Communism For Kids
IT TAKES A VILLAGE: AND OTHER LESSONS CHILDREN TEACH US
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Simon & Schuster, 1996, 319 pgs.
Hillary Clinton is, to say the least, a controversial person;
but a reader who had never heard of her before taking up this
volume might never suspect it. She appears here in the tones of
sweet reason, doling out, in roughly equal doses, banal advice
about children and stories, meant to be charming, about her
To read her remarks while knowing something of the background
of the First Couple is a strange experience. She tells us, with
becoming modesty, "I have spent much of the past twenty-five
years working to improve the lives of children" (p. 7). No
doubt she invested in cattle futures in the hope that a windfall
would enable her to help many more children than before. When she
says, "My strong feelings about divorce and its effects on
children have caused me to bite my tongue more than a few times
during my own marriage and I think instead about what I could do
to be a better wife and partner," one cannot but wonder what
she had to stop herself from saying. I suspect that Gennifer
Flowers and other women of easy virtue frequently drove her to
mutter, but it would have been good to hear the stories straight
from the horses mouth.
Hillary, though, is not really someone to be dismissed with
laughter. She wields immense power; and, as this book makes
clear, she has a chilling agenda in store for our children.
However hard she tries, she cannot disguise her totalitarian
The key to Hillarys thought, such as it is, appears in the
chapter "The Bell Curve Is a Curve Ball." The
fundamental failing of parents, we learn, is to believe that
children are born good or bad. "One father who brought in
his badly injured three-year-old [to the emergency room] claimed
that he had beaten the boy to 'get the devil out of him. Behind
his horrifying actions lurked the belief that babies are born
either good or bad. If their fundamental nature is 'bad, as
evidenced by behavior like persistent crying, this crazy logic
goes, they must be punished, beaten if necessary" (p. 53).
The First Matrons construal of the story is difficult to
fathom. If the father had thought the boy so fixed in badness
that he could not be changed, why would he have done anything to
him at all? The story can just as well be taken instead to show
that it is dangerous to believe that childrens behavior can be
influenced by their parents: look what horror ensued when a man
tried to give effect to his environmentalist creed.
But of course Hillary is not here engaging in rational
argument. She wishes rather to implant a picture in the readers
mind. Parents, left to themselves, are dangerous to children;
they must be suitably guided by experts. "Recent discussions
in neuroscience, molecular biology, and psychology have given
researchers a whole new understanding of when and how the human
brain develops. Their findings are a crucial kind of coaching
that can show parents and other caregivers how to elicit a childs
full potential" (p. 52).
As the First Lady sees matters, human beings in their first
few years are indefinitely malleable. Through proper cultivation
techniques, their "potential" can be fully developed,
of course under the direction of the state. "If we as a
village decide not to help families develop their childrens
brains. . . . let us acknowledge that we are not using all the
tools at our disposal to better the lives of our children"
So anxious is she to induce belief in her dogma of mental
plasticity that she does not hesitate to distort the research of
those who arrive at other views. "It has become fashionable
in some quarters to assert that intelligence is fixed at birth,
part of our genetic makeup that is invulnerable to change, a
claim promoted by Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein
in their 1994 book, The Bell Curve. . . . But
research provides us with plenty of evidence that this
perspective is not only unscientific but insidious" (p. 59).
Of course, these authors do not make the blatantly false claim
that intelligence is invulnerable to change. But research
provides us with plenty of evidence that Hillary is an
Ideally, in her view children in their first three years will
have the benefit of expert direction, so their brains can be
grown in hothouse fashion. But what happens once children reach
the age of three? Their brains have now, one presumes, received
the full benefits of efficient cultivation. May these brains, and
the bodies that encase them, now be returned to their parents?
I fear that Hillary has rather more in mind for her young
charges: "Imagine a country in which nearly all children
between the ages of three and five attend preschool. . . .
Imagine a country that conceives of child care as a program to
'welcome children into the larger community and 'awaken their
potential for learning and growing" (p. 220). Large schools,
with "sparkling classrooms" are of course the order of
the day. She warns against family day care: standards cannot be
readily supervised, and care not under the supervision of Big
Sister may be unscientific.
But we have hitherto underestimated the scope of Hillarys
plans for us. So far, the child from birth to age five has been
brought into line. But a space for freedom has been overlooked.
Women have been left to bear children as they wish. Such
foolishness cannot be allowed. Experts to their battle stations!
Hillary, ever alert to the menace of spontaneity, does not
disappoint us. The state must follow an active policy of family
planning: "It is tragic that our country does not do more to
promote research into family planning and wider access to
contraceptive methods because of the highly charged politics of
abortion" (pp. 72-73). That some might think this an
improper area for state meddling does not trouble Hillary. Roman
Catholics and others who have questions of conscience about
contraception are unworthy of mention: science, in the person of
its avatar, has spoken.
A minor obstacle, called parents, threatens to block Hillarys
road to Shangri-La. She knows how to deal with this enemy:
"We could be willing to terminate parental rights more
quickly whenever physical or sexual abuse [of course as defined
by her and her minions] is involved. . . . We could make
decisions by birth parents to give up children for adoption more
difficult to overturn" (p. 49).
The use of claims of abuse to place children in the hands of
experts is dear to the heart of our author. "If the police
decide to proceed with charges against any adult in a childs
home, even as an accessory to a crime, child protective
workers should assist in deciding whether the child should stay
in the home or be moved to safer ground. And social workers and
courts should make decisions about terminating parental rights of
abusive parents more quickly" (pp. 173-74; emphasis added).
No one of course thinks children should be abused; but Hillarys
avidity to seize children from their natural parents makes ones
blood run cold.
At times, Hillary poses as the champion of family values, but
her crude charade will fool no one. Thus, she deplores the
frequency of divorce, rightly noting that children often suffer
when a family breaks up. But what has she to offer in solution?
"Some courts now require that divorcing parents attend
classes and learn about the potential effects of divorce on their
children. They are given training" (p. 45). Once more the
states experts must instruct the canaille in the habits their
betters think suitable for them.
If you do not have children, you should not feel left out;
Hillary has plans for you, too. Her schemes to bring children
under state tutelage require that much of the economy be
regulated as well. Businesses ought to offer paid leave
to new fathers (as well as maternity leave, of course) so that
both parents can receive adequate training for their new jobs as
Child Managers, Grade I.
Whether employees wish to receive part of their wages in the
form of these benefits of course does not matter to her. She
deplores the reluctance of insurance companies to sell policies
to families with children who suffer from diseases such as cystic
fibrosis. The fact that these companies are profit-making
enterprises, not associations for universal benevolence, matters
not a whit. They too have their appointed place in the New Order.
I hope, but do not much expect, that Hillary Clinton will
interrupt her immense labors for the welfare of children to
answer this: "who made you a ruler and judge over us?"