For the simple crime of smoking marijuana, Texas man Joshua Hill's family is destroyed forever.
The government took Hill's two-year old daughter away from him because he was caught smoking pot while she was asleep. But under the watch of Child Protective Services (CPS), Hill's child was abused and eventually murdered by foster parents.
Hill told KVUE television, “We never hurt our daughter. She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care."
Watch the shocking video here:
It would be easy to see this story as yet another example of the abuse of state power in some of its worst excesses. The drug war is one of the biggest assaults on personal liberty and public order there is in society; it has turned peace officers into soldiers, the Fourth Amendment into a dead letter, and it has created the paranoia that would justify ripping a child from a home.
But, side by side with the drug war lies the usurpation of parental, civic, and individual authority that supercedes the authority of the state. This concept is at the heart of a Western classical liberal tradition as a basis for a free and just society attempting to place rational and practical limits on state power.
Was Hill's "crime" of smoking marijuana worse than the state's prescription of removing his child from the home and placing her into a foster system with as much as 10 times higher risk of abuse? Texas records show multiple cases in which this particular branch of the CPS failed to adequately perform proper background checks on foster parents.
Bad parenting and drug abuse are problems that plague any society, but state intervention and government "solutions" are more often than not far worse than the disease.
More than anything, the most powerful and important aspect of this story is the courage and love of a father in the face of state coercion. When Hill noticed the bruises on his daughter, his natural instincts took over. "It got to a point where I actually told CPS that they would have to have me arrested because I wouldn't let her go back."
Despite the shackles and cage that would await him, Hill's love of his daughter reached far beyond what any artificial "authority" claimed was right and wrong. Hill's name will not be etched in any public monuments, but it's hard not to feel inspired by one father's lonely, private stand against injustice and corruption.
Even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, it is almost always individual action against our inherent instincts for justice and balance that defines positive social change. A single whisteblower and a principled journalist exposed the national-security state for all to see. A brave Army intelligence officer knew that exposing war crimes would land him in a gulag, but with unwavering stoicism, he did it anyway.
I am not a father, but Hill's story makes me want to stand between society and the state as it tries to manipulate our children into fighting unjust wars overseas, spying on our neighbors for insufficient obedience and servitude, and indoctrinate us with propaganda.
Joshua Hill's story is a testament to the power of principled stands against injustice. In an age where indefinite detention, secret law, secret courts, targeted assassinations and a permanent warfare state are now the codified norm, it is so refreshing to be uplifted by a man who refuses to remain silent.