Conservatives and libertarians love to warn about the perils of "Big Government." I get it. I hate Big Government. I don't even like Medium Government. I prefer it lean, efficient, and limited.
If government were a Starbucks drink, I'd order the tall every time, with a shot of espresso, room for cream, no sugar (not sure how all of that fits into the government analogy, but that's how I like my coffee in case you wanted to know, which you didn't).
I've never witnessed this type of government, but I've read about it in history books and fairy tales, and I love the sound of it.
No, indeed, all I've ever known is the behemoth bureaucratic blob-like monstrosity that destroys liberty, wastes money, and devours souls. I have toiled under this gargantuan mass, felt its crushing weight, and witnessed as a parade of bullies and idiots have risen to the top of the hideous thing and used it to push us all further into a dark canyon of debt and tyranny.
[sharequote align="center"]I've never witnessed this type of government, but I've read about it in history books, fairy tales.[/sharequote]
Some conservatives are under the unfortunate impression that the key to taming the mammoth is to elect a Republican president. These folks should be forgiven their misconception; they just didn't notice when every Republican president for a 100 years only made the problem worse. It happens. You know, you bend over to tie your shoe and accidentally miss the moment when the small government party spends a century making government exponentially bigger.
But for anyone paying attention, it's obvious that the key to reclaiming our liberty and self-determination doesn't lie with any politician or political party. It won't be done through rallies or Tea Party events, either. It won't happen through blog posts like this one, or hashtags, or bumper stickers, or anything like that.
We can seize control by seizing control. We can remove the government from our lives by removing it from our lives. We can sit around and say we want it, and we can vote for politicians who say they'll do it even though they literally never do, we can launch a bunch of great arguments and make really nice points and quote Sam Adams or whoever. Or we can make radical decisions with our lives. We can cry out for a political savior to come and make everything better, or we can take active steps to reshape this country into something resembling a free and independent nation.
If we want to choose the latter, we should start by homeschooling. And if we don't have kids, we should advocate for homeschooling. We should wake up and realize that while we shout about government intrusions into health care or the Internet (both very bad things that we should shout about), the most profound power that the State possesses is the fact that most of us send our kids to government buildings seven hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for the duration of their childhood.
Indoctrination? Yes, of course it is. Hand your children over to the State for almost two decades and there is zero chance they won't be indoctrinated.
Common Core is bad, but the obsession over Common Core seems to miss the larger point. Public schools can adopt whatever curriculum standards they want and call it whatever they want; it's basically irrelevant as long as the majority of the kids in this country grow up in government buildings, removed from their families, and under the direction of government employees who have supplanted their parents as the primary caregivers and teachers.
Even worse, the parents are replaced by their child's peers as primary role models. And the collectivist secular values they inherit will be an amalgamated abomination born from the influence of their friends and the agenda of their teachers, who need the kids to think a certain way and believe certain things so they will be more obedient and compliant. This, after all, was the stated purpose of the compulsory government education programs in places like Prussia and Japan, which influenced what eventually became our own version.
Frankly, it's downright offensive to hear people complain about the influence of the government over their lives while thinking nothing of shipping their kids off to government facilities all day, every day, starting as young as three years old. You don't want the government "involved," you say? Well, they've been your kid's foster parent since he was in Velcro shoes. He has been shaped and molded at an elemental level by the government education system. That isn't a knock on your parenting skills; I'm sure you're a wonderful mom or dad. But the sad and absolutely unavoidable reality is that public schools will influence your child in ways you cannot imagine and you cannot prevent.
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I'm not saying that "limited government" is the only or even the best reason to homeschool. This all plays second to the fact that homeschooling is simply a superior form of education, and homeschooled kids perform better and are better adjusted in just about every way and according to every measurable standard. And before we talk about the principles of small government, we should have probably discussed the more fundamental principle of subsidiarity, which is the idea that every matter should be handled by the most localized authority possible. Parents are the first authority over their kids, so they ought to take charge of educating them, or at the very least, try and refrain from ceding that responsibility to the Department of Education.
All of that, in turn, is still less crucial than the fact that education fundamentally is the pursuit and development of knowledge, and you just cannot separate factual knowledge from moral knowledge. The two are wrapped up in each other. No matter what anyone says, whoever teaches your child about the facts of existence will also be giving her answers to the deeper questions like why she exists and what it means to exist.
Plato said that education is the acquisition of virtue. We, on the other hand, like to pretend that education can be one thing and virtue can be acquired entirely separate from it. Not a surprising delusion, considering it comes from the same society that complains about "bias in the media" as if there ever has been or ever could be an unbiased media. Whoever disseminates information will do it through their own partisan lens, and whoever provides education will provide it in the context of their own moral understanding of things. This is the case, it always has been the case, and it always will be the case. Period.
When it comes down to it, this system of education, which is built upon compulsion and conformity, and run by an enormous, corrupt, bankrupted and unaccountable government, can never be anything other than what it is and what it always has been. That is, a disaster.
Homeschooling isn't a magic pill. There's nothing magical about it. It's a deliberate and, from what I've been told, sometimes painful process. But if we ever reached the point in our nation where even 25 or 30 percent of our kids are educated in the home by their parents, and oriented to life by adults who love them rather than their peers who most definitely don't love them and teachers who might care about them but who have 300 other students to worry about, then we might see some real progress.
Homeschooling is the next frontier in the conservative/libertarian/small government constitutionalist movement. It isn't new, and what I'm saying here certainly isn't new, but it's clear that it hasn't yet occurred to everyone in this camp that they ought to be advocating for homeschooling the same way and with the same passion that they advocate for gun rights and religious freedom.
I'll be speaking at the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth, Texas this Saturday (click here for registration information). Even though my own kids aren't old enough for "official" homeschooling, I like going to these events because I feel like I'm on the front lines of the true counter-culture movement. Homeschool parents are the real warriors out in the arena actually taking radical but sensible steps to establish themselves and their children as free and independent people, who don't rely on the government for everything. Whether it's their intention or not, they are doing more to advance small government conservative ideals than any politician or activist.
Everyone else talks about getting the government out of their lives. These people are doing it, and making incredible sacrifices for the sake of it. I think it's time we all take notice.
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