Last week, the Labour Party from England held its National Conference.
The news arising from that Conference is not that the Labour Party has turned socialist—it was founded as a socialist party in 1900. The big news is that in this Conference last week, the Labour Party adopted a platform for abolishing private education—under the level of university— throughout Great Britain.
The measure adopted by the party is to virtually abolish private education. From The Independent:
In a major policy shift, a motion approved by delegates at the gathering in Brighton said a government led by Jeremy Corbyn would “challenge the elite privilege of private schools” and claimed that “the ongoing existence of private schools is incompatible with Labour’s pledge to promote social justice”.
It said the party would include in its next manifesto “a commitment to integrate all private schools into the state sector”.
And private schools’ property, land and other assets will be seized and “redistributed democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions”.
The motion was passed hours after Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, told the conference hall that a Labour government would ask the Social Mobility Commission, which it would rebrand the Social Justice Commission, to “work on making the whole education system fairer through the integration of private schools”.
There's a background to this, of course, and that background according to the Labour Party is what they identify as the problem of inequality.
This highlights a basic worldview conflict. The arguments are equity on the one hand and liberty on the other. One of the lessons of history is that you cannot simultaneously affirm any absolute form of equity and any legitimate form of liberty. The two are not reconcilable. You can seek to balance them, and that’s what a good society should do.
However, we live in a time where authoritarian leftism seeks to impose equality through social justice, even if it means denying the right of parents to send their children to the school of their choice. Here's where you see the rapid rise of authoritarianism and quasi-authoritarianism in the mindset which claims that government knows best.
That's the background of what's going on in the United Kingdom. American Christians should pay attention to this story because what takes place on that side of the Atlantic doesn't stay there. It pretty quickly migrates to the other side of the Atlantic.
Here's another political reality: There is an enormous symbiosis between the Labour Party in the United Kingdom and the Democratic Party in the United States. This was true, for instance, during the 1990's, and it is even more true in the last five years..
Both the Labour Party in the UK and the Democratic Party in the United States have lurched to the left, but each in its own way. Labour, at this point, is more to the left than the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party has shown over years it's trying to play catch-up pretty fast with the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. And things are happening pretty fast nowadays.
What makes this all the more shocking is that the Labour Party went into its conference last week with virtually no one expecting that the party would adopt this particular policy.
Instead, it was expected that the party would move towards revoking the tax exempt status of private schools in order to demotivate parents from sending their children or donating to those schools. But instead, the party demonstrating that lurch to the left actually adopted a policy that calls for the abolishment of those schools.
Here's where Christians, Christians in the United States and elsewhere, need to understand that if parents do not have the authority and the right to make the educational decisions concerning their children, then their own parental role, and authority, and responsibility has been abrogated by the state.
Our right to homeschool, to have Christian schools, and to make decisions concerning the education of our children is not a right we can take for granted on either side of the Atlantic. Religious freedom and ‘equality’ are on a collision course in western culture.
“My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:14).