Will the advancing waves obey me, Bishop, if I make the sign?”
Said the Bishop, bowing lowly, “Land and sea, my lord, are thine.”
Canute turned towards the ocean–”Back!” he said, “thou foaming brine.
From the sacred shore I stand on, I command thee to retreat;
Venture not, thou stormy rebel, to approach thy master’s seat:
Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!”
But the sullen ocean answered with a louder, deeper roar,
And the rapid waves drew nearer, falling sounding on the shore;
Back the Keeper and the Bishop, back the king and courtiers bore. - William Makepeace Thackeray, “King Canute”
Lawheads are probably the single greatest obstacle to human freedom on the planet; it is impossible to estimate how much suffering and oppression come of the ludicrous notion that a government has the power to legislate reality. Modern lawmakers, unfortunately, are craftier than King Canute; they avoid demonstrating their impotence by attempting to command the moon and tides, and instead concentrate on forcing others to pretend that their pretenses are real by defining behaviors they wish to suppress as crimes and “social ills”. Using violence and force to compel others to give up their preferred lifestyle can then be labeled “rehabilitation”, and enslaving priestesses in sweatshops can be represented as “helping” them. The following appeared on May 11th on the website God Discussion.com:
Despite the fact that the tradition of Deuki temple prostitution was formally abolished in Nepal with the 1990 constitution which declared human trafficking and exploitation illegal, many women are still living in temples in the provinces of Western Nepal as Deuki Temple prostitutes. In the Nepalese Deuki tradition, common in western Nepal, a young girl, usually from a poor family, would be sold to a rich family by her parents. The rich family would then offer her to the gods to serve as a temple prostitute in exchange for the blessings and favor of the gods. Alternatively, a poor family might simply leave its daughter in the temple as gift to the gods and pray that the gods reward them with good fortune. Once a girl is so offered she is abandoned to her own means.
Deukis are expected to support themselves by providing sacred sex services to male visitors to the temple. According to a longstanding western Nepalese tradition, sex with a Deuki was spiritually cleansing and offered the man opportunity of remission of his sins. NGOs have been providing assistance to Deuki prostitutes in Nepal to start a new life, and provide education for their fatherless children. The NGOs have been working on self-employment programs in skill development centers set up for the Deukis. But a new report shows that the efforts at rehabilitating the Deukis in Nepal have not been entirely successful. A local NGO estimates the number of Deukis yet unreached by rehabilitation efforts in western Nepal at about 2000. The report states that the younger Deukis have benefited more from the program than older ones and that the greater proportion of women still living as Deuki prostitutes are older ones unable to acquire new skills and benefit from the self-employment and skill acquisition programs.
Dutta Ram Badu, manager of Swaraj Samajhikk Sanstha, one of the NGOs helping the Deukis says, “The young women have changed their lives for the better by taking advantage of the various trainings, but the government has not shown interest in the older women.” Some have suggested that the older Deukis could be helped by setting up homes for them where they may form self-help communities with cottage industries in such vocations as needle work. Child labor and prostitution remains a major social ill in Nepal and most of the human trafficking is across [the] Nepalese border into India.
It would be difficult to invent a better example of lawhead propaganda than this one. The stink of racist paternalism pervades the article from the very first sentence: an ancient religious tradition dating back into prehistory is defined as “human trafficking and exploitation”, and the author appears surprised that it did not obediently vanish upon being “formally abolished”; I am irresistibly reminded of the pundits who predicted that the 18th Amendment would magically remove the desire for liquor from the minds of Americans. Then in the second paragraph we are told that “rehabilitating” (brainwashing) the priestesses into factory and sweatshop workers “has not been entirely successful” (in other words, it hasn’t been at all successful). One of the “rescuers” who is “helping” the Deukis to “change their lives for the better” by becoming wage-slaves believes the only reason the older ones don’t “take advantage of training” is that the government has not “shown interest in” them (i.e., it hasn’t forcibly thrown them out of the temples as the “rescuers” desire).
Am I defending the practice of selling children to temples? No, of course not, but just because I’m opposed to agricultural slavery and sweatshops doesn’t mean I think farms and factories should be banned. The Nepalese law throws the baby out with the bathwater; it would have been a simple matter to outlaw slavery, require Deukis to be of the local age of consent and to enter the temple voluntarily, and then to provide “rehabilitation” to those who wished to leave. But no, as is typical of governments the world over Nepal instead prefers to define problems into existence and then attempt to “solve” them by brute force.
When I want to break an egg I do so on the side of a bowl, then discard the shell; if I need the yolk separated I crack the egg into a separator, then gently shift it around until the white drains into a bowl and the unbroken yolk is left behind. But if a government wishes to break an egg it does so with a sledgehammer, then has to laboriously pick all the bits of shell out of the egg, clean up the splattered mess on the walls and counters, frequently replace bowls shattered by accident and repeatedly sterilize the sledgehammer. And since it’s impossible to keep a yolk intact in the process, all recipes involving separated whites or yolks must be banned and meringues, macaroons, waffles and angel food cake must be labeled “contraband”. But lest citizens consider this tyranny, a modern regime then demonstrates its immense compassion by forcing those who create or enjoy such treats into “rehabilitation” by telling them that raw vegetables are much better…and proving the point by giving them nothing else to eat.