From: Kevin McCalix <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, August 27, 1999 10:11 PM
Subject: Teach Your Children Well
> Teach Your Children Well
> by Joseph Sobran
> [Posted August 23, 1999]
> Because I write about politics, people are forever
> asking me the best way to teach children how our
> system of government works. I tell them that they can
> give their own children a basic civics course right in
> their own homes.
> In my own experience as a father, I have discovered
> several simple devices that can illustrate to a
> child's mind the principles on which the modern state
> deals with its citizens. You may find them helpful,
> For example, I used to play the simple card game WAR
> with my son. After a while, when he thoroughly
> understood that the higher ranking cards beat the
> lower ranking ones, I created a new game I called
> GOVERNMENT. In this game, I was Government, and I won
> every trick, regardless of who had the better card. My
> boy soon lost interest in my new game, but I like to
> think it taught him a valuable lesson for later in
> When your child is a little older, you can teach him
> about our tax system in a way that is easy to grasp.
> Offer him, say, $10 to mow the lawn. When he has mowed
> it and asks to be paid, withhold $5 and explain that
> this is income tax. Give $1 to his younger brother,
> and tell him that this is "fair". Also, explain that
> you need the other $4 yourself to cover the
> administrative costs of dividing the money. When he
> cries, tell him he is being "selfish" and "greedy".
> Later in life he will thank you.
> Make as many rules as possible. Leave the reasons for
> them obscure. Enforce them arbitrarily. Accuse your
> child of breaking rules you have never told him about.
> Keep him anxious that he may be violating commands you
> haven't yet issued. Instill in him the feeling that
> rules are utterly irrational. This will prepare him
> for living under democratic government.
> When your child has matured sufficiently to understand
> how the judicial system works, set a bedtime for him
> and then send him to bed an hour early. When he
> tearfully accuses you of breaking the rules, explain
> that you made the rules and you can interpret them in
> any way that seems appropriate to you, according to
> changing conditions. This will prepare him for the
> Supreme Court's concept of the U.S. Constitution as a
> "living document".
> Promise often to take him to the movies or the zoo,
> and then, at the appointed hour, recline in an easy
> chair with a newspaper and tell him you have changed
> your plans. When he screams, "But you promised!",
> explain to him that it was a campaign promise.
> Every now and then, without warning, slap your child.
> Then explain that this is defense. Tell him that you
> must be vigilant at all times to stop any potential
> enemy before he gets big enough to hurt you. This,
> too, your child will appreciate, not right at that
> moment, maybe, but later in life.
> At times your child will naturally express discontent
> with your methods. He may even give voice to a
> petulant wish that he lived with another family. To
> forestall and minimize this reaction, tell him how
> lucky he is to be with you the most loving and
> indulgent parent in the world, and recount lurid
> stories of the cruelties of other parents. This will
> make him loyal to you and, later, receptive to
> schoolroom claims that the America of the postmodern
> welfare state is still the best and freest country on
> This brings me to the most important child-rearing
> technique of all: lying. Lie to your child constantly.
> Teach him that words mean nothing--or rather that the
> meanings of words are continually "evolving", and may
> be tomorrow the opposite of what they are today.
> Some readers may object that this is a poor way to
> raise a child. A few may even call it child abuse. But
> that's the whole point: Child abuse is the best
> preparation for adult life under our form of
> * * * * * * *
> Joe Sobran writes a syndicated column and has his own
> publication, Sobran's.
> copyright 1999 UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE