Monday, August 14, 2006

The Most Important Right Children Have is to the Protection of Adults

Do you hate people who pretend that children are like adults, too? Who pretend to pretend that children are like adults. They know children aren't like adults and that's the reason they do it. They want to use them. It's not just those ironically misnamed "pedophiles" who most certainly don't love children. Advertisers, markerters, fast food and entertainment companies, youth sports and those sordid beauty pageants we found about when the little girl was murdered in Colorado, they don't love them either. All of them fall on the same continuum of adults and industries turning children into commodities and business opportunities.

Judges and the law too often go along with the pretense of the pretense. Pretending that children are little adults because that's how their bread is buttered. They pretend to be standing on high principle while allowing the violation of children's' most important right, to be protected from creeps and their business partners.

Children aren't little adults only because they're too small to protect themselves physically, they aren't able to reason at a level sufficient to see through con men. Even at the fairly advanced age of their teens they can't talk themselves out of doing the first dumb thing that seems attractive. If you need proof, just ask a public health nurse what happens to her teen pregnancy case load in the months after the carnival comes to town. Children being targeted by advertising are a lot younger than those. Toxic consumerism is turning out to be the major health threat facing children in the developed world.

The religion of free trade has successfully hidden some of the worst child abuse for profit. Children kept as slaves still produce a lot of what is sold here. It's not just the discount junk either, they produce some of the higher ticket stuff too. The trade in children as sweatshop workers isn't that far removed from the trade in them for sex, there is a lot of cross over between the two. When not enslaving children directly, their parents are kept from caring for them with long work hours at too little pay to feed or house them. That is happening here in the Unites States as well as across the third world. That is what is hidden behind the happy face of advertising and the trained voice of the corporate spokeswoman who WAS chosen for her gender.

Children are seen by corporations as either disposable robots for maximizing profit by cutting production costs or as easy marks on the consuming end of the production cycle. In the post Reagan-Thatcher world we live in the legal system and larger society threat them that way too. How bad are conservatives for children? Never forget, Thatcher blocked action that would restrict children being used as soldiers. Conservatives are filth.

The most important right that children have is to the protection of adults, their parents, their community and the world. For children that is more important than the entire Bill of Rights. Without it they have no life and no chance to pursue their own happiness free of deception and the worst forms of abuse. They have a right not to be lied to by mass media. This is so clear that it shouldn't ever have gotten lost. It might be prettied up in legal nice talk but too many law professors, judges lawyers and the constitutional purity industry have chosen corporate profits over the protection of children. Theories of freedom of the press concerning commercial speech are part of it. And that's over. If they insist on presenting my choice as between children's safety and Lady Chatterly's Lover, the book goes. Handing that crap over to the far right for them to throw against real, important First Amendment protections is one of the stupidest things that the free speech absolutists do. Theories of the market and its artificial rights are the rest of it and the far right isn't going to do anything to endanger those. Civil libertarians aren't so stupid that they can't come up with more nuanced ways to protect children and the right of speech while keeping corporate interests from deceiving us all at the same time. But it's not possible until you stop making believe that corporate "speech" deserves the same protection as the lives of real people.

Theories are supposed to help clarify the truth, not to shield degenerate behavior. Any legal theory that leads away from a society protecting every child here and around the world is the come hither call of a carny barker and a brothel Madame. Corporate lawyers and spokespersons who tell these lies don't belong on the morning shows chatting with Diane and Matt, they belong on the grainy footage of the Dateline camera.

First posted Thursday, June 01, 2006 on olvlzl