Saturday, March 17, 2007

Melanie Philips on the Nationalisation of Childhood

Melanie Philips objects to the tick box approach to pre-school childcare for a number of good reasons, including that it

"will cause wholly unnecessary alarm, turn acts of simple caring and nurturing into a kind of permanent competition and trigger fresh waves of intervention by ‘experts’ on behalf of the State."

and that

"in any event, as any parent of young children knows, the legions of so-called ‘experts’ on childhood tend to offer diametrically opposite views about the correct way to bring up a child.
The idea that the Government should impose any one view as an unchallengeable standard by which all childrearing is to be judged is an intolerable assault not only on the freedom to differ on such private matters but on basic common sense. "

and that

"It is the deeply disturbing idea of an all-seeing, beneficent state that knows better than parents how a child should develop and even what attitudes it should have, and which therefore seeks to infiltrate itself into every area of children’s lives so they become effectively programmed to turn out as little clones of what the State expects them to be. It is the ultimate Nanny State. And it is all about changing both society and human nature itself."

I agree and would only elaborate slightly on the point she makes about the assault upon human nature. In requiring that even babies meet a certain set of predetermined criteria, the state at least attempts in practice and certainly succeeds symbolically in removing any hope of autonomy from its citizens. It risks a great deal in so doing. A person who does what they are told, risks doing so without really critiquing the reasons for their actions. Almost at best, they may make it to their deathbeds and then realise that their lives have never been properly meaningful. At worst, they become blindly obedient and open to performing all manner of terrible things, simply because someone tells them to. Other people will react against the often sensible ideas that are proposed under the citizenship inculcation regime, simply because these ideas are imposed rather than offered tentatively, and not because these ideas are essentially wrong. Such people end up acting out poor theories instead. In other words, there is very little room left for freely chosen, rational, autonomous action.

The only hope now? Home educate so that your kids are not tickboxed from birth - and then fight that in order that this may remain the case for home educated kids too.


Anonymous said...

"Other people will react against the often sensible ideas that are proposed under the citizenship inculcation regime"

What do you consider sensible ideas?

Rachel Reed said...

What a great article by Melanie Philips, though still I refuse to buy the Mail!!

I really do think that we (as citizens) need to in the very least write to the government to let them know what we think of this. If we stay silent, then they'll think we agree.

I also think that this governments policies and red tape is becoming an even bigger issue than the Poll Tax was for the Conservatives. When you look at the difference - one a tax on the person, or the other continual drip by drip removal of peoples freedom, I do wonder why there is so much complacency. (Well not amoung the HE people!)


Allie said...

No, No - tell me I'm not agreeing with a large portion of an article by Melanie Philips! Help - identity crisis...

Carlotta said...

lol...I had a very similar reaction! What IS happening to me? Am hoping it is rather that that her ideas are improving?!