Last weekend I received a notice from Service NSW, which commenced as follows:
Hello – Being together in a classroom is the most effective way for students to learn and grow. Since COVID-19 remains a relatively mild illness for most children, we’re committed to return to school safely in 2022. We will support this through the following measures.
Did you notice the phrase, ‘Covid remains a relatively mild illness for most children?’ It is refreshing to see such honesty at the start of a government communication. However, it appears that the meaning of their description does ‘not compute’ in their thinking and subsequent actions. Why? Because the rest of the advice to parents is the government responding to something much more harmful than a ‘mild illness’.
They recommend vaccinations for children as young as five! The link explains that: ‘Evidence shows vaccination offers excellent protection against Covid in children.’ This is the same virus that is described by Service NSW as a ‘relatively mild illness’! They also insist that all schools now distribute and check RATs twice a week, completed by parents. This is from the theatre of the absurd because it is illegal in New South Wales to teach and work in a school unless you are double vaccinated. In other words, the government wants children to be vaccinated from a mild illness while they engage with adults who are vaccinated to keep the illness mild for them.
Yet the state tells parents what they must do and tries to ‘guilt’ them into an unnecessary vaccination.
The state does not own our children. We, the parents do, in a stewardship sense. Parents are to train children into civility (which they may or may not keep when independent), and they are to invite them into being a constructive part of humanity (and beyond). But this government approach should not surprise us – it is a line of thinking that has been developing for the last thirty years or so in the West.
Increasingly, the state has been telling those who are minors under the law that they need not inform their parents about important issues, like going to the doctors to receive contraception, or seeking counselling about their deepest concerns. Currently, the same avoidance of involving parents can include seeking to transition how they express their sexuality, or having an abortion.
In these acts we see a breach of a basic principle of life – if we are given responsibility for moral commitments, we need the freedom to act accordingly. But this right in Australia is being progressively eroded for parents. Children are told that they can seek advice and take life-changing action, but parents are still responsible for stewarding them for their development. While fulfilling this responsibility, they have less and less any input over critical aspects of their lives. This is abhorrent.
This latest episode with Covid is just as miserable. Most children are not at risk, but parents are not only told what the state insists on doing, they are also given the responsibility to do the state’s work. Parents do not get to decide whether to subject their children to two RATs a week and they have to administer it.
Given the rise in our ‘dob-in’ culture at the moment, our leaders seem blind to what is going to happen when they keep asking for child vaccination even when their own advice notes the risk as mild. Children will be uninvited to social gatherings when it is found out that they are not vaccinated. Some teachers – like some doctors have done – will start to distinguish between students in subtle but clear ways (after all, some will be most interested in keeping themselves ‘absolutely’ safe, as if that is even possible). Parents will be the ones who will have the responsibility of cleaning up this mess because the state has intruded yet again.
I once had a young person who had been in long-term foster care (for which he was ultimately grateful) express that he knew that his other friend who had been adopted was better off. When I asked ‘why’, he said that once you are in a family they (normally) do not give up on you, even when you make poor choices.
Our government leaders work in reverse. They intrude into families, take over their rightful decision-making, create social and relational messes that make us less human in how we relate, and then expect parents to clean up while paying even more taxes so that they can keep interfering!
This pressure comes from all kinds of political benches.
Have you ever noticed that these benches are filled with what Peter Rieff called those of the ‘anti-culture’ movement – leaders so focussed on self as the main moral criteria, that they cannot sustain ways of encouraging more humane life together? Of course, one of the great ironies is that these folk are the ones who will statistically die out. Why? Because they have so few children. Perhaps there is some truth in social evolution after all, and the survival of the fittest will see those genuinely committed to families and children being the ones who are shown to be most ready to populate civil societies.
In a similar vein, perhaps state ownership of children will also work against the survival of politicians, once it is called out for what it is. For example, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe made the following claim, ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,’ it brought to a head this issue of who is primarily responsible for children. In that voting context, parents reasserted their opinion strongly.
Apart from a Federal Education Minister (who is currently stood aside) and Mark Latham in state parliament, the rest of our leaders seem content with the anti-culture of so-called therapeutic safetyism and emotivism, which exerts more authority over our children whilst deflecting responsibility from themselves. The Teachers Union seems to have bought into safetyism, as has the Association of Independent Schools. Their disregard for parents is a major neglect of the civic responsibility which adheres to their roles.
Such leaders are only successful because they live as though they own our children. It’s time to call it for what it is – a lie encased in ‘keeping people safe at all costs’ while taking authority to themselves which is not due to them. A society where children belong to the state is horrible and chilling in so many ways – is that what Australia is becoming?
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