If you look back at your life there are certain things that you really valued. Look at how you lived your life, day to day, and you will see them:
- minimum thresholds of personal welfare and wealth.
- expecting equal access to opportunities.
- participating in and adhering to political/legal systems that purported to represent the governed and where each has an influence on the outcome, and thus ensure the capacity for us to choose who has influence (including climatologically) or power over us – to be free.
- using and enjoying an environment relatively conducive to human and nonhuman health.
- enjoying the right to have a child in relatively safe conditions.
Why follow, and through your support ensure the continuation of a legal system, that does not protect these basic – or inclusive – values, as is the case in the United States today? Read the facts here. Our legal system is degrading them.
Everyone exhibits these values as they live, and they give a primary and better way to assess value than what we choose to buy, the current benchmark for value in our political systems. The list of values above enable the inclusion that makes representative governance possible, or the human rights and political legitimacy that must come before the economization of life. These values are the elements of self-determination, or what we call often call freedom. They underlie more elaborate specifications of values like the Children’s Rights Convention. Legitimate governance protects freedom.
But how do we protect these values? The truth is we can first undo them based on our choice of and how we interact with fundamental political systems – following rules, paying taxes, collecting benefits, seeing our privileges as entitlements, etc. Do we choose a system that ensures these values – or one that is degrading its own ecologies, the role of its citizens in their democracies, and even equality of opportunity? And a system that does so for others as they are born and developed? Do we further the degradation of these values in the way we use language, in what we mean – objectively – when we say words like “sustainable,” “humane,” “democratic,” or “fair?” Or do we, in our very words and reinforcement of our realities, disintegrate the world from what we value and seed constant distrust and illegitimacy by calmly refusing to share with others?
These values are all first and mostly impacted in the act of having kids – in the act of creating others and crucially, creating fundamental power relations in the process. And not just for the kids we have – things like growth-based environmental damage is reducing welfare for all.
Right now our political systems and the family policies they promote – almost universally undermine every one of those values. Our outdated family policies – that avoid entitlements for young women to plan birth and developmental equity – ensure children are tortured to death by their own parents, more and more animals are subjected to suffering and death, other species are wiped out, the gap between rich and poor widens, and each person has less of a say in their political systems. These policies have created the political space for the reemergence of abortion and contraception bans, and enable influencers in media to openly push women to have more children to grow economies.
TAKE ACTION: There are dozens of ways to change the political systems and the family policies they promote.
Urge any organization to back policies that ensure the conditions in which children are born and raised, including their environment, as well as resources and role models, are being improved through things like family planning, parenting readiness and delay, birth equity and smaller family entitlements. Given the primacy of children’s rights and the millions of lives at stake, young women engaged in fair start demands would have greater justification for using coercion to assure what their child needs than unrepresentative government would have to defend illegitimate property rights created and maintained at deadly cost to primarily children of color. They, not men with guns, would be constituting a just future. And people, not written constitutions, constitute nations and people are born with the need for particular resources in order to develop as citizens (rather than consumers) – they do not merely fall from the sky.