“In the war between government and parents over who will steward children, government is winning. That's bad for everyone.”……
Among the elites, for centuries it has been a deliberate tactic to get children away from their parents as early as possible so parents cannot pass down “provincial and outdated ideas” like their religion and love for home and country. No lesser inciters to mass murder than Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin advocated such policies. I see the attempted prohibitions against student-initiated school prayers as part of this pattern, but so are pushes for government preschool and early childcare. (Understand, I am not saying government preschool leads to mass murder, although it’s very clear that America’s young mass murderers and would-be mass murderers are linked to broken homes. I’m saying the two have philosophical linkages.)
A mother and father are the first and most primal gift any child has. They desperately need that bond to be reinforced, not attenuated.
A mother and father are the first and most primal gift any child has. They desperately need that bond to be reinforced, not attenuated. But statists rightly see family bonds as an obstacle to their control of society. They understand there are basically two ways to manage children. One is for parents to be the primary caretakers and decisionmakers. The other is for the state to be the primary caretaker and decisionmaker. This division is as old as ancient Sparta, which took children from parents at an early age (and dissuaded adults from younger marriage) because the leaders there considered all children property of the state whose upbringing had to be directed to the state’s service. Plato advocated even wackier parent-child separation to serve his centralized state.
Right now, our society is choosing which of these two kinds of family arrangements we uphold. We may not think we are deciding, but we are. Public policy either strengthens families, or it strengthens the state. Culture either strengthens families, or it strengthens the state. Myriad little niggling annoyances and regulations that attenuate family life also strengthen government power, as Alexis de Tocqueville foresaw:
Thus, After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Governments do not have hearts. They cannot hug a child. Only a mother and father have a biological compulsion to love a little child in the way he desperately needs. No state-appointed substitutes will ever be even close to as good en masse. If we want to have a populace that doesn’t feel hair-trigger raw in the way Noonan described, or constitute the flock of timid animals Tocqueville described, we must not straightjacket and harass the parents.