Casual Communism for Kids

If there is one distinctly Marxist idea that has slithered quietly into the parlance of charitable deeds, it is the guilt-inducing call to “give back.” We are to give back to our school, or give back to the community by “doing our part” and—as a moral imperative— parting with our cash. Sometimes it isn’t even clear to whom we are giving back, making it easier to pick our pockets for any reason at all. The implicit assumption, of course, is that the services of a school, community, or organization were free; and that they gave us what we own and thus enjoy a right to our wealth or property.

This phrase enjoys uncritical acceptance among everyone from corporate types to school volunteers, many of whom have come to regard community organizations as quasi-religious entities. In this way, giving back is even more virtuous, a bit like a cultural tithe. Like the “grateful” heart of an atheist, this sort of giving back specifies no particular person responsible for the material success that is now being involuntarily redirected towards communal use.

No doubt, many who employ this grating strategy have noble intentions; they are likely unaware of the Bolshevik ring of their fundraising spiels. Among them are thousands—maybe millions—of PTA moms who serve as a “class parent,” an office that involves drumming up cash for everything from the kindergarten treasure box to the annual fund. The class parent sends various emails out to comrades who must support the Motherland or fall under suspicion of lacking school spirit.

A few years ago, I observed an egregious example of such slippery-slope communism at my fifth-grader’s school. As is the custom at the beginning of the school year, parents received the list of required school supplies—but these were requested in packs of 12 or 24, far more than my son would use on his own. Among the suspiciously extravagant supplies were packs of gold and silver-inked Sharpies, whiteboard markers, ziplock bags, and packs of red pens, none of which struck me as necessities for an eleven year-old boy. Notably, the bulk quantities were required of all fifteen students—do the math, if you’re curious. At the end of the year, my son reported that many of the supplies were never used, in the typically wasteful manner of unwitting Marxists.

This soft Communism isn’t just a cold procurement system, though; even the most hardened Bolshevik recognizes that young comrades must be get a warm sense that the Motherland cares for them. They must be reminded that they are valuable—seen, heard, and amazing, too—or they might get restive and uncooperative. Schools therefore must do their part to pump up the proletariat with meaningless rewards and inflated grades—freebies that few comrades can resist. One child I know has the largest number of referrals for poor behavior, yet is apparently a highly-decorated recipient of “good citizenship” points; Marxist justice rarely makes sense.

The Marxist impulse has even infiltrated children’s sports. A few years back, one of my children participated in a church soccer league filled with community-minded parents. As such, we would each be expected to provide sugary snacks and chips for the entire team on a rotating basis; each week, one parent would provide twelve fussy kids with juice boxes and chips after their 30-minute Saturday soccer game at a local school. Eventually, a PTA mom arm-twisted parents into paying her public school’s PTA to provide the prepackaged and delivered snacks, a classic move for civic-minded commissars. I didn’t want the junky snacks for my child at 11:00 a.m., but I still had to “chip in.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the deep magic of DEI, which—as a repackaged Marxist dream— now helps grease the skids for the latest educational efforts. Comrades must be ready to “do the work” at all grade levels, and DEI informers must identify those suspected of counter-revolutionary tendencies; those who show insufficient zeal for marginalized groups must be prodded a bit. For this reason, one private school stationed a teacher at the cafeteria entrance during Pride week, asking students to have their pictures taken with the Pride flag. Another teacher distributed fun bracelets for a show of LGBTQ solidarity. If you weren’t wearing the bracelet, maybe you were conspiring against the Motherland.

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