The Rights Of Youthby oblivion.net
Society today is ruled by an irresistible drive on the part of parents to protect their children. Schools are given strict limitations on what they can do and how they can do it, in order to protect the sanctity and sovereignty of the bodies and minds of youth. Laws are passed and agencies work everyday to ensure that youth are not being harmed, either physically or mentally. But, it is the major oversight of these aims that youth are being harmed — by every adult that think of young people as “mere children”.
Yes, parents have an obligation to protect us, but we do not have a reciprocal obligation to protect adults. It is especially true that youth should not protect adults from those things that adults do not protect us from. It is the worst misuse of that obligation when the safety of youth is used as a pretense to ensure the safety of adults from youth.
When the good intentions of adults goes too far; when youth are given curfews that imprison their physical bodies; when the laws under which they live are not theirs to have a voice in; when a parent has more right over a son or daughter than that son our daughter has over themselves; or when the opinions of a person are written off by the law as inferior to another person, this is when protection becomes harm. Adults have a moral obligation to protect their children from being harmed by other people, but for no reason do they have a right to abridge our rights in order to protect themselves.
Rights, despite the way they are used in today’s society, are not matters of convenience. The voice and rights of youth cannot be taken away because those who think they have the power to take the rights away — for, in truth, no person has that much power — are afraid of what young people might do. Fear is not a justification for immorality. You cannot shear the validity from a person’s words simply because you do not want to hear the truth.
No adult — whether they have children or not — may expect us to protect them from our ideas and opinions when they have failed to protect us from theirs — when our voices are censured to give more room for the voices of adults. No adult may point to the kid on the street with a gun and say, “that is youth”, without also pointing to the nuclear missiles in the silos and saying, “that is adult”. No adult may reprimand the immorality of a young person without first watching how the bloodiest and most ruthless wars were started by adults, how the most egregious offenses against humanity were made possible by adults, and how all the whips through all the ages have been held by old hands.
No adult may expect us to protect them from a government by youth when we are not protected from a government by adults. No adult may expect us to protect them from our voice in politics when their voice in politics controls and harms us; and no adult may criticize our voice when their voice has led to wars, to death, and to discrimination. No parent may pass a law abridging the rights of their children without taking their future from them.
No adult may expect us to cede a human right for their peace of mind.
Written by: oblivion.net
3 March 2006