Homeschooling is Good for Society

Homeschooling is important to a society for three reasons. First, it helps to create conditions for a real and sustainable democracy. A great error of both modern libertarianism on the political right and contemporary European socialism on the left has been to leave the isolated individual as the only relevant political and economic actor. The result has been a relentless assault from both ideologies on natural human bonds, including religious groups, local communities, families, and finally even “one flesh” marital unions. Appeals to “rights” and claims of “liberty” become, in practice, parallel channels to what philosophers used to call license, a moral anarchy that undermines the natural foundations of social order and human flourishing. Where moral license reigns, natural family life is progressively shredded. In the end, these versions of democracy become parodies of healthy political life, characterized by demagoguery, the cultivation of lies, and the suppression of truth. Supposedly free individuals find themselves quite alone and defenseless before an ever more powerful state. It is the self-righteous “liberal democracies” of Germany, Sweden, and Norway that ruthlessly suppress home education today, jailing parents and seizing their children. By restoring the task of education to the family, homeschooling helps recover an ancient truth: The family, not the isolated individual, is the natural cell of society—and, as such, the proper and primary political unit. As implied by the word “recover,” this is no fresh discovery: The ancient Greeks rested their democracies on function-rich, autonomous households. So did the founders of the original American Republic of the late 18th century. As historian Barry Shain summarizes in his fine book The Myth of American Individualism: “The vast majority of Americans [of that era] lived in morally demanding agricultural communities shaped by reformed-Protestant [Christian] social and moral no
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