Will America be a better and freer country three decades from now if the children who turn four in this decade spend most of their waking hours with members of a government teachers union rather than with their moms?
President Obama's vision of America, not surprisingly, starts with very young children spending their time in the custody of government employees.
"I believe we should start teaching our kids at the earliest ages," Obama said last week.
When he used the word "we" here, Obama was not talking about Michelle and himself, he was talking about the government. When he used the words "our kids," he was not talking about his own children — who attend the most expensive private school in Washington, D.C. — he was talking about other people's children and grandchildren.
What Obama wants, quite literally, is their souls.
"So we're trying to help more states make high-quality preschool and other early learning programs available to the youngest kids," Obama went on, prosaically.
The budget he presented to Congress was more concrete: It calls for $75 billion in federal spending over the next 10 years to support universal government "education" of 4-year-olds.
"This represents a down payment on the Obama administration's vision for high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds," says a Department of Education fact sheet.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained at the National Press Club last April -- at a lectern shared with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten -- that Obama's vision for federal involvement in the lives of very young children does not stop with 4-year-olds.
Obama's budget calls for HHS to spend $15 billion over 10 years to fund an Obamacare provision called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. An HHS budget document says this program will send government-funded "nurses, social workers, and other professionals" into people's homes to "improve parenting skills."
"I think that there still needs to be great understanding of what the president has put on the table is really a birth-to-five proposal, recognizing that you can't start at 4-year-olds," Sebelius said at the National Press Club.
"We really need to start at birth," said Sebelius. "So, there will be an enhancement of home-visiting, which we know is an evidence-based strategy that helps people be good parents from the onset, helps the first and best teacher a child will ever have learn important skills.
"It moves into then early Head Start and childcare," said Sebelius, "where a lot of parents choose to have their children as they go to work and make sure that those are quality-based programs, but also with curriculum and social and emotional skills."
Thus, the government of Obama and Sebelius seeks to be the ultimate instructor of America's youngest children — even in their "emotional skills."
Education, in its highest sense, is not about teaching children reading or writing or mathematics. It is about forming character. It is about teaching children to love what is right and to fight what is wrong.
Obama and others who share his materialist point of view have a perverse understanding of this. They want to form your children's character. But they do not want to teach your children to love what is right and fight what is wrong.
They want to recruit them for the other side.
Obama and his allies in government advocate policies that violate the natural law and destroy human lives. They advocate, for example, the deliberate killing of innocent human lives through abortion (and, in Obama's case, through intentionally neglecting-to-death born children who have survived abortions). They advocate destroying the family by redefining it, so far, to include carnal relationships between people of the same sex -- thus denying that children have a God-given right to a mother and father.
Sebelius has been Obama's chief agent in attacking the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. At this very moment, she is fighting in federal court to force Catholic schools in Washington, D.C., to secure health coverage for their faculty and staff that would provide abortion-inducing drugs in direct and unambiguous violation not only of the inalterable teachings of the Catholic Church but also in direct and unambiguous violation of the inalienable God-given right to life expressly recognized in the founding document of this nation.
For each of the last five years, according to the CDC, at least 40 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers. As recently as 1980, it was only 18.4 percent.
Obama's vision of a government that "educates" babies aims at forming the characters of the tragically increasing number of children born illegitimately in the United States — and as many other children as his programs can reach.
His strategic aim is to make them allies in his cause.TERENCE JEFFREY, a Washington Examiner Columnist, is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.