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Germany's new wall

In this entry I discussed the horrible treatment meted out by Sweden to the Johannson family, whose son was snatched from them off an airplane by government representatives because his parents were planning to go back to his mother's home country of India and (shock) home school him there. As one commentator pointed out, in effect this means that Sweden has an iron curtain for home schoolers. This was further confirmed by a commentator with additional knowledge about Sweden's lynx-eyed watch lest you appear to be planning to move from Sweden to Finland in order to home school your children.

Similar news now comes to us from Germany. And let there be no doubt: The government officials in Germany are absolutely explicit that they are withholding custody from the Wunderlich family, which wishes to emigrate to France, because the family hopes to home school in France. Moreover, the German judge is absolutely explicit that his intent is to weaken the ties, which he believes to be too strong, between the Wunderlich parents and their children. He believes that the Wunderlich parents have too much influence with their children (heaven forbid) and characterizes this as their isolating the children. Apparently, however, the only "isolation" the Wunderlichs were carrying out was not sending their children to public school in Germany. Now, under court order, they have sent their children to public school, but the custodial right to decide their children's location is being withheld from them so that they will not emigrate and home school elsewhere. The German government regards home schooling as being that horrible. So they are holding the children hostage so that the parents cannot take their children out of the country.

The restriction of movement is particularly striking as a punishment for the mere intention of home schooling, and it speaks volumes concerning the German officials' utterly out-of-proportion view of home schooling. From the iron insistence on controlling the family's movements and the statements of the "harmfulness" of the parents' intentions, one would almost think that the Wunderlichs had expressed a desire to take their children abroad so as to sell them into prostitution.

One would like to think that Germans have learned a lot already about what a bad idea it is to keep people imprisoned in the country, but when it comes to home schoolers, apparently not.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the Obama administration continues in its determination to throw the Romeike family back to the tender mercies of this same government with its totalitarian approach to school and its willingness to keep families imprisoned in-country by holding their children. But move along, folks, no persecution to see here.

By the way, I find it interesting that one of the anti-Romeike talking points is that, get this, the Romeike family shouldn't even have tried to come to the U.S. but should instead have gone to Austria where German is spoken. Who knew? Liberals now believe that people should emigrate only to countries where virtually everyone speaks their own language, because it's allegedly better for their children. Someone needs to pass on this new wisdom to everybody in Congress pushing for amnesty for illegal Mexican immigrants.

It's also instructive, based on that same attack piece, that the liberals evidently think the Romeikes should just have known that they wouldn't get asylum in America. Y'know, the land of the free and the home of the brave. They should have gone somewhere else! France! Finland! Austria! Why in the world would they come here and saddle us with the decision of whether to give them asylum? Looks like a right-wing plot of some kind.

And then there's the overblown solicitude for German cultural integrity. (Also found here.) Yes, surely German culture is going to fall apart if a home schooling family or two manage to flee to the United States and receive asylum, which would sound like an American criticism, God forbid, of the German tradition of coerced state education. American imperialism at its worst. Next thing y'know we'll be bombing Dresden to free the home schoolers.

I hope that the fate of the Wunderlich family, kept in Germany against their will, can be used by the Romeikes in a successful appeal for asylum in the U.S.

Comments (10)

For a country so ashamed of Nazism, they sure seem eager to enforce one of the key laws that Hitler used to maintain his power over the youth of that period.

I hope that the fate of the Wunderlich family, kept in Germany against their will, can be used by the Romeikes in a successful appeal for asylum in the U.S.

If there is any justice in the system at all (a big if, I know), then yes, the Wunderlich result should be proof positive of future persecution should the Romeikes be sent back. I mean, it's not hypothetical, it's not probable, it's there in black and white.

Ah, for a moment, Mike, I thought you were going to say they should be at least equally ashamed of keeping their people forcibly within their borders, which was the evil of Communism. At which point I was going to point out that people these days always seem less ashamed of Communism than of Nazism.

Myself, I rarely put as much emphasis in these discussions on the fact that it was a Nazi-era law originally. I suppose the Germans would reply that if the Nazis had a law against poisoning your mother-in-law that would nonetheless be a good law, so...

I also think it's probably true that the Nazi-era law was very much in the German tradition from pre-Hitler. Universal state education was a Prussian idea, if I recall correctly, before the Nazis ever came along.

And the anti-Romeike crowd will jump on that and whine and wail about "German tradition," so rather than emphasize its being a Nazi-era law, I prefer simply to say that on this question, the Anglo tradition which has ultimately resulted in far greater freedom for parents in the upbringing of their children is better and that the Germans need to lift themselves above their rigid tradition of "mach mit" and learn a little bit about the primacy of the family. If they won't, no one is going to force them, but we sure as heck should be open to letting one of their families stay here if they can get here.

Well, Tony, they have their convoluted argument, which basically boils down to, "As we interpret the messy conglomeration of asylum law, you don't fit any of these categories, so back to Germany for you and...NEXT!"

One of the things I find most interesting is that the "social group" category (being persecuted for membership in an identifiable social group) which is one of the Romeikes' arguments for being eligible for asylum has a lot of marks of being intended for use to grant asylum to homosexuals! And some of the same arguments are going to come up. For example, according to the HSLDA, one criterion for membership in a "social group" for which membership you are being persecuted is that you have some "characteristic" which you either cannot change or should not have to change. I cannot claim to have verified this in some actual legal code, but golly if it doesn't look tailor-made for homosexuals: Sure they could stop engaging in the acts that are going to get them persecuted in such-and-such a country, but they shouldn't have to. Now, of course, the Romeikes' lawyers are arguing that in this (rather strange) sense of an "immutable" characteristic, the Romeikes' membership in the social group of home schoolers is an "immutable" characteristic. They could change it, but they shouldn't have to.

Per the HSLDA argument:

One final argument from Romeikes deserves our attention. One of the grounds for asylum is if persecution is aimed at a “particular social group.” The definition of a “particular social group” requires a showing of an “immutable” characteristic that cannot change or should not be required to be changed. We contend that German homeschoolers are a particular social group who are being persecuted by their government.


One thing the anti-Romeike crowd overlooks is the fact that initially an asylum judge in the U.S., who presumably had no vested interest in the matter, interpreted and applied the law and granted their asylum application. The U.S. federal gov. decided to spend money and time to appeal that ruling instead of just leaving it. It was that important to them. So it's not even as though only those biased home schoolers think the Romeikes meet the criteria for asylum.

I think you greatly underestimate the importance of emphasizing to anyone who is watching that this is a "Nazi law." The average American who hears that is likely to immediately dismiss anything Germany is actually defending in its position upon hearing that because the average American, even in government, would be suspicious of even a "Nazi anti-mother poisoning law" because Nazis are the epitome of modern human evil to most Americans. It may be an ad hominem, but it's an ad hominem that can be used to great effect especially when combined with the other facts presented here.

At which point I was going to point out that people these days always seem less ashamed of Communism than of Nazism.

That's because many of the people most obsessed with the evil of the latter were giving aid and comfort in various capacities to the former.

One of the greatest ironies is that despite all of the attempts to make Fascism (as distinct from National Socialism) out to be the ultimate political evil, if Mussolini ran on the platform from the Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle today he'd probably be elected by a solid majority to any major national office in Europe or North America.

Germany has a long history of policies of this type. Otto von Bismarck, as Ministerpraesident of Prussia, and later after German unification as Reich Chancellor, was concerned with Germanizing the States national minorities like the Poles and Danes. Public education was useful in achieving these ends. Kulturkampf was a policy promoted by Bismarck. Kulturkampf meant in practice hostility to the Roman Catholic influence in society and a promotion of secularity.

Since the Johannson "family" is some Jim Jones-style rainbow family, I could really care less what happens to them. They deserve whatever ills come their way.

You are a creep and a troll. Get lost or get banned. I would just delete your comments and ban you without further ado, but just occasionally it is salutary to point out publicly to the unsavory so-called "right" who would make such comments that they are unwelcome here. Let it be known, though, that if anyone else tries to make my comment now into an occasion for a meta-discussion of "what should be beyond the pale" when it comes to racialist remarks his comments will be deleted from this thread. A word to the wise is sufficient.

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