THE above has become a flippant cliché. But we deceive ourselves if we believe no one is thinking of our children, and a more pressing question might be: who is thinking, with what intentions, and with what capacity to realise those intentions?
The child is father of the man, said Wordsworth. The maxim attributed to Ignatius Loyola is less poetic – ‘Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man’ – but has a chilling pragmatism taken to heart today by many an ideologue.
I believe the children of the West are being silently inducted into a new utopianism no less sinister, but much more far-reaching, than Stalin’s Komsomol, the Hitler Youth or Mao’s Red Guard ever dreamed of. Childhood is suffering a sea change into something strange, perhaps, but not rich – rather, emptied of all its native riches.
Since the dethroning of God by the secular State, both childhood and adulthood are being denatured and chaotically blended, leaving many social conservatives continually wrong-footed.
Once, everybody knew what childhood was, and it extended long past the magic age of seven. Family means permitting and all else being equal, it might last well into the teens, aided by the fact that puberty in both sexes tended to be much later than today. Most of all, there was a very clear and universal perception that its defining characteristic was innocence.
Children ought to be, and, left to themselves naturally will be, untouched by the sexual sins and temptations peculiar to adulthood. That such things are to be regarded as sins was once a given (and ‘sin’ was not the joke word of today). Even now, the label ‘adult content’ on a book or film is as unambiguous a warning as ‘poison’ on a bottle.
To protect and guide the innocence of childhood has always been an intrinsic ‘job description’ belonging first to parents and secondly to all adults, with law and Government as backstop. Disquietingly in the 21st century, instead of being guarded from the sexual corruption that surrounds them, children, sometimes negligently, but often purposefully, are being initiated into it. The warning is still plain to see on the poison bottle, but it is being widely ignored.
In the 2007 television dramatisation of Mansfield Park, shown on ITV, the producers decided that Jane Austen’s heroine, the sweet and maidenly Fanny Price, would not appeal to modern audiences, so they drastically re-thought the character and made her instead a disaffected tomboy. But they reckoned without her creator, or the intricate organic whole that a well-crafted novel is: the distortion of one element played havoc with all the rest, and nothing in the story really worked or made sense any more.
The constitution of the family in society is like that. For the sweet running of the whole, you have to keep each component playing its intended part. You cannot assign different functions and job descriptions and expect all to run like clockwork as before. You cannot decide that the job of parents is in fact self-actualisation, and that the highest good at every age is the freedom to cultivate and indulge appetites, and then expect all to be well either with the family or with the wider structure of society built on that foundation.
What is lost with childhood innocence, if children are robbed of their natural protections and a prematurely knowing adult consciousness is imposed, is not only the psycho-social well-being of young individuals themselves, but the effective, energy-efficient running of the family unit itself and of the wider society.
Once we had a sound working template for family life. No matter that it never was consistently lived out, nor covered every section of society; the template was there, and the template is what raises a society above the brutish. Marriage is not primarily for the sexual convenience of adults. The real, existential purpose of a family is the serious business of bringing up the next generation in the way they should go.
Parts of those truths are still understood at some level, but the way they should go has been re-thought to conform with progressive principles of self-realisation. The terrible thing is that children cannot be made partakers of every kind of sexual expression without also suffering every kind of traumatic sexual fallout. The effects have been seen all around for decades, yet somehow two utterly incompatible principles are still kept on parallel, never-meeting tracks in modern consciousness – a demonstration of the frightening strength of the current momentum for change.
The long-term consequences of this huge shift in thinking are still incalculable. You cannot pull even a single brick out of a wall without endangering the stability of the whole, but the whole in this case is the 2,000-year-old edifice of Christian civilisation.
It should concern us to question what lies behind this un-debated, un-agreed, un-signposted revolution. Not that the rationale is not confused, with the new ways sometimes presented as vital means of arming children against predatory adults and sometimes as merely facilitating a personal flourishing which is their right. The common factor in it all is a ruthless determination that immature humans shall no longer live as innocent creatures under their parents’ guardianship, and one of the most striking aspects, its sheer speed.
When homosexuality was legalised in the 1960s, to guard the young from any ill effects still seemed a mere matter of course, and it was as late as 1988 that Section 28 of the Local Government Act laid down the principle that local authorities ‘shall not intentionally … promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’.
Before the Millennium, that had become the ‘infamous’ Section 28. How could a formula largely uncontroversial in 1988 become in a dozen years a hissing and a byword? What unnoticed Rubicon had been crossed?
Of course, there never was one clear and obvious Rubicon. If there had been, surely public discernment would have kicked in; instead, residual misgivings were suppressed or bypassed and children dragged along with the cultural flow.
The inexorable expansion of sex education in schools from the beginning of the 20th century had already hardened successive generations to ideas and attitudes increasingly transgressive, preparing the way for the 1948 and 1953 Kinsey Reports, with their bogus ‘scientific’ (read ‘cannot be questioned’) account of sexuality as humanity’s chief driving force from infancy.
Kinsey’s work had so much immediate traction that even the exposure of his abhorrent methods could not entirely discredit it. So much so that, in the 70s heyday of the Paedophile Information Exchange, it seemed for a while that on a flood tide of sexual liberation paedophilia might be about to cross over into public acceptance.
But too much had been reached for too soon, the horses had been frightened, and ‘progress’ apparently stalled. Only apparently. In the last half-century, gradual semantic attrition has been far more effective than any overt measures could have been in dismantling our understanding of childhood and its needs.
Since words are always in flux, small shifts in usage may go unnoticed until finally public assumptions are found to have shifted along with them. Words can also be a kind of stalking-horse. The persistence of familiar vocabulary is an open invitation to let sleeping dogs lie. We can all agree that safeguarding children from harm and from the abuse of predators is vital. The only question is: what do those words mean?
The answer is that in practice ‘safeguarding’ often means familiarising children with every aspect of adult sexuality, for their protection of course. ‘Harm’ and ‘abuse’ may mean parents’ failure to welcome and foster ideas such as gender dysphoria; the parents being classed not as their children’s natural protectors, but as a potential threat.
As for ‘predators’, that term no longer includes those who preach trans or drag, or who enable promiscuity or homosexual practice. It doesn’t even include the perpetrators of actual abuse, at least not when certain other political factors are also in play, though the ‘rules’ somewhat lose coherence at this point.
Churches are one thing, but with the grooming scandals in Rotherham and elsewhere it became plain that the arm of the law has not been shortened, but that its direction has become unpredictable. Amazingly and revealingly, its full weight then was for Tommy Robinson, who tried to awaken public attention to what was happening.
An inescapable conclusion is that safeguarding children against real and actual dangers has become less important than training them to be sexual, but that even that is less important than the wider political aims of a powerful overarching ideology. Perhaps the death of innocence is merely a means to an end; a relatively minor aspect of a more all-encompassing war.
Moderns of course might point to what, humanly speaking, appear unquestionable benefits of changed times. After all, the sons and daughters of the poor have rarely enjoyed the luxury of a protected upbringing. They have had to work the treadmill like adults to keep themselves and their families from starvation. Isn’t it self-evident that children are better off in our more enlightened times, enjoying material security and universal education, a kind of ‘safeguarding’ we can all get behind?
Don’t let us be blind to the ruinous fruits of affluence when it grows outside of a common and communally-binding moral framework. Without that, material security cannot help going hand in hand with consumerism, and consumerism with moral licence and degradation.
As for that other redefined concept, education, it now means more and more, earlier and earlier, of the knowledge of wickedness that is not wisdom. Whether touted as protective or as a liberating right, this knowledge that can never be un-known is prioritised increasingly openly over such mundanities as literacy.
So childhood as a state of innocence and tutelage is in course of being conceptually and really abolished, but childhood as amoral, sexualised irresponsibility is being extended indefinitely through life.
When the spiritual reckoning is made, as it must and will be, who will say that the value-free hedonism now prolonged far into what ought to be responsible adulthood is in any meaningful sense ‘better’ for young people than struggling for livelihood? To believe so, it is first necessary to expunge all consideration of eternity, another project well in hand.
It was recently reported that CBBC (target audience six to 12-year-olds) had featured its ‘first lesbian kiss’. The BBC received complaints about age-inappropriateness, but in response seems to have ignored that point and talked instead of the need to make every child, whatever its sexuality, feel validated.
To a right understanding, ‘childhood sexuality’ is a contradiction in terms. But in the Corporation’s eyes the transition of the child into the desired end-result of a miniature new order adult has to be total. A fully sexual autonomous being, innocent of nothing in human life, owing nothing to parents and certainly not to its Creator, but only to itself and to that same new order, is the intended result.
The only piece still missing from the puzzle is the identity of the driving force behind all this progress. Who is it that wants all this to happen, and why? Where does the power come from to blindside rational opposition and steamroller on?
I’m no conspiracy theorist in the commonest sense of the term. I don’t believe that the BBC, or globalists, or George Soros, or the presiding spirits of social media or BLM, any or all, are sinister geniuses with an evil masterplan to destroy Western civilisation through its young. Who knows what their wishes may be, but their incompetence is certain.
I do, though, believe that the Father of Lies is just such an evil genius, with just such a masterplan, and unless God intervenes, he has all the competence to see it through. Also, the world is full of useful idiots, with or without good intentions.
God help us, and let us keep praying.
This article appears on the website A Grain of Sand and is reproduced by kind permission.