A friend suggested to me in a letter yesterday that for my own mental and spiritual health, I need to stop writing about the culture war. I suspect he’s probably right, but on the other hand, there is so much that is going on that ordinary people who aren’t plugged into this stuff don’t see, and aren’t aware of, because our media ignore it. It feels like trying to push a pile of leaves uphill, writing about this stuff, but if people like me aren’t yelling about it, the bad guys are going to win. The question for me, personally, is figuring out the point when I, myself, have done all I can do. I remember back in the early 2000s, when I was writing angrily and frequently about the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, some Catholic friends who shared my point of view nevertheless warned me that if I didn’t pace myself I was going to lose my faith. They were right, in the end, but I can’t say that I wish I had stepped away from the story. I only wish that I had had a stronger spiritual grounding from which to carry on the fight.
I’m in far, far better shape on that front today, but I still don’t want to take anything for granted.
One of the absolutely vital voices documenting this evil sweeping our culture is Wesley Yang, on his must-read newsletter Year Zero. In today’s post, Yang writes about the cultural revolution taking place in some American elementary schools. Excerpts:
I don’t know how many schools use the Black Lives Matter Coloring Book, but it is in wide circulation in both public and private schools across America.
This video tweeted by the Washington DC Chancellor of Schools, which chronicles the journey of the district he leads to becoming a “whole-child, anti-racist school district” shows its pages posted on the wall of an elementary school classroom.
I watched the video. These people are absolutely propagandizing little children captive in the classroom. Yang shows a page from the Black Lives Matter coloring book, captured by a parent of a child in a Chicago school:
You might be wondering what transgenderism has to do with the black experience. Ah, you don’t understand intersectionality!
Yang goes on:
The post and the exchanges that ensued gives us a glimpse into the ongoing bourgeois moral revolution from above in which our cultural and tutelary institutions are engaged — showing us what materials are being injected into the bloodstream of America’s future leaders at a formative stage of life, and how their parents are metabolizing the drastic change in sensibility those materials reflect. The strange melange of therapeutism, “anti-racism”, and the new Queer Normativity catalyzes many tendencies long latent in American culture into a curricular world virtually unrecognizable to the one obtaining less than a decade ago.
In this Stunning and Brave New World, the youngest children are inducted into the dogma that we are all male, female, both, or neither by virtue of an internal sense of identification that only we can know. This sense of identification is untethered to any observable fact about ourselves — either to our anatomy or our chromosomes — and may or may not align with our anatomy.
Or, as the caption on the Transgender Affirming page of the Black Lives Matter Coloring Book puts it:
“Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind. Everyone gets to choose if they are girl or a boy or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.”
This canonical statement of the prevailing view of gender identity now being taught in progressive school districts is not an abridgement of what has become a gender theology. It is the distilled essence of the novel view of human sexual identity that the youngest children are being taught to accept as axiomatic. The caption of the Transgender Affirming coloring does not apprise children who are in grades K-2 that where one’s heart and mind diverges from one’s genitals and hormones levels, surgical and hormonal fixes are at their disposal. But this corollary is implicit in the statement, and the time for choosing is just around the corner. As the Mayo Clinic website reports, “For most children, puberty begins around ages 10 to 11, though puberty sometimes starts earlier.”
Yang goes on to talk about how this radical, ideological, unscientific view of sex and gender is presented to kids as if were axiomatic. You are not allowed to dissent; dissent is bigotry. As Yang demonstrates, other parents are part of the effort to police and quash dissent. This reminded me of a pained conversation I had back in 2015, when all this was just getting going in a suburban Baltimore public school. The mom of a student there who is on the spectrum told me she was terrified for her daughter, and that to object to any of it, or even to raise critical questions, was to invite a torrent of abuse from other parents. She did not give in, but when her daughter graduated and went to university — a public one — the kid went to the Student Health Center and started receiving hormones. Now the girl has a beard. It is a catastrophe.
These revolutionaries know what they’re doing. Yang writes:
The injection of these ideas of Queer Normativity had a dramatic effect on those who imbibed them. Sam’s daughter’s six grade classroom had one transgender identified student out of 120. Three years later there were 20.
Please read the whole thing — and subscribe to Year Zero. You won’t regret it.
It is horrifying to me how this revolution is happening all over, and we’re just letting these creeps and groomers capture our children. At least Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is one elected leader who is not taking this lying down. When he abolished the College Board’s Advance Placement course in African-American History, the usual suspects screamed RAAAAAAAACISM! That’s usually enough to get a Republican politician to back down. Not DeSantis, who explained clearly the ideological flim-flam the woke educators were up to:
Mr DeSantis was visiting a charter school in Jacksonville on Monday when he noted the course’s handling of “queer theory”.
He argued that it was on the “wrong side of the line for Florida standards”.
“This course, on Black History, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory!” he said, according to Florida Politics.
“Now who would say that an important part of Black History is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids, and so when you look to see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons, that’s a political agenda. And so, that’s the wrong side of the line for Florida standards,” the governor added.
“When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” he claimed.
Last week, Manny Díaz Jr, the Florida Commissioner of Education, took to Twitter to object to topics such as intersectionality, abolishing prisons, and Black Queer Studies.
“Despite the lies from the Biden White House, Florida rejected an AP course filled with Critical Race Theory and other obvious violations of Florida law. We proudly require the teaching of African American history. We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education,” he tweeted. “As we’ve said all along, if College Board decides to revise its course to comply with Florida law, we will come back to the table.”
Mr DeSantis also argued that the topic Movement for Black Lives was political in a way that was unwarranted.
“If you read what’s in there, they advocate abolishing prisons, that’s a radical political position,” he said, adding that people are “free to take that position” but asked, “how is that being taught as fact to be able to do that?”
“I also think that it’s not fair to say somehow that abolishing prisons is somehow linked to (the) Black experience,” he said, adding the African American community wants “law and order, just like anybody else wants law and order”.
“We want to do history, and that’s what our standards for Black history are. It’s just cut-and-dried history,” Mr DeSantis said, according to CNN. “You learn all the basics you learn about the great figures, and you know, I view it as American history. I don’t view it as separate history. You know, we have history in lots of different shapes and sizes, people that have participated to make the country great, people that have stood up when it wasn’t easy and they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons being taught to high school kids as if that’s somehow a fact? No, no, that’s not appropriate.”
Florida is becoming a lab experiment to see if political power can successfully roll back this bourgeois cultural revolution. We have to hope it succeeds. The opposite is too horrible to contemplate.
Note well, readers, that you might be able to get your kid out of schools that propagandize with wokeness, but you should be aware that many schools don’t want parents to know what they’re doing. Additionally, we are all going to have to share society with millions of kids who have had their minds stolen by these revolutionaries. What then?
You might think you can sit out this fight. In fact, the woke revolutionaries are counting on passivity. Do not forget that the Bolsheviks seized Russia, though they were a small minority, because they saw opportunity, and pushed forward ruthlessly. This is how a tiny group of extremists can achieve victory. It’s happening right now in America.
UPDATE: Democratic consultant Ruy Teixeira on the problem faced by Democrats, who are in the tank for cultural Leftism. Excerpt:
The idea that Democrats can just turn up the volume on economic issues and ignore their unpopular stances on sociocultural issues is absurd. Culture matters and the issues to which they are connected matter. They are a hugely important part of how voters assess who is on their side and who is not; whose philosophy they can identify with and whose they can’t.
Instead, for working-class voters to seriously consider their economic pitch, Democrats need to convince them that they are not looked down on, that their concerns are taken seriously and that their views on culturally freighted issues will not be summarily dismissed as unenlightened. With today’s party, unfortunately, this will be difficult. Resistance has been, and remains, stiff to any compromise that might involve moving to the centre on such issues, a problem that talking more about economic issues simply ignores.
A more sophisticated — yet equally misguided — version of this idea holds that the Democrats’ progressive economic programme, by producing material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, will, given enough time, overcome their cultural suspicions and lead a significant portion of them to embrace the party, thereby breaking the current ceiling in Democratic support. This theory has some merit over the medium to long term. But it does not follow that cultural Leftism can be ignored as a problem. Cultural views and values are not reducible to material circumstances; therefore, even if the material circumstances of these voters improve, cultural resistance to a party whose views seem antithetical to their own will likely continue.
But perhaps the biggest problem faced by the Democrats is a more simple one: time. It will, after all, take considerable time to restructure the American economy away from the reigning neoliberal model and deliver substantial, widely distributed benefits that could change voters’ lives so profoundly that their loyalties shift. Many and far-ranging changes will be necessary, spread out over years, not one session of Congress. To implement them will require a significant period of political dominance, which cultural Leftism makes very difficult, if not impossible. This, ultimately, is Biden’s dilemma: the Democrats cannot have both cultural Leftism and political dominance. Eventually they will have to choose.