The eyes of Australian ‘progressives’ were moist and lumps rose in their throats at the sight of thousands of school children skipping class and mouthing the political views of adults back at them in the streets of the country’s major cities last week.
The kiddies were engaging in an act of mass civil protest you see. They had “demands” don’t you know.
What did they want? “Urgent action on climate change!” When did they want it? “Now!” Or at least before 9 o’clock. That’s their bedtime.
That’s not all. As stated in the apparently irony-free headline from the daily newspaper The Age : “the students ‘demand’ climate talks with PM.”
“Demand climate talks” with the Prime Minister no less.
Have a look at two of the hard-nosed political activists in the picture below who are issuing ‘demands’ and insisting on a tête-à-tête with the leader of the country to hash out policy initiatives.
Granted, they’ve got the steely-eyed stare into the camera thing going… but I find the gravitas is undermined somewhat by the barrettes and rosy-red apple cheeks.
So what happened here?
Well it seems that the phenomenon highlighted by renegade academics like Jordan Peterson, Gad Saad, Janice Fiamengo, Bret Weinstein and others whereby the explicit purpose of ‘social justice’ programs at the university level to produce ideologically ‘progressive’ political activists has made its way down to the earliest levels of the public educational/indoctrination system.
Very young school children who have had catastrophic man-made climate change taught to them less like a theory of physics than a theological absolute and moral crusade have been encouraged, rewarded and otherwise manipulated by the adults around them into perceiving themselves as enlightened warriors for the ‘truth’. Any distinction between themselves as children and the adults in the highest positions of authority to whom they feel entitled to issue “demands” and lecture seems not to have been impressed upon them.
Chillingly, the ability to distinguish between child and adult appears to be absent from a fairly wide swath of alleged grown ups in the general population as well. The willingness to perceive this as some spontaneous, self-directed expression of preternaturally enlightened 12 year olds bestowing their authoritative personal insights about the issue of planetary climate science as it relates to political and economic policy is simply surreal.
The AGE’s broadsheet competitor The Australian presented a decidedly less gushing and sentimental take on the ‘protest’ by visiting UK Left-wing contrarian and commentator Brendan O’Neill.
My interaction with Linda M below is a pretty revealing overview of the mindset of people who rationalized this use of children to advance a political agenda into a glorious stirring of the nation’s youth leading us to our ‘progressive’ green Utopian future.
Notice how quickly Linda reduces the subject to a moral binary in which everything that is ‘admirable’ and to do with ‘hope for the future’ and which is in the interests of ‘democracy’ is 100 percent located with her and those who agree with her… and anyone who fails to conform to her views is identified as ‘conservative’ and immediately associated with everything unscrupulous and corrupt.
At a point in my rebuttal I zero in on this reflex to bypass critical thinking in favour of reducing the world to a hyper-simplistic categorization of “All of the good people think these things over here and anything other than that is evil and wrong by definition.” That’s the basic pattern of ideological thinking and it is the definitive form of reasoning relied on by those on the ‘progressive’ Left.
And it should probably come as no surprise…. Linda is a teacher.
Linda M: Double whammy for the Murdoch gutter hacks. They get to attack children and get in their daily hysterical attack on the ABC in the one go.
Going to Getugly: Was that easier for you than addressing the actual concerns and criticisms that people have about this Linda?
Linda M: As a teacher of 30 years I can assure you that many of these children, who will be voters in a few years, are admirably demonstrating the hope for our future in a democracy. As opposed to a foreign media baron, who pays no tax in Australia and is able to arrange his affairs in order to get an $870 million tax refund, being able to fly in and organise the toppling of our Prime Minister. Not to mention the daily attacks on our independent broadcaster and any alternative to their extreme conservative tame pollies.
Going to Getugly: They are “admirably demonstrating the hope for our future in a democracy.” That’s very interesting. Whose hope are they demonstrating Linda? Their own? Or are they merely the vehicles for the political “hopes” of the adults around them?
Linda M: As I have pointed out: As a 30 year teacher, I can attest to the ability of these young adults and adolescents to think for themselves. I and everyone of my acquaintance are grateful that there are future generations with the intellect to understand that we can’t sell the future of our grandchildren for the interests of mega rich miners.
Going to Getugly: It’s quite disturbing actually to see a “teacher of 30 years” being an apologist for using children to advance a political agenda because she personally likes the agenda. These are little CHILDREN who are too intellectually and emotionally immature and are lacking the life experience and the personal autonomy to fully cognise the concepts they are regurgitating and what it means to be participating in this ‘protest’.
These are not autonomous adults expressing ideas and convictions they have cultivated on their own who are engaging in self-directed activity. These are children who are behaving in a certain fashion because they are being encouraged and validated to do so by adults who are using them to advance a political agenda.
Linda M: What utter arrogance!!!! To claim that young adults and adolescents are incapable of rational thought just because they do not subscribe to the Alt Right agenda of propping up the mega rich miners/political donors in their disastrous pursuit of profit before people.
Going to Getugly: So you’ve been teaching for 30 years (!) and yet you have no idea what logical fallacy is or how to make a rational argument? “You aren’t telling me my enthusiasm for using children to advance a political agenda I like is a sign of how enlightened I am because “alt-right agenda” and “rich miners” and stuff!”
No wonder parents are turning to home schooling.
Linda M: These rational thinkers are our future. Thank goodness. Most of us understand that an argument is a logical series of statements intended to establish a proposition. Not the Alt Right method of automatic gainsaying and hysterical attacks.
Going to Getugly: And for how many of these “rational thinkers” is the other primary concern at the moment what Santa Claus will bring them for Christmas in two weeks?
Here’s the thing Linda… you can’t include yourself in the category of “us” who “understand that an argument is a logical series of statements intended to establish a proposition” when you immediately do the opposite of that.
Writing the words “the Alt Right method of automatic gainsaying and hysterical attacks” is not an argument. It’s just a bunch of words in a row that are not connected to anything.
Linda M: “Here’s the thing”. Again with the condescending and arrogant tone. Do you even listen to yourself? To dismiss young adults and adolescents as Santa pining babies is to write alienate all the potential future voters. Conservatives shooting them selves in the foot as usual these days. If I was going to use the attack tactics of the right I’d point out that a troll group with the moniker “Going to Getugly” is self explanatory as a bunch of wreckers in the world with no worthy agenda.
Going to Getugly: Complaining about the “tone” isn’t an argument either Linda.
Identifying the actual intellectual and emotional stage of development of these children… as well as identifying their lack of individual autonomy isn’t ‘alienating’ them. But adults romanticising and idealising young children and projecting their own political aspirations onto them is unethical, abusive and grotesquely self-indulgent.
That’s why until very very recently all thoughtful ethical adults regarded the use of children to promote and advance political agendas… as was common under authoritarian regimes… to be a prime illustration of how indifferent those regimes were to any moral and ethical constraints. This was considered self-evident to normal people because… they are CHILDREN.
As someone who was just pontificating about logic and the structure of a properly reasoned argument you should notice that you don’t address any specific points that challenge your opinion. Being intellectually mature means you can defend your ideas against criticism directly because your perspective is the result of a complex process of reasoning which generates genuine insight. So there is a lot behind your perspective which you can draw on to validate and justify it.
Contrast that to what you do…which is to reduce everything to a hyper-simplistic binary categorisation:
Category 1 is a set of fixed opinions and interpretations which you’ve adopted because they appeal to you personally and which you accept as universal truths that reflect moral excellence.
Category 2 is anything that doesn’t conform to Category 1. Which by definition is the opposite of universal truth and moral excellence.
That’s why when your unexamined assumption about the excellence of your opinion is challenged your reflex is to simply slot the other person into Category 2…. “The only plausible explanation for anyone not telling me I’m right and how enlightened and wonderful I am is that they’re EVIL “wreckers in the world” and they’re “Conservatives” and “alt-right” and other generic self-confirming slogans and clichés!”
That being a ‘wrecker of the world’ and arguing against children being used to promote the political agenda of adults are mutually exclusive motivations is conveniently overlooked.
That’s because at no point does conscious, adult-level rational thinking play any part whatsoever in how you process this.
And so it’s not surprising that when you have adults whose own reasoning and ethical development hasn’t matured past the stage of adolescence that the distinction between the child and the fully developed autonomous adult remains opaque them.