The situation was brought to my attention by this passage from My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me:
In the 1970s, it was common practice for adoptive parents to break all contact between their adopted child and the biological parents.
The realization that it is in the best interest of the child’s development to deal openly with their past took hold only gradually. But every child has a right to know their origins; it even says so in the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Today, adoptive parents are advised to explain the reasons for the adoption to their child from an early age, and to keep an album with photos of the child’s natural parents, for example. It is also recommended that they find out as much as they can about the child’s history. They have to be proactive, since many children don’t dare to raise any questions themselves.
Nowadays, adoption clinics are more likely to discuss potential problems a child may encounter as a consequence of adoption. Studies have shown that adopted children are more likely than birth children to feel unloved, have self-doubt, crave recognition, and fear abandonment. They are often afraid to commit and are more likely to suffer from severe depression and to seek psychiatric treatment.
Often, they will test their adoptive parents sorely: Will they still love me, even if I behave really badly? Puberty, in particular, is liable to turn into an endurance test for the adoptive child and parents.
It struck me that such a thing would be part of international law. Why doesn’t everybody know about this?:
States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.
A major problem in society is that we have the wrong sense of entitlement. Instead of acting like a bunch of sadists, we should feel entitled to human decency. When the government or the economy creates hardship for us, we shouldn’t blame ourselves for the stress we’re experiencing. We should feel that we’re being denied our birthright. From the Wikipedia article on the issue:
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention and opened it for signature on 20 November 1989 (the 30th anniversary of its Declaration of the Rights of the Child). It came into force on 2 September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations. Currently, 194 countries are party to it, including every member of the United Nations except Somalia and the United States. In Somalia, parliamentary approval and presidential assent of the ratification act was obtained “without the articles of 14, 20 and 21 due to Somali culture, religion and the provisional constitution.” On 20 January 2015, Somalia ratified the convention and the process will be finalized once the Government of Somalia deposits the instrument of ratification at UN Headquarters in New York.
…During his 2008 campaign for President, then-Senator Barack Obama described the failure to ratify the Convention as “embarrassing” and promised to review the issue. The United States has signed and ratified two of the optional protocols to the Convention, the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
It’s grotesque. We’re terrorizing Somalia with drones, and we’ve signed on to the parts that are useful for getting our way in terms of sanctions and surveillance.
So what are people everywhere except the US legally entitled to? I’m not an international lawyer, but I do speak English. My naive impression is that we can’t sign the document because we’re grossly violating at least the following provisions:
1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.
1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
To this end, States Parties shall:
(a) Encourage the mass media to disseminate information and material of social and cultural benefit to the child and in accordance with the spirit of article 29;
(b) Encourage international co-operation in the production, exchange and dissemination of such information and material from a diversity of cultural, national and international sources;
(c) Encourage the production and dissemination of children’s books;
(d) Encourage the mass media to have particular regard to the linguistic needs of the child who belongs to a minority group or who is indigenous;
(e) Encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being, bearing in mind the provisions of articles 13 and 18.
1. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee in accordance with applicable international or domestic law and procedures shall, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his or her parents or by any other person, receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in the present Convention and in other international human rights or humanitarian instruments to which the said States are Parties.
(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;
1. States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law.
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
(a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
(b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
(c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
(d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
(e) The development of respect for the natural environment.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.
Imagine how many ways we violate all of this. I’m sure a real lawyer could think of a lot.
I’m not saying anything radical at all. I believe that the United States should join the entire world in committing to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and it should be serious about it. Even countries at war with one another, all across the Earth, officially agree to these basic things. Even the United States military promotes values like honor and service. I should know, because I was educated by the Department of Defense.
The way our culture really is, there’s something unseemly about talking this way. Taking my hard-earned money and giving it to hood niggers and Mexicans? We have TV and radio stations about that, instead of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Isn’t that fucked up?
We’re doing fucked up things, just like the Other people. It’s cruel to do those things. We shouldn’t do them. They shouldn’t be normal. Everyone on all sides would be happier if we stopped. It’s really very simple.
How many people know that this treaty exists, and how many people would read something as boring as a document about making sure we love our own children properly?
But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.
Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.
Two of my great aunts were sterilized for epilepsy by the Nazis. They both later committed suicide.
Social Darwinism is an illegitimate basis for organizing society, no matter how much we try to glorify capitalist competition. It’s a fundamental ethical principle that people shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others, including their parents. Who does that? North Korea? Children aren’t old enough to have done anything to deserve punishment as severe as poverty. Childhood poverty has lifelong consequences. Currently, children suffer the effects of poverty for openly vindictive reasons. “Their mom should just a get job.” People say that. What they mean is that the child is an object, an extension of the parents, not an innocent human being. I’d remind such people that blacks are at least three fifths of a person.