Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Expel the experts from family life

Frank Furedi writes on a UK site:
It’s time to expel the ‘experts’ from family life

In repackaging parenting as a superbly complex, almost scientific task, a gaggle of experts hopes to colonise our personal lives.

Parents are told time and again that their authority rests on outdated assumptions and that they lack the real expertise that one needs to socialise young people. And conscious of the fact that it is difficult to act authoritatively today, parents feel very insecure about rejecting expert advice. The explosion of various child-rearing and pedagogic fads is symptomatic of society’s loss of faith in parental authority; it represents a futile attempt to bypass the question of finding some convincing alternative to old forms of pre-political authority. ...

It is worth noting that the record of the ‘science’ in areas such as child-rearing, education and relationships is a dubious one. It has consisted largely of ever-recurring fads that rarely achieve any positive durable results (4). Nevertheless, at a time when adult authority is on the defensive, the scientific expert has gained an ever-increasing influence over intergenerational relations. Typically, educational experts claim that since their proposals are based on purely objective science, only the prejudiced could possibly disagree with them.
Britain is probably worse than we are in this way, but that is where we are headed. He also says:
The philosopher John Stuart Mill, author of On Liberty, linked his call for the compulsory schooling of children to his distrust of parental competence. He believed that state-sponsored formal education might free children from the ‘uncultivated’ influence of their parents. He asserted that since ‘the uncultivated cannot be competent judges of cultivation’, they needed the support of enlightened educators to socialise their children.
I thought that Mill was a big libertarian hero. I am surprised to see him show such an elitist attitude, and to advocate government control over schooling without also asserting parental rights and autonomy. Maybe that is the way it is with these do-gooders. They think that they know better than everyone else, so they want to coerce others into accepting their views.

Anyway, I am glad to see Furedi proposing expelling the experts from family life. He is right. Those experts have no real science to back up what they say.

I am still trying to think of protest ideas. Here is another example: Wall Street protesters dress as zombies in NYC.

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