In response to Mark Ellse: Are our Sunday schools to fall victim to the panic over Islamic extremism?, Stuart Beaker wrote:

It used to be that in civil life, whatever was not arguably prohibited, was generally permitted. And incidentally, that whatever was not specifically condemned as unsafe, was deemed safe by default.

Legal accountability for harm often only materialised with the materialisation of that harm itself, whatever it was. Issues of recklessness and negligence were largely addressed, and punishment enforced, once they were implicated unequivocally by an actual occurrence of damage or injury.

To avoid that situation was a ‘common duty’ of the individual or organisation concerned – to be prudent in pre-empting any charge of criminality or civil misdemeanour.

The advent of statistics, and their inevitable Bowdlerisation and abuse at the hands of the stupid, has steadily reversed this situation. It has lent spurious numerical dignity to idle speculation on the part of paid pub-gossips, anti-Satanists, and other assorted utopian bureaucrats.

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