Fox News drags journalism through the mud to bring you the breaking story of socialist UN-loving liberals trying to mount an “assault on the family” and cede control of America’s children to an international government the push to ratify a treaty upholding the rights of children, which the United States and Somalia are currently the only countries to object to. Let me repeat that: the United States and Somalia are the only countries not to have ratified a convention upholding the basic rights of children.
The fear, charitably expressed, is that ratifying this treaty will impinge on U.S. sovereignty and constrain parents’ ability to raise their children without government interference. The reality, bluntly articulated, is that this is bunk. The convention abridges no parental rights, would affect no existing national laws, and involves no undue government intrusion on parenting whatsoever. Yet, according to the feverish paranoia of the head of the fringe outfit quoted obsequiously by Fox News, ratification would involve submitting every parental decision to the meddling bureaucrats in some dark world capital.
“Whether you ground your kids for smoking marijuana, whether you take them to church, whether you let them go to junior prom, all of those things . . . will be the government’s decision,” said Michael Farris, president of ParentalRights.org. “It will affect every parent who’s told their children to do the dishes.”
This is hysteria, channeled for a political purpose. Here are some of the more fundamental of the Convention’s provisions:
States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Yes, the Convention stipulates that the “best interests of the child” serve as a “a primary consideration,” but it does so with full regard for the “rights and duties of his or her parents.” No ill-willed judges will be found knocking on every front door to lay down their unsolicited and unimpeachable pronouncements of whether or not a child can be sent to his room. The example is extreme to the point of frivolousness, but to hear opponents’ wild claims — “a group of unaccountable so-called experts in Switzerland [would] have a say over how children in America should be raised, educated and disciplined,” claims Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation — the caricature is not unwarranted. Only by creating a fictitious behemoth, an utterly chimerical beast of UN tyranny, can such frantic fear-mongerers distort what is an international agreement affording children certain basic human rights. That America has not given its full-fledged support to this premise is scandalous, and to allow such shrill voices to win the day would be an abdication of both our principles and the very concept of reason.