What Can Fill in the Gaps?
Only with the hope of a consensus and correct value set, focused on doing right and being altruistic for some good including but going beyond one’s immediate concerns, can there be an optimally functioning society. For the good of children, parents must be induced and encouraged to be good parents. These individual parents will be limited and thus those around them mus be induced to lend a hand – usually quite literally. No amount of bureaucracy can do that. Overworked, underpaid nurses imported from another country due to case overload caused by either corporate greed or government ineptitude can not give the sweet advice that a grandmother, friend, – or even friendly nurse in a top-notch hospital back in the 1980s that Clinton experienced. Police force, even armed with drones in the sky and NSA computer spying can not provide the watchful eye needed that neighbors did in the small town, to tell the parents that their child was smoking or engage in a first attempt at petty theft, or other childhood crimes. No, school, even the best daycare, can possibly provide the IQ building that good mother can. They may like to tell you differently, and the best schools can enrich what a mother can do, but studies show that children are stressed out in child care centers that while creativity may be built, IQ is best built by mothers +_ Studies also show that the good effect of Headstart are short-lived (and that is in the most likely cases). Further, please realize that no benefits accrued for middle class children; all gains were on children from deprived backgrounds. Headstart classrooms are inferior to the run of the mill daycare, which themselves have proven to produce lower achievement than stay at home mothers. Public school, similarly, has consistently reduced achievement, especially in the current NCLB era, contrary to well crafted spin *. Government intervention, even the most well-intentioned, will fall short of what societal consensus values, and specifically Judeo-Christian values can do, and indeed have done.
Detractors will adduce examples of shortcomings of previous years. A child here or there abused. This is grossly deceptive. Failing to reach a goal in certain cases does not prove that the goals were wrong. Failing massively to reach set goals does suggest that the methods are wrong. Goals that cause methods that fail, then can be questioned, and are probably wrong. Truth, love and responsibility – who denies these are good? These are smeared by people who want some opposite. Children taught social skills, literacy and numeracy. These we do all want. The only question is how to best get there. What we have been doing has not worked. We need new ideas, a better way forward. Let’s compare statistics with statistics. What percentage of children were fed? Protected? Felt loved? Educated in the best of that day? Had access to the best health measures of that day? Let’s be honest. And yes, let’s be evidence based. Only let’s get real facts.
The Dangers of Government Control
Not only is there a logical gap between village and government, and not only must government inevitable fall short without being based on Judeo-Christian values, but also today is it evident that to make this jump is dangerous, because government is increasingly authoritarian. Liberals, well-meaning and hoping to help the poor, often do not see the increasingly lowering skies of authoritarianism in the current administrators, such as provisions for martial law, documented massive spying, and discrimination of even potential political opponents. Some already can point out the re-writing of history and indoctrination disrespectful to parents and traditional values. Authoritarian socialism has been tried in the world numerous times. It did increase the number of world-class gymnasts in China, and the level of algebra in the Soviet Union, and provided nearly all East German with a secure, if low paying job. In every case, however, the citizens have wanted to drop it. No East German wanted to live in a gray world, afraid of who might overhear them, notice them, and write them up. No Pole wanted to stand in line for hours for basic foodstuffs. No Chinese wanted to kill their child. They preferred increased goods and increased freedoms. None of them thinks their children would be worse off with out authoritarianism. Indeed, many have risked their own lives and separation from family in order to escape. Many came to the United States. Some tell us we ought to be more wary.
Yes, let us engage in the discussion that Clinton invites us to. We may well consider what measures, if any, we might make to improve the lives of our children. I welcomed the Family Leave Act, but saw the reluctance of the government institution I worked for to implement it. I happily agree with her comment on * that it is greed that makes workers work part-time just to avoid paying them benefits, but I realize that 76% of faculty who work under such conditions do so for government-run colleges. Corporate colleges are even worse. I agree with her concerns about sexualization of culture, but see repeated news articles about government-run schools enforcing inappropriate “sex education” on early elementary children. I was horrified to hear Carol Everett tell how she groomed an abortion market in the Dallas public schools. At the same time, I have seen numerous instances of strong arming measures that look very much like they are destroying the lives of children, such as pushing vaccines hard with tax money, ram-rodding laws in for new vaccines, and a refusal to conduct more safety testing, even over the calls of hard science. I hear of Common Core, which appears to be skewed to the Left, shoddily assembled, and intended to be secret from parents. Hard as it is to believe the Texas law covering daycare centers that provides that any licensed center must be open for a surprised inspection at any time to test any of the children for special senses, as well as screening hearing and vision. So while we may wish to consider government policy, let us not be so very naive as to how much they can do in terms of good, without also carefully considering their inbuilt shortcomings, and the possibility of grave harm.
Maybe in Africa, it takes a village. I think optimally it takes a strong couple of parents, embraced by a warm, functional extended family, surrounded by a caring congregational community, located in a good town – and okay, ensconced in a good national in a decent world economy, along with some decent diplomacy. Government must be a part of that, but should be only a small part of that story – far away from babies. Governments are not villages.