• DARE To Kill Families

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    For
    their role in cuffing dope pushers and supporting the DARE program,
    cops in one Massachusetts town were recently awarded a $1,000 by
    a local drug-abuse prevention organization. A job well done: Only
    part of which involved undermining the family and the relationship
    between parent and child – but an important part.

    While
    the DARE program has come under intense criticism in the state,
    resulting in drastic funding cuts, Marshfield, Massachusetts, Police
    Lieutenant Phil Tavares has been fulsome in praise for the anti-drug
    school program. Reports
    the July 8 Boston Globe, “Tavares said he has received only
    positive feedback about the program and he firmly believes it’s
    a needed resource. As an example, he talked about the recent case
    of a DARE graduate who called the police on his mother after finding
    marijuana in the house.”

    Oh
    yeah. That’s good: Fink on your mom.

    It’s
    nothing new. DARE has always warred on the family, pitting kids
    against parents. Writes Diane Barnes in the Detroit News,
    “Children are asked to submit to DARE police officers sensitive
    written questionnaires that can easily refer to the kids’ homes.
    And you might be surprised by a DARE lesson called ‘The Three R’s:
    Recognize, Resists, Report,’ which encourages children to tell friends,
    teachers or police if they find drugs at home.”

    As
    I point out in my book, Bad
    Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America
    , drug
    arrests in a number of states have been tied directly to children
    ratting on parents. The reason is simple enough: DARE classes are
    taught by cops, who are duty-bound to follow up on tips from kids.
    The Wall Street Journal reported two Boston cases in which
    “children who had tipped police stepped out of their homes carrying
    DARE diplomas as police arrived to arrest their parents.”

    If
    we are keen enough to see them for what they are, we should be thankful
    for such horrifying news items. For all its destruction to families,
    the DARE program tips the hand of the drug-war establishment in
    one important regard: It brilliantly highlights the fact that the
    State will tolerate no competing authority. Its goals are absolute.

    Writes
    Oxford Don C.S. Lewis in one of my favorite essays of his, “The
    modern State exists not to protect our rights but to do us good
    or make us good – anyway, to do something to us or make us something.”
    We, in this scheme, have no right to make ourselves something or
    do things for ourselves unless our aims fit within those of State’s,
    for as Lewis continues, “We are less their subjects than their wards,
    pupils, or domestic animals. There is nothing left of which we can
    say to them, ‘Mind your own business.’ Our whole lives are
    their business.”

    No
    uppity slaves will be tolerated. For the State, the province of
    our very will and desires are seen as under its jurisdiction. They
    only wait to be conquered – along with the other intermediary authorities
    that stymie the State’s advance, which is why down through the years
    ambitious governments have warred on churches, businesses, communities,
    and families – precisely because it they will allow no other competing
    loyalties. It doesn’t matter what the agenda is; the State wants
    total support and involvement from its subjects. Divided loyalties
    must be squashed, even if it means, in the case of the drug war,
    ratting on a parent or finking on a friend. The State’s word is
    both law and final. And that means, however much you may love your
    mother, if you find a doobie in her drawer, you call the cops.

    ”Having
    teenagers feel comfortable talking about problems with police – you
    can’t beat that,” said Travers to the Globe. Translation:
    Replacing parents as the confidants of their children is key to
    the State’s absolutist goals. The child must be taught to see his
    true loyalties in the camp of the police, not his parents. He must
    be taught to come to the police with any infraction of his parents’,
    so the true object of his loyalties can mete out the proper punishments
    for nonsubmission to the goals of the State.

    Of
    course, the drug-war’s undermining of parental authority started
    long before DARE, and the program is not the ultimate focus of this
    discussion. We are looking at how the drug war as a State project
    undermines rival authorities. Go back to something foundational
    to the both the war on drugs and the undermining of parents: The
    moment the government took parents out of the position of training
    children in the proper use of intoxicants – i.e., by banning particular
    substances across the board, regardless of the user’s age or the
    drug’s purpose – it began chipping away at its rivals and their authority
    over children.

    For
    the State this is paramount. We must never forget what children
    are for the State: both potential tools and threats. Because just
    as children are subject to their parents, they are also subject
    to the State and someday, once mature, will be primarily subject
    to it. If children are raised by parents to value individual freedom
    and choice, the rival authority of parental control is simply exchanged
    for self-control and the State’s domain is not much increased. If
    their parents encourage them to extreme levels of individuality,
    their resultant autonomy can lead directly to decreases in state
    power; ergo, they become a threat.

    To
    gain substantial control over the individual (turn him into an ally
    and stifle the threat his autonomy represents), the State must assert
    control early and broadly – removing from parents the ability to properly
    empower children with much sense at all of self-determination and
    autonomy. The child must learn to see the State as the final authority,
    period.

    “Today
    the state controls not merely the individual’s body but as much
    of his spirit as it can preempt,” writes social critic Christopher
    Lasch in his 1977 book, Haven
    in a Heartless World
    . “The citizen’s entire existence has
    now been subjected to social direction, increasingly unmediated
    by the family or other institutions to which the work of socialization
    was once confined. Society itself has taken over socialization or
    subjected family socialization to increasingly effective control.
    Having thereby weakened the capacity for self-direction and self-control,
    it has undermined one of the principal sources of social cohesion,
    only to create new ones more constricting than the old, and ultimately
    more devastating in their impact on personal and political freedom.”

    The
    drug war and its ancillary programs like DARE are only part of this
    undermining of the family, but everyone concerned about the State’s
    intrusion into the private lives of individuals and families must
    see the attack on all fronts.

    So
    when you next spy a DARE bumper sticker or T-shirt, remember that
    the Statist usurpers of parental authority are afoot and, whether
    you use illicit substances or not, they distrust and oppose your
    role as parent. As we all know, these days it takes a village to
    raise a child, and sometimes you’ve got to throw a few moms and
    dads in prison for the kid to grow up properly servile.

    July
    13, 2004

    Joel
    Miller [send him mail] is the
    author of Bad
    Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America
    .

    Joel
    Miller Archives

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