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WELLINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — New Zealand’s new government, a coalition between the centre-right National party, the libertarian ACT party, and the populist NZ First party, has signalled that it will remove the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based education guidelines in schools.

It is part of what the new government is describing as its “war on woke.” The replacement guidelines are yet to be outlined but, according to NZ First leader Winston Peters, the intention is to make them more transparent. He said parents have a right to know what their child is being taught “before, not after, the event.”

According to the New Zealand charity Family First, the previous curriculum sought to “inject sexuality education into the rest of curriculum,” putting “schools at risk of becoming ideological and indoctrinatory spaces.” Primary age children were to “be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns.” Access to toilets had to “align with their gender identification.” Trans students were not required to use a gender-neutral toilet but could choose the male or female toilets of their choice. The old curriculum even extended to the teaching of science, with students being asked to consider how biological sex is “constructed.”

There has been a hostile response to the government’s position, especially from proponents of the previous guidelines. Katie Fitzpatrick, professor of education at the University of Auckland, a lead writer on the previous guide for sexuality education, described the government’s policy as an “attack on young people,” adding that the move was “repressive” and “backwards.”

The most contentious issue in the previous curriculum guidelines is the distinction between “gender” and “sex.” The Family First report noted that the two are seen as different, which leads to contradictions: “gender is fluid (and therefore, subjective, and changeable), whilst in the same breath, (it is suggested) that sex is assigned at birth. This claim is simply inconsistent.”

Because of the growing incidence of gender reassignment surgery and medical initiatives like puberty blockers, this has become much more than a simple debate over semantics; it is influencing decisions about making potentially permanent changes to students’ bodies.

READ: Florida fines high school for letting gender-confused boy play on girls volleyball team

How did this argument arise? It seems obvious that gender, which according to this definition is performative and transient – it is claimed there are dozens of them – should never be confused with the permanent physical characteristics of children and adolescents.

The reason is an antipathy amongst many academics, especially in the humanities and social sciences, for independent and objective standards. With any binary distinction, such as male and female, it is not possible to urge any change without defeating the original proposition. If, say, men are defined as oppressive patriarchs and women as victims – there are only two possibilities – then any political action to improve the situation means that women must end up as patriarchs, contradicting the original claim.

Put another way, if there are only two types of people, those with brown eyes and those with blue, then changing the eye colour of the brown eyed people means they can only end up with blue eyes. So, do they have brown eyes or blue?

Normally, the sane option is to posit an external standard, a third element. In the case of male-female relationships, for example, it would be principles of ethical human behaviour against which both sexes can be judged. But, rejecting objective moral standards as being, in themselves, a form of repression, many academics in the humanities and social sciences opted instead to muddy the waters by coming up with the idea that there are multiple genders. Then, having blurred the distinction between gender and sex, they can distract attention away from the underlying logical problem in any binary system.

It is a form of sophistry: something that sounds complex and insightful, but is at base linguistic trickery. And, of course, it is communicated with all the customary arrogance of the sophists.

It is worth asking the questions: “What is the educational aim of this kind of sex-focused school initiative?” and “Is there any attempt by educators to self-evaluate and, if so, against what criteria?” Typically, the aim seems to be to influence behaviour rather than achieve any educational improvement.

The use of phrases like “respect for gender equality, or people of different gender identity” points to an effort to shape conduct, not create pedagogical outcomes. No students will say that they got an A+ for “respect.”

Worse, that push for respect tends to go only in one direction. What used to be considered an important civic value – respect for the privacy of the family or an individual’s sex (private) life – does not get equal attention, to say the least.

The New Zealand government claims it will be returning to the “basics” and focus on reading, writing, and mathematics, activities with clear educational value and specific and measurable outcomes. On that basis, it might be better to jettison sex-oriented education entirely and instead try to ensure that the students behave decently and considerately towards each other – especially towards those who are different from them.

READ: Is the transgender movement losing steam in the face of increasing opposition?