Thursday, November 8, 2012

the unintended effect

I am deeply uneasy about the so-called 'children's referendum' which, if polls are to be believed, will soon be enacted in our state. (Let's face it - how many of you have seen a 'no' poster? I haven't ... I couldn't even find one online for this post.) When I worked as a tax inspector I saw a lot of the 'unintended effects' when it came to legislation. By that I mean scenarios where the framers of the law meant one outcome but smart accountants or tax-lawyers were able to discover alternate meanings. These loop-holes could, and did, cost the state millions.

The dogs on the street know there have been unintended effects when it comes to past constitutional referenda in this country. I'm thinking particularly of the one intended to 'copper-fasten' our position that abortion is wrong that has caused all sorts of difficulties in the past. That referendum seems increasingly likely to bring it in in some form. 

The intended effect of the 'children's referendum' is that the family will have less rights and the state more, supposedly in the cause of children's rights. The amendment does not, and is not intended to, give children any added constitutional rights that they do not already have. Instead, it gives the state the right to displace the role of the parent when it thinks necessary.

The presumption is that this will only happen in extreme cases. But who decides what is extreme in these cases? The state. The practical effect is that the state  will have almost unlimited power to tear asunder the family, according to its vision of what is in the best interests of the child. 

This means the family, which has been for milenia in all civilised societies the fundamental building block of society, can be torn asunder on the whim of the state ... which will have the concomitant power, it would seem, to put in its place almost anything they like.

This is why I am uneasy. This is not a children's referendum. This is not about children's rights. It is social experimentation gone mad.

2 comments:

  1. That is incredibly unsettling. Is anyone making a fuss? Ya know, besides you? ;)

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  2. At the start anyone who complained was called crazy. Less so now. Especially since the government was held by our Supreme Court to have broken the law on how they ran the campaign. The referendum takes place tomorrow. I expect it'll pass ... pretty much as a knee jerk reaction to the guilt of all the child-abuse that's been uncovered over the years. Oh well - at least I had a wee zinger of a letter in the Irish Times today about it ... and since they can't publish any tomorrow during the voting, no one gets a chance to respond!

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