July 16, 2009

Idiocy in a Nanny State

One of the things crucial to a child's education is fostering an interest in reading, both for pleasure and for learning (not that the two are that different). Being able to meet the author of your favorite book would be a royal treat. It seems the ability to do that just got hammered in England. But don't worry, it's to keep the children safe. From the UK Independent:
Authors boycott schools over sex-offence register
A group of respected British children's authors and illustrators will stop visiting schools from the start of the next academic year, in protest at a new government scheme that requires them to register on a database in case they pose a danger to children.

Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake all told The Independent that they object to having their names on the database � which is intended to protect children from paedophiles � and would not be visiting any schools as a consequence.

Pullman, author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, described the Home Office policy as "corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction". He said: "I've been going into schools as an author for 20 years, and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting. Children have never been in any danger from visiting authors or illustrators, and the idea that they should be is preposterous.

"This reinforces the culture of suspicion, fear and mistrust that underlies a great deal of present-day society. It teaches children that they should regard every adult as a potential murderer or rapist."
And of course, being a government program, this registration is free to the authors -- err -- not so much:
All individuals who work with children from 12 October will be required to register with a national database for a fee of �64.
Government at work -- and the people of the USA seem to want that here. Posted by DaveH at July 16, 2009 12:14 PM
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