Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Keith A Fournier

4/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

So how should we respond? We should reject her straw man argument entirely. It is not a matter of individualist vs. collectivist thinking at all.

The real key to understanding Ms Harris-Perry is her use of the word "collectively." She argues that children belong collectively to the State. Thus, she is a collectivist. Since her views are of the leftist variety, she is being accused by some of her interlocutors being a socialist. However, collectivism, whether of the right or the left, must be completely rejected. It is a grave threat to authentic human freedom.

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

Highlights

By Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Melissa Harris-Perry, Collectivism, Parents, Presidential Election of 2016, Rick Santorum, Hilary Clinton, Keith Fournier, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Since the furor over Melissa Harris-Perry's comments has not died down, I have decided to weigh in. For my readers who may not yet know what the comments were, here is a transcript of a commercial she did for the MSNBC network:

"We have never invested as much in public education as we should have. We haven't had a very collective notion of, these are our children. We have to break through our private idea that children belong to their parents, or children belong to their families, and recognize that children belong to whole communities. Once it's everybody's responsibility and not just the household's, we start making better investments."

Media pundits have been busily dissecting Ms Harris-Perry's words in this controversial commercial. She has partially succeeded in what she probably intended, bringing notoriety to herself in order to continue her efforts to remake the social vision of this Nation.

Some defending her views have tried to dismiss the outrage they elicited among those who object to collectivism as simply 'right wing' or 'conservative'. They use both as terms of derision in order to dismiss the argument without engaging in any intelligent debate.

Some thoughtful analysts pointed out that her basic premise in the first sentence is false, that we have not spent enough on public education. The truth is we spend much more than most Nations and we have reaped very poor results. 

I also take exception to the straw man argument in her second sentence. Her effort is clear, to denigrate the role of parents and the value of the family. Respecting the primacy of parents and the family is not a private notion at all. It is profoundly public and has great implications for how we structure our society.

Her language is loaded. She intentionally makes it sound as though the idea of the primacy of parents is an outdated concept which makes children property. That is nonsense. Worse, it is propaganda of the rankest kind.

She simply wants to demean those who believe that children are given to parents and that the family is the first cell of society because she has a very different idea of how we should structure the social order. 

The real key to understanding Ms Harris-Perry is her use of the word "collectively." She argues that children belong collectively to the State. Thus, she is a collectivist. Since her views are of the leftist variety, she is being accused by some of her interlocutors being a socialist. However, collectivism, whether of the right or the left, must be completely rejected. It is a grave threat to authentic human freedom.

So how should we respond? We should reject her straw man argument entirely. It is not a matter of individualist vs. collectivist thinking at all. We affirm the proper understanding of our obligation in solidarity but insist upon its proper application through the principle of subsidiarity.

Solidarity acknowledges that we are our brother and sister's keeper. We are responsible for one another. This is true. In fact, we are not fully human unless we are in relationship with one another. Freedom and human flourishing are not found in a notion of the isolated individual as the ground of human freedom.

We were made to give ourselves in love and service to the other; to form societies and communities of interest. We build societies to further humanize us, enable us to live in peace together and promote human flourishing. The role of mediating associations is to assist in governing and play their proper role between the family and governing structures beyond it. 

Children are given to parents and extend the family circle. All other government must defer to this first cell of social government and move out - or up - from there, never usurping the primacy of the family. The family is the first government, the first school, first economy, first hospital, first church and the first mediating institution. The proper role of any Government is to support the first government in the home and empower parents and the family.

We need a family friendly public policy which promotes fidelity and encourages motherhood, fatherhood and intact families. We do not need collectivism. The argument which this comment by Melissa Harris-Perry's endorsement of collectivism engendered reminded me of a book I read and reviewed years ago, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good . It was authored by a friend, Rick Santorum. He was contending with an argument much like the one made by Ms Harris-Perry by Hilary Clinton in a book she wrote entitled It Takes a Village. 

As the 2016 Presidential election approaches, the issues raised by both books should help to define and frame the debate. Melissa Harris-Perry may have actually helped to pave the way for  a discussion we desperately need to have as a Nation.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Mexican drug cartels fueling U.S. heroin epidemic Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The insidious Mexican drug cartels are having a massively detrimental effect on U.S. communities. The cartels have flooded the cities and suburbs with far more potent, less expensive heroin, sending overdose deaths skyrocketing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


African-American churches frequently targeted by arsonists Watch

Image of African American churches are targeted by arsons more than any other houses of worship. The ATF's results have been reported to a national database of church fires.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There have been 29 cases of churches being torched by arsonists in the United States this year alone. Frequently, African-American churches are set alight by arsonists because of racism, religious intolerance, or vandalism. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Anytime ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood threatened to be exposed with EIGHT MORE undercover videos Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The series of unfortunate events will keep on rolling for Planned Parenthood as the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), David Daleiden, shared with conservative radio host Sean Hannity that there are eight more undercover videos that will reveal Planned ... continue reading


Remains of four early leaders of America uncovered in Jamestown with Catholic artifacts Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the floor of a Jamestown church, four body remains of the earliest English colonial leaders in America were unearthed. One was identified as Captain John Smith's rival, who researchers speculate to be part of a secret Catholic cell because of some artifacts ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood caught in FOURTH VIDEO showing the horrific practices of selling aborted baby organs

Image of Dr. Savita Ginde, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, standing in the harvesting lab.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another new Planned Parenthood expose video has been released, making this the second video this week and the fourth revealing hidden camera video in total. The Center for Medical Progress claims to have hours upon hours of footage exposing Planned Parenthood of ... continue reading


AMC movie theaters issue warning to moviegoers urging them to stay vigilant during visit Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A unusual video message is being played at AMC Theaters in Central Florida, urging the audience to keep their eyes open to any bad agendas and malicious or suspicious actions within the establishment. The short film came to be after violent incidents inside movie ... continue reading


A massive 30,000 more immigrants expected to arrive to U.S. before year's end Watch

Image of Illegal immigrants continues to cross the U.S. border.q

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of illegal immigrant children and teens in the United States continues to increase. The United Nations and other humanitarian groups predict that a total of 30,000 more are expected to reach the U.S. before the year ends. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


The youngest convicted murders released from jail after 15 years Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At just 12 and 13-years-old, two siblings confessed to killing their father's girlfriend and both were charged with first-degree murder as adults, despite evidence they were sexually abused by a family member. Yesterday, the two first faced the world they once knew. ... continue reading


Satanic statue secretly unveiled in Detroit, drawing Christian protest Watch

Image of Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend. This has spurred on heavy protest from the city's Christian community. Hundreds gathered at Detroit's ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis be warmly welcomed in the United States? Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be in the United States in September.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will visit the United States for the first time ever in his lifetime during September. However, amid the excitement, the American populace may have lost some warmth towards the pontiff, who they once believed revived the Catholic Church in the country. ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Leviticus 25:1, 8-17
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2015 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter