Posts Tagged ‘totalitarianism’

Who “Owns” Your Kids?

Melissa Harris-Perry, a Professor of Political Science, has garnered a lot of attention with her recent statement that children don’t belong to their parents and families, but to the community at large. This, of course, harkens back most recently to Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village.” Beyond that it reminds us of policies of communist totalitarians.

It should go without saying that the “community” plays an important role in kids’ development. They have always learned from their playmates, their playmates’ parents, their teachers, their schools and school policies, churches, recreational entities like Little League and Pop Warner, other programs like Big Brother-Big Sister, etc. Furthermore, they are “reared” in significant ways by media: television, movies, electronic games, and the like.

Obviously, it seems to me, that on its surface, Professor Perry’s objective, to have the community rear children, has already been met in myriad ways. But that is not the case because what she means is for the community to take over and control the development of American children. And what does she mean by the “community”, the town, the state, the country?

Her ideas have not been well-received by, of all things, the community. In this day and age when the majority of citizens self-identify as conservative, parents go out of their way to avoid much in the community that they find harmful to their kids. Witness the groundswell of support for home-schooling, charter schools, and vouchers. Some educators point to the fact that, via the internet, students have immediate access to a wider range of knowledge than ever before. One can even earn a college degree online. Public schools are more and more being referred to as “government schools.” If anything, parents and other family members are challenged to protect their children from the community. Substitute the words “Federal Government” for “Community” and Perry’s ideas are even more threatening.

Parents and grandparents should hug their kids close and tell them how much they are loved. That’s something they will not get from “the community” if Melissa Harris-Perry’s radical ideas ever take control.

Are We Inherently Good or Evil?

I recently receive the following email from my great nephew. I’ve decided to answer him here.

Let me ask a question uncle Dwight, no right or wrong, just philosophical. Are humans inherently good or bad? Just curious to hear from an older and experienced (i think you are wise and very intelligent even though we disagree on some political issues) person such as yourself.
Monday at 3:42pm · Like

Or to be correct kind vs evil.

First you asked my thoughts about whether we are inherently good or bad (evil). Then you changed good to kind.

To me, good vs. evil is more of an “either-or” question than kind vs. evil. If one argues from Biblical authority, we are created in God’s image. God is considered good (that’s why we named him God), therefore we, being made in his “image,” are fundamentally good. But then there’s the problem of our disobedience in the garden of Eden where it turned out we were not so good after all. If we acknowledge that we have free will (not all philosophers do) it suggests that we have a choice between good and evil. Obviously we are capable of both. We have Mother Teresa and Adolph Hitler as prime examples.

In my experience, no one is always evil or always good. It’s dangerous to describe people using broad generalities. In fact, I think all labels applied to people limit them in a destructive way. People are complex, made up of many factors applied to many functions. A policeman, for example, may also be a fisherman, an EMT, a father, brother, husband, cousin, safety instructor, etc. He might, at the same time, be a petty thief or a drug dealer. So to keep this short, I believe, it’s behavior we should judge, and not people (though we all do it. It’s a form of shorthand.)

By substituting kind for good, I think you’re limiting overall goodness to just one form of goodness. If Mother Teresa shooed a dog out of her way, it might have been unkind, but not bad or evil. And, while I have little evidence for this, I suspect that even Hitler showed kindness from time to time, even if only to Eva Braun.

I suspect that you may have substituted “kind” for “good” because you may be struggling with the desire for a society where kindness reigns. I believe that many young liberals decide that being liberal necessarily means being kind, and they work to establish universal kindness through government. Experience shows me that establishing any kind of societal model has necessitated totalitarianism, i.e. coercing all people to adhere to a theoretical model of behavior. I do believe that we are born free and that denying people their freedom is evil behavior.

I know there are many more “if’s, and’s, and but’s” to this whole discussion, but I’ve belabored it enough for now.

Uncle Dwight