Perhaps one day I’ll have all answers I need, but until them, I’ll continue to ask myself questions without being able to come a satisfying conclusion. One of these questions that I have not yet been able to answer is: How far should parents be allowed to brainwash their children?
I know it sounds unfair („brainwash“ is already implying that I think of it as wrong), but honestly, I don’t have an answer. Let me try to make the question more clear: Parents have the right to teach their children what they want. But on the other hand, children have rights to. Does fanaticism have to be hereditary? As long as you teach your child to be a decent human being, everything is ok, but teaching your child to hate other people? Is that still ok? Isn’t that a violation of the child’s innocence? If an adult person decides to hate someone, ok, his problem – but if you force that hate into a child’s brain, then this has nothing to do with free will. I tend to ask myself this question when I see a child holding a sign like these. Can we not protect these poor children who don’t have any clue what they are doing?
Of course, the reason why I don’t have an answer, is simply, that I cannot imagine a country where to government is allowed to decide what parents may tell their kids. Ok, honestly, I can imagine such a country and I really, really don’t like it (Airstrip One, anyone?). This is what I feel the strongest argument against restricting the parent’s ability to teach their children, because only this way we can be sure that the next generation will not grow up as some kind of collective with only the government-approved opinions. Individuality is something very valuable, I think.
But, really, can it be right the some wackos are allowed to teach their stupid hateful nonsense to their kids, robbing them of the chance to be a decent human being? Does hate have to be hereditary? Of course, allowing the government to set the rules here would perhaps not prevent that. Children taught by the Hamas would probably not learn to „love thy neighbor“, at least not if he’s a Jew.
So, for the moment, my only answer is, that this is something we cannot do much against, just hoping the reality allows even for those poor children raised by bigots to experience a different world view. That’s probably more easy in countries where there is no home schooling (a concept I find somewhat strange, as school not only teaches you stuff but also brings you into contact with other children, etc.). Allowing the government to decide what’s right and what’s wrong to teach your children is not the answer – imho.