Opinions

‘Woke’ ideologies are upending American childhood 


“We like the book a lot but want to tone down the ‘fight’ message.”

We were talking to an editor at a major conservative publishing house about the book that would eventually become “Stolen Youth,” a book we hoped to write that would trace just how early leftist indoctrination targets children from every direction.

We felt like we had clicked with the editor, that she understood the project, and so, we sat there stunned as she told us that our book, about how parents should fight back against that indoctrination should feature a little less fighting back.

We were pitching the book in the spring of 2021, during a touchy time for conservative publishing imprints.

Abigail Shrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage,” about the social contagion of transgender ideation affecting teenage girls across America, had recently been pulled from Target, and Amazon was considering doing the same.

Amazon had already removed a 2019 book by Ryan T. Anderson “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.” Several Amazon employees quit when Shrier’s book was reinstated on the site.


Drag-queen story hour sessions such as this one at a public library in Chelsea, MA are one of the most visible examples of how sexualized and once "grown up" pursuits are now becoming part of everyday family life.
Drag queens just JP (left) and Sham Payne (right) read stories to children during a Drag Story Hour at Chelsea Public Library in Chelsea, MA.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Amazon had previously refused to run targeted ads for the book.

Conservative publishers were shaken and worried that if they commissioned a book like ours, they wouldn’t have anywhere to actually sell it by the time we were ready to go to press. 

We knew that our book would have to delve heavily into the transgender craze among other issues.

All of our sources told us that the woke indoctrination campaign was in many ways insidious, but when it came to gender, it was overt and aggressive.


The co-authors of “Stolen Youth” said they knew that their book would have to delve heavily into the transgender topic among other issues.
The co-authors of “Stolen Youth” said they knew that their book would have to delve heavily into the transgender topic among other issues.
Derek French/Shutterstock

The way kids are being indoctrinated, from early childhood, into the idea that they might be a different gender than the one of their birth is a critical part of the indoctrination campaign targeting American kids. 

“Unless your name is Tucker Carlson, no one is taking a chance with a conservative book right now,” another editor told us. 

We have large platforms, and we both write for a variety of outlets, yet we were a risky proposition for conservative publishers.

This is how the mob is most effective: they shut down dissenting voices through force. Our agent told us he’d never seen anything like it before. 


Students, some wearing protective masks, arrive for the first day of school
Mask mandates were enforced in schools throughout the country during the pandemic.
AP

We were not entirely surprised. A theme throughout our book is the way the left manages to shut down other viewpoints and how damaging this is for our society in general and children in particular.

That they were managing to do it even in the conservative publishing world was evidence of their reach.

The idea of conservative publishing houses is itself a push by the left to marginalize opinions with which they disagree.

After all, books by people on the left get published at “mainstream” publishing firms while books with unapproved themes get pushed to smaller imprints. 

That shutting down of debate was something we both covered often in our coverage of COVID and its impact on children.

That’s why when we wrote Stolen Youth and set out to expose this modern political battle over kids, we started with COVID.

It was the moment many Americans began to realize how low down on the list of national, and often local, priorities our kids are.

Over their child’s shoulder, while they Zoomed in to class from their dining room tables, parents were shocked to discover that schools had become hotbeds of indoctrination. It didn’t help that the health crisis had been entirely politicized.

Teachers’ unions wrote school reopening policies for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while “America’s Doctor” Anthony Fauci said that schools had to stay closed until President Biden’s spending plan passed.

Parents saw that science was an afterthought in the pandemic response and their children were irrelevant in the policy-making.


The new book "Stolen Youth" explores the seemingly endless ways everyday childhood pleasures and pursuits have been politicized by woke ideologues.
The new book “Stolen Youth” explores the ways everyday childhood pleasures and pursuits have been politicized by “woke” ideologues.

The left saw COVID as an opening to jam through their ideas.

There was a powerful political movement, mostly childless activists, content to make our kids collateral damage.

And worse than that, they want to draft our kids as foot soldiers in their ideological war. 

While they claim to want to make our society better and more just, the reality is the impact of their crusade is leading to a teenage mental health crisis.

They tell our kids that the world is ending, that they can be gunned down any minute, and that they should take a powerful cocktail of drugs if they feel uncomfortable in their prepubescent bodies.

Is it any wonder kids are less happy and more anxious than ever before in history? That’s the objective: you can’t start a revolution in a happy and stable society. 


The authors of "Stolen Youth" want to help families reclaim their children's futures and place kids back at the center of our cultural concern.
The authors of “Stolen Youth” want to “help families reclaim their children’s futures and place kids back at the center of our cultural concern.”
Getty Images/Maskot

They want to turn children into child soldiers in a woke reimagining of our society.

They are content to harm children in order to achieve their goals. To these woke revolutionaries, the ends justify the means. 

Throughout the pandemic when we began writing “Stolen Youth,” we took what was a bold position: that kids should come first.

It may seem obvious now, but in 2021, when schools were still closed in many places around the country, saying that this was an intensely bad idea was still seen as a brave stand.

We wanted to write a book that would inspire parents to take their own brave stands, not just against school closures and mask mandates, but against whatever new enemy comes around the corner.

We wanted to set out to educate and empower parents to reclaim their children’s futures.

When we were first trying to sell our book and even now, that was a dangerous message. But it’s one that parents desperately need to hear now more than ever. 

Daily Wire Books, an upstart publishing house part of the Daily Wire brand that has become synonymous with fighting cancellation, took a chance on our book.

They weren’t afraid of being canceled, they wanted what every business should: to make money.

They wanted to accomplish what every publisher used to seek to do: to drive conversation and push the envelope.

We’re not flamethrowers; we’re two mothers with nine children between us and our objective is to give parents the knowledge and tools to protect their children’s innocence and help them to raise resilient adults with a firm grasp on reality.

This was once the objective of parents everywhere and was far from controversial. We need to get back there, but we can’t do that if woke revolutionaries have their way


Armed with the goal of returning control of children to their families, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared 2022 as "the year of the parent."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared 2022 as “the year of the parent.”
AP

That was why we set out to write “Stolen Youth,” and why the Daily Wire agreed to take our project on.

We were lucky; there are countless other books meeting the same resistance that ours did.

Ultimately we took away the lesson that we impart in the book: forced conformity is coming for us all.

As we set out to write a book about how this conformity was stifling free speech and the exchange of ideas, it was ironic that the woke panic almost silenced our voices.

It made us even more certain we were on the right track, it validated our estimation of how powerful and how damaging this ideology is. 

We call it “woke” because it’s somewhat different than the simple liberal bias of the past.

Your own elementary school teacher might have had liberal politics but she knew what a woman was and didn’t try to sell you on the idea that your race decides your destiny but your gender can be changed from day to day.


“We wanted to write a book that would inspire parents to take their own brave stands…,” said authors Markowicz and Mandel.
“We wanted to write a book that would inspire parents to take their own brave stands…,” said authors Markowicz and Mandel.

Beyond that, that teacher didn’t live in fear of the thought police that she may say the wrong thing and be disavowed by her ideological allies. 

Wokeness allows for very limited thought and speech. Everything must be considered through the prism of wokeness and language must be adjusted to the acceptable confines.

Conformity is only a part of wokeness, however, the spectacle must follow. 

This means that the woke teacher in 2023 can’t just parrot the correct words, she needs to demonstrate that she belongs to the tribe.

That might entail putting up a BLM sign or the latest iteration of the LGBT rainbow flag in her classroom.

Or it might mean that when a cluster of girls suddenly declare themselves trans, she keeps this a secret from their parents and helps get them “gender therapy.” 


Famed Russian author and dissident Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn wrote about how efforts at totalitarianism are first targeted at society's youth — a sentiment that feels all too familiar today.
Famed Russian author and dissident Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn wrote about how efforts at totalitarianism are first targeted at society’s youth.
Getty Images

It won’t only be the teacher demonstrating either.

Children as young as elementary school are being cajoled to march for the causes their adult leaders believe in. In the past few years.

American children all across the country have experienced school-led protests over climate change and gun control.

Turning children into little protesters is by design and it’s not a new concept. 

“Stolen Youth” opens with a history chapter that outlines how the totalitarian societies of the past aimed their brainwashing at children first.

Soviet children, for example, joined Communist youth groups and were encouraged to protest as long as they were protesting for the right side.


Members of far-right group Proud Boys raise signs to protest against Drag Story Hour outside the Queens Public Library.
The authors of “Stolen Youth” hope to trace how early “leftist indoctrination targets children from every direction.”
AFP via Getty Images

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, author of the three-book set “The Gulag Archipelago,” about work camps where many prisoners were interned for thought crimes, wrote about three 14-year-old girls who had tried to emulate the earlier revolutionaries by protesting poor treatment of children and were sent to the gulag because of that protest.

Speaking out is good, our kids are told. But only for approved opinions. 

The woke virus has not only infected schools.

In our book, we chart that the sickness has come to publishing companies, pediatricians’ offices, medical schools and associations, and even esteemed companies like Disney and Scholastic.

We hear a lot about college kids being indoctrinated on campus but we found that indoctrination begins far earlier and is far more widespread than many belief.


Co-author Bethany Mandel is a mother of six who's chosen to home school her children in order to ensure they are raised with a "firm view on reality."
Co-author Bethany Mandel is a mother of six who’s chosen to home-school her children in order to ensure they are raised with a “firm view on reality.”
Courtesy of , Bethany Mandel

What’s most terrifying about the outside-school indoctrination is that it’s far more difficult to fight.

During COVID, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), for example, simply reversed so many of their medical opinions to fit in with their political side.

In the summer of 2020, the AAP pushed for in-person schooling for kids, since it was obvious that it would be the best option for children.

Shortly thereafter, pressured by teachers’ unions and finding themselves on the same side as Donald Trump, they reversed.

When masking became a talisman of the left, they removed their recommendations about the importance of babies seeing faces.  

As we wrote in “Stolen Youth,” “When a kid’s teacher is woke, parents have options. They can develop strategies to deal with navigating the teacher’s influence on the child, which could involve activism or switching classes. But when it’s the pediatrician who’s woke, it’s harder to detect their affiliations or how those beliefs might impact care. Even more potentially dangerous and more difficult to detect: How will training be affected by the increased focus on political conformity in the application and education process?” 

Knowledge is the first step.

Once parents see the conformity and lockstep in all the institutions around them, and how this harms their children, it becomes very hard to unsee.

And action has to follow. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dubbed 2022 the “year of the parent,” when so many rose up to fight back against what was happening in their children’s schools.


Co-author Karol Markowicz has three children; she and Mandel view their book as a much-needed tool for parents contending with the spread of "wokeness" into every element of their children's lives.
Co-author Karol Markowicz and Mandel view their book as a much-needed tool for parents contending with the spread of “wokeness” into every element of their children’s lives.

But that’s just part one of the fight. A free society that values children and nurtures them in their upbringing, is the goal.

Freedom as an imperative runs through the book.

There are many paths for parents to take for their children, we present numerous solutions to the problems families are facing, but ultimately a win is a family who is free to raise their children without fear or indoctrination.

And fighting, while unpleasant and controversial, is necessary.

There are people targeting our kids and they must be stopped.

Fight.



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