A decade back First Things ran a symposium on whether America’s extreme abortion license had stripped the US government of its legitimacy. As a conservative, I disapprove of loose talk of that kind, but I’m sure a good time is had by all, and the fun is mostly harmless.
Because, say what one will, the US will not in practice lose its legitimacy because of complaints about abortion or excess federal power. Those complaints are theoretical in kind.
The practical threat to US legitimacy is our education system. A failure for parents, children, and teachers alike, and vastly expensive at that. A failure that can easily be tied into middle class fears about economic decline. A failure that viscerally engages parents, who are the venture capitalists of society. A failure that that is not altogether unoppressive: Perry’s Gardasil troubles and the meteoric rise of homeschooling are both related to the growing feeling that American education systems have anti-parent reflexes.
And now, apparently, a mother has been arrested, charged, and convicted as a felon for using a harmless subterfuge to get her kids into a better school.
The powers that be should have a care. It is the roots of public order they are playing with.
The lower middle classes significantly subsidize upper middle class schooling by some measures: