Don't Be Afraid to Call It Grooming
Sometimes a mask is so completely torn away that only the willfully and ideologically blind or the stupid cannot see what the real game is. Frank Bruni of the New York Times kindly provided those who desire to see with such an opportunity with his own Two Minutes Hate against Florida's protection of 5- to 9-year-olds from groomers.
The gist and heart of Bruni's tirade are that in this latest incarnation of the culture war, too much emphasis has been put on "parental rights." Public schools, he emphasizes, don't exist "as some bespoke service attending to the material wants and political whims of only those Americans with children in the science lab and on the soccer field." Instead, their purpose is to service all Americans, whether they have children or not. Everyone has a stake in them. As such, he declares, "Enough about 'parental rights.' I want to talk about nonparental rights."
This is an illuminating statement. For the last several decades, the dominant narrative has been that liberty advances when rights expand. By this neo-Whiggish interpretation of history, Western civilizations have become steadily more free since the end of WWII, culminating in the present moment, which should be the apex of human liberty. How much freer can an individual become after the Supreme Court declared that the heart of liberty consisted of the right of every individual to define the meaning of life and the universe for himself? With the raising of six hands, every Joe Schmoe was transformed into an avatar of Zeus with the power (if not the wisdom) to create his own Olympus.
Except now. Now, suddenly — magically — the recognition of parents' right to know what public servants teach their children five days every week for nine months a year is not an advancement of liberty, but an attack against democracy. Yes, it's hypocritical, but, more strikingly, it's also an indictment. It's almost as if Bruni understands that the whole "expand rights = more liberty = more democracy = more perfect union" bit was a crock from the beginning and that this expansion (more accurately, a whole-cloth creation) meant more liberty not for all, but for only for a selection of the chosen. The prohibition against public prayer and the reading of the Bible in schools expanded liberty for non-believers by squeezing it out of believers; the entire gay "marriage" misheva has constricted the liberty of ordinary people from living out their disagreement in their ordinary lives peacefully; the liberty of being an oppressed minority has come at the expense of making all non-minorities white devils and everything they do — from drinking coffee to owning dogs to living in suburbs — part of a diabolical plot to redominate the minorities. And now the recognition and protection of parental rights in Florida threatens to shrink...what? Not the ability to contract a so-called "gay marriage" or to transition from a man to a woman to a dragon or to participate in the oxymoron of ethical non-monogamy. The only "right" being shrunk is the right of teachers to groom the kids in their care.
I know there's been a huge kerfuffle within conservative spheres over even using that word, with progs in conservative suits shrieking that its use is a below-the-belt power play made by opportunistic activists and politicians. These people deliberately ignore that groomer/grooming doesn't necessarily deal only with the narrow-bandwidth activity of getting a minor to sleep with an adult. Or maybe "groomer" raises unpleasant memories of John Weaver and the Lincoln Project in their minds.
As Helen Roy explained:
Grooming is a complicated system of behavior. What is it? Most basically, to groom is to prepare or train someone else for a particular activity. In the current political context, "grooming" certainly — and accurately — connotes sexually inappropriate ends, especially as its most recent usage was entirely swept up in the #MeToo movement. Even as grooming discourse reached its apparent zenith a few years ago, rape was not always the intended or actual end of the story. Rather, it was understood that to be a groomer was to actively participate in the broader system of manipulation. Ghislaine Maxwell and similar "recruiters" may not have been doing the raping, but they were all certainly engaged in grooming.
When first-graders are encouraged to create their own gender identities and third-graders are prodded to break the "oppressive gender binary" to throw off the shackles of Christian colonialism; when children are assigned graphic gay porn in class; when teachers stalk their students online for recruitment into the rainbow cult or encourage their students to keep secrets from their parents; when they take to TikTok to boast of how they slyly incorporate gay agitprop in their classrooms, they are actively grooming. Full stop.
For Bruni, teaching five-year-olds about anal "sex" or encouraging them to create their own gender identities inoculates them with "democratic values and ecumenical virtues." Failure to groom them means they will fall prey to some massive evil — which, to be fair to Bruni's diseased intellect, they probably will. Not being in lockstep with the Hegelian, progressive universe is blasphemy to groomers and their defenders.
This thought pattern is not just evil enough to be assigned to Dante's ninth circle, but also an insidious lie. The real purpose of education was not to learn democracy or ecumenism but to pass to the next generation what they would need to flourish and keep the right of self-government. It was an understanding nearly as old as the Puritans' landing. The first American public education bill was the Olde Deluder Satan Act, passed by Massachusetts in 1647, which mandated a public teacher once a town consisted of 50 households and a grammar school once it reached 100 households. The impetus behind the bill was to ensure that the next generation would be able to read — Scripture especially (the bill begins, "It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures ...") — and ensure that "[l]earning may not be buried in the graves of our fore-fathers in Church and Commonwealth." Nor did this end with the Puritans. Wisdom, knowledge, and virtue were so vital for the people to exercise their rights and liberties (including self-rule) that John Adams included the support of all seminaries of literature and sciences into the Massachusetts constitution. The Northwest Ordinance mandated the encouragement of schools since religion and morality were inseparable from good government. The modern public education system itself was created in the 19th century so American children would learn the Bible and thus be immune to the then perceived threat of Catholic immigrants.
Today, American public schools — our "centers of democracy" — have produced a population where 54% of 16- to 74-year-olds have only a 6th-grade reading level, 24% of high school seniors have proficiency in math, and 12% graduate with proficient knowledge of history. That's a system that went from having the number-one ranking in high school and college education in 1992 to being 24 in science and 30 in math compared to the other 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Curiously, this modern decline in knowledge among the citizenry has correlated with the growing prominence of the Deep State. Americans went from being a nation of yeoman farmers who read Virgil to a nation of obese screen-starers who binge on the streaming platform de jour. Almost as if once education was separated from its higher purposes, self-government started eroding. If our "civic values" now demand this ignorance — of our past, the world we live in, and hatred of the faith of our fathers, with queer theory poured in as a substitute — they are as evil as the teachers grooming children and the bleaters who cheer them on.
Image via Pexels.