Progressive education: Decolonize your ears, queer the kids, sneer at previous generations

By Jonathon Van Maren

I have been working through Douglas Murray’s new book The War on the West lately, and have been struck once again by the sheer lunacy of the civilizational self-loathing our elites perennially engage in. Has there ever been a society that was led by those who hate so much of it? As Murray pointed out in a previous book, The Strange Death of Europe, there’s nothing wrong with studying, revisiting, and discussing historical injustices — but to say that a nation has done bad is quite different than saying it cannot do good. That, as it happens, is where we are.

The latest example of this stupidity comes to us from Cambridge University, which has just launched a new course titled “Decolonizing the Ear.” The purpose of this course is to strain our musical inheritance through the sieves of imperialism, colonialism, and class — leaving, one suspects, not much left over. According to The Telegraph, the course purports to examine how “Empire … affected our understanding of what constitutes ‘music’” and also how “genres like opera seem particularly susceptible to racialized representations.” Additionally, classical music specifically is likely “complicit … in projects of Empire and neoliberal systems of power.”

Students will presumably pay actual money that they have borrowed or been given by their parents to listen to an instructor maul Mozart and Haydn in order to deconstruct a “musical establishment that was leveraged in the service of patriarchy, class aspiration, and imperial expansion.” Rather than learning music and how to engage with it, these kids will be taught how to tear it down. By the time the biographies of Bach and Beethoven are dissected, I’m sure plenty of problematic tidbits will be uncovered in addition to their original sin of “whiteness.” This will allow both professor and students to feel morally superior, which is of course the point.

There are only two problems with the “progressive” view of education: Everything they don’t teach, and everything that they do teach. One school district in Illinois, for example, has overhauled its curriculum to infuse it with gender theory, teaching pre-kindergarten children about transgenderism, “breaking the binary,” made-up pronouns such as “ze” and “zir”; by third grade, kids learn that white, European “colonizers” forced a “Western and Christian ideological framework” on non-whites and also “forced two-spirit people to conform to the gender binary.” Prior to that, presumably, the forests were teaming with transgender tribespeople, free from the heteronormative colonialists headed their way.

Meanwhile, the School District of Philadelphia encouraged educators to go to a conference on “BDSM,” “kink,” “trans sex,” and “banging beyond binaries” in 2021.

But despite all that — and there are depressingly large mountains of other, similar material — columnist Anthea Butler took to MSNBC to pen an opinion piece warning about … homeschooling, which she says is a plot by evangelicals to kill the public schools (and keep them away from all that good stuff about banging or breaking beyond the binaries, which they won’t learn at home). She also (of course) said that homeschooling has “insidious” racist roots and began largely in opposition to integration. Christians, she warns, “saw homeschooling as a way to cut the government out of educating Christian children and prepare them to take their place in a theocratic government.” Disappointingly, she didn’t include any juicy evidence about these dictators-in-waiting.

It takes a true dedication to delusion to survey the public education system and higher education and conclude that homeschoolers are the problem. Those kids, by the way, are learning about classical music, and literature, and the glories of Western civilization as well as the injustices and the horrors. Students who are taught to hate their civilization cannot be expected to maintain it or defend it, and the gender-confused, indoctrinated kids emerging from the public schools are going to be the problem. But if you’re a progressive, this is all wrong. You’ve got to decolonize your ears, queer the kids, and sneer at the inheritance build by the blood, sweat, and tears of scores of previous generations.

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