The War Against Parents
In 1996 Hillary Clinton famously pushed the line that it takes a village to raise a child. Of course that was simply leftist code word for letting the state usurp the role of the parents. The truth is, it takes a family to raise a child, but the secular left always hates this idea, and much prefers the all-knowing and all-wise state to ‘properly’ raise children.
The tyrants of history have known this, especially the Marxist varieties which early on declared war against parents and the family unit. This was carried out ruthlessly in the early stages of the Soviet Union. The revolutionaries knew how best to take over a country. As Vladimir Lenin put it, “Destroy the family, destroy the nation.”
And dictators know that getting access to children, and taking away the rights of parents, is a sure way to cement tyranny in a land. All this has not stopped with the fall of the Iron Curtain. It is alive and well in many Western nations today.
Consider the shocking case of what is happening in Scotland. The country has recently introduced a bill which is utterly draconian, and completely at odds with parental rights. It is so bad that a petition campaign is already up and running to put a halt to this madness. It begins:
The Children and Young People Bill which has recently been introduced to the Scottish Parliament seeks to establish a universal surveillance system in respect of every child and associated adult in Scotland. Details of the Bill as introduced may be viewed here.
Known as GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child), it is already being used, and in some cases abused, by professionals within universal services and other agencies who have been routinely gathering, storing, assessing and sharing sensitive personal data on every child and every associated adult without express informed consent and in the absence of any enabling statutory framework.
Disguised as a child protection measure but nothing of the kind, GIRFEC has spawned a series of ‘wellbeing’ indicators known as SHANARRI which represent a universal prescription for a state approved childhood. It has essentially shifted the threshold for intervention in family life on child ‘protection’ grounds from “at risk of significant harm” to “at risk of not meeting state dictated ‘wellbeing’ outcomes”. Every parent in Scotland is now routinely assessed on his/her “parental capacity to provide wellbeing”, based on government defined criteria which, according to its own ‘National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People’ places every child under five, and most older children and young people, in the ‘vulnerable’ category (thus liable to ‘early intervention’).
The Bill further seeks to impose a ‘named person’ on every child in Scotland (whose function, it is specifically stated, may not be undertaken by the child or young person’s parent), which is a gross intrusion into family life and completely unwarranted on a universal basis. The fact that every child will be subject to this intrusion by a stranger without opt-out, regardless of his or her wishes (or those of his or her parents in the case of a young child) renders it a disproportionate measure in that most children have no need of state ‘intervention’, compulsory or otherwise, in their family lives.
GIRFEC, as has been practised to date (in the absence of any statutory framework and therefore without lawful basis), has already damaged relationships between many parents and professionals and will inevitably place the most vulnerable children at greater risk of harm if parents seek to avoid contact with services which are seen to be staffed solely by state snoopers. The Children and Young People Bill is a Trojan horse piece of legislation which seeks to undermine parents, abolish the right to family privacy and confidentiality, including medical confidentiality, since all records are to be shared , and introduce a national identity register, cleverly disguised in ‘child protection’ clothing, by the back door.
The petitioners urge Members of the Scottish Parliament to reject all measures contained within the Children and Young People Bill which allow for the routine gathering and sharing of the personal data of every child and associated adult without their express informed consent, and to reject the imposition, without opt-out, of a ‘named person’ on every child in Scotland.
Plenty of other voices have been raised about this Big Brother legislation. As Gerald Warner stated several days ago:
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will begin hearing a Judicial Review challenging the Scottish government’s scheme to impose a ‘Named Person’ as state guardian of every child in Scotland, with authority legally superseding that of parents. There is no comparable intrusion into family life in any other Western country.
Two previous hearings in Scotland’s Court of Session determined that this totalitarian scheme did not breach the right to the enjoyment of family life proclaimed by the European Convention on Human Rights. Now campaigners are resorting to the highest court in the United Kingdom to seek redress from unprecedented state intrusion.
The Named Person system, the key element in the Scottish government’s Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) social-engineering programme, was introduced under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act. Although it will not formally be in place until August, it is already being implemented across Scotland. The Named Person, for the first 10 days after birth, will be the midwife; then, until the child goes to school, the role will be undertaken by a health visitor. From age five to 18, the head teacher or a dedicated guidance teacher will be appointed Named Person for an unknown number of children.
While the chief objections to this aggression against the family by the intruder state are moral, philosophical and libertarian, the practical obstacles to the scheme are also striking. Although it will only have to cover some 55,000 children in its first year, that number will increase annually until, at the end of 18 years and permanently thereafter, Named Persons will be required for more than one million young people, over one-sixth of the Scottish population.
But there will be no parallel increase in the number of head teachers and guidance staff over the same period. So, a pool of 2,657 head teachers (including independent schools) and a necessarily finite number of deputy principals and dedicated guidance teachers will be required to oversee 810,000 youngsters of school age.
He too notes the parallels to Soviet Communism:
In the old Soviet satellite states it was notorious that taxi drivers were the prime informants for the “organs of state security”. The same now applies in Nicola Sturgeon’s Stasi state. It has also been revealed that schoolchildren, under the Named Person scheme, will be subjected regularly to intrusive psychological tests, requiring them to complete questionnaires about intimate aspects of their family life. These will be stored in a large government database and analysed to select pupils for investigation by Named Persons.
If tomorrow’s appeal in the Supreme Court is unsuccessful it seems likely that those resisting this totalitarian imposition by the SNP will take the case to the European courts. European law is as much on trial as the authoritarian aspirations of the Scottish government: if it cannot protect families from the effective nationalisation of children and systematic spying on parents it is not fit for purpose.
Christian groups are also getting into the act, sharing their grave concerns about all this. As one report says:
A law criticized for authorizing a sweeping state intrusion into the privacy of family life was challenged in the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court this week by Christian and parental rights groups. Colin Hart of the Christian Institute, one of the plaintiffs, called the law “an insult to the fundamental rights of mums and dads to bring up their children the way they see fit. …
This is a compulsory scheme. There is no way for parents to opt out or to be the named persons for their own children.”…
“There are two sinister ideas behind this,” a spokesperson for the No to Named Persons campaign told LifeSiteNews. “The first is that parents cannot raise children without professional help provided by the State – that for children to grow up to be successful Scottish adults, there must be early intervention by the government.”
“The second and more sinister idea is that every parent is a potential child abuser, that there is much more abuse going on than ever gets made public, and the only way to prevent this is by this early intervention by the State.”
This will create a barrier of suspicion between parents and children and officials they ought to trust, such as doctors and “health visitors” – a type of public health nurse who advises parents on child care in infancy.
Aidan O’Neill of the Christian Institute told the panel of judges that if a teenager is prescribed birth control pills, the named person must be informed – but not the parent. O’Neill said a named person could even advise the child to take birth control pills against the expressed wishes of the parents.
The spokesman for No to Named Persons told LifeSiteNews, “This really drives a horse and carriage between parents and their children.” The coalition against the law admit that child abuse exists but want the Scottish government to focus on children known to be in need of intervention, not add to the workload of teachers and overworked social workers by assigning them to be advance agents of unneeded government aid.
Recall that this is Scotland we are talking about. Not North Korea. Not Cuba. Western totalitarians have always looked to the state as a means of implementing their coercive utopianism. This has been an age-old temptation of tyrants which shows no sign of abating. As sociologist Robert Nisbet put it in his important 1975 volume, The Twilight of Authority:
It should be obvious that family, not the individual, is the real molecule of society, the key link in the social chain of being. It is inconceivable to me that either intellectual growth or social order or the roots of liberty can possibly be maintained among a people unless the kinship tie is strong and has both functional significance and symbolic authority. On no single institution has the modern political state rested with more destructive weight than on the family. From Plato’s obliteration of the family in his Republic, through Hobbes, Rousseau, Bentham, and Marx, hostility to family has been an abiding element in the West’s political clerisy.
Or as he put it in his 1986 book Conservatism: “From Burke on it has been a conservative precept and a sociological principle since Auguste Comte that the surest way of weakening the family, or any other vital group, is for the government to assume, and then monopolize, the family’s historic functions.”
Ronald Reagan certainly had it right when he said, “We know that government may be powerful enough to destroy families. We know it is not powerful enough to replace them.” Parents beware: the totalist state is after your children, and will not rest till it gets full control of them.
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