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Who Is Better at Raising Your Child, You or the State?


The Belgian politician Connor Rousseau and his social-democratic Vooruit party want to require parents to send their children to day care and kindergarten. There are still politicians who think of the children. And the logic is conclusive: the first six years of life are decisive for the future life of the child. That cannot be left to the parents. The state must take its responsibility and release money. A few billion is enough to get the job done.

No one knows where that money will come from. But if necessary, some additional printing can be done. That is actually a way to make the population pay more taxes without them realizing it. Citizens nowadays pay barely 53 percent taxes. A little more loyalty to the state is welcome. Moreover, it is for their own good, and that of their descendants. Citizens do not realize enough how important it is that their children are brought up well. Just as they do not realize that they cannot actually do that themselves and that the state must do it for them.

And if inflation leads to the collapse of the financial system, then a solution is already at hand: the introduction of the CBDC – the digital currency of the central banks. This will be linked to the digital passport and a social credit system. In this way, the state will educate not only the child, but the parents as well, according to a system of punishment and reward that Pavlov tested on dogs.

Granted, Pavlov concluded that his system of rewards and punishment really only works if you know the character of the individual dog. Every dog ultimately reacts in its own way to rewards and punishment. We can ask ourselves whether the state will also take the individual character of the child-puppies in daycare into account in its state education. That chance is small. Connor Rousseau believes that every child should receive equal opportunities and thus an equal education. Whether the child actually benefits from it or not is beside the point.

The state has to guarantee the quality of education and will therefore also have to monitor and evaluate it. Just as the state cannot trust the weighty job of parenting to parents, it cannot trust the job of childcare to childcare providers. They will therefore have to be subjected to strict protocols, as befits a good bureaucracy. And those protocols will be designed by experts who have scientifically determined which conditioning techniques lead to the best adapted little New Citizen.

During the coronavirus crisis, those experts – not the same, of course, because there are experts for every part of your private life – also took control of your health and that of your children. Just as you don’t know how to raise your child now, you didn’t know then how to take care of your own health and that of your offspring.

We were all urged to get ourselves and our children vaccinated, especially so that grandma and grandpa would not get infected. Here and there, rare critical scientists suggested that a vaccine could not prevent infections, partly because coronaviruses mutate quickly. People didn’t listen to such nonsense–these scientists were thrown off Twitter and robbed of their jobs.

And those who refused to get vaccinated were treated as second-class citizens. They were no longer allowed to go to a restaurant or a theater. In some countries they were banned from taking public transport. French President Macron believed that their lives should be made into a living hell. Totalitarian leaders are so convinced that their logic is the only correct one—one that will ultimately lead to Paradise—that all basic tenets of humanity get thrown overboard in pursuit of that logic.

Unfortunately, the totalitarian logic, as it has throughout history, failed. The Great Guardian of American public health, Anthony Fauci, now says pretty much the same thing as those critical voices – that the virus is mutating too quickly to develop a vaccine that protects against infection on a long-term basis. Experts refer to this as the progressive nature of science. Apparently science progresses very quickly these days. Almost as fast as Pfizer’s share price during that same year.

Chances are, childrearing expertise is a work in progress, as well. When parents notice that their little New Citizen, through his state upbringing, is not as happy and perfect as protocol had promised, their only consolation will be that by willingly giving their child to the state they have contributed to the advancement of Science.

The problem with this kind of “science” is that it fails to recognize that education and health are both phenomena that deal primarily with individuality – a person’s unique characteristics as a subject. The literature on placebo and nocebo effects should in itself be enough to dispel any doubt: the subjective appreciation of a treatment determines its therapeutic effects. In the same way, the core of a good upbringing focuses on the individuality of the child. The educator must see the child in his singularity—he must love the child for his uniqueness. Without that love, education becomes indoctrination.

A protocol-based education inevitably fails. Although the Great Parenting Experts will probably explain their failure in a different way. It will still be the parents’ fault, after all. And the Great State Education should actually start even earlier, preferably in Huxley’s bottling room.

And if your love for your child should give you the courage to call the state to account, you will find that you actually have nowhere to go. Hannah Arendt noted about bureaucracies 50 years ago: “In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.” (Hannah Arendt, On Violence).

Just to say: I would be careful with the idea of an Ideal State Education. If the state has to protect children from their parents, parents have to protect their children from the state.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Mattias Desmet

    Mattias Desmet is a professor of psychology at Ghent University and author of The Psychology of Totalitarianism. He articulated the theory of mass formation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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