Jonathon van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

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Thousands of parents protest the Wynne government's explicit sex-ed program in Thorncliffe Park on March 14. Courtesy of Thorncliffe Parents Association

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‘The tipping point’: Why Ontario’s graphic sex-ed curriculum provoked mass protests

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Dr. Scott Masson is a professor of English at Tyndale University College. He’s a trustee for the Greater-Toronto-Area based Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity. He’s also an avid watcher of politics - and he’s watching the loud protests against Premier Kathleen Wynne’s sex education curriculum sweeping the province with great interest. The protests, he thinks, could actually do real damage to both Kathleen Wynne’s government - and the public education system itself.

I was surprised that such a groundswell of activism had been triggered by this new sex education curriculum, considering that such curriculums have been implemented across the country, and in Ontario itself, to little fanfare for decades.

It turns out that Dr. Masson was surprised as well. However, he told me by phone that he believes that for parents, many things contained in the newest curriculum may simply be a bridge too far.

It does lower ages of things like consent, and it teaches consent from the get- go, it includes more explicit teaching on homosexual acts, it does contain little updates, technological updates like sexting and so forth, although it doesn’t talk about the thing that’s most toxic which is the internet pornography. I find that extraordinary. If you’re saying we need to do this because of the advances in technology, then how come you’ve got no mention of the danger and problem with internet pornography, although it’s well documented?

And finally, they have this sex and gender teaching in grade three, where, you know, ‘you are a boy, but you know what, have you ever considered that you might be a girl?’ That sort of teaching. So those are significant additions, but the basic template for it was already there. So why...then this response? And I just think there’s a general sense and that people have perceived it, and it’s not just in this, but they can see it in the movies, in their culture in general, in their regular arrest of pedophiles and pedophile rings, internet pornography. They can see that it’s now everywhere around them, the sexualization of children. They can see it in the ads, they can see it in Hollywood, they can see it in the books they can see in their public libraries. 

And I just think they reached a tipping point.

Just like Peter Hitchens, Scott Masson looks far beyond the current debate in Ontario for answers—he believes that modern sex education is a fundamental part of Cultural Marxism. And like Hitchens, he believes that the Cultural Marxists have achieved staggering successes over the past fifty years.

“People have to understand that the Cultural Marxist project was intended to be a slow moving one,” Masson explains.

They tried violent revolution, just as they did in the Soviet Union in 1917. There was those throughout Western Europe and elsewhere who wanted that to happen in their countries as well, and in fact Marx himself predicted that it would happen first in the most civilized and progressive countries. It didn’t, and they were puzzled by this and very upset about it and they realized that the workers, the very people that they thought would overthrow the capitalist pigs, were actually the most adamantly opposed to the Marxist project.

What they realized was that these workers were so wedded to the nuclear family of Christendom, the family and the education system and all the marks of civil society, that they didn’t want to do that and they weren’t going to do that. So they saw Christendom and its teaching on various things as the main obstacle to be overcome. And so they fought to uproot the culture as a means of bringing about that revolution, and of course the sexual relations inside of marriage were one of the key aspects, but that’s very early on. Two theorists, a man by the name of Antonio Gramsci and György Lukács, they did this very early on.

And the successes they achieved are obvious, as a very cursory look at our post-modern, post-Christian, and porn-soaked society gloomily illustrates. But while many Christians feel as if the changes have been recent, Masson points out that they have roots nearly a century old.

I’ll give you an example, an early example. Lukács regarded, and they all regarded the family as an institution in society, it was a recognized authority of people and that was an obstacle to the egalitarian impulse. So Lukács, the Hungarian theorist, after the First World War, he came to have some influence, and he used a program called cultural terrorism, which introduced a radical sex ed curriculum into Hungarian schools. So he sought deliberately and intentionally to undermine the family, and with it the Christian faith. And many people have been noting this sort of, so called double-helix effect between faith and family. If you undermine the one, you undermine the other. We’ve experienced liberalism theologically attacked on the Christian faith, straight up front, and those have largely been unsuccessful amongst the faithful. But the attacks on the family are a way of undermining the faith, because if you break families down then the bonds of trust and faithfulness often go with them.

Lukács sought to do that, he organized sex lectures with graphic illustrations. The youth were to indulge in free love. Christian sexual morality and monogamy were ridiculed and parental and church authority were also undermined, ridiculed, and there was a propaganda blitz and so forth. Now, they were overthrown in Hungary when the Romanian army invaded, but that was the first attempt to impose Cultural Marxism, back in the early 1920’s and that was followed up many years later by other Cultural Marxists. They’re loosely affiliated but they have the same project there, but that was the very first one. In the 1930’s it came back with various other writings. Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism, even one called The Sexual Revolution, believe it or not, 1936. You know, we associate the Sexual Revolution with the 1960’s, and he was talking about it in the 1930’s.

 The Cultural Marxists, says Masson, were successful for a variety of reasons. Not only did they successfully utilize fraudulent academic works like Margaret Mead’s 1928 Coming of Age in Samoa and Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s Kinsey Reports, they infiltrated the media and began to work their influences there, as well.

They promoted themselves through non-traditional means. They did use academia, but they also used media and the entertainment industry. So during the Second World War, the Cultural Marxists were heavily involved in mass media. To some degree they still are. I would say that that’s one of their most successful ways of spreading their message. So they really did try to get into the cultural edifice of the United States and Canada and worked through that means. It really made big shift in the 1960’s when academia was infiltrated, but you can see it back in the 50’s and 60’s definitely and it’s in the popular culture.

It happened in Canada primarily through the legislation of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When he was justice minister, he had an omnibus bill which decriminalized abortion and also homosexuality, along with a variety of other things; it was a really big omnibus bill, and that led to the the abolition of any sanction against abortion--but note how it was connected with removing sanctions against homosexuality. You wouldn’t, at least immediately, have thought that there was a connection, but if you look at the writing of the day, a man by the name of Herbert Marcuse in 1965 wrote a little article called ‘Repressive Tolerance.’ He talks about how the Anglophone world had inherited this notion of tolerance from John Locke which was that we tolerated opinions that we found personally odious. We simply would tolerate them because that was the price of freedom and living in a civil society rather than engaging in the sort of religious wars which Locke himself would have seen. England is going to tolerate people with even radically opposed views. But Marcuse thought that this notion of tolerance was a problem. He thought that what it assumed, it assumed certain basic things about the world, and those things that it assumed were Christian, and so he wanted to uproot that notion of tolerance. He called that ‘repressive tolerance.’ He brought in what he called ‘liberating tolerance,’ which we experience in our day as a very intolerant tolerance, so when people now talk about tolerance, what they mean is, if you say something that I don’t agree with, in the name of tolerance, you’ll shut up.

The idea of “repressive tolerance,” for anyone who has been watching - or feeling - the cultural winds, has been taking root for quite some time now. People are regularly fired for holding Christian views that contradict the new sexual orthodoxy. Courts invent new rights out of thin air, based on concepts discovered yesterday, to overthrow institutions that have existed for thousands of years. And for those who still hold to the old truths, recognizing that truth doesn’t change - increasingly, they no longer have the right to allow those opinions to influence their behavior, as we see with the Oregon bakers who were fined $135,000 for ostensibly hurting someone’s feelings. Our current generation, of course, doesn’t put up much of a fuss - because the school system they journeyed through didn’t teach them how to think, it taught them what to think.

“One of the early essays on this that really identified this for many people was C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man,” Masson noted. “He talked precisely about that issue. People are being taught to do what their teachers would never do whereas the previous model of education was, you know, a father would teach his son, ‘Do as I do.’ You know? And I would not ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do. Whereas now, education is something like what the poultry farmer does to the turkey. ‘Here’s what I want you to do.’ And it’s an experiment upon the next generation. So it’s moved away from education into something like propaganda.”

This experiment, Masson believes, may be facing more trouble from those fueling the sex-ed protests in Ontario than they realize. People are angry, they’re fed up, and it seems they have no plans of going anywhere or calming down. In fact, Dr. Masson suspects that if those protesting the sex-ed curriculum continue to pick up steam, they could destabilize the entire system. Thousands of parents may well pull their children out of the public system. And when then happens, it could change everything - especially for the Liberal Party.

In 2016, the money won’t be flowing into the public system as it was in the local schools, and that will have an effect on the teachers. The unions will be angry at the government about that, so I think that this is going to continue the snowball. It’s certainly not going to go away as a political issue. I think it’s going to hit the federal Liberals by association, and they are strongly associated quite frankly. ... I’ve heard from people that they will never again vote for the Liberals.  

...The unrest that has been created by the forced implementation of this curriculum, I think it’s going to bring down the system. Now, it’s not going to happen overnight, but I do think that there’s going to be a gradual unraveling of the public education system in Canada and we’re going to enter into a very, very interesting era of politics and social life in Canada. I don’t think that it’s going to be that comfortable, I’m sorry to say, but in the sense that I think that our political and social life is going to become more fractious.

There is going to be more debate. It’s probably a healthy thing. Canadians have been far too deferential to authority for too long, even though the authorities have gone well beyond their purview within the state, I think. They’ve involved themselves in the family in ways that communist governments only dreamt of, and it’s probably too much too soon, I would say, on that front, but we can see that it’s not just in Ontario, it’s in Canada, it’s worldwide, it’s in the US, it’s all come at once.

And I would encourage parents to pull their kids out.

As Dr. Scott Masson says, we’re entering a very interesting era of politics and social life - not only in Canada, but across the West. Cultural Marxism has made huge gains, from dominating the entertainment industry, to infiltrating academia, to politically legitimizing the idea of repressive tolerance. But it seems that some parents are finally standing up and saying no, refusing to allow people like Premier Kathleen Wynne to pass on her values to their children, and insisting that they have the opportunity to pass on their own. The children, of course, are the future. We’ve come a long way down this road, but ensuring the protection of our children and their innocence is a very good place to turn around. 



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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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