The Collectivist Presumption Against Parents | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Collectivist Presumption Against Parents
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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifying on Sept. 30 (C-SPAN screenshot)

Like religion, the traditional family poses a rival authority to liberalism’s arrogant conception of the state. Consequently, liberals view religious freedom and parental authority with suspicion and often hostility. Liberals are keenly aware that the fulfillment of their statist goals — pushing propaganda about abortion, transgenderism, critical race theory, socialism, and so on — depends upon isolating children from the influences of religion and family.

It is this view that drives liberalism’s opposition to parental consent and notification laws and its distaste for private education and homeschooling. Last year, a Harvard law professor argued for a ban on homeschooling, saying that it represents a danger to a “democratic society.”

Hillary Clinton used to say that “it takes a village” to raise a child, a collectivist slogan which suggested that children belonged to the state first, not parents. Spelling this view out even more explicitly, Melissa Harris-Perry, a pundit for MSNBC, said that “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 their communities.”

In order to succeed in building a “woke” country,” liberals recognize that they have to herd as many children as possible into the collective, so as to make them pliable and easily propagandized. From liberalism’s perverse perspective, the warping of children comes not from an obscene pop culture or a rotten public school system, but from the pesky control of parents. That’s why the Biden administration is treating concerned mothers and fathers as if they’re enemies of the state. The Orwellian memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland in defense of public school boards stems from the view that public schools should have to right to miseducate children with impunity, free of any parental oversight.

This collectivist presumption against parents is so strong in the Democratic Party that its gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, can say openly, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

In the past, for reasons of political optics, Democrats made at least some effort to conceal their contempt for parental authority. But now they feel confident enough to show their fangs. Melissa Harris-Perry was ahead of her times. Her view of children as property of the state has become the normative one within the Democratic Party.

During a recent Senate hearing, Miguel Cardona, Biden’s Secretary of Education, was asked, “Do you think parents should be in charge of their child’s education as the primary stakeholder?” He declined to answer, only allowing that parents are “important stakeholders.” How big of him. He added that “I also believe educators have a role in determining educational programming.”

What he calls educational programming is just liberal propaganda that no sane parent would sanction. Contrary to Garland’s hyperventilating, the parental reaction to this corruption of education has been relatively mild. Parents deserve to be even angrier. They are losing their children to a tyrannical state that grows more and more entitled with each passing year. Do parents even have the right to know whether their children are undergoing transgender surgery? Sen. Rand Paul posed that question to one of Biden’s top health officials and he didn’t get an answer.

Garland says that parents who challenge public school boards threaten America’s “core values,” by which he means the ideological designs of Biden. An administration that arrogates to itself the prerogatives of parents is a far greater menace to America’s core values than any unruly school board meeting. Chief among those values is the natural authority of parents over their children.

The Democratic Party’s twisted understanding of the state is seen in its treatment of parents as enemies of it. Like the collapsing Roman Empire, the Democrats cast the best citizens as the worst ones and the worst citizens as the best ones. They go after moms and dads, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and  patriotic soldiers, among others, all while lionizing anti-American activists and criminals.

For the Democrats, the traditional family and religion do not complement the state but compete with it. They are seen as obstacles to liberalism’s triumph. The collectivist presumption against parents, for the sake of building a fundamentally transformed country, is a grotesque repudiation of the political and moral philosophy of the Founding Fathers, for whom the preservation of God-given rights and limited government served as the only basis of its legitimacy.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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