There's a blogworld-meets-real-world frenzy going on in New Hampshire, as the
of a couple whose newborn was taken by the state's Division for Children. In the right-libertarian online world, the story that went out was that the state had confiscated the baby because its father was a member of the Oath Keepers movement. An excerpt of an affidavit posted online said so.
Later, as protesters picketed the hospital and Reason and Wonkette
, it emerged that the full affidavit mostly dealt with allegations that the father, Johnathan Irish,
toward the mother, Stephanie Taylor, and her two older children (who were from an earlier, undissolved marriage), and that Taylor had persistently "failed to recognize" the danger.
The document also did mention that Irish "associated with a militia known as the Oath Keepers and had purchased several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and Taser." Is it relevant to a child-protection case that a man with a history of violence is connected to a group which believes Americans are
? Or is apocalyptic anti-government scenario-spinning inherently political and protected? In a country where the FBI is
, this is a discussion worth having.
Just don't go looking to the New Hampshire picketers for that debate. The ones who
, anyway, are sad crackpots. "The fact that there are documents about it is meaningless," one told the paper.
The most amazing voice from the anti-tyranny forces, though, belonged to a woman named Amanda Biondolillo, from Concord:
"The family should be left to resolve it on their own," Biondolillo said. "Or private enterprise - private companies can contact the family and say, 'We heard you were hitting your kids. Can you stop that?' "
Is Amanda Biondolillo a prankster who shows up at protests to say things to make libertarians look like morons? Her
looks sincere. But: really? Private enterprise! The solution to domestic violence is for there to be private companies that will go around telling people to please stop hitting their kids.
, the parents will say,
we hadn't thought of that
We will stop hitting the children now
OK, private enterprise is superior to government at every conceivable task. Extreme version of a very common belief . But it's pretty remarkable to see it coming from someone who has no idea how private enterprise works. Set aside the question of how effective this imaginary private company is going to be at ending child abuse. What's the business model here? Where does the revenue come from? Are the employees of Please Don't Hit Your Child, Inc. going to collect tips from their grateful customers? Are they going to sell ad space on the trucks they go visiting in? Please tell us more, Amanda Biondolillo of Concord, N.H.
Or less. You could also consider telling us less.