Double Standard on “Re-education Camps”
China is rounding up Uyghur Muslims and forcing them into internment camps for “political education,” i.e., indoctrinating submission to the Communist Party. Some will choose to turn a blind eye to China’s oppressive means, out of animus toward Islam. Some will note that this policy is consistent with China’s general aims of eliminating all religion. I wish to focus on our convenient hypocrisy.
Here is a portion of CNN’s report on the Uyghur oppression:
Thousands of Uyghur Muslims are currently being detained in cramped conditions at so-called political education camps in China’s restive far-western region of Xinjiang — and the trend shows no sign of abating, exiled Uyghur activists and human rights advocacy groups say.
“Every household, every family had three or four people taken away,” said Omer Kanat, executive committee chairman of the World Uyghur Congress, an umbrella group for the Uyghur diaspora.
“In some villages, you can’t see men on the streets anymore — only women and children — all the men have been sent to the camps”….
Detainees are required to praise the ruling Communist Party, sing revolutionary songs, learn to speak Mandarin, study the thought of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and confess perceived transgressions such as praying at a mosque or traveling abroad, according to activists.
Let’s see: the Chinese Communist Party is forcing people into crowded compounds where they are indoctrinated with government-friendly “right-thinking” attitudes, thereby violating freedom of conscience, familial authority, and the rights of communities to establish and maintain their own traditions voluntarily.
When governments we wish to condemn as authoritarian do such things, we call their compounds “re-education camps.”
When our own “freely elected” governments do exactly the same thing, but do it to defenseless children, and on a much wider scale, we call it “public school,” and treat it with all the dignity of a natural right, rather than what it is (and always was), namely forcing people into crowded compounds where they are indoctrinated with government-friendly “right-thinking” attitudes, thereby violating freedom of conscience, familial authority, and the rights of communities to establish and maintain their own traditions voluntarily.
Please don’t tell me Thomas Jefferson advocated publicly-funded schools. I know that. I also know he didn’t live in a world with public schools, wasn’t educated in public schools, and had never seen a society formed on the basis of public schools. Jefferson, however, and to his credit, also warned that publicly-funded schools should never be controlled by any authority beyond the district (local community) level, because the children’s parents should never lose complete control over the education process.
Jefferson, in short, did not advocate public education of the form that is standard in every advanced nation on Earth today.
Thanks to the Chinese communists for a useful lesson in intellectual honesty — that is, in giving us an opportunity to see ourselves in a mirror. If you look in that bright, stark mirror, and see only “them,” rather yourself and your own nation, it is time to rub your eyes clear and look again.
Here, courtesy of the Limbo bookstore, is a free bottle of eye drops: The Case Against Public Education.