Monday, January 20, 2014

Germany: no right of exit

This is an extraordinary story (hat tip: Laura Wood). There is a German family (the Wunderlichs) whose children were being homeschooled - that is, until the German state sent in a team of 20 special agents, police officers and social workers to forcibly seize the children from their parents (homeschooling is illegal in Germany).

The children have been returned to their parents but are under the legal custody of social workers. A judge has rejected the idea of returning legal custody to the parents, even though the children now attend a public school. Why?

The answer: in part to prevent the parents getting visas for their children and moving to another country in which homeschooling is permitted. In other words, to prevent any right of exit from Germany.
In a shocking verdict regarding a homeschool case in Germany, a family court judge has refused to return legal custody of four children to Christian parents to prevent the family from obtaining visas that would allow them to travel to a country where homeschooling is permitted.

The judge made this decision in the name of liberal morality: he fears that if the children are homeschooled they will not become sufficiently tolerant of others:
In his decision, the judge ruled that it was necessary to keep the Wunderlich children in public school for their own “well-being,” arguing that if the children were homeschooled in Germany or abroad they would “grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.”

Here is a prime example of how a liberal morality doesn't work. In the name of tolerance, a German judge has told a family that they have no right to leave Germany. This brings to mind the situation in the former East Germany, in which citizens were likewise forced to stay. When the Berlin Wall went up in the early 1960s, outraged West Germans called for it to be torn down as an affront to freedom. But now it is not communists but liberals who are denying German citizens a right to exit.

The Wunderlich family

And this is despite the fact that a right to exit is the key qualification that liberals themselves specify when considering whether non-liberal communities are acceptable or not. From a liberal discussion of this issue we learn that,
Susan Moller Okin has [said that] "any consistent defense of group rights or exemptions that is based on liberal premises has to ensure that at least one individual right – the right to exit one's group of origin – trumps any group right.' Exit rights, then, are thought to limit the repression of group members and thus to be either sufficient for or necessary to compliance with moral principles.

So "the right to exit one's group of origin" is considered crucial by liberals when determining whether or not a community meets liberal moral standards. The German judge is contravening one core liberal principle (the right to exit) in the name of another (tolerance). He is also imposing an authoritarian principle (no right of exit), previously associated with East German communism, in the name of tolerance.

Liberal morality is not proving to be internally consistent here.

The problem goes back to the fundamentals of a liberal morality. Liberals begin by assuming that an objective good can't be known and that therefore people must self-determine their own subjective goods. For this to work, though, individuals have to be careful not to infringe on the moral choices or the self-defined goods of others - to do so means denying those people their moral agency (disempowering them).

And so liberals have gone on to emphasise as virtues qualities of non-interference, such as respect, openness, diversity, non-discrimination, tolerance and so on. But once these became the liberal virtues, they became the focus and the standard of human moral life, i.e. the new public standard of the good.

But they are problematic as a standard. As pointed out above, it means that moral discrimination is enacted in the name of non-discrimination and that intrusive or authoritarian acts of the state are carried out in the name of tolerance.

Furthermore, these moral standards are too narrow. There is a recognition of "non-interference" as a moral standard, but what about, say, the importance of the connection between parent and child? How can moral decisions be weighted or balanced when only one aspect of a moral situation is considered in terms of moral principle?

This is not to say that there were not moral standards in traditional societies. They tended, though, to be less connected to the state. For instance, let's say that in a traditional society there is an ideal of masculinity, which includes virtues of courage and honour. These are connected to character: a man who was considered cowardly or dishonourable might have been judged negatively, which was no doubt discomfiting, but that would have been thought of as a personal failing - there was no need for the state to get involved.

Liberals, however, have created a state morality: it has become the aim of politics to impose the moral standards of non-discrimination, inclusion, tolerance etc. on society. This aim will inevitably be intrusive and authoritarian, as it requires the state to break apart the usual inclinations of human association - as well as diminishing the authority of non-state institutions and loyalties, such as those of the family.

The German ruling gives us an idea of where all this is going to take us. It is not going to be a place of freedom. It will be a place where we, as disconnected and disempowered individuals (relieved of most of our social functions), will have to accept our place within a closely managed system administered by the state.

Oh, and it seems you won't be allowed to leave for somewhere better.


  1. "Liberal morality is not proving to be internally consistent here."

    It's proving to be very consistent, children's rights don't you know.

    Your simply stuck in the dark ages of biological determinism, don't worry they'll pump out social marketing propaganda to get you up to speed.

  2. And most people thought National Socialism ended in Germany in 1945.-Norm

  3. The German ruling gives us an idea of where all this is going to take us. It is not going to be a place of freedom. It will be a place where we, as disconnected and disempowered individuals (relieved of most of our social functions), will have to accept our place within a closely managed system administered by the state.

    Oh, and it seems you won't be allowed to leave for somewhere better.

    That's all true.

    There are two extra factors that have a pervasive and dominating multi-generational effect.

    First, those isolated, indoctrinated, disempowered and neutered individuals are white. Non-whites, who arrive by mass immigration and also our-breed whites, are encouraged to hold grievances against whites and be hostile to whites, and they are encouraged to mass, act and organize socially as much as possible, So you have deliberately solidified non-white and anti-white masses pitted against atomized, pacified and neutered whites.

    Second, "tolerance" is a weapon against whites. It means they are not allowed to exclude competing or hostile groups from their habitat, from their women, from their discussions, from their symbolism and culture, from playing team games against isolated white individuals, and from gaining authority over them and consolidating it.

    According to Raphael Lemkin, the originator of the term genocide:

    Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group.

  4. As people have moved from an era of smaller rural communities that remained fairly constant (often across large phases of ones life, if not their whole life, and even whole generations) to urbanized environments that are anonymous and often involve rapid movement (of location, of living arrangements, social groups, workplace, etc) there is a tendency to move away from the organic social enforcement of norms ("a man who was considered cowardly or dishonourable might have been judged negatively") towards contractual and authoritative methods. This is because tradition usually requires time and continuity, but these are resources we no longer have.

  5. asdf, that's true, but I think a much greater cause of corruption, is scandal, I mean in the Catholic sense, as "a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another's spiritual ruin".

    "Sandal" is a concept that has been trivialized and sexualized into a joke, so that the true meaning of the word has as good as been lost, and I suspect that that's exactly because it is so important to us. In other words, the controllers of the mass media and the other powerful people whose main sin is scandal don't like the concept, and they have done their formidable best to vitiate it. We need this standard of judgement to condemn and oppose those doing us great harm, and and naturally those doing us great harm (and getting rich doing it) don't wish to be judged, condemned and opposed.

  6. As a homeschooling mother of one child living in Northern Ireland, I think that the actions of German authorities against the Wunderlich family is disgraceful and is an example of persecution of Christians. I cannot agree with your use of the word "moral" in connection with Liberalism, Mr.Richards, because, to me, a "moral" liberal is a contradiction in terms. Morals have to do with absolutes i.e a given behaviour is either right or wrong, and situational ethics do not apply. Liberal "morality" (which is immorality or amorality,) states that there are no absolutes, because, to them, everything is relative and to say otherwise is "judgemental."

  7. This is perfectly consistent with the "therapeutic state" described by Paul Gottfried in his trilogy
    on 20th and 21st Century liberalism. Civil society and the family are destroyed through subordination to the leftist project.Compulsory indoctrination on the concept of the sanctity of the "Other" is the crucial component of that project.

  8. C.S. Lewis, Thomas Edison, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were homeschooled

  9. Homeschooling is the only alternative we Christians have in a country like Australia where the government seems to be hell-bent on removing all traces of the Church and the teachings of the Lord from the syllabus and from social culture. The Judeo-Christian heritage has been turned into a community joke - just a Christmas time decoration in shopping malls whilst godless atheist masses gorge themselves on bread and circuses following blindly the materialism that IS the new religion!

    Until home schooling becomes widespread we have almost no hope of seeing Christianity last more than 10 - 20 years in this land.

  10. This sickens me so much, because I have eight siblings who are under adult age and therefore could be seized by the state whenever they decide to outlaw homeschooling here in America, and it also sickens me for this family who is having to go through all this. Liberals will contradict themselves left and right to get what they want, and not even blink an eye.
    I remember several years ago reading about the Romeike family, and then in the comments on the article seeing a large number of people saying they wished homeschooling was illegal here in the U.S.
    I had never realized that so many people were so hostile to it; I'd never encountered anyone like that in real life, and I naively figured that since it was legal and so many people seemed to at least be fine with it, that people who were hostile to it were in the minority.
    Since then I've read plenty of ridiculous arguments against homeschooling, coupled with a few that have the sound of sanity and reason but, if you look past the nice-sounding rigmarole of the 'welfare of the child' and 'education', you realize it's the same old communistic lies: 'your children' are really ours. We are all responsible for everyone's children in every area. Parents are incapable of knowing what's best for their children. Instilling principles into your children is intolerant and will not be tolerated by a 'free society'.
    So far, homeschoolers have won their freedom in America, but for how much longer? Perhaps not even long enough for my own children to be homeschooled when I have them.