Every once in a while, a story comes along that combines every fallacious belief held by contemporary liberals into a convenient, pocket-sized summary. This year’s reigning champion is the story that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is pushing the U.S. to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In another of the waves to the international crowd in which he specialized — see also his similar treatment of the International Criminal Court — Bill Clinton signed this treaty in 1995. But the U.S. Senate never ratified it. Now, Sen. Boxer is pushing the U.S. to act. In January, she urged the administration to adopt a 60-day timetable to review the treaty, and described the U.S. failure to ratify as a humiliation.
The treaty certainly sounds uncontroversial. No one with any conscience hates children. And lots of countries have signed on. In fact, every country in the world except the U.S. and Somalia has done so. That’s not company Americans like to keep. But as your parents said, just because everyone’s doing something doesn’t make it a good idea.
The treaty creates “the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and outlaws the “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, [and] unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.” Yes, that’s correct: under this convention, all children below the age of 18 — that’s how the treaty defines them — acquire the right to privacy against their parents, and parents lose the right to instruct their children in matters of faith and morality. If you haven’t already, you really should go and read it yourself.
Insane, you say? Yes, of course it is. Destructive to the family? Yes, obviously. Dangerously moronic in its belief that two-year-olds are fit to think for themselves? Yes, that too. But of course, most of the countries that signed the treaty pay no attention to it.
You can be sure that parents in places like Japan or Canada don’t know or care about the treaty. Same goes for the authoritarian places: the Islamic signatories, for instance, place reservations on all provisions of the convention that are incompatible with Sharia law. And Giorgia Passarelli, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commission on Human Rights, has admitted that “When it comes to signatories who violate the convention and/or its optional protocols — there is no means to oblige states to fulfill their legal obligations.” In fact, the only place that seems to be impressed by the treaty is the U.S., where, in spite of the fact that it has no legal standing, Supreme Court justices are already citing it in their opinions.
Then why this eagerness to sign on? Well, it’s simple: as Boxer put it in January, speaking of Afghanistan, “Now, all you have to do is look around the world and see these girls that are having acid thrown in their face.” So if the U.S. ratifies, the Taliban will behave better. Their barbarity is therefore our fault.
So let’s check the liberal beliefs off. Subverting the family by substituting intrusive governmental authority for the traditional roles of parents: yes. Advancing agreements that have no enforcement provisions and destroy the very concept of “a treaty” by replacing it with airy aspirations: you bet. A legal system that is eager to cite as precedent any piece of international law it can get its hands on to justify its profoundly destructive social policies: absolutely. And an eagerness to blame the U.S. for the evils of the world, and an insistence that if only we played nicely with others, everyone else’s good nature would shine through: yup, hit that one as well. That pretty much covers it. The only cheery thing about all this is that this story isn’t likely to remain the champion for very long. As sure as week follows week, another, even better example will come along soon enough that will make it seem almost reasonable by comparison.