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Friday, June 27, 2008

Unfettered Anarchy or Equilibrium?

When I see something that is wrong it really bothers me. And so I am not always as gracious as I should be when dealing with situations.

That's a "growth area" for me.

And so, for me, this whole debate about how much intervention the government should make on homeschoolers has been a challenge. If I was still my Jr. High Self (very glad I've grown up a little since then), I'd be ranting and raving. Now I only do it when I get home and start talking about it with my friends and family <smile>.

But a post by Milton Gaither gave me a moment's pause. Not because it changes my opinions at all, but because it casts light on my thoughts in a slightly different way, which may help explain things a little better.

The post, and the linked article, is about American Muslims homeschooling.

How do you feel about that?

To be honest, there's a slight discomfort associated with that idea; similar to when a couple of "punks" (local teenagers) stop on the sidewalk in front of my house for a few minutes ['What are they up to?']. But like the kids in front of my house, the majority of Muslim homeschoolers are not doing it for any ignoble purpose. But this becomes more of an issue because there are many similarities to the Christian homeschooling community, as Mr. Gaither points out.

So, should the government step in to make sure there is no "unfettered" "anarchy" (or even terrorism) going on? I mean, we sure don't want any abuse to be happening any more than we would like someone to blow up a bus.

But this is where the argument falls apart.

Of course no one wants to allow parents to abuse their children! Of course we don't want terrorists to run rampant. No one is arguing that we should.

But is the government the right "person" for the job? Should we sit back and let "the government... protect us"?

No.

Because if we do that, we make way for what just about every single utopian-society-gone-bad movie or book out there warns us against: Totalitarian government.

It is bad to leave people to their own devices without any kind of outside influence, sure, but it is even worse to let a government (made up of people) do the same.

But what of our checks and balances? We have those in place so our government won't become totalitarian.

Yes, in theory. But if we let them start dictating things for us, we should not be surprised when we end up in a dictatorship.

I will leave you with a brilliant quote: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

3 comments:

Dana said...

Attempting to restrict Muslim homeschooling simply because they are Muslim brings forth some interesting problems. A bit extreme, but the first thing that comes to my mind is the internment of the Japanese. I do not believe that individuals should be confronted with a general loss of liberty unless they themselves are actually involved in that which is feared.

The Muslims I have known have shunned Al Qaeda and what it has done to their religion. I have no way of knowing how widespread such a sentiment is, but I do think that the best way to breed fundamentalism in a subculture is by persecuting it too strongly. And it makes me wonder just how many of these more "fundamentalist groups" homeschooling for the reasons you cite are really connecting their education to any sort of jihad against the US. Do the terror cells within the US bring their families? How extensive is the current monitoring?

There may be irony in conservative Christians calling for increased monitoring of Muslims and unregulated homeschooling if this is being called for by the same groups. But then perhaps one could also find irony in the assertion of some on the other side that we have overstepped our boundaries with regards to monitoring and yet also advocate that homeschoolers who have never been connected with jihad, Al Qaeda, etc., should be monitored.

And I cannot help but wonder why it is we have thousands of immigrants coming who want no part of "the infidel" if that is truly how they view us and are seeking to shelter their children from it.

Luke said...

Dana,

Thanks so much from coming by and leaving your thoughts. I appreciate your wisdom and insights.

May we all sharpen one and other "as iron sharpens iron".

~Luke

Dana said...

There are problems in some of these kinds of communities. There was a situation here in a refugee community (not Muslim, but from the Middle East) in which it was feared a child was to become the victim of an honor killing so was removed by the state. Because I was representing the foster family the child was placed with, I got a late night phone call threatening the life of my child.

It raises all sorts of issues about how we deal with immigrant groups and how we protect liberty. This isn't a homeschooling issue, really, and I don't want to sound like I think every Muslim or Middle Eastern community will present these kinds of issues. But Sweden has had difficulties, as has other European nations. It has been limited here in the US, possibly because we are not as quick to accept native culture as an excuse for this kind of activity (it seems that some of the European courts have been paralyzed by a conflict between the way they have treated conflicts with non-native culture and the law when applied to Muslim immigrant groups, but this may be a one-sided handling. I don't know that much about it.)

I think there may be an immigrant problem...possibly even a problem with the refugee system in which people come here fleeing something, but not necessarily to take any part of what is "America."

I hope that doesn't sound like I anti-immigration, or anti-Muslim. It is hard to deal with these kinds of issues in a comment or even a single entry. There are all sorts of positive things I could note, but there is a definite cause for concern among some groups. I am sort of leaning on the trust that the justice system will work for these groups the same as it does for our other questionable organizations in the US.


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