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German Homeschoolers Lose

Terrible news from Europe: [1]

Today, the European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment in the case of Wunderlich v. Germany. The ruling stated that the German authorities’ actions were not in violation of the Wunderlich family’s fundamental rights.

“We are extremely disappointed with this ruling of the Court. It disregards the rights of parents all over Europe to raise their children without disproportionate interference from the state. Petra and Dirk Wunderlich simply wanted to educate their children in line with their convictions and decided their home environment would be the best place for this. Children deserve this loving care from their parents. We are now advising the Wunderlichs of their options, including taking the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel for the Wunderlich family.

In August 2013, more than 30 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family. The authorities brutally removed the children from their parents and their home, leaving the family traumatized. The children were ultimately returned to their parents but their legal status remained unclear as Germany is one of the few European countries that penalizes families who want to homeschool.

Here is a link to the Deutsche Welle report on the ruling. [2] Homeschooling has been banned in Germany since 1919.

Here is a link to the actual text of the ruling (in English). [3] It says, in part (emphases mine):

49. It also notes that the German courts justified the partial withdrawal of parental authority by citing the risk of danger to the children. The courts assessed the risk on the persistent refusal of the applicants to send their children to school, where the children would not only acquire knowledge but also learn social skills, such as tolerance or assertiveness, and have contact with persons other than their family, in particular children of their own age. The Court of Appeal further held that the applicants’ children were being kept in a “symbiotic” family system.

50. The Court further reiterates that it has already examined cases regarding the German system of imposing compulsory school attendance while excluding home education. It has found it established that the State, in introducing such a system, had aimed at ensuring the integration of children into society with a view to avoiding the emergence of parallel societies, considerations that were in line with the Court’s own case-law on the importance of pluralism for democracy and which fell within the Contracting States’ margin of appreciation in setting up and interpreting rules for their education systems (see Konrad and Others; Dojan and Others; and Leuffen; all cited above).


51. The Court finds that the enforcement of compulsory school attendance, to prevent social isolation of the applicants’ children and ensure their integration into society, was a relevant reason for justifying the partial withdrawal of parental authority. It further finds that the domestic authorities reasonably assumed – based on the information available to them – that children were endangered by the applicants by not sending them to school and keeping them in a “symbiotic” family system.

There you have it. Terrible. Learning “tolerance” is so important in Germany that the state can override the rights of families.

I see on Twitter that someone is taking this ruling as proof that I’m wrong about The Benedict Option [4] — this, along the lines of, “See, the State will not let Christians do the Benedict Option.” This is exactly wrong, as people who have actually read the book will know. This false binary thinking keeps people from understanding the meaning of the book.

Let me put it to you like this: what do German Christian families who cannot homeschool do now that (what seems like) the final door has been closed to them? They have no choice but to submit. So, what now? How do they work to form their children as faithful Christians in spite of this? This is why they need the Benedict Option, developed by German Christians for the German situation. 

Of course they should also work politically to change the law. But in the meantime, what do they do? In my book, I write about the Czech anti-communist dissident Vaclav Benda, and his Catholic family. Under communism, they had no choice but to send their children to state schools. And yet, all of their children, now adults, held on to their Catholic faith, despite the overwhelming hostility of the society in which they were embedded — including the hostility of the schools to which they were forced to submit.

Benda’s big idea was the necessity to build a “parallel polis” to the official culture. This is precisely what the German state today wants to prohibit. Certainly the Czech communist government wanted the same thing. So what! People have to try to do the best they can under the circumstances. Here’s a relevant excerpt from The Benedict Option [4]:

From this perspective, the parallel polis is not about building a gated community for Christians but rather about establishing (or reestablishing) common practices and common institutions that can reverse the isolation and fragmentation of contemporary society. (In this we hear Brother Ignatius of Norcia’s call to have “borders”— formal lines behind which we live to nurture our faith and culture—but to “push outwards, infinitely.”) Benda wrote that the parallel polis’s ultimate political goals are “to return to truth and justice, to a meaningful order of values, [and] to value once more the inalienability of human dignity and the necessity for a sense of human community in mutual love and responsibility.”

In other words, dissident Christians should see their Benedict Option projects as building a better future not only for themselves but for everyone around them. That’s a grand vision, but Benda knew that most people weren’t interested in standing up for abstract causes that appealed only to intellectuals. He advocated practical actions that ordinary Czechs could do in their daily lives.

“If you didn’t like how university education was going, help students find an underground seminar taught by one of these brilliant professors kicked out of university by the government,” [Prof. Flagg] Taylor says, explaining Benda’s principles. “Print good novels by samizdat and get them into the hands of the people, and let them see what they’re missing. Support theological education in one of the underground seminaries. When people see [that] resistance is connected to something that’s really meaningful to them, and that is possible only if there are a certain number people committed to preserving it in the face of the state’s opposition, they will act.”

Whether you call it “antipolitical politics” or a “parallel polis,” what might the Czech dissidents’ vision look like in our circumstances? Havel gives a number of examples. Think of teachers who make sure kids learn things they won’t get at government schools. Think of writers who write what they really believe and find ways to get it to the public, no matter what the cost. Think of priests and pastors who find a way to live out religious life despite condemnation and legal obstacles, and artists who don’t give a rip for official opinion. Think of young people who decide not to care about success in society’s eyes and who drop out to pursue a life of integrity, no matter what it costs them. These people who refuse to assimilate and instead build their own structures are living the Benedict Option.

If we hope for our faith to change the world one day, we have to start locally. Benedict Option communities should be small, because “beyond a certain point, human ties like personal trust and personal responsibility cannot work.” And they should “naturally rise from below,” which is to say, they should be organic and not handed down by central planners. These communities start with the individual heart and spread from there to the family, the church community, the neighborhood, and onward.

I should say that Benda wrote later in life that the failure of people interested in the “parallel polis” to establish a workable educational alternative was one of his greatest regrets.

Despite this law, and this ruling, German Christians have more freedom than Czech Christians did under communism. If they want to educate their children in a supplemental way, in addition to what they get in state schools (even contrary to it!), the secret police will not be monitoring them. Sure it’s going to be hard, but what choice do they have? And heaven knows American Christians are incomparably more free to act — for now, at least. These liberties must be defended, politically and legally. This is why it’s important for Christians to join and support the Home School Legal Defense Association [5], and to donate to organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom [6], which fight for these kinds of liberties.

But the day may come when we lose these liberties. America is rapidly de-Christianizing. What happens if American Christians find themselves in the same place as German Christians today, regarding their childrens’ education? What happens when there is no political hope left — there is no popular clamor in Germany to repeal the anti-homeschooling law — and we have exhausted all legal recourse? You’d be a fool to think it couldn’t happen here.

Now is the time to start building the networks of the parallel polis. Besides, many people who might like to homeschool can’t do it, for economic or other reasons. What can the churches do for them? They need the parallel polis too. They need the Benedict Option also.

Seriously, reader: think about what you would do if you were a German parent who had no choice but to send your children to state schools, where you knew that their faith, as well as moral truth, would be denied or at least undermined by the lessons and the ethos there? You would, I hope, understand that the formation of your children’s hearts and minds required you to be deeply countercultural, and to do so in community. That’s when you need to meet others interested in the Benedict Option, and work together — quietly, if necessary — to undermine the indoctrination.

I hope German Christian readers of this blog will share their perspective.

83 Comments (Open | Close)

83 Comments To "German Homeschoolers Lose"

#1 Comment By cermak_rd On January 12, 2019 @ 9:15 pm

It has been this way since 1919. That would be when WWI was over. I do know that at that time Germany got a lot of Turkish immigrants–to the point where if you study German in America with a standard text you will talk about what not only Ursula but also Akmed is doing. (They are often for whatever reason the proper nouns used) Whether that is due to the fall of the Ottoman Empire or to the fact that the Germans worked closely with the modern Turkish state that arose after that fall I don’t know.

But I could guess that given these immigrants, Germany might not have wanted these immigrants creating a parallel society in their midst. By making them go to a public school or a duly accredited private school, assimilation could be served much better.

To be honest, this makes sense to me. While I support homeschooling in the US because it makes sense given our polity and the amazing amount of autonomy Americans allow; it does not make as much sense in other nations with different polity and autonomy allowances.

#2 Comment By Douglas On January 13, 2019 @ 1:22 am

Seriously, we need to decriminalize school truancy. Mandatory, free, public education is one of the planks in the Communist Manifesto.

Consider this article [7] where the suggestion is made that quicker expulsions would be one way to improve schools, especially schools with many disruptive students. But if the students don’t want to be there, and are acting out by being disruptive, wouldn’t it be better to just excuse them in the first place?

Public school teachers have unions which strongly support easy access to birth control, abortion, same-sex attractions in dress, behavior, and marriage, and a long list of leftist causes. I remember junior high teachers in the early 70’s tell us homosexuality was accepted and common among the Ancient Greeks, which is a huge distortion of that activity then.

Parents put their children at great risk in public schools. I have taught at two different Catholic schools, and I’m sure Catholic schools get a free pass on being wholesome.

#3 Comment By Chris On January 13, 2019 @ 9:52 am

“with a view to avoiding the emergence of parallel societies,”
But their immigration policy is doing that in spades and far more successfully than homeschooling ever could.

#4 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On January 13, 2019 @ 10:57 am

The offense that some Europeans take from Rod ans other fellow commenters take because of the supposed American incompetence about European things is ludicrous. We are here to have a conversation and everyone must be welcome to contribute. I myself, an Italian, commment about US matters here and sometimes my points are rejected and counter-argued, often with good reason, but nobody ever dreamed of telling me it’s not my business to comment here. And this is a great praise to the civility of this combox panel and of our Gracious Host.
On the other hand, I take no offense whatsoever from the comments about Italy and Europe I read here. Some of them are uninformed, but this is not an issue at all. On the other hand, many are useful, learned and informative. And they add another perspective, which is always useful and intellectually stimulating.
Sincerely, I am a bit surprised by this intellectual provincialism on the part of some of my fellow Europeans.

#5 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On January 13, 2019 @ 11:05 am

By the way, the loathsome Jugendamt is a remnant of Nazi mentality.

#6 Comment By mike On January 13, 2019 @ 11:41 am

The German constitution was explicitly Christian, and encouraged local identity to thrive – through attachment to church and congregation, to local traditions and customs, and to local dialects (which are still pretty strong).
The post-war constitution aimed to prevent a homogenisation of the German people into a mass of government-directed drones.
The present threat of mass immigration is not that it will lead to “parallel societies” that endanger German national identity.
It is the opposite: mass immigration causes the disruption, dislocation and destruction of close-knit, deep-rooted, rich and highly developed local communities and cultures.
In all Western countries, we see the State power relentlessly and intensively applying every tactic and resource available to break down influences and “elements” which limit or interfere with State-domination of society. The State attacks every source of authority and identity outside of itself – especially targeting the ethnic groups who do not view themselves as clients of the State. Statists infiltrate and subvert the Churches so that God will no longer be a rival to the State’s authority. They wage war against marriage, fatherhood, family – as these are the conduit through which culture and identity are passed down through the generations.
[Nowhere has this programme been more successful than in America (which was most vulnerable to start with, since it was a settler society with relatively few deep-rooted communities and local cultures).
Fifty years ago, about 85% of Americans were ethnic European. Now, ethnic Europeans are a minority below age ten. Such a demographic earthquake is unprecedented in history – even in the case of wars and plagues.]

#7 Comment By Old West On January 13, 2019 @ 12:19 pm

Fran Macadam writes:

“The German elites, as everywhere, can send their own children to private academies, and always do. Those like us of more limited resources can only afford homeschooling as an alternative.”

This is exactly right. For many American parents, homeschooling is the closest that they can get their kids to what elite educational institutions give (or used to give).

My experience with homeschooled kids is extremely positive–they pool resources in coops so kids get taught math by a parent who is great in math, they hired adjuncts to teach high school classes they didn’t have expertise in (and those teachers often enjoyed the pay and work conditions and student quality more than they did the horrible way they are treated by modern US universities), older kids took community college classes that they were usually more prepared for at age 16 than the local high school grads were.

They were allowed to participate in public school sports and orchestras and choirs, and they were welcomed because they always showed up on time, worked hard, and caused no discipline problems. The universities in that state actively recruited homeschooled kids because they tended to perform well and graduated.

And all of this for a tiny fraction of what a bricks and mortar private school would cost, if it could be done at all.

Many of the kids didnt stay in the church at least initially, but that’s life in the 21st century and isnt a knock on homeschooling.

There are nightmare homeschool situations to be sure, where weird stuff is taught and kids aren’t allowed to get out in the world. But I’ve not seen it personally.

#8 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 13, 2019 @ 12:59 pm

The following has considerable truth, but a big part is also that socialist secular atheism as a state and imperial system imploded spectacularly. That has a way of not only discrediting that system, but making its opponent more credible.

“Yet, these places nowadays are far more staunchly Christian than is Western Europe. That is because families went to their Faith to weather their circumstance and to make some sense of it. It became real for them, not the Sunday ‘personal’ thing we Westerners seem to want. Faith was their refuge and a means of quiet endurance of the suffering imposed upon them by Socialism. We should all learn from that.”

#9 Comment By Annie [a different one] On January 13, 2019 @ 1:42 pm

I don’t think this is obvious to American readers, but the German school system is qualitatively much better than most American schools and is very much tailored to preparing kids for finding a productive place in society. You can make the case that the prohibition on homeschooling is mildly totalitarian, but it’s a major disservice to kids to keep them isolated from the educational system because it truly does have major downstream consequences for their professional lives. And as far as the hot button culture war issues go, Germany hasn’t reached American levels of insanity and indoctrination yet. Nary a word about gender theory at the (admittedly rural, Catholic) school I teach at…

#10 Comment By Micah On January 13, 2019 @ 1:51 pm

‘considerations that were in line with the Court’s own case-law on the importance of pluralism for democracy’

Truly Orwellian in logic and implication. We must enforce pluralism by stamping out divergent thought.

#11 Comment By William Murphy On January 13, 2019 @ 1:56 pm

I understand that the 1938 Nazi era law against home schooling is still in force. So some German homeschoolers have moved to the UK and other countries.


Of course you cannot prevent home instruction. On the train to Freiburg in 2013 I could hear a little girl counting “21, 22, 23…” in English under her mother’s guidance. Obviously, all children should be treated equally. And your own children should be treated most equally of all.

#12 Comment By BF On January 13, 2019 @ 2:02 pm

Turks have been in Germany for quite a long time. When I lived and worked in Berlin in 1965 (this would be West Berlin) I lived in a Turkish district, and when I went back to visit the same neighborhood two years ago it was little changed in that regard. As to the state of thier assimilation American style I cannot say.

I do notice that the “characteristic” Berlinish dish has ceased to be Berliner Weisse (a light lager with raspberry juice in it (yes I know it’s icky)) and has become Curry Wurst (hot dogs with curry sauce poured over them. I take this to be a Turkish influence.

Germany’s situation is quite different from ours, to the extent that any opinions we offer should be very very tentative. It is overwhelmingly likely that we don’t understand what we are talking about. Viewing the German situation through the lense of the American culture wars is almost certain to lead us astray.

#13 Comment By Schlotti On January 13, 2019 @ 2:16 pm

Reading some of the comments is a little bit hard. Especially when this court ruling is seen as a sign of totalitarian thinking in german society.

For me as a german evangelical christian there are many things in the american culture that I don´t understand. Things that even seem strange to me. But I wouldn´t dare to pass a judgement about theses things. Why? Because I am a german. I don´t live in the US. I wasn´t raised in the US. I don´t know enough about historical developments that shaped the US society. I am encultured in germany as you are in the US.

So I would like to see a little cultural sensitivity.

Just to be clear: I´m not a cultural relativist. There is divine law which transcendences every culture. But in my opinion homeschooling is not a divine law. It is also not a human rights issue.

A last word. All of that doesn´t mean that I see no real problems in our educational system. The “Lehrpläne”, hm probably curricula are becoming more and more agressive in propagating left thinking like gender mainstreaming or sexual diversity even at a very young age. This is and will become for german parents a very huge challenge.

#14 Comment By Vogellaender On January 13, 2019 @ 3:16 pm

There is a deep chasm between the American and the German understanding of the individual’s relation to the state. It is probably safe to say, that the U.S. is the outlier in this regard, and other countries are more similar to Germany than the U.S.

Concerning homeschooling, there is really no
reason to refer to Nazism. The prohibition of
homeschooling was probably a rule put in place by the social democrats and probably primarily aimed at the former nobility. If you think the American way has proven to be the better one, consider that the U.S. has never lost a major war.

There are other small things to consider. Schooling has traditionally been confined to the time before noon. There is no compulsion
before the sixth year, and there is indeed a conservative line that repudiates the separation of the child from its mother before this age, and many people consider learning under a certain age a bad thing. German teachers are quite independent and “tenured” and it is very difficult to compel them to reiterate a specific political line.

I really do not understand onto what the special privilege of the parents is founded that allows them to exclude anything they want to from the minds of their children.

The crisis of Christianity in Germany has nothing to do with this. It is a crisis of belief, helped by the fact that the churches in Germany have become state financed welfare institutions. There are no sincere and refined Christian institutions in Germany.

Every German who reads Mr.Dreher’s Blog will despise large parts of the German religious establishment. A good example of the state of mind of many Lutheran pastors is a story which I have heard from several people, non-believers mostly: They like to complain that the pastors do not talk about God anymore, as they, even as non-believers, expect them to do.

#15 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 13, 2019 @ 5:32 pm

As a German, who would like to be a Christian believer, and who is sympathetic to your cause,
I feel compelled to disagree with you.

Look, I am not willing to concede to the parents all rights to form and educate their children; the community, that is the state, has rights too.

(Now I will polemicize:)

We do not live in a (primitive) patriarchal society in which the father can regard its family as property. It is matter of prudence that we cannot allow a single instance to determine the
life of young children. I regard the decision to insulate one’s children from the society in general as an indication of ideological and intellectual deficiency.


I agree with you, and I think the court made the right decision here. For several reasons: because children aren’t the exclusive property of their parents, because the state has a legitimate and large role in children’s welfare and education, and finally because I’m almost always going to side with deferring to national laws rather than imposing international standards.

As a final note, I think that the failure of European civil rights jurisprudence is most pronounced in right now in Denmark, where Muslim ‘ghetto children’ (the literal term used in the relevant law) are getting mandatory cultural propaganda regardless of parental wishes,

I really could care less about the wishes of the parents in such cases. Mass migration of Muslims to Denmark was a bad idea in the first place, and now that they’re there, I definitely want them to feel strong pressure to acculturate to Danish norms. If they don’t like that, they’re welcome to leave. (I suspect punitive laws like this are ment to encourage ethnic minorities to self deport, anyway).

This isn’t a “failure” of Danish law, it’s an example of how the Danes are smart enough to realize that liberalism shouldn’t be a suicide pact.

#16 Comment By JamesP On January 13, 2019 @ 7:48 pm

Germany has a long history of storming houses and removing people who subscribe to a religion they don’t like. Would it have gone better if the family was Turkish?

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 13, 2019 @ 8:08 pm

It has been this way since 1919. That would be when WWI was over. I do know that at that time Germany got a lot of Turkish immigrants

Your chronology is way off. Large scale Turkish immigration began in the 1960s, when the resurgent post – WW II economy found itself short of labor for the grunt work most Germans found they no longer needed to do. The first trainloads of immigrants were met by local mayors with boquets of flowers, they were so needed and so welcome.

I can’t believe I’m in a position to say “thank you” to Commies.

You’re welcome. That’s roughly how the USA developed its strong constitutional protection — not commies, but a diverity of geographic, demographic, religious, etc, patterns, and even a significant diversity in dialect. Just had to live and let live, with a few painful adjustments where liberty in the old medieval sense was asserted, e.g., liberty to own chattel property in human beings. At the time the constitution was written, this was recognized as an evil that would fade away. But it didn’t.

If I may say, it is not a small thing to deprive a child from going to school, to say the least. Schools are very important for the developement of a child as a social being, is it not?

I have some sympathy with that perspective, but also with the perspective offered in a recent column by a father who was home schooled, and rightly recognized that home schooling would not be best for his own daughter… the individual needs of the individual child need some room.

It was rather rich to read German_reader’s comment…

Well, he was writing about his own country, not about someone else’s. And there is no evidence he works for der Spiegel.

Recall first that the “Christian” education German students receive comes from a tax (the Kirchensteuer) levied by the state to fund “church” activities to the tune of approximately 8.5 percent of your before-tax income

A bargain, compared to tithing. (Patrick Henry proposed such a tax. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison shot it down.)

Few things breed independence of thought better than learning that the teachers are wrong.

I’ll drink to that!

#18 Comment By Mark Tardiff On January 13, 2019 @ 9:03 pm

I don’t expect the secret police anytime soon in the U.S., but the recent case of the parents who lost custody of their daughter because they did not accept her being steered toward receiving drugs and surgery in order to transition does give me pause. From what I understand, in a number of places child services has a pretty free hand, without much possibility of recourse, to remove children from homes. What if teaching “homophobic values” or “transphobic values” comes to be judged as contrary to children’s welfare and so cause for removal from the home? I would like to think that this is an excessive worry, but the way things are going…

#19 Comment By Josep On January 14, 2019 @ 12:55 am

Last time I checked, Austria and Switzerland allow homeschooling and have German as the official language, which reduces the hassle of learning a completely new one in the case of the UK, US, Hungary, Italy, and Poland.

#20 Comment By Northern Observer On January 14, 2019 @ 8:03 am

I am actually coming around to the idea that the state has to let it go and have all groups that want to homeschool do so. Let the muslims segregate and educate their own. Let us see the reality that is staring us in the face, rather than pretend that we can manage and administer these differences into virtues. Let us see the horror so as better to shock out consciences out of their slumber. The alternative is to turn our polities into the late Roman Empire with its demands of violent coercion and the inevitability of failure and collapse.

#21 Comment By Andrew On January 14, 2019 @ 8:42 am


It’s not fair to Germans born after the war, but I think that for many when they hear the word “Germany” they subconsciously think of the Nazis and WW2. Add a story about state oppression and there is an instant connection in people’s minds. I don’t know if Germans feel this way, but I know for North Americans that connection is there (at least subconsciously). There are even jokes about German’s asking to “see your papers” in a faux German accident or responding with “jawohl” if someone is being bossy and dictatorial. Adopting a faux German accent in response to someone telling you what to do is cultural shorthand for dictatorship and oppression.

I know it’s not fair to the current generation of Germans who had nothing to do with the Nazis and vehemently disavow them. Nevertheless, the connection is there for many people (especially since most of us had family serve in the the military during WW2 to stop Nazi oppression) this perhaps explains the quick jump to judgement.

#22 Comment By Nestorian Christian On January 14, 2019 @ 9:14 am

I am frankly amazed at the benevolent intentions that not only European, but even American commenters on this thread ascribe to the state with regard to the development of children. These people should all read John Taylor Gatto’s “Underground History of Education,” which traces the rise of compulsory public schooling in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century, and documents the hidden ulterior motives of the elite individuals and institutions that brought this change about. Significantly, the American architects of public schooling used the 19th century Prussian approach as their model. It seems that little has changed.

All parents should be aware: These statist forces do NOT love your children, and do NOT genuinely care about their welfare and future. Suspicion and resistance are fully warranted at every turn.

Additionally, the earlier 19th century experience in New England and the Mid-Atlantic makes it clear that compulsory schooling is not necessary to achieve high literacy rates, as these regions had very high literacy rates (as well as quality of literacy) BEFORE compulsory public schooling, which was subsequently slowly lost due to the deleterious influence of public schooling.

#23 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 14, 2019 @ 10:12 am

Fifty years ago, about 85% of Americans were ethnic European. Now, ethnic Europeans are a minority below age ten. Such a demographic earthquake is unprecedented in history – even in the case of wars and plagues.]

We’ve had even bigger demographic earthquakes here in this continent- for that matter here in this country. Over 90% of the Native Americans died off and were replaced by Europeans.

I’m speaking here as someone who’s not a fan of mass migration or demographic replacement as a general rule. That said, you do realize that Europeans are not, well, native population of the United States, and massive population replacement is a sad reality of history that’s happened many times before.

#24 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 14, 2019 @ 10:18 am

Yet, these places nowadays are far more staunchly Christian than is Western Europe. That is because families went to their Faith to weather their circumstance and to make some sense of it. It became real for them, not the Sunday “personal” thing we Westerners seem to want. Faith was their refuge and a means of quiet endurance of the suffering imposed upon them by Socialism.

Some Eastern European peoples are quite religious today (particularly in Southeastern Europe), but Eastern Europe also includes some of the most secularized / least religious societies in the world (to wit, the former East Germany and the Czech Republic).

Even in Russia which has had a resurgence of Orthodox Christian belief, fewer Russians go to church than Americans, and fewer Russians than Amercans believe that premarital sex, abortion and extramaritial sex are immoral.

#25 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 14, 2019 @ 10:21 am

There is a deep chasm between the American and the German understanding of the individual’s relation to the state. It is probably safe to say, that the U.S. is the outlier in this regard, and other countries are more similar to Germany than the U.S.
……..I really do not understand onto what the special privilege of the parents is founded that allows them to exclude anything they want to from the minds of their children.

Agree entirely with this, and I’m much more on board with the Germans than the Americans here.

#26 Comment By JonF On January 14, 2019 @ 12:51 pm

Hi Hector,
A bit of a quibble but population replacement has been fairly rare in history. What usually happens after a migration of new people is a blending of populations over several centuries. Actual invasions, which usually involve fairly small numbers of invaders (like the Normans in England) can leave barely a blip on the genetic record. The North American situation (ditto in Australia) is unusual, and is largely due to diseases against which the natives had no immunity. But even in Latin America a blended successor population resulted from European migration.
I’ll go out on a limb and predict that in 500 years or so we’ll see the same thing in Europe and North America resulting from present day migrations. It’s hard to see any factor that would result in replacement. Even a catastrophe would kill people at roughly the same rates.

#27 Comment By Josep On January 14, 2019 @ 2:11 pm


Especially given the fact that Western Europe is totally dependent on North America (and specifically the USA) for its freedom and continued prosperity. Personally, I’m tired of euro-snobbery. At this very moment there are American and Canadian troops in Western Europe defending it from other Europeans. We’ve been doing it for over 100 years now. So sick of it.

That may change sometime in the future. With all these sanctions imposed by Washington, those same European countries, with the exception of the UK, might turn to Russia instead. Russia also allows homeschooling, last time I checked.
IIRC the reason American troops were in Western Europe in the first place was to contain the Soviet threat. With the Soviet Union now gone, NATO has since outlived its purpose. IMO the Western European nations should be capable of defending themselves.

#28 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 14, 2019 @ 3:21 pm

.I really do not understand onto what the special privilege of the parents is founded that allows them to exclude anything they want to from the minds of their children.

“Children are not mere creatures of the state.” It is true that parents can make horrible mistakes. So can states, or state agencies, or individual bureaucrats in state agencies wielding considerable discretion on how a given regulation applies to a particular set of facts. We Americans like to avoid homogenizing everything to a single societal standard. We appreciate diversity.

#29 Comment By Nestorian Christian On January 14, 2019 @ 4:16 pm

“I really do not understand onto what the special privilege of the parents is founded that allows them to exclude anything they want to from the minds of their children.”

How about the fact that it can generally be assumed of parents that they have a natural love for their children, and thus a genuine concern for their happiness and flourishing, whereas this can most emphatically NOT be assumed to be true of the state and state-sanctioned institutions?

#30 Comment By Ben On January 15, 2019 @ 12:09 am

Perhaps this persecuted German family should consider the “Von Trapp Family Option.”

Watch out for modern day “Rolfs” – sounds like they are legion. Totalitarian habits die hard, apparently.

#31 Comment By DanJ On January 15, 2019 @ 4:35 am

Public schooling was originally imposed by lawmakers on a semi-willing populace. Many parents had rather their children help on the farm or learn a trade, not learn how to read and write. But they had to go to school like it or not, and the end result was a steady increase in living standards leading to today’s incredible wealth.

Parents were overruled, for the benefit of their children and society at large. The homeschooling issue today is really very different, but the precedent of the past is still a big part of the underlying assumptions.

#32 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On January 15, 2019 @ 12:02 pm

How about the fact that it can generally be assumed of parents that they have a natural love for their children, and thus a genuine concern for their happiness and flourishing, whereas this can most emphatically NOT be assumed to be true of the state and state-sanctioned institutions?


The State doesn’t love your children. It has an utilitarian/ideological view about them. While the default is that parent love their children and would die for them, with abuse being a pathology, state bureaucrats and politicians won’t think twice before using your children to further their agendas, at all levels: from the CPS bureaucrats looking after their careers to the politician trying to make an ideological point.

#33 Comment By Michael Petek On January 16, 2019 @ 12:47 am

Homeschooling was banned under Hitler, and Germany never revoked that law.

[NFR: Wait, I thought it was banned in 1919? — RD]