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11.12.08

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Dear Australia,

I'm a fan of doing things that protect children's welfare. Things like early childhood education and lead abatement, for example, are great ideas. But since so many of us care about children, you have to be careful when you cry "won't somebody please think of the children?" WSPTOTC is a powerful thing, and you need to use it responsibly.

The first problem that came to my attention was this Northern Territory intervention business. I'm with you when you say child abuse in remote Aboriginal communities is a serious problem. But it seems like the proper response to that would be to strengthen Aboriginal communities' ability to function, not to jump in with heavy-handed punitive paternalism to reinforce primitivist stereotypes. The report you were allegedly responding to had a bunch of recommendations in it -- maybe you could try implementing one or two of them. Just a thought.

But maybe that was an anomaly -- as bad as the intervention was, maybe the misuse of WSPTOTC aspect was just a one-time thing. Then I started learning about your ideas about policing the internet. You're going to put a filter on that slows traffic, blocks innocent sites, and doesn't really stop people from accessing the bad stuff if they really want to? And it's a crime now to watch a video of a guy swinging a baby around? I really don't think concern about children's welfare leads to the conclusions you want to claim.

I'm starting to see a pattern here. So we're going to have to take away WSPTOTC for a little while. If you can say you're sorry, and make some social policies without resorting to disingenuous moral panics, we'll let you invoke reasonable concern for the welfare of children again.

Thanks.

(PS: Don't look so smug, USA. You're still on probation here.)

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