An Illinois National Guard soldier has been charged with possession of child pornography over snapshots of a 4-year-old niece in a swimsuit. The story is important to mention because when the subject of children is thrown into political debate, liberty is thrown out the window.
The emotional strings pulled by playing the “children card” trump all reasoning. In the overzealousness to protect children, free speech and civil rights have been unintended victims. The story of this National Guard soldier illustrates the potential harm of protecting children at all costs.
What happened to this soldier could happen to anyone. The family photo albums of the when the kids were toddlers has to go in the trash. Do not dare take pictures of your own kids at a park. The 1978 version of Superman should be destroyed because it shows baby Clark Kent’s weenie. Anyone could potentially be charged as a child predator.
This isn’t about hatred for kids, but about not being blinded by the natural instinct to protect children. Playing the children card has been used in the war on drugs, war on poverty, censorship, smoking and gun control. Here are some examples when children are brought in the rules completely change.
Protecting children seems to supersede the US Constitution. Sex offenders can be held indefinitely in jail.
We have a National Sex Offender Registry but not a a murderer registry–at least not yet, although some have proposed a murderer listing.
Some states have proposed defining “smoking around children” as child abuse. So would it be an assault to smoke near an adult?
Many countries have internet censorship to protect children from harmful material. Free speech doesn’t apply if little ears are present.
SCHIP’s (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) get passed into law without the same amount of controversy health care reform has generated.
More often than not, the “protect the children” argument is thrown in simply to win the debate. Using children in politics is just a way of saying, “If you don’t agree with me, you hate children.” The people that support censorship would still support censorship, even if it were impossible for children to ever see a pornographic image.
When the children card is played, ask yourself, “Is the intent to protect kids, or is it really about controlling other people?” After asking this question, you’ll often see people who are promoting their own version of morality and aren’t interested in protecting children or liberty.