The Children’s Commissioner for England has recently published a new report on the plight of vulnerable children, revealing “for the first time, the scale of vulnerability among children in England.” The statistics are quite shocking, as they expose the brutal nature of life in Britain for many of the weakest members of society.
According to the report over 46,000 children are members of a gang, over 56,000(?) children are missing, there are 36,000 teenage mothers, and nearly 160,000 children are currently excluded from school. 31,000 children are involved with the criminal justice system, 408,000 children are in the ‘troubled families’ programme, and there are over 27,000 children with parents being treated for alcohol or drug abuse. The report acknowledges that some of these categories only reflect the known cases, while there may be many more that are unreported.
Nearly ten years ago I wrote an article about how the wellbeing of millions of children across Britain is being damaged by adults’ aggressive pursuit of personal success, according to a three-year inquiry by the Children’s Society. It reported that Britain had a higher rate of teenage pregnancies than other countries in Western Europe. “This is the product of many forces including: more privacy when both parents work, commercial pressures towards premature sexualisation and a fundamental change in attitude towards premarital sex.” It criticised advertisers who “explicitly exploit the mechanism of peer pressure, while painting parents as buffoons”.
A previous Children’s Commissioner Prof Aynsley-Green said in 2007 that a Unicef study identifying the UK as the worst country in the industrialised world in which to grow up was ”disheartening, but not surprising”. He said that the report should make the country take a good look at the way it deals with young people.
“There is a crisis at the heart of our society and we must not continue to ignore the impact of our attitudes towards young people and the effect that this has on their wellbeing,” and ”this should prompt us all to look beyond the statistics and to the underlying causes of our failure to nurture happy and healthy children.”
Back then I wrote about how the the addiction to liberal values is the underlying cause of this society’s failure of its young, and by way of example: “a mother may grow up with a firm idea that sex outside of marriage is wrong, but will have to compromise that value with her daughter. Her little girl has grown up in an environment of being free to choose. All that is important to her is that she was able to choose for herself, not told by someone else. Listening to elders’ advice is laughed at. She wants to make all her own mistakes and learn for herself. Such justifications are common today, as the youth strive for more and more independence. They will grow into more and more self centred adults who will not be listened to by their children, and hence will have to make all of their own mistakes too. The feeling of making independent choices is an illusion though, as the children are trying to show their independence and strength of character to their peers, but really, they are just trying to fit in.
It is not natural for children to have no feeling of compassion for other humans, but if they live in an environment where compassion is seen as weakness, where looking after number one is all that matters, then it is inevitable that many such young minds will be pressured into conforming. Our increasingly violent youth culture is testament to that. Youth music constantly contains selfish messages like “I don’t care, I’m just trying to do my thing.”
We must be careful to not point all the blame at the media here. Children do not live entirely in TV land. They live in our society and attend our schools, yet are becoming increasingly rebellious in their behaviour. Non-headline grabbing low-level disruption is becoming more of a problem in the classroom. Parents blame the teachers and teachers blame the parents. The truth is that the children hear about being free in the morning on the radio, on the way to school chatting to friends, at school in assembly, from the teachers in class and friends in the playground. They watch children striving to be individuals on CITV, read about relationship troubles in their magazines, with the only advice Aunt Agony has to offer being ‘it’s what you want that matters’. They then watch adult dramas and films about men and women hunting each other, having a few too many and dealing with the consequences later. Finally, before bed they watch the news where they see politicians waging wars and colonising economies abroad all in the name of protecting Britain’s interests, but not considering the interests of them “over there.”
“Anyone can see a problem and point a finger of blame, yet this is just unproductive gloating unless a real solution is presented. We, as citizens of this society are all to blame. We all have longingly discussed freedom at some point, or at least remained silent as others have done so. We are the audience and have created the market for the media. We have accepted the generation gap justification of why the children reject the elder’s values. We are the ones who left our children to be influenced by the society’s existing culture. But, primarily, we are the ones who did not discuss alternative values with our children. We neglected building a new generation which rejects this inhuman liberal freedom in favour of a value system suitable for all mankind.”
Liberalists claim that when there is no freedom, there is oppression. This is a huge deception, for it is clear to see that it is the promotion of liberal freedoms that has been the source of oppression for so many children.
Freedom has become a slogan and dreamy ideal in popular Western culture; somewhat akin to the promised land. But, what kind of “freedom” is actually afforded to ordinary people in secular humanist societies? In reality, it is the freedom of self obsession, individualism and the disregard of the other that plagues the society, from top to bottom.
Increasing substance abuse, alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, gang membership, anti-social behaviour… all are symptoms of a self serving culture. Some may navigate it better than others, but its negative consequences are ever present, harming the whole society, directly and indirectly.
Child poverty and social stagnation are a result of capitalist economic policies, themselves the embodiment of the stubbornly selfish ideal to be free to own and trade virtually unrestricted. This principle has failed all but the super-rich, as the majority of poor children have very little chance to buck the trend of their ancestry.
Welcome to the free world. You are free to slavishly work your fingers to the bone, yet remain impoverished. You are free to intoxicate yourself, to fornicate, and to abuse yourself and others. You are free to be divided, isolated, lonely and miserable without family support, while confused about the chaotic social structure. You are free to do all of the things that will keep you in a state of slavery to the powerful elite, but you are not free to do the only thing that leads to real freedom … to have the opportunity to think; to really question the values that have been rammed down your throat since your earliest years.
Whilst children’s commissioners and politicians may tweak a law here and there, none of that will make the lives of children or adults ultimately better, as they remain locked into an unnatural inhuman system that allows people one choice and that is to become a slave to other men.
A sincere concern towards the wellbeing of children requires an honest look and a sincere debate about the values that shape and dominate societies which consistently result in so many of our young being robbed of their innocence and their right to enjoy safe, protected lives. It also surely merits a genuine study of other ways of life that promote alternative values within a state to protect society and the young.
Recognising the problem is just the start, but it is a major hurdle to overcome. Alcoholics and addicts must first admit their addiction before they can move onto a solution. Today, we are increasingly opening our eyes to the symptoms of the secular liberal disease, but too few are acknowledging that this is the root cause. As a people addicted to liberal values we must stop looking for solutions that only deal with symptoms and instead reject the disease from its root, changing our values completely to accept the values that Allah sent to His Messenger Muhammad (saw), a mercy to mankind.
وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ ۚ بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُمْ بِذِكْرِهِمْ فَهُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِهِمْ مُعْرِضُونَ
“If the truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay we have sent them their Reminder but from their Reminder they now turn away.” [al-Mu’minun: 71]
The symptoms exposed in this most recent report, are the symptoms of a truly sick society, riddled with the liberal secular disease, from its foundational secular belief, to to the liberal values that emanate from it.
This is certainly not a model society that the future societies of the developing world should aspire to be like. Hence, those who trumpet and call for liberal values and democracy in the Muslim lands should take a long hard look at the reality of life in the West, and cease immediately from their utopian rhetoric. Moreover, the liberal politicians and colonialists in the West should stop promoting their secular culture and liberalisation of the Muslim world, as it can only ever bring disaster to the people there, just as it does at home.
It should become abundantly clear that tweaking rules here and there, or attempting to adjust attitudes in a piecemeal fashion will not rescue the society that continues to cling onto the core beliefs and slogans that actually caused the negative values and hence the problems.
While Muslims will always attempt to get closer to our Creator through closer adherence to Islamic practices and values, even explaining that to our neighbours and colleagues, we must recognise that we can do no more than build a fragile insulation for ourselves from the worst effects of living in a secular society. Such a cocoon offers no long-term protection for our ourselves or our families.
Islam views the individual and society in an entirely different way to the secular liberal ideology. Implementing the Islamic system in the form of the Khilafah on the way of Prophethood represents real freedom from slavery to man-made systems, which are designed to enslave the ordinary citizens to a powerful elite. Rather, Muslims choose to obey the creator and not rebel against His law of life sent to us through His Messenger Muhammad (saw).
It is the full implementation of Islam that all concerned people must look forward to, as it alone gives mankind a real choice, to free themselves once and for all from the miserable oppression that is the enslavement of man by man in the secular liberal way of life.