Barack Obama, speaking at an event in Rhode Island yesterday:
Looking at this in the best possible light, Obama wants more money for pre-school education, and thinks it is a travesty that some people (especially women) have to stay home to help raise the kids.
Let’s be clear from the outset that raising kids always entails a financial hardship. As we have five kids, we know this personally ourselves. And, if you have children someone has to take care of them. Children cannot take care of themselves. This means even greater financial hardship, as one parent will have to stay home, or the parents will have to opt for expensive childcare. However, despite what Obama appears to believe, raising children is a privilege, and not a burden. Oh, and pre-school can be great, by the way, if the child has good teachers.
However, since pre-school is supposed to be school–not daycare, not childcare, and not an all day function–it is not a solution to the problem that Obama raises. For a real pre-school, by the time the parent gets home from dropping the child off, it is nearly time to go and pick the child back up again. This does not leave enough time for someone to even have a part-time job, much less a full-time one. So, Obama is being dishonest here. Either he is using the “horror” of having to stay home and raise kids in an attempt to get money for an unrelated program, or when he says “pre-school”, he really means “daycare”, which is at best a babysitter and at worst a warehouse for infants.
His dishonesty here is typical of him, and we could spend hours studying all of the multifaceted dimensions of this particular bit of dissimulation. However, let us return to his main statement, as we have heard this kind of sentiment before in different contexts, and none of those contexts are good. He said, “That is not a choice we want Americans to make.” Yet, this is their choice. What business does the state have in taking this choice away from them?
One comparatively recent theory of western jurisprudence holds that children, all children, are wards of the state, and that the state grants parents the right to take care of children as agents of the state, but only because it is in the state’s interest to do so. Though this idea may seem strange to people, we have heard it expressed as the rule of the land both at university and at seminary, no less. This effectively means that in the eyes of the law, parents serve only as caretakers of the children, and they serve only as the state sees fit. Thus, the state can take the children away from their parents and assign them to other caretakers if it so pleases. And, in fact, this happens in family court in the US everyday. In family court, normally a child is taken away from his parents only if suitable cause can be established (that is, the child is endangered). However, the default legal theory behind the taking of the child is that the child does not belong to the parents to begin with: The child belongs to the state, and the state grants rights to the parents that the state can take away. (This same legal theory forms the basis of mandatory childhood education, and recent fights in some states to do away with homeschooling.)
This legal theory is a recent invention, being a product of early 2oth century progressivism. It is the same legal theory that guided the communists and the Nazis, as they sought to lay claim to the children of their nations and indoctrinate them for generations to come.1 Though Obama dresses up his argument by stressing that it is a benefit to the parents, the message he conveys is loud and clear: Your children belong to us, and we do not want to give you a choice on how to raise them.
(H/t Weekly Standard)
1Ironically, Hitler wanted mothers to stay home and take care of the kids: He found other ways of boosting family income and indoctrinating the kids which had nothing to do with daycare subsidies.