According to the ABC, having a loving family is now an unfair advantage that should be unacceptable to people all over Australia.


On Friday 1 May, philosopher Adam Swift appeared on ABC Radio National with presenter Joe Gelonesi to discuss why the family unit is the true cause of growing inequality in society. According to Swift, family interactions such as playing cricket or reading bedtime stories have a devastating impact on social mobility and equality:

The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t.

This “devilish twist of evidence” led Gelonesi to his helpful conclusion “that perhaps in the interests of levelling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted”. While this may seem absurd, Swift agrees. He encourages parents to think twice about engaging in activities with their children which may confer an unfair advantage on them:

I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally.

The left’s pursuit of social justice is built on attacking and punishing the highest-achieving in our society, a point once famously made by Margaret Thatcher when she attacked opponent Simon Hughes for saying “he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich”.

This is no different. Parents are critical in the education and development of their children. A 2010 study found that parental effort is more important to a child’s educational achievement than either the school or the child. Instead of catering to the lowest common denominator, we should be encouraging parents to show more interest in their children’s education and upbringing. This is especially vital in light of the mounting evidence that more and more Australian children have insufficient literacy and numeracy skills.

But it gets worse. Swift argues that because of the magnitude of the damage caused by the family unit, we are now left with only one option:

One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.

This is drivel straight out of The Communist Manifesto broadcast on the ABC courtesy of your taxes. A legacy of Western Civilisation, the family is one of Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” that form the foundations of Australia’s liberal democracy. Australia owes much of its success to this heritage. The idea that the state should be in the business of child-rearing is dangerous. By removing parental control over their children, the state would have unfettered power to mould the minds and values of the next generation. Constraining civil society by abolishing the family directly challenges a fundamental pillar of our society. It would only serve to harm the emotional, intellectual and social development of our children and our country.

The ABC has made a mockery of hard-working, nurturing parents who get up every day to improve the lives of their children and provide the best environment they can for them to succeed. We should be encouraging parents to take a more active role in their children’s development – even by reading bedtime stories – instead of discouraging them in the name of “fairness” and “equality”. Parents who want to give their children the best start in life should be applauded, not demonised.

This is just another example in a long line of instances where the ABC’s judgement is found to be severely lacking. Its problems are so endemic, the only solution left is to privatise it. [not so fast on that one ED]