The modern myth of childhood innocence

Children can kill, steal, humiliate and lie. Nobody needs to be reminded of the Bulger case in Britain a few years back when two kids battered a toddler to death with bricks and an iron rod. Another more recent example is the brutal killing of the young girl in Yorkshire by a group of boys and girls roughly her own age. She was wilfully set upon, beaten and kicked to death. The fact that kids can steal and lie, needs no examples. Kids humiliating and assaulting others have reached a chilling new level, as can be witnessed in the phenomenon of �happy slapping� where children use their mobile telephone to film their physical assault on a lone child. This phenomenon is just another example of anti-social and uncivilized behavior displayed by the current generation of children.

How can we, in the light of these facts and irrefutable evidence, still say with such absolute conviction that children are completely innocent? Innocent beyond all doubt! The idea of childhood innocence has had such a tremendous influence on the West that the E.U. has enacted a law forbidding the spanking of children. No citizen in the E.U. is allowed to physically chastise their children � no matter what the circumstances. The big bureaucrats in brother Brussels have equated spanking with torture and have empowered one of its watchdogs, the World Organization Against Torture, to peer into the last domain of privacy and autonomy of our society namely, the family home. The mechanisms of power have finally succeeded in usurping the authority vested in the family unit, the cornerstone of our civilization.

Children are now at liberty � and are encouraged � to call the authorities if their parents so much as lay a hand on them. The line between slapping, spanking, shaking, pinching, etc. is all but academic now because any forceful action directed at children by their parents can henceforth be classed as �torture�. What is the difference between a light smack on the bottom and the visible bruise that is left after a father has, in the last moment, managed to grab his small daughter by the arm just before she run into the path of an oncoming bus?

Do children have the ability to distinguish between actions, on the part of the parents, to harm them and actions intended to protect them? In other words, do they have the moral ability to discern the parameters separating good and bad, right from wrong? This is exactly what we are asking them to do. We are asking them to do something that we�ve struggled with our whole lives. It has never been easy to accurately judge the bearings on our moral compass, but at least we have the benefit of years of life experience, an education, socio-cultural values and norms and theological/philosophical beliefs-systems. This is, however, not good enough for the powers that be in Brussels. They have effectively delegated this burden to four-year olds, and in doing so, given children the moral authority to sit in judgment on their parents. In other words, kids now have the right to decide whether the actions of their parents are morally justifiable or not. If the latter be the case, then children have the moral duty and legal obligation to send their parents for punishment to/by Brussels.

This topsy-turvy situation is so bizarre one can nearly visualize a four-year-old asking himself, "Was that illegal smack Mommy gave me a measured response and a morally justifiable act in the light of the possible negative consequences of my action that was so abruptly interrupted by the current burning sensation on my backside?" Little Johnny then has a flash of inspiration and exclaims, "Mommy, I won�t tell uncle Brussels about you torturing me if you let me ride my skateboard on the neighbor�s car again like I�ve been doing for the past three days, oh yes, and up my allowance with a few quid because the money the school pays me to attend class doesn�t even cover my telephone bill!".

In all seriousness, how the hell did we land in this mess? Well, it all stems from the fanatical belief in the innocence of childhood that is mesmerizing disillusioned baby-boomers. Not the innocence of children as it should be, but our version of childhood innocence superimposed on the lives of our children. The cult of innocence has its roots in the reality Sigmund Freud created for us, a world in which we have all been traumatized by an evil �external� reality that has stolen our innocence. An evil world largely comprised of the predatory perversions of pale males (see the articles Manhood and its Malcontents and Innocentopia). Our innocence has been stolen from us by Freud�s two gods, Eros (sex) and Thanathos (violence), who came down from the heavens and manifested themselves in their two most loathsome forms; pedophilia and torture.

The current bogeyman, the institutional pedophile (created in Ireland), is lurking behind every corner. And just like in Bush�s Guantanamo Bay we can find the torturer, the new bogeyman (created in Brussels), in the family home. In other words, every father has become a potential pedophile and every mother a potential torturer. Once we have slain these two gods we�ll be cured of our trauma and can return to a life of childhood bliss once more. A utopia of innocence safely insolated from the harsh realities of the world �out there�. Absolute HOGWASH!

It all sounds good and well if we were living in Freud�s cloud-cuckoo land, but we are not and the responsibilities of adulthood are ours to bear, not our children�s! We can never regain that which we have lost when we became adults. We will never again experience the wonder of discovering love, friendship and all the other amazing things in the world for the first time. Youthful vitality, the will to explore and the passion to change the world are ours no more. We are stuck with the fleeting pleasures that can be derived from getting another promotion, buying a new �Beat My Willy� (BMW) or SUV and going to the Bahamas for another boring holiday. That�s just the way things are and shirking our responsibilities won�t change it. It is up to us to have the moral fortitude to decide between right and wrong, good and bad. Pushing kids out of their world and claiming it for ourselves because we cannot distinguish between trauma and disillusionment is absolutely reprehensible, in every which way you look at it. It is imperative that we stay this madness in all possible haste because some kids are already stranded in the world we�ve abandoned. And they have learned to survive in that world - by killing, stealing, humiliating and lying. The fact that they don�t make any attempt to hide their crimes is a chilling indication that they are only taking their first baby steps in a world in which it requires devious scheming and murderous cunning to have your way � and get away with it.

Yes, children are innocent, but we have taken that away from them, by trying to become like them.

Albert Brenner

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