Thursday, July 26, 2007

The National Puritan Party

You can almost always rely on the National Party to roll out some do-gooding busy body who wants to regulate what people do in their privates lives.
The incessant demands for prohibition of party pills from Jacqui Dean are a tiresome example, reflecting a peculiar middle class conservative opposition to all drugs except alcohol - with a stereotype that everyone taking anything like party pills is probably poor, unemployed, in bad health, committing crimes and needing to be looked after. It also reflects an even more peculiar stereotype that banning it makes the problems lessen. The idea that, in fact, people might occasionally take certain drugs and suffer no damaging effects is about as far away from that philosophy as womens' rights are to the Taliban.
The latest campaign is the one against a teacher who, disgustingly, Katherine Rich refers to as "porn site teacher". It is pretty much a cheap shot at someone who has done nothing illegal and indeed there is barely evidence at all that he sought to do anything illegal. However, it involves sex and it involves having an unconventional sex life, so that makes this teacher fair game in the world of politics.
The facts appear to be:
  • The teacher in question posted nude pictures of himself on an online dating website. This website only allows registration of users 18 years and over. Katherine Rich calls them "hard core pornographic" involving himself and two women. Some were probably of him having a stiffie, the sort of image half the population gets to see in person most days, and a good part of the rest of the population gets to see a little less often. Other would involve him committing legal acts with the women. Nothing illegal about it, and hardly immoral given that the vast majority of the population "commits" them regularly (and the remainder usually want to). Online dating websites are NOT porn sites, though some get perilously close;
  • The only people that would get to see these photos are other adults registered on the dating website who searched for someone with the teacher's profile;
  • He sought other women to commit legal acts with, presumably consensually, although Katherine Rich has focused upon the phrase "the younger the better" to imply that he is a pedophile, or seeking underage sex. While he COULD have said 18 plus, the implication is that given it is a legal dating site, given that the dating site has strict rules about these things, that it is borderline.

The teacher appears to have committed no offences, or even attempted to do so. He has not solicited anyone underage, there is no evidence of handling illegal pornography and no evidence of any untoward activity towards students.

The Teachers Council Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that he should continue teaching, presumably because there IS insufficient evidence to support that this teacher is any more a risk than say, a quiet demure understated man who doesn't show his cock online. Indeed, an adult swinger may well be LESS of a risk than the quiet lonely male who never seems to have much of a profile. Two out of five on the tribunal dissented, but then again that is not enough to end someone's career,

The fact that the teacher's ad could be accessed by past present and future students is truly irrelevant. Are teachers meant to live an ascetic life, or maybe the National Party stereotype of heterosexual married couples breeding happily, without threesomes entering into their lives, or large age gaps?

When can people have private lives when they have committed no crime, have not even done anything sufficient to be charged of the attempt of a crime without politicians taking cheap shots?

Would I be comfortable with this teacher teaching my children (if I had any)? Well frankly, I either wouldn't know or I wouldn't care that he advertises for other women, including young legal age ones if there are NO outstanding allegations about actual behaviour towards students or sex crimes more generally. It is no different to the scaremongering over gay teachers not too long ago that implied that a gay man in front of a class of boys was probably wanting to fondle them. Does "the younger the better" mean illegal? Well, the question you have to ask is, do you want to give someone, for whom you have no other evidence, the benefit of the doubt or do you want to engage in a witch hunt?

If he had been caught asking for schoolgirls, or flirting with them, or been caught with any, then fine - this is all justified. However, there are hundreds and hundreds of teachers who, secretly, will fantasise occasionally about their students, and I mean particularly younger teachers with the oldest students. You will never know who they are, because 99% of the time you never get to know who fantasises about whom. As long as it remains so, it is nobody else's business. As long as teachers pursue sex lives that do not break the law or do not involve students, then it should not be anyone else's business.

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