May 2nd 2009

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor's 'people overboard' fiasco

EDITORIAL: Human rights consultation hijacked?

TRADE: Government pushes China free trade agreement

FIJI: Australia and NZ silent as China bankrolls military junta

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: From Baghdad to Beijing: Labor's dodgy dealings

TRADE UNIONS: WA unions host Cuban ambassador... Why?

ILLICIT DRUGS: Australia's $10 billion industry - organised crime

GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR: A desperate fight to the death

THAILAND: Land of smiles descends into turmoil

PRE-SCHOOL: Conscripting our toddlers for political activism

OPINION: Legislative assault on freedom of conscience

POLITICAL IDEAS: Crisis of credibility that has shaken the world

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Productive investment vs. financial speculation / Free speech curtailed for the sake of pluralism

Human rights hearings (letter)

Australia to import food? (letter)

Telstra (letter)

ETS to cost billions (letter)

CINEMA: Katyn - Sombre depiction of unpunished WW2 crime

BOOKS: REFUGEES AND REBELS: Indonesian Exiles in Wartime Australia, by Jan Lingard

BOOKS: GIRLS LIKE YOU: Four Young Girls, Six Brothers and a Cultural Timebomb, by Paul Sheehan

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Conscripting our toddlers for political activism

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 2, 2009
The Rudd Labor Government wants to indoctrinate toddlers and pre-school children to become political activists. Bill Muehlenberg reports.

Public, state-provided education is relatively recent, not even 200 years old. Prior to state education, parents were the primary educators of their children. In addition to teaching children the basics, they could also pass on their deeply-held values and beliefs.

But with most children in the West today spending a large part of their early years in state schools, the values and ideologies of the state, not of the parents, have become dominant. And those people hostile to the traditional values of most parents are quite happy to exploit this situation to the maximum.

Indeed, this has been a deliberate policy. Consider a few examples.

The father of modern education, John Dewey (1859-1952), made it clear that he wanted state control of education in order to rid it of any traces of Christian values and beliefs. He was a signatory to the Humanist Manifesto (1933), and pushed what he termed a "new religion": secular humanism.

He even wrote an article in 1922, entitled "Education as religion", in which he stated: "We make a religion of our education. ... Faith in education signifies nothing less than belief in the possibility of deliberate direction of the formation of human disposition and intelligence."

Role of schools

He added: "Schools do have a role - and an important one - in production of social change." And he reinforced this by saying, "I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform."

He knew that public education, in particular, could be used as an instrument of social change. And the change he wanted was away from Christianity and toward secular humanism.

Another signatory of the first Humanist Manifesto, Charles F. Potter (1885-1962), was not shy about his intentions when he wrote this: "Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings?"

More recently, pragmatist and postmodernist Richard Rorty (1931-2007) said, "I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own."

All this demonstrates that, for many of our elites, public education is far from just teaching the three Rs, but is a means of thought-control, pushing worldviews which are often hostile to the values of parents. It is a form of social engineering and propaganda.

We have had a great example of this recently. It seems a new federal Labor Government draft document, Early Years Learning Framework, is seeking to target primary school children as agents of social change and political correctness.

Here is how one Melbourne newspaper describes it: "Victorian babies, toddlers and preschoolers are set to become political activists under new Federal Government guidelines.

"The April 2009 draft Early Years Learning Framework wants teachers to make under-fives:

• Contribute to reconciliation, including flying the Aboriginal flag and inviting elders to give talks.

• Use 'social inclusion puppets' and 'persona dolls' to explore exclusion and ethical issues.

• Challenge and resist bias and discrimination.

• Take action in unfair situations and learn to act when injustice occurs.

• Assess and act on power dynamics as they get older." (Susie O'Brien, "PC police move in to re-educate our impressionable children", Herald Sun, April 14, 2009).

And all this is for those under five! If it seems like radical activism and just so much PC nonsense, that is because it is. As already mentioned, secularists and social activists know that the earlier they can get to our children, the better they can push their radical agendas on to them.

The warning bells should be sounding. Whenever you hear talk of "diversity", "discrimination", "social inclusion" and the like, you know you are likely to have a group of coercive utopians planning their next assault on childhood and parental values and beliefs.

Such terms usually occur in the context of tolerating and promoting all worldviews, ideologies and beliefs - except for Christianity, that is. They also commonly occur in discussions of sexuality, where the aim is to soften people up to accepting and embracing all forms of sexuality, while at the same time denigrating traditional marriage and family.

All of which is why so many parents are voting with their feet and getting out of the public education system. They are opting for independent or religious schools, or even for home-schooling. At least that way they know they will have a bit more control over what their children are receiving in their education.

They will be a little more assured that political correctness and anti-Christian and anti-family bigotry will be less prominent. No wonder countries such as Germany have outlawed home-schooling altogether, and sent parents to prison for daring to defy the state on this.

Only two institutions stand between an ever more powerful state and the individual - the family and the church. That is why both are under such relentless attack nowadays, and that is why education especially has been used to bash both institutions.

This current move of PC silliness and indoctrination is simply the latest in a long line of efforts by the state to gain further control over our young people. Expect more to come.

- Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at:

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