Fbrtas Court oerturned the original judgment. Writing for thernmajority, Justice Abe Fortas delivered a stinging rebuke both tornjuvenile justice procedures and to parens patriae. But insteadrnof confining himself to a defense of the parental rights involved,rnhe concluded that minors possess the same constitutionalrnguarantee of due process as adults. “Under our Constitution,rnthe condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court.”rnFortas’ decision has been hailed as a victory for parents inrntheir struggle against the state, and from one perspective, therndamage inflicted upon parens patriae may be regarded as arnblow struck in defense of the family. Unfortunately, the morernimportant and far-reaching implications of the decision havernnot been noted. If children are to be guaranteed due processrnunder the Constitution, then presumably their rights are protectedrnby other constitutional provisions. Since most childrenrnare not in a position to understand or to assert their ownrnrights, this will mean, inevitably, that their constitutional rightsrnwill be protected b’ government agencies.rnThe road to t’ranny is paved with human rights. The earliestrnadvocates of natural rights did not include children.rnFor Locke, only rational creatures could possess rights, and tornbe free in the law, a man needed to be able to understand thernlaws. “If this made the father free, it shall make the son freerntoo. Till then, we see the law allows the son to have no will, butrnhe is to be guided by the will of his father or guardian, who isrnto understand for him.”rnLocke, because of his obsession with rationality, could hard-rnIv ascribe rights to children, but in his effort to break the connectionrnbetween the natural power of the father and the apparentlvrnartificial power of the king, he decided to underminernthe natural power of the familv. Hence, the power of fathersrnwas no longer based on the mystical and interminable bond ofrnblood or divine decree. Marriage, for Locke, was not the mergingrnof two personalities but a covenant that could be dissolvedrnonce the children were grown. The object of childrearing wasrna rational and independent adult who would be free from paternalrnsupervision. In redefining paternity and, therefore, parenthood,rnLocke made it possible for Rousseau and his followersrnto regard the family as little more than an instrument forrnnurturing and educating new citizens who, potentially, possessedrnall their natural rights.rnBut if natural affections are merely the result of habits, andrnif the object of parenthood is the child’s independence, whornhas the responsibility to make sure that parents do not abuserntheir authority? Wilhelm von Humboldt took the logical nextrnstep. It is the parents’ obligation, said Humboldt, to rear theirrnchildren to maturity; at the same time, the children possess “allrntheir original rights as regards their life, their health, theirrngoods… and should not be limited even in their freedom, exceptrnin so far as the parents may think necessary. . . .” Somernparents, however, may not take proper care of their children. Inrnthat event, it is up to the state “to provide for the security of thernrights of children against their parents.”rnHumboldt’s line of thought leads directly to the rightsbasedrntyranny of the total state. So does the anarchic individualismrnof Herbert Spencer, who once argued for children’srnrights on the grounds that without rights, they were not citizensrnand no harm could be done by murdering them—a position hernlater retreated from. But, if children do have rights, they canrnhardly be expected to defend those rights all by themselves.rnWho will protect the rights of children from bigoted parents?rnWhy, the courts of course, or “children’s agents,” that is to say,rngovernment agents working in the interest of children.rnMost children’s rights advocates are not calling for absoluternpolitical equality—although an adolescent contributor to thernNation recently demanded universal suffrage, regardless ofrnage. But even if 12-year-olds were suddenly able to choose betweenrnTweedledum and Tweedledee, their rights would not bernan more solid and palpable than thev are already. As economicrnand moral dependents of their families, they could onlyrnexercise their rights through the mediation of a force morernpowerful than that of their parents.rnWhat rights, reasonably, can we expect to see bestowedrnupon minors? Before her elevation to the White House,rnHillary Rodham wrote a highly influential essay laying thernframework for a children’s rights ideology that is superficiallyrnsensible but ultimately as subversive as the sexual liberationrnpropaganda of the pederasts. Careful to define her terms, thernFirst Lady observes that “a legal right is an enforceable claimrnto the possession of property or authority, or to the enjoymentrnof privileges or immunities.” Since children currentlyrnpossess few legal rights, the object is to transform their “needsrnand interests. .. into enforceable rights.”rnThe President’s wife used the analogy of condemning property.rnIt took us centuries to recognize the propriety and justicernof condemning property in the people’s interest, and it has takenrnus even longer to recognize “that each family at some timernneeds a certain amount of assistance from the community orrngovernment to care for the needs of its members.” When thisrnview is, sooner or later, adopted, the state will possess—in thernname of children’s rights—a social power of eminent domainrnover families. On such a view, the state would not need evidencernof life-threatening child abuse to justify removing arnchild from a household.rnIn the short run, the First Lady’s position would justifyrnstate intervention wherever a family provided inadequately forrnthe child’s “needs,” and since those needs are broadly construedrnto include sex education and sensitivity to minorities, nornone outside Mrs. Clinton’s own social circles would be exempt.rnBut a broader construction of the doctrine is also possible.rnThe greater social good might be improved if talentedrnchildren were taken away from lower-class homes, if families ofrndifferent races were compelled to swap kids, or if Republicansrnwere forced to send their offspring to the ideological bootcampsrnher spouse set up in Arkansas. Why not? Once thernstate sets out to guarantee a right, it will destroy every obstaclernthat stands in the way of liberating the oppressed.rnPinocchio had to learn the hard way that, for a child atrnleast, hell really is other people. His friends, the benevolent foxrnand the self-sacrificing cat, insist that their only happiness is inrnmaking other people rich. Plant your coins in the field of miraclesrnand you will be rich overnight. Today, the descendants ofrnthat same fox and cat are running the social services and welfarernprograms of the United States, and anyone who is sornwoodenheaded that he believes their promises deserves to suffer,rnas Pinocchio suffered, until sadder and wiser he returned tornthe house of his father who loved him. crnOCTOBER 1993/1 3rnrnrn