While progressive politicians cannot spare a single dollar for protecting the southern U.S. border, they have no problem spending 12 million tax dollars on a day care center for children of House representatives and staff. They sure know their priorities: First themselves, then themselves, and if they can save some labor, they’ll reluctantly help their neighbor.
Let us give credit where credit is due. Progressive politicians do to a large extent practice as they preach. To the degree that they have children, many are quick to place them in day care, as most advocate that all families should do with their children.
Day care is a blessing and necessity for millions of families in the United States. In 1970, it was possible and common for one parent to stay at home with the children. But after 50 years of inflationary policies and an erosion of the purchasing power of the working and middle class, in most cases both parents must earn a living. For them, day care is not an option but a must.
Is Day Care Good for Children?
It is worth critically examining the notion that outsourcing child care to strangers is a good idea. Interestingly, one of the first astute observers of the negative effects of outsourcing was none other than socialist utopian Karl Marx.
He wrote extensively on the concept of alienation. The basic idea is as follows: In the original small tribal communities, humans were close to the fruits of their labor. The same person who built a tool was also typically the one to use it. Tribe members ate the food they gathered and hunted. This gave a sense of control over their own lives.
Not so in the capitalist society, Marx said. There, they toiled in someone else’s factory, doing work for someone else, making products for strangers, all in exchange for money they would spend to obtain goods from other strangers. This, he argued, created a sense of alienation.[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”24″] …Marx applied this reasoning to material objects but not to living, breathing children. [/perfectpullquote]
Strangely, Marx applied this reasoning to material objects but not to living, breathing children. He, along with many communists, saw no drawbacks to outsourcing childrearing to the community, embracing an idea going all the way back to Plato: Regarded as communal property, children need not to really know their parents.
That’s certainly an idea Marx endorsed. After having impregnated his unpaid servant, he kicked her out, leaving her alone to take care of her child.
The great-grandfather of modern progressivism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, did something similar. He spoke eloquently about the noble savage, writing an influential book on education and childrearing, all while abandoning his five children in orphanages, where they died.
The Family Is Paramount
The conservative view of family builds on ancient wisdom passed down through the ages: Parenting cannot be outsourced. There is a unique bond between parents and children that is not replaceable or interchangeable. This suggests that day care centers are not the optimal environment for children.
But the progressive left has been able to displace this once common-sense idea in the culture and replace it with substitute parenting. Think about how much of economics, politics, and culture revolves around the idea that someone else raises and teaches your children. Maybe the time has come to challenge that?