Angelica Vecchiato, Review:

Stolen Youth: How Radicals are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation
by Bethany Mandel and Karol Markowicz (Daily Wire, $37.99, 347 pages)

In a world of progressive evangelists proselytising the gospel of woke, children are not safe. Bethany Mandel and Karol Markowicz’s Stolen Youth is a biting exposé of the leftist indoctrination that has subtly seeped its way in everyday aspects of society to target the youngest and most impressionable among us. Divided into sections between Mandel and Markowicz, both mothers and writers, the book offers an in-depth look of what transpires under the unsuspecting noses of busy parents when their children are off at school or in the digital jungle of social media and TV. 

A startling revelation is the fast-growing militant undertone of woke expansionism. Drawing from her cultural roots, Markowicz compares modern wokeism to the Bolshevik movement in Communist Russia. In the Soviet Union, Communists advanced the idea that the family was secondary to the state, a proposition enforced by party-sponsored youth groups. As young as the age of seven, children would become “little Octobrists” which would galvanize undivided loyalty to the state. In like manner, modern wokesters have taken shots at the family in an attempt to socially re-engineer society to their own ideals. Markowicz says that, “the home is the last line of defence,” and puts the onus on parents to seize control of the external influences in the lives of their children.
   This approach is especially necessary in schools where Marxism runs unhinged. Markowicz noted the example of Tracy Castro-Gill who identifies as “Xicana”, a gender-neutral term for Latin-American, although she is Caucasian. Castro-Gill, a teacher, directed a “math ethnic” studies program for the “integration of ethnic studies into the education of Seattle public schools”. Daily Wire reporter Luke Rosiak disclosed that when Castro-Gill’s program was implemented at John Muir elementary school, “black achievement had been rising steadily every year, but all those gains and more were wiped out, with the black passing rate dropping from 28 per cent to under 18 per cent the next school year.”

The bottom line is that as politicisation goes up, education goes down. The wide spectrum of gender confusion in society is a popular emblem that has fuelled the spread of current day Marxist ideology. On the altar of what Mandel calls the “transgender crusade,” children are being offered up as experimental guinea pigs. Mandel highlights that puberty blockers are becoming more easily accessible to younger children. In some countries, mastectomies are now available for youth as young as 13 and genital-altering surgeries can be obtained at the age of 18. The heavy alarm Mandel levies on this new direction is the fact that parents are often kept out of decisions and conversations about their children’s new-founded sexual identities. Institutions such as schools and health “clinics” try to encourage youth in their transition, to the extent of undergoing body-changing surgeries, without the knowledge of their parents.

Stay-at-home mother January Littlejohn’s story is an example of this harrowing trajectory. When her 13-year-old daughter decided to identify as transgender, school officials developed a “six-page gender plan” which stipulated among other things “how she could go by another name and different pronouns at school, what restroom to use, (whether) to or not to inform her parents.” The highly arranged scheme was alienating for Littlejohn who felt like she and her husband were “the only ones fighting for the long-term mental and physical health of our child.” Another cautionary tale for parents is that of California mom Jessica Konen. When Konen didn’t accept her daughter’s new bisexual identity, police showed up at her door and told her that there had been a complaint made to Child Protective Services. They threatened to remove her children from her home. Simply put, as wokeism spreads, parents can’t be in the picture.

In a world of woke infiltration, the only option that remains is to fight, though there are nuanced approaches as to how this tangibly plays out.

Markowicz advocates a “fighting within” approach which endeavours to oust wokeism from the inside. While Rob Dreher’s solution to build a strong counterculture in alienation from the mainstream beat is popular in his bestselling book The Benedict Option: A strategy for Christians in a post-Christian Nation, Markowicz disagrees with his philosophy because she does not want to surrender a “collectively built” society “to the forces of leftism.” According to her rationale, if there are fewer “non-woke people” actively participating in society, then the radical ideologues will have more momentum to seize control. There needs to be a line of defence with solid and logic-minded people.

Mandel, a homeschooling mother, recommends removing children from the influence of corrupted institutions especially when it comes to education. Though it is important for parents not to “cede control” of schools and public institutions to the woke, they equally cannot allow children to become “collateral damage.” Pulling kids out of school leaves parents with the authority to supervise media consumption and to guide intellectual formation.

In the end, both Mandel and Markowicz put heavy responsibility on parents. They remind that “leftists are coming for the kids” and since parents are “the last line of defence,” they should fight with all they have.