September 08, 2011
Think Of The Children
'Think of the children' is a phrase used mostly in jest nowadays. It used to be used as a serious argument in the efforts to ban, restrict or censor things that were thought by some christians to corrupt people(whatever that means). These puritans tried to molest Pornography of course, and then network television, drugs, cable television, rock music, rap music, the internet, and most recently- video games. When the most obvious populist challenge was made-
"Isn't it a matter of personal choice?"
'Think of the children' was the only populist defense necessary because children were thought to be more susceptible to being corrupted by the sexual, violent, or otherwise provocative content these things contain.
You don't hear 'think of the children' much anymore for 2 elephantine reasons in the room-
First, the puritans efforts largely failed. There's an explicit content warning on compact disks(if you still use those), there's video game ratings(lol) and you can't say 5 out of 7 of George Carlin's 'dirty words you can't say on television' on network television, which only old people watch any longer. The war on drugs is their only campaign that still effects society, on every level, and every level of society knows that it's tyrannical and should be reformed.
Second, no children were ever corrupted. The last attempt to prove the opposite was in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre. Violent music was blamed, the internet was blamed, video games were blamed. It's been 12 years now and the most popularly accepted opinion is that the killers were motivated mostly by old fashioned (and typically encouraged) schoolyard bullying and hate- which there's only been a fairly recent backlash against.
Which begs a few questions; Since all of this violent and explicit media is more available now then it's ever been, and children have even more access to it, and they aren't becoming as a whole more dangerous, unhinged or promiscuous, Why do we shelter them? Why do we beat them? Why do we allow them to be ridiculed and bullied? Why do we control them? Why do we keep them in prisons for 6 hours a day? Why do we medicate them against their will?
Can't we do better?
I know that children aren't just like adults. They are much more emotional, impulsive, and ignorant than (most) adults. They should be kept away from guns, hazardous materials and drugs until they're better informed. But as for access to information and protection from violence? They are people. And they should have rights and freedoms.
That's what I think of the children.