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Play Ground Politics

By Joel Scott

In the name of "the children," America's freedom is being eroded. Children's activists backed by politicians are manipulating the innocence of children to pursue their own statist agendas. Under the cloak of "protecting children," their efforts to advance social programs are deceptively destroying Americans' rights. These efforts to allegedly help and protect children from risks and poverty are another facade used to redistribute the wealth of producers to "the needy."

The recent measures to impose government-enforced censorship of the Internet and to shackle business by regulating the tobacco industry were perpetrated, at least in part, under the cloak of protecting children. These measures indicate how children are being used more broadly to impose greater government controls on certain freedoms. Similarly, children have always been a focal group for whom redistribution of wealth has been justified by altruists, but recently they have become a more prominent excuse for such measures. For example, the welfare reform bill passed last year was widely condemned because it would "hurt the children of welfare mothers."

Children's activists believe they are helping children by advocating government controlled programs, but they evade fundamental questions. J. Lawerence Aber, Director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, wrote in a recent editorial in New York's Newsday, "Citizens can insist that their elected representatives support programs proven effective at reducing risks for children, such as Nutrition programs, Home-visiting programs to help identify and prevent potential trauma and abuse, and caregiver training to improve the quality of child care and teach child-care providers how to create more responsive and intellectually stimulating environments." By what standards are these programs "proven effective"? Who decides, and by what criteria, what an intellectually stimulating environment is? By what right does government justify their intervention into an individual's life? Mr. Aber's argument is exactly the type of vaguely-stated, short-sighted socialist propaganda being used to truly exploit Americans in the name of "the children."

Furthermore, who will pay for all these programs? The government? Our government is not a producer; it does not make money by selling goods or services. It confiscates money from its citizens via taxes and redistributes it to the latest "needy" group. Consequently, everyone is forced to pay for children's programs, including childless individuals.

Children, like all individuals, have rights. Newborns to early-teenagers cannot provide for themselves, so they must have the guidance and financial support of those who can provide for them—their parents. But because a child is unable to be self-sufficient, this fact places no burden on anyone except those who decided to have the child. Two individuals must decide if they can provide the financial and emotional responsibilities of having children. If they are unable to commit to these responsibilities, they should not procreate. And for whatever reasons, when parents are unable to care for their children, they must solicit private charitable organizations for funds and guidance. A parents inability to care for his or her child does not automatically make society at large responsible for their offspring.

Supporters of government control always evade the fact that it is precisely the altruist morality underlying welfare—that because some are "in need" others necessarily owe them a living—which breeds the many irresponsible welfare mothers who have children they would probably never spawn if left to be self-responsible. "The tragedy of welfare," writes Jared Talylor in Paved With Good Intentions, "is that when reckless childbearing is rewarded with a government check, many more children are likely to start life with anything but loving, responsible parents." He also writes that "This system is wrong on all counts. It is wrong to make society pay for children whose parents cannot look after them....And it is wrong for the children, who are born into misery that is not their own making and from which they are unlikely to escape."

Individuals have an inalienable right to their property, which includes their money. This means nothing, not children, the elderly, the poor, the environment, or any so-called "good cause," comes above man's inalienable rights, since it is the principle on which man's life depends.

Despite these truths, Mr. Aber still insist implicitly that fascism is the answer to the ills of poverty-stricken children: "Many low-income children with working parents could be helped by new partnerships between government and employers to make quality child care and health insurance more affordable and accessible." A "partnership" between government and employers is not a partnership. It is a relationship whereby the government makes demands of employers, or entices them with incentives—backed with the dictatorial threat of force. By forming "partnerships" between government and business, the protective purpose of government becomes subverted. Who then is going to protect "the employers" in these government-controlled "partnerships"? And in the long run, how will children benefit from such arrangements?

Children will always need protecting; therefore, the entity of "the children" will always exist. The fundamental question is should children grow up to be self-responsible, self-sufficient adults or should they have the government become their foster parents, which consequently teaches children that just because you "need" you "receive."

If Americans are honestly interested in helping children, they must first recognize and then reject the philosophy behind the children's movement: Socialism—the redistribution of wealth in the name of society, present and future, which, history proves, has only caused poverty. They then must work toward reestablishing capitalism. Only when Americans understand that freedom demands self-responsibility, the self-responsibility that allows individuals to trade with and give voluntarily to others they value while they pursue their own goals and happiness, not their neighbor's or society's, will the children, rich or poor, of America benefit.

Play Ground Politics

By Joel Scott _____________________________________ _____________________________________

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