On the politicization of children

Pope Francis urges young people to be good Leftist stooges and hector their elders.

Dear young people, you have it in you to shout.  It is up to you to opt for Sunday’s “Hosanna!”, so as not to fall into Friday’s “Crucify him!”…  It is up to you not to keep quiet.  Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders – so often corrupt – keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?

What an evil, stupid thing to say.  If any young people are reading this, please check out my model commencement address.  American news outlets have tied the Pope’s exhortation to the recent school walkout in which children were encouraged by teachers and media personalities to skip classes to protest for gun control.  In fact, the context of the Pope’s words was the close of the Vatican Youth Meeting.  Apparently, the Catholic Church needs the wisdom of ignorant, media-programmed children to decide which of her doctrines to discard.  No surprises–what the kids want is more approval for sodomy and more power for women, in summary stricter adherence to the beliefs and status hierarchies of the secular world.  No popular belief has ever been more contrary to the truth than the idea that young people are naturally rebellious.

Still, CNN and the rest are right to connect the pope’s words with the gun control agitation.  If one lived in a social vacuum and just read the pope’s homily, one might think that he meant that young people should loudly proclaim the Catholic faith, but since everyone including me take him to mean young people engaging in advocacy, protests, awareness-raising (you know, Leftist bullying tactics), that’s what it really meant.

Leftists politicize their children from a very young age.  I member on a visit to Boston meeting a 5 year old girl who explained to me that Republicans hate poor people.  In an airport, I overheard a proud couple boasting that their one year old had learned to chant “Obama” whenever the then-president appeared on television.  No doubt, these liberal parents would also be the first to believe that one should not impose a religion on a child, but let him figure it out when he’s old enough.  Correct political beliefs, on the other hand, must be instilled early.

I have not seen the same thing in conservatives.  The idea of teaching a five year old a mirror image political statement, e.g. “Democrats hate Christians.”, is revolting.  It’s not that I’m more scrupulous about imposing beliefs on children than my political rivals.  Although I don’t talk about politics with my children, and never teach them that this or that party is made of bad people, I do speak to them of certain tenets of the Christian faith as definitely true.

The difference, I believe, is that we conservatives intuit that politics and its factionalism and partisan spirit are sordid affairs.  They are spiritually corrupting.  They are perhaps a necessary evil, but the young and impressionable should by shielded from them as much as possible.  Religion, on the other hand, we see as ennobling.  We would no more deny a child knowledge of God than we would deny him a knowledge of numbers, for a properly functioning mind should be able to both think quantitatively and acknowledge its Creator.  Leftists, on the other hand, really do believe in the goodness of democracy, not only in an abstract sense but in its embodiment in contemporary partisan politics.  They encourage young people to protest, march, “call out” their elders, and so forth because they think these are ennobling acts that both manifest and solidify a healthy moral sense.  I don’t think they see much moral hazard in protesting, so long as the protest is for a proper Leftist cause, just as we don’t see any moral hazard in practicing a properly orthodox religion and would never think to warn children of its supposed perils.

Children should not be marching for any political cause, not even a good one.  Childhood is a time for formation and learning, and young people should not imagine themselves qualified to dictate reform to their elders.  Then again, we conservatives keep on saying this, and we keep on losing.

4 Responses

  1. Old white men are morally inferior to everyone else on the planet. Wish someone would point this out to the old white man on the Throne of St. Peter.

  2. Touché, chaos Frank.

  3. I think your point about children having proper respect for their elders is a good one. On the other hand, you also said:

    “The difference, I believe, is that we conservatives intuit that politics and its factionalism and partisan spirit are sordid affairs.”

    I think this is a mistake, and represents part of the corruption of conservatism by Enlightenment philosophies. It’s Locke and Rousseau who see society, and by extension politics, as unnatural, and nature as representing a purer, more wholesome state. The Western tradition, by contrast, sees man as essentially a political animal. In fact, we’ve often erred by making *too much* of politics (see: the Romans, Renaissance Italy, early modern absolute monarchies, etc.) Far from being a necessary evil, politics enables us to transcend our individual or tribal goods in favor of the common good, which is superior to them.

    Granted, that doesn’t exactly mean a preoccupation with everything that is called “politics” nowadays, and I’d welcome debate on what kinds of political activity are legitimate for conservatives to pursue. But we ought to be pursuing it — not because it’s a distasteful duty, but because it’s part of the full flowering of human nature.

  4. My teenage son was grumbling about the necessity to separate our trash into trash and recycling the other day. I explained that we did this because it upset eight-year-old him so much that we didn’t do it, and now we are habituated. Yeah, he responded, that’s your fault: I didn’t know my teachers were full of it at the time.

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