January 13, 2014

ROGER KIMBALL: Meanwhile, Back In The Fatherland. . .

What brought me up short today, however, was a news story from a friend about a worrisome development in Germany. The homeschooling movement is a vibrant and growing force in this countries. Leftists don’t like it, because it presumes to challenge the indoctrinating powers of the state with the civilization imperatives of parents, informed by churches, local communities, and moral commitments foreign to the left-liberal narrative.

Leftists — there is nothing “liberal” about them, so I am trying to avoid using that much abused term — leftists in the United States don’t like the homeschool movement, but so far anyway, it has thrived, and is indeed one of only a few bright spots in the story of primary and secondary education in this country.

Things are different in the Fatherland of Germany, where a judge recently ordered that parents may not have custody of their children because “the family might move to another country and homeschool, posing a ‘concrete endangerment’ to the children.”

Got that? Let me repeat it just in case. A German judge took children away from their parents because “he family might move to another country and homeschool, posing a ‘concrete endangerment’ to the children.”

In August, 20 armed police, equipped with a battering ram just in case, arrived at the door of this Darmstadt family and forcibly took four children, ages 7 to 14.

Was there anything wrong with the children? Nope. The judge — whose name, by the way, is Marcus Malkmus, in case you have a voodoo doll handy or wish to burn him in effigy — the judge admitted that the children were 1) academically proficient and 2) well adjusted socially.

He just didn’t like homeschooling.

Why? Pay attention now: this takes us deep into the heart of a leftist: because he feared that “the children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.”

The invocation of “tolerance” is especially cute, don’t you think?

Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. Gleichschaltung!