Jewish World Review April 17, 2000 / 12 Nissan, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- AFTER RECEIVING e-mails on my Elian column, I decided to revisit the issue in an attempt to answer some of the criticisms that have been leveled against those of us who oppose Elian's automatic return to Cuba.
Some have alleged that conservatives are so blinded by their hatred for Bill Clinton that they are willing to ignore the sacred parental rights they are so fond of championing. They say we are allowing politics to interfere with our judgment about what is in the best interests of the child.
First, let me reiterate my position. Janet Reno and the INS, despite probably having the legal authority to send Elian back without even considering what is in his best interests, ought not to do so. Instead, they should follow their originally stated position of allowing the family courts of Florida to make the determination.
Next, I must tell you that I did not arrive at my opinion immediately, based on some knee-jerk reaction against communism, though I have an unapologetic aversion to that godless system. I agonized over this matter for some time before finalizing my opinion.
My initial thought was that Elian should be returned to his father. I even wondered whether some of my fellow conservatives weren't guilty of forming their opinions too hastily, and without giving due consideration to the father-child bond.
I place a very high value on parental rights and strongly resent undue encroachments on those rights by any government, including our own federal and state governments. I've been involved in cases where I was appalled by the degree to which paternalistic government agencies sought to impose their will on families, all in the name of doing what is in the best interests of the children. Absent abuse and the like, parents ought to be allowed to raise their children as they see fit.
As I studied this more deeply, it finally dawned on me that I was viewing this through my lenses as a parent living in a free nation and as a lawyer who used to handle child-custody cases in the state of Missouri. This case is not quite that simple.
For me, this is not a political matter, in the sense of Republicans against Democrats. My opinion has nothing to do with my feelings about Bill Clinton. It has to do with what is in the best interests of this child, giving due consideration to the father's parental rights. But here's the catch: Those who keep clamoring for Juan Gonzalez's parental rights are in desperate need of a reality check. There are no parental rights in Castro's communist Cuba. Elian will be a ward of the state. For those who love liberty and care about children, this is simply unacceptable.
Castro is a committed Marxist. Marx was dedicated to the proposition that the family unit must be abolished for the sake of the primacy of the state. You don't believe me? Then listen to what Marx himself had to say about family and parental rights in his notorious Manifesto:
"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare-up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. ... The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. ... The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and industry and labor."
Do any of you still want to talk to me about Juan
04/10/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing