Spain’s freshly inaugurated governing coalition is composed of socialists, Communists, and Communist sympathizers. But instead of seizing the means of production or nationalizing Spanish industry, the governing Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) is waging war on homophobia.
Government leaders announced their intention to veto a parental-rights law passed in the subdivision of Murcia. The law, which allows the region’s parents to opt their children out of lessons on “socially controversial moral questions or sexuality” in public schools, infuriated members of the Spanish Left, who claimed that the carve-out denies the children of “homophobic” and “sexist” parents the “right” to state-sanctioned moral instruction on matters of sex and gender. Irene Montero, Spain’s “equalities minister,” told reporters that the “sons and daughters of homophobic parents have the same right as everyone else to be educated about respect, the promotion of human rights, and being able to love whoever they want.” The children of “sexist parents,” she said, still have a “right to be educated about equality and feminism.”
There’s no reason that this line of argument — which holds that the state must usurp parental authority in certain matters of moral formation — should end with compulsory sex education for elementary-school students. It could equally be used to deprive “homophobic” and “sexist” parents of their custody rights. If children of such parents “have the same right as everyone else to be educated” about sexual morality in the manner the state prescribes, how much more of a right do they have to live with parents who will affirm their right “to love whoever they want” or uphold the ideals of “feminism”?
The prospect sounds less outlandish when one considers the contempt that the governing coalition holds for those dissenting parents. To the PSOE, those who would withdraw their children from the classroom do not merely hold to an alternative moral paradigm but instead cause a “rupture [in] school harmony and the culture of dialogue and reflection,” while imposing “a blind and uncritical authoritarianism.” Describing traditionalist parents in such a manner is a strange use of the word “authoritarianism,” but then again, it’s a strange understanding of “human rights” that includes lessons about homosexuality for small children in public schools. I fail to see what “human rights” has to do with instructing seven-year-olds about the glory of various sexual practices– and perhaps my failure is evidence that such lessons ought to be compulsory.
Such is the Orwellian state of the Spanish regime, which claims that parents are “authoritarians” for objecting to its undisguised authoritarianism and that it, the regime, is cultivating a “culture of dialogue and reflection” as it does the opposite. Spanish officials call dissenting parents “blind and uncritical,” even as the Spanish government itself insists on blind and uncritical deference to its preachment on matters of sexual morality.
C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man provides a window into the potential consequences of such pedagogical subversion. In Man, Lewis responds to a contemporary primer for British students called The Green Book, written by Alec King and Martin Ketley (pseudonymized as “Gaius and Titius”), that Lewis claimed was designed to discredit the natural law and Christian morality. Gaius and Titius masked their polemics, Lewis said, in apparently neutral prose, which gave their textbook a false air of impartiality. He worried that The Green Book was sufficiently subtle that students might swallow its premises whole while remaining oblivious to the ideology they imbibed. Lewis wrote:
The very power of Gaius and Titius depends on the fact that they are dealing with a boy: a boy who thinks he is “doing” his “English prep” and has no notion that ethics, theology, and politics are all at stake. It is not a theory they put into his mind but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its pretense unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all.
Spanish children may not realize that “ethics, theology, and politics are all at stake” in classes the government insists are about “equality” and “human rights.” The government may very much want children to believe, in contravention of their “homophobic” parents, that there is no “controversy at all” about matters of sexual morality, even as their parents’ objections militate to the contrary. But the largest question — what any of this has to do with the governing coalition’s professed socialist ambitions — is yet unanswered. Suffice it to say, Karl Marx would be surprised to see his ideological progeny waging war against “homophobic” proles instead of ushering in the Workers’ Paradise.