Classroom engineering

Now that the chalk dust has settled let's draw a few lessons from the ruckus over sex education in Ontario. First, write on the blackboard 100 times that, having been thrown out the schoolhouse door due to public outcry, this sexually radical curriculum will sneak back in the window. The modern progressive agenda is relentlessly committed to sexualizing childhood and, while the Ontario government may be claiming it's going to back off, we know by now what commitments from the McGuinty regime are worth, including, most recently, that the HST won't increase the tax burden.

Second, Dalton McGuinty furnishes dramatic proof that a dull, prosaic, suburban exterior offers excellent camouflage for virulent partisanship and ideological radicalism. Some defenders of the new curriculum portrayed it as an innocent excursion into biology, as though it were possible innocently to describe sexual mechanics to people below the age of puberty. But others admitted frankly that the plan was to create a New Sexual Person to replace the untutored and vulgar cretins who had to this point cluttered up planet Earth.

Thus the Globe and Mail editorialized: "A new sex-education curriculum in Ontario treats homosexuality as a normal part of life, and so it should, in a country in which gay marriage is legal." The editorial went on to ridicule the idea that "children may choose homosexuality because of what they learn in school," while insisting that children will choose tolerance because of what they learn in school. It then said "even young children" already know the term gay "may be used as an insult. It does no one any good to leave the children on their own to make sense of it all."

Note the key assumption that unless schools step in children will be left "on their own." It would be true if they had no parents or, alternatively, if parents were manifestly unfit to teach morals or manners acceptable to Globe editorialists. Since I dimly recall from my own sex ed classes that children tend to have parents, it must be the latter.

Dalton McGuinty openly agreed, which is why he initially supported the new curriculum. Children, the premier gurgled, "are going to get this information. If we can provide (it) in a format and in a venue over which we have some control or they can just get it entirely on their own and be informed by potentially uninformed sources, like their friends at school. So why wouldn't we recognize that we live in an information age and why wouldn't we try to present this information in a thoughtful and responsible and open way?" The obvious answer is "because it's their parents' job." But equally obviously, Mr. McGuinty, despite his boring Father Knows Best persona, has no time for such ignorant talk in this "information age."

The National Post quoted one American advocate who was really excited by the Ontario curriculum. "Then when I saw they changed their minds, I thought: 'Oh great, why don't you just move down here.' That's what we do in the States, kow-tow to parents' groups and religious leaders instead of sticking our feet in the ground and saying, 'We are the educational experts.' We certainly don't have parents deciding whether or when or how to teach math ..."

Actually I think schools teach math because parents want them to. Now pardon me while I go hunt a mammoth.

Another lesson is that when sex meets ethnicity, political dishonesty soars to new heights. The newspapers beat the usual drums about opposition to this curriculum change coming from wretched know-nothing Christians. But surely much of it actually came from Muslim parents. And since multicultural ideologues are committed to the notion that all cultures are relentlessly vibrant and quaint but have no substantive differences, the prospect of imams weighing in publicly on teaching grade school kids that gay is good terrified them into an abrupt tactical retreat.

Snobbery also made an appearance. The Citizen's Elizabeth Payne opined that "For all its cosmopolitan airs, Ontario is not so far removed from the days when ladies' auxiliaries, county fairs and church suppers were an essential part of the fabric of life and when public debate centred on worries about the corruption of minors." Now it seems to centre on concerns that the state isn't doing enough in this area; Payne went on to say "sex ed circa 2010 is very much aimed at promoting tolerance and openness about sex -- a positive move" and that "'... masturbating ... is common and is not harmful ...' is how teachers are prompted to answer questions about what is normal."

So the key lesson is that this episode was about schools telling children what's normal instead of parents. Public authorities may look like boring liars but underneath they're panting social engineers. Memorize it, because it will be on the test.

ColumnsJohn Robson