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07 December 2022

Parents' Rights Is Lazy Parenting

I was listening this morning to The Daily, and the lead story was about school librarians and book-banning. It got me thinking about the dominant rhetorical strategy being employed by those who want to be Nazis do censorship. Set aside for a minute any human concerns for the marginalized folks whose existence and representation tend to be at the center of this culture war battlefield. Let's take the right-wing, wouldbe censors at their word and assume this is actually about "parents' rights." I am not the first to point this out, but an obvious issue is that Parents' Rights™ actively negates the rights of the majority of parents who don't wish controversial books to be removed from their kids' school libraries. It is more accurately a debate about whether one set of parents has the right to impose their worldview on other parents.

That led me to this conclusion: at its core "Parents' Rights" parents are lazy parents. In effect, they are asking the state* to do their parenting for them. If a parent doesn't want their kid reading Lawn Boy, for example, it is the parent's job to inform their child that they're not allowed to read the novel and then, if necessary, to police the kid's reading. Instead, under the guise of their "rights," these parents are arguing that the schools should restrict access from all students simply because they don't want their child to have access. They apprently can't or won't suprevise their own child and ask the state to do so on their behalf. They can't control their own household so they ask the state to control their entire community. If I remember correctly, folks on the right had a term for situations where the government acts in an overprotective manner, curtailing individual choices: the nanny state. I guess these kinds of criticisms only apply to the state when one disagrees with the state's actions, huh?


* - Public schools are special-purpose government entities.

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