The home educating community in this country has a tendency to seize upon slightly unusual words and then use them all the time in their communications, both to each other and to outside agencies. 'Conflate' was one such word, 'narcissism' is another. And of course, 'statist'. 'Conflate' is just a buzz word of course, but 'statist' is rather different. It ties in with a mental attitude which seems to be becoming increasingly common with home educators and is fuelled by six or seven of the main Internet lists.
As many are aware, as a result of writing a couple of newspaper articles on the subject of home education, I am more or less officially a pariah among other home educators! Nevertheless, many contact me by email and we then speak quite amicably on the telephone. Some of these are fairly well known figures who, in public, denounce me as a traitor and a fool. Talking to two such individuals in the last week or so, I was struck that both made casual mention of the New World Order and World Government. These references were so run-of -the-mill that it was plain that they assumed I would catch the allusion, which indeed I did. It was still pretty alarming to hear reasonable people talking of such things in a way which suggested that they bought into this idea. On reflection though, it is not at all strange; much of the home education scene, not only here but also in the USA, is permeated by the same unspoken assumptions which provide the foundation for the idea of the New World Order.
The New World order is a conspiracy theory which originated in far right American circles. The basic premise is that powerful and influential people have been working behind the scenes for decades or even centuries to establish a global government which will mean the end of individual countries. In the last few years, left wingers on both sides of the Atlantic have adopted a version of this idea. It ties in with globalisation, which many left wing types detest and also mass surveillance. For some in America, the United Nations is the embryonic World Government and all its works must be viewed with suspicion.
How does all this fit in with home education? In the USA, the Home School Legal Defense Association is a large home education group with members in Europe as well as America. They are at the forefront of the fight to prevent the USA from ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Of all the countries in the world, only America and Somalia have not signed up to this. For many right wingers in America, this is all a plot by the United Nations to take away traditional American rights such as freedom to raise their children as Christians, teach them at home and allow them access to firearms. It is the HSLDA which is fighting the Johansson case in Sweden and curiously enough the father in that case thinks that he has lost his child not because of home education but because of his involvement with Vaken, a weird website which exposes the New World Order.
New World Order conspiracy theorists have a few favourite bees in their bonnets. Interestingly enough, vaccination is one of these. In the Johansson case, the lack of vaccination for the child was mentioned again and again. Many home education activists in this country are convinced that vaccinations are designed not to make their children more healthy but are part of a heartless plot by the globalised big-pharma complex which will at best poison their children and at worst make them autistic. Concerns about mass surveillance are very common among British home educators. They see the annual entry into their homes of a local authority officer as not just another irritating manifestation of the Nanny State, but more a deeply sinister plot to deprive parents of their rights. Once again, this is a key concern of New World Order believers.
Talking to and reading what some of the more militant and active home educators in this country say, one is struck by the sub-text; the message which is not spelled out explicitly, but assumed to be common ground between them and their readers and listeners. If somebody working for the NSPCC says something mistaken about home education then this cannot be a simple error. It is because the NSPCC itself is corrupt and venal; they care not about children but are a self-serving bunch of people who are only after more money. Vaccination? A money making dodge by globalised companies. Local authorities are not genuinely concerned about vulnerable children, but are rather waging a war against home educators. In other words, the simple and obvious explanation for much of what goes on in the world is never enough for many home educating parents. Others may be hoodwinked, but they alone can see where all these things are leading!
Of course many ordinary home educating parents are not like this at all, but if they spend much time on the Internet, they are liable to become influenced by these ideas. If the link to some document on the Department for Children website is broken, most parents assume that it is just a technical malfunction. As soon as they go onto some blogs or Internet lists though, they will learn that this too is part of a government conspiracy to deprive people of their rights. The more that one looks at the concept of the New World Order, the more that a lot of what is being said by leading advocates of home education in both this country and the USA makes sense only from that perspective. Taking one aspect alone, it must have struck people how much talk there is on some Internet HE lists about vaccination? And has it ever occurred to anybody to wonder why an obscure concept like statism should have become a common term in home education circles? I shall be posting further on this whole topic in the next few days, as it is worth exploring in a little more detail.