I’ve vaguely noticed over the past few days that there’s firstly been a furore over some schoolgirl who went to France with one of her teachers, and secondly another one along similar lines about the late Jimmy Saville.
I think I know what the problem is: it’s these darn chiiiiildren.
I’m seriously beginning to think that the distinction between adults and children should be erased, and that they should all simply count as ‘people’, with exactly the same rights and protections as all other people.
I must confess that I’ve never understood why the distinction is made. When I was a child I found it puzzling. I remember being told, at age 6, that I hadn’t yet reached ‘the age of reason’ (somehow mysteriously set at the magical age of seven). I was puzzled because I could add and subtract, and that seemed to be something to do with the ‘reason’ thing. Then there was ‘the age of consent’ business, which was equally mysterious, because I’d been not consenting from my earliest days. “Eat your food,” my mother would say. “No!” would be my regular reply. Equally, while I’d been told that people became sexually active when they were about 15, I found that I took a deep interest in women well before I was 10 years old.
And I was very glad when adults treated me as another adult rather than a child. On one sea journey across the Atlantic, I was introduced to one of the crew, who I was told had a peculiar affinity with children. I was sceptical until I met him, and he got talking, and I suddenly realised that he was talking to me as if I was an adult. He told me about his hope that he’d get married, and his job prospects, and experiences. He didn’t talk down to me at all. He treated me as an equal. And I spent hours and hours with him, and could well understand how other children did too.
The only justification for the distinction that I can see is that children are dependent upon adults. They can’t earn their own livings, because they’re not strong enough, or knowledgeable enough, or experienced enough to take on an adult role. But then, many so-called adults are no better.
Also, as dependants, they tend to get ordered around all over the place. For instance, as already mentioned, “Eat your food!” I’m not sure of the legal basis of this, but it would seem to go back to the Roman family, and the paterfamilias who had absolute command over everybody else in the family, and they had to do what he said. He even had power over their lives.
Anyway, if the distinction between children and adults was erased, there wouldn’t have been either of the two furores I’ve mentioned. No one would have said anything if a 15-year-old-girl went on holiday with a 30-year-old teacher. And no one would have said anything about an old man taking an interest in young girls (unless he raped them, in which case it would be exactly the same as if he raped an ‘adult’ woman).
What pushes me towards this view is not these two rather uninteresting cases in the news, but rather the fact that the chiiiildren are being used these days as a battering ram to remove rights from adults, and to convert them in their turn into chiiiildren as well. We are all being turned into dependent children who are supposed to do as they are told.
Which is more or less what drove me to remark yesterday that I was going to get a few children to start smoking as part of my #OCTABBER pro-smoking activity. And why not? If children are the equal of adults, then they are equally as deserving of tobacco as any adult. And, as far as I know, quite a few of them already smoke anyway.
There really ought to be a Children’s Lib, a bit along the lines of Women’s Lib, that sets out to achieve equality between adults and children. The idea that men and women are equals is as unremarkable now as it was once remarkable. So we ought to encourage exactly the same with children. They should be able to vote. They should be able to marry. They should be able to fight in armies. They should be able to get jobs. They should be able to drive cars and fly planes and captain ships. If they can demonstrate that they are able to do it, then they should be permitted – even encouraged – to do it.
As for schooling, they would be allowed to make their own choices, just like any adult. They could sign up for any class in any school, and attend for as little or as long as they wanted. I would imagine that, at the outset, children would not wish to attend school, but would rather do something else. But it would seem equally likely that, when they became aware of certain of their deficiencies – like not being able to read or write – they might of their own accord set out to rectify these deficiencies, and do so with a determination seldom displayed by modern children.
I suppose it would come as a bit of a shock if, on boarding a transatlantic flight, you heard the captain pipe up and say, “This your captain speaking. When I’ve finished my ice lolly, we’re going to take off.” But it was probably just as much a shock when it was a woman who announced herself as the captain. Or a black man. Or a Frenchman.
And when that day comes, there will be no more traction in campaigns that use “We’re doing it for the chiiildren” as their principal method. For what’s noxious about something like the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids is that there are no kids involved in it at all, but it’s something run by adults for their own corrupt adult goals. Most likely the ill-written logo wasn’t even created by a child, but by an adult posing as a child. On the Kick Butts Day facebook page, there are a number of young girls. They’ve probably all been abducted, and made to participate in the obscenity.
Roll on the day when they can make their own free choices, and not have them made for them.