Owning human beings

George W. Bush famously proclaimed the U.S. an “ownership” society. I don’t think he meant to include owning people, but the fact is that, according to the law, children are owned by (are the property of) their parents.

Presumably, children cannot be bought and sold, though legal adoptions come close. Indeed, it is because children are considered property that the Georgia legislature can just now be considering legislation (SB 375) to re-define who can own them. Handing the adoption process off to establishments of religion, which are not governed by the equal protection clause, will make it more exclusive.

While it is widely believed that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery, except as a punishment for crime, the amendment’s association of slavery with involuntary servitude has created the false impression that slavery is about labor. In fact, slavery is about the deprivation of liberty and liberty is about mobility, going where one pleases on one’s own two feet. Which is why, just as in the bad old days they were dispatched after runaway slaves, agents of law enforcement are now hunting down runaway children.

That some history buffs have made the point that the real object of the 2nd Amendment was to provide for a regular militia to re-capture slaves is telling and, in the context of the current pattern of assaults by irregular militias on children, safely contained in their schools, ironic beyond all imaginings. No wonder the children are walking out.

It used to be assumed that ownership makes for good stewardship. If we needed more convincing, the children are telling us that’s false.