By John Klar
Vermonters have not been informed whether their families will be allowed to gather for Christmas. Gov. Phil Scott’s Thanksgiving prohibition of family gatherings raised eyebrows nationally. Post-holiday, schoolchildren were quizzed by teachers and sent home if they reported visitors in their homes. Will Christmas be similarly policed?
Meanwhile, the Vermont Department of Health officially left citizens free to “have sex with others outside your household,” advising, “Take precautions … with people at risk for severe COVID-19 illness such as people over 65 years of age or those with serious medical conditions.” Few contrasts could more openly demonstrate how arbitrary Vermont’s COVID rules have become than prohibiting family meal gatherings while advising strangers they can have sex freely.
Even though children are at extremely low risk from COVID, Vermont school teachers gathered children post-Holiday to draw pictures of Thanksgiving dinner, and inquire about attendance. (The children are not asked about how many sexual partners the family had.) Not surprisingly, this sparked huge resentment in a state that has tiptoed around the issue of out-of-state tourists and real estate buyers flooding Vermont’s roads and businesses with zero enforcement by government. Yet, the governor instructed schools to police the local children, with vague guidance.
Governor Scott proclaimed : “From my standpoint, this is fair warning to those of you who are planning to have gatherings from outside your household for Thanksgiving. … If you don’t want your kids to have to transition to remote learning and quarantine for a seven-day period, maybe you ought to make other plans.”
History instructs that child informants divide families and societies, which is precisely what Vermont’s bizarre post-Thanksgiving reporting edicts have done. Divided loyalties create great stress for the children themselves. Faced with conflicting claims by teachers versus parents, children are being emotionally manipulated by this governor. As one Vermont school superintendent summarized: “It really is not incumbent upon a superintendent to make Solomon-like decisions for families.”
The Hitler Youth are well-remembered:
Children in Nazi Germany were subjected to intensive propaganda through mediums of education, training and social groups. … Education and training became important tools and children in Nazi Germany were subjected to intensive propaganda.
Pol Pot similarly undermined the Cambodian people:
The Khmer Rouge … accomplished [much of it’s genocide] by indoctrinating children and forcing them to denounce and kill suspect adults. Family life was discouraged and repressed. … Traditional norms of respect for elders were suppressed.
Are American states like Vermont using public schools to indoctrinate children? Of course they are. Secular schools indoctrinate morally and completely — abortion is a woman’s right, gender is mutable, sex is an urge, white people are all bigots. The strongest influence is fear — fear of guns (active shooter drills which induce trauma and anxiety in schoolchildren); fear of climate change (“the world is ending in ten years!”); and now COVID (even though child mortality approaches 0%).
State indoctrination can arise from the Left or the Right: using children as informants is abhorrent by either. It is absurd to ban family gatherings for traditional meals while green-lighting casual promiscuity — enlisting children as reporting agents only amplifies the surreal.
Similar resentment has blossomed under COVID laws in Germany, where rural locals are “denouncing Berliners driving to weekend homes by looking at their number plates.” In a country where denunciation was commonplace under the Communists in East Germany and Hitler’s Nazis, police forces across the country are getting tip-offs on anything from “corona parties” to people driving to weekend cottages.
Ironically, a conservative initiative in Germany to allow (not compel) students to report violations of the country’s neutrality code (which forbids teachers from expressing their political views in the classroom) is condemned: Critics say the move is reminiscent of the authoritarian methods of the government of Nazi Germany and the spying practices of the Stasi, the Communist-era secret police, which ran a network of at least 10,000 child informants. … The country’s justice minister [said] it was “a method of dictators” and warned that it would cultivate a culture of unease and suspicion.
In Vermont, children are under duress by teachers to inform against their families; in Germany there is objection by the left if children inform against their teachers for exercising political duress. The contrast in Vermont is heightened when one considers that families have been asked to sacrifice “for the children” while the governor has not sought to restrict promiscuity or out-of-state real estate buyers: “This is an example of why it’s so important to be vigilant, and avoid small gatherings. And it’s my hope that adults will realize the need to sacrifice, in order to give our kids this important time in their life and, most importantly, keep them in school,” Scott said.
If keeping kids in school were “most important,” they wouldn’t be sent home for two weeks for partaking of tryptophan with their grandparents while sexual degeneracy is promoted by the Vermont Health Department. A September 2020 “Fact Sheet ” entitled “Enjoy Safer Sex and Reduce the Risk of Spreading COVID-19,” counsels:
During this extended public health emergency, people will and should have sex. Consider using harm reduction strategies. We know that other viruses like the one that causes COVID-19 do not easily spread through sex. This means sex is not likely a common way that COVID-19 spreads. If you do have sex with others outside of your household, have as few partners as possible and pick partners you trust … sex is not likely a common way that COVID-19 spreads.
Perhaps they are teaching that in the schools.
Scott has imposed the Solomon-like decision-making on others, while threatening ominously that if the virus continues to spread, he “has a lot of tools in the toolbox.” In view of the arbitrary inequities of his plethora of Grinchy edicts, one can only imagine what hideous (and unconstitutional ) machinations he has in mind for Christmas, now that the virus continues to spread after he ixnayed Thanksgiving.
If Christmas is COVID-cancelled in Vermont, parents may be tempted by this bizarre legal imbalance to merely instruct their back-to-school children to inform teachers that everyone at the house was just having sex, and then they will not be sent home or placed in emotionally harmful conflict. Though legal, this is to be discouraged, as Vermont’s students are already confused enough.
And so are the rest of us. Enough already.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield.