Sometimes it’s hard to tell opinion pieces from liberals from satire that you’d find at The Onion. An opinion piece recently published in Australia is so outrageous, conservatives and even some liberals are sharing it, wondering if it’s a joke. The author, making the case for government-sponsored childcare, declared that because some children have unfair advantages over other kids due to loving and attentive parents, that the playing field should be evened out. Not by disadvantaged children being given the same as their peers – heavens, no, that would be too logical for the left. The field should be evened by kids having advantages like bedtime stories taken away. The piece quotes Adam Swift, a philosopher:
‘I had done some work on social mobility and the evidence is overwhelmingly that the reason why children born to different families have very different chances in life is because of what happens in those families.’
Once he got thinking, Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions—from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories—form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations.
So, what to do?
According to Swift, from a purely instrumental position the answer is straightforward.
‘One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.’
How different is this proposal from liberals’ desire to institute state-run universal pre-K and daycare programs, gaining access to impressionable children at earlier and earlier ages? We might joke about this opinion piece now, but it’s not far from the reality of what many liberals want to see instituted.
Comment below: Do you think we will we see mainstream policy makers making this case in a few years time?