Professor Philip Alston at NY is a leader in the field the field of international human rights. But like many in the field, he has relied on a failing system has put parental autonomy over child equity when it comes to family and family planning law and policy. That has fundamentally caused the climate and inequity crises we face today.
His authority as a United Nations official derives from a norm that we never complied with, and refuse to comply with today.
These family policies and the population growth they ensured have impacted any progress made on human rights, for example, by cancelling out efficiency-based climate emissions reductions, increasing the number of children subject to abuse or neglect, degrading democracy, or putting more animals into factory farming systems. How will these policies, including accepting the status quo, impact those values and goals in the future?
Alston should tell the #wholetruth. We failed, and must change.
The Children’s Rights Convention sets out what children need to physically constitute just, sustainable and legitimate democracies, and it was designed to address the fundamental or familial political relations that make up the systems we all support (through taxes and otherwise), benefit from, are responsible for, and from which we cannot separate. What we often think of as population is really a matter of fundamental power relations.
And yet the current and almost universal paradigm for family and population policy does nothing to ensure all children are born and raised in conditions that comply with the Convention. That paradigm is based on what is called the constitutive fallacy: Basing our individual obligation to follow the law on things like top down written constitutions rather than just and sustainable family policies that actually empower people bottom up to constitute just and legitimate nations, and do and should account for our actual relations and lived experiences. Law and policy derive from basic systems of rights, which are mandatory obligations.
The powerful do not need those obligations; the vulnerable, including nonhumans and future generations, do.
Philip Alston is influential. Getting him to admit that he UN knowingly used family planning policies that were illegitimate, and harmed people, would go a long way towards fixing the problem.
TAKE ACTION: Urge Alston to admit the family and family planning modeling based on parental autonomy was a mistake, and urge him to support various moves the United Nations could make to fix the problem.