In Scotland, six-year-old Daniel McFadyen‘s mother insists he is transgender ever since she found him gesturing at his privates in the bathtub with scissors when he was three. Even though these parents have other sons and must have seen them all playing with themselves (boys do this, as any parent of a male toddler can tell you, and it means nothing), this will now likely result in him taking “drugs to postpone puberty as well as hormone treatments, and then have gender realignment surgery” at age 18. So now we have state-encouraged and -sponsored child mutilation, and not in a Muslim country but a Western country.
Scotland is also the country that plans to appoint a “state guardian” for every child born, who will “assess a child’s ‘wellbeing’ against eight key indicators, including factors such as whether they are safe, healthy, included and respected.” What do you want to bet this guardian will not advocate for Daniel’s right not to have his parents medically and emotionally abuse him? As Walt Heyer pointed out in these pages, forerunner cases similar to Daniel’s ended in suicide, as boys abused like this ultimately have a horrifically difficult time reaching stability upon adulthood. Big surprise.
This is not only state- but culturally sanctioned child abuse, and these phenomena are growing. As Peggy Noonan pointed out in a recent excerpt of her new book,
while I was not quite protected as a child, the prevailing American culture itself at that point still functioned as a protective force. Things hadn’t been let loose to such a degree. The messages, permissions, incitements and inducements of the culture were not rough, lowering, frightening…There are not fewer children living stressed, chaotic lives in America now — there are more. There will be more still, because among the things America no longer manufactures is stability. And the culture around them will not protect them, as the culture protected me. The culture around them will make their lives harder, more frightening, more dangerous. They are going to come up with nothing to believe in, their nerves essentially shot. And they’re going to be — they are already — very angry.
Behold just some of the many ways a centralized state is increasingly assaulting children, flinging them and their families into chaos. It does this in two ways: Sanctioning or outright demanding that people psychologically assault children; and prohibiting parents from exerting their natural and just protective influence. These are sins both of commission and omission.
Dividing Parents and Children with Countless Frustrations
At the top of the list for me is one that may seem small, but despite that epitomizes the new attitude about the sacred, protective relationship between parents and children. It’s Common Core math. You know the social media memes, those snapshots and stories of absurdly engineered math problems that take a second-grader and his parents two hours to not solve around the dinner table each evening, all while the child and sometimes parents sob. That is not even an exaggeration.
The response by our “public officials” is typified in this PBS article: “If you learned [math the traditional] way, it’s likely that the ‘how’ of doing the calculation has been drilled into your head, but the ‘why’ has been lost. Knowledge not supported by understanding is fragile.” In other words, get with the program, you stupid parents. The experts need to school you like they’re schooling your kids. Except the parents are right on the math and the experts are wrong. Years of experiments in California, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts, among others, demonstrate that traditional math instruction is far more effective than the new, new, new math Common Core reincarnates from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s that parents have always hated, and with good reason.
Not surprisingly, the educrat class supports things that increase their job security (if a mom and dad can assist with basic math, why hire math specialists and homework helpers and consultants?). Societally, however, we should not do what artificially inflates the math remediation industry. Even if traditional and “reform math” were equally effective, we should support the style of instruction that reinforces families rather than sets them at each other needlessly. Why? Because parents are by far the biggest influence on how much a child learns. Anything that degrades that relationship hurts our society, besides being a malicious imposition on family privacy and self-determination.
But rather than properly respecting and reinforcing the greatest vehicle for social peace and prosperity—that would be the family, in case you’re societally oblivious—our social engineers insist on constantly assaulting it. They everywhere empower parents to assault their children, or impose themselves to do the assaulting after having shoved parents out of their way.
Abuse Your Kids, Or Let Us Do It
Let’s look at the list of recently state-sanctioned child abuse: injecting a minor with permanently body-altering opposite-sex hormones; implanting pubescent girls with hormonal birth control, which can ensure she essentially never has a period; letting underage girls get abortions; teaching toddlers about homosexuality; forcing girls to undress and shower where a boy can see them in school locker rooms; putting wildly misbehaving children in classrooms so no one can learn but at least the bad kids don’t feel “left out”; teaching children to hate America; and tracking children’s private beliefs and behaviors for the rest of their lives and putting it into federal databases (PDF), then empowering bureaucrats to “modify” those beliefs and behaviors.
These state-sanctioned child assaults are bookended by state restraints on parents doing or fostering things that would reduce their kids’ distress. Parents have to fight like the dickens to excuse their own children from taking annual, federally mandated tests (while bureaucrats continue to insist they’re making kids cry “for their own good”). Eighteen states do not protect parents’ right to opt their kids out of sex ed in a culture that has weaponized sexuality against children like Islamists weaponize religion. Parents get visits from state agents or “helpful neighbors” if they let their kids walk to school alone, sit in the car for ten minutes, or play outside.
Lawmakers in New York and Michigan are attempting to lasso families into entirely state-directed (and therefore low-quality) styles of education by just recently introducing bills to that would make private schools offer “substantially equivalent” curriculum and register all the homeschoolers, respectively. States like Pennyslvania and New York already require homeschooling families to get their curriculum approved by the same people who can’t get the majority of public-school kids under their care to read by fourth grade.
Parents Can Be Primary, Or Government Can
Among the elites, for centuries it has been a deliberate tactic to get children away from their parents as early as possible so parents cannot pass down “provincial and outdated ideas” like their religion and love for home and country. No lesser inciters to mass murder than Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin advocated such policies. I see the attempted prohibitions against student-initiated school prayers as part of this pattern, but so are pushes for government preschool and early childcare. (Understand, I am not saying government preschool leads to mass murder, although it’s very clear that America’s young mass murderers and would-be mass murderers are linked to broken homes. I’m saying the two have philosophical linkages.)
A mother and father are the first and most primal gift any child has. They desperately need that bond to be reinforced, not attenuated. But statists rightly see family bonds as an obstacle to their control of society. They understand there are basically two ways to manage children. One is for parents to be the primary caretakers and decisionmakers. The other is for the state to be the primary caretaker and decisionmaker. This division is as old as ancient Sparta, which took children from parents at an early age (and dissuaded adults from younger marriage) because the leaders there considered all children property of the state whose upbringing had to be directed to the state’s service. Plato advocated even wackier parent-child separation to serve his centralized state.
Right now, our society is choosing which of these two kinds of family arrangements we uphold. We may not think we are deciding, but we are. Public policy either strengthens families, or it strengthens the state. Culture either strengthens families, or it strengthens the state. Myriad little niggling annoyances and regulations that attenuate family life also strengthen government power, as Alexis de Tocqueville foresaw:
Thus, After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Governments do not have hearts. They cannot hug a child. Only a mother and father have a biological compulsion to love a little child in the way he desperately needs. No state-appointed substitutes will ever be even close to as good en masse. If we want to have a populace that doesn’t feel hair-trigger raw in the way Noonan described, or constitute the flock of timid animals Tocqueville described, we must not straightjacket and harass the parents.