Monday, 10 October 2011

Destroying the Republic “for the Children”

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We’ve all heard about the tactic of using children as human shields, as practiced by Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and others. The idea is that you place civilians — preferably women and children — at military targets to reduce the chances that your enemy will attack and so that, if he does, he’ll look like a heartless miscreant who targets the least among us. Morally, it’s the least of tactics.

Yet while we Westerners have made the practice illegal under the Geneva Convention, it’s not unknown in the United States — in our political battles. In the 1990s especially, it became common to claim that all and sundry must support a given statist policy “for the children.” As an example, when Republican-backed welfare reform was instituted, Ted Kennedy called it “legislative child abuse.” And when President G.W. Bush threatened to veto an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2007, Democrats brought children to a press conference on the matter and later had a 12-year-old SCHIP recipient read a heartstring-tugging Democrat radio address about the program.

The latest use of this tactic was by Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Florida Republican debate when he invoked the welfare of the children to justify his granting in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens. And while imprudently using the word “heartless” to describe the idea’s opponents didn’t help his presidential fortunes, the tactic certainly helps the cause of illegality. Why, virtually every measure proposed to combat invasion U.S.A. is supposedly off limits because it hurts children, who are innocents and here through no fault of their own.

If anyone can be credited with popularizing this juvenile-human-shield approach, it perhaps is Hillary Clinton. She was the nattering ‘90s nabob who made “for the children” a rallying cry, and, as Jonah Goldberg writes, “If you’ve read It Takes a Village, you know that she thinks ‘children’s issues’ pretty much covers everything.”

And you know what?

She’s right.

Think about it. When the IRS seizes assets — and especially when it takes living quarters — children’s lives are often disrupted and their futures impacted. But how is it moral to kick American children out of their homes but wrong to send illegal-alien children back home? Perhaps the IRS should cease enforcement activity “for the children.”

Then, as American Thinker’s Jim Yardley points out, while we’re told that illegal aliens have a right to attend school in a country they don’t belong in, American parents are being arrested when their kids attend school in a district they don’t belong in. Sure, they’re violating the law.  But so what?

So are illegal aliens.

What is it about the word “illegal” that you understand?

The point is that it’s hard to imagine a law or policy that doesn’t affect children, either directly or indirectly. So why enforce any laws at all?

The answer is simple: Enforcing just law causes innocent casualties; failing to do so causes even more. Because insofar as what is criminalized is actually wrong, there is no such thing as a victimless crime.

Really, you might say that the imposition of will we call law enforcement is akin to war, which can also be an imposition of will (WWII): It’s an ugly business. And even in a just war there are, sadly, innocent victims — including children. We’ve even created a euphemism to describe them: “collateral damage.”

And since just law creates “collateral damage,” too, the argument that a given policy will “hurt children” is meaningless. The real question is that posed by Just War Doctrine: Will the proposed action do more good than harm?

In the case of illegal aliens, requiring that they return whence they came may “hurt” some children (although it should be mentioned that being sent home isn’t a fate worse than death). What are the consequences of not enforcing the law, however? Well, we have billions upon billions more that must be spent on schools, social services, and hospitals. We have illegal-alien criminals who rape and kill American children and new diseases introduced to our shores that infect American children. We have people who once naturalized, statistics evidence, will vote almost monolithically for statist politicians, thereby growing Big Brother and impoverishing us further. Even more ominously, our immigration without assimilation is causing balkanization that may one day lead to ethnic strife and, perhaps, national dissolution.

And as we rack up our debt, do we think about the children who will be saddled with it? As we allow the very foundations of our republic to be shattered, do we think about how we will bequeath a collapsed civilization to them?

The reality is that most who use kids as props don’t really know what’s in the best interests of the children and don’t really care. They never talk about purging smut and corruptive influences from entertainment “for the children”; re-introducing discipline in the schools “for the children”; or, most damnably, ending abortion “for the children.” Taking a leaf out of the Taliban’s book, they use children on the political firing line to create a phalanx between their social engineering and criticism that could scuttle it. It’s peddling leftist policy change on the backs of babes.

Ironically, it’s on those backs, at least to an extent, that today’s adults will have to live upon retirement (the Social Security Ponzi scheme). And, some wonder, will a shrinking pool of workers be inclined to support a growing pool of seniors? Well, if today’s children grow up and come to understand how we allowed a once great nation to descend into Third World, socialist status, perhaps they’ll do for us what we’re now doing for them.


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