Lawyer: Take Kids Away From Smoking Parents

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Should children be taken from parents who smoke?

That’s the astounding recommendation from John F. Banzhaf, a George Washington University law professor who claims that more than 6,000 kids die every year due to secondhand smoke. Speaking at a family law convention in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Banzhaf said it was up to lawyers to save the children.

“We, as attorneys, probably have greater power than other professionals to right wrongs and to change society for the better, because we can use the tremendous power of the law for the public good rather than just to benefit paying clients,” Benzhaf said. “And you, as family attorneys, can and should be using the great power of law to right serious wrongs being done to children.”

According to Benzhaf, attorneys in the family law arena should use every available legal avenue to prohibit smoking in foster homes and to deny child custody rights to parents who smoke in their homes and cars. He further encouraged them to take on the law directly by pressuring politicians to enact policies aimed at protecting kids from secondhand smoke.

A Delicate Balance

When it comes to totalitarian propaganda, nothing’s more influential than “what about the children?” pleas. Conservatives can be highly susceptible to this argument, and it’s not hard to see why. Individual liberty is one thing, but should parents have the right to put their children in obvious jeopardy? Don’t the children have rights of their own?

It’s not a black/white issue. Even deeply-religious conservatives are appalled when some whackadoo lets their child die from an easily-treatable condition. Few Americans of any political stripe are out there fighting to abolish child abuse laws. We all recognize that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

And that’s why we should be careful when it comes to these proposals. Liberal fascists know human psychology all too well, and they won’t hesitate to exploit it for their own motives – motives that have very little to do with child welfare. The line between government responsibility and overreach is subtle at times, especially when it comes to parental rights. You can see it in Banzhaf’s proposals. At one point, he says emergency room physicians should report parents who cause in their children smoke-related ailments like allergies and bronchitis. That’s sensible enough, if the link is well-founded. But then he throws in this business about using a parent’s smoking habits to determine child custody disputes. Which is the very antithesis of sensible.

Before you say, well, nothing is more paramount than the health and safety of our children, just remember that liberals have some funny ideas about how children should be raised. Some interesting ideas about harm, as well. They may be able to sell this secondhand smoking thing, but what about parents who aren’t teaching their children to reduce their carbon footprint? Or parents who teach their children that they must remain their current gender for their entire lives? Or parents who expose their children to something truly disgusting…something horrifying…like the Bible?

You gotta watch ’em. That’s all.