PERSPECTIVErnPuppets and Their Mastersrnby Thomas FlemingrnAnaked boy runs down a crowded Italian street, chased byrnan angry old man. Grabbing the boy by the back of thernneck, the old man shouts: “Just wait till I get you back home.”rnThe crowd quickly takes sides against the old man, and whenrnthe carabinieri arrive, they take him off to jail. The reader ofrnthe tale, however, knows that Gepetto is a kind and worthyrnman, who did not merely sire but actually created the boy, andrnthat Pinocchio, although less than a day old, is on his way to becomingrna juvenile delinquent.rnThe author of // Pinocchio was a patriotic liberal who welcomedrnthe Risorgimento, but he and the other patriots soonrnlearned that Piedmontese rule meant foreign tax collectors,rnstrange new laws, and the rifle-toting aliens of Victor Emmanuel’srnnational police force, the carabinieri who drag an innocentrnfather off to jail. They make other appearances in thernstory, when, for example, puppet carabinieri arrest first Pinocchiornthen Ariequino to feed the puppet-master’s cook fire—asrngrisly an image of the modern state as one could wish.rnAs a matter of fact, the Italian government in the earlyrn1880’s had little power to intrude into households. Italy, althoughrnit was the homeland of enlightened penology (Beccaria)rnand scientific criminology (Lombroso) was slow to followrnthe example of Great Britain and the United States, the pioneersrnin child protection and juvenile justice.rnRearing children was once a relatively uncomplicated affair.rnA man and a woman got married, and in due course had childrenrnwhich they fed and clothed and disciplined according tornthe customs of their people. Relatives and neighbors reinforcedrnparental discipline by telling the same stories, by quoting thernsame proverbs, and occasionally by admonishing or even beatingrnthe wayward child. The social rituals and institutions of therntribe, so far from undermining families, strengthened the authorityrnof parents and—where it was necessary—supplementedrntheir deficiencies.rnParents were unconstitutional monarchs within the household,rnwith a comprehensive authority that often approachedrnthe Roman father’s patria potestas. Despite the erosion ofrnthat authority, parents still retain a theoretical right to controlrntheir child’s upbringing. Up to a point they may supervise hisrndiet and activities, select a school, punish transgressions, and attemptrnto impose moral or religious instruction. Even today inrnsome states parents may be held liable for torts committed byrntheir minor children, if the children were acting as the parents’rnagent, entrusted with a dangerous or potentially dangerousrninstrument, or acting with the parents’ connivance or consent.rnParents can still claim a child’s wages, which can also bernclaimed by the parents’ debtors.rnThese vestiges of parental responsibility survive like the tiprnof Mount Ararat looking out upon the deluge that has drownedrnthe works of sinful man. The once-sovereign family, like thern10/CHRONICLESrnrnrn