Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whose Child Is This?

Among the various newsletters and publications I read is one entitled "The College Conservative". It contains insight into the younger generation of conservatives and libertarians. Most of the authors are of voting age. They have a voice that needs to be heard.

One recent article was a well-written editorial revolving around statements made by Melissa Harris-Perry. The MSNBC media personality propagated Hillary Clinton's fallacy that "It takes a village", taking it a step further. Ms. Harris-Perry claimed that children are the property of the state, not the parents. Looking at public school performance in the US, we already know that the village failed.

Avery Owyns, in her editorial, posited that children do not belong to the state nor to the parents.

Miss Owyns brings up several thought-provoking points. Her article is worth the read.

Left-wing ideologues love to push the narrative that children belong to the community, to the collective, to the village, to the state. Where their hypocrisy becomes evident is within the irony of abortion.

In the debate over abortion, the child growing in the womb is considered part of the woman's body. Women have the individual right to do with their body as they wish. But the contention is that the child is also owned by the collective, the state, the government. This is highly self-contradictory.

Many on the left have also championed and cheered the concept that all citizens belong to the government.

If that is the case, so does that mother and her body. According to their own ideology, that gestating child, therefore, also belongs to the government. If that is the case, by their own reasoning, an abortion is destruction of government property.

Under their ideology, it should require legislation, at least by a town council, to approve or deny each abortion on a case by case basis. In other words, since the child belongs to the government, there is no individual choice allowed. The left defeats its own "pro-choice" argument.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too, kids.

On the other side of the coin, conservatives champion individual rights.

Children do not belong to the state. They also do not belong to the parents. That would make them slaves. Slavery is reprehensible to those who champion individual rights. Miss Owyns's article makes this case fairly well.

However, parents are responsible for their children until they reach a certain level of maturity. Even after that point, the actions of  the child reflect upon the parents. This is why the Christian and Jewish faiths have the commandment "Honor Thy Mother and Father".

The commandment has three basic meanings:

1. Obey your parents.
2. Do not act in a way that dishonors or discredits your family and its reputation.
3. Live a good, moral life that will bring credit, honor, and favor upon your family.

If kids misbehave, it is up to the parents to discipline them. When older, a misbehaving child's actions draw questions about the job the parents performed in raising them. In the military, messy soldiers who lack manners are referred to as "lacking home training". It means their parents failed to raise them right.

With responsibility comes a certain level of authority. While children do not belong to the parents (in the meaning of "property"), the children still fall under that authority. By the same powers that give human beings our individual natural rights, parents are charged with caring for the kids.

Parents must keep the kids safe.
Parents must provide food and shelter.
Parents must educate and nurture.
Etc.

This is part of loving our children. It's natural. It's instinctual. It's part of the great design. It is how it is, has always been, and will always be.

Those responsibilities exist so that parents can best insure their children can enjoy their individual natural rights. If not provided food and shelter, the child may be deprived the right to life. If not kept safe, the child will not be able to enjoy his or her liberty. If not educated, nurtured, and given examples of morals and values then children will be deprived of their "pursuit of happiness". They won't have the means to legally and morally acquire property later in life.

From their very conception, children entrust their parents with these responsibilities and the authority necessary to insure them. In that sense, the children entrust themselves to the parents. Good parents treat those entrusted lives and natural rights as their own, or better. So, in a manner of speaking, the children do "belong" to the parents until they are mature enough to handle their responsibilities. Of course, that is the ultimate goal for any good parent -- for the kids to thrive on their own.

When that life begins and becomes entrusted to the parents is still a matter of debate and scientific exploration. It is a matter to be determined by faith, scientific data, and the law. It still comes down to the moment when a parent accepts that trust and responsibility. It may be at fertilization, implantation, 16 weeks of gestation, or birth. It's a debate I do not wish to engage in. I've made my choice on when I accept that trust, responsibility, and authority. Nobody else can make it for me.