Title: "Two mummies" highlights PC hypocrisy Credit: Jim Peron Comment Thursday 10th June 2004 - 12:00pm1086825600 Article: 286 Rights
Daryl Williams MP (OZ) Australia's public broadcasting company aired a TV show that has some politicians in an uproar. The children's show Play School let it be known that gay couples exist. It didn't show rampant lesbian love making or the like. It was much more mundane. It merely showed a girl named Brenna going to an amusement park with her ‘two mums'. Communications Minister Daryl Williams expressed concern and said this show should only deal ‘with issues which are appropriate.' He argued, ‘parents should be able to choose when to explain concepts such as same-sex couples to their young children.˜ Let's think about this. Why does any nation need a Minister of Communications. Television is properly a private entertainment service and government has no legitimate reason for getting involved. And it should be for the same reasons we don't have state control of newspapers. If Mr. Williams doesn't like a show he shouldn't watch it. Nor should he be required to fund it. State funding of entertainment should be abolished. Mr. Williams could then find something constructive to do and no one would fund ideas they oppose. At the same time if a show covers subjects they don't like they would have the recourse of free people everywhere'to change the channel. But Mr. Williams asserted a very unusual right. No one really disputes that parents should determine when ideas are presented to their children except Williams implies that this obligates others not to discuss such topics in any forum where young children might have access. But why stop at the issue of same-sex couples? I can think of many topics that people might not want their children exposed to until a time they set themselves. Spouse abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, specific religious dogmas, evolution, etc., could appear on this almost endless list. Let's suppose the show aired on a private network. Would Mr. Williams pretend that he had a right to complain? Would the right of parents to determine access to ideas for their children require that broadcasting such a show be prevented? Mr. Williams implies as much. If that is his view then no subject could be covered. Any television show that one parent finds unacceptable for their child would have to be banned for everyone. There would be no broadcasting at all. People can not have a right to ‘not' be exposed to ideas they don't like. They certainly have the right to throw out their TV. That would solve the problem. They have the right to change channels anytime something appears they don't like. They have a right to monitor what their children watch. But none of this implies that they have a right to restrict the options of other parents. Many conservatives apparently embrace a theory that says that the most offended person in the community is the yardstick by which expression of ideas is judged. But they don't apply this consistently. The most sensitive atheist, for instance, is not allowed to stand in the way of religious sermons. Nor should he. By the same reasoning parents who don't want their children informed about the existence of gay couples shouldn't be the yardstick to measure what is permitted. Conservatives like Mr. Williams do not mind overriding the values of parents at all. They support state funded education with compulsory attendance laws. Every government school forces children to be exposed to ideas whether or not the parents actually want it to happen. And all of us are required to fund the project through compulsory taxation. It's one reason I support choice in education. In the United States the conservative government of George Bush is using the schools to promote values they espouse. They want to encourage certain sexual values. They don't ask if parents should be free to determine at which age such subjects should be explained to their children. State education is based on the premise that it is right to force people to expose their children to ideas against their will. But I don't see Mr. Williams leading any campaign to close down state education. Meanwhile, Australia's Children's Minister Larry Anthony whined that maybe the broadcaster is becoming too politically correct. But what does political correctness mean? Historically the PC crowd doesn't want facts to get in the way of theory. It someone said that X was true, but some group was offended, the PC platoon would demand that discussion of X be banned. There are gay couples. Some have children. Sometimes they take those children to amusement parks. Those are facts. The broadcasting of facts is not political correctness. But calls to restrict access to facts, because they don't correspond with someone's ideology is a prime example of political correctness. The PC platoon on this issue is Australia's conservative government not the broadcasting company. Jim Peron is the executive director of the Institute for Liberal Values. Jim Peron - 10th June 2004    
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