It’s incidents like “this one”:http://www.boingboing.net/2008/04/29/7yearold-boy-removed.html that demonstrate to me that there is a general sense of paranoia in American culture these days that borders on insanity. In the article linked above, you have a father who mistakenly ordered a hard lemonade for his 7-year-old son, followed by the hysteria of the ballpark guard and the local judicial system. This case is demonstrative of the fact that parents are considered villains until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of our legal system.
Having worked briefly in the social services system, I know there are parents out there who are either negligent or deliberately abusive (and sometimes both); so the existence of a social services system is both justified and necessary. But what I think the current set of laws forgets is that parents are human and sometimes make genuine, honest mistakes – as the father in this case seems to have done. But rather than deal with this as a mistake, the courts overreacted and demonized the father, immediately assuming the worst and raised his case to a ridiculous level that seems, to me, to be completely unnecessary.
This sort of thing goes right along with the current trend of political correctness in our society that people are now afraid of making smart and right decisions in favor of making stupid, politically correct decisions that will, in theory, offend the least number of people. It makes me wonder at how such people ever got to be our leaders, and it frightens me not a little bit that we’ve given them so much power over our day-to-day lives. Common sense, critical thinking, and wisdom seem to be skills lost on the vast majority of people in power nowadays, and what we’re left with are spineless puppets who would rather cater to poll numbers and public opinion. It makes me afraid, very afraid.
fn1(footnotes). Don’t get me wrong – I do want our leaders to pay attention to what the people want, to an extent. We do, after all, elect the leaders that we hope will have our best interests in mind. But when you end up with leaders who are faced with the kind of foolishness presented in this case, and who won’t act on with a certain level of wisdom, then I question whether said leader should be sitting in that particular seat of power.