Steve Schear azur at
Sun Aug 3 20:37:42 PDT 1997


On both the state and federal level, government has become obsessed with
kiddie issues

By Rafael Tammariello

The United,States is evolving into what can be characterized as the world's
first "infantocracy" a nation whose laws, policies and political culture
are captive to the perceived needs and wants of a mythical brood known as
"The Children."

By proxy, the United States is becoming a country ruled by "The Children"
as the central government embarks on a systematic quest to circumscribe the
liberties of adults in the name of shielding "The Children" from all things

"The Children" are not real, fleshandblood kids who grow up to be adults,
who spend the remaining 80 percent of their lives as adults and seek to
enjoy the rights, privileges and prerogatives of adulthood. No. "The
Children" of the infantocracy's conception are sainted, angelic beings,
wideeyed, wholesome and perpetually about 7 years old, judging from the
White House photo-ops.  "The Children" are pure and infinitely vulnerable
beings who will never grow up, never need to exerise adult choices, never
light up a cigar, watch a good violent drama on TV or entertain friends
over the backyard grill.

The emerging infantocracy vigorously seeks to limit the range of adult
activities-from free speech to driving to smoking to gun use to television
viewing to Internet access to backyard cooking.

These days, the business of America is certainly not the business of
securing the liberty of her citizens, as the founding fathers envisioned
two centuries ago. Ceaseless attacks on the Bill of Rights-launched in the
name of protecting "The Children" from guns or smut or whatever-emanate
from the very members of Congress sworn to defend those freedoms.

The legislative and executive branches of government at the state and
national levels are obsessed with kiddie issues-to the virtual exclusion of
all else.

What was the theme of last week's National Governor's Association confab at
The Mirage? Early childhood development, replete with gurgling babies as
omnipresent props. At one point, Nevada Gov. Bob Miller was practically
buried in babies. A week earlier, President Clinton, surrounded by
squealing infants, pushed for a tobacco surtax to finance socialized
medicine for "The Children."	~

Who are these children-"The Children"-whose salvation lies in the
suppression of adult freedoms and prerogatives?

Consider: A comprehensive poll by Public Agenda, a New Yorkbased research
firm, asked 2,000 adults to reveal their thoughts about America's
youngsters. The results, published in June under the title "Kids These
Days: What Americans Really Think About the Next Generation," indicate a
massive vote of "no confidence" in kids. A strong majority of the adults
surveyed said they perceived a disturbing upsurge in "wild, rude and
frightening behavior among young people. Fully 63 percent did not believe
today's kids will make the country a better place when they grow up.

But "The Children" are not these  children-not the illmannered youngsters
in big pants with their hats on backwards, or the Beevis and Butthead
clones. No, no. "The Children" are sainted, immortal beings, forever young,
forever innocent, vulnerable and in need of protection from their saviors
in Washington.

Let's get this straight: The majority of children are good kids; children
do need protection; they do need nurturing and moral direction-from their
parents, not Uncle Sam.

Our children are the future. But, strangely, the American infantocracy is
not really, as its advocates assert, concerned about the children's future.
Indeed, the infantocracy contemplates no realistic future for "The
Children-that is, it ; fails to take into account the inevitable fact that
childhood is a fleeting thing and that a society molded in the image of a
daycare center may be hostile to adults, which the children, the real
children, will soon become.

When the real children become real adults, they may want to engage in those
grownup activities that are being proscribed wholesale by the grim,
puritanical infantocracy being built in the name of their mythical
counterparts "The Children."

Bill Clinton is, of course, the chief architect of the infantocracy. Every
significant Clinton policy initiative-from tax credits to gun control to
nuclear arms reduction-is trotted out under the banner of "The Children."

But others on both the left and right assist in the creation of this odd
new society. Indeed, the most recent attempt to limit adult choices in the
name of "The Children" emanated from the right, in the dour personage of
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who sought a national ban on
gambling within 10,000 feet of schools, parks and any other place "The
Children" might find themselves. The Hatch initiative, which could throttle
Las Vegas (a bright anomaly in the new childfixated universe) has stalled.
But do not be surprised if a similar proposal arises from the national
gambling commission's conservative moralists or from some of their
soulmates in Congress.

Then there was Republican Sen. Mark James' attempt in the Nevada
Legislature to censor advertising that might offend the sensibilities of
"The Children."

Attacks on adultoriented material on the Internet and on television-the
calls for a "voluntary ratings system" and "voluntary" selfcensorship (all
under threat of federal regulation, of course)-have come from both
Biblebrandishing rightists and therapeuticstate leftists. The voluntary
ratings system is the initial baby step toward government-ordered
infantiization of the airwaves making them safe for "The
Children." The mythical "Children," you understand, will remain seven
years, old forever. Unlike real children, "The Children" never' grow up and
want to watch a good bloody flick on the tube.

The Constitution's First Amendment provides no armor when the infantocracy
deploys its SWAT teams to rescue "The Children." Witness Joe Camel,
bludgeoned to death "voluntarily" by his creator as government regulators,
the White House, Congress, and a legion of attorneys general grabbed, the
tobacco industry's  throat.

In the name of saving "The Children" from Demon Tobacco, a whole group of'
companies, engaged in a heavily taxed legal business have volunteered to
surrender  their First' Amendment right to advertise.

If Clinton and his two chief tobacco advisers - Baby Doctors C. Everet Koop
and David Kessler work their will, the United States will have tobacco
prohibition in a few years, and that will include cigars. When Mr.
Clinton's FDA reduces the amount of nicotine in cigars and cigarettes to
zero, smokers will be forced to find the real smokes on the black market

But the emergence of a black market and new criminal class doesn't bother
Bill Clinton. As the president said in Madrid on July 9: "What is a black
market ... (a) 1 percent penetration of the market, a  3 percent
penetration of the market? Would we deny the FDA the right to protect 100
percent of our citizens because there might be a few blackmarket
cigarettes around?''

Ah, the sainted Children. Surely, as Mr. Clinton states, banning nicotine
will protect 100 percent of them, just as the prohibition of marijuana has
kept them 100 percent drugfree.  And, if Clinton's estimates are correct,
only 500,000 to 1.5 million American adults will be converted into
blackmarket criminals. We'll need some new prisons-at least 500 of them.
The benevolent garb of the infantocracy conceals the mailed fist of The

The infantocracy's jihad against the First Amendment and adultAmericans
who choose to smoke is not its only display of raw force. New cleanair
rules advanced by Bill Clinton and his fanatical Environmental Protection
Agency also represent a vast expansion of government power over states,
cities and individuals, right down to their barbecuing habits. When Mr.
Clinton announced the new rules on June 25, he said: "I have approved some
very strong new regulations today that will be somewhat controversial, but
think kids ought to be healthy." Come ye forth and sacrifice at the altar
of the sainted "Children."

Under the new EPA edict, cities across the nation will be compelled to
adopt and enforce policies that are designed to result in air that is
virtually free of dust and manmade ozone. The ' cost of implementing the
rules - that the EPA hypothesizes will marginally extend the lifespans of
some kids with asthma-could, by one estimate, exceed $330 billion a year,
far more than the defense budget.

The Los Angeles limes points out, no technology exists that could scrub
that city's air clean enough the meet the new standards. The only way to
achieve compliance in cities such as L.A. (which cannot handle even the
existing air quality standards) would be the adoption of draconian
measures: restrictions on driving, mandated carpooling, shutting down
industries, banning gaspowered lawn mowers and so on.

Mr. Clinton and the EPA pooh pooh the idea that many urban areas, in their
desperation to comply with Washington's dictates, will be forced to outlaw
fireplaces and backyard barbecues. But cities such as Los Angeles and
Denver in their struggle to meet even the extant cleanair standards-have
already taken such steps; and other cities will be forced to follow suit.

As the infantocracy gears up, its creators and supporters busy themselves
with many other projects.  Clinton has already ordered federal officers'"
to affix riggerlocks on their guns at home, and he fervently yearns for
national legislation requiring, hem on all firearms owned' by citizens.
Said Clinton in pushing! is proposal: "We protect aspirin bottles in this
country better then we protect guns from accidents by children." The
Sainted Children. And, if trigger locks .'prevent' adults,: from
!effectively defending their homes and their children, real children - it's
just another requisite sacrifice of adult choices in the name of the
mythical "Children" who are always 7 years old and who never grow up to
have homes and families of their own to defend.

Hand it to Yale Professor Kelly Brownell, director of the University's
Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, for providing the infantocracy a
focus for its next crusade. Heir Docktor Brownell has raised the alarm: The
United States is wash in unhealthful, fatty foods, and kids, at the urging
of bad clowns, are lured into eating them. Two weeks ago, Brownell told The
Washington Times: "Junk food advertisements should be regulated, and excise
taxes imposed on highfat foods, just as they are on tobacco and
alcohol.... As a culture, we get upset about Joe Camel, yet we tolerate our
children seeing 10,000 commercials a year that promote foods that are every
bit as unhealthy."

"The Children," you see, never grow up and will, never want to order a
wellmarbled steak with chocolate mousse for dessert. For "The Children"
remain 7 years old forever, and cherish their fruits and vegetables.

Joe Camel, meet Ronald McDonald in the infantocracy's roomy dungeon.

The emerging American infantocracy embraces a vision that does not include
you driving to a friend's house, grilling burgers on the backyard barbecue,
and enjoying a cigar afterwards in front of the fireplace. The engineers of
the infantocracy are creating a society tightly fixated on stamping out all
of life's little risks. It's a task undertaken at the expense of grownup
things and adult choices. This new society is a strange, confining place, a
place that's increasingly difficult to recognize as the land of the free or
the home of the brave.

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