Save the Children

Modern Americans are going to live forever.  We must believe that; otherwise we would not rise up in spontaneous outrage whenever a stuck accelerator causes a car to crash or a surgical procedure goes awry.  Science and technology have made our world not only foolproof but death-proof, or at least they would have, were it not for unscrupulous manufacturers and diabolical white males who roam the world seeking the ruin of bodies.  Every natural disaster, human error, or manifestation of Original Sin is an occasion not just for an exercise in national breast-beating but for some piece of sweeping legislation that will eliminate risk or eradicate evil.

We are especially prone to legislative hysteria when children are involved.  If a child chokes to death on a hot dog, the pediatricians of America want wieners to be classified as lethal weapons, and if a crackhead mother on welfare finally kills the baby she has been tormenting for months, we do not blame crack dealers or welfare or the degraded morality of urban African-Americans.  No, we pass laws that strip normal parents of their traditional rights, beef up the budgets of child-protection agencies, and demand parenting classes for all prospective fathers and mothers—anything, in other words, except to confront the real issue, which is the nightmare we have created by paying people not to work and by pretending that all people in every culture are basically the same. ...

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