When people watch videos and TV footage of college students screaming at professors and blocking doors to lecture halls, they wonder where the rancor and intolerance come from. A story recently in The New York Times identifies one origin.
It’s called “Children’s Primers Court the Littlest Radicals,” and it covers a new trend in children’s books. Not volumes for 9- and 12-year-olds–we’re looking at 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old audiences.
The topics, plots, and characters in these books are all hardline leftist and heavy on identity politics. “Toddler-tomes,” the reporter calls them, “are meant to resonate most ringingly with progressive millennials and their tiniest charges.” Some of the lessons in “A Is for Anarchist,” a popular alphabet book, exemplify the indoctrination.
‘F’ is for feminist, For fairness in our pay.
‘J’ is for Justice! Justicia for all.
L-G-B-T-Q! Love who [sic] you choose.
Don’t laugh. “A Is for Activist” has sold 125,000 print units since its release in 2013. And whenever a book takes off like that, it inspires dozens of imitations.
We have “My Night in the Planetarium,” which spends pages “speaking out against oppression.” And the self-explanatory “A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy (Wee Rebels)”; “V Is for Vegan”; and “Emma and the While,” which emphasizes “empathy and wildlife preservation.”
The trend is long overdue, say people interviewed in the story. “For every book about social justice, I’d like to see 50 published,” says the head of We Need Diversity books. A blogger who writes about “political and child-rearing issues” praises books that “respect people with disabilities, people that don’t necessarily look like [her own kids], people of all gender identities.”
It all sounds warm and welcoming. Progressivism trades quite skillfully in dreamy positivity. but anyone who has ever had to debate or contend with a progressive knows that a dark side lies just beneath the inclusivity talk. This story displays it well.
It isn’t sufficient for the blogger to envision a wonderful world of diversity. She must preface her loving concerns with a livid premise:
When racist, misogynistic and hateful rhetoric has become mainstream, offering affirming and respectful messages to my children seems more urgent than ever.
“A Is for Activist,” too, denigrates anything outside its progressive vision. It characterizes people who oppose the development of alternative energy sources as this: “Silly Selfish Scoundrels Sucking on Dinosaur Sludge.” Heads of corporations are “Vultures.”
This is the flip side of progressive benignity. It demonizes the opposition. And when it reaches kids at the age of three, they accept it as real and true. Toddlers don’t have the mental equipment to place such characters and ideas into a dramatic context. They don’t have what is called aesthetic distance.
This isn’t reading. It’s catechism, indoctrination, proselytizing. We see here the beginnings of an intolerance that results in the Middlebury-Murray episode. The only thing more irritating than the books themselves is the solemn confidence of the advocates. They believe they are improving an unjust society. The implantation of progressive propaganda into little minds is a noble moral mission in their eyes. Children are like
The implantation of progressive propaganda into little minds is a noble moral mission in their eyes. Children are like clay and must be molded right. If progressives don’t do it, children will assimilate the values and biases of a racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic world. It is out of this early learning that the disputation, resentful, arrogant social justice warrior-undergraduate emerges.