An Enlightened Citizenry
Family North Carolina MagazineSummer 2010
By Brittany Farrell
“An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.” That statement by our third president, Thomas Jefferson, summarizes why we at the North Carolina Family Policy Council work so hard to produce this magazine. The work we do every day in the halls of North Carolina’s government is important. The issues are important. The ultimate decisions made about the public policy of this state are important. But as we walk the halls of the legislative building talking to senators and representatives about so many different issues that affect North Carolina families, Thomas Jefferson’s point reverberates even more strongly.
How can we expect our elected representatives to make good and wise decisions if they are not enlightened by a proper and thorough knowledge of truth? How can we expect them to represent our best interests and our positions if we as citizens do not know and cannot intelligently communicate on the issues? I hope you will find that this issue of Family North Carolina aids in your efforts to educate yourself and others on issues that are important to your family.
Terry Stoops provides a compelling and intriguing history and analysis of the charter school movement in North Carolina. In 15 years, we have managed to tumble from the top of the heap as an example of sound policy to a restrictive monopoly of the same-old, same-old. I hope you learn as much from this article as I did. Education is one of the most important gifts we give to the next generation, and it is time for North Carolina to once again make policies that put us at the forefront of that effort.
Education, however, is not a new concept or endeavor. Since the beginning of time, humans have sought out knowledge. Rebekah Sharpe delves into the purpose, philosophy, and logistics of classical education, and explores some of the reasons and examples of its resurgence in home, private, and public schools today.
Mary Summa chronicles the shift away from a “sanctity of life” approach to treatment as many in the ethics and medical communities embrace “futile care theory.” This chilling transition determines treatment on an utilitarian view of whether the quality of a person’s life will outweigh the cost of treatment to his or her family and society. The oath to do no harm is not quite so universal these days.
North Carolina’s courts have been active on family issues, and the North Carolina Family Policy Council has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in two pending cases of interest to families. Boseman v. Jarrell addresses the question of the legality of same-sex partners adopting children in the state, while Joyner v. Forsyth County addresses the constitutional right of government bodies to open their meetings with sectarian prayer. Our Briefs page lays out the North Carolina Family Policy Council’s arguments related to both of these cases, which will likely take many more months to resolve.
As technology advances so does the danger to the innocence of youth. Alysse ElHage’s article on teen sexting is a must-read for all parents. The data on the pervasiveness and impacts of sexting among teens are startling. Technology brings many wonderful opportunities and advances, but it also introduces new and alarming risks. Fortunately, Alamance County provides a model for how to respond.
For a fourth consecutive election, the NCFPC is providing a nonpartisan 501(c)(3)-approved voter guide. As in years past, we will be distributing copies of the voter guide primarily through churches, and civic and community organizations. The guide is a great resource to educate voters on candidates’ positions before the November 2 General Election. On page 34, you will find an order form to request enough guides to distribute in your church, organization, or neighborhood. As Jefferson said, an informed electorate is the foundation of a functional republic; so get educated.
Remember to take your copy of Family North Carolina with you to the pool, and on summer vacation to share with family and friends. The more who read it, the more educated citizens there will be. In our republic, we are truly responsible for our government, community, and families. Let’s do so as educated forthright citizens.
Brittany Farrell is research associate for the North Carolina Family Policy Council and editor of Family North Carolina.
Copyright © 2010. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.