Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Education of Children: Parents versus the State in Alberta

The family preceeds the state. It is older, more basic and more clearly rooted in nature than the state, which is an artificial construct by comparison to the biologically-based human family of mother-father-children. This has been recognized by the United Nations and by most non-totalitarian states. Article 16 of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights says: "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

Nevertheless, there are powerful forces in our society seeking to undermine this fundamental human right and to replace the authority of the parents in raising and educating children with the paternalistic state and its agencies. These social engineering busybodies are convinced that "modern" and "progressive" ideas need to govern how children are educated and that parents who object must be silenced and coerced into compliance. Ironically, this is often done, in true Orwellian fashion, in the name of "democracy."

But today the Alberta Legislature struck a blow for the freedom of the family with a bill that allows parents to pull their children out of classes that deal with controversial issues such as sex, religion and sexual orientation. Many Canadian parents probably assume that they have this power and that it is not in danger. But they are not aware of the mood of many in the the country's educational and political establishment that "progressive" ideas that some people do not accept must be imposed by coercion. We have seen this done through Human Rights Commissions. We have seen it done by the imposition of the course on relativistic ethics and religious pluralism in Quebec. But in Alberta today, we see a small victory for freedom and the family.

All that happened as a result of this bill is that Alberta has ensured that it will be in compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It isn't exactly an extreme measure. But if you want to see extremism, watch the reaction from liberal groups who are mightily displeased that the erosion of the family as the fundamental unit of society has been dealt a small set-back.

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