Friday, August 28, 2009

Where do we draw the line?

The story from Holland about the young girl who wants to sail around the world by herself has got me thinking.

As a Libertarian, I am all for zero interference from the state. We should all live our lives as we see fit along with a healthy portion of personal responsibility.

Parents should, of course, be responsible for their children. There is no debate about that. But what if the parents are not capable or abdicate their responsibilities. Who will take over then?

The girl in question has parents and has, in all probability, been brought up to be a decent human being. But she is only thirteen and she wants to sail around the world by herself and her parents have given permission. The result of this is that she is now subject to child protection laws in the Netherlands, for her own safety.

My personal view is that if she were to attempt sailing solo around the world, she will almost certainly face death. I am no sailing expert, but I imagine sailing around the world in a small boat powered by sheets of canvas would be extremely dangerous.

So, I think that she should not try it. Her parents should not have given their permission, (in my view), but they did. It is clear that most people share my view.

Thus the question. If not the state, who would step in and protect this child from herself? If the state did not step in and the girl set off and came to grief, would the parents face charges?

So, where do we draw the line between state interference in our everyday life and state intervention to 'protect' it's citizens? Is it, or should it be, a duty of the state to protect us and if not who or what will?



Lord Lindley said...

I have sat pondering this case today as well. I have no answer. I do not want state interference in any shape or form, both in parenting and all other ways of life in general. (smoking ban, choclate bar size, BNP ban, hunting ban, etc, etc...) However this case is bordering on mistreatment by allowing her to be at 'great' risk. No not climbing a tree or playing tiggy. A huge risk. I cannot make up my mind, but I waver toward the decision of the Dutch govt, even though it hurts me to agree with any 'big brother' type interference.

SteveShark said...

I'm guessing she won't be set adrift in a leaky dinghy with only "The Observer's Book of Fucking Enormous Oil Tankers That Are Going to Crush You to Death and Send you to a Watery Grave where your Face will be Devoured by Lobsters and your Flange Munched by Crabs" for guidance.

GPS, satellite radio, support craft, etc, etc are going to be used, I'm sure.

Let her go - she'll probably learn more about life in that 2 years than she will at secondary school and university.

FWIW, my take on it:

Incidentally, Rab, you're now on my blog roll.

hermit said...

There's a story in the Mail today of 17yo lad Mike Perham just completing this epic.
Ellen MacArthur was only 25 when she did it.
13 does sound a bit young. I would be nervous if I were her parent. But who are we to say if she is truly inspired, or truly foolish.
Not many of us would have her bottle. Good luck I say.

Anonymous said...

What loss would it be to the world at large if she died?

I think none. Let her go.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Has she actually sailed anywhere other than the local boating pond?

If so, how far?

She may just have sailed down from Vladivostok via the NW passage for all we know.

We need more info.

If she's as knotty and Captina Knotty of the Knotty Knot the get the phekk out of her way!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Thus the question. If not the state, who would step in and protect this child from herself?

Ideally, nobody would. Natural selection would be permitted to function normally, eradicating a foolhardy set of genes. One fuckwit fewer in the world thank you very much.

Catosays said...

Rab, as a Libertarian, you should have no problem here. She should be allowed to go.
However, I'm not as Libertarian as you and I've found it extremely difficult to jump off the fence.
Part of me says 'Let her go' and the other part says, 'Don't be daft, of course she can't go'.
Looking at things from the purely physical aspect, then there is no doubt in my mind that she shouldn't go. She can not possibly have the physical strength to cope with such a journey neither the strength to resist an attack by whomsoever, should one occur.
Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that in this instance, the Nanny State is probably right.
A 17 year old male is ok but a 13 year old girl is not.

Catosays said...

Further to my last, you must ask yourselves the question...'Would I allow my 13 year old daughter to undertake such a trip?'

Anonymous said...

Rab, disagree with you here m8. Unless i'm wrong in assuming she has plenty of sailing experience and will have the benefit of a good support team. Can you remember being 13? I can. This aside, haven't you got more important things to rant about?

Dillinger737 said...

In my opinion... let her go. Like you said, it is her parents responsibility and she's not going to hurt anybody but herself and I'm all for allowing individuals who choose to hurt themselves to their task. This is natural selection at it's best. Sometimes you wander away from the herd and you get eaten, that is how life is supposed to be. There's simply no reason why the government, or any other outside part should interfere. It's stupid, yes, but it's also simply nobody's business but there own. The simple fact of the matter is this. If more people would mind their own business and let the retards sail into oblivion the world would have a fraction of the problems that it currently does. If only we could talk the parents into joining her for a trip around cape horn. The world needs to stop protecting faulty genetics no matter the age of the package they are in.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Superficially it is a dilemma, but of course she should be allowed to go if you think about it for a few ticks.

Hermit quite rightly raises the Mike Perham argument (and G-d bless the lad, winning some sort of nautical honours for Blighty!), who was only 17. I don't hear anybody shouting that he shouldn't have been allowed.

Sure there is a significant risk of death, but I bet it's no worse than e.g. horse-riding or allowing a 17 year old to drive a car (now THAT should be made illegal).

And if she drowns, so what? There are enough Dutch people on the planet, aren't there? As a safety feature, I'd make sure that her parents and all adults involved (there must be huge sponsorship involved) get sued for negligence and cover the costs of air-sea-rescue shenaigans.

And if the little cow manages it, the UK will just have to find a plucky 12 year old to send round the world solo to retain our maritime pre-eminence!!

Joe Public said...

In the UK, the parents of school-age kids had a legal obligation to ensure their progeny attended school (or had regular 'home' tuition).

Does a similar rule apply in Holland?

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

So the panel thinks she should go? Good stuff, I agree.

microdave said...

I've thought about this too. 13 seems rather young, and it doesn't sound as if she has enough experience -

"Earlier this year she sailed alone to England, where police briefly detained her and told her father to help her sail home, although she eventually sailed back by herself."

Added to which her boat is only a 26 footer which is half the size of the one Mike Perham used. I note that she has not actually been taken into care, but is being monitored and assessed to see if she is up to it.

Agreed that it should be up to the individual if they wish to take considerable risks. But it often puts others in danger trying to locate them - sailing across large oceans isn't the same as driving up the M1....

The 2 stories in the Daily Wail here:

Dillinger737 said...

Microdave made a good point about putting others in danger trying find the idiots who do such things. Again, there are certain risks that if we choose to take we should be left to the consequences. It should simply be recorded that if they choose to allow it and she disappears that's it, end of story, no search parties will be sent. If the family wants to pay for the search in those circumstances then that would be another story but taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill. It's not any different than taxpayers footing the hospital bill to save the life of some jackass who overdoses on drugs. Ridiculous waste of time and effort when the undertaker of the task knows the risk. She and her family does know the risk and if they'll allow their pride to eclipse their common sense then it shouldn't be our problem.

Anonymous said...

Evolution has made us stronger with each generation. She should be allowed to go and of course she is too weak to sail the South Atlantic so will perish. But it will make the next generation stronger and more sensible. More able to assess risk. One childs death, although sad, will aid thousands of children in the future to appreciate that although their parents may seem sensible they are in fact imbeciles. Not to be trusted.

Barking Spider said...

There is no way I can see her being physically strong enough to be able to make it round Cape Horn, but if her parents, (and let's face it - they know more about her sailing abilities than anybody else), are willing to let her go and SHE wants to go then she SHOULD go.

Dark Lochnagar said...

I saw this story, Rab and looking at the girl, I don't think it is her age that is the issue. She is not developed enough physically and listening to her talk, I doubt mentally either. But then I'm Not a sailor. I just like seaman. Oh Mandy, you are awful!

Fidothedog said...

Rab, Darwin Awards. She sails off and dies, parents piss and moan then have it explained that shit happens.

scunnert said...

A wee lassie has been taught how to sail by her dad and, no doubt, had her head filled with nautical tales of adventures on the high seas. He should have his arse kicked or his head examined - maybe both. The wee lassie should be taken into care for her own protection.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Glad we've got the govt. off our backs on this one.

Lets face it, she sails off into the rosy red and disappers. Sweet.

At least she'll not be subject to the psychobampots her govt. has let into her country who want to shuv her into a sack!!

ALL Western govt. at this time are life threatening.

Heads up.

Pogo said...

A few "bullet points"...

.. Her parents, who know probably better than anyone else her abilities, seem happy to let her attempt it.

.. She's not planning on starting until she's 14 - the same age at which Mike Perham sailed the Atlantic solo.

.. She's Dutch, and from my experience of the size of the kids there, by the time she's 14 she's going to be a fuck-sight bigger and stonger than (Dame) Ellen MacArthur was when she first did a circumnavigation at the age of 25.

I'm an experienced solo sailor and I reckon "Let her go for it"!!

Mark Wadsworth said...

I've set up a Fun Online Poll to decide the matter democratically.

hermit said...

Just posted this quote on the poll page, but for the benefit of 1 or 2 bods on here excuse me if I post it again:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Anonymous said...

Considered this a bit more. Yes, I still think she shpould go, but on the condition that she takes her parents with her: not to look after her, but to go down with the ship if it all comes to grief.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Let her go.

She's probably be smacked off her tits when the sharks got her, anyway.

The Great Simpleton said...

The State hasn't said no, they've asked psychologists to see if she is mentally capable and not veing coerced. They have 2 months to do this which seems a reasonable compromise to the Libertarian argument, as long as they are objective and not nannies.

When Mike P sailed the antlantic his father was in a boat not far away. This girl is going to take 2 years and will be on her own for the whole perioda very daunting challenge for any person,let alone a young girl.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

The last thing you ever want is a head fucker to deal with you!!!

Who do you think were in the CHEKA/GESTAPO?

Surreptitious Evil said...

'Would I allow my 13 year old daughter to undertake such a trip?'

No, because she had no sailing experience whatsoever. However I did let her fly a glider. On the other hand, that was me, parent, making the decision, not the state making the decision for us.

In the UK, the parents of school-age kids had a legal obligation to ensure their progeny attended school (or had regular 'home' tuition).

Does a similar rule apply in Holland?

This was where all the government interference started - the father asked for permission for her to take 2 years off school. Which was refused.

Awayanpish said...

Leave it yon Darwin fella.

If she's any good she'll be back. If she isnae...

narcolept said...

Swallows and Amazons has the answer: "Better Drowned Than Duffer. If Not Duffer, Won't Drown".

My impression is that she is an attention-seeking little madam egged on by publicity-hungry parents, and I can't believe she'd get much further than Ushant without getting fed up and wanting to go home, but let her have a go if she wants to.