Toddlers make awful activists
FOR much of this week many Australians were in a state of uproar because a few thousand schoolchildren went on “strike”, demanding real action on climate change.
Having spent much of my youth lying on roads to protest against university fees, BHP’s investment in Chile under the murderous Pinochet regime and even convincing our teachers to let us stage a rock concert during school hours to protest against nuclear proliferation — cop that, Reagan — the spectacle of these kids chanting angrily and waving placards warmed my heart.
I know from my experience, more so now as a parent of teenagers, that kids are capable of developing their own opinions, even if those opinions might seem economically crazy or naively unworkable. As long as their teachers aren’t strongarming them into it, good on them.
The kids might be alright, to paraphrase Roger Daltrey, but some of the parents are a bit of a worry. At the same time those young adults were exercising their right to protest, a group of threeyear-olds and four-year-olds in — drumroll, please — Brunswick were staging their own protest against children in detention. In a change from their usual schedule shown no interest in border control. Equally he has been silent on the banking royal commission, the Victorian election landslide and the debate over company tax, even though I’ve raised it with him many times.
He did tell me the other day that he had swum all the way across the sea and found a hippo. That might have been a political metaphor. I can’t be sure.
Personally I’m not sure why these Brunswick laggards are waiting until as late as kindy to go to work imposing their ideological views on barely-coherent tots. Bring on Embryos for Equality and Foetuses for Freedom.
Personally I think children ideally have no place in detention, even though the issue is more complex than the feel-good sentiments contained in the placards above.
But the idea of mature adults enlisting kids who’ve just started walking as the new vanguard in this well-meaning campaign is intellectual child abuse. It is a less menacing but equally inappropriate version of that Louis Theroux doco where he meets those Alt-Right psychos who teach kids white-power songs.
Of course, these parents and teachers would say that’s an offensive comparison, but so be it. They are opening themselves up to rich and deserved ridicule with such preposterous conduct. As is often the case, it’s conduct that is completely counter-productive for the advancement of progressive ideas, in that it makes mainstream people simply laugh out loud.
It seemed unlikely that 2018 was going to be bettered in the PC stupidity stakes after the University of Manchester student union banned clapping in favour of “jazz hands” on the grounds that loud applause created an “intimidating” environment. Last week, in a late bid for the title, Shareena Hamzah of the University of Swansea released research arguing that as veganism becomes more popular, forms of anti-animal “hate speech” such as “bringing home the bacon” and “killing two birds with one stone” must be excised from the language.
And she isn’t alone. If you go to the PETA website, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, there’s an entire module designed for teachers around this tosh, so they can educate children in the ways of non-animalist language.
I reckon this is enough to drive me to drink. Right now I could go a beer. My throat’s as dry as a dead dingo’s donger. DAVID PENBERTHY IS A SUNDAY HERALD SUN COLUMNIST @Penbo