We have an interesting clash of liberal values here. Or rather of claimed to be liberal values rather than real ones. For Denmark – apparently driven by the “far right” has decided that the children of immigrants should have substantial and substantive nursery education. In order to impress upon them the cultural values of that Denmark they are growing up to be a part of.
Migrant parents living in ‘ghettos’ in Denmark will be forced to send their children to classes on the country’s values from the age of one under a new government scheme.
The infants, largely from low income or heavily Muslim populated areas which the government has called ‘ghettos’, will undergo lessons in religious holidays and learn the Danish language.
Well now. I do seem to recall that Polly Toynbee has defended comprehensive education on the grounds that the children of the rich and the upper middle classes must be educated into the inclusive mores of the society Polly would like Britain to be. The conceptual difference here isn’t obvious, is it?
The legislation is designed to ensure that immigrant communities adhere to Danish values. Denmark has a population of 5.8 million, of whom 493,468 are either immigrants from non-western countries or their descendants, according to the country’s statistical office.
But then we’ve that other so called liberal value to consider as well. In our English schools children are often enough taught in their native tongue. And it is near paramount today that children should not be removed from their ancestral culture. To the point that white couples are often restricted from adopting children who are not purely white.
Which is an interesting clash, isn’t it?
Children born in “ghetto neighborhoods” are mandated after their first birthdays to spend 25 hours away from their parents every week to learn “Danish values,” including instruction on Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as well as Danish language education. Parents who opt to keep their children at home risk losing access to government benefits.
Which of those purported to be liberal values should be paramount? That the state education system exists in order to teach all how to be good little state citizens, recycling, anti-racism, sexual liberty and all? Or that liberal value of all knowing and recalling their ancestral culture?
Wonder who will win there.
Of course, the actual liberal answer – as we proper liberals know – is easy. Parents get to educate their children any damn way they want to. And in the absence of any substantial direct harm to the child, something which does not include hand waving about the inclusivity of the future society, that is that.