The Climate of Depravity

CBS News in San Francisco reports that “A teacher at Oakland’s Markham Elementary School has been suspended indefinitely after school officials said a pair of second-graders performed sex acts on each other in class – with the teacher present.”  The school district spokesman declared that “everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident” but “it’s hard to understand how it could have occurred.”

I understand the confusion.  Since the early days of pioneer America, schoolteachers have been repeatedly forced to interrupt class so they can stop second-grade students from getting naked and engaging in oral sex before their classmates.  In this case, the teacher just stood and watched, which the school district describes as an “unacceptable lack of supervision.”

Who is this unacceptable teacher?  The district won’t say.  They’ve suspended the individual but will not release the name.  Yes, that’s right, “suspended.”  Anyone want to bet the two incidents which earned this suspension are the first time this particular teacher has driven a class full of little kids far, far away from Sesame Street?

We’ve heard a lot of gassy rhetoric about the “Climate of Hate” lately, but we’re not allowed to discuss the Climate of Depravity.  We’ve got a television network, MTV, running a series called “Skins” that follows the raunchy adventures of 15-year-olds indulging in hedonism that would make Hugh Heffner blush.  The Parents Television Council thinks it might violate child pornography laws.

The guiding philosophy of sex education in school is that energetic sex between very young children is hopelessly inevitable.  All we can do is get them to use condoms.  This is absolutely no different from declaring that shooting sprees at political rallies are inevitable, so we should just encourage the attendees to wear bulletproof vests.  Abstinence-based education is decried as a dangerous denial of the reality our education system perpetuates by surrendering to it without a fight.

The official government and cultural response to childhood sexual issues has the air of weary surrender, in which the adult world is defeated by the invincible challenge of conveying impossible virtues.  Why should kids embrace those virtues with any more energy than their elders do?  Why should they enter the battlefield of morality when they see adults lounging under a white flag and assuring each other that resistance is futile, so there’s no reason to feel bad about giving up?

The mainstream media was very vocal in naming all sorts of names after the Tucson shooting, and declaring speech that Jared Loughner never heard created an environment that curdled his obsessions into violence… but we can’t know the name of the degenerate who watched naked second-graders frolic in his or her classroom, or suggest that the kids were simply living down to lowered expectations.

A culture which worships and indulges the appetites of its children will inevitably begin to prey upon them, for the aging have a bottomless hunger for youth.  There’s a lot of money in the sexual exploitation of children, from television and movies advertising what those kids in Oakland were doing, through Planned Parenthood cleaning up the consequences from teenagers who get the same message.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, pricey lectures, or expensive equipment to explain abstinence, after all.  Endorsing a message of inevitable hedonism also allows a lot of public figures and bureaucrats to get themselves off the hook for their failure to communicate a difficult message of truth, while their time is invested in messages that fit more comfortably with their ideology.

The Climate of Depravity is a toxic cloud of greed, neglect, and opportunism.  Let’s ask the media to apply the same standards they used to explore the Climate of Hate, and see where they end up.  At the very least, it would be nice to know which public schools to avoid.  Until the educational establishment starts naming names and accepting accountability, the only reasonable answer is “all of them.”