All Your Children Are Belong to Us

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Every now and then I’ll see a collective kerfuffle ensue over some piece of media that upon inspection isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. But this ad appearing on MSNBC is every bit as scary and awful as some commentators have made it out to be.

For those of you who don’t have the stomach to sit through the ad, it features college professor and MSLSD host Melissa Harris-Perry proclaiming , “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.”

You might think she’s simply saying that child rearing is something of a collective effort, with all members of the community responsible for helping to educate the little ones. No, she really seems to think that Socrates (by way of Plato) was onto something 2,500 years ago when he speculated that in the ideal republic families would essentially be eliminated, with children being reared communally rather than by their parents.

On top of offering a horrifying notion that children really don’t belong to their parents, Harris-Perry is simply wrong about education spending. As John Sexton notes, the US spends more per pupil than almost any other first world nation, even if the results are less than satisfactory.

Moreover, as Ace points out, this notion of shared responsibility doesn’t quite work in the real world.

One basic thing: This idea of “shared responsibility” doesn’t work. In practice, if one person (or two, in a two parent family) is responsible, then stuff gets taken care of.

If “we’re all responsible,” then actually no one is responsible, and stuff doesn’t get taken care of.

In economics, this is referred to as the Tragedy of the Commons.

Rush Limbaugh also discussed this today on his radio show, and he observes how casually Harris-Perry discusses this idea. Twenty years ago we almost all would have laughed her off the national stage, yet today she can talk about kids not really belonging to their parents and she doesn’t even bat an eyelash, as though the idea were wholly uncontroversial. Sadly, to a large segment of the population, there is not anything even remotely wrong with what she has to say, and that should scare every last one of us.

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  1. At risk of offending the Godwin gods, this quote seems entirely appropriate:

    “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 the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

    Adoph Hitler

  2. There is not anything even remotely RIGHT with what she has to say.

    That is, madame is spouting pure ideological trash, dressed up and promulgated by a hopeless mental defective, on TV to her MSNBC audience of 23, for your delectation. You’ll have to figure out what is obscene about it. Think ahead about one generation, make it 30-40 years ahead at most. You’ll see it.

    Easiest assignment I ever did.

  3. It is astounding that someone in the education field would make such an utterly ridiculous statement. Most critics of the US current malaise in the quality of its education system bemoan the fact the parents are not involved enough in the education of their children – both at the personal level and at the school level. It is no wonder our schools are failing with this kind of convoluted thinking.

  4. Sounds like more of that “It takes a village” garbage. I have come to think that progressivism knows no limits. It will never be satisfied with enough already. The idea of dissolution of parental rights is nothing new but only exercised under the worst of regimes. That it should raise its ugly head at this time should be a dire warning of the danger ahead. Yes, I try not to judge the intentions of others rashly but some good intentions are those with which the road to hell is paved.

  5. If we lived in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, this might well be true. But, we don’t, yet. Two words: HOME SCHOOL. Pax

  6. Jules Ferry, the founder of the modern French educational system, imitated throughout much of Europe, was simply more candid than most politicians, when he said the purpose of public education was to cast the nation’s youth in the same mould and to stamp them, like the coinage, with the image of the republic, [jeter la jeunesse dans le même moule, la frapper, comme une monnaie, à l’effigie de la république]

    Such views are by no means confined to the Left. Quite the contrary; Ferry himself was the minister of Thiers, during the suppression of the Paris Commune and the architect of colonisation in Algeria. He was, of course, a ferocious anti-clerical (bouffeur de curé).

  7. “Parents give up their rights when they drop off their children off at public schools” Melinda Harmon, US Federal Judge, 1996.
    People seem to be lazy or something, so they don’t listen or care. What else could it be? Yesterday I spoke with a woman that wants to homeschool her daughter next year, for 7th grade. I told her one of my reasons for homeschooling is because I don’t think it’s the school’s job to decide when to teach things that take away my own children’s innocence. She was very blase about it, but said, “Oh, yeah, that’s true.” Hello? I completely understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the childless women.” I am in fear for my future grandchildren, although the other day my 11-year old asked me if I would help her homeschool when she’s a mom. Of course I will. And I hope it’s still legal then. Strange how it seems like we’re going down a path where moral people are being called criminals and criminals are being ignored.

  8. It is sad to see someone on a national television “news” program propagate such blatant lies. The political left in this country has gone away from their initial goals of helping the poor and working for civil rights; they have become mouthpieces for the Big Brother state control crowd. A system like that will only benefit the largest corporations and the wealthiest people. That is the true nature of socialism. I’d hope that these kinds of comments will encourage more parents to put their kids into private schools or home school them.

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