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If Twitter let me give half-likes, I’d have been willing to make it 165½

The tweet with the “165 Likes” to “1.1M Views” ratio is this one from Sarah Jones, senior writer for Intelligencer:

It links to this article:

Children Are Not Property

The idea that underlies the right-wing campaign for “parents’ rights.

The confusingly written subheading suggests that the idea that children are not property underlies the right-wing campaign for <scarequotes> “parents’ rights” </scarequotes>. In fact, Ms Jones’s article argues that parents are wrong to consider their children to be their property. It is true that some parents do think they own their children in the manner of property, and those parents are wrong to do so. For that I bestow my 0.5 of a “Like”, or would if Twitter let me. On second thoughts, make that a quarter-Like, because although words about the separate individuality and personhood of children flow out of Ms Jones in a flood, she concludes by saying the parents are not responsible for their children because the state is:

Children aren’t private property, then, but a public responsibility. To expand our democratic project to children is to grant them the security the right seeks to deny them: education, health care, shelter, food. A better America begins with the child.

Along the way to giving votes to children and children to the demos, she throws in the first few headlines she got by googling the word “children” as proofiness that Republicans think they own their kids:

Conservative interest in the child extends beyond a traditional hostility to LGBT people. In March, Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a Republican, signed a bill into law that makes it easier for companies to hire children under 16 years old.

Specially bad: 14 and 15 year olds in training programs could end up working in meatpacking plants. It’s like conversion therapy for vegetarians!

Not long after Republicans sought to put more children to work in Arkansas, Republicans in North Dakota killed a bill that would have expanded a free-lunch program for children from low-income families.

You’d think all those propertarians would have been more alert to their own interest in getting their property refuelled at state expense.

It’s possible to draw a line between Wobbema’s [a state senator who objected to the the free lunches] remarks, the push for child labor, and the right’s attacks on trans children

So long as one places no restrictions on length or straightness it is possible to draw a line between any three points in the universe.

Taken to extremes, the concept of parental rights can be dangerous and even deadly for children.

Fair enough, it can be.

Proponents, like Farris and Rushdoony before him, ignore the basic fact that the home is often no refuge but a place of domination and abuse. The National Children’s Alliance says that over 600,000 children were documented victims of abuse and neglect in 2020. In 77 percent of substantiated cases, a parent committed the abuse.

Now do relative proportions. Are parents or non-parents more likely to be abusers? Are children living with one parent and one non-parent (typically their mother and her new partner), more likely to be abused by the person related to them, or the person unrelated to them? Are children living with both parents more likely or less likely to be abused and neglected than children living with one parent or none? Are children living with married parents more likely or less likely to be abused than others?

The answers have been demonstrated repeatedly in many countries, though it is becoming harder to say them out loud. Even the politically-correct US government in the form of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admits – rather a long way down the page – that “Caregivers in the home who are not a biological parent” is among the risk factors for perpetration of child abuse. Regarding parents being married as a protective factor, the the (US) National Center for Health Research says:

[…] a report on the National Incidence Study of Abuse and Neglect, which examines not only CPS cases but all reported incidences of abuse and neglect to community professionals, also found that maltreatment rates differed according to family structure.[2] Children living with their married biological parents had the lowest rate of abuse and neglect, whereas those living with a single parent who had a partner living in the household had the highest rate. Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner were at least 8 times more likely to be maltreated in one way or another. They were 10 mores more likely to experience abuse and 8 times more likely to experience neglect.

The Left does that a lot. They make an undeniable argument that a given bad thing can happen to anyone or can be done by anyone. You give them the “Like” and before you know it, they sweep you onwards to the idea that it can no more be predicted upon whom this misfortune will fall than which individual atom will undergo radioactive decay, and the only factor that correlates with being the perpetrator is being right-wing. As I said in a post from 2017, “Can happen to anyone? Yes. Equally likely? No.”

Ms Jones continues at a gallop:

State laws passed by conservative Republicans have made LGBTQ children in particular more vulnerable to abuse at home by practically requiring schools to out them to their parents. The denial of gender-affirming care is another act of violence. Far-right activists invent tales of wanton surgeries on minors and irreversible hormonal treatments. In doing so, they obscure the high suicide rate among LGBT youth who need gender-affirming care as a matter of life or death. Children who work may be exposed to adult dangers, like workplace injury or sexual harassment. In the home and at school, children must also fear gun violence in the name of the Second Amendment. Adults who encourage the proliferation of guns do so knowing well that children will die. In their hierarchy, the adult right to a gun is worth more than the child‘s right to live. Reduced to the level of a collectible or a beloved pet, the child is not a person to the right.

OMG, she left out racism.

I feel I should mention that while I was writing this post the number of Likes for Sarah Jones’s tweet went up by 29 and the number of views by two hundred thousand.

An afterthought: In her tweet, Ms Jones writes, “The parental rights movement actively threatens the safety and wellbeing of children and by extension, democracy itself”. Parents are also voters. If parents do not have the right to determine how their children are brought up, why should they be trusted with the right to vote?

31 comments to If Twitter let me give half-likes, I’d have been willing to make it 165½

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    It takes a village to turn a child into an idiot. Didn’t a Clinton say that?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    ” To expand our democratic project to children”….

    Children are part of a “project”, and what the muppet who wrote these words cannot stand is that people object. Children are children, not part of some damn “project”, and traditionally, it has been parents who have tended to have most at stake in bringing them up. Sure, there are bad and neglectful parents, but the idea that the State is best placed to shove itself into the situation betrays either shocking ignorance or willful ideology.

    I can bet what this individual thinks about homeschooling.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Johnathan Pearce, you’d win that bet – but you would not win very much because it is so predictable. From the same article:

    There are ways to circumvent a child’s established right to an education, as conservatives know. Homeschooling laws are so lax in the U.S. that thousands of children have essentially disappeared into an academic void.

  • Steven R

    No, children are not chattel property, to be bought and sold and unilaterally done with as a parent pleases. But they are the responsibility of parents who must act as their guardians and make decisions in their child’s best interests, up to and including telling the state to piss off at times.

  • Steven R

    There are ways to circumvent a child’s established right to an education, as conservatives know. Homeschooling laws are so lax in the U.S. that thousands of children have essentially disappeared into an academic void.

    And by the same token, there are innumerable stories of students that get kicked to the curb by an educational system that can’t figure out what to do with them when the child doesn’t fit the “one size fits all” educational model we have in the US. Underachieving but intelligent and bored students held back because the system isn’t built to do anything but keep a classroom of students at going the same speed is a very common example, and one that I personally suffered all through school.

  • Paul Marks

    It is interesting that Sarah Jones regards the sexual mutilation of children as their “safety and well being”.

    As for the Progressive education that the lady supports – the State with the worst illiteracy is Progressive California.

    This raises the obvious question of whether the left really wants a population that is part of its “Woke” Frankfurt School Marxism – most likely NOT as to be able to really read-and-understand the works of Herbert Marcuse and-so-on one must first be able to read to a rather high level, and Progressive education in places such as California does not equip people with such skills.

    It is fairly clear that what the left really wants is a rather mindless population – nodding vaguely to the television screen, and putting their mark on the “mail-in ballot” where they are told to do so by one of the “ballot harvesters”.

    With such an ignorant and obedient population it would not even be necessary to formally rig elections.

  • Paul Marks

    On the sexual mutilation of children.

    Joseph Biden made it quite clear in 2020 (in televised “townhalls”) that he supported “trans rights” for children as young as eight years old.

    Sarah Jones is also clear that she is talking about “children” – the lady uses the word, and she means it.

    These people, Biden-Jones-and-so-on, are evil.

    We should not shy away from the word “evil” – it is a truthful description of what they are.

    As for “democracy” – by this word, evil (and they are evil) people mean the rule of a small “enlightened” group – who would totally control human life.

    This is what Plato called “the Guardians” – but Plato did not pretend to be a friend of democracy, as Sarah Jones dishonestly does pretend to be.

  • Paul Marks

    “LGBTQ children” – if someone uses such language, and means it, they have at least openly identified themselves.

    They see children as sexual objects.

    And, let us be clear, this is not confined to Sarah Jones – this lady just repeats the establishment power narrative, which dominates the American government (and the Woke Corporations) and security agencies, including the FBI.

    What used to be dismissed as “insane Conspiracy Theories” is now being openly admitted.

    This is more than a conflict over economic systems (although I regard economics as very importan) this is a conflict against evil.

    For it is evil that the American government, and general “Woke” establishment, now stands for.

  • Paul Marks

    Lastly on the ideology that sees the government as the source of “healthcare, education,food, shelter,…” for children and everyone else.

    As I have said another thread – 60 years ago in the United States some people (some not all) people who suggested such policies, such a government take over of the basic functions of Civil Society (the family and the web of voluntary interactions between human beings), may really have believed that such a transformation would achieve great things – that it really would “help the people”.

    But after 60 years of terrible failure in American cities (and some rural areas to) no one can honestly still believe that such policies have good results – so if they continue to support such policies, they are doing harm because they WANT to do harm, it is their intention (not “unintended consequence”) to do harm.

    Indeed in some places it is far more than 60 years of experience.

    Which State has the lowest government spending, State and local combined, as a proportion of income? Most likely South Dakota – Joe Foss, Terry Redlin and all that.

    But there have always been “islands of socialism” in South Dakota – and very large islands at that.

    The Indian Reservations – where land is communally owned, and where such things as “health care, education, food, shelter,” are provided “free” to “the people” on a communal basis – as Sarah Jones wants.

    In short the alternative to liberty that Sarah Jones (and Joseph Biden) is offering is – South Ridge.

    That is what they are offering as a model to replace “capitalism” – South Ridge Reservation.

  • John

    Talk about a glutton for punishment.

    Two days later she actually reposted her own tweet and in a stunning confirmation of Einstein’s definition of madness has currently been rewarded with just 50 likes from 36,900 views.

    I’d like to imagine some of the 50 might have been the online equivalent of us Corbyn-voting £3 Labour members gleefully pushing the idiocy as hard as we could for as long as we could.

  • Mr Ed

    It’s probably not widely known (not that I’m trying to coin a ‘catchphrase’), but in good old Scotland, the common law has a crime of plagium, which is the crime of ‘stealing’ a pre-pubescent child, which is called something like kidnapping in most jurisdictions I can think of.

    The point being that Scots law has regarded children as the ‘property’ of their parents, which has all sorts of ramifications for the State.

  • Paul Marks

    Interesting point Mr Ed – and that was certainly the view of Roman Law. However, as you know – Common Law is more a mixture old (Germanic) customs – but seen via the lens Christian Canon Law which itself was informed by the philosophy of the pre Roman philosopher Aristotle.

    As every school boy used to know – to Aristotle everything, and everyone, has a purpose. The purpose of the baby and then the child is to grow into an adult and, if possible, create a family of their own. And the purpose of the parents is to help the child achieve that purpose – should the parents become destructive of that purpose (say by trying to murder or sexually mutilate the child) it is the duty of other people to move against them – out of respect for the telos (the purpose) inherent it what it is to be a child.

    Jewish thinking was already in sympathy with this – and Christian thinking was more than in sympathy with it, Christian thinking embraced Aristotle – at least those aspects of his thought that were compatible with Chistianity.

    However, all this is vain – the Western establishment has rejected Aristotle, and it has rejected Judaism, and Christianity.

    But nature abhors a vacuum – and so the Western establishment has to have ethics and even “metaphysics” of some sort.

    So along comes the sort of thing that Pfizer sponsored at the “Grammys”.

    The artists involved, and the audience, were offended that their Satanism was considered a joke – they meant it seriously.

    When and if they start to conduct public human sacrifices to their-father-below even the most complacent people may start to understand that it is quite serious.

    Of course Pfizer is responsible for many deaths – but NOT as formal human sacrifices.

  • Paul Marks


    I hesitate to give you the bad news – but Sarah Jones is well within the mainstream of the Western establishment.

    Sarah Jones could easily fit in to an government departments of the United states – including the Department of Defence, oh yes the military is being taught this stuff (and anyone who objects is told they have no place in the military).

    According to the FBI – people like Sarah Jones are NOT the freaks, we (you and me John) are the freaks.

    We are the “dangerous extremists” – and Sarah Jones is the good person, according to the powerful.

    “Oh Paul – that is just America”.

    Oh no, it is not just America.

  • She wants a say on how children are raised, but she’s not willing to put the effort into raising her own.

    She may be trying to compensate for her own failure as a female.

  • Kirk

    Well, if children are common property of the public, then I’d like a word with the people responsible for their behavior… Because it’s increasingly clear, particularly in the major cities, that said “custodians of the children” aren’t doing a very good job of taking care of them or socializing them in any way.

  • Barbarus

    No likes, not even fractional ones, here. That’s a typical leftist strawman argument. Nobody, or almost nobody – there are always a few nutters out there somewhere – considers their children to be property. They are however a serious responsibility, which is a good reason for keeping the state (and toxic leftist indoctrination especially) out of their lives as much as possible.

  • bobby b

    The tactic of simply repeating far-left principles as if they are common and accepted principles of society has served wokeness well. Eventually people accept them as true – the Overton Window moves with repetition.

    My kids were never my property. But I fought many attempts by lefties to turn them into THEIR property. Those attempts continue – and they attest to the effectiveness of the tactic by starting from an even more-woke starting point than when I had non-adult kids.

  • jgh

    That picture looks creepily “minipops”-like.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – correct.

    The claim that Sarah Jones makes, that conservatives believe that children are property, is false and the lady knows it to be false – she is lying, and it is a lie for the purpose of “justifying” her own aim of making children property (the very thing Sarah Jones claims to oppose) the property of the Collective.

    The problem is, as you know, Sarah Jones is not some isolated evil person – Sarah Jones is typical of the power establishment, the people who now control the security forces (such as the FBI) and, increasingly, the military.

    “We need .. to protect us” always raises the question “and who protects us from them?”

    When, for example, the FBI arrive in force – dressed in battle armour and shoving rifles in the faces of people (and their children) on the basis of their political and cultural opinions, those conservatives who supported the FBI (and all the rest of the security state) for so many years need to reflect on the terrible error that they made. To some extent most of us made this terrible mistake.

    It is a very old mistake – see the First Book of Samuel, Chapter Eight.

  • Samizdata isn’t showing me the comments on this article for some reason.

    Edit: Ah, there we go; I post a comment and the other comments show up. Weird.

  • bobby b

    It’s been doing similar things to me. Good to hear I don’t need to fix my computer.

  • Y. Knott

    I have two words for Ms Jones – “Ceaucescu’s Romania” – (“Well of course, WE’d do it PROPERLY here…” ” – SuuUUUUUuure you would…”), and I’m willing to bet, without bothering to look it or her up, that she has no kids of her own and doesn’t want any. I offer a quote (too lazy to look it up either) from a U.S. politician who, confronted by a “The State, toujours The State” shill, told her “My children’s welfare policy is based on the fact that I love my own kids more than you do.”

    “No you don’t”, she replied, to which he answered: “Okay then – what are their names?”

  • Y. Knott

    And an item I picked-up through David Thompson’s excellent and long-running blog, pointed-out a Thomas Sowell article that illustrates the falsity of Ms Jones’s position. “The State owns your kids” is a tired refrain, very like socialism; marvelous in theory but in reality, not so much. As the old saw puts-it, “In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice – in practice, there is.”

    The relevant snippet from the article highlights the abysmal and occasionally appalling record of some public schools in the States whose students routinely scrape the bottom of the barrel in every category (including truancy, misbehavior, school violence, drug use and budding criminality) and whose teachers’ unions dogmatically resist any coupling to teachers’ performance, versus various “success academies”, sometimes in the same building, whose students routinely excel in every category – budding Renaissance (wo)men. And one thing the article makes clear – parents will go to any length to get their kids into the success academies, which usually have very limited seating and give places out via lottery.

    – Which begs the question – if the kids don’t belong to their parents, why would the parents bother?

  • Steven R

    – Which begs the question – if the kids don’t belong to their parents, why would the parents bother?

    Half of the parents don’t bother now.

    Eons ago, way back when John Lindsey was mayor of NYC, there was some welfare budgetary shortfall and some mother who outright told him it was her job to have kids and his (meaning the government’s) job to provide for them. That mindset has only gotten worse.

  • David Robert

    24 comments claimed, not shown when selected.
    Posting this comment to see if the comment appear.

    Hooray they do!

  • Y. Knott

    That mindset has only gotten worse.

    Fillosofickully speaking, I consider it one of the biggest tragedies of the human condition – most of us are pretty good parents by the time our kids leave home and we don’t have to do it anymore. But fresh-out-of-the-box, with newborn kids? And especially for those of us with suspect parenting, or mental / emotional issues, or both? Knowing what I made my own kids suffer through, I personally wouldn’t wish ‘being born to me’ on my worst enemy – and even though I was born with my mental / emotional issues, I have no real excuse. That they had my wonderful wife as their mother, and all turned-out as “normal” as they have, is one of the true miracles with which I’ve been blessed. And I’m truly grateful, for what little good it does my poor kids this late in the game.

    Sad-facts-of-life dep’t: it takes at least a week (and the rest of our driving lives after that) to learn to be a good driver; and years-on-end for numerous other occupations – and a few minutes to become a parent. The world needs a well-thought-out, well-taught curriculum in the high-school time of kids’ development (plus several years of premium examples from their own loving parents) to arm kids with a decent body of knowledge whereby they can be loving, responsible parents of their own kids. Such curricula are vanishingly rare, and often poorly implemented where they exist – and lots and lots of people do just fine without any of the above, and far too many kids turn-out little Hitlers even with it.

    “Nature or nurture?” – yes.

  • bobby b

    Not sure any real skills are needed for successfully turning kids into good people. If you have a moral sense, and you can communicate that to your kids both explicitly and through example, I think you’re 90% of the way there.

    Heck, my kids survived me and prospered. The bar can’t be that high.

    They did learn from me that you never join the Borg. The Borg wants you, but you need to resist.

  • The author of that idiotic article does not have a problem with the state taking responsibility for a child, so it really comes down to “who is more trustworthy” to direct the wellbeing of a child, the state or their family? Some families make terrible decisions, but then so do governments, state institutions, and all manner of NGOs that purport to have ‘expert opinions’.

    Anyone who lived through the utterly inane dystopia of the Covid years & answers that question of trust reflexively with “the state” is, I would argue, incapable of making rational decisions for their dog, let alone their or anyone else’s children. But sadly, most people will choose their position on this issue purely on tribal lines.

  • Y. Knott

    – And again Perry, “Ceaucescu’s Romania”; which I suspect would be far more the “rule” rather than the “exception”, were State-ownership of children widely implemented.

  • JJM

    Children Are Not Property is a completely contrived premise of course, because it implies quite falsely that parents somehow consider their children as chattel.

    I do not know what sort of family this Sarah Jones was raised in, but I’m willing to bet she was not treated as property by her own parents.

  • TDK

    I don’t like the idea that the article gets a half like.

    The modus vivendi of the progressives (inc. trans rights movement) has been obscurantism mixed with a mott and bailey defence. So behind the scenes they have been promoting the extension of the state’s powers over that of parents, but publicly promoting this using anodyne slogans.

    So we have the idea of “be kind”, which if you’ve ever tried to talk about trans rights with a soft left friend. you will find is the full extent of their knowledge of this debate. “Well I just think we should be kind” they will respond to end the discussion.

    And that’s what the progressive wants. The soft left man, to the extent they delve, doesn’t disagree so they grant the half tick.