Are our children the property of the state?

by Robert Maynard

The following title of this Fox News article says it all: “Critics slam MSNBC host’s claim that kids belong to community, not parents.”  Here is the MSNBC clip being referred to:

Here is a critique of her comments from News Busters’ Ken Shepherd:

On March 23, my colleague Mark Finkelstein noted how MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry considers the unborn child a “thing” which takes a “lot of money” to “turn into a human,” costing thousands of dollars to care for each year of his/her life. Now it appears that Harris-Perry thinks that, after they’re born, children fundamentally belong to the state.

Narrating a new MSNBC “Lean Forward” spot, the Tulane professor laments that we in America “haven’t had a very collective notion that these are our children.” “[W]e have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities,” Harris-Perry argued.

“Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the households, then we start making better investments.” By “investments,” of course, Harris-Perry means things like spending “as much in public education as we should have.”

Of course, if as Harris-Perry holds,”[t]he cost to raise a child [is] $10,000 a year up to $20,000 a year,” and if children should be viewed as collectively “owned” by “society,” then taken to its logical extension, a woman’s choices about having a child should be informed by the economic considerations of the “community,” would it not? But of course, that logic would take someone to justify, for example, the “one-child” policy in Communist China.

What’s more, the notion of collective responsibility for children was a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution in Communist China under Chairman Mao. I bring that up because, as you may recall, another Harris-Perry “Lean Forward” spot contains a reference to a “great leap forward,” which calls to mind the disastrous agricultural reform plan which starved millions of Chinese to death in the 1950s.