(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.