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Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Very Tough Issue: FLDS Child Custody

I have long thought that child welfare issues were the biggest stumbling block for conventional libertarian theory. After all, children are the one group for whom paternalism is appropriate!

A few libertarians have (understandably) been going nuts over the government raiding a community in an armored personnel carrier (see photo below), and literally kidnapping hundreds of children at gunpoint, all on the basis of a phone call that has yet to be verified and may very well have been a prank.


I think a lot of people are holding back their criticism, because this polygamist compound surely had some nutjob activities occurring. If the police really did get a phone call from a woman claiming to be subject to beatings and rapes, it's reasonable that they would go in. (Obviously as an anarchist and pacifist, I don't think armed men are ever the "answer," but I realize well-meaning people differ with me on that score.)

What troubles me though is that the state of Texas has taken 400+ kids from their parents, and it seems it is now up to the parents to prove they should get them back. This is outrageous.

If it doesn't strike you as such, change the scenario. Suppose "Sarah" called and said her husband just killed her brother, and that murder was commonplace and accepted among these religious wackos. Even so, would the state of Texas be able to lock every adult up for murder, and only release each person on a case-by-case basis, after he or she had proven (somehow) his or her innocence?

I would much rather be convicted of a crime I didn't commit, than have the government take my son away and put him into its "protective custody." And this isn't just some idealistic principle on my part; there are many accusations of horrors in Texas' foster care system.

The only reason this is happening so brazenly is that most people don't care about religious wackos. If someone called from a housing project, and said drug dealers went around and raped girls with impunity, there's no freaking way the cops could just round up the whole project and keep the kids from their parents while they "sorted it out."

Yes, there are differences between this last analogy and the FLDS compound, but I hope I've made my point. Do we really want to just trust the government's version of what was going on in that compound?

Finally, I don't think it's unfair to bring up another effort to rescue children from religious nutjobs in Texas.

6 comments:

  1. I saw the video about the horrible drug-infested Texas Foster Care system at:
    http://dayofpraise.blogspot.com/

    I also read most of a thousand thought-provoking comments by citizens outraged by Texas Bureaucrats' blatant violation of the constitution at:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-the-innocent-flds

    This situation has huge historical significance.

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  2. John Petrie12:55 PM

    Excellent post, Bob. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To be fair, there are accusations of systematic child abuse, both sexual and psychological. Then again, a healthy skepticism of any government action in the private lives of citizens is warranted. I think you're absolutely correct that the "weirdo factor" of their religious beliefs is playing a roll in preventing public outrage.

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  4. Why assume this is a tough issue? Why is the state deciding who can be married and who cannot be married? It seems the state is clearly the villain: See:
    http://christianprophecy.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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