Right Thinking: What To Do With Young People

The latest hard-hitting column from conservative contributor Dr. Frank Shizenhausen

You would have to be a halfwit to think we didn’t have a major problem with youth crime in this country.

So why hasn’t the Ministry of Justice figured this out?

It really is a disgrace that, despite our streets being overrun by young scallywags, nobody in the Justice Ministry seems to be aware of the fact. Maybe they should come down from their ivory towers and live in the real world for a change.

The Ministry this week issued a report on child and youth offending statistics in New Zealand from 1992 to 2008. The report ought to reveal what everyone knows – that young people are out of control, undisciplined and listening to noisy hip-hop music that turns them into crazed P-driven menaces. Some of them don’t even appear able to pull their pants up. There is no more telling sign of a nation’s moral decay than when young folk wear their trousers so baggy their underwear is visible to all.

But the statisticians instead try to tell us there is no out-of-control problem, and that the overall picture is not really much worse than it was in 1992. The report claims the following:

  • While the numbers apprehended for violent offences has increased, the numbers being apprehended for offences overall declined over the 1995 to 2008 period, especially in the last three years.
  • Child and youth apprehension rates for property offences have been steadily declining.
  • The rate of young people convicted in the District or High Court generally declined over the 1992 to 2008 period.

The Ministry of Justice has fallen into the classic trap of trying to use actual evidence to disprove an infallible argument. And that today’s young people are noisier and more troublesome than those of previous generations is undeniable, because everyone says this is so. How could so many people be wrong? How could Garth McVicar be so wrong? Dammit, we live in a democracy! If the majority of people want young people to be a problem, then the politicians ought to shut up and listen for once.

The moral decay starts in the home. Modern liberal child-raising techniques teach our kids that anything goes, and nobody believes anything any more. So is it any wonder that (despite what those mischievous crime statistics claim) we have an epidemic of youth crime?

It was not always like this. When my generation was growing up we showed respect towards our elders. And if we were out of line they dealt with us firmly. I spent many hours as a young boy being whipped, tied to chairs and beaten with sticks. It was also not uncommon for me to find myself locked in the basement for days at a time with no food, and nothing to drink other than dripping water from the leaky plumbing above my head.

But I didn’t let myself get down when they locked me away. Instead, I reflected on what I had done wrong, and I made amends. After a while I even started to enjoy my time in the basement, because I was always finding interesting things down there. Once I even found a box filled with bones. Father said they must be the remains of a cat or dog that had died down there, though when I asked him why the animal had what appeared to be a human skull he started beating me. I learned quickly never to question my parents.

And things were much the same at school. My favourite schoolteacher told me once that he enjoyed beating the sin out of young boys. He told me it was good for the soul and did no real harm. To prove his point he would often take his trousers off and ask me to whip him on the buttocks. He always seemed happier afterwards, as if he had found some inner peace.

So a bit of firm discipline won’t harm anyone. Let’s start by making young people turn their music down, pull their pants up and cut their hair.  And the occasional beating really wouldn’t do them any harm. To this day I find that a vigorous application of leather to skin is the best medicine when I’m feeling troubled.

I say, I feel short of breath just thinking about it. Where did I leave my flail?