Mike Kueber's Blog

April 11, 2013

Melissa Harris-Perry on parenting

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Media,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 7:06 pm
Tags: , ,

The last few days, I have been so preoccupied with watching the Jack Bauer TV show “24” that I have seen almost nothing on FOX news.  But, unless I were living under a rock, there is no way that I would have missed the firestorm that Melissa Harris-Perry started with her comments on parenting.  

Harris-Perry has a week-end talk show on MSNBC, and I often see her on my gym TV, but rarely listen to her.  The few times I have listened to her, she seemed to be indistinguishable from MSNBC’s uber-progressive Rachel Maddow. 

MSNBC has a tradition of promoting its talk-show hosts by having them read a lengthy conversational speech describing their progressive philosophy.  Although I rarely watch MSNBC, I recall seeing this type of ad by Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz, and Rachel Maddow.

The Harris-Perry ad that stirred everything up argued as follows on parenting:

  • We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and your responsibility.  We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we 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 whole communities.”

Not surprisingly, conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are apoplectic about Harris-Perry’s argument.  Palin tweeted, “Unflippingbelievable,” and Limbaugh talked about the nuclear family being under assault again from the communists and leftists. 

Because I consider myself tolerant and socially liberal, I often part company with the Palins and Limbaughs of the world on social issues, but not in this case.  I have for many years felt that the government interfered too frequently and too easily with the rights of the parents. 

Yes, government has a duty to protect children from abusive parents and it has interest in promoting opportunity for disadvantaged kids, but from a philosophical perspective, I think the world works better if parents, not government, feels responsible and accountable for taking care of kids. 

As I ponder how this issue fits into the philosophical spectrum, I suspect that my self-description as a social liberal might more accurately be called social libertarian.  It will be interesting to see if Democrats support Harris-Perry and her big-government, communal philosophy.  I suspect they will support her because that would be consistent with the Dem’s big spending on social programs and the safety net.  But from a political perspective, this defining issue is a huge danger to the Democrats.


1 Comment »

  1. I was not shocked by her statement. The left has stopped shocking me. All we need is Washington D.C. more involved in our daily lives. I can hardly think of a better way than to claim accountability for our children.

    Comment by q — April 22, 2013 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

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