Want true equity? California should force parents to give away their children

If California is ever going to achieve true fairness, the state must require parents to give up their children.

Californians today often espouse fairness, the idea of ​​a just society completely free from prejudice, as our highest value. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he makes decisions through “an equity lens.” Institutions, from dance ensembles to technology companies, have made public commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

But his promises of new equitable systems are no match for the power of parents.

Parents with greater wealth, education, or other resources are more likely to pass these advantages on to their children, compounding the privilege for generations. As a result, children of disadvantaged parents face an uphill struggle, social mobility has stagnated, and democracy has been corrupted. More Californians are giving up the dream; a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found a diminishing belief in the notion that you can get ahead through hard work.

My solution is simple, and while we wait for legislation to pass, we can act now: the rich should give their children to the poor, and the poor should give their children to the rich. Homeowners can exchange children with their homeless neighbors.

Now, I recognize that some naysayers, hopelessly attached to their privilege, will dismiss such a policy as appalling, even totalitarian. But my proposal is quite modest, a fusion of traditional philosophy and today’s most common political obsessions.

In his “Republic,” Plato adopted Socrates’ sage advice—that children “be owned in common, so that no parent knows his own offspring and no child his parents”—to defeat nepotism, prevent the accumulation of great fortunes and create citizens loyal not to their children but to society. To replace parents, Plato offered by now familiar ideas, from compulsory education to, millennia before Newsom University’s conception agenda, health regimens for pregnant women and children 5 and under.




Today, universal orphanhood aligns with powerful social trends that point to less interest in family. Californians are taking longer to marry and having fewer children – our state’s birth rate is at an all-time low.

Surveys also suggest that many of us are breaking ties with family members who don’t share our politics. But my proposal would be unifying, it would fit hand in hand with the policies most beloved by progressives and Trumpians alike.

The left’s introduction of anti-racism and gender identity in schools faces bitter backlash from parents. Ending fatherhood would end the backlash, helping to dismantle white supremacy and outdated gender norms.

My proposal would also give Democrats a chance to build a new pillar of social democracy they seek: a system for raising children, called “Foster Care for All.” Under this system, Democrats could stop pretending to enact preschool education or universal child care, which they promised, and failed to deliver, for a generation.

On the right, you will see people posing as parent advocates. But Republicans are happy to get rid of fathers and mothers to pursue their greatest passions, like violating immigrant rights. Once it has gone so far as to separate immigrants from their children and put the children in border concentration camps, it is only a short walk to a complete separation of all Americans from their progeny.

Then there are the pro-lifers. The idea of ​​universal orphanhood dovetails nicely with the conservative campaign to end Roe v. Wade and all abortion rights. In fact, a suggestion by Judge Amy Coney Barrett, at a recent Supreme Court hearing on a case that could overturn Roe, inspired me to write this column. She argued that the right to abortion is no longer necessary because all 50 states now have “safe haven” laws that allow women to turn their babies over to a police or fire department after birth.

My proposal would simply make such baby surrenders to the state mandatory.

Perhaps such coercion sounds dystopian. But imagine the solidarity that universal orphanhood would create. Wouldn’t it be easier for children, raised in a system, to collaborate on climate change and other global problems?

Now, I don’t expect universal support for universal orphanhood. Some opponents, lost in the empty chasm between the American extremes, might object to this rational proposal on emotional grounds. They might argue that pursuing your own conception of family is fundamental to freedom. Or that our differences and prejudices, for all the damage they can do, also give human life much of its meaning.

They can also suggest that people don’t really want to start or end at the same point in life. They may even say that what we really want is what the orphaned title of the musical “Annie” insisted: “I didn’t want to be just another orphan, Mr. Warbucks. I wanted to believe that I was special.”

But you shouldn’t pay attention to those critics. Because they simply cannot see how our relentless pursuit of fairness could bring about a brave new world.

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.

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12 Comments

  1. You’re in need of psychiatric help, to even toy with the idea of forcibly snatching children away from their mothers and fathers is revolting. You the writer are a sinister, arrogant, brainwashed fool.

  2. A lot of people here don’t know what satire is. Good lord, it’s like y’all didn’t pay attention in high school English class. Anyone thinking this is a serious proposal is a moron.

    Go Google “satire”, and then read “A Modest Proposal”. Educate yourself before embarrassing itself in online comments.

  3. Satire or not, there are a lot of f****d up minds that would be inspired by rants like this, dreaming to put such ideas in practice! History give us some lessons in this regard. When Ottoman Empire conquered a country they forced the ruler of that country to give one of his children to the sultan as a guarantee that he won’t disobey the Ottomans. If he disobeyed the Turks the child would have been killed. Also the child was raised in the Turkish religion and tradition and when he returned on the throne of his country he knew nothing else than the obedience to the Turks! Letting our children in the hands of those fanatics means nothing else than slavery not to mention the trauma caused to the children raising without their families! This is a society going towards self distraction so much like Rome falling in it’s latest days.

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