Liberals Won’t and Don’t Need to “Collectivize” Your Kids:

“Youth Rights” and the Shrinking Power of Parents Conservatives lit up the airwaves, blogosphere, and Twitter earlier this year, expressing outrage over comments by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who urged Americans to embrace a more “collective notion” of children—one that sees all children as “our children.”1 Harris-Perry’s remarks, part of an ad campaign supporting increased government spending on education, also exhorted Americans to put aside the “private notion of children,” where “your kid is yours” and “kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families.” Instead, Harris-Perry insisted, “Kids belong to whole communities.”2 Her comments triggered verbal volleys from both ends of the political spectrum. Sarah Palin tweeted, “Apparently MSNBC doesn’t think your children belong to you. Unflippingbelievable.” Rush Limbaugh termed it “outrageous,” but “nothing new,” noting that Harris-Perry’s words reflect the collectivist philosophy of “Marx, Engels, [and] the Communist Manifesto.”3 The left accused conservatives of “distorting” the meaning of Harris-Perry’s words, and ignoring the context of her message. Media Matters soft-pedaled her comments, recasting them as a high-minded “call for society to rethink the way it values children.”4 Educators jumped on the liberal bandwagon and defended Harris-Perry’s words as consistent with the “It takes a village” approach to parenting and education. 5 Harris-Perry herself “doubled-down” on Twitter, insisting that, “Kids are our collective responsibility,”6 because even though “families have first and primary responsibility” for children, “our children are not our private property. . . . They are independent, individual beings.”7Should conservatives—and families in general—worry that Harris-Perry’s comments signal a “progressive” push for state control over our children? Not exactly. Harris-Perry’s v
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