Thursday, March 01, 2007

The truth which upsets governments

Al Gore is sticking it to the man. At least that is what they teach our kids in school. With An Inconvenient Truth on the grade 7 science curriculum, I suppose a question on my daughter's science test like this is to be expected:

Dans « An Inconvenient Truth » quelle est la vérité qui dérange les gouvernements de la Terre ? / What is the truth which upsets the planet's governments in "An Inconvenient Truth" (my translation from the original French)?

Feeding it back to them, my daughter got full marks by answering:

Que c’est notre faute que la terre est pollué assez (trop de CO2) pour réchauffé notre habitat et causé des changements qui vont finir en catastrophe si ont n’agit pas. / That it is our fault the planet is polluted enough (too much CO2) to heat up our environment and cause changes which are going to end in catastrophe if we do not act (again my translation).

Her cynicism amazes me. (The last couple of evenings she actually asked me to put on Al Gore's movie to help her sleep.) Of course, she is only telling her teachers what they want to hear.

I could not imagine myself at her age responding in a similar fashion. But then, I don't recall my teachers attempting to manipulate my views like that when I was in elementary school. That is not to say they did not attempt to inculcate shared societal values in their students, but nothing so overtly political as Al Gore's "truth". Teachers once knew where to draw the line.

While I applaud my daughter for her ability to resist and adapt (thanks, in part, to the Al Gore vaccine), it concerns me that we are effectively conditioning our children to discount anything and everything that is said by anyone in a position of authority, whether their teachers or their parents. Is it any wonder we find ourselves in a relativist morass when our kid's values and beliefs are considered fair game to be manipulated and shaped to fit some teacher's agenda?

Everything is spin. Even science. Al Gore knows it. Our kids do too.