A burgeon too many

And another thing. What does this remind you of?

The rise of the Haredim  has been disastrous for the country’s economy,  according to Gershom Gorenberg, author of The Unmaking of Israel.

Gorenberg writes that  Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community is becoming ever  more dependent on the state and, through it, on other people’s labour.

”By exempting the ultra-Orthodox from basic general educational  requirements, the democratic state fosters a burgeoning sector of society that  neither understands nor values democracy.

Quiverfull, and the homeschool movement. The democratic US state is fostering  a burgeoning sector of society that  neither understands nor values democracy – or secularism or human rights.


  1. says

    The quiverfull and mormon movements are particularly nasty since they do have a habit of lockstep voting. Mormons generally tend to vote in precisely the same way for fear of excommunication should someone realise that they haven’t voted according to “god’s plan”.

    It’s quite frightening because “God” only seems to speak to their high priest meaning that he can pretty much decide on Utah politics solely by a tyranny of the majority. Only the majority is under the control of one man.

  2. Kris says

    Hmm. My daughter, an atheist, liberal, M.S.-in-biostatistics mom, is homeschooling her kids. She is doing it precisely because she values freedom and democracy, and sees damn little of it in the public schools, which seem to ignore critical thinking skills and children’s rights to safety, dignity, and autonomy. Today’s public schools often have many parallels with prisons, in case you haven’t noticed, starting with architecture and continuing into such areas as bullying, what kids can wear, when they can use the bathroom, and how they should at all times submit to authority.

    I guess you could argue that she’s not part of a “movement,” but I don’t see much in the way of attempts on the part of anti-homeschoolers to differentiate among the diverse population of people who choose to homeschool. Not all homeschoolers are fundamentalist Christians attempting to shelter their kids from worldly corruption. Some of them are actually trying to raise children who will think for themselves, be aware of the world out there, question authority, respect themselves, and learn how to make decisions on their own.

  3. says

    Kris, no, I know. I think schools are horrible places myself. But there is a homeschooling movement that is even worse; it’s specifically quiverfull and patriarchal and theocratic.

  4. Kris says

    Thanks for clarifying, Ophelia. I agree that there is some sort of organized ideology toward the quiverfull, patriarchal stuff. I’m sort of puzzled by it all … my daughter lives near Ann Arbor, MI, long thought to be a bastion of liberal thought (not so much, these days), and her homeschooling group has lots of different people in it. Some are Mormons, and they do have a philosophy of their duty to have children in order to give the “spirit babies” a home that is in a relatively well-off area of the world. Yet they belong to a group that is perfectly secular and brooks no religious stuff. I understand better now about the whole idea of a movement that is directed toward turning back the clock on women’s rights and achievements. I guess I am just a bit frustrated at what can seem at times like a knee-jerk reaction to all homeschoolers–something I ran into years ago at places like Daily Kos. Sorry to go off on you like that.

  5. says

    Ophelia: Thanks for clarifying your views on homeschooling. I’ve seen too many secularists/freethinkers assert the critical importance of getting everyone into government-run group schools. I do agree that patriarchal homeschooling is certainly a problem, and I’m sure that a lot of QF families benefit from having the older daughters at home to assist with the housework and child care (which is, of course all they really need to be learning anyway), but I don’t see how forcing public schooling will fix this problem.

    Kris: Kudos to your daughter. If it would help to hear a success story: I have 2 sons who were partially homeschooled in highschool (and I regret not doing it sooner) – both have successfully completed undergrad education, one is now working, and the other almost finished his MS, planning to go on with a PhD.

  6. Jurjen S. says

    Another way in which the ultra-Orthodox are a burden on the State of Israel is in the fact that ultra-Orthodox men are exempt from military service as long as they are studying at a yeshiva, and in practice, most of them stretch out that study until they are either past draft age or have children. Orthodox women can apply for an exemption on religious grounds. As a result, the Haredim have, since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, been happy to let other Israelis shoulder the burden (up to and including loss of life) of protecting the country. The least they could do in return is not impose their damn religious sensibilities on others.

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