(First published in The Dominion Post and on Stuff.co.nz, January 23.)
There was a striking synchronicity in the timing of two of the New Year’s first political pronouncements.
On January 13, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that parents would in future be required to give written consent for their children to attend religious instruction classes.
This effectively signalled the end of religious teaching in state schools, since parents are far less likely to opt in than to opt out, as they are permitted to do now. RI classes will likely wither on the vine through lack of interest, which is Hipkins’ avowed intention.
The public response was so muted as to be unnoticeable. This may have been because most of the population was still on holiday and focused on other things – a factor the minister very likely took into account in the timing of his announcement.
But the public’s apparent indifference may also be explained by the fact that New Zealand is now an essentially secular society that quite reasonably sees no place in the education system for religious instruction. Only a small minority will lament its abandonment as a lapse into paganism.
But nature abhors a vacuum, and the government had a quasi-religious substitute locked, loaded and ready to fill the gap. January 13 was also the date on which the far more significant news broke that climate change is to become part of the school syllabus for Years 7-10 pupils, which means those aged between 11 and 14.
This was no sudden political impulse. The climate change curriculum (you can read it online) emerged fully formed, with the Greens’ fingerprints all over it. It was trialled at Christchurch’s South New Brighton School – an ideal test bed, since the school’s pupils have been primed with fears that their neighbourhood is at risk from rising sea levels.
Join the dots. Out goes religious instruction and in comes its secular substitute in the form of politically charged dogma surrounding climate change. The two announcements neatly complemented each other, serving as a kind of metaphor for wider political and social changes driven by the “progressive” Left.
And make no mistake: While purporting to be based on solid science, the climate change curriculum is heavily freighted with ideology and represents a world view that’s capable of being every bit as dogmatic and authoritarian as religious indoctrination.
It is quite explicit about its goal, which is to groom a generation of climate change activists. Apparently drawing inspiration from Greta Thunberg, the teaching resource is threaded with statements such as: “Climate change poses a severe threat to children’s most basic rights”.
It’s a piece of work the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to call his own – one that targets malleable young minds in much the same way as the Hitler Youth did in the 1930s.
Guilt is an unstated sub-text throughout. The message is that earth has been put at risk through greed and complacency and we must act fast before the process becomes irreversible. Parents and grandparents can expect to be held to account for allowing this to happen.
In effect, schoolkids will be captive zealots in training. Indoctrination isn’t too strong a word for this, and it raises questions about the morality of using the public education system to impose adult anxieties and political convictions on the young.
Again, the public response to the announcement was low-key, but that may change when children start coming home from school and badgering their parents to stop using the car and cut back on meat and dairy products, as the curriculum urges them to do; or when they start exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and depression, which the teaching resource acknowledges are possible consequences of heightened climate-change awareness.
Indeed, the curriculum seems almost to relish the prospect of impressionable pupils panicking over the prospect of an overheated, perhaps uninhabitable, world. The teaching resource is tinged with New Age gibberish about the need for children to explore their feelings – anger, frustration, sadness, fear – relating to climate change. Teachers in turn will be encouraged to listen, empathise and “reinforce the key message”. If that’s not indoctrination, I don’t know what is.
Valid scientific scepticism is caricatured as Donald Trump-style craziness. Nowhere in the teaching resource is there any acknowledgement that many of the statements it makes are scientifically contestable.
But this is where we have ended up. If climate change alarmism is the new religion, then scepticism – or denialism, to use the more damning term favoured by climate-change activists – is the new heresy.
There’s a disturbing whiff of totalitarianism in the way this secular religion permits no dissent. If you believe that it’s dangerous in a democracy to allow one view to hold complete and unchallenged sway, denialism starts to look like an honourable stance, purely on principle.
I was shocked to read the outline of the syllabus and the accompanying guidance on pupil "wellbeing". This programme of brainwashing and behaviour modification has no place in our education system; it is truly evil in the full sense of that word. It must be opposed.
It’s preaching not teaching and worse, like the worst evangelists, it’s preaching damnation without salvation. It’s all about tax this and cut back on that without any mention of the innovation and technology that, providing it gets the investment it needs, will solve the problem. Ele Ludemann
Jock said "this resource was prepared by people with little idea of climate science. It is full of errors. No alternative views will be brooked, and advice is given to teachers on how to deal with difficult kids who don't agree with the rubbish being portrayed. It encourages kids to become activists.
email me and get a review of the Climate Myths portrayed on page 38 of the material,
Thanks Karl. The curriculum appears designed to terrify kids—which I guess is part of the agenda of climate alarmists.
Curiously you and those who have commented here, and me, will be branded climate change "deniers" (which I notice is more and more diminishing to "climate deniers"). The offensive nature of the label is intentional!
The more I look at it, examining evidence as I have been doing for over 40 years, the more I am convinced that alarmists—both scientists and non-scientist zealots—are in fact denying climate science. They most certainly have not examined and/or understood the processes which warm our atmosphere because they apparently have no idea of the relative amounts of heat energy carried by each process. They seem to focus only on carbon dioxide which certainly contributes to the temperature of the atmosphere but the energy it carries is small compared to that carried by water. The amount of energy carried by the small amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere generated from fossil fuels and other industrial activity is a tiny fraction of the total energy transfer to the atmosphere.
To me, the evidence that the processes are not understood is revealed in the more egregious sections of the curriculum.
I am surprised that STUFF went along with you and published your piece. They have their "Save the Planet" campaign which involves only ever publishing articles which confirm that "The Science is settled".
The "climate emergency" which is now suddenly in fashion and to which this syllabus is tailored is the elites' response to the populist challenge seen in Brexit and Trump's election. The suppression of contrary and valid scientific opinion, the shrill and ever-present promotion of eco-anxiety and indeed the suspension of democratic norms are tools intended to restore the elites' political control over society.
You have described it perfectly Karl. Well done. It is a document of brainwashing a generation of children. As I said on another blog days ago:-
"I have read parts of this disgusting document. It is full of lies, dressed up as science. There is a section devoted to arguing against skeptics (i.e. people like you and I who simply ask questions and want some true science). The section gives "answers" to questions that might be raised. The answers are straight out lies."
Any skeptics, will of course be labelled "climate deniers", and by association and hint will also probably be associated with, or accused of also being, homophobic, transphobic, racist, islamaphobic, Trump loving, white supremacist, etc etc (you can add your own categories)
gosh, Karl, you proclaim you're not a denialist and then use "demonstrably dodgy pseudo-science" (your phrase) to state there is a "large body of evidence that contradicts the doom-mongers". i'm guessing that "large body" doesn't include the 99% of actual climate scientists (yes, it's that high, now) who are united (via the IPCC etc) in telling us it's real and it's potentially the end of the race. but please, roll out your large body and let's poke it with blunt sticks and see if it quivers, eh?
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