Another Setback for Parental Authority

Another setback for parental authority. That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

By law, you are responsible for your children. And traditionally the government has stayed out of the parent-child relationship unless abuse or neglect is involved, but under pressure from the ACLU (search) and other progressive groups, parental authority within the home is now being challenged.

Here's the proof. In the fall of theyear 2000, two young men knocked an elderly woman to the ground and stole her purse. That happened in the small town of Friday Harbor, Washington. Seventeen-year-old Oliver Christiansen (search) was convicted of the crime because he called his 14-year-old girlfriend and bragged about it.

The girl's mother was listening in on the conversation and testified against Christensen. But the Washington State Supreme Court (search) has now overturned that conviction, ruling that the two teenagers had a right to privacy when talking on the phone.

So let's get this straight. If you suspect your child is dealing with a criminal, a dope dealer, a mugger, a molester, you can't eavesdrop on that child's conversations. That's now the law in Washington state, which has become a model for progressive activism.

Of course, the most dangerous organization in the country, the ACLU, applauds the ruling, saying, "We don't think the state should be in the position of encouraging parents to act surreptitiously and eavesdrop on their children."

So don't try to find out what your kids are up to on the computer or on the telephone. Children must have privacy in these matters, so 14-year- old girls can deal with 17-year-old criminals.

Now why is this happening? As with the Christmas controversy, which I explain in my column this week on, there's much more to this than just a legal decision. If you study all [the] state dominated societies from the Soviet Union, to Nazi Germany, to Red China to Cuba, you will see those governments try to diminish parental power because it's easier to mold young minds when state-sanctioned values don't compete with traditional parenting.

Public schooling in America is now devoid of any moralizing or spiritual emphasis. The Pledge of Allegiance being the last holdout. So if the progressives can succeed in eroding parental influence at home, it becomes much easier to influence American children to embrace a secular point of view. That's what's going on here.

And once again, the courts are helping the Progressives. It is simply chilling to realize that you cannot monitor behavior of your children. Judges in Washington state have decided that even if your kid is dealing with a criminal, you have no right to be pro-active.— Incredible and dangerous.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

In addition to liking Barbra Streisand's Christmas music, I love her Web site. It is immensely entertaining. A few days ago, Babs posted her analysis of the media, and it is a must-read.

She says, "With the presence of FOX News, "The O'Reilly Factor," Rush Limbaugh, "The Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Post", no one can dispute the existence of a strong, conservative media. However, where these news outlets feel free to proudly proclaim their conservative bias by sharing their unwanted opinions, prestigious TV network anchors like Walter Cronkite (search), Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Bill Moyers and Jim Lehrer (search) carefully tow the line to present the news in a balanced manner."

This is—I love this. Well, let's analyze. Cronkite has been out of the anchor chair for 24 years. Somebody tell Barbra. I never heard any media outlet proclaim conservative bias, have you? Bill Moyers presents news in a balanced manner? Well, maybe if you're Che Guevara he does. Just a joke, Bill. Just kidding.

As I said, the Streisand Web site is a must-read, very entertaining, but also — sorry to say — very ridiculous.

Before we get to the mail, we'd like to give you the poll results. We asked: Do you approve of President Bush supporting Kofi Annan? About 30,000 of you voted. Eighty-seven percent said no, big loss for the president. Thirteen percent are OK with it.