Nationalizing Children

by William Norman Grigg
Apr. 08, 2013

We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them.

– Instructions given at a congress of Soviet educators in 1918 (cited in Separating School & State: How to Liberate America’s Families, by Sheldon Richman, pg. xv).

[The Soviet family] is an organic part of Soviet society. Parents are not without authority … but this authority is only a reflection of social authority…. In our country he alone is a man of worth whose needs and desires are the needs and desires of a collectivist…. Our family offers rich soil for the cultivation of such collectivism.

– Soviet family theorist Anton S. Makarenko, The Collective Family, A Handbook for Russian Parents, pgs xi-xii, 42.

If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there’s no equality…. In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.

Dr. Mary Jo Bane, Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services, 1993-1996; currently Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Police and Management, Harvard Kennedy School; quoted in “The Family: It’s Surviving and Healthy” by Dolores Barclay, Tulsa World, August 21, 1977.

Whenever a progressive refers to “investments,” he or she is referring to confiscation of private wealth.

Whenever a progressive invokes the “community,” that term refers to a state-engineered collective in which the individual has no rights.

Whenever a collectivist refers to “public education,” that phrase is shorthand for the process of destroying a child’s developing sense of self-ownership and indoctrinating them in the notion that they are the property of the “community.” This process is also known as “socialization,” which is the indefinable value-added element that supposedly makes “public education” superior to homeschooling.

Whenever an advocate of “public education” refers to “our children,” conscientious parents should take a quick inventory of their arsenals.

Melissa Harris-Perry, a slogan-spewing news reader for the Stalinist media outlet called MSNBC, ran the table of these collectivist nostrums in a recent installment in the network’s “Lean Forward” ad campaign. The “Lean Forward” spots feature various MSNBC luminaries holding forth like Communist Party functionary exhorting the cadres at a “struggle session” in the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Harris-Perry is a collectivist of such passionate conviction that she regards opposition to Obama's radical centralization of power to be a species of sedition. She considers private firearms to be a pestilence, but embraces a vision of social engineering that would require a great amount of gun-related violence by state functionaries.

Although – or perhaps because -- Harris-Perry is a credentialed academic, she has the odd and annoying habit, so common among adolescents, of ending every statement with a vocal inflection that suggests a question. In her "Lean Forward" ad, she uncorked this specimen of unfiltered collectivist cant:

“We have never invested as much in public education, because we’ve always had a sort of 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 it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to 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.”

Harris-Perry’s disdain for parental authority is wedded to a denial of the idea that the individual child has a right to self-ownership. During an MSNBC discussion about a North Dakota law that would ban abortion after six weeks, she used the expression “this thing” to refer to the developing fetus and warned that “if this turns into a person, there are economic consequences.”

It’s important to understand that Harris-Perry’s commitment to legalized abortion doesn’t grow out of a misapplied commitment to individual liberty, but rather her devotion to the collective management of the human population. It’s akin to the view expressed in the early 1970s by then-Rutgers professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg that the Roe v. Wade ruling was a product of “concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations we don’t want too many of.”

Belief that the unborn human child has a right to be protected against lethal aggression, according to Harris-Perry, is a “faith claim … not associated with science.” However one views that moral proposition, the humanity of the developing individual is an incontestable scientific fact. The existence of the invisible, intangible abstraction called the “state” is based entirely on faith claims that Harris-Perry is willing to impose through coercion.

In an essay she wrote for The Nation magazine three years ago – then, as now, she wore her surname fashionably parted in the middle, but in a slightly different style – Harris-Perry described how she catechizes her unfortunate students in the gospel of the Almighty State:

"I often begin my political science courses with a brief introduction to the idea of `the state.' The state is the entity that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, force, and coercion. If an individual travels to another country and kills its citizens, we call it terrorism. If the state does it, we call it war. If a man kills his neighbor it is murder; if the state does it it is the death penalty. If an individual takes his neighbor's money, it is theft; if the state does it, it is taxation."

In addition to instructing other people’s children in the fear and admonition of the Divine State, Harris-Perry is eager to see its heretical enemies put to the torch.

"The Tea Party is a challenge to the legitimacy of the U.S. state," Harris-Perry insisted. "When Tea Party participants charge the current administration with various forms of totalitarianism, they are arguing that the government has no right to levy taxes or make policy. Many GOP elected officials offered nearly secessionist rhetoric from the floor of the Congress [during the debate over nationalizing health care]. They joined as co-conspirators with the Tea Party protesters by arguing that this government has no monopoly on legitimacy."

The overt act that made that impious “conspiracy” a prosecutable crime, according to Harris-Perry, was an anti-Obamacare protest in which Tea Party activists heckled Georgia Rep. John Lewis. As an elected official, Lewis is not merely a human being, according to Harris-Perry, but an “embodiment of the state” – or, to use appropriate creedal language, al living image of the invisible deity.

"When protesters spit on and scream at duly elected representatives of the United States government it is more than an act of racism," snarled Harris-Perry, making a de rigueur – and entirely gratuitous -- reference to Lewis's ethnic background. "It is an act of sedition."

String up the barbed wire, sharpen the guillotine, ready the basement cells of the Lubyanka: There are "seditionists" to be dealt with!

Like many others of her ideological persuasion, Harris-Perry is a stranger to concision. In describing the totalitarian state’s proprietary claim on children, someone who represented a slightly different strain of collectivism – albeit not as different as Harris-Perry would insist – stated the matter much more tidily almost exactly eighty years ago:

“When an opponent declares, `I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say: `Your child belongs to us already…. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in this new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

Those words were spoken on November 6, 1933 by the community-organizing, civilian-disarming, socialized medicine-promoting, government stimulus-peddling, unitary executive who presided over Germany’s National Socialist government. When Harris-Perry and her comrades demand that we "Lean Forward," that's the direction they have in mind.
William Norman Grigg publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.

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