This two-part article is one of the darkest I've ever written. I didn't want my readers to be under any rose-colored-glasses type illusion that "things will just work out" for the United States. There are to many very real and deep-seated problems that must be addressed.
These pieces were originally published (under the title "Killing
Fields of America") in the August and September 1997 issues of the Unification
[Polishing the text a little, on 12/29/07.]
In this two-part article we'll look at the situation of children. Also, at those whose duty it is to care for them.
All people, with the possible exception of W. C. Fields, find children infinitely precious. Anyone will tell you they are deeply concerned about our youth. Even those few who aren't concerned will probably claim they are. There are also people who feel concerned, but are so twisted inside that their actions, in the end, actually harm the objects of their attention. Unfortunately, in this modern, secular society of ours, a handful of those very people have become powerful children's rights advocates.
Throughout human history, childhood was usually a brief and destitute period. Teenaged (or younger) children had to work the fields, or become apprentices. Even in nations as presently wealthy as Japan, many adults grew up in extreme poverty. In the past, most children received only a couple of years of schooling--if any. Many were, in effect, sold off to support the rest of their family. In several regions, that practice continues. (The girls usually have it much worse . . . )
Historically, childhood was not a time of innocence. Only the rise of capitalism allowed societies to become prosperous, and not just for the upper classes. Families became comfortable enough to allow their offspring an extended period of adolescence. Today there are signs of a reverse. Infidelity and unwed motherhood are dragging millions of children back towards those past brutalities.
Multiculturalists will say that "different societies have their own standards, and we cannot judge them by our own." Perhaps. The appearance of African immigrant girls in North American hospitals, seeking 'female circumcision,' is causing quite a controversy. A team of American news reporters, who purchased themselves two Sudanese slave boys, touched off a more universal revulsion.
The worldd's societies raise their children with an astonishing variety of attitudes. Some of them have much to teach Americans. And some are suffering, as with the spread of AIDS in Africa. There, once carefree sex has become deadly. (Read Mission to Kala by Mongo Beti, a novel set in then-French Cameroon.) Older attitudes and traditions may -or may not- work any more, and don't always transfer well to other cultures.
RIGHTS AND RAPPERS
Children's rights have evolved slowly over the millennia. Ancient law treated children as the property of their parents, to be dispatched wherever -or disposed of whenever- they saw fit. (As with the Roman doctine of Patria Potestas, which granted the father the power of enforcement, up to and including capital punishment.)
The government's direct role in childrens lives has increased only slowly, and its advocacy on their behalf has grown more slowly still.
Today, children's rights are stronger than ever. In some nations they exceed the rights of the parents. In the United States they're undergoing constant upheaval, and making headlines. Occasionally, sick children die because their fundamentalist parents insisted on using prayer alone. In the near future, the authorities may take children away from their parents, because they are "abusing" them--by smoking cigarettes inside their own homes.
America's proposed adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is shaping up to be a tremendous battle. Using its same basic precepts, a handful of children have already "divorced" their own parents. Liberal apologists are trying in advance to defuse any criticism of this, by analyzing similar, historical situations. (As in The Way We Never Were, a rather misleading book by Stephanie Coontz.) For example, a hundred thirty years ago America had at least as many single-parent families as it has today, and they did all right. Society did not collapse.
But plain statistics don't tell the whole story. Most of those single-parent households were headed by Civil War widows. As much as they suffered, there is a vast difference, especially to the children, between the death of a father and abandonment by him.
This gives us a hint about the current popularity of 'gansta rap' music, with its obscene lyrics and misogynistic themes. Most of the young rappers -and many of their fans- were raised without fathers; their mothers never married the guy. Too often, any one of several possible guys. Small wonder, then, that their sons grew up to refer to women in general as "ho's." (Whores.)
An old friend of this author once worked for a famous rapper. Despite that artist's de rigueur themes of violence and death, his career eventually sputtered. Turns out the guy actually grew up in the suburbs, with two professional, married parents. Seems he lacked the proper 'edge.'
Ms. Gay Courter, a well-known author, wrote an autobiographical book titled I Speak for This Child. It recounts her work as a Guardian ad Litem, appointed by the court to assist a specific, troubled child. The book's true stories are often tragic, and sometimes heartening. Nowhere are there easy solutions. In every instance, Ms. Courter had to battle 'The System' as hard as she did the abusive parents, boyfriends, etc.
Sometimes her solutions involved choosing the 'lesser of two evils.' One boy was being kept from his father, a known -but not legally convicted- murderer and pedophile. However, the youth ranches and foster homes where the boy was placed were even worse! He kept getting into abusive, sexual relationships with the older male residents. Finally the child was returned to his father, in an all too literal case of 'better the devil you know.'
As with the Unemployment and Welfare departments, America's many Child Protective Services offices are supposedly trying to work themselves out of a job. However, their case load is their bread and butter--and they know it. Foster homes and other institutions are paid large amounts to house their assigned children, more if the kid is classified as disabled.
Of course, the vast majority of foster parents are good people, sincerely concerned for their young charges. Some will nurse HIV-positive babies all through their short, painful lives. Tragically, such caring can itself be a source of pain, since the 'cases' (as the children are invariably referred to) can be, and frequently are, shifted out of those homes. Sometimes, at the whim of a distant bureaucrat.
Your author has had personal experience in these matters, both as a foster care and women's shelter assistant, and through knowing folks who were "in the system." An early observation: sometimes the foster kids were screwy and the social worker really cared--and nearly as often, the reverse was true.
Most of those kids just needed a stable environment, and neither their parents nor The System could provide one. Some kids, as young as eight, were profoundly disturbed, and the help they needed was difficult to come by.
Courter has some good proposals, especially a substantial expansion of the Guardian ad Litem program. But some of her other ideas, to be imposed by the United Nations, etc., upon every society and household, would be a universal "cure" much worse than the disease of family problems. Particularly considering the corrupt situation in which most UN bureaucrats are immersed.
Courter rightly questions the entrance of private, for-profit child care institutions into arrangements with The System. There are already plenty of compassionate, experienced charities out there; children are not 'units' to be handled like livestock or widgets.
American society is gradually decaying, with thousands more troubled children appearing every day. Our leadership's major response has been to tighten up on law enforcement. They've made prison construction a booming industry. [Now, private contractors run many prisons, and their cost-cutting ensures inexperienced guards, and a dearth of counselling and educational programs.] Beyond that, their version of 'crime prevention' has often meant goofy programs like Midnight Basketball.
To borrow missionary Irene Webster-Smith's memorable simile, they're placing an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, rather then a fence at the top. More than that, until recently, the fashion industry's ubiquitous "heroin look" was openly glamorizing the downward trip! [Happily, a publisher recently cancelled a parenting guide book, written by the parents of Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears.]
Next month we'll look further at the response of politicians, and also of scientists. Finally, at some concerned parent's solutions.
* * *
Last month we discussed the situation of children in various societies, past and present. This time we'll focus on the future.
Regarding America's troubled youth, "get tough" responses have dominated, from the Federal government right on down to local School Boards. Zero Tolerance policies are being implemented everywhere. The results have not been pretty.
Violence plagues the schools--and kids have been arrested for bringing a cheese knife in their lunch box. Drugs are a terrible menace, and students are getting busted for handing out aspirin tablets. Sexual harassment is (finally!) against the law. And six years olds are getting suspended for pecking a schoolmate on the cheek.
Meanwhile, the schools themselves are pushing drugs like Ritalin and Zoloft. Many involved in this are cashing in big time, thanks to government payments directed towards allegedly disabled children. (Thus shorting the truly disabled.)
In California, a school teacher was revealed to be an X-rated movie star; and he, a union member, could not easily be fired. He was openly defended!
A recent Surgeon General made several bizarre suggestions in proposing sex education for little kids.
Such venal contradictions pile up whenever our clueless government tries to help. (Refer to The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard--if your stomach can handle it.) Confusion, hypocrisy, rigidity: all send an extremely confusing message to our children.
Modern science has had its say in child rearing, beginning with the 'soft' sciences like Psychology. Doctors Skinner and Spock have come and gone, along with their ridiculous theories, the former coldly mechanistic and the latter warmly over-indulgent.
Now 'hard' science is stepping in. Parents can buy home-use drug testing kits. A do-it-yourself 'fatherhood DNA test' has just come on the market.
All too often, these tests will be the harbingers of Bad News.
If their kids are usng drugs, it is vital for the parents to know. On the other hand, some experts advise against the use of the DNA test. Radio's popular Dr. Laura asks callers, "What will happen if you find out you're not the father?"
In most situations, she explains, confirming past infidelities would only shatter an already shaky marriage, and completely estrange the child. Any man can be a 'sperm donor,' and it doesn't require much time or effort. But supporting one's family, and fulfilling the lifelong position of a father, is a precious and challenging role. Even if the genes don't quite match. (For Unificationists, these standards are much higher.)
Lawyers have sensed an opportunity here. Many men are now learning of the consequences of a one-night fling they'd had, just dimly remembered, often years before. It happens when they're dragged to a laboratory for a court-ordered DNA test. At best, these men learn that they have a 'new' second family to nurture. At worst, they end up trying to evade a gigantic bill for unpaid child support.
Science isn't finished with the family yet. Frozen human embryos have become the objects of ferocious court battles, especially where the parents had since divorced. Children have been born to hormone-treated elderly women. Surrogate mothers have birthed the child of a parent who had already died.
Some human tissues can live for several hours beyond the point of legal death. Sperm cells have been extracted from men who had already died, and their ladies have sought to bear their children anyway. In one case, the distraught parents (of an unmarried son) advertised for a woman who would bear them a 'posthumous grandchild.'
It's going to take a regular King Solomon to sort this stuff out . . .
Who is currently addressing these issues? Almost no one, save for a few self-proclaimed children's advocates. They've also become experts at promoting any program they desire, on the basis of concern for children. Their agenda is quite predictable.
Want to control an industry? Perhaps their factories produce things -pollution, unhealthy foodstuffs, unsafe products- that may threaten our children't health. Even if they don't, any number of scientists would be happy to call a press conference and claim that it's so.
Want to nationalize American health care? Rejected at your first, massive effort? Just cobble up some inflated statistics and heart-rending stories about uninsured children. Provide those millions of kids with a new government program. In a couple of decades they'll all grow up, become voters--and expect the gravy train to keep on rolling. [This is happening in many ways at once. Most notably, with the proposed expansion of the SCHIP program into the upper middle class.]
There are numerous other examples. After all, who wants to be accused of being against children? Not anyone who has to face the voters! Government should do everything it can defend families. But today, our government is run by humanists who have nothing but disdain for traditional families.
Few of them are good parents, but they're experts when it comes to getting their way. The government has declared that children are to be raised in a 'healthy environment.' It is possible to raise the bar so high that no parent could make the grade!
In an earlier UNews article ("Sheepenization") we discussed these leader's pervasive efforts to subdue the American people. "Sheepening" is a neater phrasing, and their efforts continue. Publications like Imprimis and The Washington Times, and commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura, are properly informing the adults of this nation. Thus, the humanist's efforts are increasingly aimed at our children. This ongoing 'sheepening' is concentrated in the Public School system.
The phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" may or may not be a real African proverb. If it is, while their are many wonderful people in Africa, those villages remain the poorest, most ignorant, superstitious, and disease-ridden places on Earth. And if it isn't, the Federal government's "village elders" are quite unwelcome.
A powerful American woman has expressed her concern, by equating marriage with slavery. Even within its well-hedged original context, this statement clearly depicts the attitude of our humanist rulers.
The idea of "Kid's Lib" surfaced in the late 1960s. Back then, this author thought it sounded like a pretty neat idea. But even then, the question arose: once "liberated," what better things were the kids -and society- going to build? In distant Korea, the True Parents had already been rejected, thus no one could answer the question.
Some people believe it's foolish to raise 'naive' children. These are the same ones who'll reply "no" to the Third Point in our pre-Blessing vows: educating children about sexual purity.
We realize that our children will eventually be tempted by drugs, pornography, etc. Lurid advertisements, scruffy neighbor kids, cars with 'gansta rap' blaring forth, and much more, surround our children now.
In response, some religious families have reacted strongly, much as Grandmother Hong did when she moved (with her young daughter Hak Ja) to an isolated island. Such families have no TV in their homes, and their children are only allowed to attend church-supervised gatherings.
On the other hand, there are Unificationists who deliberately avoid our own religious schools, not wishing their children to be 'overly sheltered.'
It now appears that the former course is preferable. As far as is possible, any island of sanity should be eagerly sought, by Unificationists and all concerned parents.
Horrible tales of child abuse, and especially the recent epidemic of crack babies, have prompted calls for extreme measures like parental licensing. Others have responded with sensible local programs; for example, waiting periods with premarital counseling and special, extra-committed marriage licenses.
Purity does not have to equate with weakness. In the Bible it certainly doesn't! Purity may remain an object of derision--or become the next big social trend. [Lately, humanists are bashing Abstinence Only programs as hard and loudly as they can. But not all such programs are the same--not even close. Also, there may be lecherous motives involved.]
Unificationists answer with the example of their own lives. Several million pre-Blessed couples (as of this writing) is no small potatoes! Those very Four Blessing Points encapsulate the solution to our children's ills.
© 1999 by Paul Carlson
Top of Page