New Thread? / Re: Apology from me to the list and TruthMonger

Anonymous nobody at REPLAY.COM
Sat Aug 9 07:25:23 PDT 1997

David Downey wrote:
> LOL, all right, all right. I'll take my lickings and like it.

  OK. Now that we've got that settled, what shall we talk about
next, Abortion or Ebonics?

> I do not
> know how to word where I stand because I take a little from each side as
> to what is the correct way to handle these issues. 

  On its face, this is not an unreasonable concept.
  As I see it, the reason for the 'Fuck Compromise' stance being
so heartily proclaimed on the list is not because CypherPunks see
compromise as inherently evil, but because of the recognition that
compromise that is beneficial to both parties requires honesty
and integrity on the part of both parties.
  Compromise at the point of a gun is weakness, not wisdom, and
every step one loses is twice as hard to regain in the future.
The classic example is Hitler, who "only wanted Austria." Then he
"only wanted Poland."
  The government claimed they only wanted to ban the *bad* guns,
but as Tim May pointed out, now it is theoretically illegal in
some places for a citizen to carry a paring knife home from the
store. Of course, in practice, these laws will only be used 
against *bad* people. Mary Tyler Moore has nothing to worry about.

> I believe in fighting for what one believes in. I firmly
> believe in protecting the children and guiding them towards an
> understanding of today's world in *all* it trappings. I am also unsure
> as to the correct and "right" way to do this. I am open to suggestions,
> and am willing to openly contribute my own.

  The fallacy that creates more problems than it solves is that
there *is* a "right" way to do things.
  Life is a crapshoot, and the most we can hope for is to use our
best judgement to minimize whatever ill effects might occur as 
the result of haphazard circumstance.
  Sadly, our society has been moving further and further toward
a fascist, control-freak mentality which dictates that there are
clear lines between right and wrong actions, attitudes and beliefs.
Even more sadly, society is crying out for stiff punishment in
every niggardly aspect of life, including the areas which are
beyond the control of those involved.

  An example is the woman in New York (?) who went to get food for
her baby, and the dog killed/ate the baby while she was gone. The
masses called for her head on a platter and she was charged with
manslaughter (or whatever).
  I am certain that those who could afford a nanny to take care of
their children had enough time on their hands to write a letter to
the editor to call for the woman's imprisonment. I would not be
surprised to find that some of those letters to the editor were
of the opinion that, if the mother had no bread for the baby,
then she should have let the baby "eat cake."
  I couldn't help but think of this poor woman who had lost the
child that she was trying to feed and nurture. Did she need to
be 'punished' because her options were limited by her position
in life? I don't know all the details of her situation, but I
do know that neither the media nor the masses seemed to care
about the details--they just wanted blood.
  I would wager that there are far more children who die in the
company of their mother in a bad neighborhood, than those who
are eaten by the family dog. I would also wager that if the
Clinton's cat killed and ate Chelsea, that there would be no
charges pending.

  Which is the "right" choice--to take your child with you and
have him/her die when you are mugged--to leave your child at
home and have the dog eat him/her?
  Which is the "right" choice--to allow your child to learn about
kinky sex techniques and then die when they try hanging themself
from the ceiling and standing on a chair--to "protect" them from
exposure to *trash* such as this, and then they die by suffocation 
when their sex-partner tells them semi-strangulation enhances
sex, because they've never encountered information about it which
also mentions that it may be dangerous?

  If you beat your child in order to prevent them from doing what
you feel will be harmful to them, then society will put you in jail.
If you beat them psychologically, with guilt, and they kill themself
out of shame when they do something *bad*, society will give you
  Which is the "right" way to teach your children to avoid things
which will harm them? There *isn't* a "right" way.

  Before your child can understand speech, you can't protect them 
from touching a hot stove by "telling" them not to. Is it "wrong"
to slap their hand when they reach for it? Once they *do* know
how to understand what you are telling them, slapping their hand
may not be the best way to keep them from harm.
  The bottom line is that you have to use your best judgment about
issues such as these, and you will never be "right." You will merely
be doing the best that you can. If you don't care about making the
effort to protect your children and they never touch a hot stove,
it does not make you a "good" parent. If you care immensely, and
do everything you are capable of to protect your children and they
*do* touch a hot stove, it does not make you a "bad" parent.

  It is human nature that if you take your child to the park to
enrich their life, and they get killed by a meteor falling from
the sky, you may find yourself "blaming" yourself, saying, "If
only I hadn't taken him/her to the park!"
  This is part of life, and part of being human. However, when
others decide that you should be imprisoned for child endangerment
for taking your child outside when a single astronomer in China 
told the media that a meteorite "might" be on the way, then there
is something seriously wrong with society.
  Is this a ridiculous example? Sure it is...just like someone
claiming that they were justified in raping someone because
their slip was showing, so they were "asking for it."

  The point I am trying to make is that there are no ridiculous
examples. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, once had a law that required
pedestrians to walk on the right side of the sidewalk. This was
a fairly recent event.
  Insane? Yes, and City Council eventually figured out that they
were idiots, but if someone's child had died when bumping into
someone while their parent was walking them on the "wrong side"
of the sidewalk, the parent would have been legally guilty of 
child endangerment.

  The "Big Lie" that we tell ourselves is that we can guarantee
our safety and security, and that of our children, if we just
pass enough laws against things that are "wrong." If we can just
figure out who is "to blame" for society's ills and imprison 
  The guy who sold you the "junk bonds" might well have cost
you less money than the long-term government bonds you bought
just before inflation went through the roof. Who is the "right"
person to put in jail, and who is the "wrong" person to put in
jail? Truthfully, the "right" person to put in jail may well
be *you*. It might "protect" you from making bad financial

  I don't want your child to get molested by a pedophile. I don't
want your child to die of a heroin overdose. But I don't want a
video camera mounted in my home to monitor my activities in an
attempt to keep your child from coming to harm, either.
  A solution to protecting the citizens is to put them in prison
and keep the criminals on the outside. Really! We would be
protected by the security of concrete walls and locked doors.
  Is the "right" thing to do to put your child in prison?
I think you know better than that.

  Some children are going to be molested, some are going to be
abused and/or murdered, some are going to walk willingly, and
perhaps ignorantly, into bad situations that will lead them to
suffer irrepairable harm.
  I don't want this for your child, or for any child, but I
truly don't believe that they can be protected by making the
lives of everyone so regulated and restricted that our life
energy is drained from us by effectively imprisoning our

  When I was a child, there was a local priest named Father
Flanigan who enjoyed the company of young boys. He regularly
offered to take them to out-of-town hockey games, supervise
them in their parent's absence, etc.
  When he offered to take myself and several other young boys
to an out-of-town game, my parents allowed me to go with him,
but they also made a point of telling me not to let him put
his hand down my pants.
  The fact of the matter is, the trip enriched my life, and
Father Flanigan did many good things for the youth of my
community. Did he "molest" any of them? I don't know. He
didn't molest me, or anyone I know of.

  Were my parents "bad" parents? No, they were *great* parents.
They "protected" me by making their best judgement and giving
me the information they felt I needed in order to use my own
judgment effectively.
  Did my parents "endanger" me by allowing me to go with Father
Flanigan? Sure, they did. They also endangered me by allowing
me to go outside and risk getting hit by a falling meteor.
  Was Father Flanigan a pedophile? I don't know. Was he a 
pedophile, but non-active? I don't know. Did my parents know?
Perhaps, perhaps not. I wouldn't doubt that they may have asked
him about his fondness for young boys, or talked to those in a
position to know, or perhaps they merely used their own best
  Or, it could be that they and I are way off base, merely being
prejudiced by anti-Catholic views promoted by those with an axe
to grind against differing religious views.

  Regardless, when I was thirteen, I was approached by a guy
who stepped out of an alley and offered me $20.00 to let him
give me a blow-job. I politely declined, and went on my way.
  I spent about an hour at home with my family, without giving
the event much thought. However, at some point it occurred to
me that there were children younger than myself who might be
more vulnerable to the man's approach, and that, while he had
not used any force or pressure in the situation, that it was
possible that this could occur with a smaller child.
  I asked my mother if there was a law against adults offering
children money to let the adult give them a blow-job. She was
startled by my question, though she hid it as best she could,
but she was also amused that I was so casual about asking it.
  She dealt with the situation matter-of-factly, and I went
with a policeman to help him find the man. The policeman
chased him down, subdued him, and took him to jail.

  To tell the truth, I felt compassion for the man, since I
sensed that he was a tortured individual, and he had not really
done anything that 'violated' me, or 'infringed' on my right
to self-determination (although I would not have been able to
verbalize these feelings at the time).
  Looking back on the event, I realize that, strictly speaking,
I did not take a course of action that would lead to his being
judged and punished for what he did, but rather, for what he
"might" do.
  Was I "right" or "wrong" in subjecting someone who did not
do any harm to me to arrest and imprisonment? I don't know.
  It could very well be the man never had, and never would,
force himself on a child, or exert undue pressure on a child
in order to coerce the child into doing something against their
will. Can my actions be deemed "right" or "wrong," depending on
the "odds" of him forcing himself on a child, versus being of
strong enough character not to do evil to satisfy his desires?
  In retrospect, I believe I made my decision to act based on
the fact that I sensed that the man was not totally in control
of basing his actions only on his best rational judgement. It
could be that I had him wrongly imprisoned, or it could be that
I saved him from doing something he would regret for the rest
of his life.

  The irony of this story is that the local police solved their
"problem" with this man by buying him a bus ticket to a small
town nearby. End of problem...
  It is my belief that this "solution" to the local police's
"problem" is illustrative of the attempts of censors and
regulators to "shift" the problems instead of "solving" them.

  I could be dead in a ditch because my parents allowed me to
go with a priest who had a fondness for children. I could also
be dead in a ditch because my parents "protected" me from being
exposed to recognizing the reality of adults who are fond of
children, and I might not have had enough information to deal
properly with the guy who stepped out of the alley.
  Which legislation do we pass to protect our children? Do we
pass legislation "preventing" parents from allowing their
children to accompany an adult who is fond of children, or
do we pass legislation "requiring" parents to allow their
children to accompany an adult who is fond of children, but
who will enrich their lives and help them to understand the
difference between controlling one's urges versus violating
others in order to satisfy themself?

  The reality of the current state of affairs is that there
are a plethora of laws which prevent parents from making their
own decisions as to how to live their lives and how to raise
their children to the best of their ability.
  If you know that you need to slap your child's hand in order
to keep them from touching a hot stove, will you do so? What
if you also know that Child Services will take away your child
and put them in an orphanage if you do so?
  Is your child better off having a deformed hand and living
at home in a loving environment, or having a normal hand and
being raised by strangers who don't care for him/her?

  Laws aren't going to universally protect our children, nor are
rating systems, or lynchings. Nor, sadly, the best judgement of
concerned, loving parents.
  We can't solve the problems of life by passing legislation that
attempts to control everyone and everything, forcing us all to
meet standards that may be based on erronious beliefs and/or
  There are laws against murder. People still get murdered.
Punishment may be justified for the act of murder, but it
is not the "solution" to preventing murder. We can't legislate
away poverty, destitution, and desperation. Making "anger"
illegal won't prevent it. Making "embarassment" illegal won't
stop people from blushing.
  We are increasingly shifting "social" problems into the arena
of "legal" remedy. We "liberate" the mentally ill from their
confinement in nuthouses, and then we "imprison" them for
peeing in an alley because they live on the streets. We pass
laws limiting political campaign contributions, and then we
vote for the person who spends $50,000,000 on ads telling us
what an asshole their opponent is. We allow doctors to give
their patients heroin in order to relieve their suffering,
and we deny an Ambassadorship to someone who believes that
a doctor should be able to give his patients marijuana to
relieve their suffering.

  Yes, I care about other people, and I care about children.
I am not selfishly clinging to my rights to privacy and freedom
in order to further my own interests at the expense of others.
I am doing so because I don't believe that the world will be
a better place if my rights and freedoms are taken away.
  Then again, I'm Chinese...I could be "Wong."


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