Shades of Things to Come?
By: Erik Rush
In December of 2003, the U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense Association (http://www.hslda.org) released an article entitled â€œGerman Homeschoolers Under Attackâ€ which addressed difficulties German families were having with their government in attempting to home school their children.
In 2001, HSLDA helped German homeschoolers start their own legal advocacy group, Schulunterricht zu Hause. In 2003, Schulunterricht zu Hause successfully represented a family who had been charged with flouting German mandatory school attendance laws. This was the first step toward legitimizing homeschooling in Germany.
Unfortunately, as the article stated, due to the jingoistic legal atmosphere in that country, the courts have been able to keep the fight against home schooling alive; some families have actually had to go into hiding.
On November 17, 2007, an American publication covered an atrocious example of German law as regards homeschooling. Two children were seized by the state, the parentsâ€™ assets were frozen, and sympathetic social service personnel were sanctioned. It may come as no surprise that a degree of the governmentâ€™s resistance to certain homeschoolers has an anti-religious component.
I was quite surprised (yet obviously pleased) that homeschooling developed in the United States with minimal resistance from government agencies. I am even more pleased with the statistics that have emerged on the subject of home-schooled children excelling in extraordinary measure compared to their public school-attending counterparts. In truth, I rather expected a few average American families to have to endure Waco-style sieges, imprisonment and decades-long legal battles over the issue.
So, why all the hubbub over the plight of some German home schoolers?
Well, hereâ€™s why. The socialistic European model of government is where the Left in America has us gravitating toward. Iâ€™m not talking about a minority of extreme far-Left zealots â€“ Iâ€™m talking about a substantial number of Democrats in Congress and all of the Democrat contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination. I know this will be old hat to some and severe extrapolations to others, but Iâ€™ve met elderly folks with numbers tattooed on their forearms who might beg to differ with the latter group.
The authoritarian carriage of the German courts is fairly typical of European Union nations, although there is of course some variance. Suffice it to say that most of Europe is effectively socialist compared to the U.S., at least for the time being. What the German courts are essentially saying (anti-religious attitudes against parochial homeschoolers notwithstanding) is that the state must be the final arbiter of education (read: social indoctrination). While some of the same sentiment exists in the U.S. (particularly amongst far-Left politicians and the National Education Association), it wasnâ€™t sufficient to keep home schooling from going forward.
There is, however another battle that has been going on for decades now within the American political-corporate complex that is similar to the issue of homeschooling: The battle against alternative medicine. For some time now, pharmaceutical companies, the former pharmaceutical company personnel-packed Food and Drug Administration, and the American Medical Association have been periodically sampling various legal tacks to bring alternative medical remedies such as herbs and homeopathics under the auspices of the FDA. This would put the same restrictions on these substances as prescription medicines, which would of course benefit health care providers to an incalculable degree (although Iâ€™d wager theyâ€™ve worked out the numbers). The idea of neutralizing the personal freedom Americans currently have with regard to use of these remedies is obviously the larger issue, and fortunately the suppliers of alternative medical solutions have become a formidable lobby in the interim. The overtures of lawmakers have not yet been sufficient to enact such measures, but those who have spoken out for same justify their doing so as being out of concern for Americansâ€™ safety.
Once again, we have a state attempting to be the sole arbiter of what is acceptable in a matter of personal freedom: Medical treatment. No doubt that a nationalized health system such as the Democrat presidential hopefuls propose would be rife with such â€œprotections.â€
One of the first of these dubious altruistic designs was of course the neutralization of our Second Amendment rights. Many believe that the campaign finance reforms enacted in the U.S. are a violation of the First Amendment. So, while some of these campaigns have been smashing successes, others await a sufficient tipping of the political scales toward socialism before home schooling and alternative medicine can be done away with.
Having implemented such laws, how long might it be before our â€œcompassionate bastions of societyâ€ decree that the use of faith-based non-medical treatments was a violation of law? Half of our schoolchildren on Ritalin? Pricey psychiatry versus counselors or clergy for those with personal problems? Endocrinologists versus physical trainers for the overweight? Would members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narc-Anon and Overeaters Anonymous become criminals overnight, forced to meet clandestinely in the basements of homes out of fear of imprisonment for practicing medicine without a license?
Conservatives are well aware of the boilerplate platitudes used by the Left to ingratiate themselves to Americans; some of their rhetoric has even reached the level of clichÃ©, such as the Clinton administrationâ€™s â€œfor the children.â€ This paternalism, what some call â€œnanny-stateâ€ governance, is not just condescending â€“ it is profoundly dangerous, and it is an integral component of the manner by which all communist and totalitarian regimes were built.
Erik Rush is a New York-born columnist and author who writes a weekly column of political fare. He is also Acting Associate Editor and Publisher for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. An archive containing links to his writing is at www.ErikRush.com. His book, â€œItâ€™s the Devil, Stupid!â€ is available through most major outlets. His new book, Annexing Mexico, has just been released.