The state growth of parental authority
State officials in North Carolina are inspecting lunch boxes, and if they don’t like what the parents packed for their own children, they’re forcing the tots to eat state-approved food from the school cafeteria. Judging from the comments at the bottom of the article, people are rightly outraged. One reader named “Michelle” says:
I need to pinch myself and wake up — so I can remember what country I live in! This is goes [sic] way beyond school function. Why don’t they invest their time in educating our children, leave our children’s diet to us parents. For those who don’t get it let me make it clear to you — Socialism is a alive and well!!! We are living in scary times!
I can understand her frustration, but she’s wrong about the fundamental problem; for the state to police the child’s food is just an extension of the parental authority it already has to educate. We should never have put education in the hands of the state in the first place. It’s just as much a parental function as providing food and shelter. Once you yield some parental responsibility to the state, it will never stop grabbing more.
The state never yields power. Whenever it has an opportunity to seize our liberty, it will. Certainly we need to stop this infringement on parental rights. But once we’ve done that, why stop there? The reason we have this problem is because we have given the state the power to “educate” our children.
The solution to the problem is to retract that grant of power. The task of parenting should rest entirely with the parents. No parent can resist the state’s power once it is determined to act. It’s too strong. In the end, giving the state partial parenting authority really means eventually giving it all parental authority.