From: Norm [Email him]
I see a few big ironies here: First, anchor babies and marrying for Green Cards are both common methods of, well, anchoring oneself in the U.S. And yet this family had both seemingly unintentionally, and yet it doesn’t seem to have helped them. Imagine that.
The other irony ... well, allow me a semi-personal anecdote: My brother collected a lot of old National Geographics, and at one point he got a bound volume of some issues from the mid-30s. Included were articles on Rome and Berlin. At least back then, National Geographic was studiously non-judgmental in, well, everything, and so the articles have tones of ”Look at how Mussolini has changed Rome for the better!” (they actually interview Mussolini) [Imperial Rome Reborn, by John Patric, National Geographic, March 1937] and ”Look at all the amazing things Hitler is doing in Berlin!”
One image from the latter has stuck with me: It shows a bunch of German Boy Scouts taking one last hike through the city before they were disbanded, the Hitler Youth being the only acceptable youth movement from that point.
[From Changing Berlin, by Douglas Chandler, National Geographic Magazine, February 1937]
That, to me, defines ”totalitarian.” There was no need for Hitler to have seen the Scouts as a threat ... but they were outside the system, and so they had to go. Anything not inside the system is a threat. It’s why, say, the Chinese persecute the Falun Gong.
Here’s my point: There’s a clear implication here that Germany doesn’t allow homeschooling so as, as you said, to ensure that the young ’uns don’t get some evil Nazi ideas at home.
But the irony is, Nazi Germany was totalitarian! They controlled education too! Any kids who turned out Nazis did not do so because they were homeschooled! And yet that totalitarian society (we are, of course, supposed to forget that it was totalitarian and only think that it was racist or warmongering or whatever) is used as an excuse for more totalitarianism. ”You don’t want Hitler to come back, do you? Well, give us complete control over your kids to ensure that.” There’s something else called Hitler’s Revenge—something immigration-related, I think—but this is a pretty good example too.
Unless, and if I wanted to be cynical, that’s part of the whole plan—anything goes bad, use it as an excuse for more of the same.
See earlier letters from the same reader.