Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book, “It Takes a Village,” is based on the idea that children need to be cared for by an entire community, not just by their own families. She said it was based on an African proverb — “It takes a village to raise a child” — but there are questions about whether it even originated there.
Now it turns out that the maxim isn’t even true. A University of Michigan researcher says that African kids raised in nuclear families do just as well as those raised by extended families or “villages.”
“In the African villages that I study in Mali, children fare as well in nuclear families as they do in extended families,” said Beverly Strassmann, professor of anthropology and faculty associate at the UM Institute for Social Research. “There’s a naïve belief that villages raise children communally, when in reality children are raised by their own families and their survival depends critically on the survival of their mothers.”
Did you notice what she called it? She said it’s a “naïve belief” that Africans somehow raise their families differently than the rest of us. Isn’t it this naïve belief that politicians have been using to demand that we centralize more and more authority over children — taking more and more away from parents?
It seems as though the most common excuse among politicians for taking more freedom away from individuals and giving it to the state is the well-worn line of, “It’s for the children.” That was the sub-text of Hillary Clinton’s book and of all the “child centered” programs of the progressive left. Doesn’t it seem as though those on the left are just using children as an excuse to get us to do what they want us to do anyway?
Children today need the same things they’ve always needed. They need stable and healthy two-parent homes where they’re nurtured and taken care of. If there’s an extended family around — or if there are community friends who help — that’s great, too. But the nuclear family is the most important aspect of providing for a child’s wellbeing. It might not suit those who want to tear down the family and replace it with the Nanny State, but nothing has ever been shown to be more effective when it’s done right.
Shouldn’t we — as a society — pursue policies that allow families to keep more of their money and more of their own authority and trust that most of us know more about raising children than the do-gooders give us credit for?