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Foreign to Freedom

In assessing Madeleine Albright's future in government, we must look at her past.

In February 1995, as U.N. Ambassador, Madeleine Albright signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The same year, she helped lead the U.S. delegation to the U.N. World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September.

In her official remarks at Beijing, Albright declared her full support for using international relations and treaties to change the domestic policy of the United States. She reminded the delegates that they had come to Beijing to make progress on a wide range of women's rights issues. "But real progress," she said, "will depend not on what we say here, but on what we do after we leave here. The Fourth World Conference for Women is not about conversations; it is about commitments."

There can be no doubt that Madeleine Albright was committed to using her position at the United Nations to advance her left-leaning views of domestic social policies within the United States.

Now, with the enthusiastic backing of Hillary Clinton, Albright has emerged from a crowded field as the nominee to become America's next Secretary of State.

Traditional parenting and home education are both in the crossfire of Albright's internationalist agenda.

The U.N. Children's Convention, which has yet to be ratified by the Senate, would override all state laws and state constitutions which protect a parent's right to home school their children. This result has been made clear by a decision of the United Nations in an action taken against Great Britain. A U.N. tribunal concluded that British law violates the U.N. treaty because, among other things, Britain allows parents to withdraw their children from sex education in public school, and from public school for alternative instruction, without "weighing" the consent of the child.

This same tribunal concluded that British law also violates the U.N. treaty because parents are allowed to spank their children.

In Great Britain, the U.N.'s reprimand creates a political problem—proponents of bureaucratic-parenting can use these decisions in the press and in Parliament to embarrass those holding to traditional views.

However, in the United States, a U.N. decision that our state laws violate the U.N. treaty would carry very real legal weight, because our Constitution makes treaties the Supreme Law of the Land. A U.N. decision that the treaty is violated by home schooling laws would be enforceable in American courts. If, for example, the Children's Defense Fund filed a lawsuit challenging Virginia's law protecting the right to choose home schooling, Virginia courts would be obliged to give full faith and credit to the U.N. decision.

We are about to enter an era where the State Department's substantial power and resources will be used not to promote the interests of the United States abroad, but to dictate policy to the fifty states, local governments, and families.

Historical Concerns

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge fought the notion of domestic policy being controlled by diplomacy in 1920 when Woodrow Wilson tried to push the League of Nations upon our country. Lodge succeeded in getting a number of reservations attached to the League of Nations treaty. One reservation read in part:

The United State reserves to itself exclusively the right to decide what questions are within its domestic jurisdiction and declares that all domestic and political questions relating wholly or in part to its internal affairs…are solely within the jurisdiction of the United States and are not under this Treaty to be submitted in any way either to arbitration or to the consideration of the council or of the Assembly of the League of Nations, or any agency thereof, or to the decision or recommendation of any other power.

Lodge had prescience to realize that the nature of an international body like the League of Nations would eventually lead to meddling in our domestic affairs.

In 1954, the United States Senate fell one vote short of proposing a constitutional amendment which would have permanently cured the problem that Albright's philosophy represents.

Ohio Senator John W. Bricker believed that international agreements such as the United Nations' human rights agreements would supersede American laws and perhaps even the Constitution. He proposed an amendment which would have made clear the supremacy of the Constitution over all treaties, and provided that "a treaty shall become effective as internal law in the United States only through legislation which would be valid in the absence of a treaty."

Dwight Eisenhower, and John Foster Dulles, his Secretary of State, vigorously opposed this amendment. It fell short by a single vote in the Senate.

The Challenges to Self-Government

The fundamental problem with the use of diplomacy to affect domestic policy is that it tears at the fabric of our republican form of government. We are entitled to elect the leaders who make the laws that govern our lives. That is the essence of self-government in a Republic.

We do not elect the members of the United Nations. In fact, many of the governments in the U.N. are not even elected by their own people, much less the people of this country. It is a complete repudiation of the principle of self-government to turn American domestic policy questions over to the jurisdiction of an unelected international bureaucracy.

President Clinton declared war on the principles of traditional morality on the day he assumed office by his declarations promoting both abortion and homosexuality. He has shown disdain for traditional constitutional principles of sovereignty by court-martialing Specialist Michael New for refusing to wear the U.N. uniform and serve under foreign commanders.

His nomination of Madeleine Albright goes one step further. He seeks to place in the office of Secretary of State a person whose record demonstrates that she advocates treaties which abandon the very notion of self-government. There is no doubt that Ambassador Albright thinks she believes in self-government. But a careful examination of both her record and the treaties she supports reveals otherwise. And it must be said in her defense that she is only carefully following the views of the President.

At the time this article went to press, Home School Legal Defense Association began a strategy to undertake an admittedly uphill fight to oppose the nomination of Madeleine Albright as Secretary of State.

But this cannot be our only effort to regain full protection for self-government. We must pass a new constitutional amendment to provide the kind of language Senator Bricker so thoughtfully promoted in 1954.

Self-government cannot succeed so long as the U.N. has jurisdiction over any aspect of our lives and so long as the office of Secretary of State is occupied by one who is willing to sacrifice something as basic as self-government to achieve her substantive views of politically-correct thinking.