We live in cultural chaos. Our children are taught in school that boys can be girls and girls can be boys because gender is a “non-binary spectrum” that has nothing to do with biological sex. Elementary school students are offered pornographic books that graphically depict sexual acts. Libraries and schools spread the toxic lie that white children are inherently racist because of the color of their skin and that black children are oppressed because of their skin color.
That doesn’t mean that conservatives and parents haven’t won great victories against critical race theory and transgender ideology in recent years – they have, and they should be proud of it. Parents’ eyes have been opened like never before to the toxic ideology directed against their children, and the proverbial mom and dad grizzlies are fiercely – and sincerely – defending their children.
And yet we continue to live in cultural madness. While many parents were unaware of these attacks on our children until they looked over their children’s shoulders on Zoom school during the COVID-19 crisis and saw firsthand how poison was being poured into the minds of America’s youth these attacks are not new. Certainly the attacks are escalating, but the seeds of the conspiracy to undermine the minds of our children were planted decades ago in the institutions that help educate our children, from the public school system to public libraries, media, our health care system, and more many religious institutions, and even the law.
In other words, radical left-wing academics, ideologues, and activists played the long game, infiltrating, subverting, and conquering the cultural institutions on which American families depend. Now they have all the tools they need—in the form of critical race theory, queer theory, revisionist history books like the 1619 Project, comprehensive sex education, social-emotional learning, and more—to force their ideology on our children.
And yet the left is not solely responsible for the cultural chaos it has sown. The Republican Party is just as to blame – perhaps more so – because we expect the Democratic Party to pursue destructive policies, but we should be able to count on the Republicans as a bulwark against such attacks.
And yet here we live in cultural madness.
The Republican Party has not fought effectively to defend our institutions and our children for one simple reason: it has forgotten its purpose and abandoned its values.
Public school attendance did not become compulsory in the United States until 1852; Massachusetts was the first state to require children to attend public school. Massachusetts introduced compulsory public education because there was an influx of immigrants, particularly Catholic immigrants, coming to our country at that time. The Protestant politicians in charge of Massachusetts wanted to teach American values to the children of immigrants—so that they would be loyal to America first, not the country of their birth—and to instill Protestant values because of the centuries-long rebellion against the Catholic Church.
In other words, our education system was designed to be an indoctrination center. That’s exactly what it’s supposed to do, and that fact alone is neither good nor bad. The question is What is indoctrinated. The Republican Party has completely failed to address this issue or claim ownership of the legacy of proper indoctrination in our nation’s public schools.
After all, there is no such thing as a neutral education. The idea that children can be sent to school to learn only “reading, math and arithmetic” is a utopian fantasy. Children do not spend six to eight hours a day with adults without some values being taught to them. Obey your teacher? This is a moral value. Do your homework? Another moral quality. Don’t bully the other kids? A moral judgment. Every word and every action in school is based on a value system. The million dollar question is: whose values?
The Republican Party has fallen victim to the utopian idea of neutrality to avoid disingenuous accusations of violating the separation of church and state. But such accusations are absurd. Nowhere in the founding, structure, or fabric of American government or civil society is there the idea that basic morality must be excluded from politics and institutions. “The separation of church and state” is a phrase that Thomas Jefferson mentioned only once in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which he assured them that the United States government would keep its constitutional promise not to prohibit the free exercise of religion or to force the practice of religion on those who want to abstain.
But at some point the Republican Party abandoned the original purpose of the public school system: teaching America’s children the right values. Republicans rolled back our morality in the name of neutrality, and the result was certainly not neutrality. The left was only too happy to step in and use public schools to indoctrinate children with anti-American and anti-Christian ideologies.
It is a reality that has been proven time and again throughout our history: there is no such thing as neutrality. Either liberal ideologies will be ingrained in the minds of our public school children, or conservative ideas – American values and Judeo-Christian morality – will prevail.
It is our choice. I call on conservatives to confront this reality, reorient our strategies in this existential struggle, reaffirm our morals, and demand that the Republican Party fight to win. If we don’t adapt, we will continue to lose. For the sake of our children and our country, we must win.
Liz Wheeler is the host of The Liz Wheeler Show.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.