Saturday, July 12, 2008

For the childrenz

Disclaimer: I am not a parent, and have no plans of becoming one. Take all this with a grain of salt. I do, however, have first-hand experience at being a child.

For the sake of the children, we do quite a lot. Never mind exactly what it even means for something to be for the sake of the children, such as whose children and who gets to decide what's best, we are as a society willing to do a lot for our children. Frankly, that is a wonderful thing in many ways, but when that otherwise noble drive crosses the line into hysteria, then unsavory people will seek to exploit it for their own nefarious ends.

This seems to be the case with child pornography: a real problem is exaggerated to the point that those who at some level control us can exploit the problem, tagging whatever their political enemy might be with the emotional baggage of "kiddie porn." Someone doesn't like Usenet, so it's kiddie porn. It is such a common pattern that many Slashdot users have adopted the use of the "thinkofthechildren" tag to mark stories about such excesses, along with tragic stories of incidental victims.

Of course, the real irony to my mind is how little we are actually willing to do for children. We provide basic healthcare only after a mockery of a national debate. We fail to provide decent education, and even pass acts to further the problem. We subject our children to dangerous diseases over a long-debunked anti-vaccine hysteria (yes, I know that many of those link to the same blog-- it's a good blog, but far from the only one to deal with anti-vaccine hysteria). We leave our children a world plauged by global warming. Most of all, we do our children a great disservice by tarring their names with all of our petty battles whilst ignoring their most pressing needs.