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Scotland jumps the shark

You just can't make this stuff up. Scotland has passed and is beginning to implement a law which assigns every child in Scotland from birth to age eighteen a "named person," selected by the government, whose job it is to "promote, support, or safeguard the wellbeing" of the child. Parents will not have a choice about whether or not to accept the assignment of an outside government busybody to their children. Some proponents of the law claim that "Families are not required to accept advice" from the named person.

Pardon me if I consider that to be patently disingenuous. We are talking here about a massive invasion of privacy in which an outside person is assigned, without parents' consent, to monitor their child and make on-going recommendations for the child's "well-being." There is not the slightest doubt that parents who refuse to take the advice of these state social workers will face probable repercussions. The very assignment of the "named person" implies that someone else needs to be looking over the parents' shoulders, knowing all sorts of information about the family and the children's upbringing, and making recommendations. That the parents could simply blow these off without the slightest worry about further problems is a ludicrous idea. (Home education leaders in Scotland say that they are already seeing problems, though no details are given.)

It is a breathtaking thought that elected officials in Scotland should have passed such a violation of privacy. (And I hope they get thrown out at the next election for doing so.) The sheer data collection aspects of this are shocking. It is difficult to see how any sort of privacy for the child or for the family can survive this program, and whether home schooling will survive remains to be seen.

Then there are additional prudential aspects. Scotland is suddenly going to need an army of social workers, for which tax dollars will have to pay. And is it too great of a stretch to be concerned that, along with all the nannies and harpies, some pedophiles might slip into the program and invade families? It's difficult to imagine a job more calculated to attract the wrong sort of applicant: "Guess what? You get to develop relationships with children from birth to age eighteen and monitor their well-being, whether their parents want you around or not."

The law sounds like satire, but it's all too real for the families of Scotland. Will it ever be repealed? Color me skeptical. Intrusive bureaucracies, once created or grown to gigantic size, rarely just disappear.

It's easy enough to say, "It couldn't happen here." And truth to tell, I doubt that this type of law will be enacted in the U.S. at the federal level any time in the next couple of generations. But at some state level in a liberal state? That doesn't seem too farfetched.

It is a sign of how far the West has gone to the left that this could even be considered, much less passed. Here we see the perfect dovetailing of phony individualism and all-too-real collectivism. The individual "rights" of children mean that children are to be forced (even if they don't want it) to accept the intrusion of a stranger into their lives who will ask them all sorts of personal questions. Families will be invaded, and personal privacy will be nil. There is nothing but the individual and the state.

I encourage any Americans who home school to join HSLDA, which monitors and opposes such legislation.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Comments (20)

If the Scottish family is so decadent that intrusions like this are becoming law, it's hard to see a way back. Scotland needs a revival! Otherwise it'll soon be: "All for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." ~ Mussolini

Thanks for making this known Lydia. Thankfully there are others here in Scotland and in the rest of the UK who are speaking out against this: www.christian.org.uk/news/scots-named-person-plans-are-politicisation-of-parenting/

I hope they can get it repealed, but as of now, it's a done deal. I would not want to be a parent in Scotland now.

I don't have a link available, but I seem to recall that a few years ago some home schooling parents moved to Scotland because some unfavorable laws were passed in England. This situation changes everything, of course.

I guess the Scots haven't heard the one at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In the headquarters building there is a long hallway, with doorways every 10 feet, with most doors open. And way down the hall you hear the sound of someone sobbing. You search down the hall until you find the office, with a man sitting with his face lowered to his hands, utterly disconsolate. You ask "my good man, whatever is the matter?"

He responds in grief and woe: "My Indian died!"

I find it hard to even imagine the kind of mindset that imagined that this could be a good way to run a country - outside of an out-and-out totalitarian, of course. And for the non-totalitarians who voted for the law, were they drugged, or drunk, or just plain loony?

It looks like Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, is an out-and-out totalitarian. Several stories quote her as having told representatives, with the intent to reassure, "We recognize that parents also have a role." In raising kids, that is. Gotta love that "also." David Scott links one of the stories above in which that quote appears.

Your question is interesting, Tony, because it brings to my mind the fact that the instinct against totalitarianism is surprisingly easy to lull into somnolence. Cliches like "child safety" and "not letting children slip through the net," especially coming after a couple of decades during which people have become accustomed to Nanny statism and to giving up their privacy, and you end up with a surprising number of droids who don't yell, "What??? The hell you say!!" when they hear of a plan like this. The love of freedom is not actually an unquenchable burning in the heart of every man. A surprising number are willing to sell that birthright for a mess of pottage in the form of "safety for the children" or what-not.

The point should be especially instructive to those on the slightly more traditionalist right. We should be careful about "dissing" freedom, talking like freedom is the bad guy, and accustoming people to think that authoritarianism is really a good thing. That just softens them up for collectivism.

In my opinion, while libertarianism is poor as a totalizing Philosophy of All Politics, every conservative should have a strong libertarian streak in him. There should be seen to be something valuable about freedom and privacy from government intrusion. Americans have had, in the past, that sense of independence, that "Get off my land" instinct, and I think we should keep it, not try to stamp it out as some sort of "bad individualism" or "liberalism."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not preaching to you, Tony, because I'm pretty certain that would be preaching to the choir. I'm just giving some thoughts inspired by your, "What in the world were they thinking?" question and also inspired by some inveighing I've seen from traditional conservatives on the alleged evils of an abstract love of freedom. Actually, an abstract love of freedom has something to be said for it, especially when one confronts collectivist insanity like this proposal.

We should be sobered by how easy it is to get people to mouth platitudes and give up their freedom.

I've discussed this with a couple of social worker friends here in England who are as liberal/statist as one could imagine and even they think this is insane.

That's surprising, I have to say. What are their immediate objections?

Consider that your government family spy could be a militant homosexual, insisting that one should dress your boys in girls' clothes (for the sake of equality). Inevitably, some will prove to be paedophiles-but we'll hear little of that.

I've discussed this with a couple of social worker friends here in England who are as liberal/statist as one could imagine and even they think this is insane.

I can believe that, but I also believe ultimately they would take the bit in their mouth and obey. We established that in another discussion in which liberal/statist admitted (after lots of hemming and hawing) that they would return slaves to their masters under the Fugitive Slave Act.

See, I'm curious as to whether the social workers' objection is not so much, "This is unwarranted interference in the family, this is the destruction of privacy" as something like, "This is going to be terribly unwieldy, inefficient, and expensive" and "The social agencies are going to be so overwhelmed by doing this that it will actually make it more likely that they will miss cases of genuinely abused children."

Not that those are *bad* objections. They are among the prudential concerns I mentioned in the post. However, I would be rather surprised to find a trained social worker, much less one who is as "statist as can be imagined," who would object *in principle* to interfering pre-emptively in every family or who would actually find such a proposal horrifying and creepy.

@Lydia and Scott W
Their objections are basically prudential, it will overwhelm the social services budgets. But in one case this proposal seems to have been a tipping point and has caused some angst over the limits of state action. And yet, there are mortgages to be paid......so Scott is probably correct.

I see it that the main priorities for social workers are power and ideology. They will be ultimately quite unconcerned with the fate of children as that is not what they are about. They represent the extreme end of the left/liberal spectrum. As sex has been decoupled from reproduction, the way is clear for the next step in their project whereby reproduction is going to be decoupled from sex. The demotion of parenting by state control combined with the trivialisation of marriage are essential stepping stones to the Brave New World of designer, mass-produced good citizens and the final promotion of Man as god. The notion of a social worker knowing an average parent's role better than any parent is only a reflection of Man knowing God's role better than Himself.

If the kids aren't being taught the "correct" political, religious, social values (leftism, diversity, multi-culti, envirocraziness), the parents might find themselves in jeopardy of losing the children.

Some resources that you might find useful:



It is secularization gone mad. Or madder.


From Chesterton's essay "The Drift from Domesticity" (the whole thing is fantastic, short, and available for free online; go read it):

"Some social reformers try to evade this difficulty [about how to care for children if we erode the family], I know,
by some vague notions about the State or an abstraction called
Education eliminating the parental function. But this,
like many notions of solid scientific persons, is a wild illusion
of the nature of mere moonshine. It is based on that strange
new superstition, the idea of infinite resources of organisation.
It is as if officials grew like grass or bred like rabbits.
There is supposed to be an endless supply of salaried persons,
and of salaries for them; and they are to undertake all that human
beings naturally do for themselves; including the care of children.
But men cannot live by taking in each other's baby-linen. They cannot
provide a tutor for each citizen; who is to tutor the tutors?
Men cannot be educated by machinery; and though there might be
a Robot bricklayer or scavenger, there will never be a Robot
schoolmaster or governess. The actual effect of this theory
is that one harassed person has to look after a hundred children,
instead of one normal person looking after a normal number of them.
Normally that normal person is urged by a natural force, which costs
nothing and does not require a salary; the force of natural
affection for his young, which exists even among the animals.
If you cut off that natural force, and substitute a paid bureaucracy,
you are like a fool who should pay men to turn the wheel of his mill,
because he refused to use wind or water which he could get for nothing.
You are like a lunatic who should carefully water his garden with
a watering-can, while holding up an umbrella to keep off the rain."

That is a truly prescient comment by Chesterton.

It reminds me of, and is related to, the insanity in the philosophy of Peter Singer (just one bit of insanity) to the effect that we have no more responsibility for the well-being of our own children than for children on the other side of the world. Statists have thought this way for a long time. I suppose at some level it serves the cause of equality. All children shall be equally deprived of parental love, equally beset by unrelated bureaucrats, and equally miserable.

A legal challenge will be mounted by Christian Action Research and Education:


Please pray for its success.


Whaddya know, the State has fashioned in its own image a perverted, twisted version of a godparent.

Kilts, bagpipes, haggis, and now professional paid Government child-molesters. Here be a race of people too inventive for their own good. Say, isn't that the Bruce's jaw on the ground?

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