When asked if the government is doing enough for our children, three out of four parents said – “No”. Two-thirds believe an extra $27.40 a day would be more important to their family’s future than an additional 60 minutes of uninterrupted quality time a day.[i]
A lot of the conversation has died down following President Obama’s state of the union address a couple of weeks ago. Most discussion centered on the “brilliant” idea of free tuition for the first two years of community college. Interestingly, this statist dream has been around a long time. In 1946 President Harry Truman set up his Presidential Commission on Higher Education. They proposed the very same thing in a report issued in 1947.
It is obvious, that free and universal access to education, in terms of the interest, ability, and need of the student, must be a major goal in American education,” the commission’s report stated. “The time has come to make education through the fourteenth grade available in the same way that high school education is now available.[ii]
What I have seen less discussion about is Obama’s plan to increase childcare subsidies. As we might expect, he wants both parents in the workforce and someone else in charge of the early, formative years of your child’s life.
In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America — by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.[iii]
Do they give money to any ole babysitter? Nope. This money doesn’t come without strings. It is no different than any other subsidy. You must comply with conditions. These conditions are aligned with the statist goals of the federal government.
We should see all of this for what it is. Let me cut through the jargon. “Give me your young children and I will give you more money. We will buy from you the formative years of your child. That way, when we have paid in full for their early childhood through early college, we will own them outright.”
How do they own them you ask? They have conditioned their minds and guided their memories. Free childcare and free community college are like bookends for volumes of daytime stories. Each volume contains memories and experiences to which you were never privy. Someone else wrote much of the story of your child’s life.
They also convinced you that the instruction your child was receiving was ethically neutral. Yet it was not. It was according to their agenda. But hey, just take the tax breaks and don’t worry about it. You get them out of your hair for a while and get to participate in the world of professionals where your life can really count.
So how new is this concept? Not new at all. The modern state hates the competing covenantal institution of the family. Perhaps this is most clearly seen through the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1718) on Western society and specifically in the area of education.
Paul Johnson in his book, Intellectuals, provides key insight regarding this influence. He says that Rousseau was “the first of the modern intellectuals, their archetype and in many ways the most influential of them all… He died a decade before the French Revolution of 1789 but many contemporaries held him responsible for it,…”[iv] He had a lot to say on the topic of children and their education.
…a large part of Rousseau’s reputation rests on his theories about the upbringing of children – more education is the main, underlying theme of his Discours, Emile, the Social Contract and even La Nouvelle Heloise…[v]
Did he have children of his own? He did. He had four. He never named them. He abandoned all of them on the day they were born to an orphanage where two-thirds of the babies died in the first year.
Rousseau thought having children was an inconvenience. He thought he could not afford it.
How could I achieve the tranquility of mind necessary for my work, my art filled with domestic cares and the noise of children.[vi]
This reeks of the very same theme in the President’s State of the Union address. Taking care of their children is holding parents back. Both mom and dad cannot thrive in the workforce if one or both of them has to deal with “domestic cares and the noise of children”.
There is another dimension to all of this. The fact that we as parents are looking for financial help in raising our own children betrays our own lack of maturity. We are not taking financial responsibility for our own households. This is a hallmark of the child and servant as defined in scripture. Our society is filled with “adult children”.
Back to Rousseau:
Many of those who had dealings with him – Hume, for instance – saw him as a child…Since Rousseau felt (in some ways) as a child, it followed he could not bring up children of his own. Something had to take his place, and that something was the State…[vii]
If the parents cannot fulfill their role, then someone else must take on the responsibility. Rousseau’s answer was the state. This was an answer informed by the classical world.
In short, by transferring his responsibilities to the State, ‘I thought I was performing the act of a citizen and a father and I looked on myself as a member of Plato’s Republic.’
…Rousseau’s iniquity as a parent was linked to his ideological offspring, the future totalitarian state.[viii]
The State was the father, the patrie, and all its citizens were the children of the paternal orphanage…You must, therefore, treat citizens as children and control their upbringing and thoughts..[ix]
Again, keep the notion of free daycare through community college lodged in the forefront of your mind as you read this statement by Johnson.
The educational process was thus the key to the success of the cultural engineering needed to make the State acceptable and successful; the axis of Rousseau’s ideas was the citizen as child and the State as parent, and he insisted the government should have complete charge of the upbringing of children.[x]
Rousseau thus prepared the blueprint for the principal delusions and follies of the twentieth century.[xi]
Want to get someone to take action? Hit their wallet. It’s called financial incentive. It works wonders. The state understands this concept.
Like baby birds, we stick up our heads – chirping and bobbing with open mouths, “mommy, feed me”. Any now we have grown birds making the same gesture as the bald eagle seeks to provide for our every need. The eagle, a symbol of freedom, has become a deceiving vulture who rather than feeding on carcass and carrion, feeds on productivity. Uncle Sam has become Cousin Eddie. We have become his bratty children.
We would do well to stop taking handouts. One day we will wake up and see that all we have is a mouthful of worms. We will realize we have been gulping down the worms of negligence and lack of responsibility.
It’s time to leave the nest. Taking more handouts and allowing our children to be purchased in full will leave the entire population in a perpetual state of immaturity.
Quit taking the big bird’s money. We are only selling ourselves – and our children – deeper into slavery.
[iv] Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Butler & Tanner Ltd, 1988), 2.
[v] Ibid, 21.
[vi] Ibid, 22.
[vii] Ibid, 23.
[viii] Ibid, 23.
[ix] Ibid, 24-25.
[x] Ibid, 25-26.
[xi] Ibid, 26.