By Jonathon Van Maren
Progressives often like to scoff at conservative suspicion of “big government” and state power, mocking concerns of state overreach as paranoid or conspiratorial. After all, one fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives is that progressives believe that the state is the solution to social problems, while conservatives believe the power of the state must be restrained in order for individual freedoms to flourish. And a prime example of this comes from Norway last week:
A Canadian mother living in Norway says she is living a nightmare after child welfare authorities came into her home and took away her 12-year-old son over what she calls “a misunderstanding.”
Terese and Leif Kristiansen posted a video to Facebook last Thursday that shows her crying and calling for help while police and social workers chase after their son, Kai, outside the family apartment in As, Norway. As authorities tackle her son in the snow, a frantic Terese can be heard yelling: “Look what you’re doing. You leave him alone! He had done nothing. Can somebody please help us!”
The video had more than 640,000 views and was shared close to 7,000 times before being removed. Speaking to CTVNews.ca by telephone from her home in As, Kristiansen explained that after weeks of telling Barnevernet, Norway’s child protection agency, that she wanted to homeschool her son because he was being bullied at school, authorities arrived on her doorstep with an emergency order to remove Kai from the home and place him in foster care.
Just a few minutes before Kristiansen turned on her phone to record the scene, her son had locked himself in a bedroom and slipped out the window.
“He ran away because he didn’t want to go with anybody. When he heard me on the deck, he was running back to his family,” she said, between sobs as she recalled the day. Kristiansen says she hasn’t seen her son since and has only spoken to him by phone once, on the night he was taken. She’s not even clear on where he is, only that it’s a building 60 kilometres away. With no means of transport, and unable to go see their son, she and her husband Leif are desperate to know how he is.
“He’s a sensitive boy who’s never been away from us,” she said.
Kristiansen says her son is smart, outgoing and well-liked in their neighbourhood but had been repeatedly bullied at school since the fall. When boys in his school began telling him before the Christmas holiday that they were going to kill him, Kristiansen and her husband decided to pull their son from the school on Jan. 3.
She says they informed the school and filled out paperwork and wanted her son to change schools, but she says the school called in Barnevernet, the child welfare agency…
Homeschooling is legal in Norway, but Kristiansen says Barnevernet officials told her family they were concerned their son would not receive “socializing” while being homeschooled…
Lawyer Mike Donnelly confirms that Norwegian authorities have not alleged that Kai is facing any neglect or abuse.
So, a young boy was essentially kidnapped by government authorities because the government decided that homeschooling would not be in his best interests because they believed knew the child better than his parents did. Additionally, the bizarre irony of inflicting a trauma on a young child by yanking him from his loving parental home in order to ensure that he gets better socialization borders on the insane. No abuse is even being alleged here—this state-sponsored kidnapping is entirely based on the premise that loving parents do not know what is best for their own children, and that government bureaucrats do. Norway, as some readers might remember, has a reputation for doing this sort of thing:
Donnelly notes many families have raised complaints about Barnevernet’s methods, alleging the ministry removed their children from their care without adequate reason.
In one high-profile case that Donnelly worked on in 2015, the five children of a Romanian-American family were taken away from their parents over concerns about spanking in the home. After organized protests in several European cities, the family was reunited after nine months of separation.
Another case in 2015 involved two children of a Lithuanian-born mother who were taken away by authorities over what she said were unfounded allegations of abuse.
In 2012, Czech President Miloš Zeman compared Norway’s foster care system to the Nazi program to breed Aryans, after two Czech boys were taken away from a couple over fears about abuse.
According to The Associated Press, children born abroad are more than three times as likely to be removed from their homes as native Norwegians and placed into foster care.
This is precisely why conservatives are far less likely to wax eloquent about the Scandinavian paradises that progressives enjoy yearning for, and this is why moves by government to insert themselves between children and parents is met by such suspicion. Progressives often think that their attempts to transform the public school system into progressive indoctrination centres is a perfectly lovely thing to do, and openly disdain the idea that parents are the first educators of their own children. And it precisely that attitude, the idea that they know better than parents do what their children should be taught and how they should be taught, that results in the sorts of government abductions we see taking place in Norway.
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