The past few days have seen two frightening cases of government overreach into the home and family. And both of these target the family's most vulnerable point: the children that it exists to nurture and protect.
Monday saw the New Jersey Assembly rush Bill A2881 through committee for consideration by the full assembly. This bill would allow the scandal-ridden Division of Youth and Family Services—DYFS—to prohibit the home-schooling of any child under its "supervision". Supervision can be granted for the slightest of reasons, under the guise of protecting the child from the family. A fight between children is enough; so is a report by a nosy or malicious neighbor or the accusation of an disgruntled child. The raft of DYFS scandals may only increase the determination of the bureaucracy to bring all its powers to bear to avoid accusations that it failed to act. What happens when a neighbor decides that teaching gun safety to children constitutes abuse, and a social worker agrees? Or that a "fringe ideology" like disdain for the "Living Constitution" constitutes a "danger"?
Even more chilling is the question that appeared on a NJ standardized test administered to third graders. It called for the student to write an essay about a secret the student had kept. The implications of this are terrifying. Children are taught to trust the Nanny State, in the smiling person of Good Miss Teacher, with the very things that they know they should keep private. They may not understand the difference between a personal secret and a secret that they are keeping for another; they may not understand the consequences of letting a secret slip; they surely do not understand how totalitarian regimes use children to spy on their parents. (The Marquis de Custine wrote of his time in Russia "If I had a secret, I would begin by telling it to the Tsar.") And what a child writes cannot be unwritten; even if there be no harm to others, these words may return long years hence to haunt and blight their author's life. (See also Belle of Liberty's article.)
The underlying attitude here is that the State is the proper guardian of the child and the rightful determinant of the child's future; that the child is the property of society rather than a child of parents (first), a member of a household and a neighborhood, the citizen of a municipality and a county, and only then of a state and a nation. Neither federalism nor the moral ordering of subsidiarity (and here) are allowed to intrude on the efficiency and presumed competence of the Guardians at the Top of the Tree and their authority to "do good".
But the speed with which this was rammed through committee suggests a more diabolical purpose. By discarding the normal deliberation and time for public comment the bill's authors and sponsors reject supervision by the people who voted them in. And what have they got to hide? What but the agenda of Big Education, whose agents (teachers) are drawn from the ranks of students least capable of independent thought and indoctrinated in the Ed Schools, where they are trained to inculcate the values of Consensus, Groupthink, and Trust of Experts rather than independence, analytic thinking, and standing for what is right, alone when necessary.
The modern Welfare State destroys the bond of generation to generation that the family sustains, leading to crashing birth rates among the educated and skyrocketing illegitimacy rates among the poor. Neither can supply the ongoing needs of a productive, educated society. The Welfare State must indoctrinate the children of the families that have so far survived to maintain both its productive capacity and its political consensus.
Thus the Welfare State must join the Totalitarian State in considering children the property of the State. This end is furthered by teaching children to betray secrets and family while trusting the smiling expert in the clean white coat.
All parents must be alert and aware. All parents should teach their children not to share secrets, and to reject prying questions from government officials just the same way they must reject prying, inappropriate touch. And all parents must speak—and vote—their minds on these issues. It is the future of their children and their civilization on which they vote, nothing less.