Parental rights and authority have been under scrutiny from some lefty liberals and and socialists recently (here’s an example). The concern is usually grounded in “children’s rights” and their autonomy, though there is also attention paid toward critiquing the basis for parental authority. I used to think parental authority is a given, but it seems as though “the left” is willing to challenge any traditional source of authority that is not the state itself. Conservatives should always pay close attention to philosophies and ideologies that dissolve or undermine non-state authorities, such as the family or religious institutions, because that is a mechanism on which totalitarianism depends. The idea is to slowly eliminate the authority of and allegiance to non-state institutions.
Consider this. Just a few days ago, the democratic socialist government of Alberta legislated that schools cannot inform parents whether their child is a member of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. It’s called Bill 24. The justification for this law, so far as I have heard, is that such information “outs” a child to his parents, which therefore can violate his privacy or is too great a risk for his safety. Hence, the schools are now mandated to hide some information from parents about their own child, because, ya know, it’s either not the parents’ business or the risk that some parents might harm their child is too great. Or something like that. The former restricts parental authority and oversight while the latter distrusts parents. Either way, it’s a big FUCK-YOU to parents.
There are a number of ways conservatives might answer. Here are some:
- Knowledge of membership to a Gay-Straight Alliance group doesn’t “out” a child, since it is a club for persons with any sexual inclination. At most, membership implies that the member is an “ally”, which doesnt entail that the child has homosexual inclination.
- We already have legislation ensuring children’s safety. Rather than further restrict knowledge and oversight for parents, and actually hide information about their own child, the schools and government should take a less intrusive approach by turning their attention exclusively to those very few cases where a child’s is abused. That way parents can still have full disclosure while children’s safety enjoys the full measure of law. And I mean actually abused, not the interpretation of “abuse” heralded by many psychologists today, because they concept-creeped the shit out of it.
- We don’t need to be absolutely reactive toward abuse. We can be proactive, too. For example, if there is sufficient reason to think that a parent would become abusive if he learned that his kid has homosexual inclinations or joined a GSA (e.g., severe beatings or honour killing), then the schools can and should hide that information, but this decision to hide that information should be decided on the case-by-case basis and only in very serious cases. It is thus not the standard approach to take with parents. Instead, it is a very narrow and scarce exception to the rule.
For those people who don’t find 2 and 3 true, it is likely that we differ on this 4th point: Any curricular and extracurricular content and activity is the business of parents, especially that which pertains to education, morality and sexuality. If we disagree on this, then we shouldn’t. Instead, you should agree with me. Here’s why.
Family-bonds and the parent-child bond are natural and prior to the state. Their relationship cannot be paralleled well by any other natural person or state institution, because none other can account for the material cause and constitution of a child himself. The family and parent-child relationship is thus directly causal, personal and ontological.
That the parents created a new and totally dependent human person makes them responsible for that child and his welfare. His parents owe him that. They also owe the rest of us that, because each person is responsible for his own choices and the relationships he establishes. In addition, it is good for the child to be within the care of his parents, because part of his personhood and identity rests with them and none other. Furthermore, no other person or institution will likely love that child as much as his mother and father, for they will tend to his needs and good even to the detriment of their own health or life. The child is thus best under the care of his parents and parents are obliged to provide that care.
Caring of children requires choosing particular goods and ends for children. But who gets to make those decisions? Plausibly, it’s either the parents or the state. If the state chooses for children, then parents would serve as mere bodily donors and custodians for the state. But that is perverse: The parent-child relationship is naturally much deeper and more intimate than that, as I argued earlier. Hence, it is not the state should choose, but the parents. Yet, if it is the parents who should choose, then they need a great deal of space to exercise their choices in accordance to their conscience, particularly within matters of education, sexuality and morality, for each is deeply consequential to the child’s identity, good and life trajectory. In fact, aside from providing the necessities of life, it is hard to think of a contribution more important to the life and good of a child than those aforementioned things.
But if the parents are to make those choices and oversee their child’s education, then they need to know what’s going on with their child’s education and their activities within the school; hence, schools should not be hiding what children are learning or doing, nor even what sort of programs they’re involved in, even if it is a GSA. To do otherwise is to undermine the parental authority grounded in the unique relationship with their children.
Alberta’s parents need to flip the bird right back at their government.
- In Defence of Philosopher Tully Borland - December 7, 2017
- On the Black Family, Absentee Parents and Progressivism - November 24, 2017
- University Teacher in Trouble for Presenting Jordan Peterson Neutrally - November 21, 2017
- Parental Rights & Authority and “the Left” - November 17, 2017
- Women Largely Belong in the Home as Wives and Mothers - November 3, 2017
- Why I Am Uneasy with Women in Political Office and with Women’s Vote - October 25, 2017
- Child Stability: Marriage > Cohabitation - October 17, 2017
- Public Education, Teacher Unions and Brainwashing - October 13, 2017
- Whatever Happened to Christian Crusader Mentality? - September 24, 2017
- Brooke Baldwin, CNN and Boobies: Who Really Demeans Women? - September 19, 2017