Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?
This week on the Very Serious podcast: What the government owes to kids.
I really enjoyed Liz Bruenig’s recent piece on how troublesome children are for liberalism. We have a society built around letting each other live as we see fit, but children are too vulnerable and incompetent to get that treatment. They must be treated illiberally by their parents, and the state must act to ensure children receive education and aren’t abused or neglected.
And that necessity requires us to make some collective decisions about government programs for children and the rights and obligations of parents.
We’re seeing a lot of fights over this lately in our politics. Fights over curriculum and critical race theory are in large part fights about what kind of adults we want schools to make our children into. Parents bristle when the state tries to inculcate values they don’t share — but while education can shift its emphasis toward less controversial topics, any curriculum is going to be rooted in some set of values.
So how do we handle that in a pluralistic society? Is the answer localism? Agreeing to disagree? Must this end with one side of the culture war “winning”? I invited Liz and Tim Carney to discuss how to have these debates, and why they’ve gotten so much more pitched in the last few years.
I hope you enjoy the episode. And if you’re not listening, I encourage you to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform.