Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pick me up off the floor

I'm shocked!! For the first time ever, I actually agree with fetus fetishizing homophobic lunatic Bill Wartcott on something. Quick... help me to the Fainting Couch and bring on the smelling salts.

Okay, let's get the background on this astonishing development: Last week, there was a story out of Winnipeg about a woman whose children were apprehended by social services. She's allegedly some kind of neo-nazi 'white nationalist' slimebag, so social services decided that her kids were in danger of being brainwashed with hate and removed them from their home:
"A seven-year-old girl and two-year-old boy were seized by Manitoba Child and Family Services this spring due to concerns their father, an alleged neo-Nazi, was filling their minds with hate and marking one child's body with racist graffiti."
This is an alarming story on many levels. Obviously it's not the greatest environment for kids to grow up in, just based on their parents' obvious mental/social issues. But although I hold nazi sympathizers and the like in nothing but contempt, I can't say I agree with state intervention into a private home for any reason short of physical abuse, and this ain't it. Some might consider teaching kids bigotry to be a form of psychological abuse, and it certainly does them no favours emotionally or socially. But the one good thing about bigotry is that, as a learned response, it can also be un-learned, with the help of teachers, friends and the rest of the "village" that it takes to raise a child. Being scooped out of the family home and shunted into the foster care system is more likely to leave permanent scars.

Not only that, but as Mr. Whatcott ironically pointed out in an interview yesterday, it's a slippery slope:
""If you're going to target neo-Nazis who haven't actually hit or sexually abused their children, who's to say conservative Christian evangelicals aren't next? Our views are pretty unpopular," .
He has a good, if somewhat paranoid, point -- although probably not for the reason he thinks. What the government deems an acceptable family environment is largely dependent on the views of those in power. Imagine if Whatcott and his ilk were running things -- as authoritarians of the highest order, they'd think nothing of using the social services apparatus to intervene ("Won't someone think of the children!??") in a home they considered "inappropriate". Like a gay-parented home. Or a home headed by a single feminist mother. Or an atheist home. The list could, and would, go on and on.

Social service agencies have a place in looking out for high-risk kids, but the political views of parents, no matter how odious, can't be considered sufficient risk and reason for the government to remove their children. Unless a child is being physically harmed, the state has no business in his/her home.