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Maxim Institute - real issues - No. 50

Maxim Institute - real issues - No. 50

Maxim Institute

real issues. this week: No. Fifty 13 FEBRUARY 2003

Contents: --------- * Prostitution bill - debate Wednesday 19 February

* Civil Society - what is it? Why is it important?

* Maxim Forum 2003 - register now

* Political Correctness - Frank Ellis talk

Our apology for a shorter edition of Real Issues than usual due to a Maxim staff planning event.

Prostitution bill - D-day --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Prostitution Bill is due to be given its Second Reading in Parliament next Wednesday, 19 February. The Bill aims to decriminalise the sex industry. If passed in its present form this legislation would result in some of worst social outcomes of any law in recent years in New Zealand. It is significant not only for what it will permit, but also for what it will remove.

In summary, the Bill:

* Removes virtually all controls over the prostitution industry, which will lead to significant expansion; * Removes all controls over who can own or manage a brothel; * Provides no controls over soliciting; * Provides no regulations, codes or licensing arrangements; * Allows brothels to be established anywhere, including alongside schools, churches and residential areas; * Provides no system for complaints against a brothel, and no resources for local authorities who will be required to deal with public complaints; * Will not be effective in promoting the occupational safety and health of sex workers; * Proposes no controls on advertising by brothels beyond some limited powers regarding signage; * Removes all police involvement and takes away from police their ability to require proof of age from young girls.

MPs are supposed to have a conscience vote on this issue. Many have not decided how they will vote and it appears it could be a close vote. Please inform your local MP before Wednesday about your position regarding the Bill.

For more information on the bill and what you can do visit: www.maxim.org.nz

Civil Society - what and why? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The concept of Civil Society is the focus of the work of the Maxim Institute. But what is Civil Society, and why is it so important?

Since World War II we have gradually accepted that 'more government' is needed. That perception has been accompanied by a growing confusion about the role of institutions that historically have functioned without direct government intervention and support. These institutions, although interdependent, have their own area of responsibility and authority. They include, the family, (marriage) the church, voluntary organisations, and the market. The family especially, is the basic building block of Civil Society, because it is in the family that citizens learn virtues like honestly and respect, and the connection between private and public morality.

Slowly the state has intruded into the institutions of Civil Society, undermining their authority and responsibilities. The consequent problems then require even more government intervention. As a result, a way of thinking has evolved that expects and relies on big government to deliver. As more law restricts and controls us, we lose our freedom, and Civil Society is eroded.

As government expands, it creates more bureaucracy to sustain itself, whereas a proper understanding of Civil Society creates the real 'cement' of social and democratic order by acknowledging and allowing non-government institutions to 'do their thing' and function with minimal government intrusion.

In the midst of the context we must examine the role and nature of the democratic process. Democracy carries with it an implicit understanding of virtue and moral responsibility, especially the concept of equality before the law. Democracy as a system of government assumes that moral reality. It is not neutral.

The presumption of neutrality confuses us as to the nature of moral and legal authority which lies at the heart of Civil Society. The maintenance of Civil Society involves continuous re-evaluation by every citizen, of where that authority ultimately does lie.

Maxim Forum - 22 March 2003 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- One of the keynote speakers at Maxim's one day forum is Lawrence W. Reed president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan - one of the largest and most influential state-based think tanks in America. The centre has been frequently cited by Michigan's governor and officials as "extraordinarily influential in shaping administration policies." A former Chair of Northwood University's Department of Economics and freelance journalist Larry has over the last 30 years travelled and reported extensively on reforms and repression in the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Nicaragua and Mozambique. Larry will be speaking on 'Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy'.

Register now for your place at Maxim's inaugural one-day forum on 22 March. www.maxim.org.nz/forum2003/forum1.html

How mad and bad is political correctness? - Dr Frank Ellis talk --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Maxim is hosting talks in Auckland and Christchurch by Dr Frank Ellis on the topic of political correctness. The title of the address is: 'Understanding Political Correctness and Multiculturalism: Lessons from the former Soviet Empire.' Frank Ellis is lecturer in Russian at the University of Leeds, England, he is widely published on subjects ranging from Soviet and Russian media, censorship, Marxism, political correctness and defence. These talks are sure to be both engaging and entertaining while exposing the pervasive nature of political correctness.

The Auckland event is on Friday 28 February, 5.30-7.30pm at Maxim Institute 49 Cape Horn Rd, Hillsborough. Entry is $10 at the door including drinks and nibbles, to register call 09 627 3261 or email scott@maxim.org.nz. The Christchurch talk will be over lunch on Monday 3 March, for more information and to register contact Denise Tel. 03 343 1570 or email denise@maxim.org.nz.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Martin Luther King Jr. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Incidentally this quote was on notepads circulated to staff at ENRON.


To subscribe send a blank email to: realissues@maxim.org.nz

Real Issues is a weekly email newsletter from the Maxim Institute. The focus is current New Zealand events with an attempt to provide insight into critical issues beyond what is usually presented in the media. This service is provided free of charge, although a donation to Maxim is appreciated. You are encouraged to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested. Items may be used for other purposes, such as teaching, research or civic action. If items are published elsewhere, Maxim should be acknowledged.

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