BY DENNIS BEHREANDT
Sixteen-year-old Laura Dekker has skillfully and fearlessly conquered the world’s vast oceans, but there is one force that strikes fear into her: the power of government.
The young sailor was only 14 when she departed the Netherlands aboard her sailboat, Guppy, for her epic journey around the world. Yet she did so despite attempts made by Dutch authorities to stop her.
Dekker ended her voyage in St. Maarten, in the Caribbean, rather than sailing home to the Netherlands. In a January 18 message she posted to the blog where she documented her amazing journey, she described her treatment at the hands of Dutch authorities.
Reaching the end of my circumnavigation, I look back with joy at the adventures of the past year. I am also thinking hard, and trying to come to terms with the year prior to my voyage. The Dutch government was not kind to me. As a 13 year old girl, it was never my intention to be the center of world news. From the moment my plans became public, Youth Care and other government organizations tried to stop me. During the first court case, in August 2009, (even before Youth Care had ever seen me, or had spoken to me…), they asked the Judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic! By doing this they tried to stop me from sailing. Another five court cases followed and another five times Youth Care asked the judge to lock me up. I only wanted to go sailing! Fortunately the judge never honored this terrible request. Over a period of 11 months, I was constantly afraid that Youth Care would lock me up. Also during this period, there were intimidating interviews with Youth Care workers. It was all a frightening and traumatic experience.
For their part, the totalitarian bureaucrats in the Dutch government who have so traumatized Ms. Dekker that she believes “the nightmares the Dutch government organizations put me through … will follow me for the rest of my life” claim they were “just doing their jobs” — the euphemism always used by big government apparatchiks to excuse their crimes.
“If Laura had drowned we’d be accused of not doing enough to protect her,” Joost Lanshage from the Netherlands Bureau of Youth Care said according to the BBC. “Thank God she’s OK and I think that’s partly due to the safety measures we enforced as part of the condition for allowing her to go.”
Note carefully the last sentence. The “authorities” in the Netherlands “allowed” her to go. In a free nation, families have the right to determine how they will carry out the education of their children. While sailing alone around the world is probably the wrong choice for all but one or two children of Ms. Dekker’s age, it is only parents who are in a position to make a sober judgement about such a journey. Ms. Dekker’s family supported her efforts. That she succeeded in her circumnavigation says much about the validity of their judgement, and about the skills and capabilities of their daughter. That the Dutch government tried to take her from her family, incarcerate her, and now claims that they “allowed” her journey, essentially unmasks the totalitarian mindset of the Dutch government.
More galling still is that the Dutch government is now taking credit for Ms. Dekker’s success while also admitting that they are not sorry for “traumatizing” her.
“We put together a checklist to try to ensure she had a safe mission. I’m sorry Laura is traumatised but I have no regrets about fulfilling our responsibility to this child,” Lanshage said according to the BBC.
Again, this is a representative from the Dutch government’s “Youth Care” agency admitting that he doesn’t care that his agency traumatized a young girl. So much for “caring” for the youth of the Netherlands.
What government bureaucrats like Lanshage care about is power and the exercise thereof. It is about control and power and asserting the statist creed: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”
That description of totalitarianism comes from Benito Mussolini, “il Duce,” one of the patron saints of statist evil.
Because of the actions of statist bureaucrats in her home country, Ms. Dekker now says she may not return to the Netherlands.
“I hear now that the Dutch government organizations have started causing problems again. I am seriously thinking about not returning to the Netherlands,” she wrote on her blog.
“Because of my past experience with the Dutch government organizations, I have the feeling that it will be very difficult for me to return to the Netherlands. I will complete my solo circumnavigation on the island of Sint Maarten. I am sorry if I disappoint my Dutch fans. What a party it would have been if Hoek van Holland or IJmuiden had been my port of arrival…!!!..”
Congratulations, Laura, both on your amazing journey and for your courage to stand up for your rights and freedoms.
Image Credit: Savyasachi/CC BY-SA 3.0
Self-Educated American Associate Editor, Dennis Behreandt, is the Founder and Editor In Chief of the American Daily Herald. Mr. Behreandt has written hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from natural theology to history and from science and technology to philosophy. Mr. Behreandt’s research interests include the period of late antiquity in European history as well as Medieval and Renaissance history.