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I’m thrilled to announce that ONE SAFE GENERATION has now gone live at the Institute for Humanist Studies. Many thanks to Matt Cherry and the rest of the folks at IHS for providing a home for this project.

ONE SAFE GENERATION is a humanist initiative to create a more humane, ethical, and reasonable world by breaking the chain of inherited violence and fear. Our goal is to make it possible for one generation to grow up free of violence. In support of this goal of “one safe generation,” we are advancing initiatives to combat violence against children in the home, in the community, and on the fields of war. Below is the introduction to the site. Throughout the summer I will post periodic focus pieces highlighting the elements of this project.

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One Safe Generation
Introduction

Our reason, our judgment, and our ethics are all severely impaired when we are afraid. Examples of individuals, groups, and nations thinking poorly and acting immorally under the influence of fear are innumerable.

Violence and other social pathologies are perpetuated from one generation to the next, as victims of violence in childhood are likely to become the perpetrators of violence in the next generation. From corporal punishment and neglect on the individual level to the forced conscription of child soldiers and the disproportionate victimization of children in war, each generation of adults has a choice to pass on traditions of violence and fear—or refuse to do so.

ONE SAFE GENERATION is a humanist initiative to create a more humane, ethical, and reasonable world by making choices to break the chain of inherited violence and fear. Our goal is to make it possible for one generation to grow up free of violence at all levels, from the family home to the urban streets to the field of war.

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By recognizing that all manner of social pathologies—from violent conflict to religious fundamentalism to the suppression of free expression—are ultimately rooted in fear, humanists can focus our energies on that root cause even as we work to lessen the damage done by its various expressions.
One generation liberated from violence and fear would be more rational, more compassionate, more confident, and far less likely to perpetrate violence on its own children. By allowing a single generation to grow up safely, the tradition of inherited violence can be broken and the future remade.

ONE SAFE GENERATION will gather valid research and resources in a single, accessible location; counter the advocates of violence in public forums; advocate progressive public policies on related issues through op-eds and legislation; and encourage support for existing organizations and advocates in three areas:

    1. Nonviolent parenting
    2. Advocacy of progressive child social policies
    3. Protecting children from the effects of war

In identifying fear itself as the enemy, Franklin Roosevelt made a statement of greater lasting import than he may have intended. In these pages, you will find resources for information and action in the service of raising a generation of children less fearful, and more hopeful, than any of their ancestors dared dream.

References:

    Bloom, Sandra. Ph.D. Neither liberty nor safety: the impact of fear on individuals, institutions, and societies, part I. Psychotherapy and Politics International, Vol. 2, Issue 2 (2004)
    Gershoff, Elizabeth Thompson. ‘Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review, Psychological Bulletin 128 (2002)

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.