Sacrificial Lambs

"Excuse me … pardon me … excuse me," mutters the lone black sheep as he wades through a huge flock of docile sheep heading in the opposite direction. That cartoon, drawn and published by a forgotten artist years ago, captures both the disposition and the plight of most parents who choose to homeschool. We take justified pride in our independence, our refusal to be carried with the conformist tide — and our determination to cultivate similar traits in our children.

Most of all, we are determined to protect our children from the omnivorous state.

Thus it was hugely disappointing to read that the Republican Party has successfully co-opted much of the homeschool movement ("Homeschoolers hit campaign trail," WorldNetDaily, September 14). Particularly galling was the smug comment offered by Republican campaign official Jim Terry: "By far, the best grass-roots workers in the nation are homeschoolers. They will give you 100 percent, 10 to 12 hours a day."

Mr. Terry runs an affiliate of the Republican Party called STOMP. This seems an appropriate name in light of everything the Bush administration is doing to erect the Total State — the kind that Orwell summarized in the image of a "boot stamping on a human face — forever."

It defies understanding that parents so proudly skeptical of the government school system could dutifully throw their support, money, and volunteer labor into an effort to re-elect a president whose foreign policy all but ensures a return to conscription. If the "global democratic revolution" Bush and his handlers pursue continues unabated, the homeschoolers stuffing envelopes for GOP financial appeals today will be filling bodybags tomorrow.

Bills intended to restore the draft are pending before both houses of Congress. HR 163, introduced by New York Congressman Charles Rangel in January 2003, decrees: "It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States [heads up, illegal aliens], who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act…." Those who object to military service on religious grounds would be required to serve in a civilian capacity "that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including … homeland security."

The Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind Act" includes a provision preparing for a new draft by requiring schools to collect contact information for every student on behalf of the Selective Service System. And it's a foregone conclusion that an administration determined to leave no child alone will devise some way to gather homeschoolers in its nets.

Once conscription is re-instated in the service of the Glorious Global Democratic Revolution, no deferments will be permitted. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who actually faced hostile fire in Vietnam, told Fox News on September 12 that while he doesn't foresee a return to the draft, he believes that all Americans should be "equally liable" should conscription be restored.

Appropriately, Powell's statement offers a very close paraphrase of the Communist Manifesto's plank describing the "equal liability of all to labor." Whether they are clad in BDUs and sent overseas to slaughter foreigners, or used as informants for the emerging surveillance state, or simply assigned to what Lenin called a "great army of free labor," the new conscripts would be the property of the almighty State, to dispose of as the State sees fit.

Isn't this precisely the sort of thing homeschool parents are trying to avoid? Why, then, are so many of them enlisting — along with their children — in an effort to re-elect a president who combines Wilson's megalomania, FDR's contempt for the Constitution, and Lincoln's deluded sense of sanctity — with his own proprietary brand of dull-witted arrogance?

Many Christian homeschoolers regard George W. Bush as an adjunct member of the Holy Trinity — or at least, as Gov. George Pataki put it, "one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge.” His chief accomplishments as president have been to abet an unprecedented orgy of deficit spending, kill tens of thousands of innocent people, and alienate hundreds of millions of people abroad. He knows nothing about freedom and cares about it even less. Before succeeding in the family business — politics — Bush displayed a skill set inadequate to any task more ambitious than managing a Taco Bell.

But because that little man is swaddled in the trappings of unprecedented political power, and has uttered a few public comments friendly to the Faith, millions of Christians — including homeschoolers — fall into a swoon, forget the Bible's repeated and explicit admonitions not to place their trust in man, and treat those who criticize him as heretics, infidels, or traitors.

Sane people always express horrified disbelief when confronted with the spectacle of parents who sacrifice their children. Old Testament descriptions of pagan parents feeding their children to Molech are indelibly horrifying. The mind recoils from the image of parents in Jim Jones' Marxist suicide cult force-feeding poisoned kool-aid to their children.

Then there are the American parents happy to allow their children to kill and die on behalf of the State.

Jesus commanded His disciples to "feed my sheep"; this didn't mean that they were to be fed into the maw of the war machine. Belonging to the Good Shepherd often means being the solitary black sheep struggling against the conformist flock. Most homeschool parents know this. Why, then, are they perversely determined to offer their children as sacrificial lambs on the altar of the total state?

September 17, 2004