Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard law professor and director of the Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, recently published a paper in the Arizona Law Review decrying the supposed deleterious effects of homeschooling on children in America today.
Parsed of the legalese and academic conceits, Bartholet employs a very pernicious kind of subterfuge in her paper. What emerges behind all the verbiage is very much a blatant and uncritical attack on conservative and religious values.
In exacting and exhausting fashion given the length of the paper, Bartholet offers the typical progressive, authoritarian hubris disguised as necessary democratic measures for a just society. In a recent piece on Bartholet’s claims, Harvard Magazine states:
“Homeschooling, [Bartholet] says, not only violates children’s right to a ‘meaningful education’ and their right to be protected from potential child abuse, but may keep them from contributing positively to a democratic society.”
However, later in the very same piece for Harvard Magazine, the real and terrible motivation is revealed in the form of fearmongering and demagoguery:
“But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Bartholet notes that some of these parents are ‘extreme religious ideologues’ who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”
Notice how Bartholet lumps religious values and conservatism with white supremacy alongside misogyny as though they’re somehow synonymous with one another. Of course, she gives mainstream culture and science their typical dogmatic place.
According to Bartholet and other like-minded progressives, to call science into question automatically relegates one into being some knuckle-dragging homunculus rather than someone who might possibly be aware of the works of, say, Thomas Kuhn or Karl Popper. And we are obligated to denounce what often typifies mainstream culture considering the excesses and abuses it excuses as enlightened and egalitarian these days.
Worse, Bartholet – again, a Harvard Law professor – views the Constitution as an antiquated and outdated document in desperate need of revision to tow her myopic, progressive line of thinking. In her very own words, Bartholet writes:
“The U.S. Constitution with its negative rights structure is an anomaly, outdated and inadequate by the standards of the rest of the world… The U.S. Constitution’s focus on negative rights represents an older western constitutional tradition, ‘increasingly out of step with emerging constitutional norms …in the rest of the world.’”
Here we get to the crux of the matter, and where Bartholet’s argument goes off the progressive rails. Her laborious arguments against homeschooling are not rooted in the Constitution or legal precedence. They’re explicitly rooted in inane, progressive tropes.
Deep in her 80-page paper, Bartholet tries to bolster her attack on the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) by drawing from a feminist blogger for support:
“‘Love, Joy, Feminism’ blogger Libby Anne argues that HSLDA has been complicit in aiding child maltreatment in four key ways: (1) it works to minimize the reporting of child maltreatment; (2) it works to impede the investigation of child maltreatment cases; (3) it opposes restrictions on excessive corporal punishment; and (4) it opposes any homeschooling regulation that might provide a check on maltreatment.”
Is Libby Anne some unheralded scholar of the Constitution or even a lawyer? Nope. She’s literally just some random feminist blogger. That Bartholet is even able to publish a paper in an academic legal journal with such an unqualified source beggars belief.
The likes of Bartholet are attempting to limit homeschooling to further inculcate our children with exceedingly progressive values, and it’s nothing short of madness. This madness, though, is pervasive and growing. Religious and conservative values are not only being cast aside, they’re also being vilified into oblivion. Sad to say but yet another culture war looms on the American horizon.
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