State Ownership of All Children Officially Arrives in “The Land of the Free”

The state governments of both Illinois and Iowa are currently taking aggressive legislative action to impose mandatory and periodic government invasions on private homes where children are homeschooled, in order to ensure that the government’s intellectual and moral indoctrination benchmarks are being met. In other words, these states, like most governments around the world that tolerate any level of homeschooling, are making a public show of declaring their ownership rights over all children, thus reinforcing the essential presupposition behind all public education, namely that parents exist only as secondary guardians and caretakers of children — a glorified babysitting service — subservient at all times to the government.

This has been the crux of my case against not only public schools, but also all state-regulated forms of “private schooling,” for years. The conservative fraud of “school choice” or “school vouchers” is just another manifestation of the same progressive, strings-attached diminution of the private family, in which all child-rearing ultimately falls under the regulatory domain of the state, whether directly or indirectly.

And so, yet again, I can do no more than urge the six or seven people out there who are still spiritually resistant to the totalitarian presumptions embedded in every aspect of our luxurious, comfortable modern life, to read my Case Against Public Education, where I lay out the whole argument against this mass enslavement scheme and worldwide civilizational breakdown, from its historical precedents to its modern development to the endgame through which we are living right now.

As I explain:

You do not have the luxury of waiting for someone else to act. The trend throughout the world is toward increased restriction of parental authority. Private and/or home education, where they still exist, are severely hamstrung by state-mandated goals, and by societies become dependent on the state’s standardized vetting process. If and when these alternatives slide from being heavily regulated into being strictly illegal, the only way to rescue children from government education without being imprisoned would be mass civil disobedience, which would be highly unlikely in today’s climate. (For those who respond to the prospect of a complete ban on private education with the standard head-in-the-sand “Oh, come on,” I note a few of the ostensibly civilized, democratic nations in which homeschooling is already outright illegal or severely restricted: Germany, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, and Greece.) Thus the time to act, for those still legally permitted to do so, is now.

— Daren Jonescu, “Winning the Long War,” in The Case Against Public Education

I wrote those words a few years ago, when my ongoing critique of the entire concept and purpose of government-controlled education was frequently guffawed by self-described conservatives who objected that homeschooling was always possible for those who desired it, which was supposed to prove that I was being a Cassandra about the ultimate civilizational danger of public education. 

My answer, in brief, was that even in jurisdictions where educating children outside of a government building is still permitted — yes, permitted, i.e., allowed by the State child-rearing overseers — this permission is granted only conditionally, with malice, and with administrative officers working overtime to devise methods of shrinking the real autonomy and independence of so-called private education. 

In the case of private schooling, the statists’ solution is easy: force the schools to conform to government standards of academic and moral training as a condition for granting them state funding or accreditation. Hence, while they may do a better job of providing generic modern education than their public school counterparts — they could hardly do worse — the risk that such private education will promote genuine independence and liberty-enhancing alternative ways of thinking is greatly diminished, if not outright eliminated.

Homeschooling, on the other hand, presents a special problem, as the presence of parents raising their children themselves, according to their own lights and priorities, removes the state-regulated middlemen (private schools), and therefore actually endangers the state’s spiritual and academic hegemony. The American “Common Core” curriculum, which was a bipartisan strategy to politicize the meaning and goals of education more explicitly than ever before — and the discredited aims and methods of which now continue and thrive under alternative names — was one key part of the effort to squeeze any last breath of freedom out of alternative education.

But the ultimate means of control, the only one that would serve tyranny’s purposes with the proper efficiency, would be an enforcement regime to threaten and warn parents into complying with all government mandates regarding what constitutes a “properly educated” citizen. In other words, what is finally needed, short of simply outlawing homeschooling directly (that will come next), is a means of tethering parents to the government so tightly that the children might just as well be in public school anyway, and the parents might just as well spare themselves all the effort, expense, and humiliation of raising their children at home, if they are only allowed to produce a homespun replica of a public school child in the end.

And so that is the inevitable trajectory, as introduced in Iowa and Illinois this week. Of course, these bills were introduced under the auspices of preventing child abuse or extreme neglect, citing a couple of famous criminal cases as evidence for the need to effectively criminalize all homeschooling parents. (This is the standard progressive totalitarian mechanism, as may also be seen in the recent case of U.S. gun control, where a few well-publicized crimes are used as a wedge to hold open the door for utterly unconstitutional restrictions on weapons sales and ownership rights, hiding behind the ruse of “mental health issues,” where mental health is an inherently nebulous notion susceptible to political manipulation of every imaginable sort — especially since it is the government determining the definitions.)

What is this all about? The answer is as simple and obvious as it is unpalatable to those — including and especially those modern “conservatives” — who prefer their political outrage confined to the domain of an after-dinner treat, or an early morning diversion, so as not to disrupt their deeper life of sitcoms, Super Bowls, and cynical pleasure-seeking.

This is about government ownership of the individual. It is about the abolition of the private family, undertaken so gradually that the resulting non-parents are not even aware that they are not parents. It is about the subversion of every principle of individual liberty in favor of collective physical and psychological control. It is about the carefully micromanaged, materialist-totalitarian society, built on distorted notions of comfort and stability which are to displace the longing for self-knowledge and elevated spiritual experience that used to define the heights of human aspiration.

Oh, I know, as all my thousands of former readers at American Thinker told me before I gave up trying, and as all the other “conservative” media outlets continue to insist with admirable blind faith, that Trump will fix everything.

America is lost. Her children are lost. Her future is pure darkness. Everything that “couldn’t happen here” has happened to her, is happening to her, will continue to happen to her, until there is no “her” left to be raped any longer. Meanwhile, the only people left in America who once seemed to give a damn about her, and might even in theory have taken one last stab at saving her, have lost their heads in a drunken cloud of orange pixie dust.

For the happy few of you who have chosen to ride out this storm with me in your own little corner of Limbo, I can only recommend, as usual, that you read The Case Against Public Education, as thousands of others have done, in at least fifty-seven countries. (And thank you Kyrgyzstan, Country Number Fifty-Seven!)

We will not win this fight, to the extent that there still is a fight at all. But in the end, the fight is not the ultimate concern. Your soul’s self-understanding is the real purpose of life, all temporal machinations and abuses notwithstanding. Wisdom is virtue. Ignorance is the only true defeat. Knowing what happened, and why, is the truest victory. 

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