Friday, January 29, 2010

When Nanny is there all sex is unsafe sex.

We all worry about teens and the risks associated with sex. No one wants young girls to get pregnant or for teens to spread venereal diseases. Like it or not, to the extent that so-called sexting replaces actual sex as an expression of erotic needs, it replaces higher-risk sexual activities with lower-risk activities.

But state laws make all teenage sex dangerous. It isn't dangerous because there are consequences to actions that nature imposes. In nature there is always a cost to something. Governments, however, like to screw around with that premises. So they minimize the risks of some bad things by subsidizing them. For instance, government will subsidize tobacco growing, help subsidize people who get cancer from smoking, provide "insurance" to people who build in flood planes, etc. All of these are cases where government lowers the cost of risky behavior thus encouraging more of it.

At the same time Nanny increases the risks artificially in other areas. Two teens exchanging dirty photos are clearly less at risk than if they were bonking behind the swingset unless the authorities get involved. At that point it becomes very dangerous indeed. The fact is, that even the safest sex, for young people, is highly dangerous when politicians take note. This was what two randy students in Valparaiso found out recently.

The middle school students had used their cell phones to exchange nude photos. Now these two kids are charged with being child pornographers. The girl involved apparently forgot to turn off her cell phone in school. The phone rang and the teacher confiscated it. Local papers report: "The teacher told police the girl asked to delete something from the phone before it was turned over to the administration, but that request was denied."

Now this immediately raises some questions. While I can see the school requiring students to turn off cell phones, and I can even fathom why they might have the right to confiscate a ringing cell phone from a student, what I don't see is how they had any right to search the contents. Merely asking to delete somethings from the phone is not a justification for a warrantless search.

Of course, the busybody schoolteacher, and remember in government systems teachers are part of the State, apparently told the police. And somebody, and I would bet without a court order, went through the phone. That was when they discovered that a few days ago the girl, and a boy from the school, had exchanged racy photos.

Now, if you want the pure hypocrisy of the State on this matter consider the justification used by Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek. The local paper says she "said young people don't understand the ramifications of texting nude photos... She said a nude picture could end up being shared with half the school and could get in the hands of people who seek out child pornography."

Think about this. If a kid takes an erotic photo of him/herself the whole school could find out. But to protect kids from having that happen the State, in this case Cheryl acting as the State, makes sure the entire school finds out. And, to top it off, she prosecutes the kids, they can face jail time, and they can be forced to register as sex offenders depending on the whims of the prosecutors or the law.

So, to protect a couple of "stupid kids" from some bad consequences we will subject them to even worse consequences, some of which can plague them till the day they die. And need I point out that the actual consequences for the kid are worse when the photos end up, not in the hands of someone who seeks out such things, but in the hands of teachers, school officials, police officers and prosecutors.

We all know the reality of schools. Once the police got involved, and the boy and girl in question were arrested, it was only minutes before every single student knew who was arrested and why. The police may not release the names because they are minors but there is no privacy. And when all the kids knew, it was only a few hours before all the mothers knew, and when all the mothers knew, you can bet most the town found out shortly afterwards.

Now, without condoning what these kids did, can anyone tell me how the situation could have been worse for the couple, if they weren't being "protected" so much by the police and school officials? When will people figure out that most legitimate problems are merely made worse by state intervention? If the goal is to minimize harm to kids, shouldn't we keep them out of the clutches of the police and, dare I say it, the teachers.

In a related matter: I highly recommend the horrifying documentary The War on Kids, by Ceving Soling. This documentary ripes into the increasingly authoritarian nature of state education in America. As shocking as the documentary is I was even more shocked to read a positive review in the New York Times. The review said:
A shocking chronicle of institutional dysfunction, “The War on Kids” likens our public school system to prison and its disciplinary methods to fascism. At least now you know why little Johnny won’t get out of bed in the morning.

Arranged in sections that range from merely interesting to downright horrifying, this provocative documentary suggests a system regulated by fear and motivated by the desire to control. Tracing the evolution and application of zero-tolerance policies on drugs and violence, the director, Cevin Soling, amasses overwhelming evidence of institutional overreaction. When an 8-year-old can be suspended for pointing a chicken finger and saying “Pow,” we know that common sense has officially left the building.

Impassioned interviews with educators, authors and medical professionals — and some very perceptive students — warn of the consequences of surrounding children daily with armed security guards and surveillance cameras.
Whatever you do, get yourself a copy of this video from our friends at Laissez Faire Books.

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