Something strange is happening within our education system. And it’s being done by well-meaning teachers. And facilitated by brain-dead parents.
Just before the pandemic and the lockdowns, the Irish National Teachers Organisation held a large conference in Wexford. Their Keynote Speaker was a British woman named Elly Barnes who told teachers how to circumvent parental concerns over the sex education they were instructed to impose upon young children. As she giggled, this was the advice Barnes gave to all those Irish teachers:
“Don’t send a letter home to say you’re about to embark on this work. That’s the worst thing you can do. Don’t hold a parents’ meeting. You don’t want thirty parents shouting at you. Who wants that in your life?”
In that vast hall of Ireland’s teachers, not a single voice of dissent was raised. A British woman had just convinced our best and brightest educators that in order to indoctrinate Ireland’s children, they must deceive parents. Then she doubled down on keeping parents out of their children’s sexual and moral education by telling those silent teachers:
“You’re not asking them if they like it or not. That’s not the issue, it’s in policy, we have to do this work.”
That was two years ago and now we’re seeing how those seeds of duplicity are subtly manifesting. When my fourteen-year-old received his school report this year, two of his teachers referred to him as “they.” He never requested that. Those teachers never asked him, or us, his parents. There was no discussion.
Two woke teachers decided he was now ‘they’
My son became a ‘they’ because two woke teachers decided ‘he’ was now ‘they.’ Perhaps they too giggled along at the conference because when you’re more conscious of the absurdity of misgendering a child than actually educating that child, you get away with being a mediocre teacher.
I remember sitting with two hundred working-class transition year schoolboys and their teachers in The Axis Theatre in Ballymun. A panel of ‘artists’ was asked to facilitate a ‘Creative Space’ event and, having worked with groups of these young men at The Axis for a few years, I was asked to be on that panel. There were some superb speakers, Damien Dempsey, Dean Scurry, John Connors, Lethal Dialect, and Maverick Sabre. Then I was asked to speak – without patronizing the kids or boring them – about the meaning of that elusive word, “Creative.”
I looked into the audience at those couple of hundred kids and their teachers and remembered that when we were kids we had some wonderful teachers and some real degenerates. One of our teachers, a Christian Brother aided and abetted by the institution that facilitated his sick fantasies, ended up in prison for child rape. He tried it with me, once. I was only a skinny little runt but I was still able to fight back. Only just. Too many others weren’t.
I was a sexually curious child. They could see it in me. Smell it off me. They could already taste it. And they were patient. And they were trusted. And they were teachers.
Adults knew about it and did nothing. Just like they are doing today. Vultures and parasites feed off courage and innocence. You know the type. The ones who are certain about everything. The self-appointed moral guardians. The expert witness. The woke enforcer. Those same terrified teachers who forced masks onto our children’s faces during Covid are now bravely insisting on teaching our children about new forms of sexuality behind the closed doors of the classroom. Who asked them to do this? Why are they doing it?
As I looked at those two hundred kids in that theatre, I remembered how we grew up to discover so much about sex. How it can make you lonely. Confused. Filled with doubt. In obscene cases, it can violate you. Break you. Kill you. Same with alcohol. Same with drugs.
But just like creativity, sex can connect you. Elevate you. Fill you with belief. In sublime cases, sex can repair you. Empower you. Give life to you. Same with alcohol. Same with drugs. Definitely the same with creativity. But it depends on your teachers. Some teachers are sublime. Some are degenerates. Learning the difference between the two has destroyed some kids. And adults.
Great teachers are a gift from the Gods but when it comes to Ireland’s children, our history is littered with unbearable institutional horror driven by individual obscenity. Why is this Government insisting on indoctrinating children into an ideology that could so effortlessly take us back to a time when the adult facilitation of grooming, sexual assault, and rape of children was normal? Is this what they meant by the new normal?
Labelling parents ‘transphobes’
If they care so much about our kids, why have they left thousands of children homeless, and hundreds of thousands more living in poverty? If they care so much about our children, why haven’t they introduced healthy meals to the classroom instead of force-fed ideologies?
Why is any concerned parent who probes this new rabid indoctrination instantly labelled a homophobe, transphobe, far right or fascist? Why are our teachers so insecure about what they are teaching our children that they feel the need to censor any discussion with parents?
The State just jailed a schoolteacher who questioned this ideology. Regardless of what you may feel about it, a schoolteacher who has committed no crime is in jail. We can talk all we want about contempt of court or religious zeal or oddball character traits or evangelical fervour or right-wing conspiracies or whatever the hell other distraction allows us to willingly embrace being deaf, dumb, and blind to the reality that a man is locked in a cell because he refuses to deny the reality that the emperor has no clothes.
The Irish Times pulled its standard defence of the State and depicted the imprisoned teacher as a moron. The only problem is, parents and students describe him as a superb educator and the jailed moron has two PhDs. He’s not one of the usual soft targets. You know the ones, the people who questioned the veracity of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, the ones the Irish Times diagnosed in the screeching headline of another Irish Times hit piece as, ‘egoists, paranoiacs, and fascists.’
I looked up at those two hundred kids and remembered what it was like to be a boy, to be talked at, patronized, and lectured to about the dangerous desires of sex, drugs, and alcohol by some adult who knew nothing about real life; an adult like the one too many of us would become. When we were kids, nobody talked about the glorious dangers of creativity; the one stimulus potentially more addictive than sex, drugs, and alcohol. So, I reached for the only thing I knew I had in common with those kids, the simple truth.
I told them that the truth is we’re all messed up. All of us. Teachers and students. Adults and kids. They already know that some teachers are brilliant, that some teachers are life-changing facilitators, empowering alchemists, and creative humanists. They already know that some teachers are not; that some teachers are poisonous and destructive and shouldn’t be let anywhere near children, much less be ‘educating’ them. Suddenly the theatre shifted. Some of the teachers wanted blood now. Mine. But the kid in me looked back at them and said, “You know who you are.” And the kids know who they are, too. And the adults, as well. And, just like before, they are doing nothing.
Trans people are people. Some are beautiful. Some are not. Some are everything in between. That’s what makes them people. That’s what makes them equal. That’s what makes them open to being loved. And loathed. And everything in between. Any individual or group with a hatred of any other individual or group based on gender, skin colour, sexuality, race, age, or any other increasingly weaponised ‘difference’ is a damn fool or a group of damned fools.
But nobody is beyond discussion either, or criticism or argument or humour or embrace or rejection or anything in-between. Nobody. Even in an often-questionable court system, nobody is presumed guilty until proven innocent; unless, of course, a lazy media hack declares your guilt. Then you’re fair game for any kind of character assassination. Particularly if you possess no power.
Infantilising or fetishizing any individual or group or community or nation based on these weaponized categories is not just an insult to that individual or group or community or nation, it reduces all of us. The ugly implication is that these people are incapable of defining their own destinies because of some malicious systemic impediment. Viewing everything through the prism of pain, we insist they are victims, even if they don’t.
We seek out individuals and groups who verify our premise and reward them with a promotion to the lucrative position of professional victimhood. Real victims are ignored while the pros are elevated. In the clichéd kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed professional victim is king, and just like the emperor, the king is buck-naked and making a killing out of the orchestrated division of diversity and inclusion.
Fear transmuted into action can be a profound tool for good but when that fear is sublimated into prejudice it becomes a weapon of dehumanisation. Over the last two years, we fought our fear of ‘impending danger’ and returned to our more primitive selves. An air-born killer had descended on the world and forced us to confront our deeper nature. Many people showed incredible fortitude in the face of an unknown enemy yet, despite the insistence that ‘we are all in this together,’ many more became fractured and tribal as political opportunists drove us to double down on our fear-based position and determinedly attack all dissent.
During Covid the Government was frenziedly drafting sex-education policies. Why?
Friends and families fell out. Some fell apart. Intimate partner domestic violence went through the roof. Mental health problems exploded. In this existential crisis, many good people’s sense of self collapsed. It was an undeclared war. And, if history has taught us anything, it’s that, in times of war, once we allow ourselves to dehumanise an individual or a group, formerly beautiful people become capable of unimaginable obscenity.
The primal instinct is still in us. Protecting your family or your tribe becomes paramount – unless they’re on the wrong side of the divide. Emergency laws granted selective rights to some while removing fundamental rights from others. Under the noble guise of protection, our rationale for attacking others became simpler, clearer, and, now, legally justified, rendering even the strongest of us willingly deaf, dumb, and blind. The seeds of division have yet to reveal their long-term crop but we have reaffirmed that the whipping-up of orchestrated fear can do as much damage as any atomic bomb.
While Covid was revealing our weaknesses and we were all locked down, our Government was frenziedly drafting sex education policies for our children. Why? Writers used to possess the courage to investigate the tough questions but now most are too busy accusing half the country of being fascists to investigate anything of substance, particularly when it comes to our Government. Reporters and politicians know fascism is a system of government that controls industry and commerce while suppressing all dissent. They know this is what the word means yet they relentlessly label powerless people as fascists.
One of the main men behind Yellow Vests Ireland is currently appealing a six-month prison sentence for protesting. A single father of young children, apparently he’s a ‘fascist,’ too. Meanwhile, class division is worse than ever but nobody gives a damn. Class division won’t get you a promotion in work, or a newspaper article, a book deal, or a movie franchise. Class division isn’t sexy.
So many bad ideas are being implemented in the name of rights. The relentless need of ‘activists’ to bend reality into illusory ideology, supported by usually indifferent and always duplicitous governments, makes no sense. Blind hate for someone or some group based on reductionist labels is as dangerous and damaging as it is dumb. But blind love for someone or some group based on equally reductionist labels can be just as dangerous, just as damaging, and definitely just as dumb. The moment we bestow a get-out-of-jail-free card on someone for ugly behaviour just because of his or her race or skin colour or gender or sexuality, we feed the prejudice that we claim to be preventing.
Being proud to be Irish is Nazism?
Being proud to be Ukrainian is suddenly a beautiful thing. And being proud to be a Russian is not. That’s what we are told now. Pride in being Nigerian couldn’t be nicer but being proud to be Irish is Nazism. And questioning any aspect of the damaging and disturbing policies of our Government makes you a fascist now. Perhaps shame at our collective cowardice in the face of Covid has sublimated into rabid warmongering and we are turning on each other, but reductively defining yourself by your skin colour, your sexuality, your gender, or whatever else is on the grievance list is as dumb as humans get.
Some gay people are beautiful. Some are not. And everything in between. Some refugees are beautiful. Some are not. And everything in between. That’s what makes them people. Some might not even be Ukrainian. Some might not even be refugees. But who can blame them? They took their shot. The Irish have been doing it forever in America. Some of those Irish are beautiful and some are not. And none of them are beyond criticism.
In all of today’s smoke-and-mirrors horror show, there are only two categories that seem to make sense anymore: Creative and Destructive. Maybe they are the only questions really worth posing. The context doesn’t even matter anymore. From conversation to cooking, from pulling a pint to curing cancer, regardless of whether they believe what they are doing is right or wrong, are the people you are dealing with creative or destructive?
We claim to care so much about the children of this nation but what happens when a child is born? Where is the outrage at the casual medicalization of that birth? Who protects pregnant women on the disturbing conveyor belt of birth? Who pays the rich surgeons slicing perfect stomachs to expedite a return to the golf course? Where are the campaigns against the stealing of public beds by private patients who pay to be kept away from the poor? Where is the disdain at the orchestrated demonization of breastfeeding to fuel the lucrative pumping of powdered poisons? Who gives a damn about the new mothers left to tend their newborn in homeless hostels?
If you put bad food into your body and refuse physical engagement, your body will turn to muck. You will seek out chemical rushes. You will sink deeper into your cycle of self-sabotage. You will negate responsibility, destroy potential, and hate yourself, and others. If you put bad ideas into your brain without questioning them, your mind will turn to muck. You will seek out gossip and prejudice. You will sink deeper into your cycle of malice. You will negate education, destroy inspiration, justify self-hatred, and use it to hurt yourself and others. In the name of diversity and inclusion, we are teaching children how to hate themselves so much that they would rather be anybody other than who they are?
When you are told that hating yourself and your body is to be celebrated, it makes macabre sense to want to cut into yourself and remove your pain. And when these new normal adults stand around applauding, they verify what you already secretly knew: that despite their public proclamations of protecting you, this is really all about them and they couldn’t care less about you. Unless, of course, they want you. Then it’s all happy smiles and sexy hugs. Just like the teachers who gained our trust then stole our childhood.
I looked up at those two hundred kids and they made me realize that life really is too short for this. Life is too sacred to waste on the destroyers of innocence. Life is too miraculous to put in the hands of any ideologically driven educators who are less interested in inspiring a boy’s mind than they are in cutting off his genitals.
I was a sexually curious child and I needed teachers to protect me from that curiosity, not facilitate it. Where are the armies of teachers who should be raging against this indoctrination? No doubt they are being pressured from above but have they forgotten why they were called to teach? They are supposed to be the truth-tellers. You know the ones. The half-mad but fully alive folks. The ones who may be terrified to point out that the degenerate emperor has no clothes on but they still find the courage do it anyway. The childlike creatives. The true inspirers. The real teachers.
Filmmaker Terry McMahon has been a guest lecturer in most of Ireland’s major universities and is a father of five children.