Brainwashing campus activists starts long before college

By Karol Markowicz,

Originally published by the New York Post, May 5, 2024. Reprinted by permission.

Americans shocked at the aggressive protests on our most elite campuses often imagine these kids have become brainwashed while away at school. That indoctrination certainly does take place. Yet the process for most starts far earlier, often in the K-12 years — or even before.

What we’re seeing on our campuses is the culmination of many years of leftist activists pushing kids to the forefront to spread their propaganda. And it’s not remotely just board books like “A is for Activist” that introduce toddlers to the idea of protest before they even set foot in school.

Teachers push their agenda; whether climate change, gun control or the war in Gaza, they’re focused far less on teaching children how to think than what to think. The goal is to turn kids into activists, and the sooner the better.

After all, children can be valuable for shutting down debate. Their youth implies innocence and seems to confer moral authority: How could anyone argue with an innocent child?

Greta Thunberg famously quit school to campaign against climate change. It was impossible to challenge a pig-tailed child, even if she demanded the world stop functioning.

Recall her tearful “how dare you!” in front of the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019? It reverberated widely because of her age. A grown-up making the same plea would be seen as unbalanced.

Yet the idea of Greta as a climate-warrior spokesperson was born when a grown-up activist saw how teen anti-gun crusaders, after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., viciously attacked ideological foes with minimal pushback.

No one could argue with a traumatized teen — and that was the point

The concept has only spread since.

Last week, the Stanford University encampment hosted pre-teens from Aswat Youth Ensemble, who led the genocidal chants of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” and sang Palestinian folk songs looking mildly bored.

Grown-up radicals know how to get kids interested: Last month, the Free Press reported that The Long Beach Unified School District was paying students to train in racial and social justice causes. If kids have little passion for the cause, maybe some cash will win them over.

They’re even being used as fronts for major lawsuits across the country: The group Our Children’s Trust (OCT) is pursuing so-called “climate litigation” on behalf of 21 children.

OCT describes itself as a “non-profit public interest law firm that provides strategic legal services to youth to secure their rights to a safe climate.”

The idea is that climate change harms these kids’ lives and futures. But the real motive is to present a child as the aggrieved party to make it far more difficult for an argument to be had.

OCT has “big-money backing and ties to longtime progressive activists,” Fox News reports. It “actively recruits children between the ages of 8 and 18 years old to serve as the face of their legal efforts.”

Kids don’t come up with the idea to sue various state governments for environmental harm on their own.

OK: My 8-year-old asked if he could sue his best friend for being a Philadelphia Eagles fan instead of supporting his favored Dallas Cowboys.

That’s more in line with an 8-year-old’s thinking but maybe not much less crazy than the ludicrous argument made by Julia Olson, OCT’s chief legal counsel and co-executive director, that “government violated the constitutional rights of children through laws and actions that promote fossil fuels, ignore climate change, and disproportionately imperil young people.”

Last week, combining several of the left’s pet causes into one, a drag queen led small children in a “Free Palestine” chant during “Drag Queen Story Hour” at a Valley Families for Palestine group in Amherst, Mass.

Leftist indoctrination is warping kids’ development. Children want to please grownups, and don’t know any better anyway, and so will repeat what they’re taught. But when asked to explain their knowledge of the issues, they’re often quite shallow.

In a viral video last month, two students at New York University protesting the war in Gaza were unable to explain what specifically they wanted NYU to do.

“I wish I was more educated,” sighed one. We all do.

If we’re horrified by the bad ideas and worse methods on display on our college campuses, we need to fight back long before a high-school senior gets his or her acceptance letter.

Parents must draw the line and say: My child is not your activist.

Karol Markowicz is a best-selling author, and a columnist for the New York Post and Fox News. Her podcast, The Karol Markowicz Show, is carried on iheart every Monday and Thursday.

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