by Shaun Kenney
Remember the old adage — the goal isn’t to win the debate, but to make sure you don’t lose the debate.
Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe was pressed on graphic textbooks — and I mean graphic — of a sexual nature being included in government school libraries, and McAuliffe exploded with rage.
Not towards school districts, mind you — but towards busybody parents who had the audacity to look into what their children were actually being taught in the classroom.
That’s when McAuliffe decided to say the quiet part out loud:
Terry McAuliffe: "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." pic.twitter.com/7S15pTv1gY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2021
That sound you heard last night was the simultaneous squealing of wheels on the mental pavement of a million Virginians.
Yes — this is what Democrats actually believe.
During the long battle on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender ideology in the being enforced on the rest of us in the public square, the heavy-handed approach witnessed by many a conservative lawmaker by public education in Virginia is now showing the mailed fist behind the velvet glove.
For decades, the education major has hammered home the importance of the discipline. Much as the religion major has insisted that the only true religious studies can be done through a disinterested (sic) secular viewpoint, so too has the education major taken upon itself that the only true educators are those who are disinterested in a way parents cannot be.
School administrators and school boards are welcomed into the new gnosticism with dinners and lectured by doctorates in the field about their relevance. After all, this is for the children. Teachers unions rally lest the administrators cut their budgets, six-figure salaries are doled out for good behavior, and the endless racketeering continues as the indulgences pour in.
Mediocrity is celebrated as success; excellence is punished as privilege. Four-year colleges and universities take well-balanced 18-year-olds and teach them how to hate the values of their parents while STEM academies get a great deal of talk, but very little support — for obvious reasons.
Test scores are leveraged, demographics are analyzed, parents are pushed to become more productive consumers of things we can’t afford and don’t need so they can drop their kids off in the worst performing schools in the G20.
The implication is rather simple. Parents simply do not know how to educate their own children — and the education major goes out of its way to validate its own existence by reminding others of its critical need.
What we have here — ladies and gentlemen — is an enduring five- decade-long experiment in failure.
Conservatives have long been aware of the institutional bias of the government education system. Rather than contesting the battlefield, many conservatives have simply abandoned the institutions to the left. The result has been that progressives have taken it upon themselves to educate our children on our behalf, transmitting their values in substitution of our own. The end result has been a five-decade slide where today even liberals find themselves struggling against the cancel culture of woke progressives.
Our children? They adapt and tell the teachers what they want to hear, repeat what they read in textbooks we never review, and roll their eyes whenever someone points towards something important. Our clergy struggles, our grandparents shake their heads, even foreign visitors are aghast at how decadent Americans have become.
What we do not have — yet — is the public will to fix the problem.
Here’s something for Mr. McAuliffe. I do think parents should be telling public schools what to teach.
Education is the transmission of culture — full stop — and if parents are the primary educators of their children as is their natural right then the secular religionists have zero right to impose their faith upon the rest of us, not just because it is wrong but because it is damn near close to a violation of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
So long as we continue to fuel our own demise by teaching our children how to hate what we believe? By a priesthood trained to do so? By inquisitors who can interrogate whether you are using the correct gender pronouns? Through secular sacraments that demand a four-year college diploma as the only path to prosperity? That demand a creed of envy as the foundation of social justice?
We are going to continue to lose if we don’t see the opposition for what it is.
There’s an old Jesuit saying: Give me the boy and I will show you the man. Which is shorthand for saying that impressionable teenagers can and will acclimate to their environments. Put them at Oxford and you will get scholars. Dump them in trailers and you will get… well… people like me who loved the tornado magnets because they had air conditioning and heat that worked.
McAuliffe is wrong on this.
Not just a little wrong, but wrong in an authoritarian and tyrannical way.
Given how things are going in Australia, a program of gun grabbing, defunding the police, cancel culture and finally the state — not parents — as the primary educators of your children?
That is just positively Orwellian.
No small wonder why most classrooms swap out “1984” for “The Handmaid’s Tale” — you don’t have to burn books, you just have to get people to stop reading them.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia. This column has been republished with permission from The Republican Standard.