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Family Courts Worse than Communism
December 18, 2007 permalink
Professor Stephen Baskerville writes on family law in America, but he could have just as well said Canada or England or Australia. Family law does not attempt to dispense justice, replacing that goal with "the best interest of the child". In the final paragraphs, he recounts the experiences of refugees from eastern European police states. They report that American family courts are harsher than the worst that eastern Europe had to offer.
TOTALITARIANISM IN AMERICA
Mass incarcerations without trial or charge; forced confessions; children forcibly separated from their parents with no reasons given; doctored hearing transcripts and falsified court records; evidence fabricated against the innocent; government agents entering the homes, examining private papers and personal effects, and seizing the property of citizens who are under no suspicion of legal wrongdoing; special courts created specifically to convict people who cannot be convicted in ordinary courts; children instructed to hate their parents by state functionaries: Is all this the Soviet Union in the 1930s or Communist China in the 1960s? Is this some novelist’s prognosticated dystopia? No, all this and more is routine in the United States today.
Among the most disturbing tales to come out of totalitarianism were the revelations of how both Nazi and Communist governments intruded into family life. The practice of governments dictating to parents what they could tell their children or using children as informers against their parents strikes us as chilling and unnatural. Yet similar practices are occurring in America today on a much more massive scale.
What we are talking about here is family law, a secretive political underworld of which few are aware until it strikes them. Parents summoned to family court discover that their children can be taken away, they can be forced to turn over all their property without explanation to government officials and their private clients, their future earnings can be confiscated to the point where they are unable to house or feed themselves, and they can be incarcerated without trial – all without any evidence or even charge that they have committed any actionable offense.
Unlike any other court, family courts do not even pretend that they are concerned with justice. They claim to determine “the best interest of the child” in divorces or other cases where one party is trying to take away someone else’s children. It is not necessary for the parent or parents whose children are targeted to have done anything legally wrong. Because most parents will spend any amount of money not to have their children taken away, these courts are very lucrative for lawyers and others who have developed a stake in taking control of other people’s children.
Traditionally, parents determined what was best for their own children. Now courts make that determination, over the objection of parents who have done nothing to forfeit the right to make it themselves. Once courts stop administering justice, they start administering injustice; there is no middle ground. Without justice, asked St. Augustine, “What are kingdoms but great robberies?”
Never before in human history has any government created a machinery whose primary purpose is to take children away from their parents. The Nazis and the Communists both did it. But it was not their principal aim. In America, we have created multibillion dollar machinery that exists for no other purpose.
The very idea of incarcerations without trial should be raising an outcry and have us demanding to know what is taking place in the world’s greatest democracy. Yet we hear nothing but silence from journalists, self-styled civil libertarians, and “human rights” groups.
Conservatives have allowed this to happen by credulously swallowing feminist propaganda about “deadbeat dads,” “pedophile” fathers, and wife-beaters. Having given the Left a monopoly as gatekeepers of the Bill of Rights and civil liberties, conservatives can hardly be surprised that they stand defenseless as the Left targets the family, fathers, Christianity, and other “patriarchal” institutions.
The erosion of our freedoms today is so gradual that few can find tangible points at which to oppose it. But here we have an attack on freedom that is much more direct than culture; it involves a direct assault on private family life by a dangerous government machinery. Until we wake up to the fact that radical feminism is a totalitarian ideology and that the family courts are executing the feminist Terror, we will never reverse the family’s decline.
Facile parallels with totalitarian dictatorships drawn by westerners who never experienced those terrors are a much-abused form of criticism and one to which conservatives are especially susceptible. Yet in this case, survivors of those dictatorships readily attest to the similarity. Bogumila and Jerzy Koss compare New York’s family courts to the bureaucratic tyrannies they knew in Poland. “As children we lived through Nazi horror, then through Communist occupation,” they write, “and now, in the United States, the ‘Land of the Free,’ we are persecuted by judicial tyranny.” But in contrast to Nazi and Stalinist regimes, which used children as one weapon among many, today in the Western democracies children and families have become the central object of government tyranny, and parents rather than dissidents have become the targets.
After experiencing American family law, Romanian dissident Mihai Muset gained a new perspective on totalitarian justice under communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, by whose regime he had been arrested for a protest. "I was sentenced to two months in prison," he recalls, "but at least I got to appear in court and talk to the judge. That's more than I got in family court."
Stephen Baskerville holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and is president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children and ssistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College his book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).
Web Site: www.stephenbaskerville.net