BEN DOMENECH has a good post on home-schooling and education in general. (He was home-schooled.) He doesn’t mention one other reason home-schooling is on the rise and causing conniption fits throughout the land: Home-schooling assumes that the family and the civic community are not at odds most of the time. Obviously this won’t always be true–the family might be teaching an ideology that would undermine the community; the parents might be abusing the kids. But the civic community can be wrong as well. The public-schooling ideology (by which I mean the belief that public schooling is best for everyone, and that home-schooling is dangerous) pits family against community. If you don’t send your kids to public school you’re betraying your city. Home-schooling rests on the premise that “The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1925.) Family loyalties, family loves, should be nurtured by the community because they will nurture it in turn. Yes, again, there are exceptions. But public-schooling ideologues have turned the exception into their rule.

Kevin Holtsberry asked what can be done to promote smaller government despite the President’s best efforts to expand it. One of the biggest things we must emphasize is simply this belief in the ability of the “intermediaries,” the institutions that stand between individual and state (like family, church, mutual-aid organization, charity, parenting group, ad virtually infinitum), to strengthen civic ties rather than weaken them. We’ve relied on Leviathan to cement our loyalties to one another, and in fact to replace the organizations that once bound us. That didn’t work (and wasn’t a good idea in the first place). So now we need the little loyalties back.

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