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Australian Politics: Young Liberal Backs Nanny-Free Family Values

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Posted on May 31 2010 8:00 am
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and polemicist. His works have been posted on numerous sites from The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). He blogs at Positively Churchillian.
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Alex Butterworth is the President of the right-of-center West Australian Young Liberals. For the record, I find some of his views indigestible. However, some of Butterworth’s arguments are also brilliant, or at least thought-provoking. Certainly they’re never boring and like Christopher Hitchens he doesn’t muck about.

Exhibit One:

The debate around family values in Australia has taken a turn for the worse during the last few decades. In modern Australian politics, standing up for family values means finding a plethora of new ways to spend taxpayer dollars. Governments of all persuasions think up new ways to throw money at parents, but never look at removing the regulation and restrictions that leave families and businesses hamstrung.

See what I mean?

Protection of families has become a justification for every nanny state intervention for the past 30 years or more. Family values are not about how much money you can get from the government per child, or how many tax breaks you can obtain. True family values are about giving parents the freedom and choice to raise their family the way that they want, without forgetting the responsibility that comes with it.

One of the original exponents of family values was Moses, who helped to liberate his people from a tax-hungry slave society, if my memory serves me right. So I have to wonder what he’d think of our relationship to the state. Maybe Butterworth has a point, but conservatives are sympathetic to the truck driver who says, “You take money from working families – and we want to see some of it back.”

I’m sure most Americans can relate. Ideally, we’d all love to live in a low-tax heaven, but we’re stuck with reality, and the fight between short-term needs and long-term goals. Let’s face it: Families are doing it tough, but another part of us knows that an expanding welfare state is unsustainable. And remember, Moses told us to honor our mother and father, not Pharaoh’s nanny state.

Exhibit Two:

In Western Australia [like states across America], family values have been used to defend absurd retail trading hour regulation. The argument that families should spend Sundays and evenings together at home has become a catch-cry for family groups. No-one is acknowledging the great inconvenience for families who can’t buy milk and bread after 6pm or on Sunday unless they are willing to pay an extra few dollars?

A bit anti-Christian? To be fair, not all the slow-down-on-religious-Sunday arguments are convincing. To begin with, Sabbath Saturdays were once the norm and the Early Church met on a daily basis, before the ancient nanny state interfered. As I said, Butterworth doesn’t muck about. He makes you think.

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Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works have been posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). For more information see, Pizza Trays and Beer Bottles.

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