Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Pitcairn

By jd in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 08:57:29 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

By now, most people will have heard of the rather sordid tale of the Pitcairn Islands. For those who haven't, it is a tale of sex, scandals, infamy, mutineers, fights for survival and all sorts of other stuff that tabloid newspapers love.


This is the history of the islands, of the scandals that are currently rocking them, the arguments by both sides in the case, and the long-term consequences.

The Pitcairn Islands are the most isolated of the inhabitable places on Earth. Only one is large enough to support any kind of settlement at all. The islands have no harbors, no runways, no access whatsoever except via some long dugouts that the men row to passing cargo ships.

The islands were first inhabited by Fletcher Christian and fellow mutineers from The Bounty. It suited them well, because of the improbability of the islands ever being found, and the impossibility of an organized raid by British naval forces, even if they were. A better refuge would be hard to imagine.

Fast-forward, then, to the present day. The population of the island is around about 30. The islands, even with the trade, cannot support more than this. It's questionable as to whether it can support what it already has. In the intervening years, between Christian Fletcher's famous mutiny and today, the Islanders have formed their own culture and their own world view.

This world view has dramatically collided with the world view as seen by New Zealand and Great Britain.

A visitor to the islands complained of being raped whilst being there. Bad, but not the end of the world. At least, that would have been the case almost anywhere else. An investigation uncovered generation upon generation of underage sex, sexual abuse and the general treating of women as sexual property.

As you can imagine, this didn't go down too well with the investigators. Half the male population were arrested and put on trial. One got acquitted, but news reports hint that that may have been part of a plea-bargain. The other six, including the mayor of the island and his son, were convicted on numerous charges of sexual assaults on minors.

The defense had three arguments, all of which were rejected. The first argument was that it was part of Pitcairn's traditions. Certainly, this is a plausible situation. With such a low population, it is entirely possible that the Islanders have attempted to stave off extinction by ignoring such details as age limits. Although there is no obvious proof of this, it's possible that there have been times where no alternative existed if the Islanders were to survive.

The second argument was that the depletion of half the male population would make it impossible for the Islanders to sustain themselves, as there simply wouldn't be enough people to man the boats to bring in the supplies. The opinion of the courts seemed to be that the Islanders should have thought of that before breaking any laws. Any problems the Islanders suffered was entirely brought down upon themselves, and sympathy was not exactly in abundance.

The third and final argument was that Britain had no claim over the Island, largely on the grounds that it was never a formal colony but founded by escapees, but also because there is absolutely no formal contact between the two whatsoever. If Britain had no claim, then Britain's laws would be irrelevant.

The first argument is by far the stronger, but it is still hopelessly fragile. Firstly, laws are intended to protect both quality and quantity of life. There are good psychological reasons for believing the age limits are about right, and excellent reasons for believing that some age limit is essential.

On this basis, the Pitcairn Islanders have sacrificed quality in order to obtain a slightly higher assurance of quantity. But it's still no guarantee.

Actually, it's no guarantee at all. A gene pool that small is utterly unsustainable over the long haul. Especially with that degree of isolation. That they've survived as long as they have is impressive, but they have no long-term prospects at all. By clinging onto a "tradition" that enables them to retain their isolation and genetic stagnation, they have condemned their future to oblivion.

Now we get into more difficult territory. Did Britain and New Zealand have any business getting involved at all? At what point is an independent community entitled to autonomy, and at what point is it right and proper for outsiders to intervene?

Here it gets more complicated. Denmark, for example, has an age of consent of 12. Considerably lower than that of Britain, where it is 16. Does Britain have the right to interfere with Denmark's autonomy, in the event of British citizens transgressing British law on Danish soil?

The answer would be no. Denmark is a sovereign state, it has made its decision on how it chooses to view sexuality, and has passed laws accordingly. If others exploit loopholes in those laws, then that is a matter for Denmark, not Britain or any other country.

So why are the Pitcairn Islands any different? In one sense, they're not. Being so remote, they aren't exactly on the regular patrols by the British police. I'm almost positive they have no representation in British Parliament. It would be awfully hard to make them pay taxes. In many of the practical ways that distinguish joint communities from distinct ones, the Pitcairn Islands are unquestionably separate from Britain.

These are not the only practicalities to consider, though. The Pitcairn Islands are parasitical - they couldn't survive without bringing in supplies, but they really don't have a whole lot to give in exchange. (Although, given the charges, it's possible they've found solutions to that problem too.)

As they have no independent existence, to consider them as an independent nation would be pushing it a bit. Unlike Denmark, they can only exist as part of a larger community. They have no choice in that. And, given their extreme location, there's not a whole lot of choice in who they consider themselves a part of.

This problem may seem very remote and of no real significance. It's just a small bunch of Islanders, in the middle of nowhere, who got caught with their pants down. Yes and no. In an age where the imposition of one nation's will on another seems to be increasingly common, the dangers of such action are becoming increasingly apparent.

But where do you draw the line? When is it right and proper to intervene, and when is it an unlawful invasion? Who decides? The winner? To avoid the excesses of Imperialism, certain standards on International relationships have to be observed, whether we like them or not, whether they're convenient or not.

But in fringe cases, such as the Pitcairns, how do you really know if it is an international case, or a purely domestic affair? Who decides? How do they decide?

the UN and the International Court of Justice decide on International issues, whereas national governments deal with national issues. There are no entities which deal with cases which are not clearly one or the other. All anyone in such a class can do is hope.

But in the case of the Pitcairns, were they criminals hoping not to get caught, or lawful citizens hoping not to be imposed upon by alien beliefs? And what precedent has been set, in the dealing with any remote or fringe community, anywhere?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by jd


Display: Sort:
Pitcairn | 156 comments (140 topical, 16 editorial, 1 hidden)
some points (2.90 / 22) (#1)
by forgotten on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 03:32:54 AM EST

that i think need to be included, since like many newspaper articles i have read recently you seem determined to make what is a very simple situation complex.

1. the raped "visitor" to the island was a 12 year old girl.
2. a low age of consent in no way mitigates penalties for sexual assault of young women. i would be surprised if in denmark the law did not distinguish between the rape of a 12 year old and (say) a 25 year old.
3. britain supplied essential services on the island. that is a very practical sense in which the pitcairn islands are part of britain.

Finally,
4. living on an island is not an excuse to repeatedly rape children.

--

I would agree (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by jd on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:57:55 AM EST

Particularly with points 1, 2 and 4. Although this was an op-ed piece, I was trying hard to be as impartial as possible on the facts. I don't think facts ever need op-eding. My interpretation of the facts - well, that's the op-ed part.

I didn't include this part in the article, because I felt it would be too inflamatory, but since the islanders are defending the rapists, I think that there are grounds for declaring the others to be accessories to the fact.

I also think that the entire population should undergo psychiatric observation. Their behaviour during the investigation and trial is definitely disturbing.

[ Parent ]

Op-ed should still present the facts correctly (none / 1) (#77)
by dachshund on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 09:11:23 PM EST

Particularly with points 1, 2 and 4. Although this was an op-ed piece, I was trying hard to be as impartial as possible on the facts. I don't think facts ever need op-eding. My interpretation of the facts - well, that's the op-ed part.

I have to agree that the article was confusing. It's one thing to present the facts and then your own opinins on them; it's another thing entirely to omit certain critical facts (or render them unclear) so to get your point across.

All of the points raised by the parent poster should have been in the article. The (relatively) long discussion on age limits would be relevant and interesting if the sex were purely consensual, but you fail to mention that many of these experiences were non-consensual and quite violent, rendering age details moot.

[ Parent ]

The problem... (none / 1) (#92)
by jd on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:53:54 AM EST

...is that it's not 100% clear if the acts were consensual or not. The victims say they weren't, but other women on the island say they were. Since none of us were actually there (err, at least I don't think so, but if anyone was, feel free to say!) we don't actually know for sure.

To argue, then, that this was definitely rape is as incorrect as arguing that it definitely wasn't. (In fact, in light of Western tradition of assuming the accused to be innocent until proven guilty, the latter would almost be more reasonable.)

I didn't see much point in getting into the "he said/she said" of the debate, because all I'd be doing is reciting a laundry list of each others accusations. In hindsight, it might have been better to have listed the claims of both sides anyway, from the perspective of completeness, but I do feel that the mutually acknowledged aspects of the case have the advantage that they are agreed upon by everyone, which means they're on firm ground.

[ Parent ]

Re: I would agree (2.50 / 2) (#99)
by drsmithy on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 08:40:11 AM EST

I also think that the entire population should undergo psychiatric observation. Their behaviour during the investigation and trial is definitely disturbing.

Why ?

Clearly, consensual "underage" sex is commonplace on Pitcairn - more than one female islander talked of actively pursuing sex at ~12 years old. Therefore, the "underage" aspect of this case is nothing more than irrelevant sensationalism.

It's not uncommon for rape allegations to be made up or grossly exaggerated. Again, at least one of the accusing women later retracted her claims and stated the police had pressured her to make them. Additionally, many of the island women said the "rapes" were consensual (although, perhaps, regretted after the fact).

Presumably, the islanders - particularly those married to or close friends of the accused - like to think they know their peers. Therefore, if they considered the men charged to not be "the type" to commit rape, they would _reasonably_ be expected to take the side of those men against their accusers.

Their reaction to me seems perfectly normal and one I would expect in any close-knit community wherein certain members are accused of acts the majority consider them unlikely to have committed.

[ Parent ]

You aren't getting it (none / 1) (#119)
by JahToasted on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 06:23:24 PM EST

They weren't defending the rapists because they thought they didn't really commit rape. No, they were defending the rapists because they thought that what they did was normal.

Rape as been a normal part of life for women there for generations so now they don't see anything wrong with it.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

Re: You aren't getting it (2.50 / 2) (#121)
by drsmithy on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 07:32:32 PM EST

They weren't defending the rapists because they thought they didn't really commit rape. No, they were defending the rapists because they thought that what they did was normal.

I'll be happy to admit I haven't been following this case on a day to day basis, so I only know what I've seen on the various nightly news programs here in Australia. However, my impression was that rape wasn't being defended, merely that the community was saying:

a) Sex with people ~12 and up wasn't uncommon.

b) The rapes were either false accusations, or consensual at the time.

Do you have any links to reports of the community defending rape ?

[ Parent ]

No links (none / 0) (#144)
by JahToasted on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:20:47 PM EST

But I remember when this story first broke reading that in one of the articles linked from google news. Sorry its Friday night and I don't much feel like trying to track it down now.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]
what bullshit (1.48 / 43) (#2)
by circletimessquare on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:01:45 AM EST

pitcairners rape children: that's their culture, we should respect their beliefs

africans cut off female clitorises, depriving them of any sexual pleasure the rest of their lives: that's their culture, and we should respect it

saudis don't let their women drive, have jobs, own property, etc: that's their culture, and we should respect it

bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit

there are universal standards of human behavior: all people are equal, you can't murder, you can't rape, etc.

and where these universal standards are broken, they should be universally punished

end of story

we are on our way to a global society, and this is a very good thing

in tribal days, the people who lived in far off lands were horrible monsters who ate their children and breathed fire

in days of empire, the people from far off lands spoke inscrutable tongues of evil, and were good for nothing more than slave work like farm animals and sacrificing to the gods

in nationalistic days, the people who were a different skin color were permanently stupid and incapable of things like leadership and invention and education

in our era of cultural "respect", the people who live on different continents aren't ready for democracy yet because of their culture, things like freedom and equal rights are "alien beliefs" we have no right to "impose"

this isn't respect, this is condescension and patronization

i don't see cultures in this world

i see people

and i see people using the word "culture" to practice nothing more than simple racism by other means

it's a global world fast coming, and you better adapt your old world bullshit to it

we all have 2 eyes, a belly button, an anus, and some toe nails

we're ALL FUCKING HUMAN BEINGS

and that is only pov that is morally justifiable for considering questions like the pitcairn situation, or a whole other range of "honest questions" which are really nothing more than ignorance of other people masquerading as "respect"


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Yes, and.. (1.95 / 20) (#7)
by Magnetic North on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:32:46 AM EST

Americans rape and pillage the earth in the quest for low gasoline prices and a false feeling of security. All in the name of "freedom". Their wars, are fought by social misfits who torture, rape and kill civillians. Their culture is one of extreme selfishness and greed. Their leaders will justify any lie by whatever means. And their sordid way of life is unfortunately spreading like fire. It's funny that you should mention that we're all human beings, because obviously none of you pigs recognise that in other circumstances.

--
<33333
[ Parent ]
0; vertical spam, LOOKS LONGWINDED (2.40 / 10) (#8)
by sllort on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:04:20 AM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
key word being SHOULD (none / 1) (#28)
by auraslip on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 04:44:15 PM EST

not CAN
124
[ Parent ]
You're not thinking like a human being (none / 1) (#29)
by debacle on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:23:58 PM EST

You're thinking like an idealistic scholar. People aren't owed anything but the Golden Rule, and that's all.

Take your fucking stupid ideas somewhere else.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Democracy (none / 1) (#67)
by oneiromancer on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 04:01:17 PM EST

You're thinking that democracy is some kind of end in itself, that it's the one true way to govern a society. In my opinion, at least, it's used simply because it's expedient - it's a way for a society to govern itself with minimum opression of its own citizens and maximum emphasis on individual freedoms.

In short, you're guilty of the same cultural imperialism you're attacking in others. Plato considered (admittedly Athenian-model, but many of his criticisms remain valid) democracy to be as flawed as tyranny, and proposed an idea similar to the 'enlightened despot'.

No-one has a monopoly on truth, not even the believer in liberal democracy.

'You are a heartless bastard.......' -- K5 hate mail
[ Parent ]
Hey, you stupid fuck (2.37 / 8) (#80)
by nxor on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 10:51:28 PM EST

Use paragraphs and the shift key.

[ Parent ]
Hey, (3.00 / 2) (#104)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:13:00 AM EST

wasn't the Inquisition all about saying "Hey, our way is obviously the only universally correct way of thinking, therefore, our means are quite justified when we 'enlighten' you."

Once again, I feel privileged to bask in the glow of your elegant an nuanced solutions to the world's problems.

[ Parent ]

bravo (none / 0) (#117)
by lostincali on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 03:58:53 PM EST

I'm really surprised that so many people 0 your comments. At the very least, you're making comments which are topical and provoke discussion related to the story.

Also, what you say really makes sense to me, and I have trouble understanding how cultural relativists can so easily overlook the complaints of those people actually subjected to oppressive cultures. I find this case particularly interesting since so many people consider intervention here to be such a non-issue, while when applied elsewhere intervention is more likely to be considered "imperialistic."

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

Well... (2.11 / 9) (#4)
by My Other Account Is A Hulver on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:43:20 AM EST

I don't think it's fair to say that Pitcairn should be held to a different set of standards compared to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, I think rape is pretty much always justified and acceptable.

So, free the Pitcairnites.

I believe drduck is a genuine account, and I don't delete him because I'm a hypocrite. - rusty

Let the Pitcairns' make their own laws (3.00 / 4) (#5)
by I Hate Yanks on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:52:52 AM EST

It's only fairly recently that it's been considered wrong for a 12 year old to bear children.

In an isolated society where it's importatnt to keep the population from dwindling humans will revert to animal instincts. i.e Men will procreate with the fertile females.

The Pitcairn's behaviour has no place in a civilised society, but in their own insular society it is a survival trait and the British laws should not interfere.


Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.

Addendum (none / 1) (#6)
by I Hate Yanks on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 07:54:19 AM EST

I should learn to type.
Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
[ Parent ]
Nonono. (none / 1) (#41)
by jd on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:53:39 PM EST

That's "President Cheney". Bush is just a ventriloquist's dummy. Well, a dummy, certainly.

[ Parent ]
Well almost correct: (2.00 / 2) (#52)
by I Hate Yanks on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:30:58 AM EST

Reason 119 (Reasons to hate Americans: Reasons to hate Dick Cheeny): His hand smells of shit because it's lodged up Bush's arse.


Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
[ Parent ]

interesting (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:57:03 AM EST

So you're saying that if there's a law in Iran which says that it is okay to murder Americans, we shouldn't be upset if an American is murdered in Iran? Remember, this whole sordid affair started with the accusations of a tourist to the island of being raped.

In Afghanistan, the men in power dengrated, mutilated, and terrorized women, as a matter of law.

Being able to pass a law doesn't make it right. "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all people are created equal ... with certain inalienable rights."

This isn't to say that the US should take it upon itself to go ye therefore and destroy evildoers around the world. But in the case of the Pitcairns, I don't believe we can say "it's just culture and their own sovereign law" as 12 year old girls are raped and forced into what amounts to sexual servitude.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Started with it, yes (3.00 / 3) (#44)
by curien on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 02:31:00 AM EST

No one was convicted of that, however.

In fact, the alleged rapist produced evidence that the sex was consensual by producing love letters signed by the alleged victim. If it was "rape" it was probably just statutory.

And that's the thing that's pissed me off about all these articles and charges. None of them address whether these crimes were violent rapes or only statutory. To me, it makes a world of difference.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

False choice (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by driptray on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 07:34:54 AM EST

The Pitcairn complainants have said that they were held down by one or more men, while raped by another.

But rape is not limited to "violent" or "statutory". Simply saying "no" is sufficient to indicate a lack of consent. Violence is not necessary.

For the prosecution, statutory rape is far easier to prove, because it has only to be established that sex took place, and the messy and difficult-to-prove issue of consent can be ignored.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Either way (none / 0) (#62)
by curien on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 10:45:02 AM EST

The articles I saw didn't make it clear, exept for the one case where the only (provable) possibility was it being statutory.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 1) (#53)
by I Hate Yanks on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:33:06 AM EST

Bloody swarming buggers. If you don't kill 'em fast enough then they get enough momentum to open a Mc Donalds Torture Franchise, and then you can say goodbye to your country.


Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
[ Parent ]

recent events (3.00 / 4) (#13)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:02:33 AM EST

It's only fairly recently that it's been considered wrong for a 12 year old to bear children.

Other than the fact that your statement should read: "It's only fairly recently that it's been considered wrong for a 12 year old girl to be sold by her father to any man wanting her to bear his children."

Also only "fairly recently", women were granted the right to vote, people of color were awarded equal protection under the law, and so on. Why? For cultural reasons? No, because we hold that all people are created equal, and in the case of the Pitcairns, deserve a better sense of self-determination than being forced into sexual servitude at the age of 12.

These aren't girls "bearing children". These are girls being used as sexual property by a male-dominated society which views them as property.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Tell the rape victims that. [n/t] (2.33 / 3) (#110)
by smithmc on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 12:37:09 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bunch of arse, mate. (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:14:37 AM EST

Allthough we shouldn't comment on the age of consent on the pitcairns, the way they treat their women is of obvious concern. Especially when it spills over to tourists being raped.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
Doesn't address his questions (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:34:14 AM EST

Granted, rape is wrong. But what gives Britain the right to enforce its laws on Pitcairn island?

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
It isnt just Britain (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:43:31 AM EST

Its New Zealand as well, but to address your point, the pitcairns are not recognised as a nation so they are then subject to international law, wether they like it or not. Now strictly speaking they are so far out to sea that they are outside all law, but they also means Britain and New Zealand can act as they want in international waters, including taking the prisoner and trying them for crimes.

Thats the legal reason, the ethical reason is obvious. Lets not forget we just invaded Iraq because we thought our laws should apply to them(If were ignoring moral reasons).

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]
International Law? (3.00 / 3) (#19)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:30:27 PM EST

I didn't realize we had an "international criminal code". Does it cover running red lights, stuff like that?

As for Iraq - that's exactly the point. How many people on this board are saying "of course the police should bust their asses" but are also opposed to the war in Iraq and to similar military adventures elsewhere?

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

And that is exactly why (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by jd on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:50:40 PM EST

...I thought this debate worth having on K5. Somewhere, there is a dividing line between a rightful act of law enforcement, and dictatorial oppression. In some cases, it's obviously one or the other.

In this case, however, it's not so clear. Jurisdiction is difficult to prove, for a start. Even then do the prosecuting nation's laws hold, or do the islanders' "traditions" take precedence?

The women seem to be fairly evenly divided over whether the acts were consensual or not. Genuinely independent witnesses don't appear to exist. Anthropologists and sociologists - the two groups of professionals who might be able to shed light on the cultural aspects of the case - don't get mentioned, at least on any of the coverage I've seen.

Personally, I call this one the way I see it - the men are as guilty as hell. Nobody has denied the acts took place, merely argued as to whether they were acceptable or not and whether they were consensual or not. I think the evidence is strongly in favor of the acts NOT being consensual, and with the kinds of dynamics you create when older people in positions of authority try to "seduce" underage girls... No way in hell is that acceptable.

HOWEVER, that's all a matter of personal belief, based on heresay. In short, not much more than was used to "convict" the women in the Salem witch trials. Can I be so sure that I'm doing any better in my judgement, than they were in theirs? Well, no. Can I be so sure I've any more right to be judging them than they were, then? I'm not sure.

This is what makes it such an important debate, precisely because it's not cut-and-dried.

[ Parent ]

Remember reading this in an Aussie paper, (none / 1) (#42)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 11:19:00 PM EST

but this practice of underage sex isn't apparently as historical as the Islanders claim; the original mutineers from HMS Bounty moved away from Tahiti because the Tahitian society was more liberal than what their Victorian sensibilities would allow.

Which is one reason why I'd view this more as an exercise in establishing a viable law-and-order structure in a remote, closely-knit community than as an effort at determining Pitcairn's sovereignity from Brit/NZ/International law.

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]

Victorian??? (none / 1) (#101)
by Gallowglass on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 08:47:55 AM EST

Pitcairn settled in 1790.

Victoria is crowned Queen in 1837.

I don't think those were Victorian sensibilities.

[ Parent ]

international law (none / 1) (#24)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:38:15 PM EST

Generally speaking, international law only applies in those states which have agreed to it. The Pitcairn Islands are not a recognized state, but neither are they recognized as being under the jurisdiction of any particular state. So what gives an arbitrary state - be it England, New Zealand, or Uganda - the right to enforce its laws here?

[ Parent ]
If it's not a state (none / 1) (#51)
by Nursie on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:29:38 AM EST

And it's not subject to international law, the british can do whatever the hell they like there! That includes abducting and trying the bastards that comited these heinous crimes.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
International law.. (none / 1) (#54)
by tonyenkiducx on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:35:57 AM EST

Is also applied to anyone and anything that cannot be placed under a particular countries laws. This is legal because of international waters, and it makes sense because their has to be a structure for applying laws to these people. It is also applied to states that agree to the laws like you say, but that is a seperate issue. Allthough the fact that so many international countries submit to this law means it has fairly broad relevance.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]
In summary (none / 1) (#72)
by killmepleez on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:26:26 PM EST

Life is a series of struggles in which one person or group asserts and then attempts to enforce its wishes upon another person or group. Legal systems consist of two parts: a declaration of intent and violence which successfully enforces that intent. Whoever has the best combination of persuasive rights declarations and violence technology wins.

I love morality.


__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
So the islanders.. (none / 1) (#84)
by tonyenkiducx on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 11:26:29 PM EST

..who don't have a legal system and have a plank with a nail in it as their main arsenal, are pretty much screwed.

Huzzaahh!!

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]
Yep. (none / 1) (#100)
by killmepleez on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 08:41:20 AM EST

Nature abhors a vacuum.
Human nature abhors a power vacuum.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
Either... (none / 1) (#103)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:04:11 AM EST

..that was so deep I didn't understand it, or you need help. I have put 20 sheets of rubber wallpaper in the mail for you just in case.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]
Interesting topic. (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:43:06 AM EST

In a sense, this is the same question that arise whenever foreign intervention is required.

To those who endorse the actions of the British police: does this mean we should invade those countries that still permit a slave trade? How about those countries which permit arranged marriages?

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort

arranged marriages (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 11:11:31 AM EST

It completely depends on the nature of the arranged marriage. If the woman is free to decide not to go through with the wedding, then obviously there is nothing to see here. If the woman is not free to decide this, and in such countries one can usually assume that the wife is also the property of the husband, then what is the real difference between this and a slave trade? There is coersion of a human being into becoming property. Generally slaves are indeed treated much worse, but not always.

Wherever there are people treated as property to be bought, sold, and traded, this cannot be reasonably called "culture" any longer.

However, having a quaint notion of an arranged marriage, to which in the end both parties have the final consent, seems like a non-issue. In fact that would be more like a dating service than servitude.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Understood. (none / 1) (#20)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 12:32:46 PM EST

And, really, I wasn't singling out arranged marriage except as one end of a spectrum.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]
snort (none / 1) (#105)
by Secularist on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:21:23 AM EST

Wherever there are people treated as property to be bought, sold, and traded, this cannot be reasonably called "culture" any longer.

Yeah, I suppose there was really no such thing as "culture" anywhere in the world up to oh say the 18th Century or so.

[ Parent ]
my opinion (3.00 / 2) (#78)
by gdanjo on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 09:25:51 PM EST

To those who endorse the actions of the British police: does this mean we should invade those countries that still permit a slave trade? [...]
My opinion is that a balance between "relativity" and "universality" needs to be made - all while keeping an eye on the effects on the decisions we make; the idea being, that the "path of least resistance" is the best.

So, for example, in the case of Pitcairn it is my understanding that it is the women of Pitcairn themselves that are also complaining about the men's behaviour. Thus, while we can agree that each culture is "relative" in the sense that each culture defines it's own norms, the women are pleading to a "universal" standard of treatment that they wish to enjoy.

The same applies for the nation that trades slaves: while we must accept that this nation has, independantly, come to define it's own standards of behaviour, and that, having accepted such a relativistic definition of culture, our norms cannot be unilaterally imposed on another, we must also accept that the slaves themselves have an expectation of standard of treatment that we, as humans, need to acknowledge. These are the relative (culture) and the universal (individual) interests competing with each other.

To allow both these competing "standards" to balance, what we must do is give each side an equal voice ... the rest will take care of itself.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Pirates (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by Nursie on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:02:45 PM EST

Mutineers and pirates the lot of 'em.

Pitcairn isn't recognised as a country, and is way out in international waters. If what they did wasn't a crime then neither was it a crime to abduct them and subject them to British Law.

Meta Sigs suck.

Good one (none / 0) (#60)
by Highlander on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 08:55:38 AM EST



Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]
Bollocks (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by stigger on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 09:15:53 AM EST

Pitcairn is a British Colony

CIA World Fact book

"Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire in the South Pacific. Outmigration, primarily to New Zealand, has thinned the population from a peak of 233 in 1937 to less than 50 today."

And the were not abducted they were tried there and will be imprisioned there..

Research...

[ Parent ]

Way late response (none / 1) (#156)
by Nursie on Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 02:54:02 AM EST

That's fine - my point was really that either they were under british rule - in which case a trial under british law is fine - Or they were pirates and vagabonds under no rule of law - in which case it seems fine to me to subject them to british law.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Bad analogy (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 01:35:28 PM EST

Does Britain have the right to interfere with Denmark's autonomy, in the event of British citizens transgressing British law on Danish soil?

Of course Britian does. Many countries, Britain and the US included, will prosecute their citizens for doing things in country [x] which are legal under the laws of country [x] and not legal under the laws of the country of which the individual is a citizen. They have the right to do that because the individual is one of their citizens.

A better question would be this: does Britain have the right to interfere with Denmark's autonomy in the event of Danish citizens transgressing British law on Danish soil?

The answer to that is clearly 'no'.

I think the Pitcairners have the right legal case here: the writ of British law does not run in their territory, and the people of those islands are in no sense British citizens.

legally perhaps, but (none / 0) (#25)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 02:51:29 PM EST

So if Pitcairner men legally have the right to rape women, and Britain cannot enforce any other law upon them while the Pitcairners live outisde British territory, the next step is obvious: Britain takes over Pitcairn and installs a government which not only makes rape a crime, but allows ex post facto prosecution. Presumably, Pitcairn doesn't have a Constitution which prohibits such an action.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
that's a disturbing argument. (3.00 / 4) (#30)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 05:29:35 PM EST

Basically, you're arguing that might makes right; you might as well say that if marijuana use is not illegal in the Netherlands, the US can take over the Netherlands and install a new government.

Granted, Pitcairn Island is a special case as it seems to have no legal status whatsoever; and yet, if the invading-the-netherlands-and-changing-their-laws example is something that is illegal, so too is invading-pitcairn-and-changing-their-laws.

[ Parent ]

exactly (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 06:00:59 PM EST

Which is why I only presented the apparent argument, not defend or profess to hold it. I didn't attempt to argue anything.

Also, the notion of "might makes right" being a bad idea, used in an argument to defend an island where that notion is definitely the rule when it comes to raping young girls, is not without a great deal of something. Irony, perhaps? I've never been good with the definition of irony, perhaps it is something else.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

Isn't it ironic? (none / 0) (#39)
by xria on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 10:28:44 PM EST

No. Irony is when you say something, but obviously mean the opposite. One common use is to make a position look bad - you rephrase in such a way to be obviously stupid, in which case it is satirical. (i.e. satire is the use of irony to attack someone). Ex.: Isn't Bush good at public speaking?

[ Parent ]
Hahaha (3.00 / 3) (#45)
by curien on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 02:42:55 AM EST

Explaining irony incorrectly... now THAT's ironic!

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
From Websters: (none / 1) (#47)
by xria on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 03:25:54 AM EST

Personally I always tend to use Irony to mean the first of their choices.

Ironic

  1. Conveying a meaning that contradicts the literal sense of the words used: an ironic comment
  2. Being the reverse of what was expected: an ironic event
  3. Of the nature of or given to the use of irony
Irony
  1. The use of words to signify the opposite of what they usually express; ridicule disguised as praise or compliment; covert sarcasm or satire
  2. The feigning of ignorance, as in the Socratic method of questions and answers; hence Socratic Irony
  3. A condition of affairs or events exactly the reverse of what was expecteed; the irony of fate


[ Parent ]
Irony vs Sarcasm (none / 1) (#48)
by curien on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 03:50:19 AM EST

What you describe is sarcasm which, while similar to a certain facet of irony, is not in fact irony in much the same way that slapstick is not the same as comedy. Further, to describe comedy simply as "a form of entertainment portraying physical mishaps in a humorous manner" is incorrect.

The particular problem I had with your definition is the word "obviously". There are nuances of meaning here that reasonable people may disagree on, of course, but it's generally accepted that an obvious misuse of language is considered to be "sarcasm" exclusively, while more subtle (or, even better) unintentional misuses are considered to be "irony". Also, you continued to say that, "One common use is to make a position look bad," which pinpoints the definition of "sarcasm" even more acutely: "A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound," and "A form of wit... intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule" (senses 1 and 2 from dictionary.com).

Further, irony applies not just to a juxtaposition between language and reality (as does sarcasm): irony may be used to describe a juxtaposition between action of any kind and reality. This sense (which I used in calling your response "ironic") is completely missed by your definition (and sense one of the dictionary's definition -- it is captured in sense two).

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]

True (none / 0) (#49)
by xria on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 04:00:18 AM EST

Rereading the first comment I made putting the word obviously in did change things around to how I meant them, and then as the example was satire (as I said) it probably didnt really explain it very well at all.

Of course the problem with irony (in the first sense) on the internet, is there is almost no way someone can know you are saying something ironically as they don't know you very well, so it is hard not to slip in some element of satire or people will literally believe you hold the opposite position, because there is almost always someone on the internet who does.

[ Parent ]

ah... irony (none / 0) (#56)
by adimovk5 on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:48:13 AM EST

[Roxanne Kowalski is walking behind a hedge because she is nude]

Roxanne Kowalski: Nobody had a coat?
C.D. Bales: You said you didn't want a coat...
Roxanne Kowalski: Why would I not want a coat?
C.D. Bales: You said you didn't want a coat...
Roxanne Kowalski: I was being ironic.
C.D. Bales: Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don't get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony's not really a, a high priority. We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was getting tired of being stared at.

Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah in Roxanne (1987)


[ Parent ]
By definition... (none / 0) (#152)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Nov 03, 2004 at 04:13:15 PM EST

All sarcasm is irony, but not all irony is sarcasm.
--
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
That's sarcasm (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by godix on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:32:27 PM EST

If a dozen people get arrested for starting a fight at a peace rally that's irony. When I make  a rant full of comments like 'Oh yes, clearly they're so dedicated to peace that they'll whop your ass if you disagree' that's sarcasm. There is a difference, although they are related.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
You do raise an interesting line of though... (3.00 / 2) (#33)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 06:12:55 PM EST

[Y]ou might as well say that if marijuana use is not illegal in the Netherlands, the US can take over the Netherlands and install a new government.

I would propose this is an interesting test to determine whether the United States should pass a law making activity "X" illegal: If in another country, people are legally participating in activity "X" without fear of reprisal, should that country be forcefully stopped from allowing this activity to continue?

I would hold that if activity "X" was raping 12 year old girls, then yes, that country should be forcefully stopped from allowing this activity to continue, and thus that raping 12 year old girls should be illegal in the United States.

If activity "X" is smoking some pot now and again, then no, that country should not be forcefully stopped from allowing this activity to continue, and thus that smoking pot should not be illegal in the United States.

I look forward to interesting cases of "X" which make me eat my words! How about MP3 file sharing, or eating raw fish, or prostitution, or abortion?
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

damn; reasoning falls flat (none / 0) (#34)
by zenofchai on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 06:30:00 PM EST

I guess that I cannot hold that if activity "X" is "stealing stuff from people's houses" then the line of reasoning applies.

Because if "stealing stuff from people's houses" were legal in, say, Guatemala, I wouldn't feel compelled to go there and kick some Guatemalan ass until it was illegal, yet I do appreciate the protection of this law in the United States. I guess I don't hold that other people's property ownership rights are worth defending too much, yet I like my own stuff nice, shiny, and in my house, for the most part.

Ditto for stealing cars, heck, stealing most material goods. I would barely consider going to Guatemala to fight for the establishment of a Guatemalan law condemning material theft.

Now, if there was a Guatemalan law written something like, "Stealing is wrong; except from women or Jews. You may steal from women or Jews all you like." there might be some ass-kicking in Guatemala's future with my name written all over it. Or something.
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]

might (2.33 / 6) (#37)
by adimovk5 on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 09:16:46 PM EST

.....Basically, you're arguing that might makes right.....

Might does make right. It's the basic building block of human society. A group forms and imposes its will on other groups or individuals. Dressing it up with laws and voting doesn't change it. Modern law is based on force and the threat of force.

[ Parent ]

Modern law (none / 1) (#135)
by cameldrv on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 04:50:09 AM EST

Modern law is not "based on" force. Modern law is enforced by force, but it is based on principles of governance, at least in western democracies. The U.S. military is capable of taking over at least a good fraction of the country and ruling it. However, almost everyone in the military has respect for the foundations of the country and the concept of civilian control, even if they don't like it all the time. There has never been a military coup in the U.S., and that is not due to a lack of ability, but an understanding that although the military has a physical capability to do a lot of things, its authorization to do such things only legitimately comes from the government.

[ Parent ]
naked force (none / 0) (#150)
by adimovk5 on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 05:18:03 PM EST

From 1861 to 1865, the President of the United States used military force against the populations of several States. The State governments had seceded from the United States and formed a seperate government. The President had no Constitutional authority to stop a State from seceding. However, he did have the military might available to do so. So he did.

The use of force by the US government against citizens is not as rare as you might think. Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Elian Gonzalez are a few of the more publicized incidents.

The lack of respect for natural rights isn't a widespread problem. Normally the government follows the rules of law and good governance. However, at times it still uses naked force to achieve its ends. At times, politicians and bureaucrats decide their wants are more important, and people suffer.

[ Parent ]

Easier solution (none / 0) (#66)
by rusty on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 02:14:48 PM EST

Britain (and New Zealand, Australia, etc) sever all relations and trade with Pitcairn. There will be no people left in a few short years.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#137)
by curien on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:10:15 AM EST

So out of protest of the Pitcairners' lack of morality, Australia, NZ, and GB could collectively commit genocide.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Er (none / 0) (#139)
by rusty on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 12:40:42 PM EST

I had actually been thinking that the people would leave Pitcairn when they're unable to support themselves in the comfort they've become accustomed to. They lived without outside help for decades -- I don't think they'd all die.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Pitcairn culture (3.00 / 5) (#36)
by driptray on Tue Oct 26, 2004 at 08:33:07 PM EST

You have explained this as a collision between Pitcairn culture and "outside" culture, but this is not accurate. The conflict is within Pitcairn culture.

Approximately half of the Pitcairn women have left Pitcairn because of their experiences of rape and sexual abuse. This isn't outside interference - it's a significant proportion of the Pitcairner's themselves who are saying that Pitcairn culture is rotten. Sure, they needed outside help to make their case, but that's understandable in the circumstances.

Another thing - there's a lot of confusion between the issues of under-age sex, and rape. I personally don't have much of a problem about under-age sex as long as it's consensual, but the complainants are complaining because it was done against their will - they were held down by groups of men. The under-age aspect is only important in that it makes rape convictions easy - the defence cannot argue that it was consensual as people under-age supposedly cannot consent.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

Indeed (none / 0) (#126)
by strlen on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:42:47 PM EST

Not to dissimiliar how some cultural relativists (and also racists, interestingly enough) are claiming that the fight against terrorism is a conflict of West vs. the East, while as the King of Jordan recently put it (can't find the quote, unfortunately) this is mostly a conflict within the Eastern culture that merely spills over to the West.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
No (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by jeremyn on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:00:29 AM EST

It's a tiny island in the middle of nowhere that survives by farming and selling art to passing cruise ships. Half the male population are perverts. The prospect of its people dying out will never excuse immorality like raping children. The only reason the whiny arguments of these scumbags about not realizing that paedophilia and rape were illegal should be accepted is if there is a suitable 17th or 18th century rape law allowing the death penalty that could be applied. The only reason their lawyers are bleating about international law applying is that it's relevant only to the disputes of nations and genocides, allowing them to waste time so that justice will never truly be executed.

99% agree (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by Highlander on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 08:52:03 AM EST

Well, if it was a completely isolated island, and by that I mean like the rest of the war was nuked or hostile, and there was just a 99 year old man who had been diagnosed to die from cancer within half a year and a girl, then I guess that would be a different situation to discuss.

But nothing like that is happening.

The islanders could just leave the island. If they don't want to be subject to the laws of country the island belongs to, they could "secede", but that would have only abstract entertainment value, because 30 persons can hardly fight a war against a nation.

Of course, all this is on a slope, because what would you say if you were a taiwanese and China applied similar reasoning to your "little island"? As it tries to ..

So it is an interesting argument from the point of view of theory, but in practice, it is nonsense.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]

"the country the island belongs to" (none / 0) (#64)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 01:29:31 PM EST

by what right? It seems to me that you're asserting that if I go move to an unoccuppied island that is not subject to the jurisdiction of any nation, it immediately becomes a territory of the US. That can't be right.

[ Parent ]
Why not? (none / 0) (#68)
by godix on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:20:09 PM EST

It seems to me that you're asserting that if I go move to an unoccuppied island that is not subject to the jurisdiction of any nation, it immediately becomes a territory of the US. That can't be right.

Why can't that be right? It's basically the method that Spain, England, Portugal, France, etc. took in the new world. Current countries in the Americas are directly based on those claims of conquest so a good arguement could be made that precident supports exactly what you think can't be right. Besides, in this case there weren't even natives to complicate the issues like there were in the Americas so it's even more clear cut.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
current countries in america (none / 1) (#70)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 05:38:46 PM EST

with the exception of canada, belize, and french guyana, almost all countries in the americas exist today because the people living in a region decided that they didn't like the idiots-from-elsewhere that were ruling them and kicked them out. :) Eg, the inhabitants of the land declared themselves sovereign.

[ Parent ]
But where did those inhabitants come from? (3.00 / 3) (#75)
by godix on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 07:36:09 PM EST

Lets take the US for example just becuase most people are at least vaugely familiar with its history.

The US originated from armed rebellion against England. The people doing the rebellion were not native to the Americas but rather they were people original from Europe. The reason they were here to begin with was a direct result of European conquest. So while what you said is correct that doesn't change the fact that the US, and pretty much every other country in the Americas, is indirectly based on the philosphy that the an European foot touching the ground magically makes that ground part of a European country.

Incidently, roughly half of the US was purchased directly from France. Property ownership for anything aquired with the Lousianna Purchase is DIRECTLY related to this principle.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

The Guano Islands Act of 1856 (3.00 / 2) (#98)
by vhokstad on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 07:23:08 AM EST

Actually, under the Guano Islands act, the US laid claim to any island on which a US citizen set foot and which contained deposits of Guano and was otherwise unoccupied and free of other claims.

Governments making claim to unpopulted, unclaimed lands is a recognized concept in international law.

Fairly "recent" examples include the Norwegian claim to the Bouvet island in the South Atlantic in 1928.

This is an interesting one, since the island was discovered by a French naval officer in 1739, and the British flag was raised there in 1825, but the British chose to waive their claim in favor of Norway since the island had been previously unoccupied and Norway "occupied" it in the course of massive whaling in the South Atlantic in the 20's.

It's currently an uninhabited nature reserve.

[ Parent ]

Then I'd say (none / 0) (#88)
by jeremyn on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:28:42 AM EST

Hands off our democracy, commies. China is a breakaway republic of Taiwan. Chiang Kai Shek (or Shik or whatever) and the Nationalists moved there after loosing the war against the communists, unfortunately. Of course, he might have been reelected again if it had been feasible to hold an election in a country that while technically under his control was either really controlled by the Japanese or communist agaitors who'd just murder anyone trying to vote.

[ Parent ]
"justice" (none / 0) (#63)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 01:27:53 PM EST

what they did is morally reprehensible, I agree. But I don't see how England has jurisdiction over the case.

[ Parent ]
Easy. (none / 0) (#73)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:43:20 PM EST

It's still, technically, a British colony. Also, in the 1950s most of them shifted to Norfolk Island after asking for assistance from Queen Victoria, then moved back again.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
1950? (none / 0) (#86)
by owenh on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 12:46:00 AM EST

1950, Queen Victoria? Queen Victoria of which country?
-- Observations of the world we live in
[ Parent ]
lol (none / 0) (#87)
by jeremyn on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:23:14 AM EST

Queen Elizabeth II then right? Damn, it's still asking for assistance.

[ Parent ]
Crap. Typo! (none / 0) (#125)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:31:22 PM EST

I meant 1850. Doh!

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Will never excuse rape, yes... (none / 1) (#96)
by vhokstad on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 07:14:06 AM EST

.. but what about underage sex? There is nothing near consensus globally on what is acceptable here. Most age of consent laws lie somewhere between 12 and 18, but that range is huge when you consider the average level of development of 12 year olds vs. 18. And in any case, there is no global consensus on how to punish rape either, or what constitutes rape. The two combined is the key to their argument that their not subject to British law.

[ Parent ]
What constitutes rape? (none / 0) (#111)
by smithmc on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 12:40:02 PM EST


And in any case, there is no global consensus on how to punish rape either, or what constitutes rape.

I think there may some disagreement on the frilly details, but I would hope that we can agree that being held down by a group of men and forced into involuntary intercourse does constitute rape, no? Sheesh.

[ Parent ]

it seems to me that if you're dependent ... (3.00 / 6) (#58)
by pyramid termite on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 08:33:47 AM EST

... on other countries for the things you need, you run a danger of being put under their rule ... things like food ... transportation ... oil ... borrowing money ... computer chips

hmmmmmm ...


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.

Is Pitcarin a country? (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 01:51:49 PM EST

No? Then screw em, the law of whatever country they are a part of applies.

If they never thought it important enough to declare soveirgnty before this, they can't just decide to do it now.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Who decides that? (none / 1) (#129)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:31:19 PM EST

What makes a country? World recognition? Minimum population? Self sufficiency? There are several countries that aren't recognized by other nations as such. There are plenty of small countries and none of the first world countries are self-sufficient.

It's not that simple as you seem to think - but I am very interested in hearing how the UK finally establishes the answer, it could end up having a far reaching impact on how the world evolves.

I'll tell you why I don't listen. I can only read so much of your stupid a-- b--- s--- before I lose all faith in the future of humanity and start sort
[ Parent ]

If it's not a country (none / 0) (#134)
by cameldrv on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 04:42:22 AM EST

It's possible to have land that's not part of a country. In that case I would assume that something like the international law of the sea applies. I really don't see what britain has to do with any of this. Are these people british citizens? Has britain ever made a territoral claim to these islands? Are they allowed to vote in british elections? What you think of what they have done is irrelevant. The onus is not on these people to prove that they are an independent country, the onus is on britain to show that for some reason these people are subject to british law.

[ Parent ]
Corrections: (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by warrax on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 06:15:23 PM EST

(reposted as topical because this pile of incoherent rambling is probably going to make it)

The age of consent in Denmark is 15, not 12. If you want to go lower than that, the AOC in Iceland is 14. Don't ask me how I know. I just do, OK?

-- "Guns don't kill people. I kill people."

14 in canada too (none / 0) (#142)
by transient0 on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:34:22 PM EST

with certain limitations.
---------
lysergically yours
[ Parent ]
So basically, (2.75 / 4) (#79)
by Sesquipundalian on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 09:54:20 PM EST

you've got a clique of hillbilly-perverts sitting around managing their own private harem on an island in international waters, and one of them f*cks it up for all of the others by causing an international incident with Britain.

What a riot.


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
Personal View (none / 1) (#81)
by dksilver on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 10:52:17 PM EST

What is ethically and morally 'OK' and acceptable in one culture or community may not be acceptable to another.

Personally, I believe what Britain and New Zealand is trying to do is trying to bring justice to the women who had the courage to leave the island and voice out their complaints. They're simply trying to help the women who have suffered by finding those who have 'hurt' them and prosecuting them accordingly.

Britain and New Zealand are not trying to forced their cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs on the island, but trying to bring some sort of resolution for the women who cried out for help. In doing so, the island may and will have to change a part of their cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs but not all.

The women had to leave the island and move to another country to try and find justice. The country (New Zealand) in which they are resident of, and the commonwealth to which it belongs to (Britain), can not ignore the women's plea for justice and are obligated to listen and pursue the matter further.
====== DKSILVER ====== "I never lose sight of who I am, I make others do"

That is very true (none / 0) (#93)
by jd on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 02:44:40 AM EST

The underlying problem, as I see it, is that there are two equally dangerous slippery slopes. To me, to not intervene in situations where it is appropriate is to abdicate responsibility where it is applicable, forcing others to shoulder the consequences of inaction.

However, to intervene in situations where it is NOT appropriate is to deny others the right to be responsible where it is applicable, forcing them to shoulder the consequences of interference.

As soon as you intervene (or not) to some small degree, your course of action is likely to reinforce itself. Interventionists are likely to intervene more and more, as they get drawn in. Non-interventionists are likely to distance themselves furher and further. It's much easier to continue down the slippery slope than to reverse directions.

The problem with situations like that on Pitcairn is that it's next to impossible to see which was the correct path to choose, until long after the fact. And even then, there are plenty of cases where neither path was a good choice.

However, that is also why such situations are helpful to look at. Human values are horribly conflicting, which is ironic as many are to do with conflict resolution. Both the problems on Pitcairn AND their solution, are a product of those values.

The fact that both the men and women on Pitcairn freely acknowledged that underage sex was taking place shows that none of this was hidden. It's hard to tell how long it's been going on, but if it's long enough for the islanders to call it a tradition, I think we can assume for some considerable time.

How bad did the situation become, because nobody stepped in sooner? How bad did the situation have to become, before stepping in became the right thing to do - assuming it was? And if it was the right thing to do, how much interference is a good thing, and when does the interference become worse than the problem it was designed to solve?

I believe Pitcairn is a good situation to examine the politics of interventionism, because it's a relatively well-defined problem. Pitcairn is not part of a larger, more complex problem (such as the Middle East). The accusations are very specific, involve specific individuals, and those individuals acknowledge the events took place.

It's far enough away from anyone else, including areas high in prejudice, that regional bias is not going to be such a big factor. People can feel free to look at the situation without feeling like it's happening to them, or to some perceived enemy of theirs.

From the perspective of "political science", a better case study on the rights and wrongs of interventionism would be hard to find. (Though the women involved would probably have preferred we miss out on the study.) The parameters are all very controlled, and the sample size is small enough that we can observe the impact on an individual level.

Whatever the outcome, I think it's going to force countries with remote communities to think more carefully about how to treat those communities. If for no other reason than dirt sticks. That tends not to be popular. But how to know what course of action will generate the worse dirt?

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#136)
by dksilver on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:09:03 AM EST

To put it simply, you just said it all and I agree with what you just put forward.
====== DKSILVER ====== "I never lose sight of who I am, I make others do"
[ Parent ]
What's with the scare quotes? (none / 0) (#109)
by smithmc on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 12:31:14 PM EST


They're simply trying to help the women who have suffered by finding those who have 'hurt' them and prosecuting them accordingly.

Why "hurt" in quotes? Are you suggesting that rape is not a harmful act?

[ Parent ]

uhhh... (none / 1) (#82)
by CAIMLAS on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 10:58:06 PM EST

A gene pool that small is utterly unsustainable over the long haul. Especially with that degree of isolation. That they've survived as long as they have is impressive, but they have no long-term prospects at all. By clinging onto a "tradition" that enables them to retain their isolation and genetic stagnation, they have condemned their future to oblivion.

Tell the whole of humanity that. Until several hundred years ago (ok, a couple thousand), the majority of the world's population was in small tribes, likely not much larger than 30 or 40 head strong each. For quite a few millenia, humanity survived throughout the world in such small pockets without much (visible) detriment on our current state.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

But... (none / 0) (#83)
by ShadowNode on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 11:25:48 PM EST

There would still be intermarriage between tribes from time to time.

[ Parent ]
i would even (none / 0) (#95)
by vivelame on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 05:30:05 AM EST

be mandatory.
see "exogamy".

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
better check your facts (none / 0) (#85)
by codejack on Wed Oct 27, 2004 at 11:40:26 PM EST

Human communities have usually numbered in at least the hundreds for the past ten thousand years or so, and even in cases where it was smaller, it was never in an isolated community; Even the south Pacific Islanders intermingled, and thus diversified the gene pool.

You start running into problems with long term adaptability in populations less than about 500, and in populations of less than 50, mandatory inbreeding becomes a serious issue.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm (none / 0) (#90)
by jd on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:43:07 AM EST

I honestly can't think of a tribe that small. The remote community of Skara Brae had a population of between 150 and 300, which is still seriously small but well above 40, in terms of the genetic diversity.

Most communities have been nowhere near that remote, however. For much of the past 10,000 years, humans have been nomadic, following the food in most cases, though also avoiding extremes of climate. Although continents tend to be rather large, the effect of nomadism was to compress the inhabited space quite considerably.

After humans started settling, large communities formed very rapidly. There are plenty of Iron Age settlements in England that had a population of between 1,000 and 5,000. Areas of intense industry, such as the areas around London and the Salisbury plain, probably had populations in the tens of thousands or higher.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that early settlements were small, especially as "rural communities" today tend to be. However, the evidence seems to point away from that. Humans seem to have developed, very rapidly, the concept of working outwards from large, centralized communities, rather than individually.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 0) (#91)
by jd on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:43:22 AM EST

I honestly can't think of a tribe that small. The remote community of Skara Brae had a population of between 150 and 300, which is still seriously small but well above 40, in terms of the genetic diversity.

Most communities have been nowhere near that remote, however. For much of the past 10,000 years, humans have been nomadic, following the food in most cases, though also avoiding extremes of climate. Although continents tend to be rather large, the effect of nomadism was to compress the inhabited space quite considerably.

After humans started settling, large communities formed very rapidly. There are plenty of Iron Age settlements in England that had a population of between 1,000 and 5,000. Areas of intense industry, such as the areas around London and the Salisbury plain, probably had populations in the tens of thousands or higher.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that early settlements were small, especially as "rural communities" today tend to be. However, the evidence seems to point away from that. Humans seem to have developed, very rapidly, the concept of working outwards from large, centralized communities, rather than individually.

[ Parent ]

Even if the tribes were that small (none / 0) (#108)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:55:31 AM EST

they were surrounded by other small tribes that they could steal women from (or vice-versa if the other tribes were stronger). The gene pool was NEVER that small.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
a 'tribe' doesn't define the gene pool. (none / 0) (#128)
by darkonc on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:01:11 PM EST

In fact in situations where you had small tribes, it was apparently often common to find that there were rules (or at least customs) against marrying within the tribe. Encouraging marrying 'foreigners' caused the gene pool to be widened.

This might also explain why 'exotics' within any community seem to be considered especially tempting mates... and it doesn't matter the specifics of the exoticness, as long as it doesn't artificially limit the future of your offspring ---
for example: Being Black in Vancouver (where blacks are rare) is about as good as being blonde (and it's much harder to fake being black). Whites in the orient and orientials in other areas of the world (where there's no social prejucice against being oriental) is similarly considered 'exotic'. -- and exotic is sexy.
If you view it as a darwinistic call for gene pool mixing, I'd say it makes perfect sense.

In some cases, prejudice against 'foreigners' might simply be a defence mechanism by local power holders to keep an advantage in choosing their mates among the locals.
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
[ Parent ]

Ah...but there was exchange between tribes (none / 0) (#140)
by haplopeart on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:04:38 PM EST

...even when humanity was basically tribal and isolated from other communities there was exchange of genetic material from time to time.  This kept the gene pool filled with new material so that in-breeding and genetic exhaustion didn't occur.

This occured in several ways.

  1. Members where kicked out of a tribe and would often be absorbed by another in time.
  2. A disaster whould occur wiping out the bulk of a tribe.  That remainder would be absorbd by another.
  3. Conquest one tribe would conquer another usually killing the men, but dragging off and breeding with the women.
  4. Adventuers, traders, loners and explorers, similar to the members who where kicked out but instead those who just stopped in one, or several times, often just long enough to drop off(or take away, while men made the bulk of this group they were not the only ones) a load of genetic material.
  5. Wandering tribes would also meet peacefully from time to time.  This afforded chances for exchange of genetic material.
  6. Intertribe marriage also occured, where (usually) a chieftains daughter would be exchanged for certain benefits to one or the other of the tribes. Political marriage has been around practically as long as higher level lifeforms have existed.
In short there is native instinct that tells all animals, even if they don't realize it that they must ensure genetic diversity, and ways for that to happen will occur.

Look at packs of wild dogs, or dolphin pods, or other similar animal communities while it is true that they often breed within the group.  Circumstances are such that from time to time members will breed outside the group ensuring Genetic diversity.  They don't think about it, it just happens ensuring the survival of the species.
Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com
http://www.epithna.com

[ Parent ]

Dependent upon outsiders? (none / 1) (#89)
by DoorFrame on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:33:44 AM EST

So, if they're depending on outside assistance for food and supplies, and the outside assister is unhappy with how their social/criminal system is  working, there's a real easy way to change the locals' tune.

Cut off the food.

People tend to come around to your way of thinking pretty quickly when they're starving.  And hey, you don't need to "impose" anything on them... they'll be beginning you to throw them in jail.

Incorrect on the priorities. (3.00 / 6) (#94)
by Kasreyn on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 02:46:44 AM EST

The most important, BY FAR, issue, is whether they are under British law. If they fall under British jurisdiction, then the other two issues have zero meaning, zilch, NADA. Tradition? Fuck you. Depopulation? Fuck you. The law wins.

The first important question is, ARE they subjects of the crown or not? You never answered this question. Are the Pitcairn Islands part of the United Kingdoms? If so, then every single point you raised is moot. Rape is a punishable offense, next case.

Now, if Pitcairn is a sovereign community, then one has to ask why in hell Britain is there, or why anyone is up on any charges. British barristers (which we uncouth Yanks beyond the Pond call "lawyers") are not fools. They would not bring such a case if it weren't within the jurisdiction of the UK. Ergo, Pitcairn IS part of the UK. Therefore, this is a simple case of rape and the punishment thereof, and tradition and population "don't enter inuit", as John Cleese once said of a parrot.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I agree, but (none / 0) (#112)
by kmcrober on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 01:59:59 PM EST

Consider also that barristers are legal thinkers, which means (as a generalization) that they enjoy testing the boundaries of law.  It's possible that the legal advisors behind the enforcement action know that they have an iron-clad case for sovereignty over the islands.  It's just as possible, though, that they have no idea how the sovereignty issues will shake out in the end, but think of this as either a worthy experiment or a worthy cause, or both.

[ Parent ]
Jurisdiction not determined... (none / 0) (#113)
by israfil on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 02:00:56 PM EST

... by lawyers' assmptions.  The case of the Principality of Sealand is a notable example.  The British Navy fired shots at the fortress-turned-independent-principality, and was later informed that Sealand is in fact sovereign.  Arguments such as "if the NAVY thought they were in british jurisdiction..." sound a lot like the above argument.  

A related problem is that we have no courts of compentant jurisdiction to evaluate jurisdiction at an international level.  Certainly many nations do not accept the ICC as such.

Lastly, my personal view: they raped little girls... fuck'em.
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

More likely the ICJ (none / 0) (#114)
by kmcrober on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 02:14:32 PM EST

(Seems like 9/10 of my posts are about the ICC lately...)

The International Court of Justice is where parties would go to determine sovereignty, assuming the competent state parties were willing to have it adjudicated at that level.  The International Criminal Court wouldn't determine the sovereignty of individual nations except to determine its own jurisdictional questions, i.e., "Does anyone else have sovereign jurisdiction that overrides our own?"

Probably just a typo, but I thought it was worth clearing up.

[ Parent ]

Lawyers don't do silly things???!!! (none / 1) (#127)
by darkonc on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:47:09 PM EST

... then one has to ask why in hell Britain is there, or why anyone is up on any charges. British barristers (which we uncouth Yanks beyond the Pond call "lawyers") are not fools. They would not bring such a case if it weren't within the jurisdiction of the UK. Ergo, Pitcairn IS part of the UK.

Lawyers go off half-cocked all the time. Consider how SCO's lawyers were trying to argue that the GPL is unconstitutional (untill they got roundly laughed at). Lawyers can find a way to argue just about anything that isn't a slam-dunk and a few things that are -- in fact, that's what a debating club is about.

The situation here, in terms of jurisdiction, is rather hazy, so that's a fine place for a lawyer to jump in and say that Pitcairn is(n't) clearly British soil! They then leave it to the Judge to say who won the fight.

As for what's right and wrong -- that is soo relative. Things that we took for granted back in the 1700s (slavery, child labour, etc.) are now considered crimes. It wasn't long ago that it was impossible to charge a man with raping his wife.
I have no idea as to whether these people grew up thinking that it was OK, but if they did, then these charges may seem as strange to them as giving a butcher multiple life sentences for 'murdering cows'. (and I know some people who would be happy to do the latter, too!)

As for the defence argument about depopulating the island, I think that that's pretty much a given. One report indicated that there are no women left on the island (no shock there!), so all you have to do now is wait for old age (or overactive libido) to run it's course, and there'll be nobody left on the island in a generation or so anyways.
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
[ Parent ]

re: right and wrong (none / 0) (#131)
by Kasreyn on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:17:12 AM EST

Morality is defined by society. Either they are a member of the UK's society and share its group morality (perforce: that is what police and courts are for), or they are not and do not. If they didn't share UK's society and social morality, why, they could rape willy-nilly; hell, they could institute Pitcairnia National Rape Week, where every woman on the island is fair game - and if that was their social morality, then that would be just fine. And if the women didn't like it, they could flee or revolt, which is what people typically do to avoid bad government. Nothing out of the ordinary. But to exist under the auspices, and I would suspect protection, of the UK, and then to suddenly pretend they didn't expect its morality would cover them, is absurdly disingenuous.

In other words, try 'em and fry 'em.

If they were members of the UK, then if they wanted to rape anyone, they should have seceded first. I doubt anyone would have stopped them. Unfortunately, they didn't have the foresight.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
They are under British law (none / 0) (#141)
by miken32 on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:13:56 PM EST

From the CIA Factbook:
"Pitcairn Island was discovered in 1767 by the British and settled in 1790 by the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Pitcairn was the first Pacific island to become a British colony (in 1838) and today remains the last vestige of that empire in the South Pacific."
It goes on to confirm that QE2 is the head of state, represented by a couple of nonresident beuraucrats.  So presumably, since the only local government is a mayor elected by 20 people, they are under British law.

[ Parent ]
Some helpful suggestions (1.42 / 7) (#97)
by Robert Acton on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 07:18:17 AM EST

Kasreyn's comment below is perfectly correct in a literalist, realpolitik paradigm. But in actuality Pitcairn isn't a suburb of London, and jailing half the male population for three years isn't going to do anything in the long term. They'll just be released back onto the island, angry and sex-starved. And the women won't be any more empowered for the exercise.

What the island's people really need is to be able to collectively decide for themselves that rape is unacceptable from now on. And for this to happen, women need to be given the same influence that their first-world sisters have.

Take the males of the island as a group -- all the males, whether charged or not. They are all participants in the culture of sexual slavery that has grown on Pitcairn, and as they all benefit from it by being male, they are all guilty of rape (see Marilyn French if you don't understand this concept at first).

Now, take them, and neutralise the threat of rape  by breaking their ankles in several places. The women of the island will be responsible for keeping them broken over time. We need to train them accordingly. A man with broken ankles can still hobble and do some work, but he is in no position to overpower anyone.

Males born on the island in future will be fed special pills to stunt their growth, keeping them at a pleasant, female-friendly hobbit size through adulthood.

They will be introduced to sex not through gangs of like-minded men pinning little girls to the floor, but by the parent of the opposite gender or some other disciplinary figure.

Finally, and most important, the subsidies to Pitcairn must be removed, which will have flow-on effects promoting industrial development on the islands through export-biased growth, the re-incentivisation of the labour market, and the free flow of foreign capital across its borders.

--
I am cured.

1787 (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by evro on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:23:40 AM EST

Having known nothing about Pitcairn or the mutiny on the Bounty, I had to look it up for some basic facts.  The one in particular that I was looking for was the year the incident took place - 1787.  

So this island has been in relative isolation for over 200 years.  Isn't it logical to assume it was founded and follows the laws and customs that were prevalent at the time of its founding?  

The point I'm getting at is that in 1787, a) there probably wasn't an "age of consent," and b) if there was, it probably wasn't 16.  Since 1787, Western society has changed greatly - "teen pregnancy" is now seen as a huge social problem, when before 1800 it was simply the norm.  Girls were wed off to older men as a common practice.  So judging these people's actions with today's laws and morals is probably not appropriate.  Of course we have no other way to judge them, figuring out whether what they did would be considered illegal or wrong back in 1787 would be silly.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

they are 7th day adventists --Christian cultists (none / 1) (#115)
by massivefubar on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 03:02:54 PM EST

The Pitcairn Island "culture" follows the relatively new cult or religion of the Seventh Day Adventists. I do not think we have to entertain the argument that these are ancient peoples following some grand holy tradition that makes it OK to rape young girls. I cannot imagine the life of a young girl born into this "tradition," nor do I feel inclined to respect a "tradition" that is not only not all that old but which seems to exist to give the powerful (a male mayor and his sons, among others) the right to sleep with other men's young daughters. None of us would find life in such a society tolerable. Why then do we think it cute and colorful to allow it to happen to someone else?

[ Parent ]
7th day adventists (none / 1) (#118)
by evro on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 05:31:08 PM EST

The Pitcairn Island "culture" follows the relatively new cult or religion of the Seventh Day Adventists.

Well that sort of goes against the premise on which my argument was based.  If they haven't been isolated from the rest of the world (which if they have taken up a relatively new religion would seem to be the case, unless they were visited by missionaries?) then the idea that they're stuck in some 1787 mindset doesn't apply.

Like I said, I don't really know anything about them. ;-)
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]

Age of consent in Denmark (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by morat on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:39:41 AM EST

The age of consent in Denmark is 15 (I'm Danish). If a person above 15 has sex with a person below 15, it is considered rape.

The issue of sovereignty is moot. (none / 0) (#116)
by LO313 on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 03:08:26 PM EST

An international court would only come into play if there was an issue of sovereignty between 2 sovereign nations. Its not like Indonesia and the UK are both claiming this group of islands. You are sovereign if you can establish your sovereignty. If the UK or anyone else were to do this in say Singapore I think the powers there would object. It has established a sovereign state. You aren't sovereign just because you say you are. If the Pitcairns don't like it, then they should stop the trials and walk away. Oh wait, they can't because the UK will send in troops or police. In essence sovereignty has to be earned in some way. Somalia for example, could easily have disappeared as a sovereign state but none of its neighbors wanted to deal with the headache of conquering her or then dealing with other neighbors who would have viewed it negatively to the balance of power in the region. As for the argument about distance, I don't think that would hold sway when talking about the Falklands or Gibraltor(sp?).

UK troops v colonies (none / 0) (#154)
by anonimouse on Mon Nov 08, 2004 at 08:36:22 AM EST

It has been a long established UK policy (see Falklands and Gibraltar) that any former colony that votes for independence is welcome to it.

So Pitcairn could become soveriegn. Just don't expect the UK to help if it got invaded for territorial and/or maritime claims by Indonesia or someone else....
~
Sleepyhel:
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]

Holy Shit (3.00 / 4) (#120)
by JahToasted on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 06:46:49 PM EST

I can't beleive how many people here are worrying about these people's culture. "Oh we can't want to upset these poor people's culture. We have to respect these people's culture."

The music you listen to is culture. The language you speak is culture. The food you eat is culture.

But when you gang rape a nine year old girl, that is NOT culture, that is a fucking crime you dumb bastards.

See, if you listen to music that I don't like I'm not going to tell you to stop listening to that music. That is respecting your culture. But when you rape a little kid you are a sick, disgusting peice of shit. If you say its part of your culture then I say fuck your culture. You say some bullshit about jurisdiction, I say fuck jurisdiction too. There is never anything wrong about a child rapist being locked behind bars. Never.

Is that what political correctness has come to? We have to give respect to child rapists? What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are you so weak that you can't see that something is just plain wrong? You can't see that these people deserve to go to jail and it don't matter if we have to bend the laws to get them there?

See I think we can respect Pitcairn's right to listen to whatever music, eat whatever food, speak whatever language, worship whatever deity they want to. But we do not have to respect them raping little children.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison

Indeed (none / 1) (#124)
by strlen on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:30:41 PM EST

It's funny how whenever an individual criticises a society other than their own [usually Western], they're accused of pushing Britney Spears and McDonalds down everyone's throat, without realizing the double irony of that (the judgement against American culture, which isn't without merit but is a minor point (American culture may be obnoxious, but it doesn't directly physically hurt others against their consent in most cases), obviously combined with the accusation that the custom of child rape is a custom equally as meritous as respect of child's right not be raped).

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Haha (none / 0) (#145)
by JahToasted on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:25:49 PM EST

American culture may be obnoxious, but it doesn't directly physically hurt others against their consent in most cases

Tell that to the Iraqis.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

Not precisely the same (none / 0) (#147)
by strlen on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 09:32:09 PM EST

There's big difference between culture (doesn't affect others directly) and foreign policy (very much affects others directly), isn't that kind of your point?

Though I guess that makes a good ad-absurdum argument, to argue that then it would also be wrong for foreigners to criticize American foreign policy as it's "just our culture".

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Missing the point (none / 0) (#133)
by merops on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 03:30:33 AM EST

Of course most of the people here will agree that what's going on down there is just plain wrong. I too agree with you that it's wrong. But to just label it "wrong" and leaving it at that does not solve the moral conundrum: when does something become universally wrong, and who determines when it does? I despise the males on that island as much as anyone, and if any of them were here in front of me I'd give them a piece of my mind, to say the least. But this doesn't stop me from questioning the source of my moral indignation, and whence my moral authority comes from, let alone my right to impose it on other people.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
well... (none / 1) (#143)
by JahToasted on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:19:22 PM EST

But to just label it "wrong" and leaving it at that does not solve the moral conundrum: when does something become universally wrong, and who determines when it does?

Where do we draw the line? well it may be a little more difficult if it were consensual sex with a 15 year old. but it's not its the rape of girls 12 and youger.

Am I just crazy for thinking that rape is always wrong? And I must be stark raving mad to think that the Rape of little children is extremely wrong. And when when you compound it with the fact that this has been going on for generations.

Where does the moral authority come from? It comes from you. Don't you think this is wrong? Do you have the courage of your convictions to fight back against what you think is wrong? Or are you too weak to make a moral judgement on your own and have to wait for the courts to make it for you? Christ, you must be pretty fucked up if your moral code is decided by lawyers.

Yeah there are a lot of grey ares where its not clear what's right and wrong. This case is nowhere near the grey. It is so wrong that the grey area is no longer even in sight. Consensual sex with a teenager? Yeah that's kinda a grey area. Gang raping a nine year old? That's wrong, and I cannot fathom why anyone would think otherwise.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

No, you're not crazy. (none / 1) (#148)
by merops on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 10:30:14 PM EST

Yes, I do think it's wrong, as I've already said. Yes, I have the courage of my convictions, and I only wish I had one of those bastards in front of me right now to teach him a thing or two. And I can't fathom why anyone would think otherwise, just like you.

The question is a purely academic one: what right do we have to dictate to others what is acceptable and what isn't? Is it that might is right, and we have might on our side? We live in a secular society - once upon a time we could argue that God sets universal moral laws, and we would then proceed to enforce them. However, we don't do this any more.

As Dostoevsky once said, without God, anything is permissible. Where does our authority come from? If it is a question of might is right, doesn't that bother you?
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]

Moral/Cultural relativism (none / 0) (#122)
by strlen on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:19:46 PM EST

Not withstanding the simple logical contradictions of moral/cultural relativism (which were handled hundred years ago by moral philosophers such as Hume, who did an excellent job of disproving just that in the treatise), suppose we take it to the max?

Sure, the Pitcairners can argue that it's their culture to rape 12 year olds (and does anyone actually buy that?), but then can't we just argue that it is our culture to throw them in the pen for that, and since there's no superior culture nothing should stop us from doing so?

In short, moral relativism is generally an argument people present when they want to say only that the specific moral principle that they disagree with is relative.

Oh, and since we're talking about moral relativism in relation to rape, I'm hoping that these redneck child rapists are introduced to the unique American cultural custom (which must be preserved by all costs or we will use the unique culture of San Quentin prison!) of prison rape, to experience what driven by rape feels like. [Those who will flame me for justifying prison rape, are encouraged to look up "irony" and "ad absurdum" in the dictionary].

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

s/use the unique/lose the unique/ [NT] (none / 0) (#123)
by strlen on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 10:20:27 PM EST



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
When the story broke, I reserved judgement. (none / 0) (#130)
by cburke on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 12:17:11 AM EST

I mean, I'm sensitive to cultural arguments despite my emotional reaction to a headline about men screwing pre-teens.  Some women's testimony seemed indicate that it may in fact just be a cultural argument.  Certainly I was suspicious, particularly of the detail that the prime defendent was also the mayor.

Since then, there has been sufficient evidence to support my initial emotional reaction.  As is often the case, victims were reluctant to come forward but were apparently convinced enough to do so.  And what we have is an island that some men ran as their own private child bordello, and really I'm not interested in any arguments about sovereignity.  At least when some guy took over an abandoned naval artillery platform in the ocean of Britain and declared himself a sovereign nation, he didn't use his "sovereignity" as an excuse to rape children.

In summary:  blah blah culture blah child rapist fucking burn.

Enforcement of beliefs? (none / 0) (#138)
by dksilver on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 06:40:00 AM EST

No one has the right to force one's cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs on another. It would be wrong to state that one's beliefs are more correct compared to another.

We must all understand that an action may be construed to be morally wrong by one culture, but at the same time, might be considered to be acceptable on another.

I completely agree with the actions of Britain and New Zealand has undertaken to bring justice for the women's cause. This is because I believe on the same cultural beliefs on whom the prosecutors from Britain and New Zealand do as well. I, however, question, whether or not Britain, New Zealand, or any of us have the right to judge the actions of the men on the island based on our cultural beliefs. To do so, don't you think that would be considered to be discriminatory?

I am in no doubt what the men did was wrong, and the women involved deserved every bit of justice be brought upon the parties who harmed them. That is my personal belief. But you got to ask yourself (and keep an open mind), what if the cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs of the islanders are the popular norm, would the men be prosecuted for their actions?

Remember, it was not long ago when it was widely acceptable to have interrelationship within the family, have physical relationship with young men and women, or to offer one's children to others for marriage without considering the opinion and thoughts of the children involved or their age. It's always amazing how time changes the popular norm of cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs of people.

====== DKSILVER ====== "I never lose sight of who I am, I make others do"

that one's beliefs are more correct (none / 1) (#146)
by Robert Acton on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 07:58:11 PM EST

This could do as a reply to any of the posts here grounded in moral relativism. I hate saying that phrase. Makes me feel dangerously close to Gohd.

It comes down to semantics, really. Strictly, no, we can't say with 100% certainty that one set of beliefs is correct. Or that people choose their actions independent of a predetermining genetic makeup. Or that everyone else in the world exists outside of our imagination. We're imperfect creatures whose only understanding of reality comes through our five senses.

So words like right, wrong, choice, existence -- they're just going to have to mean whatever the societies we live in generally agree upon. People exist because we can see them, when they make choices we hold them responsible, and when they fuck small children we call that "wrong".

Are we any more correct than societies of hundreds of years ago? Who knows. We have our best guess of what morality looks like, and we're going with it. That's how any kind of real life decisions have to be made.

--
I am cured.
[ Parent ]

Cultural Relativism has a hole in it... (none / 0) (#151)
by mozmozmoz on Wed Nov 03, 2004 at 06:24:38 AM EST

No one has the right to force one's cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs on another. It would be wrong to state that one's beliefs are more correct compared to another.

Postulating that you are correct, at what point does a good CR have to refrain from pushing CR on other people? Is it acceptable to simply state that they are wrong? Is persuasion acceptable? Or should you shut up and crawl back into your hole for fear of contaminating others with this nonsense?

The whole Pitcairn relativism thing is out of proportion - if the British are not owners of the island, then the Pitcairners should hand in their British passports and quit accepting aid from the hated foreign power. I think it's just a bunch of rapists who got caught and now want to weasel out of their sentences, so fuck'em. I don't know why we're even bothering to build a special prison for them - Britain has perfectly good prisons for rapists already.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

To be more explicit about the contradiction (none / 0) (#153)
by Woundweavr on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 03:37:22 PM EST

"No one has the right to force one's cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs on another. It would be wrong to state that one's beliefs are more correct compared to another" is an ethical or moral belief. Therefore to state that an entity (individual, societal, governmental, etc) should not state one's belief are more correct itself states that Cultural Relativism is more correct. Thus, Cultural Relativism contains an internal contradiction that makes it untenable.

The idea is similar to Godel's Incompleteness Theory . When applied to itself, it is shown to be an impossibility.

[ Parent ]

solution: nuke pitcairn is./nt (none / 1) (#149)
by fleece on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 06:47:28 AM EST





I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
What happened to truth? (none / 1) (#155)
by qortal on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 04:10:50 AM EST

I would like to know how many of the people who have commented have ever been to Pitcairn or met a Pitcairn islander. I have. I know each and every one of the men that were accused. I knew the girl who claimed she was raped in '96 because i was on the island at the time. I also know that she lied and admitted to such once she was back in Australia purely to protect herself from her parents getting angry at discovering she was sneaking out at night. Underage sex has always been common on Pitcairn and more often than not was instituted by the female. Males are not the only ones who like sex you know. The most recent case in the trials was thirty years ago. Before videos made it to the island. There were alot more ships coming then too. Most were container ships and didn't land on the island and the ships that did were rarely there for long so in most cases wouldn't have discovered that aspect of Pticairn life. yachts stayed for a while however if a young girl came up to them wanting and offering sex i don't think they would've mentioned to the islanders, "you know the age of consent is not 12." How were they to know? Each of the accusers were well know as being 'open' around the island often well before the alleged events took place. Several testimonies were proven as lies by the fact the on the dates they were said to take place the people accused WEREN'T ON THE ISLAND. So other dates were offered and when the defence lawyer tried to question the women more closely about these facts he was warned off by the judge for badgering when all he was doing was cross examining. The islanders have been persucted. British law is being applied in retrospect, it was never the law there before, pitcairners have always had there own law. Women were told they'd be paid if they testified and it resulted in a conviction. Some have been harrassed, others threatened. last time i checked that wasn't a legal way to run an investigation. Complaints have been made and ignored. Who can the Pitcairners complain to? If they were British citizens they were never given the rights as such unless britian wanted to pretend it was ireland all over again. they only hold secondary British passports and a pitcairner woman who was recently returning to nz had trouble as the authorities didn't even believe it was valid. The world belives they are all rapists and should be nuked. No wonder when a group of very select heavily biased reporters were sent there. I know i sound paranoid but its true. They did not associate with the Pitcairners apart from those who support the case. Rather they held drunken parties every Friday night populated by the lawyers (defence excluded) the police, the goveners rep and co and those who overtly support the british. A lawyer was chosen by Richard fell the governer (aka dicky tumble) who was reknowned in the legal world in nz for being amazingly inept. Some of the defendants realized this and tried to fire him however the lawyers they chose were refused as is the governer's 'right' as a 'nuetral and impartial' person, admittance to the pitcairn bar. So much for being able to chose your own representation. Hence the men who fired dacre were forced to be represented by him. He called no wittnesses except one and that was under duress. He didn't or wasn't allowed to cross examine the complainents throughly and as a result innocent men are convicted. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way but, DON'T COMDEMN PEOPLE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT and solve the problems on your own shores first.

Pitcairn | 156 comments (140 topical, 16 editorial, 1 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!