The exploitation of children for political ends is perhaps the worst recent example of how ‘noble cause corruption’ can work.
Every right-thinking person abhors the very idea of state-generated propaganda being employed to manipulate and fashion immature minds, so as to produce a cadre of pliant political clones.
Such malign techniques are firmly associated in our minds with the evil dictatorships of the 20th century, such as the Leninist Komsomol and Hitler Youth. We were nauseated when the details of those depraved processes became known – and swore we would never let them happen again.
But modern political campaigners have revived an older code : the end can justify the means. The cause is so sacred and so urgent that even child abuse can be tolerated. We must be prepared to censor our collective conscience and stifle our scruples for the ultimate good of the planet!
2019’s most visible manipulation of school children, the ’Youth Strike for Climate’, was very far from being a spontaneous rebellion against authority. It was repeatedly applauded and encouraged by both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Minister James Shaw, while state-paid teachers marched with their pupils. It was a political game, with the kiddies being used as pawns.
Now, James Shaw, with Chris Hipkins, has announced a new resource for teaching of “climate change” in the curriculum for intermediate schools. It is not about atmospheric physics, mathematical modelling, or any other aspect of the scientific theory of human-caused global warming. It is not even written by climate scientists.
The teaching material, Climate Change – Prepare Today Live Well Tomorrow, which you can read here, leaves no possible doubt that climate change radicalism is its central objective:
“The programme’s ultimate aim is for your students to create and implement their own plan to take action for climate change, in order to feel empowered and not overwhelmed by the issues.”
It promotes the campaigns of Greta Thunberg, School Strike for Climate, and even Greenpeace. It urges children to “get talking”, “get others involved”, “be powerful as a change agent” and “make good choices about climate action”.
Children are to measure their own carbon footprints as well as those of their parents’ homes and their schools. They should write to their MP and email the Prime Minister/Climate Minister demanding further action to reduce carbon footprints.
The teaching resource implants in children the need to eat less meat and dairy products – and strongly supports the iniquitous “food miles” myth that has been resisted for many years by successive New Zealand governments. It wants the youngsters to buy second hand, get rid of lawns, take the bus, collect rainwater, repair their clothes, and on and on and on.
Five years ago, this essay by Andrew Montfort on “Climate Control : Brainwashing in Schools” expressed concern that eco-activism could capture the curriculum of schools in the United Kingdom, but radicalising children has never before been the official policy of the UK or any other English-speaking country. But our school children are now the latest victims of Minister Shaw’s oft-proclaimed ambition “to lead the world”
Lying to children
In denouncing the claim that agriculture accounts for 48.1% of New Zealand’s emissions, Robin Grieve sees this curriculum as “lying to children”. There is no mention of the now-accepted science that reducing methane emissions will make no difference to peak global temperatures.
While the material also avoids mention of scientific unknowns, it puts forward countless spurious predictions for the future as if they were known facts.
I personally began a list of these factoids for the purpose of comparing them with the official projections set out in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It was all a futile exercise. Almost every future ‘scientific fact’ in this material is either flat-out wrong or highly tendentious.
The entire document is couched in the language of climate campaigners rather than that of scientists. It is a trashy and hopelessly unbalanced catechism of all the fashionable pseudoscience. It is pure propaganda, in the very best Goebbels tradition.
In announcing the new resource, the Ministers said “it adds to existing curriculum resources that focus on national identity, Sustainability Development Goals, sustainable economies and personal and environmental wellbeing”. They did not explain why thought control should form any part of the state’s education curriculum. Or why they are being funded by taxpayers, rather than by the Green Party.
NZ Federated Farmers is highly critical of an Education Ministry document providing nutrition advice, and have launched a petition calling for the documents to be withdrawn until factual errors are corrected.
The NZ Taxpayer’s Union says in a circular:
“This week we’ve been working through the Government’s new climate change syllabus. We’ve found that, rather than focusing on the science, it is a taxpayer-funded attempt to convert 11-year-olds into left-wing political activists.”
“The material suggests a carbon tax while failing to mention that we already have an Emissions Trading Scheme. And it fails to explain that New Zealand produces just 0.17 percent of global emissions.”
While the Taxpayer’s Union says the climate change curriculum “skirts close to taxpayer-funded propaganda”, Lindsay Perigo goes further, calling the policy “feral fascism..The Greenies are among the world’s current Nazis. For them, 1984 is not a warning but a playbook.”
Sean Plunket, no climate change sceptic, said he was concerned the syllabus would leave no room for students to question or debate the human impact of climate change. He’s right. Any departures from the officially-sanctioned Kool Aid will be ruthlessly censored and also punished by way of reduced marks.
The curriculum has been described as “state-organised bullying of kids” by MP David Seymour who says it will “take us backwards as a society”. He fears it’s designed to suppress opposing views:
“There is a supporting document that is all about how to deal with kids that disagree and one of the things it says is that if you’ve got a difficult kid that disagrees just change the seating plan.”
Anxiety and Depression
Psychologists all over the world have issued warnings about climate change fears impacting the mental health of children: “A rising number of kids and young adults are being treated with psychiatric drugs in order to reduce the emotional stress and exhaustion caused by “eco-anxiety,”
The American Psychological Association says “anxiety and distress about the implications of climate change are undermining mental health… causing anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. A significant proportion of people affected by those events develop chronic psychological dysfunction.”
The Education Ministry has accordingly issued an accompanying 15-page “wellbeing guide” for teachers of the new material. This truly brutal document cold-bloodedly predicts that:
“Children may respond to the climate change scientific material in a number of ways. They may experience a whole host of difficult emotions, including fear, helplessness, frustration, anger, guilt, grief, and confusion. When discussing the material, teachers may encounter students who cope through avoidance, denial, diversionary tactics, wishful thinking and a range of other coping mechanisms. Children may need help with understanding, communicating, and coping with, the difficult feelings that arise in relation to the material…”
As the NZ Taxpayers’ Union puts it:
“This is condescending rubbish. It isn’t teaching kids how to think – it’s telling them how to feel.
In fact, students have to sit through five different sessions focused on their feelings about climate change, with activities including a ‘feelings splash’ and a ‘feelings thermometer’.
The students are eventually encouraged to reduce their feelings of anxiety and climate guilt by participating in political activism.”
When the victims of this political re-education programme turn 18, they will clearly be more likely to vote Green than their unmolested predecessors. It is perhaps surprising that the present Coalition Parties would misuse their temporary governing power to assure themselves of a permanent electoral future. It is even more surprising that this blatant corruption should occur in plain sight without a word of protest from the 55 members of Her Majesty’s Opposition.