Hillary is recycling her ten-year old “It takes a village” mantra as she explores her 2008 candidacy. Don Surber thinks this is silly, both because the actual African villages aren’t in such good condition and because there are a few more big issues (9/11, anybody?) that have nothing to do with Hillary’s view of parenting. (H/T: American Thinker.)
I think it’s silly too, but for a different reason: it conflates a tight community with big government. As it happens, I’m fortunate enough to live in a real, old-fashioned neighborhood. Kids wander fairly freely from house to house, and I know (a) that my kids’ will be safe in the neighbors’ houses and (b) that the neighbors will feel free to exert their authority to keep my kids — indeed, all the kids under their charge — out of trouble and on their best behavior. In other words, while parents retain their primary responsibility in my neighborhood/village, there is no doubt but that the entire community also brings its weight to bear on helping these children grow up well. There’s no doubt that, if you’re as lucky as I am to live in a neighborhood like this, it’s a good system.
The problem with Hillary is that she takes this truism, and attempts to convince us that the federal government is the best “village” of all. If your small community is good at helping with children by reinforcing your values, imagine how much better it would be if the American government was doing that for you? To state the principle is to realize how unutterably stupid it is. The village model works because it’s small and it’s composed of people with shared values. Hillary’s government model can never work. It lacks the personal touch and small scale that make the principle work. Having some impersonal, value-free bureaucratic in Washington “oversee” my child’s upbringing is the anti-thesis of the village model.
Hillary’s right that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s just that we should be very, very worried about Hillary’s idea of a “village.”