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Taking children and the passivity of the European Christian

A case has been in the news lately of a Christian family in Norway, the Bodnariu family, whose five children have been seized by the Barnavernet, the Norwegian equivalent of Child Protective Services in the United States. The Barnavernet has a long history of allegations of abuse of its power. (See here, here, and here, among many others.) This case is by no means unique in that respect.

What caught the attention of the Christian media in the case of the Bodnariu family was the claim that the principal of the children's school initiated the trouble by stating that the children were being "radicalized" in Christianity by their parents and being taught that God punishes sin. According to the family, these matters were listed on the document given to their lawyer telling them what accusations formed the basis for the seizing of the children. Now, even though termination of parental rights has not been finalized, the CPS is beginning the process to try to place the children for adoption--apparently this could be in separate homes, as the siblings have not been kept together in foster care. This story states that, in a different, earlier case which the CPS lost in court, the CPS nonetheless was allowed to continue placing those children for adoption on the grounds that the case had gone on so long that it would be too traumatic to return them to their parents!

Home schoolers will particularly note (comparing the Bodnariu situation with the situation of home schoolers in various cases in Europe) the bind this puts parents in: If you home school your children (which I am told is technically legal, though regulated, in Norway), this places you under increased government scrutiny as possible radical weirdos. It draws attention to you. The government may demand that you send your children to public school so that they can be watched by outside eyes. But if you do that, then of course they are watched by outside eyes, sometimes suspicious eyes radically unsympathetic to your religious beliefs, and those very beliefs may be treated as at least partial grounds for breaking up the family. So you're damned if you do (home school) and damned if you don't. The Bodnariu family went along with having their children "socialized" by Norwegian public schools, and this is what it got them.

As public scrutiny has focused on the Barnavernet in this case, the government has apparently leaked the information to the media that the parents are being accused of physical abuse. It must be remembered, however, that all spanking, all corporal punishment of any kind, however mild, is illegal under Norwegian law. Daniel Bodnariu, the seized children's uncle, gives this plausible interpretation of what is going on:

During an interview with The Christian Post, Daniel Bodnariu, Marius' brother, explained that his brother and sister-in-law have never mistreated or abused their children and only give them "light punishments" that cause little pain when their children behaved poorly.

Bodnariu explained that while the agency hasn't found medical or physical evidence showing the children have been abused, the agency is relying on testimony from the children. And he questions whether Barnevernet has used unethical means to coax statements from the children.

"They said it was the belief of the parents, the Christian belief, and they said this creates a handicap in children because they are telling children that God punishes sin, and this is wrong in their point of view," Bodnariu said. "In the [formal] accusations, they didn't mention the religious aspect, only make the case on abuse, even though there is no evidence."

Well, that makes sense, in a cynical kind of way. The picture that emerges is all too believable: The family's ardent Christianity draws the negative attention of the principal (though the family claims that the principal himself merely wanted them offered "counseling," rather than recommending that the children be seized). The CPS agrees with the principal that all this Christianity is deeply suspicious. They are also able to discover, by questioning the children, that the parents occasionally use some form of corporal punishment or other. This, being illegal, gives plausible deniability to the claim of religious discrimination. They seize all the children and start trying to have them adopted, because they can.

Now, I admit that I have no access to the actual documents that have been given to the Bodnariu family. In Norway, as in the U.S., all such documents are private, and the entire process of seizing and placing children can be carried out by the family courts under a cloak of secrecy. No criminal charges need to be brought in a public court of law, with a presumption of innocence for the accused. This is all justified on the grounds of the "privacy of the family" and particularly the privacy of the children, but one effect is a complete lack of transparency for draconian government actions.

So it is possible that the Bodnariu parents did not merely mildly spank their children but actually beat them. The uncle said this in an early story:

Daniel, who is a pastor, added that when investigators interrogated the girls about their home life, they girls admitted that they hide some things from their parents because they fear being pulled by the ear or spanked. Daniel added that the girls explicitly told investigators that although they might fear punishment, they do not fear their parents.

Pulling children by the ear is not a great idea as a form of corporal punishment, but it would of course have been possible if that were the only legitimate concern for the Barnavernet to say, "Don't do that" and not seize the children from their parents, which must be incredibly traumatic. But of course the Barnavernet legally cannot admit that any corporal punishment is permissible. And given their fairly obvious worldview, it seems highly likely that they flatten all distinctions and regard any parents who use any corporal punishment as inherently dangerous people who must not be allowed to have children. Yes, that's my interpretation, but it's based not only on the draconian nature of the Norwegian law but also on past concerns about the Barnavernet and experience with similar ideologues in the United States.

Tales of bureaucratic overreach and power hunger on the part of CPS are all too common either here or in Europe. Deep as my sympathy is (given my interpretation of events) with the Bodnariu parents, to me, the most striking and disturbing story in all of this has been the response of some Norwegian Christians. I first became aware of the story through the public Facebook page of Christian author Nancy Pearcey, who is clearly sympathetic to the Bodnarius. As a well-known Christian writer, Pearcey has readers and Facebook followers all over the world, including in Norway. Her Norwegian readers (at least the ones who are speaking up), have been uniformly on the side of the Barnavernet. You can scroll through the comments both at the first post and in the sub-thread here, where the subject came up again.

One Norwegian Christian, for example, uttered these blanketly reassuring words:

"Barnevernet" only takes custody when they observe physical and/or sexual abuse or other gross negligence. Also, "Barnevernet" is not at liberty to share any information with the public regarding these reasons. So they can easily be accused of anything. You guys can rest assured that Christian liberties is not being attacked in Norway.

This is an astonishing level of faith in CPS. We are just supposed to "rest assured" that there's no problem, nothing to see here, folks, move along.

I note as well (and this commentator was not the only one to do this) the argument that we should trust CPS because they are unable to release private information to the public. This is a rather astonishing argument: This government agency is required by law to operate without transparency, therefore it would be unfair to the agency to accept information received from the parents even when this information is supposedly about documents they have received from the government, which cannot be revealed in any other way. The solution offered is not that children should not be seized (except in an emergency and only for a short time even then) unless criminal charges are brought and an open trial scheduled on extremely serious criminal charges (where minor spanking does not count), so that the public can be assured of the justice and wisdom of Barnavernet. No, the solution is that the public is just supposed to trust CPS without further question.

In this thread, a Christian reader, apparently Norwegian, stated as fact that "the parents in this case beat the [!@#$] out of their kids, so the authorities actually had a good reason." On what did she base this? Apparently this story, from a Christian Norwegian newspaper. It fussily lectures Christians about not being "the boy who cried wolf" about Christian persecution. It tells Christians this on the grounds that a police lawyer has stated that the parents have been accused (though not formally charged, I note) of violating Norwegian criminal law against "physical violence." The paper accepts this leaked accusation as fact, and Pearcey's Norwegian reader in turn accepts it as fact.

This third Norwegian reader boasts that he is not remotely worried as a Christian about having his children seized. He, too, has implicit faith in the CPS, and he even acts as a mouthpiece for the ideology of the "rights of the child."

I'm a norwegian christian, raising two children. I'm in no way whatsoever afraid that the child protective service (Barnevernet) will take our children from us. Why is that? Because we don't miss treat our children.

It is true that the Norwegian child protection service have power to seize children from their parents without a court trial, BUT that does not mean they can do so permanently. To permanently lose parenthood in Norway is a long thorough process, and the sad truth is that the child protection service only have resources to handle the most severe cases.

Norwegian law differs from many others on a crucial point: It emphasizes the rights of the CHILD. Not as "some parent's property", but as a person. This means that parents are not free to treat their children however they want, and the state WILL use force to empower the child against it's parents if needed. The implications of this is that practices that are considered normal in some countries are considered abusive, neglective or even criminal in Norway. This includes malnurishing your children, abuse alcohol and drugs wile children is in your care [LM: Yeah, because those are totally considered normal parenting in other Western countries like the benighted U.S.], denying your children proper schooling, spanking your children, threatening your children with corpo[r]al punishment or other severely scaring parental behavior [LM: Note the implied moral equivalence between malnourishment and even threatening a child with any corporal punishment. So saying to Johnny, "You will get a spanking if you take cookies from the cookie jar" is now equivalent to starving Johnny until he develops rickets.]. And this law counts for ALL children in Norway, ALSO immigrants, tourists and other not-native-norwegians. The fact that a nation state actually enforces childrens rights comes as a shock to some...

I highlight all of this from Pearcey's Norwegian readers to warn that this kind of passive attitude is precisely what government agencies want to cultivate. Is there a lack of accountability? Then don't seek more accountability! Simply tell people that you, as a law-abiding, rational citizen, have no fear of the government and that they should trust the government, too! There is in these comments not the slightest understanding of the famous Ronald Reagan quote, with its dark humor, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help."

It is pretty evident that these Norwegian CPS apologists are quite sincere and that they regard those who accept (even more or less) the Bodnarius' version of the story as nigh unto black helicopter conspiracy theorists and perhaps advocates for child abuse. At the same time, they use the fact that they themselves are Christians, or that a newspaper they might cite is a Christian paper, as attestation of their trustworthiness on these matters.

The gap between American attitudes toward excessive government power and European attitudes could not be more stark, and it is worth knowing that this gap extends even to European Christians.

Speaking for myself, I'm with Ronald Reagan.

Comments (55)

Outstanding work, Lydia.

One explanation for the extreme prejudice against corporal punishment by parents (and for corporal punishment by the state?) is that many Christians are now convinced that any corporal punishment whatsoever is wrong. One is not allowed even one open-handed swat on the bottom of a three-year-old after a warning.

I ran across this absolute view in the comments to an article by Rachel Lu on Crisis Mag, in which she suggested corporal punishment within strict limits is acceptable. There were a couple of commenters who teamed up against any other commenter who expressed approval for Lu's suggestion. It really seemed as though this was their life work, to warn us that we were Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. At least one of team had experienced real physical abuse as a child.

But in my experience, parents seeking to avoid the sin of physical spanking are tempted by the sin of emotional manipulation.

My own view is that we are embodied souls. And that it may be more perilous to the common good to insist that only the state can mete out embodied punishment, while the rest of us drift into mind games.


The Internet has quite a few stories of what happens when parents call the police to "scare their child into behaving right." It's almost shocking, that it's shocking to them, that it ends in either an arrest or a hail of bullets. That is what outsourcing basic corporal punishment gets parents.

"... when parents call the police to "scare their child into behaving right.""

Stupid beyond belief! Some people are TOTALLY blind to the world they ACTUALLY live in!

OK, can we say once again how some European countries are modeling for us (i.e. for the benefit of those in the US still paying attention) what runaway secular humanism looks like? The eradication of "family" is part of it. Enforcement of the "rights of children" means, in their hands, enforcement of the STATE over the FAMILY, i.e. over the PARENTS, on what ought to be left in parents' hands. The (valid) claim that the state ought to prevent physical abuse becomes, in the hands of secular humanists, a tool for intruding on ANY family that uses any form of corporal punishment - not because corporal punishment is worse than half the alternative forms of punishment, but because it give the state so much more control. (If you have kids, try a test. Next couple times your 3-year old acts out, once use a couple quick swats on the (diapered) behind, and once make him stand in the corner (nose to the wall) for 3 minutes. Later, ask him which punishment was worse. The 3 minutes will win.) Because the secular humanist believes that the child is the subject of the state without any intermediary interposed, so there is simply no SENSE to asking "the child's rights / needs / desires according to what adult in charge of him?" OF COURSE it is "according to the state" as in charge of the kid. The state simply assumes out of existence the role of the parent in mediating the child's best interest TO the state, for the child's own welfare.

Eventually, the "parents" will be merely those state-appointed temporary guardians of a given child, having nothing particularly to do with natural relationships and bonds of love. The parents will merely be agents acting with powers delegated to them by the state, with no other rights than to enact those purposes laid out by the state. Such is the "socialization" requirement of secularism.

Christians here in the US, (and in other countries that have not yet fallen to the nonsense of criminalizing punishment) need to fight the criminalization nonsense tooth and nail. Not just Christians, either: Those non-Christians with their heads screwed on tight will recognize, just as Tamsin said above, being embodied souls means learning from sense experience, and there is nothing brought "home" quite so immediately as tactile corporal "learning". But we also need to be aware of the larger picture, which is the criminalization of "family" and of Christian teaching within the family.

Delaware has, in fact, criminalized corporal punishment. I don't have the details at hand of the exact wording. The HSLDA reported it. By my recollection it was approximately five years ago. It is the only state in the union to do so, officially, though of course there are many, many states in which social workers would cause a family grief over the issue if given the opportunity.

I'd like to have a long heart-to-heart talk with the Norwegian commenter above who says he doesn't fear Norwegian CPS in the least because "we don't mistreat our children." That is incredibly naive thinking! I have to believe this individual is relatively young and inexperienced. I can assure him that CPS doesn't care in the least whether he *thinks* he doesn't mistreat his children or not. If they receive an anonymous report of suspected child abuse, they will investigate it, and it is, quite literally, a 50/50 shot whether they allow him to retain custody of his children depending on a number of factors he has little to no control over (e.g. the individual doing the investigation, what his children say to CPS as opposed to what he *thinks they'll say, the respective ages of his children at the time of investigation, what persons interviewed might say, etc., etc.). Also, the argument from 'even if they do seize your children, to do so permanently is a long, drawn out process' is, again, an incredibly ignorant position to take! In the meantime, dummy, who has custody of your kids?!

It's just a variation of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." Unfortunately, a lot of Christians do believe that if they have nothing to hide, it'll be alright for them despite the many ways you can still land in serious trouble while being totally innocent. You're at the mercy of the authorities' perception of you and what you are alleged to have done. It's not enough to be factually innocent, you must actually look that way too. Then there's the whole can of worms of what happens when evil men are in authority and they just want to hurt you for whatever reason such as they hate your type of person.

I don't want to be melodramatic, but it seems to me possible that part of the problem here is that, in Norway and also in the U.S., people have this idea in their heads that *by definition* their country is a free country. We're the good guys, right? We're the free world. This may be a leftover from the Cold War, actually. It's the Communists who are the totalitarians. We're "the West," so our people can by definition live in peace, freedom, and safety and carry out their lives without undue intervention. Hence, if someone gets in trouble with the government or gets his children taken, he _must_ have been doing something wrong, and we will just trust the system to work it all out.

It is thus that countries that once were free in that sense that citizens could rely upon gradually become un-free. Eternal vigilance and all that.

I've been reading a lot of what Zippy has been saying about politics, freedom and liberalism, and it really puts Norway into context. I've had some of my own similar observations, such as when I noticed that radical individualism can only exist when there's a government that will simultaneously bail people out when their freedom goes awry and that can stop other authorities from interceding.

I don't know what the solution for us is, but I think there will be some painful rejections of aspects of our culture before it's all said and done in order for us to overcome this.

One thing we should consider, perhaps, is a radical change in our constitutional order that formally recognizes the family as a polity within the federal system with its own sovereign rights before the states and federal government. I'm not sure how we'd structure that in all of the details, but I think one place to start would be to look at a Christianized version of pater familias minus the authority over adult children with their own lives.

I think we are starting to get to the point where only something as radical as making the legal presumption that a father (or widow/divorced woman with children) is at least quasi-sovereign over their home, and that the presumption is that they are a superior authority to the state in ordinary legal matters may stop this nonsense.

"a radical change in our constitutional order"

A society that can carry out such a change is one that does not need it in the first place.
Meanwhile, people that are afraid of Govt seizing their children might consider moving to countries where the Govt is not in this business e.g. the free countries of the South--Latin America, India, East Asia.

Radical individualism is just the peak capitalism. Nothing between a man and a man but cash nexus.

Oh yes, radical individualism and peak capitalism. The cash nexus explains Norwegian Christians losing their children at the caprice of bureaucrats.

And hey, if you don't like it, just move to China, land of liberty, where infringements on parental rights cannot happen.

What a numb skull we have here.

On the larger point of Lydia's excellent post, it is indeed a bitter thing to observe the cluelessness of some Christians regarding these child services bureaucrats. That they would rather mistrust their brother Christians than mistrust unaccountable bureaucrats does not speak well of their discernment.

Hey, China only takes your children _before_ they are born. In the sense of forcing you to abort them. (Eyeroll.)

Mike T. raises the issue of constitutional amendment. The HSLDA has been working for decades (literally) to amend the Constitution to give a kind of strong presumption of parental rights over the rearing of the child. I think it has little chance of ever passing. It's just not an issue most people are passionate about.

More seriously, the issue has a difficulty in that it has inherent vagueness. Obviously, if people *really are* beating their children to a pulp, we want the local government to be able to intervene. Or deliberately starving them half to death, etc., etc.

So how does one pack into a constitutional amendment that _prima facie_ sovereignty of the parents over child rearing combined with the rational role of the state when that sovereignty is really _seriously_ abused? I doubt that it can be satisfactorily done, because in the very nature of the case much will be left to the courts to decide. Was this a true emergency, etc. But that is what family courts in states with sensible laws are _already_ supposed to be deciding.

A new constitutional amendment would put some procedural protections in place for parents from micromanaging by bureaucrats by making it a constitutional matter. By the same token it would federalize many such decisions, so that what counts as real abuse justifying intervention would then be set (presumably) by federal court precedents interpreting the new amendment.

These are all prudential matters. As a matter of ideology and general policy ideas, I think that I and the HSLDA are pretty much on precisely the same page. It's just a puzzle as to how to get government to operate within its proper limits, when of course government has no motivation to do so!

What I think would be a more plausible reform would be something like the following, on a state-by-state level.

Any state that criminalizes corporal punishment as such, with no exception for mild corporal punishment by parents (such as Delaware, the only one I know of so far) needs to be pressed to change.

As it stands already, CPS can remove children without a court order only "in an emergency." The law needs to be strengthened so that, whether with or without a court order, children must be returned to their previous custodial parent(s) within x days unless *formal criminal charges* are filed by the relevant prosecuting agency. And in that case, an expedited trial must be scheduled in order to minimize the trauma to innocent parents and children. Long-term removal of children should be treated as a punishment to be meted out only upon conviction beyond reasonable doubt *by a jury trial* of serious criminal charges which are clearly related to the basic safety and well-being of a child. These crimes and/or the circumstances surrounding them could be listed in the law.

One idea I've toyed with is that felonies should not be statutory law, but an article of the jurisdiction's constitution. Congress and the state legislature should have no authority on their own to just willy nilly dream up new serious offenses, but rather the process should be a radical political change. This is how we arrive at absurdities like "oh, you carried a gun while selling crack, that'll be an extra 10 years in prison" and the general spectacle of one criminal act carrying 3-15 attendant felony charges.

Why does that matter? Because if the definitions of child abuse are rigorous and set in stone, a radicalized legislature cannot easily change them. I don't know about other states, but in Virginia an amendment has to be ratified by the people. How many parents would vote to give up to the state that discipline? Probably not a majority.

Another thing is that we need to start insisting that "conservatives" at the federal level pursue federal civil rights criminal charges against local CPS authorities who abuse their authority.

Meanwhile in Norway...

I read that in some places in these countries, Asatru followers have built their own patrols called the "Soldiers of Odin" to start standing up to the lawlessness being promulgated in the name of "tolerance."

My guess would be that these Christians would happily volunteer to assist the police in suppressing such groups just like they did when they tried to stop some of the riots a while ago in Sweden (IIRC). The spirit of Quisling still lingers in Norway.

Whether or not it would be "quisling" to turn in a "soldier of Odin" to the police would depend entirely on the context. Speaking for myself, I take not the slightest comfort in the notion of armies of self-styled Odin worshipers starting up militias in European countries. I find the resurgence of paganism in Europe distinctly creepy. I also have some idea of what such groups are preaching.

One idea I've toyed with is that felonies should not be statutory law, but an article of the jurisdiction's constitution. Congress and the state legislature should have no authority on their own to just willy nilly dream up new serious offenses,

You've got a point. There is something very out-of-whack about a mere legislature coming up with a whole new category of serious crime that didn't use to be a crime, as if whole new ways of being immoral pop up all the time.

On the other hand, felony law does need to change more often than the constitution. The constitution is supposed to be (a) very stable, and (b) more about "how to make law - and what kinds of matters are off limits, than DIRECT positive law like felonies. While much of felony law should be fairly stable, it shouldn't require a constitutional amendment to fix something that time and cultural modification has made out-of-date. That just exactly what a legislature is for. In actuality, legislatures shouldn't be changing law all that much anyway, changes in laws should mostly be infrequent for the sake of stability and virtue (which is habitual). The problem is all that constant change to begin with.

And popping a guy for 10 "different" violations all for the same act is grotesque. I think I know how it is justified: the courts letting criminals go because of technicalities that some judge thinks means what he did doesn't fall squarely within the (narrowly legalistic) definition. So stack up all the different "violations" he might have had, hoping one or two stick.

The underlying problem is the judicial system, and legislatures ought to rein that problem in, not just legislate around it. If judges (being lawyers by training and aptitude) want to demand every more picky and narrow interpretations of a law defining a felony, then attack the problem by legislating better definitions - not more narrow and fine-tuned like the judges want, but rather demanding "natural language" interpretation of law, and then impeach the judges that foul that up. Sooner or later, legislatures are going to have to recognize that they CAN'T legislate "around" bad judges if they leave those judges in place, they have to remove them. And "bad" in this context is not corrupt judges on the take, but judges with bent notions of reality trying to force square pegs into round holes to fit their senseless philosophies.

Paul Cella should know some facts before pronouncing on others' numbskullness. There has been at least one reported case of a Swedish family that was caught while fleeing to India with their children. They were caught right on a plane that was about to depart.

And East Asia does not equal to China. The advise was to "free countries of East Asia". China is not.

Lydia, "only in an emergency" for CPS is on the level of "probable cause" for law enforcement, as I'm sure you're perfectly aware, but just sayin' this sort of language is fairly easy to manipulate for those so disposed. That said, I don't know what the answer to the dilemma is given that in cases where there is actual, verifiable abuse, government at some level has to be able to step in and protect said child/children. But even in those cases, removal of the child/children should not be deemed "punishment meted out."

I haven't followed up on it, but there was a case a couple years ago in McAlester, Oklahoma in which a couple were accused (by an anonymous caller) of child abuse. (Personally I think *anonymous* reports of basically *any kind* of unlawful behavior, but especially something as potentially dangerous to families as accusations of "child abuse/neglect" ought to be treated with a great deal of skepticism by the investigating agency in question, but in Oklahoma anonymous reports are encouraged, and by law *have to be* investigated); CPS investigated and the father invited them into their home, believing he had nothing to worry about since the accusation was false. When CPS determined to remove the the child from their custody, the father asked "what are our rights?" The representative answered (this was reported in the local newspaper) "they taught you your rights in third grade, you should have paid better attention."

That kind of attitude is what we're dealing with in these SJWs working at CPS and other sorts of agencies. And when I hear of cases like that (and they are legion!) it makes me think we'd all be better off to just dissolve CPS altogether. Of course I realize that's not a viable option, but still. I had my own encounter with CPS about 14 years ago. Again I reiterate, you have to be very aware of the world you *really* live in! In our particular case we'd only lived in our current community for about a year when the *anonymous* call by a neighbor (we now know who made the call) who was "concerned" about "neglect," namely that our kids did not attend the local public school. At the end of the day that was what it was about, but the actual reason CPS investigated was based on other forms of neglect since Oklahoma has some of the most liberal homeschooling laws in the country. In any event, even then I was aware enough of the world I actually live in to know not to just let them in my house automatically. And in our particular case (Thank the Lord!), the representative who showed up (although he had a very accusatory attitude with me to begin with) actually had a very good head on his shoulders. I did allow him in the house ultimately, but not before we got a couple things he was *not to do* straight beforehand - he was *not to* alarm the kids *in any way* that he was here to investigate "child abuse/neglect of anykind. He honored that request and allowed me to bring it out in due course. Also, his recommendation to the CPS board was, as he promised it would be upon leaving, that "no further action be taken." Toward the end of the visit he asked, "what would you do if you were me?" My answer was very serious and to the point: "If I were you, I would start looking for another line of work before this one leads you into a situation in which you're forced to do something your conscience won't bear." That is, destroy a family for no good reason, based on *anonymous* misrepresentation of facts. On the other hand, if we have to have CPS, he's the kind of representative we need, as opposed to that sort I mentioned earlier in the comment. So it's six of one, a half-dozen of the other; pick your poison and all that.

Mike T., yes, that's right about it emanating from a false sense of security based on "I'm innocent, therefore nothing can go wrong in my case" or whatever. Like I said, incredibly naive and stupid! And you're right too about there being a lot of Christians (unfortunately) who believe they're basically immune to these situations because they "don't abuse their kids" and blah, blah. But as regards the Norwegian commenter in question, I don't necessarily buy that he's a Christian except in perhaps the loosest sense of the term. Christianity is a lifestyle and a distinctive world view; in the comment Lydia quotes in the O.P., I'm led to believe that his 'brand' of Christianity is extremely passive on the one hand, and emphasizes "render unto Caesar" on the other. That brand of "Christianity" is one I'm personally very skeptical of. Anyone can call themselves anything they want in social media, and none of us is the wiser for it. But the commenter does (by his written "fruits") indicate that his sort of Christianity isn't a serious or studied sort. So, "I'm a Norwegian Christian" doesn't just stand on its own merit as far as I'm concerned. But that's just me.

Whether or not it would be "quisling" to turn in a "soldier of Odin" to the police would depend entirely on the context.

It's mainly a statement about their liberalism. They'd rather fight the pagan who is beating back the unruly foreigners trashing their country than coopt the rising pagan-secular nationalist movement into a Christian one. They can't even conceive of a nationalist, Norway for Norwegians, movement that is centered on Christianity. Or if they do, they immediately get the shivers and think it sounds like Nazism.

"Or if they do, they immediately get the shivers and think it sounds like Nazism."

Or, worse yet, the "theocracy" boogeyman. Woooo!

Here again, this attitude indicates a whole 'nother concept of Christianity than I have come to understand. Not that I think I have it all totally nailed down, or anything like that, but I also know that "let he who is without sin cast the first stone," as one of many examples we could cite to make the point, was not Christ's "last word" concerning the adulterous woman caught dead to rights. Biblical illiteracy is a huge problem these days among our fellow Christians, as we're all aware, I'm sure.

They can't even conceive of a nationalist, Norway for Norwegians, movement that is centered on Christianity.

Hence the nature of this website:

dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom

"Christendom" stands for the notion that Christianity has something affirmative to say about the state, and that a state can be a "Christian state" in a positive sense. Further, (picking up on G.K. Chesterton's contribution), man's nature is to live and breathe within a political "home" that is his because it is local, and in which he takes due pride not as "the best" but because it is his. Hence "Norway for the Norwegians" makes sense.

I dare say that a "Christian" who would prefer secular humanist overlords of the bureaucrats over the intrusion of new pagan Odin worshipers may be reacting out of sheer aesthetic preference, but is there really much to prefer of one over the other - both given over to killing those who are inconvenient? That the former do it (mostly) antiseptically is a matter of aesthetics. But as a practical matter, I don't know if one or the other is more likely to be converted to Christianity, which ought to be his true goal. The pagan at least has the virtue of being hot or cold, rather than lukewarm milquetoast fit only for spewing out. On the other hand, the likelihood of a Christian living long enough to try to convert - other than by martyr's blood - rests with the bureaucrat.

is there really much to prefer of one over the other - both given over to killing those who are inconvenient

As you said, it's an aesthetic preference. One reason to prefer the pagans, though, is that Asatru seems to be more right wing than, say, Wicca. In practice, the heathens worshiping the Aesir might actually leave you alone if you are virtuous (in the classical sense) whereas that is a liability with the modern liberal bureaucrat.

And to be honest, I'm finding it very hard to conceive of how the secularists are in any way morally superior on matters of violence against the inconvenient. I don't recall every reading much about Norse pagans slaughtering the unborn and elderly. I guess we are supposed to be so aghast at the Blood Eagle that we don't notice that, like the Spanish Inquisition, it was visited on a statistically insignificant number of people while the modern slaughter of the weak has slaughtered a high double digit percentage of the millennial generation's potential members.

Mike, I think one must not underestimate the savage barbarity of the Vikings. A look at their nihilistic mythology and a read of contemporary historians reveals the reason for the enormous fear they generated in Northern Europe over centuries.

While not exonerating the modern Molochites, they do have the advantage of technology unavailable to the likes of the Norse, who may well have had a comparable intention to murder.

I'm disgusted by stories like this. Call it my 'trigger' if you like, but when Christian children are targetted, it makes my blood boil. I'm afraid to say the only solution for this family would be to try and get their children back for some period and flee the country. Russia would likely take them in. Important message for Christians is ensure you are skilled and could benefit a possible refuge country if you had to flee wherever you are.

And cease thinking you have any allegiance to governments who hate us. These are illegal usurpations governments of a hostile cult on Occidental soil. One day there will be justice however, do not doubt it.

I don't recall every reading much about Norse pagans slaughtering the unborn and elderly.

Errr....you mean, the unborn and the elderly of their own society, right? Because, they slaughtered anyone they felt like where they plundered.

And even within their own: I can't imagine they were any LESS severe on the handicapped newborn than the Romans were. As for the elderly, I don't really know, but frankly the northern European "old crone" stigma of witchery probably was as prevalent in Scandanavian countries as it was in Germanic ones. With the general valorization of the fighting man usually comes the de-valuation of the old man, wise or not.

And that's about people internal to their Viking society as such. What did the Vikings do to Christians when Christians tried to insert themselves into Viking culture?

Errr....you mean, the unborn and the elderly of their own society, right?

Yes. I can't see even the average Viking agreeing with the logic "I had to kill my child or I couldn't continue college."

The Vikings were murderous barbarians primarily toward others. Liberalism turns whole societies into murderous barbarians against their own people. That's of course mainly the "good type of liberalism." The more extreme variations have been known to be equal opportunity in their propensity to slaughter.

Is there any reason to believe that the Vikings were particularly murderous rather than merely successful warriors?

Since family consists of more than parents, there is a tension between authority of the family and parental authority. See, for instance, the supreme court judgment on Troxel v. Granville--about visitation right of the grandparents. Is it really just for a mother to deny children their grandparents?
Is it really anti-family if the State overrules maternal authority and allows grand-parental visits?

There is also tension between the older "harm to the children" and newer “in the best interests of the child.” criteria. Judge Stevens opined:
"The constitutional protection against the arbitrary state interference with parental rights should not be extended to prevent the States from protecting children against the arbitrary exercise of parental authority that is not in fact motivated by an interest in the welfare of the child".

The wording is unobjectionable in itself but a great deal lies in the interpretation of terms "arbitrary" and "welfare of the child". One might mandate that the parental determination of the child's interest shall not be subject to review by courts or agencies but there is a thin line between "best interest" and "harm". Is denying grand-parental visits a "harm" that the courts are empowered to rectify or is simply a parental determination of the "best interest", arbitrary or otherwise?

Tangentially related, I can't seem to bring up the millercase.org website. There was a recent entry that his appeal was denied and that he may be serving jail time soon.

Is it really anti-family if the State overrules maternal authority and allows grand-parental visits?

The primary authority over the child is the parent (first father, then mother), not the extended family. That is the natural order of things in a nuclear family. There are cases where that can be abused, but in general parents don't restrict grandparental visitation unless there is a clash of values or something to that effect.

The genuinely good grandparent who gets mistreated like that is about as common as the innocent wife who gets taken to the cleaners by the family law courts by a wicked husband. It's just rare enough that we even notice it because it usually only comes up as exception to the rule. Most of the time, the grandparent suing is probably some jerk anyway since most parents love sending their kids off to their grandparents to get some time away from them.

Is it really anti-family if the State overrules maternal authority and allows grand-parental visits?

Is it really pro-family to rule that parents must allow the visitation of a grandparent who has explicitly and repeatedly confirmed that they oppose one or many things the parents have settled on as core beliefs of their family? And who have demonstrated that opposition by flailing at in with the grandkids?

Or, to take an example I have heard about: is it really pro-family for the courts to enforce visitation for grandparents who knowingly turned a blind eye to years of incestuous rape of a daughter, and whose daughter cannot even stand to look at them much less welcome them into her home? Should that daughter be forced to deal with them?

Even if, perchance (as unlikely as it would be) a parent were to arbitrarily and whimsically deny visitation to grandparents, is it REALLY a good idea for the state to step in and enforce some sort of quasi-normal intra-familial relations? Why? Would this be all the more likely to create love where there is not already love? Or would that merely be one more front on which tensions and angst exist?

Since family consists of more than parents

Family consists of more than parents, but this truth is true through the primacy of the first, primary relationship of parents to their direct children. Thus this other truth must necessarily take second fiddle to the first relationship. (This is the reason that an extended-family paterfamilias who is directly in charge of the internal parent-child matters of descendants 2 and 3 generations below is a distortion of family properly ordered.)

If this is true (it's The Sun), then oh man... NYC can be worse than Norway on this issue. It claims they took the Christian woman's child from her and gave him into the foster custody of a gay activist who is closely associated with people in the porn industry.

The pater familias discussion is interesting. I am not sure what to believe about it, but it is interesting.

No one ever understands this, but I will say it anyway: If you have never had a child in your home who is temperamentally out of control (like from the age of 3, though all his siblings were perfectly normal), then you have no idea how insane prohibitions against corporal punishment are. You quite literally do not understand the circumstance in which parents have no workable options. Norwegian and Delawarian lawmakers simply do not understand.

Day and night, younger siblings are physically endangered by an out-of-control older brother. Day and night, no property, no money, no credit card, no document, no valuable in the home is ever secure. In a six-child family, the one child literally requires (or soaks up) more attention and care than the other five combined.

You put him in this school. You put him in that school. Every school's principal soon helpfully suggests that he be put in another school. You send him to live with grandparents, he steals their money and wrecks their car (though he's only eleven), and they send him back.

Ever had your identity stolen by your own, twelve-year-old kid?

And this is before he discovers recreational drugs.

Family life is blighted. In bed every night, for thousands of nights, the parents earnestly discuss "What to do about Johnny this time?" while their other children's needs are overlooked. This nightmare lasts eighteen years—or at least until the child is old enough to turn over to the police, if mother can stand to turn him over, which she probably can't.

Most children of European descent seem to grow up fine with no heavy corporal punishment. This confuses people, because the problem is the occasional child who does absolutely require heavy corporal punishment.

As I said, no one ever understands this. They think that they do, but they don't. They can't. They always offer ideas: "Well, have you tried this? Well, have you tried that?" As though you hadn't tried it already twenty times. As though you were too dim in a decade to come up with the bright idea which occurs to someone else in ten minutes. As though you did not love your own, impossible son, but they did. As though you were not the one who had once fed him at 2 a.m. and changed all his diapers, but they were. As though you wanted to beat your son. As though any other means of discipline might somehow (no one knows how, but somehow) have worked.

You can't blame other people, really. They haven't lived through it. They know no more of it than they do of the dark side of the moon.

Ironically, contra Lydia, almost the only ones who do understand it are front-line employees of the social-services bureaucracy, whose work puts them in regular contact with actual, flesh-and-blood, out-of-control kids. After a few years' experience on the job, front-line social-services employees tend to get it. No one else does.

Not that I like CPS. I do not like CPS any more than Lydia does, nor trust them; but messy reality can be odd, sometimes.

Thanks for the article.

On the issue of so called "grand parents rights," this is something the Oklahoma legislature is currently exploring, due to "popular demand," and something I personally will fight against, tooth-and-nail, until my dying day (I am not only a parent, but a grandparent too, btw, and I've never disallowed grandparental visitation of my children on either side, although I threatened to years ago when my mother-in-law threatened to call CPS on me for spanking our oldest son in her presence).

No need to restate what has already been said on the issue, but cudos to Mike T. and Tony for laying it out nicely. I will say this, grandparents aren't generally suited to proper parenting, which involves a lot more than loving children unconditionally, but also discipline, including corporal punishment when necessary. Many modern grandparents are excluded from visitation of their grandchildren for the *very good reason* that they seek, at the end of the day, custody of the children in question. Tony mildly alluded to this, and I'm expounding on the point by stating the underlying motive of grandparents I know who are strong advocates for "grandparents' rights." I see it all the time, and it's twisted, for lack of a better term, the extent grandparents will go sometimes to prove their own children "unsuitable" parents; not only that, but if and when they do get custody of their grandchildren at an early age, they will often (unwittingly I suppose, but nevertheless) do everything in their power to turn them into narcissists and human scum. Quite literally. This is one of the primary reasons I oppose state enforced "grandparental rights" exclusive of parental authority with every fiber of my being!


Do state authorities ever help? That is, have you ever met anyone—anyone at all—who told you, "As a child, my home life was bad until CPS intervened. Things were better at home after that. As a bonus, thanks to CPS, I got to see my grandparents again before they died."

The question is not meant facetiously. I have long wondered why state authorities seem to lack shining success cases to brag to the public about. Is it because there are so few success cases to brag about? Is it because there are none?

Never having worked in a social-services bureaucracy, I do not know. One does wonder, though.

As you can see in my last comment, I do not actually despise all the people who work in the social-services bureaucracy. I strongly distrust the bureaucracy as a state institution. I think that the bureaucrats work under a fundamentally bad system; but I also observe that some, maybe many (for all I know), of the individual bureaucrats, by dint of daily work over a period of years, seem eventually to develop a good deal of quiet, practical knowledge regarding people with really weird problems. I also notice that the social-services bureaucrat wearily learns how little, sometimes, a social worker can really help.

I do not know whether my observations fit Lydia's narrative or contradict it. I suppose that they fit, sort of, but maybe not quite in the way one would expect.

I strongly agree with you that grandparental rights are a public-policy mistake. One can agree that (a) grandparents in general have a moral right to the dignity of honorary rulership over their tree of descendants, without conceding that (b) there existed any practical family problems which state-enforced grandparental rights did not merely exacerbate.

Yes, grandparents' rights laws are anti-family.

Howard Harrison, if there are CPS workers out there who have quiet, practical, knowledge, then good for them. I'll expect that they won't be the ones telling the cops to break the door down and arrest the parents because the parents won't invite them in to strip-search and interrogate the children and check the refrigerator to see what you're feeding your kids on the basis of a wildly implausible anonymous allegation from someone who calls a hot-line.

And if this quiet, practical knowledge leads them to understand that corporal punishment isn't bad in itself, then they won't be the ones trying to take the kids away because of it.

In Norway that latter type of quiet, practical knowledge is disallowed by law, and the Straighteners would like that to be the case in every state of the union in the U.S.

Scott W., see new post.

Howard, the only case I personally know of in which CPS actually helped, other than inadvertently, is my own case that I spoke of above. And again, that started out looking bad for us because the investigator came assuming we were guilty as charged. I didn't have a problem inviting him into the house, but not before he lost the 'guilty until proven innocent,' accusatory attitude. I demanded this for all of our sakes; I didn't want the kids (who are just naturally very personable and inquisitive with visitors to start with) to 'clam up', so to speak, because they could 'feel' some sort of uneasy tension in the air. Once we got the rules straight and he agreed to honor them, I invited him in and let the kids work their magic. I only say they helped in that case because it could have gone bad fairly easily had things transpired a little differently. It didn't serve to change anything about the way we conduct ourselves as parents.

I have intimate knowledge of several similar cases, and in every one of them CPS created a bigger problem than already existed, to a greater or lesser extent. In one particular case involving Texas CPS, the maternal grandparents and their daughter's sister started out clamoring for the mother to divorce her husband and come to live, with her children, in their town in Oklahoma. When they realized she wasn't going to do that, they began to say things about the husband that seemed to be utterly out of character - that they suspected sexual abuse with the oldest daughter (14 at the time), and convinced her to speak to her school counselor about about his "psychological abuse" through contact with her on social media. Of course the school counselor immediately called CPS in. That turned out a (inadvertent) success story because (1) the daughter flatly denied her father had ever touched her or even looked at her inappropriately in several separate interviews with CPS, conducted over a several weeks period (meanwhile the father was removed from the home) and (2), she was, afterward, allowed to move in with a close relative in the grandparents' town and enroll in school there, which lasted all of about two months before she realized Mom and Dad's rules weren't nearly as oppressive, mean and abusive, as she'd before thought. (I was actually told I would be interviewed by CPS in that case since I had intimate, first hand knowledge of what the grandparents and sister had been saying about the alleged sexual abuse, and they didn't apparently believe the girl's story to the contrary, but it never materialized.)

The girl in the above case is easily forgiven since, being only 14, had no earthly idea how dangerous a situation she was getting her family into, but the adults (the grandparents and aunt), well, they're a different story altogether. I know their daughter and son-in-law subsequently, and very understandably, broke all contact with them, and the chances of eventual reconciliation are slim to none at this point. In that sense too CPS created a bigger problem by getting involved.

Terry, your "success" stories are those in which CPS didn't make things worse, and everything turned out OK in the end. There isn't much basis to suggest, though, that CPS made things better by their being there, except for things like the maternal grandmother just not threatening to call in CPS any more.

What Howard Harrison is looking for, I think, is where CPS actually made a defective nuclear family turn around and get fixed. And to be honest, I am not sure there are many cases like this. But I don't think this is the only kind of success story they should be able to claim, either.

About 15 or 20 years ago, there was a front page story of a crack mom who had abused her 3 kids, beat them, neglected them, starved them, never bathed them, etc. IIRC, one (a 2-year old?) died, the other two were gravely malnourished. The failure that was plastered all over the paper is that (a) the mother's addiction was a known problem (she had been convicted) and (b) CPS had been called by neighbors more than once. So in spite of adequate evidence, a baby died from lack of action.

But to turn that around: CPS has to be able to claim saving children from death or physical abuse when (for example) a violent stepfather or step-boyfriend is denounced by neighbors who see / hear / know the abuse. And, similarly, saving children from grave neglect from addict mothers. Even if these children never get back with an intact nuclear family with their own bio mother and father again, these are success cases, just not perfect success. Because CPS is not God or the Church, it is only a state function and does not have even the sacraments available to it, much less God's power and grace.

By the same token, though, there should be a much clearer, high bar for CPS investigators to have to pass to even get in the door. And as for interrogating kids, there should be a mandate that they have to LITERALLY submit their questions in advance to a trusted third-party proctor, such as the family's pastor or lawyer. For, intact families are actually the first defense against some of the evils that CPS is worried about, and for CPS to damage that family by investigating with hobnailed boots stomping all over the parents and kids' moral sensibilities is not a SOLUTION.

I am afraid that "grandparent rights" is just another stepping stone toward the status of "parent" being legally considered nothing more than whomever the state happens temporarily to award custody of a child, for whatever reasons it may have - including awarding custody to corporations that offer more pay to the state. Slavery in all but name, which is very likely to occur if we don't figure out how to slap constraints on IVF and surrogacy.

All of the things you mention, Tony, are why cops should be the ones doing these investigations. CPS is like a higher level of the rape tribunals that are being created at universities. Rank amateurs who make stuff up as they go, no respect for the accused, ideologically inclined to believe the best of the plaintiff.

By the same token, though, there should be a much clearer, high bar for CPS investigators to have to pass to even get in the door. And as for interrogating kids, there should be a mandate that they have to LITERALLY submit their questions in advance to a trusted third-party proctor, such as the family's pastor or lawyer.

That is particularly important because it has been discovered in the wake of the sex abuse hysteria of the 80s that children are particulary susceptible to gaslighting during things like interrogations. Interrogations should not only be monitored, but record, and if the child show signs of memory manipulation the interrogator should be immediately charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice and probably some sort of felony child abuse charge as well.

Tony, yes, I understood Howard's question, and I personally do not know of any success stories like he describes, which isn't to say, of course, that such stories do not exist, only that I personally don't know about them if they do. I was grasping a little bit above for the positives, sure, but I consider it a "success story," and not just a minor one, if CPS initiates an investigation of a family on the word of an anonymous caller, and everything turns out ok for the family when all is said and done. In the second story involving Texas CPS, I see I failed to point out clearly that the 14 year-old daughter who initiated the investigation on advice from the grandmother and aunt got the britches scared off of her, so to speak, when CPS swooped in to "save the day." It doesn't fit Howard's scenario of a shining success story obviously, but it was nonetheless a positive that she realized she'd made a terrible mistake and will likely never make it again.

Concerning your example of CPS failures to prevent child deaths where there is actual abuse, and/or, neglect, I hate to hear about those cases on several levels. Much ado was made about a few examples like that in Oklahoma a few years back (my recollection is that it involved maybe four or five cases spanning three or four years, but that could be wrong; also, I recall that one CPS worker actually s
committed suicide over one of the cases) so CPS was under a lot of scrutiny and pressure at the time to do more to prevent those occurances. But at the end of the day that means handing over more authority to CPS/loosening restrictions on their authority. So it's a catch-22 type situation to start with, and we're talking about human beings and human institutions here, so no matter how much authority they're given they're never, ever going to have a 100% success rate. What comes with that territory invariably, of course, is that in proportion to the loosening of restrictions placed on CPS authority, there is the greater and greater probability that people who don't have anything to hide, and therefore shouldn't have anything to worry about, WILL be hurt.

As to your last paragraph, I couldn't agree more!

All, a couple of clarifications now that I've gone back and re-read this thread:

First of all, I have always considered it an act of divine providence, not just a chance occurance, that in our particular case we got the right investigator who, underneath all the initial accusatory posturing, was actually a decent, level-headed family man himself. I may have given a different impression based on all the "50/50 chance" rhetoric, but I only meant that in cases where peoples' faith is sketchy at best, non-existent at worst. At the same time I don't want to give off the impression I think we somehow merit God's favor. I don't believe that at all. But God has been gracious to us, thankfully!

Second, imagine this scenario: stranger you don't know from Adam shows up at 8:00 am one morning and literally beats loudly on your door. You open the door hesitantly (why is this guy beating on my door?!), and the guy introduces himself as so and so from DHS-CPS. You answer, "okay?" And this is how he responds:

Investigator: "Do you know what DHS-CPS is?

Me: "Yes."

Him: (demeanor turns more hostile and accusatory; tone very accusatory!): "Oh really?!; and how exactly, Mr. Morris, is it that you know about CPS?!"

Me: (step out onto the front deck and close the door behind me; motion to 'keep your voice down'): "Follow me to the driveway, please. First of all, don't take that accusatory tone with me!; I know about CPS the same way *everybody* knows about CPS; you're all over the news, for goodness sakes! Someone has called on us?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "Anonymously?"

Him: "Yes. You don't think I should be here?"

Me: "No, I *know* you shouldn't be here, but you are here, so we have a problem. Specifically, I won't allow in the house to interview the kids until I see a change in your attitude."

Him: "Don't you think CPS has a place in society?"

Me: "Yes; a very limited one. And I know you guys are all too quick to take the word of an *anonymous* caller "concerned" about "abuse" or whatever. In this case the accusations are completely false, but your attitude towards me so far confirms my position about your having already formed an opinion in the matter. We need to change that before I invite you into the house."

This all went on for about 20-30 minutes before I felt comfortable enough with the guy to allow him inside to speak to the kids. But you can see, I hope, that I was well justified initially to bark back at him a little bit and insist our conversation be moved to the driveway completely out of hearing distance from the kids.

Terry, you're very lucky that he did not call the police, have you arrested, and have your children, all of them, taken into foster care on the grounds of an "emergency" caused by your "obstructive" attitude. He could have done so, with zero legal repercussions.

The HSLDA recommends calling them on your cell phone and asking the CPS worker to talk to them on the phone on the front step, but of course one has to be a home schooler to be an HSLDA member. If the CPS worker continues to insist on coming in after that, they recommend saying that the CPS worker does not have _permission_ to enter the home, but that you are _leaving the door unlocked_ and are not actively resisting their coming in. Apparently this is supposed to help, legally, to prevent things from escalating.

Well, one positive side to the massive mismanagement of our economy is that when the government is left with only a rotten, inedible carrot to complement the stick, the only thing people focus on is the stick and get mad as hell that the stick is even out in their face.

That's why CPS can act like a bunch of tyrants in Georgetown in DC, but would never act like that in Southwest. If Terry's interlocutor talked to a working class single mom in the ghetto over discipline, he'd probably be unrecognizable by the time the neighbors were done dealing with him. Which is why you see them dithering on custody matters involving crack [ed.], but persecuting middle class white families.


involving crack [ed.]

Since when is that word considered profane?

Lydia, one of the things I despise about this society is that so many people are so quick to call the authorities if they feel like they might get the slightest whiff of push back. So, yes, there is that danger and you have to be aware of it.

As an aside, a couple of summers ago we were under a statewide burn ban, but I live in a tiny community off the beaten path where everyone bends the rules a little bit on stuff like that because you're not endangering anyone's property by burning a little trash in your driveway while closely monitoring it with a water hose at the ready. And generally speaking it doesn't concern anyone because we all know we have to be careful about flying embers and whatever. But anyway, my neighbor next door had picked up and raked a few tree branches out of his yard, piled them at the edge of his driveway and lit them on fire, with the water hose at the ready and all that. As it was burning a woman who has a lake property nearby, but lives in Oklahoma City, drove by and called the local volunteer fire dept. I never did get the straight scoop on why this happened, but three separate volunteer fire departments actually responded to the call, and they came flying in here with their sirens blazing, a hundred miles an hour (little exaggeration there, but you know what I mean), and lit the place up like a Christmas tree since it was just after dark. I walked over to talk to my neighbor, and we were just laughing and joking between ourselves about the overkill (it really was ridiculous), and as I turned to come back to my house I remarked to my neighbor that I "sure am glad these boys came out to save the day!, you might have burned the whole neighborhood down, Steve!" Now, it was kind of a snarky remark and I probably should not have said it, but when I did one of the firemen ran over to me, shoved his cell phone in my face and said, "would you like me to call the sheriff?! I'll call the sheriff on ya, man!" I said "go ahead and call him; I know Joel, I've known him for a long time and I'm happy to talk to him. But in the meantime, why don't you grow up! Then simply stepped around him and walked on home.

But anyway, yes, one has to be aware that there are those types out there, and they seem to be the type who work in law enforcement, social services and those kinds of jobs. But I will say this, the CPS guy never gave me the impression he was that type. And I think you may be projecting the attitude and behavior of CPS in, say, Vermont, onto CPS here in small-town Oklahoma. I think that's not right. It's bad enough here, but they call it "flyover country" dor a reason. But I'll also say that had the CPS guy been a younger man instead of close to my age or a little older, or had they sent a woman, especially a young woman, I would have treated the situation a little differently most likely. I don't really believe in "luck," but I know what you meant. He could have called the sheriff's dept on me, sure, but it wasn't likely he would do that, and I don't really think he could have *had me arrested* on his own authority, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Probably would have amounted to "Terry, you have to let him in the house," and that would be that.

Lydia, one of the things I despise about this society is that so many people are so quick to call the authorities if they feel like they might get the slightest whiff of push back. So, yes, there is that danger and you have to be aware of it.

It's ironic because as a society we go out of our way to abolish all non-consensual authority wherever we can, but at the first hint that someone is actually not consenting to particular authority claims we fly off the handle worse than the majority of our authoritarian forebears.

All of the calling and anonymous reporting is a more moderate version of what regimes like East Germany did. Despite what the judiciary says, the US Constitution requires the government to record who is making the report and make them accessible in court. The judiciary, as it is wont to do, simply makes stuff up as it goes along because dontcha know it, but the founders never thought that people like the woman on holiday should have to actually be dragged into court and cross-examined. The harassment of it all!

Mike, you know your society is in deep decline whenever people inform on one another as a matter of course, and at the drop of a hat, and haven't the slightest clue they're cutting their own throats in the process.

I have a good friend who is a dog lover and also retired. He calls himself a "conservative," and rails constantly about how liberalism is destroying the country. Now, I'm pretty fond of dogs myself, so don't take me wrong, but ever since my friend retired a couple years ago, and since he has nothing better to do with his time now, he literally drives around neighborhoods looking for signs of animal abuse, and if he sees a German Shepherd on a chain that's not well groomed, he will drive by the place a couple more times over a span of a week. If he sees no change in the dog's appearance at the end of the week, he will call the authorities. But, I mean, you can't convince him what he's doing might not be such a great idea. I've tried.

You could probably just start making fun of it, like asking him when he's going to go into the big leagues and start his own Sharia patrol. If you've tried dialectic, and it's only failed, then beat him up a bit with rhetoric.

Hey!, that might actually work. I'll try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

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