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Jewish World Review May 5, 1999 /19 Iyar 5759

Don Feder

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Expecting the impossible
of parents

(JWR) ---- (
EXCEPT FOR THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION, no one has taken more hits over the Littleton, Colo., killings than families.

Where were the parents? critics cry. Why weren't they omniscient? The president says he'll file legislation to hold Ward and June Cleaver criminally liable when the Beav misbehaves with a gun.

Liberal child-rearing advice is a mishmash of contradictions: Monitor your child, but don't invade his privacy. Raise him to behave decently and respect the rights of others, but don't discipline him.

While they're lecturing us about our responsibilities, the elite has created a cultural sewer for adolescents to swim (or sink) in.

The most inane observation on Littleton came from Time magazine contributor Amy Dickinson, who admonishes: "We must take responsibility for the world our children inhabit. We make the world for them."

Unless we are Marilyn Manson or Quentin Tarantino, I think not. We did not produce "Payback" (Mel Gibson's latest gore-fest) or "The Matrix," a film with the firepower of a NATO sortie.

We do not market videogames with names like "Doom" and "Killer Instinct," or write lyrics that exalt anarchy, sexual assault and suicide. We do not defend teens' access to Web sites that approximate the lower depths of hell.

The Beaver
Try to imagine a teen rampage where the killers were obsessed with the film versions of Jane Austen novels, or spent hours playing Monopoly and listening to Bach.

How could their families have raised monsters like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? the experts ask.

But too many children are raised by their surrogate parent -- the culture. When concerned parents try to protect youth from the more invidious aspects of the same, they're called censors and control freaks, and told their repression is apt to provoke an adolescent backlash.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, of which Clinton is much enamored, declares that children of any age have a right to freedom of expression and association, as well as a "right to privacy."

If the parents of Harris and Klebold had searched their sons' rooms for armaments and explosives, they would have violated the boys' privacy. Wearing swastikas and shouting "heil Hitler" in school was protected by the teens' freedom of expression.

Attempts to keep the kids from hanging with neo-Nazis on the Internet would have abridged their freedom of association -- so say the United Nations and Bill Clinton.

For generations past, mine included, the key to successful child-rearing was moral instruction backed by stern discipline. Transgressions brought an excursion to the woodshed for a philosophical encounter with a razor strap.

Today, parents who heed the Biblical injunction about rod-sparing are likely to find themselves facing a felony rap. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will soon decide if the Rev. Donald Cobble is guilty of child abuse.

When his 11-year-old son Judah is especially bad, the minister gives him a whack or two on the behind with a belt. This brought down the wrath of the state's officious child-welfare agency.

"Who are they to decide what's best for me and my family?" Cobble asks. "Of the three social workers who came and spoke to me, none were married and none had kids."

The experts counter that the minister is teaching violence at home. Why couldn't the lad have a "time out," instead. To which Cobble replies, when a policeman stops you for speeding, he gives you a ticket, not a time out ("Now, just sit in you car and quietly reflect on your violation of the traffic laws.")

In Boston, Carole Collins faces 2 and a half years in prison for giving her burly, 15-year-old son the back of her hand.

Mother and son conferred with the assistant principal of his high school to discuss discipline problems. The boy got into a shouting match with the administrator and Collins slapped her son in the face. Instead of thanking her for helping them with a fractious student, school officials called the cops and Collins was led away in handcuffs.

Parents can't win. The impossible is expected of them -- direction without discipline, monitoring and control while respecting the "rights" of 12-year-olds all in the context of a culture that undermines their authority and seduces their children by playing to their darkest instincts.

Liberals -- those universal Buttinskis -- want to raise your children then blame you when they pack a high-powered rifle in their school bag.


5/03/99: Gore race-baits with impunity
4/29/99: Why Kosovo? Oh, just because
4/27/99: The president's pro-parent claptrap
4/22/99: McCain plays to the media
4/19/99: NATO would have favored the confederacy
4/14/99: Before we march into Kosovo
4/12/99: Taiwan more worthy of U.S. support
4/09/99: Bauer and Forbes --- Main Street vs. Wall Street
4/05/99: Bubba and Maddy lit Kosovo's fire
3/29/99: At Passover, Egypt is a state of mind
3/29/99: Could the GOP stand Pat in 2000?
3/17/99: Hollywood's party line in 1999
3/15/99: All bow, the court is in session
3/11/99: In praise of negative campaigning
3/09/99: Day-care study defies common sense
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1999, Creators Syndicate