FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Children of the collective
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection juxtaposes two recent incidents to conclude there is “something wrong in the water” over at MSNBC. First, the left-wing network offered an extremely creepy segment in which host Krystal Ball coaxed her 5-year-old daughter into offering a politically correct “from the mouths of babes” endorsement of gay marriage. Among the many things wrong with this segment, it was necessary for Mom to keep reminding her daughter that she was supposed to be singing the praises of gay marriage:
Now we’ve got MSNBC bemoaning the fact that parents still think of their children as… well, their children, instead of collective property. The word “collective” is actually used. The Borg photoshops practically create themselves.
We’ve heard this sort of thing before, of course, in Hillary Clinton’s famous “it takes a village” formulation. But Clinton was a bit less bold about suggesting that the village actually seize the children from their parents. She didn’t sneer so openly at the notion of parents regarding themselves as the primary moral and intellectual tutors for their children.
Let me go a step further than looking at these two clips as signs of MSNBC’s degeneracy. They actually refute each other. The premise of Krystal Ball’s dopey segment is that whatever talking point she’s trying to make her daughter regurgitate is so incredibly obvious that even children can see it. We get this sort of thing a lot in modern political culture. Previous generations invoked The Children as justification for all sorts of maternal government policies; now The Children are marched on stage and told to invoke themselves. President Obama makes a particular fetish of using letters from children to justify gun-control policies. How can anyone defend the powdered-wig crowd and their silly old musket-based Second Amendment against first-graders asserting that nobody should have a gun, because bad people use them to hurt kids?
As foolish as it is to begin with, this Wisdom of the Children routine disintegrates completely when the kiddie props are too obviously coached by adults. And if the kids become full property of the collective, they’ll become nothing but sock puppets for whatever the collective wants to say. All pretense of innocent youth speaking Truth to Power vanishes when the young are speaking on behalf of power.
Sincere liberals always say they want diversity and innovation in the gigantic State apparatus they favor. The best and the brightest will come to meetings with many brilliant ideas, which will be forged into the strong but flexible alloy of wise government programs. Liberals grow uncomfortable with the reality of hidebound bureaucrats dragging broken government programs through a bleak interstellar void of ideas. But where is this diversity of ideas supposed to come from, if the State is able to download its doctrines and preferences directly into the minds of children?
Only the independence provided by strong families and parental supremacy can give us an energetic nation brimming with competition and innovation. Asking a five-year old for political advice is offensive and stupid under any circumstances – would MSNBC like to convene a panel of preschoolers and ask if they think it’s okay for Barack Obama to take money away from people he dislikes, and give it to people he likes better? But if our kids are raised by the collective, we’ll soon reach the point where asking 25-year-olds for political opinions is equally pointless.
We are told it’s important to teach children to cooperate. ”Cooperation” is the voluntary pooling of resources by independent people. You’ll find a great deal of productive cooperation between small groups of people in a prosperous society, but ”cooperation” is not the right word for describing the activity of a hive.