Started by Cordell Walker, Jun 01, 2007, 09:39 AM
The campaign for children's rights represents one of the most powerful lobbies now working in the field of family welfare. Its advocates have succeeded in almost every task they have set themselves. They have out-lawed smacking in schools and given children sufficient 'rights' to make parents and teachers think twice before attempting to curb or discourage unruly behaviour.Yet, as Lynette Burrows shows in this booklet, the children's rights lobby is a paper tiger. It consists of a small number of individuals who form front-organisations, ask each other to sit on committees, take 'evidence' from each other and publish 'reports. The movement has no popular base. Without the financial support of two grant-making trusts, and the unwitting compliance of public bodies and the media, it would collapse.The 'rights' which interest the lobby boil down to only two: the 'right' of children to behave badly without any chastisement and the 'right' to enter into sexual relationships at any age, without the knowledge and consent of their parents. The agenda thus fits neatly with the stated aims of paedophile organisations which realised long ago that the only way to obtain access to children was to persuade professionals and campaigning organisations to demands freedom for children from any form of restraint - a policy which leaves them exposed to the predatory behaviour of those who would harm them.
The first thing to note is that the very expression 'children's rights' is a misleading title. It disguises the fact that what is being sought is not more rights for children to decide the policies which affect them. There is no question of allowing them to decide if their school uses corporal punishment on bullies or not; whether they can smoke at school or indeed, whether they need to go to school at all if they have a job to go to. Children's rights are the means by which different groups of adults - notably lawyers and social workers, can select certain children's grievances - on a largely ideological basis - and then pursue these, with public funds, even through the European court. What is striking about so many of the issues that have been taken up by children's rights activists, is that, by and large, they involve solely the right of children to behave badly when they want to and to get into premature sexual activity. The strikingly homogenous nature of these 'rights' as they are at present perceived, is explained by an ideological agenda that is shared by the activists, and by very few others.
When you think about it, the fashionable crusade of 'children's rights' is bound to be anti-family. It is a movement which declares itself to be more interested in the welfare of children than are ordinary parents. It seeks rights and laws for children that neither they, nor their parents, want. It promises to give children legal sanctions against their parents and, in so doing, pits the interests of children against their parents. The inescapable implication is that children are not in safe hands with their own parents and that a whole movement has had to be called into being in order to protect them. It is an innocent-sounding piece of subliminal, anti-family propaganda, advertising the fact that parents are, at best, inadequate and, at worst, hostile to the needs of their children.Analysing the 'loaded' message of the title 'children's rights' one can see it attempts to pack the punch of an appeal to both parental feeling and the nobility of action implied by the word 'rights'. It is utterly bogus! A 'right is classically defined as 'the freedom to act without interference, according to one's conscience.' It means nothing unless the individual has the capacity to act upon their 'right' and children, by nature of their immaturity and inexperience, do not have that capacity. So they have people who act for them, in the form of the people who created them and who love them more than anyone else. Those people, the adult parents, have a freedom to act according to their conscience, and within the law, with their children and it is that freedom that the children's rights activists seek to remove. One can clearly map their intentions by what they have achieved so far and what they are signalling they want to do in the future. I don't know anything about the American scene but, in Great Britain, and several European countries, among their achievements has been securing the right of the state to allow under-age children to be given contraceptives and abortions without their parents' knowledge or consent. This remarkable right was not achieved via parliament, which still upholds an 'age of consent' at sixteen years. Still less was it achieved by pressure from either parents or children. It was as achieved by the active collaboration of the industry that sells contraceptives, the people who are employed in promoting their use, and the 'children's rights' lobby who claimed that, since children had now decided to be sexually active - there was nothing parents could do about it.The right for children to 'divorce' unsatisfactory parents has also been secured for them by children's rights lawyers; working on the usual pay-rates but with the bill settled by the taxpayer. So far parents have not been given the right to divorce unsatisfactory children - but that is consistent with the philosophy of children's rights. It is parents who are failing in their duty to give children the freedom they need. Children, the client group, are not to be criticised or restricted in any way. Children have also been given the right to take themselves out of the care of their parents and put themselves instead, into the misnamed 'care' of the local authority. Just what this can mean was illustrated by a mother, Mrs Iverson, whose14 year old daughter went to live with a 33 year old drug-dealer from Jamaica. She appealed to the local authority to get her daughter back and they responded by getting a social worker to take the child to a contraceptive clinic. The anguished mother could do nothing whilst her daughter was first introduced to a life of prostitution and then, a month later, murdered. No-one in authority was criticised or prosecuted for their lack of action since they, and the police, were prevented from denying the child her 'right' to free association, by the Children Act, 1989.