Fred Foldvary

Fred Foldvary's Editorial
children parents

Children Spying Against Parents

by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor

One of the abominations of totalitarian government is making children spy on their parents and snitch on their alleged wrong doings. Federal and State governments in the USA have been adopting various spying techniques of totalitarian states, and they are increasingly using children as spies against their parents.

California's assembly bill 2068 would require children to be asked personal questions such as whether their parents spank them, keep guns in the house, or watch violent television shows. It would require "mental health screenings" as part of the physical exam children take before entering school or in county health screening programs. See CA AB 2068.

This is not just a local measure, but part of a national American movement to turn children into spies. The questions in this bill are modeled from a research paper, "The Role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence Prevention and Clinical Practice and at the Community Level," by the American Academy of Pediatrics, policy paper 9832, January 1999. You can read it in Pediatrics. Under the section on "Advocacy," the AAP advocates that pediatricians (children's doctors) become active in promoting such legislation.

Under this bill, the AAP guidelines would be used by the Child Health and Disability Prevention program, which is administered by county governments for poor families under the supervision of the state Department of Health Services. Nearly 2 million children are expected to be screened under this program next year.

Assemblyman Tom McClintock in comments on the bill said the following questions could be asked:

Children may also be asked similar questions about their neighbors.

In a column in the Sacramento Bee, 2 June 2000, Dan Walters notes that six-year-old children cannot objectively understand such questions. The do not always separate fact from fantasy, and may mistake legal prescription drugs for illegal drugs or think that a water gun is a reportable gun.

Of course society does have a responsibility to prevent child abuse and neglect. It does take a village to raise a child, but the village should not be the government, especially not when it makes crimes out of acts without victims.

It used to be that the village was, first, the extended family. Grandparents, uncles and aunts would take care of and watch children when the parents were away at work or at the market. There was also a literal village, a small community that knew the children and would be alert for any danger.

But with modern mobile society, the extended family is history. Even the core family - mom, pop, and children - is undergoing nuclear fission. And the village is gone, replaced by mass society under central government. Government and education bureaucrats and their hirelings then abuse the problems of child abuse to take children away from parents who may have guns, some family stress, or perhaps watch too many shoot-em-up shows.

The threat of government taking over the role of parent and intruding into family life requires several remedies. First, there must be a free and equal choice in schooling between government and private schools, with vouchers or tax credits for tuition. Second, laws against invasions of privacy need to be strengthened at the constitutional level.

Third, the financial insecurities, stress, and deprivations that many suffer from and that then cause family problems, have to be confronted. Those who favor dysfunctional regulations and taxes that depress wages and raise the cost of living, keeping families under constant financial stress, contribute to the difficulties that children suffer from.

Ultimately, eliminating needless controls and shifting taxation from wages to land rent will lead to the universal prosperity that will reduce violence and escapes into drugs. But instead, we see legislators treating the effects with measures such as California's AB 2068 that just add to intervention and create more problems, rather than going to the core of the problem and eliminating the cause.

-- Fred Foldvary      

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Copyright 2000 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.