of the programs that Al Gore has embraced is tougher federal
enforcement for "Deadbeat Dads" - fathers who fail to pay child
support. Fifty percent of American kids presently live apart from
their fathers. Joining us now from Washington is Howard University
Professor Stephen Baskerville, the spokesman for Men, Fathers and
Children International. Professor Baskerville has a different
take on so-called "Deadbeat Dads". And what take is that, Professor?
what most people don't realize is that we have in this country
government officials who forcibly tear fathers away from their
children with no grounds of legal wrong-doing, either proven or
alleged. We've created in this country a very dangerous and
destructive machine. It consists of judges, lawyers, bureaucrats,
bureaucratic police, and many others who all have a vested interest
in one thing. And that's ripping away as many fathers from their
children as they can.
is that happening?
are basic conflicts of interest in the whole child-custody,
child-support system. Dickens said that the principle of the law is
to make business for itself, and family court judges have learned
that the more children they take away from their parents, the more
business there is for their courts and for those who are the
recipients of their patronage. They sit at the top of a very large
patronage network. And they can dole out a father's income and many
other goodies to an assortment, an entourage, of judicial courtiers
who also profit from having children taken away from their parents.
that's a really conspiratorial thesis you have. You know ... I know
a lot of family court judges and I ...I ... just couldn't believe
they would think that way. I do know there's a bias to giving the
children to their mother in this society, I don't think there's any
question about that ... that a judge, all things being equal are
(sic) going to award primary custody to the mom. Is that a wrong
what most people don't realize is that there's a much more serious
matter here. And that is that it is not just a mutual divorce in
most cases. Eighty percent of the divorces in this country are
unilateral. And when fathers are involved, most of the divorces are
filed by mothers when children are involved. In other words, a
father who's done nothing wrong can be hauled into divorce court and
deprived of his children, his oncome, his savings, his home, his
inheritance ... he can lose everything he has and he doesn't have to
have done anything wrong, and he doesn't have to have agreed to a
many states have "no-fault" divorces now?
believe all of them do. The laws change ... vary somewhat ...
every state now? You're right, it is a frightening scenario, there's
no question about it. I have to be honest and say it's heartbreaking
for the children across the country 'cause there's so much acrimony
between men and women. But even if that's true, and I don't know
very many fathers, responsible fathers, who are shut out completely
from their children. Usually they have, you know ... co .. uh
custody, joint custody, or, and a lot of visitation. But even if the
guy gets hosed in court, shouldn't he still pay for his child?
appeals to common sense, but when you think about it, it's a very
dangerous principle. You're talking about the government seizing
control of the children of citizens who have done nothing wrong.
This is the most dangerous power any government can have, to control
and regulate the private lives of its citizens, including their
families and their children.
decisions have to be made in a divorce action. And the only one who
can make them is a court ... which is supposed to be impartial.
a court can make a decision that if it has no jurisdiction in a case
then the State should not be involving itself. The State involves
itself when someone has done something legally wrong, either civilly
then how would you resolve any custody matters if the two parents
wanta live apart? How would you resolve that?
the two parents want to live apart that's one thing, but in eighty
percent of the divorces in this country, one parent does not want to
but you can't keep ... if one spouse wants out, you can't keep that
person in there. So you're saying that the spouse who wants out ...
wants out should walk away from the kids too?
is the only constitutionally and morally acceptable principle we can
accept. Otherwise, we're talking about government seizing
control of children, and property, and persons. This is the kind
of police state the Divorce Industry (emphasis added) is
creating in this country. (O'Reilly attempts to talk over -
"Allright, let me stop you then" - Baskerville continues: First they
take your children, then they take your property, and then they take
provocative, your thesis is ... the person who wants out of the
marriage should then walk away from the children as well.
Augustine said that without justice, States are nothing but great
robberies, and this is exactly what we are seeing in divorce courts.
If States have the power, if government has the power to seize
control of children, and micromanage the private lives of citizens
who have done nothing wrong, there is no stopping the State.
Professor, very, very provocative. Thank you very much.
Contact Dr. Baskerville:
Department of Political Science
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