When it comes to authoritarian presumption, it seems that leftist intellectuals just can’t help themselves:
Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? Should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring?
So asks ABC’s “educational broadcaster” Joe Gelonesi, before turning for an answer to a mind even loftier than his own:
Once he got thinking, [political philosopher Adam] Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions — from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories — form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations. So, what to do?
Dr Swift, whose interests include “sociological theory and Marxism,” starts with the obvious. Obvious to him, that is:
One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.
It’s a bold move, one that’s been suggested many times, typically by people bedeviled by totalitarian fantasies and insatiable spite. Thankfully, our concerned academic shies away from such directness and even praises the family and its “love-based relationships.” Instead, he wants to, as Gelonesi puts it, “sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don’t.” Dr Swift’s definition of “unnecessary inequality” will soon become clear.
What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children.
What “we” will allow parents to do. For their own children.