Even more appalling than the mindless screed "The Kids Are Not All Right" itself is the fact that the New York Times chose to feature it on its Op-Ed page today. Author Joel Bakan's simplistic, socialistic message: today's children are under assault from capitalism, or as Bakan frames it, "for-profit corporations." In Bakan's view, the ills afflicting today's kids--from fascination with social media, to obesity, prescription drug use and chemical exposure--are to be laid at the feet of those e-e-e-v-i-l for-profits.
Bakan yearns for the good old days of 1959, when children were supposedly protected by--ready?--the United Nations. Excerpts after the jump.
- "By the middle of the century, childhood was a robustly protected legal category. In 1959, the United Nations issued its Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Children were now legal persons; the “best interests of the child” became a touchstone for legal reform."
- "But the 20th century also witnessed another momentous shift, one that would ultimately threaten the welfare of children: the rise of the for-profit corporation."
- "The challenge before us is to reignite the guiding ethos and practices of the century of the child."
The irony, of course, is that capitalism--at least as it used to be practiced in the United States--was the single greatest force providing longer and better lives for generations of children growing into adulthood. And as Bill Bennett documented in his classic book, The Index of Leading Social Indicators, it was precisely the rise of the welfare state that Bakan favors that led to an explosive rise in social pathologies among and against children--from drug use to crime, out-of-wedlock births to welfare dependency.
It is the kind of virulent anti-capitalism that Bakan preaches that the Times apparently finds attractive in op-ed authors . . . and politicians from city council members to presidents.
Want more Bakan? Be sure to pick up and read "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" at a college campus near you!