The New World Order is a conspiracy theory which holds that a world government is emerging which is for the time being operating in secret. For some, this means a group such as the Illuminati, for others the United Nations is the villain of the piece. The New World order has been a popular idea with some home educators in the USA for years. They are fighting hard to prevent America ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child becausethey fear that this removes parental rights and makes the state the child’s first parent. It is all part of a sinister plot by the UN to take away their parental rights. Sound familiar to anybody?
I have watched over the last few years as some of the concepts in the New World Order nonsense find their way into the British home education scene. There is a sub-division of N W O theories which concerns mass surveillance. One observes that opposition to ID cards and ContactPoint was very strong on the home education lists and forums and that opting out of the SCR, which I mentioned yesterday, is also being advocated by some. An essential part of belief in the New World Order is that everything is linked together and few things happen for obvious reasons. New law proposed which would introduce monitoring of home education? Well for most of us this was a, possibly, misguided attempt on the part of some politicians to protect children. You blind fools! It is the tentacles of the world government trying to replace you as parents and substitute the state! Government encourages vaccinations? Ha, it’s another trick of the military-industrial complex, who are working hand in glove with Big Pharma. Summary Care Records? Another manifestation of mass surveillance; ContactPoint under another name. Obscure document vanishes from the DfE site for a few days? Ha, they're trying to conceal something. In this world, nothing ever happens by accident or chance. even computer and IT glitches become part of a plot to deprive them of their 'rights'.
Now of course not all home educators think this way. In fact I am guessing that they are a tiny minority. The problem is that quite a few of the more influential ones do subscribe to these ideas. I am talking here about the prolific posters on forums and the owners of lists. Some of these people represent themselves as speaking on behalf of home educators in general and are often listened to seriously by those outside the home educating community. I am not going to name names here, but I can assure readers that I have had conversations with a number of well known people on the home education scene and been surprised and dismayed at how often some part of the New World Order mythology seems to crop up. One or two explicitly subscribe to the ideas, the rest half believe a lot of the theory.
All this sounds quite funny and pretty harmless, but it is not. For one thing, the terminology of the New Word Order conspiracy theorists has a way of filtering down until everybody uses it. The concept of parental ’rights’ for instance; as in the ’right’ to home educate. This derives from the whole American idea of ’rights’ being usurped by the federal government or UN. The difficulty is that once people have this way of looking at things, then they will see others with the same paranoid worldview as being friends and allies in the struggle against the UN/statist governments/the Illuminati and so on. This can make for some very odd bedfellows, which is why some pretty dubious characters end up being welcomed by home educators.