By Nathan Barton
Do people “deserve” liberty? I have just been embroiled in a heartbreaking situation, one of a series. Without going into detail and thereby creating problems of privacy and decency, bear with me a minute.
An older married couple (late 50s) have three children: two are adult, married and with children – away from home. The third, a son, is sixteen and in all kinds of trouble: dealing in drugs and associating with gangs, and on parole for stealing and wrecking a car (owned by other members of the family). He is increasingly defiant and troublesome.
The family has been both very conservative politically and religiously. But the couple is in despair regarding their youngest. And just made the decision to surrender the care and control of this teenager… to the State. In what seems to be a complete betrayal of all their beliefs, which they have at least tried to adhere to in word and deed, for their entire lives, they intend to file for the abrogation of their “parental rights” (which are, of course, really parental powers) and allow the State and all its institutions and thugs to suck their child into the belly of the beast. A child who is already very troubled, has already been subjected to 11 or so years of “public school,” and needs love, help, and care – the very things which the State and its minions are totally unable to provide.
They are, of course, not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of parents – perhaps millions – who have surrendered their children to the tender mercies of the State. (Or had them stolen by the State.) To the grinding abuse and neglect of highly-paid and completely-unqualified (by any REAL standard) bureaucrats of “Child Protective Services” and its sisters in every county of all Fifty States.
I realize that at age 16, this is no true child. By their own religious beliefs (if not in their hearts) he is a man, well past the age of accountability. By the rules of the State in which they live, he was just barely young enough to avoid being charged as an adult for his crimes. But by most modern standards, and thanks to society (reinforced by government) he is a “child.”
We rightfully condemn those parents in Roman and Medieval times who sold their children into slavery, either in payment of debt or for some other reason. This, if anything, is worse. Because the State as master, even for just two years, is worse in so many ways than having a man or woman – even of an immoral and abusive nature – as master.
The parents COULD have raised this young man in a far better way – they did fairly well with their older children. They clearly had the knowledge and experience to do so. Yet, they failed. They have already surrendered much of their parental responsibilities – and powers – to the teachers and staff of the government-ruined theft-funded schools, and before that to babysitters – excuse me, “child care providers.” And knowing something of their religious and personal life, probably to the teachers and preachers in their home church. Again despite the fact that they had the knowledge and experience to do better. But they did not have the will. They did not have the fortitude, the guts, to do the same thing with this child as with the first ones. They had the liberty – limited though it might have been in modern times as compared to what their own parents had in the 1960s and 1970s. They had the liberty to raise this child to be a human being, a responsible man. And failed to take advantage of that liberty and their knowledge and skill. They lacked the self-discipline (or discipline provided by a couple to each other) to do what they were obligated to do by bringing this young man into the world.
And they were not hindered by particularly poor health or lack of opportunity. While perhaps working class, they were not in poverty. They were not dwellers in the inner urban areas of ghetto or barrio. They are not a despised minority nor hated ethnic group. It was not their circumstances that can be used to justify their failure. It was their lack of will.
This raises in my mind the question, do these parents (and so many like them) really deserve the liberty they had to determine their lives and those of their children? Even more, do they really WANT the liberty they have, or do they want to surrender more and more of their will and their ability to make and carry out decisions to someone else? Like the State?
More generally, do people like this, who have liberty, give up their God-given right to that liberty when they refuse to use it? I’m not talking about using it wisely or not. I am talking about refusing to take responsibility, to refusing to take ANY action (good or bad) which they are not forced to take?
I think all of us procrastinate sometimes, refusing to make decisions and take actions that must be taken. And all of us often make wrong decisions. But at what level? To what degree? When do we tip the balance to such wanton irresponsibility that it is obvious that we do not want, do not deserve, liberty? When do we become such degenerate humans that we sell not just our children, but ourselves, into slavery? Clearly, when we voluntarily give up the responsibilities which we accepted by our actions – and when that responsibility is a CHILD, that level of degeneracy has been reached. It sickens me.
Government, and the oligarchs, the politicians, the bureaucrats, the patrons – the powers that be – see no problem with that. They are willing to take up the slack (describing it as the “burden” they are wiling to take because they “love the people”). They are willing to provide the control that the people are unwilling to provide for themselves.
I, on the other hand, am neither willing to let the powers that be do that, and am unwilling to help continue a system that does so and creates people – generation after generation – who do not want, and therefore, do not deserve liberty. However pitiful and scant, they want security and safety more than they want liberty and its blessings.
Mama’s Note: That is just so sad. I’ve watched the same thing happen in my own family, more than once. The last such “child” to be surrendered to the state is now dead, by his own hand. He never really had any chance to grow up, let alone to become a self owner.