In A.D. 1212, a Children's Crusade was formed allegedly
to rescue the Holy Sepulcher. Instead, the children were
lured and sold into slavery by unscrupulous and cruel
traders. Thousands of innocent children died of hunger
and disease and from their brutal ordeal. It is said that
the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, who led
the children by the tune of his pipe,
derives from this dreadful affair.
Children have always been the treasure and future of civilizations and, as such, throughout the ages, have been tenderly nurtured within the motherly hearth and fatherly protection of the traditional family. Children have been the centerpiece of the family both within the context of our Graeco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. The innocence of children have been protected by loving parents even as their attitudes develop and cultural, moral, and religious values are transmitted from one generation to the next.
And, from the pages of history, we learn children are best educated and imbued with moral principles and the sense of justice and their future as productive citizens best assured, when raised within the context of the traditional/nuclear family, rather than within the purview of the state (parens patriae). You see, I strongly believe in G.K. Chesterton's admonition:
The ideal for which the family stands is liberty. It is the only institution that is at once necessary and voluntary. It is the only check on the state that is bound to renew itself as eternally as the state, and more naturally than the state.
Today, most alarmingly, the traditional family is not only under attack by a government intent on abrogating its traditional and legal rights of parental authority, but also, recently, increasingly and brazenly, using, directly or via surrogate special interest groups, children as hapless chess pawns in their advocacy crusades to procure funding (at taxpayers' expense) for a myriad of liberal, left-wing political causes. Modern (authoritarian) liberals know they can advance their sundry political agendas at taxpayers' expense because they have banked on the fact few will venture to risk derision and ignominy (Le. coercive compassion) in opposing politically-correct causes that are purportedly for the benefit of children. And for them, perception is reality. Who can forget the fear-mongering hubbub created a few months ago by the blatantly false claim and assertion many children would go hungry because the mean-spirited Republicans were going to cut their school lunch program.
There are even more egregious uses of children for interrelated, collectivist, political agendas. J'Accuse the following (as to their true purpose and intent):
1. School-based clinics which, as discussed by both Dr. Joseph Scherzer in this journaJ(1) and Anita Hoge in Media Bypass Magazine,(2) have been used deliberately by the Clinton administration for dual social engineering purposes --- namely, implement and expand the role of government in medicine (socialized medicine through the back door), and "emancipate" children from their families and the values of their parents.
2. The widely publicized March on Washington (June 1, 1996) led by Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF),(3) which was used, less for "standing for children" (such organizations as Zero Population Growth and Planned Parenthood participated) and more (and effectively so), to preserve intact the inimical welfare state with its cycle of dependency that keeps millions of families and their children devoid of hope and dignity and hopelessly mired in the liberal plantation from which they can not escape.
3. Repeated cries of children without health care --- a mendacious and partisan cliche used to help expand the Medicaid base in another converging tactic and back door approach to expand corporate socialized medicine and procure government health care as a middle-class entitlement. The truth is the impetus for health care reform has persisted (although at a more subdued mode at both the state and national levels) and today increasingly calls for step-by-step augmenting subsidies for insurance for children within families with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level (many of these families are well-to-do but choose not to buy coverage). At the state level, Minnesota reached "universal coverage" for children by expanding qualifications in this step-by-step fashion. Today, Minnesota is doing the same thing with adults as to cover the entire middle class with subsidized insurance. (Generally, Medicaid covers children of families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level.)
4. Repeated cries of an epidemic of children being killed by [sic] guns --- another favorite liberal cliche repeated often and bolstered by doctored homicide and gun accident statistics as to promote draconian gun control on the law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, these gun prohibitionists do little to put and keep criminals behind bars and fail to emphasize crime control and individual responsibility in their vociferous crusades:(4) Rather than promoting gun safety courses in schools (i.e., the Eddie Eagle program of the NRA) which have proved highly effective in decreasing injury and death of children due to firearms accidents, the educational establishment opposes these programs.(5) Instead (and to underscore the point of deliberately misplaced objectives) recent rumors are circulating the administration plans to start a computerized database registry "to trace and track guns to their original owners" --- a thinly-veiled attempt at intimidating law-abiding gun owners, a serious abrogation of civil liberties and the Bill of Rights --- all in the name of children.
5. The Hollywood culture and its effect on children which undermines parental authority, mocks religion and morality, erodes family values, fosters wanton violence, and assists, in yet another fashion, in the destruction of the traditional family and the religious and moral values of young impressionable minds.(6) These charges are self-evident and, I think, require no further elaboration.
6. The need for escalating, ever increasing investments in children's education which preserve and expand in size and scope the federal government's unconstitutional involvement in education. (For F.Y. 1997, Congress appropriated monies to the tune of $22.8 billion for the Department of Education.) Yet, we all know the grim statistics and general decline in American public education. Math, reading, and writing have been neglected while children pursue their elusive self-esteems, and teen crime (particularly in the inner cities) spirals out of control by alienated youths involved in the drug trade, and devoid of moral compasses and individual responsibility --- a product of our decaying Great Society liberalism in general and the educational establishment in particular. So, many of today's youths leave schools illiterate and become lost in the urban jungles of today's inner cities providing grist for the welfare mills, spawning teenage pregnancies, promiscuity, and sexuallytransmitted diseases, and yes, drugs and crime, fierce and violent.
Those who are more fortunate and are expected to get by with Outcome Based Education (OBE), sensitivity training, and self-esteem attainment are destined to become automatons for the global marketplace and will be expected to follow orders, but not to think for themselves; they will not be capable or expected to read Shakespeare or the Bible; or, for that matter, Jean Paul Sartre or the writings of Thomas Jefferson.(7)
Groups claiming to "Stand for Children's Rights" include, not only known-to-be staunchly partisan groups such as CDF and Planned Parenthood, but also medical groups which are purportedly nonpolitical. These physician groups claim children advocacy while imbibing heavily from the habitforming government trough to the tune of millions of taxpayers' money. These groups, as public records show, include: the American Academy of Pediatrics ($1,100,000), the American Public Health Association ($173,000), the American Medical Women's Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, etc., not to mention a myriad of allied health care provider groups.
All of these purportedly non-partisan medical groups supported President Clinton's Health Security Act of 1993;(8) today, they are on the government dole. And now, as Paul Harvey says, you know the rest of the story ...
Children are our pride and joy, the centerpiece of the family, the treasure (and renewal) of countless civilizations, but they should not be used flagrantly to advance political agendas, left or right, or bent in any direction to satisfy the partisan winds or political expediency of trendy, politically-correct causes.
Instead, children should be loved and given guidance, and the traditional family nourished and fortified. Children should be taught moral absolutes and universal truths so that, as they journey through life, they will be endowed with free will and be able to distinguish right from wrong, free of government coercion --- and fulfill their destinies.
1. Scherzer J. Socialized medicine by the back door: school-based clinics in Arizona. Medical Sentinel 1996;1(2):27-28.
2. Hoge A. The hidden hand of Hillary. Media Bypass Magazine, November 1995.
3. The CDF has an annual budget of $16 million, half of which, as reported in The New American (July 8, 1996), is derived from mega-corporations and foundations such as Exxon, Ford, AnheiserBusch, and AT&T.
4. Suter EA. Guns in the medical literature --- a failure of peer review. J Med Assoc Ga 1994;83(13):133-148.
5. Suter EA. Violence in America. J Med Assoc Ga 1995;84(6):253-263.
6. For a particularly egregious example, see WN Grigg's "Does the State Own Your Child?" The New American 1996;12(14):4-10.
7. Matthew Robinson of Investor's Business Daily recently reported on California's "subjective mathematics" which advises state teachers: "Your job is ... not to judge the rightness and wrongness of each student's answer. Let those determinations come from the class ... " quoted in National Review 1996;48(11):12.
8. Faria MA, Jr. Playing hardball: doctors bat in the game of health system reform. J Med Assoc Ga 1994;83(6):333-337.
Dr. Faria is a consultant neurosurgeon and author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995) and the newly released Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (Macon, Georgia, Hacienda Publishing, Inc., 1997). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel.
Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1996;1(3):8-9. Copyright ©1996 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.