchange I shudder to think whats going down for everyone else.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Lee Wilkinson,

    I have to admit that the utterly absolutely crazy life and limb endangering stuff I did as a kid now gives me an understanding of why parents go gray. I didnt need the internets to learn how to make medium velocity explosives or really bad wine and my folks just sort of let me do it all. Man we have become so risk averse that I wonder what adventure beyond the couch and mouse our kids will get up to. We are socially obligated to remove risk where it is obvious but the darwin awards prove we havn't managed to remove it from human conciousness.
    I think I see a consensus in that learning follows mistakes. Fortunately there are enough of us to allow some pruning and yes, it hurts, I have been in pain since age 13 from a jumping encounter with a rock in a dirty river. The analogy applies to many aspects of life, we are going to make fatal errors and no amount of nanny will stop it.

    Whangarei Heads • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    We're not talking scrapped knees in the playground though are we? You don't just learn what your limits are if things go wrong with fireworks, you end up seriously burnt, or blind, or starting a fire.

    If a nanny state is one that takes responsibility for those of its citizens who aren't sufficiently developed to take care of themselves, then bring it on.

    Typing this while the neighbourhood around me resounds to the traditional Guy Fawkes noises of explosions and sirens. With a bit of luck the scrub in the hills around me won't be set alight tonight.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    So now we're legislating against natural selection?

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    Yes, that was exactly my point. Thank you for your considered reading.

    Of course we legislate against natural selection. That's why you can't just throw your newborn baby onto the street to have it fend for itself. Natural selection, sure, but as a society we've decided that children need to be nurtured and protected until they are sufficiently developed to be able to look after themselves.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Doddery Oldfart,

    We built sledges & careered down hills, trollys with no brakes, rope swings over rivers.
    I made bows & arrows, catapaults & slings.
    We had air rifles & "twentytwo's".
    We fell off horses, trees and motor bikes.
    If you didn't have plaster on at least one limb by the time you were twelve, you were a thing of pity.

    It's playstation now.
    Maybe the teenager hasn't learn't what hurts, and what is stupid, when they finally find freedom outside...

    Nevermind, the "successful" ones can always go down to Wellington, and get a career banning people from doing things ...

    Piopio • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    I can hear your wringing hands all the way from here.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.