Roper: A response to ‘Who’s really politicizing our kids’

Editor’s note: This letter to the editor of the Caledonian-Record by Rob Roper is a response to another letter to the editor that appeared in the Caledonian-Record.

To the editor:

Steven Isham’s letter of June 10th mischaracterizes my op-ed, Politicizing Our Kids and Rising Suicide Rates, and in many ways misses my point. He writes: “Rob Roper … posits that liberal claims about the environment are causing a rise in teen and young adult suicide rate. He makes this claim without providing any proof other than his own opinion.”

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

First, I posed this as a question, not a proven fact. From the article, “So, here is a question: is politicizing (politically weaponizing) our kids causing them serious psychological damage?” I do hope more people with a stronger background than myself will examine this issue further because I personally think it deserves more attention. It can’t be psychologically healthy to put so much pressure on young people — teaching them it’s up to you to save the world or you and everything you love will die — and to bombard them so relentlessly with doom and gloom scenarios about their futures.

RELATED: Hundreds of youth gather at Statehouse to urge action against global warming

I do not argue “liberal claims about the environment are causing a rise in teen and young adult suicide rate[s].” But I do question how those claims are being used by some adults (politicians, activists, teachers), if they are keeping children in a perpetual state of fear, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness for crass political purposes, and if doing so is psychologically abusive.

For example, the concept of a carbon tax is not inherently threatening to a child. But, if you tell a middle schooler that “if we don’t pass a carbon tax now all the polar bears are going to die,” and you encourage (or coerce) that child to take part in a political campaign to pass the carbon tax, and then the carbon tax doesn’t pass, because, you then say, “all the adults running the world don’t care about you children,” what do you think the likely impact will be on that child’s psyche?

RELATED: Vermont Youth Lobby using taxpayer assets to carry out student activism

Mr. Isham writes: “anxiety over the environment is not listed as a factor for suicide in any list of such factors I could find.” I don’t doubt it. But anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and isolation are all cited risk factors in teen suicide and substance abuse (also a major problem in Vermont). Therefore, it makes sense to me that indoctrinating kids with the idea that they live in a violent world on the verge of cataclysmic destruction, controlled by people who are racist, homophobic and otherwise hostile to their sense of identity, would feed negatively into all of those psychological factors.

It was my hope that the op-ed would start a conversation that would lead to some more concrete answers and insights on this issue, so I thank Mr. Isham for helping to start that broader conversation. I invite others to join in as well.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

6 thoughts on “Roper: A response to ‘Who’s really politicizing our kids’

  1. As a former yute, I can say with authority that everything Rob Roper says is true. From Silent Spring to Nuclear Winter, nuclear apocalypse, racism and all the phobias, it was a surprise that we were still here in 2000.
    For sure, improving justice for all, ending wars, and caring for the environment, are important goals.
    But scaring kids to death is so harmful, and the main cause of so many disaffected people today.
    Using this existential fear to manipulate populations is downright evil.
    There is such a thing as justice. It is not property of any political pole or movement, and good intentions have unintended consequences Pimps who abuse the innocent and ignorant are the worst kinds of panderers.

  2. “who’s really politicizing our kids”? It is our schoolteachers and NSTA outlined for them what to teach. see NSTA Position statement on the teaching of climate science of Sept. 13, 2018. This is not just a biased position by is flat out wrong on many points. Vikings never lived in Greenland? Teachers were in a tough place viewing the public discourse on CC. When they need help, instead of recognizing the challenge of the controversy NSTA turns to the dark side. The extent of their dishonesty deepens the problem.

  3. Sooooo let me see if I understand…Mr Roper, skipping over the big issue of schooling having deteriorating into a propagandizing tsunami, steps up and simply points out that the particular tactic of
    using children in the end-of-the-world catastrophe narrative might be a hurtful gambit or, at least worth our talking about. Imagine…the heretical effrontery of such a suggestion! Oh My! Bring out the ascendant-posing-think-pretenders and scorch him with indignant…blather. Did I get that right?

  4. No lie is too great (or ridiculous) for Saul Alinsky liberals who believe anything that comes out of their mouth is true and should be accepted as fact without question.

  5. “controlled by people who are racist, homophobic and otherwise hostile to their sense of identity, would feed negatively into all of those psychological factors.”

    Well I most certainly hope the Isham dude doesn’t have any say in anything “KIDs”
    are hearing/learning in school. The fruit loop sounds like he’s on the edge of suicide
    or severely afflicted TDS (trump derangement syndrome). It’s people with his outlook
    that are causing the problem instead of teaching kids to make informed decisions themselves, they feed them the PC leftist loonie toons talking points.

  6. Well I would think everyone would know that answer, just look at what the so-called
    teaching ” profession ” has become !!

    This profession nothing more than an agenda driven pack of liberal fools, spewing there
    agenda to anyone that will listen and they have a captive audience with our children!!

    So we give these so-called ” Professionals” the authority to rear our children but instead,
    they push there twisted agenda on these impressional minds and now they wonder why
    kids are confused with gender, drugs and a suicide rate that is on the rise.

    They should all be held for child abuse, what a shame what they have done to our kids,
    then parading them around for an agenda………..Disgusting !!

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