The Imaginary Children Bring Terror

Previously I had written how Imaginary Children were important to many a conspiracy theorist. By claiming to save children that didn’t exist – from the not-born, to the not-real, to the in-the-imagined future – people justified all sorts of grifts, conspiracy theories, and so on. “For the children” is both a triggering set of words and a meme because of how common it is.

These phantom children also justify all sorts of extreme responses.

To say one is going to “save the children” is an excuse to pretty much do anything you want – after all, doesn’t everyone want to do that? There’s no amount of money (belonging to other people) that you can spend, no amount of surveillance you can’t do, no amount of arrests you can’t make. “The children” are the ultimate excuse.

And of course for authoritarians, the perfect excuse.

To say one is going to “save the children” also means anyone you accuse of harming them is also undeniably evil. Who would ever want to hurt (the made-up) children but someone irredemably evil? You can do anything to anyone you want if you accuse them of hurting children first, even imaginary ones.

Again, perfect for authoritarians and bigots, but perhaps I repeat myself.

However, even if people are not harming the illusionary children, people who are in the way are still a barrier. If they question you or don’t want to go on a crusade, they’re at best someone to ignore if not outright enemies. Plus you can convert anyone questioning your love of false children into a villain when you need to.

An endless supply of enemies to send minions after.

In fact, to say you’re doing things “for the children” – especially future children – let’s you justify ignoring or creating problems. Ignore climate change, we have children to save. Creating a police state mine just be fine if you’re saving the children. Not paying your workers a living wage is important because your great wealth will be used for the future children – honestly.

If it’s for the children, you can do anything. Also you might just by coincidence become rich and powerful. Imaginary children are perfect tools for grifters, con-artists, and authoritarians.

Again, what’s weird to me, what is hard to understand, is how people can so easily ignore real children. Maybe it’s because real children aren’t perfect, aren’t the right color, and take effort to take care of. Maybe dealing with real children requires one confront the horrible reasons they suffer. Either way, plenty of folks seem to prefer imaginary kids to real ones – probably because they’re an excuse.

It’s up to us to focus on real people, kids or otherwise, because those focused on imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible. It’s important to focus on real people because the people worried about imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible to them.