Represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the boys are arguing that their use of biologically correct, if politically incorrect, pronouns is speech protected by the First Amendment. The Constitution also forbids the district from compelling them to speak as district bureaucrats suddenly — how long ago did they embrace this orthodoxy? — prefer. Furthermore, the institute says it has spoken with another Kiel Area family “whose daughter was recently given an in-school suspension for ‘sexual harassment’ based on a single statement using an allegedly ‘wrong’ pronoun — and the statement was said to a third party, not even to the allegedly ‘misgendered’ student.”
Perhaps Kiel Area schools can waste time trying to bully children into conformity to this or that fad because the schools have so splendidly accomplished their actual task: education. It might, however, be best if schools that are eager to engage in pronoun policing not even attempt education.
In one of their more preposterous chapters, the authors claim “For many students . . . They want their values to be challenged; they want to be sharpened by their peers. They are excited to sit in classes where debates will erupt, where students with different views will speak up, where steel sharpens steel.” Really? Please let me know where I can find those students in this age of cancel culture. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s November 2021 report, “Campus Free Speech: A New Roadmap,” suggests that students routinely censor themselves, avoiding controversial topics so they do not find themselves exiled from campus life. There also have been reported multiple cases of free speech controversies at American universities where certain views are censored or prescribed statements are compelled. The academic culture has eroded to such a low point that new organizations, like the Academic Freedom Alliance, have formed to protect the freedom of thought, inquiry, discussion, and expression at our universities.
The reaction of a handful of officials in March 2020 was unsophisticated, panic reaction. It is as simple as that. Accepting uncritically apocalyptic predictions of 100% excess deaths by the summer, they promoted lockdowns and masks, neither of which had any scientific basis. On the contrary, pre-pandemic research and plans have explicitly excluded such measures and argued against fearmongering and disrupting normal life. Likewise, arbitrary physical distancing (there is nothing “social” about it) proved useless for an infection whose main mode of transmission is aerosols (tiny, virus-carrying droplets that are suspended in the air and can travel long distances.)
The panic reaction (copy China!) of a few influential figures was quickly adopted by officials in Europe and the US. You could hardly find any calming message, or any official voice that questioned baseless, unprecedented counter-pandemic measures.
Once ignited, panic spreads in the public like a wildfire. We don’t have good defensive mechanisms against fearmongering, and it is nearly impossible to reverse panic by data. Back in April 2020, when COVID waves quickly peaked everywhere— uniformly and unrelated to human action — it was clear that whatever the death toll in 2020 might be, it would be far away from 100% excess deaths. The apocalyptic predictions and the panic reaction that followed turned out to be colossal mistakes. But almost everyone was already brainwashed. The genie could not have been put back in the bottle.