The Over-Regulated Family

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The obsessive regulation of children is a leftover from the days when activists and sociologists insisted that the only way to defeat poverty was through aggressive education and a dose of eugenics. We have plenty of both today, but the war has been going the other way. More Americans are sliding into poverty at the hands of the system created to fight poverty.

The regulatory state is limiting marriage to the well off and limiting children to two categories of parents: the well off and the welfare rolls. The middle class and the working class, which are expected to subsidize the regulatory initiatives of well off leftists and the social benefits of the badly off, are falling into the hole between them. These are not just the majority of the population, they are also the backbone of the country and the protectors of its democracy. In their absence, cities take on the characteristics of failed states, with gated communities divided from ghettos and barrios.

In the eyes of the nanny state, we are all children, especially the children. The helicopter parenting of leftist yuppies translates into regulatory helicopter parenting over the entire population. An elite no longer satisfied with keeping sugary drinks out of their own home wants to ban it from all homes.  But the tighter the regulations bind, the fewer children there are to regulate.

The countries with the tightest regulations also have the fewest children. Europe, which regulates children to a degree that most Americans can’t even begin to imagine, is suffering catastrophic fertility failure.

Why have parents at all? Why not just pay host mothers to be artificially impregnated with children to be raised in carefully controlled environments without exposure to religion, racism, circumcision or Happy Meals? The Nazis took their own shot at it with the Lebensborn program. A modern Lebensborn program would raise genetically diverse children to think and believe the same things. And as outrageous as the comparison might be, the wheels of the regulatory state are slowly grinding that way.

Germany’s criminalization of homeschooling has led to court cases, imprisonment and even a political asylum case. And yet Germany’s birth rate is at a record low. Within a generation its working population will fall by a third. The German government has managed to raise it slightly with expensive social initiatives. But European governments, like their counterparts in the United States, are not interested in children per se, but only in the kind of children they approve of.

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  • Sarah

    Mr. Greenfield, You need to discuss circumcision with parents who are 60 – 80 years old. If you were to go back just a few generations you would discover that the precident for non religious infant circumcision was not based on family choices but on hospital policies that were inescapable. When I speak with grandmothers, many tell me that they were not even given a choice and many believed that it was illegal to not circumcise. Today’s parents feel obliged to make a choice only because in the past that “choice” was made for their family without their participation. Genital integrity is a conservative family value. The natural male body represents the absence of imposition on personal liberty… there is no right to cut other people’s genitals and modern families have the opportunity, due to the modern concepts of informed consent and patient’s rights, to protect their children from institutionalised forced genital cutting in a way that generations past were not. If more people understood that circumcision was imposed not only on their body, but imposed on their family, they might feel joy rather than betrayal that their precious newborn son’s body appears unscathed by this history and perfect as his DNA coded him to be.

    • PhillipGaley

      I was circumcised in adulthood: In my experience among sodomites—and also, among married uncircumcised men—due to tactile sensitivity, more often than not, the uncircumcised prefer fellatio over the deeper reaching hydraulic sensation which is a part of vaginal intercourse; the hydraulic sensation produces a deeper sense of bonding to the woman. And, as one woman—whom I could name—here, in Oklahoma said: "I wouldn't have an uncircumcised man living in my house.", by various means, some women are not unaware.

      But to the principal thrust, yes, as administrative government is made more powerful, the family is put under attack, and principally, I think, because of things which operate within and emanate from the administrative mentality.
      In about the year 2000, The Oregonian published this statistical fact: "For every 100 people who move out of Portland, 29 of them are children, for every 100 people who move into Portland, 4 of them are children."—and, in our family experience there, there are demonstrable reasons, . . .

    • tagalog

      I was born 64 years ago and am uncircumcised. I am not Jewish. I was born in a hospital in a moderate-sized U.S. city.

      • Sarah

        Tagalong- You are fortunate to have been born just slightly before the time period I was referencing. My husband was born in Cincinnati in 1964. He was circumcised with all the other males in the nursery without the consent or knowledge of his parents. Had they been asked, his parents would have said no. His father was intact and their family is Cherokee and had no cultural history of circumcision.

        When our first child was born in 1998 the doctor asked him, "When are you going to tell me the bad news about the circumcision?" My husband said, "We're NOT!" The doctor's next question was, "Where are you from?" In my husband's peer group, (that he knew of) – he only had one friend who was not circumcised and that boy had been born at home.

        In this youtube video, you can hear, now elderly, James Peron tell his own story of when his newborn twin sons were deliberately circumcised against his expressed demand that they not be. (mid 1960s)

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Sarah, please take your bizarre obsession with children's genitals somewhere else.

      This article is about the overreach of the state, not about your bigoted interest group and its strange obsession. I realize that you likely didn't read the article and are just promoting your cause everywhere you can.

      • RobHoey

        I see a parallel with the left's obsession with controlling every aspect of the family with their love of entitlement programs. They need to be the nannies of the world, just like Big Brother needed to know our every move.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Yes they do. The arrogance is incredible.

      • Steve C

        Wow, Daniel. You have everything nice and generalized, from the inclusion of minorities being systematically driven away to the oppressive government regime all the way to the liberal agenda that seeks to make everything greener and more natural. I don't think you could have made it anymore all-encompassing if you threw in aliens.

        The circumcision ban, also known as the Male Genital Mutilation Bill has nothing to do with race, religion or economic issues of any kind. It's about saving innocent boys from harm. A punishment given for being born male. And it's not a slippery slope, you already have the government crawling all over the people anyway, so tell me how saving children is going to make it worse. I see worse issues to be enraged over from the US Government, overtaxing of the middle class, corruption all throughout the medical/ pharmaceutical industry, a very vicious foreign policy, but I don't see anyone trying to change that.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Yes I'm sure it doesn't. Which is why it features an Aryan superhero attacking evil Jews.

          Please spare us and go join Frank Chu.

        • Solinkaa

          Is there a Female Genital Mutilation Bill in CA as well?

      • Sarah

        Mr. Greenfield, It is the people who desire to cut the genitals of children, not those who desire to protect them, who have a bizarre obsession. I am a person, not a bigoted interest group, and I did read your article- it was about the state overreaching it's purpose of protecting personal liberties, and infringing upon them. Which is why I felt it important to remind you that the history of secular circumcision in the USA was built on a foundation of institutionalized genital cutting imposed on families in an era predating informed consent. Either you are unaware of this, or you are refusing to acknowledge it because it doesn't fit your conclusions.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          No it's people who have developed a peculiar obsession with overtones of bigotry, and insist on inflicting it on everyone at every possible occasion, who are the problem.

          No you didn't read the article, as your comments are about your hobbyhorse, not about my article which mentions your group in only its first paragraph.

  • Joseph4GI

    Darn the state and it’s child protective services! How dare they take children away from pageant moms who want to inject botox into them, gangland fathers who want to tattoo them and religious zealots who will not take their ailing children to get urgently needed medical care! How dare they impose a ban that infringes on parental rights and religious freedom by criminalizing female circumcision, a tradition that is practiced by various religions around the world! Don’t they know that a parent’s control over a child os absolute? Don’t they know that we have the right to cut off any and every part from them? That until they turn 18 they do as we say? A pox on the government stepping in for the rights of children!

    • PhillipGaley

      As appears, in a determined ignorance of the many actual case histories, "Joseph4GI" is a "child-protective" worker / sympathizer, and is very much on the wrong side of the issue of administrative evil—from the state agency—which in a direct connection, fuels our criminal justice system; and no wonder then, that, he is constrained to sardonic effort, the weakest attempt in argument, . . .

    • aharris

      Oi, the hyperbole! It burns us it does!

    • Cylon

      Stupid comparison is stupid. Congratulations, you completely missed the point.

  • tagalog

    What San Francisco has done is entirely consistent with federalism. The right-wing rationale on things of this type has been to hold that people who want to do one thing in one locality may do so. The solution is for those who disagree with San Francisco's rulers to move elsewhere.

  • DJJ

    My son is 20 years old. When he was born our family doctor asked if we wanted to have him circumsised. We said yes. That is how it should be done.

  • Ozzy

    Every barbaric desert tribe has the right to mark their male infants by maiming them.
    Just like they have to right to multiple wives that can't vote or go to school, forbid the eating of pork and the owning of pets.
    It's all relative.

  • YourPlanetIsAToilet

    In defference to Sarah’s decent into an obvious libtard academic discourse on DNA coupled to her Marxist religiosity to social engineer the penis profiles in a universal form to assuage her fantasy of a New World [in] Disorder, the consensus definitely leans opposite, to not cursing newborn boys to living their life displaying an appendage resembling that of the sand worms inhabiting the planet Arrakis.
    Great for you Sarah that you may enjoy chewing on that sticky, smelly 'plastic' that accumulates underneath the foreskin, however the presense of the article regards government intrusion into private matters. Let me refresh your contrary trained leftest wiring, quote: "…telling other people how to live their lives…", that IS the subject.

    • Sarah

      You seem to have a type of body dysmorphia… do you realise that the genitals that you detest and accuse me of socially engineering- actually are the human body? Not like a dog, not like an anteater, not like an elephant, not like a turtle's neck, and not like a creature from the planet Arrakis… but just like a human being. You are a human being too. Regardless if you are male or female, I suggest that you get over your prejudice because it's ugly and sexist.

  • Ron Friedlander

    I understand the message from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors: “Get out, Jew. We don’t want your type here.” Next they’ll be banning the sale of kosher meat, if they don’t ban meat altogether. And bringing impressionable children to religious services before age 18.

    Fortunately, it’s still a free country. If the anti-circumcision measure passes, I’m moving my family and my business out of town, probably out of state. SF loses the tax revenues from my employees and me, but that’s a small price to pay for the city’s evolution to a higher moral plane.

  • Rose

    Joseph4GI was being ironic.

    Parental rights to homeschool, decide which types of immunization to administer, feed their child according to their beliefs about nutrition, and so on is not on par with the circumcision issue. The government needs to stay out of family's lives, we can all agree on that issue.

    The issue with circumcision is that it is a personal 'style' choice for many who decide to mutilate their sons so they'll "look like daddy". Unless the act is done according to strict religious (Yes, Jewish) custom, it isn't medically necessary for most of the infants who are subjected to it. Would we allow female circumcision in our country? We've jailed parents who tried to do this to their daughters. What if a parent decides that they want to pierce and tattoo their babies? Would we throw them in jail? Of course we would.

    The article is about over regulation of the American family, and in that retrospect it's on target. You must be consistent. We jail parents who are incestuous, yet Mr. Greenfield would legally protect those who are mutilating their infant boys. Both leave a permanent scar on the child, whether the child realizes it or not. We must, as a society, decide to give parents the right to be the parents; allow them to discipline their child as they see fit, educate their child as they see fit, and as horrid as it is to some of us, mutilate their children as they see fit. With freedom comes responsibility, and hopefully in ten or twenty years a busload of young men will be chastising their "parents" for mutilating them without regard to the boys' individual choice on the matter.

  • Hugh7

    * It is illegal to pierce a child's genitals.
    * It is illegal to tattoo a child (a Fresno man is doing time for putting a small gang insignia on his 9-year-old, allegedly at the boy's request).
    * It is illegal to circumcise a domestic cat or dog.
    * It is illegal to make the most minor, tokenistic ritual nick in a girl's genitals, though millions of Indonesians and Malyasians believe that is demanded by Islam. ("[M]uch less extensive than neonatal male genital cutting", the AAP's bioethics committee said when it tried to have such nicking allowed in the US last year, before it was howled down.)
    * It is of course illegal to cut any other normal, healthy, non-renewable functional body part off a child or a non-consenting adult.

    So may we take it that you want all those other presently illegal acts – which all tell others how to run their lives – to be made lawfult too?

    On the other hand, cutting part of a baby boy's genitals off doesn't just tell him how to run his life – it runs it. By giving the choice of ownership back to the body's owner, this measure is fully libertarian. It is parents cutting parts of the genitals of other people – babies – that is anomalous.

    The real fault with this measure is that it is not Federal, like the existing law protecting girls. That law just needs the word "Female" added and the word "prepuce" added to be fully in line with the US Consittitution again.

  • Hugh7

    *That law just needs the word "Female" _removed_…

  • Moe

    What do you expect from a guy who failed civics 101? No suprise he is ignorant of basic biology/ethics/human rights. Hey Daniel, the USA is a constitutional republic, not a direct democracy, dumbass.

  • Hugh7

    Short answer: an intact penis is not wheat. A circumcised penis is not bread.

    Sarah might have said, "as fit for its purpose as 100,000,000 years of evolution selected it to be" (Not perfect, but babies are sometimes born without prepuces and no other defects – unlike the appendix, which is genetically linked to the rest of the intestine – so if that were better it would long ago have become the norm.)