Cole Stuart’s Review of Baskerville’s “Taken Into Custody”Written by: Cole Stuart Print This Article
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For anyone who hasn’t read Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family, I just finished it and highly recommend it. Many are familiar with Professor Stephen Baskerville’s basic theories and some have read excerpts from the book. Published in 2007, this book is a comprehensive and up-to-date description of the enormity of the problems endemic to the current tyrannical status of the judicial system as a whole, not merely family court. It is an extraordinary work.
For those of you, like me initially, who have been suspicious that he was another “fathers’ rights” zealot, you should reconsider. Certainly Baskerville takes the position that fathers far more than mothers are the early targets of state intrusion and control (i.e., having their children, assets, freedom, and even lives stripped from them) by the current system. Yet he’s not a “woman-hater.” In fact, he sees the real culprit as an increasingly voracious bureaucracy, including legislators and judges, who have provided irresistible incentives to mothers to initiate divorce proceedings as a first step in a process whereby the state — not mothers — takes control over the children, the family’s assets, and eventually even the mothers. He identifies divorcing mothers as yet one more defrauded victim of the destroyed family.
He’s also different from many leaders in the “fathers rights” groups who more or less “shoot from the hip” with anecdotal evidence of a laundry list of injustices of which they are personally aware. He’s a political scientist — an academic — and has studied the political, legal, and social issues and dramatic changes within those systems extensively. The book contains nearly 1,000 footnotes in its 300 pages, most referencing respected academic texts and journals. As such, he presents a much more sophisticated and comprehensive study and as such makes a far more compelling investigation of how the decay in family court’s respect for the law is directly related to the decay in constitutional government.
He places his analysis in historical context, using many known examples from the terrorist regimes of Nazism, Stalinism, Eastern European tyrants in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
Further, unlike the stilted high-brow style prevalent in many academic works, his style is an accessible and indeed thoroughly engaging read.
It is truly the most compelling and troubling read I’ve encountered on the subject.
A few eye-opening excerpts:
It has become commonplace that the family is the building block of civil society, and many have warned that its dissolution portends the destruction of not only social order but civic freedom and, indeed, civilization itself.
The threat [the family] poses to state power need not be explicitly political; against the totalitarian claims of the modern state the ordinary business of family life is a threat. “Marriage is . . . The true reservoir of liberty.”
“Every new marriage of man and woman is also an act of defiance against ambitious political and ideological powers that would reduce human activity to their purposes.” Almost a century ago, G.K. Chesterton suggested that the family serves as the principal check on state power and predicted that someday the state and family would directly confront one another. The argument of this book is that that day has arrived.
Summoning citizens who are charged with no legal wrongdoing and seizing control of their children, homes, property, movements, and persons is not justice or the rule of law. It is something close to terror.
The linchpin in this expansion of government power over private life and politicization of children has been the judiciary, whose own politicization is likewise a phenomenon that accelerated throughout the twentieth century. . . . Yet ironically, the judiciary today has become so politicized that it is itself now widely perceived as the chief violator of the rights it once protected.
It is likely within the next few years that America will face an unprecedented constitutional crisis, as a bureaucratic judiciary aggrandizes to itself ever more powers in contempt of common citizens and as pressure increases on elected officials to impose some limit. Indeed, part of the argument of this book is that this crisis has already manifested itself less in the visible and exalted circles of high judicial politics . . . Than in the humble realm of family court (where it drastically alters the daily and personal lives of millions of citizens).
Baskerville’s conclusions may sound apocalyptic to some. But having studied politics and philosophy, practiced law in numerous state and federal courts, and having been wrung through the family court system for nearly four years, his conclusions are well researched, balanced, and entirely consistent with my 25 years of legal and academic experience. Many of you, like me, have probably shaken your heads at how the decisions of family court make little or no sense, and in fact frequently are plainly harmful to children and parents alike. Professor Baskerville “connects the dots” between family court rules and practices and broader social and political trends toward ever-expanding bureaucracies, infringement on basic rights, and ultimately totalitarian control.
I urge you to purchase and read this very insightful book. It will likely not only help you understand what’s happened to you, is still happening to you, but even worse, how much more damage the government could impose on you if we fail to act now.
About the Reviewer
Cole Stuart is an intellectual property attorney who has worked 15 years in his field. In 2007, his ex-wife, San Diego channel 6 news reporter Lynn Stuart, filed for divorce. As many dishonest and vindictive parents do, she has waged war on her son’s father to destroy a parent/child relationship. Even though Cole Stuart had been in many court rooms in multiple states for more than a decade as a practicing attorney, he had never seen anything like what occurred in the San Diego family law court of convicted drunk driver Judge Lisa Schall. In 2009, he and other victims of San Diego family court abuse banded together to form the California Coalition for Families and Children to oppose misconduct by San Diego judges and “experts” such as Dr. Stephen Doyne. In 2010, he became the target for what appears to be illegal political persecution by Judges Lorna Alksne and Christine Goldsmith and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith in their quest to intimidate and silence critics of the corrupt San Diego family law courts. Cole Stuart knows what abusive government and courts are because he’s personally experienced them.
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