CNN contributor and professor of history and Italian studies at New York University Ruth Ben-Ghiat makes the claim, which is also the title of her Op-Ed, “parental control is a smoke screen for right-wing activists.”
Ben-Ghiat writes vitriolic complaints that the parents across the country who are fighting against mask and vaccine mandates, which equates to a parent’s right to make decisions about their children and their health, is “authoritarian culture.”
“The authoritarian-style party discipline Trump imposed during his time in office remains in place…now this authoritarian culture, which sees those who hold different views as enemies, has reached the personal and local levels” writes Ben-Ghiat.
“Schools, and school boards, are the latest front of a Republican crusade to ‘take back America’ through violent verbiage” she wrote. “Concern or Concern for children in this context is just a smoke screen for right-wing activists with far greater ambitions.”
The professor adds that parents fighting to protect their children are merely using the “excuse of opposing vaccine and mask mandates” which “align with the ideal of divesting from the civic space of democracy altogether.”
Ironically, as Ben-Ghiat rants about “personal” views and seeing those with opposing views as “enemies” she writes, “the idea of ‘parental rights’ in schools, advocated by anti-vaccine militants and their White Christian Evangelical allies, also becomes another way to justify censorship of ideas you don’t like.”
If only everyone were so openminded and understanding as Ben-Ghiat and her scathing piece. Just what are the “ideas you don’t like”? She continues, giving the examples “such as the centrality of slavery in America’s development and the costs of institutionalized racism.”
Ben-Ghiat is advocating that the concerned parents are not only anti-democracy authoritarians who are using their children as props in their smokescreen; they also want to censor “slavery in America’s development and the costs of institutionalized racism.” What a leap.
Before suggesting how to fight the freedom-loving monster parents, Ben-Ghiat once again slides in the word authoritarian for good measure:
“When illiberal forces are on the march, the education system is always in their sights. The brutal rejection by activist parents of differences of opinion, and the spread of practices of harassment meant to frighten others into silence, models the kind of authoritarian culture the right is trying to install, town by town, school board by school board.”
“One way to push back” she explains, “is to populate school boards with individuals who care about pluralism, democracy and public health.”