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It Doesn’t Take A Village

She looks harmless, but listen to what she has to say about your kids.

This is Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of political science and spokesweasel for MSNBC, telling us that your kids are not your kids – they’re everyone’s kids.

And she’s not alone.

We’ve been hammered with the slogan, “It takes a village to raise a child” ever since Hillary Clinton hired someone to ghost-write her book. It’s an African saying that might make sense for people living in a culture composed primarily of tribes of extended families, but in the context of our society, it’s both stupid and frightening. It doesn’t take a village; it takes parents, preferably two. An extended family helps too. But Harris-Perry wants the government to have the primary say in how you raise your kids. Considering how well government does everything else, that should strike a deep black fear into the heart of very mother and father in the US.

She does this after complaining that we don’t spend enough on public education. The fact is, adjusted for inflation, we’ve tripled our spending per student since 1960, and the results have been appalling. For instance, it produces academics like Ms. Harris-Perry.

There are a thousand different ways to raise kids, and only about a dozen of them are wrong. Unless someone is actively hurting their children, they should be left alone to do what they think is best for them.

What about hard-core fundamentalists whose homeschooling curriculum consists of coloring books featuring Jesus riding dinosaurs, lessons on hating gay people, and believing that the world is going to end next week? Leave them alone. I think they’re foolish, and I know they’re wrong, but I support their right to raise their kids their way. I say this as a hard-core atheist and despite being raised in a fundy household and hating every minute of it. It sucked in every way imaginable, but if Big Brother came in and tried to “fix” it, it would have been even worse.

I raised my kids to be critical, thinking people who don’t take things at face value. I taught them to love liberty and be wary of the numerous people, organizations and governments that will try to take it from them. I didn’t consciously try to steer them toward being atheists, but that’s how they turned out. (Surprise!) I think all kids should be raised that way. So why would I support the right of parents to teach their kids wrong, stupid, and downright harmful things?

Several reasons. The first, and most important, is that it’s none of my damn business. They’re not my kids. Nor are the “society’s” property. The second is that it’s the only way to support the rights of everyone else, including skeptics and atheists, to raise their children the way we want. You can’t demand that right for one group and deny it for another because you disagree with them. And finally, I don’t know the best way to raise your kids. I got my one chance to raise mine, and they turned about great, but I’m not presumptuous enough to insist my way is best, and not not evil enough to force others to use it.

Ms. Harris-Perry, however, is.

 

More Information:

For a more detailed breakdown of this vile creature, check out William Grigg’s article. I’ve just added his blog to my intentionally short blogroll. (I disagree with his position on abortion, but not much else.) I read it regularly, and so should you.

 

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5 Comment(s)

  1. Aside from the evidence that today the US functions at a far more violent and dangerous level than this conceptual village you seem to scorn, kids need us all to watch out for them. Am I being clear? We are ALL our children’s keepers.

    I am an atheist as well; I too was raised in a hardcore religion that was more damaging than I can describe. But I feel compassion for the kids who fall through the cracks, specifically kids who suffer and/or die because of their parents’ religious beliefs. 38 states still permit parents to deny their children medical treatment–even when their kids suffer from treatable illnesses like diabetes–through legal loopholes, most of which were co-opted by the Christian Science Church, the brand-name of socially-accepted negligence.

    While I do not believe in a deity, I do believe in the power of human beings to watch after each other. I know that well-adjusted, truly healthy parents do not live in fear of “The State” taking children away. I believe in the education of intelligent Americans to work to leglislate these loopholes out of existence.

    And I believe it is this kind of apathy toward our own species that gives a-theism a bad name.

    Liz Heywood | Apr 9, 2013 | Reply

  2. I more or less agree with you but you’re failing to account for a very sobering reality: what other people do can affect you. Lets forget about Christian fundamentalists for a second. What if a set of parents decide that their child is going to be “educated” in a madrasah. There the child will learn nothing except mindless repetition of the Koran and how killing infidels is the highest good. That child grows up and blows himself up in a crowded market. Are you saying even if a child is being raised in a way that will make him more likely to cause harm to others in the future, we should still do nothing about it? Are you saying that the people who got blown up because of this child’s upbringing should have had absolutely no say in the matter? Didn’t how those parents raised that child become the business of his victims when their arms and legs were being blown off by him?

    Granted, that’s an extreme case (well not that extreme if you live in Israel), but what about the sect you were raised in? If, say, you had gotten in an accident and required a blood transfusion to save your life, should the courts have just stepped aside and let your parents
    Force the hospital to let you die because it wasn’t the public’s business?

    I can’t agree that parents have universal control over their children. There has to be a line. Especially if the parents are causing direct harm to the child or allowing said harm to happen. I probably wouldn’t draw that line anywhere near where that woman is drawing it, but I think there is a point where some behaviors ARE society’s business, especially when how a child is raised affects others in an adverse way. Our public science curriculum is a joke because we allow parents to withhold accurate information from their children. These children in turn grow up and vote on things and ultimately determine who makes the rules in the first place. I think it’s quite reasonable to require all parents to provide for their child’s education, and that the education must meet a reasonable, objective standard. Otherwise, were heading into a relativistic, every-opinion-is-equally-valid territory.

    Brian | Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

  3. @Brian — We need to allow idiots to be idiots. We cannot prevent idiots from existing. Freedom has a price. Part of the price is letting those idiots exist. We cannot force them to see things our way.

    brad tittle | Apr 18, 2013 | Reply

  4. @Brad,

    I’m sorry, but the thing is, it’s not a child’s choice to have idiot parents, and a parent’s idiocy should not be allowed to be inflicted on a child if that idiocy involves endangering the child’s life and/or health. It irks me that people like you shrug off things like this as “well, that’s the price of freedom” and makes me wonder where you draw the line, if at all. Do we just sit back and allow EVERYTHING? Where does it stop?

    No one will ever convince me that a child dying of a treatable condition because his/her parents are idiots is an acceptable “price to pay” for freedom. I’ll willingly give up a little of my freedom so children aren’t prematurely executed due to the dictates of religious beliefs they are too young to understand and accept themselves.

    Brian | Apr 24, 2013 | Reply

  5. Brian is the typical Joe who doesn’t understand freedom clear enough.Brian,if you want to give up your rights so you can impose some of your twisted beliefs on others,I am not willing to give up anything.I appreciate freedom more than your ugly impossible idea of perfect world.Natural selection is the best the nature has come up with,so do you think you are smarter than than?Let me tell you – you are not!Nobody is.Just let life be and stop being control freak thinking you will make positive difference,because you will probably do the opposite.

    Angel | Nov 9, 2013 | Reply

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