12A005 Dekker Did It! by Jim Davies, 1/26/2012    

For this, it's worth learning a little Dutch: Laura zal dan de jongste solo zeiler ooit worden die rond de wereld zeilde !

Not too hard - it almost translates itself. The ZGBlog Freedom of the Seas written in August 2010 told of how then 14-year-old Laura Dekker was about to try to sail solo around the world, and noted the obstacles put in her way be several governments. Now, despite them all, she's done it!

I failed to keep a close eye on the voyage and it seems she eventually made St Maarten in the West Indies her start and finish point, and after a year at sea she returned safe and sound on January 23rd. Next time I can afford a vacation there, St Maarten will top my short list. Laura is the youngest solo circumnavigator ever. Magellan, Elcano, or Enrique, whoever was the first to do it, it's nice to imagine him calling the others round for a champagne party in the clouds. Fantastic performance; the story can be read in her own words here. Notice her weblog entry for January 18th:

The Dutch government was not kind to me... 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!

"Government was not kind to me..." You've got it, Laura. They never, ever are. Kindness is outside their vocabulary. Even when they deliver favors, there is no heart in it. Just the pretense of an "entitlement", mechanically delivered.

The spirit of adventure and individual accomplishment is being suppressed not only by government, but by another institution, to its great shame: the Guinness Book of World Records. This publication has a long history, and hitherto honorable. Not any more: it has declined to record Laura's brilliant achievement! Here's what the publisher says:-

Guinness World Records does not sanction, endorse or encourage attempts by people under the age of 16 for any record attempt which may be considered unsuitable for a young person. This includes 'youngest person to circumnavigate the world' by any form of transportation.

"May be considered unsuitable..." Y-u-c-k! By whom? Only two parties are validly involved: the young person, and her parents. By the self-ownership axiom, children are owned by nobody but themselves; the valid rle of parents is discussed in the "Children" page on this site. In this case, both parties concurred. End of story. And the end, I hope, of Guinness' reputation and standing. It's had sixty years, and now they are over. I had already marked down Guinness beer as a mediocre, over-rated beverage (completely outclassed by Sam Adams Double Bock) and now the book can join the brew - down the sewer. Even Heineken of Amsterdam failed to take a big advertising opportunity; they, at least, have the chance to sponsor the trip after it's over, by making a contribution now.

Just think what we would have lost, if the cretinous attitude in Guinness had blighted our history:

Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 8. Had government been so intrusive at the time it might have locked up his father Leopold and committed young Amadeus to a Latin school, admonishing him to keep to the approved curriculum until he was fit to choose his own activities.

Beethoven was performing piano publicly at age 7. Same comments. Had their talent been throttled by government, the world would be incomparably poorer.

Shirley Temple was a movie superstar at age 6. In later life she unfortunately frittered away her talents on government service, but meanwhile delighted millions. Her brightening of the Depression era would have been impossible, had some Department of Youth Services kept her in school.

Albrecht Drer was the pre-eminent Northern Renaissance artist, drawing this self-portrait at age 13 - because he would not submit to those who steered him in another direction.

Michelle Wie qualified to join the USGA at age 10, and won the US Womens' Amateur Public Links contest at age 13.

Hundreds of other child prodigies have enriched the culture of civilized human society; yet government and its allies in industry and the media are trying to suppress them, make them conform to a bland, uniform standard of mediocrity. In the coming zero government society, all such nonsense will end; children as well as adults will be all that they can be. Humanity will prosper as never before.

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