As the United States continues its political descent, one thing we will continue to witness (and suffer) are greater intrusions into our personal lives. In a free society “a man’s home is his castle,” but in our modern culture the state owns the castle, the land it sits on, and can enter it at any time.
Recently the Arizona State Supreme Court ruled 3-2 in Arizona v. Holle upholding a state law that opens up parents to sexual molestation charges for engaging in normal parental duties such as changing their child’s diaper.
John Whitehead explains here the implications, which aren’t hard to fathom. What is often difficult to grasp is that these political measures are not well-intended, yet misguided attempts to address societal ills. These are concerted efforts to give the state excuses to intervene in families.
As I explained in A State of Insecurity modern states are deeply concerned about what their citizens think of them.
A state instinctively desires to be perceived as legitimate by the people underneath its rule. This does not mean that the state is legitimate. Rather, it speaks to the conflicted nature of the state as an illegitimate entity constantly trying to convince people of its legitimacy no matter what actions it takes.
This is born from a perhaps unconscious realization that without people’s submission, the state cannot survive indefinitely. A government can strive for legitimacy, but it will never be fully achieved. Equally important is the belief in its necessity for social order and civilization.
The state imperative is to guarantee its own long-term survival by consolidating power. This does not mean that it will always exercise this power whenever possible. What matters is that the power is available when it is needed.
This power is indispensable in fulfilling the state imperative through one of its strategies; ensure the next generation of citizens are certain to regards its legitimacy as a doctrine of faith.
The state intrusion into the process of child-rearing starts before the child is even conceived. No-fault divorce provided the state with an incredible avenue through which to undermine the family while at the same time justify larger bureaucracy in the form of family advocates, family court, divorce court, what have you. Today, 40 percent of children are born to single mothers, and the state is more than eager to act as a surrogate husband and father on taxpayers’ dime with none of the regular moral responsibilities.
Ensuring future loyal subjects is the primary purpose of a public education. It is not to ensure equal access to quality schooling as so many insist. It is to sculpt, mold, and form the youth who become tomorrow’s voters into conforming, obedient, and trusting individuals who, even when they rebel, are defiant against a superficial, temporary authority figure but never the true source of power.
Homeschooling and private schools represent a threat to this process, though sadly I can attest from my own personal life observation in college that many of those children later attend both private and public universities and become just as indoctrinated in statism. There, too, the state creates assurances in the form of anti-family propaganda. It is no coincidence that the median age of marriage has steadily increased and certain demographics are having less and less children.
Yet, the potential threat to state control a strong, parental figurehead represents is still so great that government must create mechanisms that allow it to act preemptively to remove the child from the parents before their influence can take effect.
In this Breibart piece we see the insecurity of state adherents in Germany explicitly showcased. So paranoid are they of ethnic German parents raising dissident youth who might challenge the soft, state-managed genocide occurring against their people that they warn other families to be on the lookout for children with “accurate braids and long skirts” as signs of political extremism that must be stamped out.
This is extent to which they will micromanage and regulate.
Furthermore, it affords the state a wonderful subterfuge through which to target and destroy political dissidents. Yet again, the charge of sexual molestation or assault in this case is not happenstance. The people who crafted the bill had to know that the accusations automatically generate enormous emotional and psychological reactions in ordinary people. All it require are a few “selective” demonstrations of this new power and others will silently take note before they decide to get involved a political movement the state has deemed “deplorable.”
Chief Justice Bales unknowingly confirm this when he wrote in his dissent:
Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant’s soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony. They also will likely find little solace from the majority’s conclusion that although they are child molesters or sex abusers under Arizona law, they are afforded an “affirmative defense” if they can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their touching “was not motivated by a sexual interest.” Such a defense, as the majority notes, does not mean that a crime has not occurred, but instead that the miscreant may avoid “culpability” by persuading the factfinder that the “criminal conduct” should be excused.
The factfinder would be a state agent, who can then decide if a crime has been committed. Ergo, all parents have violated this law. The state gets to decide, then, which ones it wishes to prosecute.
This is the objective of these absurd laws.
As Whitehead writes (bold emphasis added)
The message is chillingly clear: your children are not your own but are, in fact, wards of the state who have been temporarily entrusted to your care. Should you fail to carry out your duties to the government’s satisfaction, the children in your care will be re-assigned elsewhere. In other words, the government believes it knows better than you—the parent—what is best for your child.
On the last bit, I have to disagree. It is not that government believes it knows what is best for a child as though you both had a mutual goal. What is “best for a child” is determined by the role they play in aiding the state’s imperative.
It is also yet another example of statist LARPing, except in this case it is a form of projection. By its action the state very much likes to create the impression that it is the “real” parent of a child and the mother and father are merely “playing” parent, i.e. LARPing.
In other words, all children are by nature wards of the state.
The tacit agreement is that the parents may engage in “traditional” child-rearing insofar as it doesn’t threaten the state imperative or the process by which the child internalizes state propaganda.
Parents hoping to raise children in our current society would do well to note that this is understanding the state has in regards to their role and prepare accordingly. This applies doubly for libertarians.
Photo credit: Wiki Commons.