As a concerned mom, a glibertarian polemicist, and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institute, Laura E. Huggins wishes to advise us that "eco-propaganda" is warping Our Children's Minds.
[C]lassroom textbooks are influenced "by an ideological view that presents human beings as evil," according to Dr. Michael Sanera, director of the Center for Environmental Education Research. Sanera compared science textbooks used in sixth through 10th grades in Wisconsin. Though he felt the textbooks all did a good job explaining the carbon cycle and greenhouse effect, nearly all focused only on the human causes of climate change and all predicted catastrophic impact.In other words, climate change is real, but some part of it is natural, so there's no sense in worrying about the consequences.
Children who've been browbeaten into compliance with this bizarre worldview have "learned to think," according to Huggins. Those who haven't are being scared stupid by unscrupulous textbook publishers. It's fine to terrify kids by harping on the catastrophic results of healthcare reform, or sex-ed classes, or our collective failure to "cauldronize" the Middle East per Michael Ledeen. And it's not only fine, but essential, to frighten them with sin and hellfire. But calling climate change a serious problem...jeez, that's practically child abuse.
She fails to mention that Sanera's study was published way back in 1996. And that he's a bit unclear on what constitutes presenting human beings as "evil," as opposed to ignorant or shortsighted. And that, as ExxonSecrets notes, the Center for Environmental Education Research was a pet project of the CEI, and may not be entirely reliable.
It's not just eco-propaganda that's turning our kids into terminal mopes. The other problem -- and this is where things get really weird -- is that children are alienated from the natural world.
Top off the eco-propaganda with the fact that many schools have moved away from hands-on nature-study and field trips, and that parents are no longer sending their kids to camps or even outside to play, it is no wonder kids are increasingly disconnected and uninterested in the outdoors....Good idea! Especially on cold winter days, when the falsity of "global warming" will be obvious even to the dimmest child. It's one thing to sit in your living room watching Glenn Beck spout denialist catchphrases in front of a giant green swastika; it's quite another to go outside and catch snowflakes on your tongue, knowing that each of them is an unanswerable argument against Algore's Warming Theory.
While researchers debate the root cause of people spending less time outside and its associated impacts on mental and physical health, there is little debate that this trend spells trouble for our commitment to conservation....
Rather than scaring susceptible young people about the environment, why not teach them the truth and get them outdoors?
Huggins' remarks about conservation are baffling. Maybe she noticed that it's now fashionable for anti-choice activists to complain that contraception helps men to exploit and dominate women, and figured she might as well try a similar faux-progressive detournement in her own field. Just as you can't call someone who weeps over degraded women a misogynist, you can't call someone who wants children to gambol like fauns through dew-kissed meadows an anti-environmentalist shill. It's just common sense.
It's fun and easy, too. Observe: Turning national parks over to timber companies is conservation! Ignoring evidence on principle is critical thought! Thoreau is the spiritual founder of the Wise Use movement, and would've been infuriated by federal protection of wilderness areas! You're limited only by your imagination and malice.
It's not just the thrill of turning your enemies' rhetoric against them that makes this approach so satisfying. There's also a good chance that you'll be able to render useful terms effectively meaningless (cf. "fascist" and "socialist"), transmute them into their opposites, and treat any attempt to restore their basic definitions as elitist indoctrination.
Schools are an ideal place to wage this battle, since children can be snatched up and used as human shields when the purity of one's motives is questioned. With that in mind, here's Huggins' three-step solution to the eco-indoctrination of our "susceptible young people":
First, say no to the eco-propaganda that dribbles down on them all day. Second, teach them to think about environmental issues. And third, say yes next time your child asks to "go play outside."Sounds absolutely foolproof. Granted, most of us don't actually know enough about climate science to edit our kids' textbooks. But that's OK...we can just cross out anything demoralizing, using the common sense God gave us. It's gotten us this far.
(Photo by Sarah Posner.)