Does the State Own the Child? Obama and Germany Say “Yes”

Michael Ledeen of reports the following on 9/3/13:

The Romeike family, Christian evangelicals, wanted to homeschool their children, but the German authorities wouldn’t permit it.  So the Romeikes came to America (Tennessee, to be precise), where there’s lots of homeschooling, and where a federal judge granted them asylum.

The Germans didn’t like that, and the Obama/Holder U.S. Justice Department ordered the extradition of the family back to Germany, where, in another recent case, German police dragged off four children from their homeschooling parents.

The Justice Department ordered the extradition of the Romeikes on the basis that “banning homeschooling teaches tolerance of diverse views.”

How many things are wrong with this incident?

The Obama administration is sending two messages here.

First message: “The individual child belongs to the state, first and foremost.” That’s the issue the German government has with the Romeike family. They dare to lay claim to their own child’s education.

Given Germany’s history, it’s not terribly surprising. But since when has the United States government held this view? Even now, thousands of American parents homeschool their children. The U.S. government still permits it, but we must wonder for how long, given that our government is sending back to their home countries parents who wish to do so.

Second message: “The child’s mind belongs to the state.” Normally, the police are reserved for the protection of property. If an adult abducted a child from his school, or his home, the police and state would properly be involved to apprehend and prosecute the abductor. But in nations like Germany, a parent who keeps his child at home in order to provide that child education is actually considered a criminal.

The merits or disadvantages of homeschooling are not the point here. The point here is that it’s the parent’s right and responsibility to raise and educate a child. If we’re honest about it, even a half-asleep parent can probably do a better job than the typical mediocre (or worse) government-mandated public school today. Homeschooling, regardless of how adequate it may be, is clearly doing a better job than the typical public school, given achievement test scores up to 40 percent higher than those of public school students, according to some research studies.

Keep in mind that “homeschooling” is a broader concept than the term implies. It doesn’t just refer to amateur parents educating their own children. It also applies to professional tutors hired, on a private basis, by parents to educate their own children. According to the implied assumptions of the Obama/Holder decision, this is not a decision to be made by parents. Those are the exact same assumptions held by a totalitarian government. Childrens’ minds are the most important thing to control, from the point of view of any dictatorship—right wing, left wing, religious or secular.

The Obama Justice Department goes even further. It makes the bizarre argument that banning homeschooling fosters diversity. First of all, why is the federal Justice Department making legal rulings or comments on the banning of homeschooling? I’m not aware of a federal constitutional amendment or national law (at least yet) requiring parents to submit exclusively to the federal government in the education of their children.

It was actually a federal judge who granted this family asylum in Tennessee. Note that the Obama Administration did not even feign immigration technicalities as a reason for sending them home. They did so, explicitly, on the principle that parents must submit first and foremost to the state.

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Obama and his Attorney General would like to do everything possible to outlaw private schooling altogether, or at least homeschooling. But by what right do they make up law when it suits them, just because they happen to be in control right now? America was supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men.

One need not be a supporter of evangelical Christianity, either, to endorse a parent’s right to teach his or her child that viewpoint. The point is: It’s not the government’s job to decide what kind of education is suitable for a child. If the family seeking asylum had been a fundamentalist Muslim family wishing to school their children in Sharia law, would the Obama Administration have made the same decision?

It’s preposterous to even suggest that banning any form of education promotes “diversity.” If diversity is an end in itself—right there, a rather ridiculous assertion—then the Obama Administration should be promoting the diversification of education in America, not constricting it.

Such are the fallacies and deceits of what passes for contemporary “liberalism.”


  • Sean Warren

    The writing on the wall basically says this whole courtroom is out of order.
    What a terrible joke, that people actually presume there is some sense of justice tied to governments and departments… it seems the only justice we all receive is the bleak absolute slavery of our universal condition. No wonder capitalism holds sway, when at least appears to buffer against the effects of the onslaught against the individual. The motivation of stratified conflict is supposed to work how? Anyone with a brain can see the futility of strugling under such conditions… what is the real difference in the long run between poverty and wealth? Suffering? Physical ailment? Well, when all those things are simply a consequence of existence in an environment that no matter how well prepared against embraces subjugation as its CORE principal, from cradle to grave. In this there is no freedom, and no real lack of suffering, and every plaything “purchased” becomes but a distraction from the truth, if not a pure invocation of insanity. The terrible truth of the matter seems that buffers are only temporary, no matter which tier you rest your laurels. For shame, I regret this “human” association pushed upon me since birth by this universal administration. Slaughterers of anything considered competition, Sapiens erased all trace of their predecessors, and now I see exactly how it was done. Systematically.

  • writeby

    Love is hate…Truth is falsehood…War is peace…

    What makes all this possible?

    The primacy of consciousness religious metaphysics of Neo-Platonic Idealism (evasion), the religious epistemology of faith (emotionalism) and the ego hating Judeo-Christian ethics of self-sacrifice (rationalization) make possible the irrational politics of a supernaturalist totalitarian socialism.

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