Keeping kids out of it

23 Nov

Indoctrination has never been a word with warm and cuddly undertones. It evokes images of pristine Aryan children, arranged in perfect symmetry, pledging their hearts and minds to a vile and bigoted creed.

We invoke it to cast light on the dangers of stymming a child’s natural inquiry and freedom to think outside the rigorous confines of narrow doctrine. Whilst we readily accept that credulous adults have the right to subscribe to a strict and certain mode of dogma, we reject it for our children.

Or do we? The past year has seen an explosion in the number of angry citizens vehemently protesting across the globe in scenes of collective uproar. Many of those that attend these cathartic outpourings of middle-class angst do so with their young children in tow. As they loudly scream about the evisceration of society, or rather their interpretation of it, they arm their youngsters, many no older than 5 or 6, with placards of solidarity, all held with the innocent bliss of a child yet to understand the uglier facets of their continually expanding reality.

This is wrong. Regardless of where you may lie on the political spectrum,  it should be an incontrovertible truth, if not so already, that peddling your children for political gain is wrong, regardless of how reasonable you may think your political positions to be. All parents, be it those at the Tea Party rallies in Washington or those currently encamped in London, that use their children for means of drawing political or social awareness are falling them as responsible adults.

Of course, it’s fine to teach kids about the basics of right and wrong; how you should treat others and even a sense of respect for peers and elders. These are all qualities that are necessary for the maintenance of a tolerant society. It’s not alright to indoctrinate children with the ideals of free-market capitalism or democratic socialism before they can even grasp their basic ramifications, let alone spell them.

Children should be just as free, if not more so, to critically explore the nature of their own reality. They should not be forced at such an impressionable age to accept the strict confines of a dogma that will inevitably sequester their chances in life and potentially lead to an existential crisis in future. The parents at many of these events claim they are fighting for their children’s future, when in fact they are irrevocably damaging it.The irony of it all seems lost to them.

It’s no coincidence that those who most stringently attest to the rigorous doctrines; bible-thumpers, political extremists tend to be thicker than most. Such an early suspension of the faculties of doubt and inquiry are bound to lead an adult who is not only uncompromising and fatuous in their beliefs but one that’s probably a bit of a div and a dick to boot. So please don’t fuck about it, hire a babysitter next time.


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