word craft


A Modest Proposal

(With apologies to Jonathan Swift)

One would have to be blind not to read about the great upsurge of con­cern about books that are being deemed inap­pro­pri­ate for var­i­ous youth audi­ences. The Authors Guild reports that a library in Michi­gan has even been closed by local author­i­ties as a way to deal with the prob­lem. Else­where, librar­i­ans are under attack. Books are being removed from shelves. It’s all rather com­pli­cat­ed and over­wrought. But there is, let me be so bold as to sug­gest, a sim­pler and more direct way to deal with the prob­lem of poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous books. 

We should just stop teach­ing young peo­ple to read.

Con­sid­er all the ben­e­fits that would bring.

Young peo­ple would only learn what their par­ents knew which would hap­pi­ly make them exact repli­cas of all their parent’s beliefs, edu­ca­tion, and atti­tudes. Think of it. No clash­es of opin­ions, argu­ments, or debates. Calm fam­i­ly life. 

No Eng­lish or read­ing teach­ers. No librar­i­ans. Think how much mon­ey would be saved. Low­er taxes! 

Young peo­ple would not learn about and thus not become uncom­fort­able with oth­er, dif­fer­ent peo­ple and there­fore, in all like­li­hood, would nev­er leave home. 


They would gain an edu­ca­tion eas­i­ly by watch­ing Tik­Tok. No more strug­gling to get them out of bed in the morning.

By not read­ing, young peo­ple would only expe­ri­ence that which is the imme­di­ate parts of their local com­mu­ni­ties. No more would oth­er cul­tures, class­es, or nations clut­ter up their vision of the world. They would not even have to both­er show­ing inter­est (or respect ) for oth­er peo­ple, past or present. They would know noth­ing about them. 

Young peo­ple would only learn what they are told by old­er peo­ple who will shape them to be just like them. As a result, there would be less con­fu­sion about the right way to do, see, and expe­ri­ence things. There would only be one way to see things, the right way. For those of you who have teenagers what a bless­ing that would be.

Young peo­ple would not have to both­er about learn­ing dates or about those times in the past when and where things might have been dif­fer­ent. That would mean they would nev­er be bur­dened by learn­ing how peo­ples, coun­tries, and cul­tures change. There­fore, they would nev­er seek a change of any kind, but just leave things as they are. They would nev­er learn that peo­ple might do good or harm. Pol­i­tics would become unnec­es­sary. There would be no alter­na­tive visions of the world, of faith, or parental guid­ance. Right would pre­vail. Elec­tions would be out­mod­ed because there would only be one right way to solve problems. 

There would be no con­fus­ing read­ing of fan­ta­sy which only brings delu­sion­al alter­na­tives of what is deemed reality. 

By the end of high school, there would be no need for high­er edu­ca­tion for young peo­ple. Their par­ents will have taught them every­thing they need to know. Think of the mon­ey that would save! 

And sure­ly there could be no read­ing of the nation’s birth cer­tifi­cate which states: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evi­dent, that all men are cre­at­ed equal, that they are endowed by our Cre­ator of cer­tain unalien­able Rights, that among these are Life, Lib­er­ty and the pur­suit of Happiness.” 

Stop the teach­ing of read­ing and young peo­ple will nev­er read that. Oh, then, how much sim­pler life would be for all.

Noth­ing would change. 

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