It’s interesting how humans continually seek some higher authority to organize society around, whether it’s the feudal overlord, the pope, the king, the president, the “free market”, karl marx or the state itself (the ultimate resort to recursion). There’s a reason for this. Pyramidal organization works. Nature loves hierarchies because they’re a very effective way to make the trains run on time, so to speak. Unfortunately those at the base of the pyramid (especially children) tend to get trampled underfoot. Biological systems have a remedy for this: even the smallest little toe has a megaphone into the brain when it’s injured. Of course that implies a coherency that doesn’t exist in loosely coupled ecosystems like societies.
I have another idea: invert the pyramid. Organize around children. Not to dominate and “entool” them, but to love them. We could make a religion out of it. Children are, after all, our most immediate link with divine creation. Of course young children can’t speak for themselves or defend themselves, that’s what hormonally-charged parents are for. Not a perfect system, but better than what we have now.
This MSNBC video featuring Melissa Harris-Perry (see below) will shock anyone with even a shred of respect for America’s founding principle of individual rights. Here is what Harris-Perry, a professor of political science at Tulane, has to say about children:
We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of “these are our children.” So part of is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility, and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.
At least Harris-Perry gets one thing right: The purpose of government-run education is to reduce the influence of parents on their children and turn kids into communal property. (C. Bradley Thompson demonstrates as much in his article “The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of our Time.”)
Beyond that, Harris-Perry’s commentary is sheer nonsense, albeit dangerous nonsense. She equates parents’ responsibility for raising their children with ownership. In fact, a child belongs neither to his parents nor to “whole communities,” but to himself. When someone belongs to someone else or to a group of other people, that person is a slave. A child is his own person, and he has rights that government properly recognizes and protects. Of course, a child is an immature person requiring the care of others, so his parents (or legal guardians) properly raise him according to their own judgment (so long as they do not violate the child’s rights).
As a university professor, Harris-Perry must recognize the deeper implications of her remark that “kids belong to whole communities”—even if she does not spell out those implications in this video. If a child is the property of a community, then the community (or whoever claims to represent that community) may decide what the child learns and does not learn, what the child does and does not do, what goals the child sets and does not set, whether the child lives or dies. Further, if “kids belong to whole communities,” then there is no reason why adults do not also “belong to whole communities.” This, of course, is the essence of Marxism.
Hopefully some good will come from Harris-Perry’s shocking comments. Perhaps they will serve as a warning to parents tempted to turn over the minds and bodies of their children to the government’s “public” schools.