Teaching Kids About Government

The frequently fascinating brain pickings blog has dug up an artifact sure to warm Reason readers' hearts—a 1969 schoolbook called How Our Government Helps Us, filled with educational illustrations such as this one:

and this one:

For more of the book, go here. There doesn't seem to be anything in there about police brutality or the Vietnam War, but perhaps those pages just haven't been scanned yet.

Bonus: The Firesign Theatre recorded live on KPFK-FM, having some fun with a similar text that was published in Spanish:

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  • ||

    Holy shit. This must be Tulpa's favorite childhood book. Now I want to go punch "government leaders".

  • ||

    Why don't you say the pledge instead? Look how happy those kids are! They'd never want to punch anyone.

  • $park¥||

    I'll bet they want to punch all the dirty commies.

  • ||

    I pledge allegiance to your mom.

  • Hugh Akston||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Brilliant.

  • ||

    I do it just for you, Hugh.

  • $park¥||

  • ||

    Don't even joke about that.

  • ||

    You didn't answer his question. I think we need a long form birth certificate in triplicate now.

  • ||

    I refuse to respond to such an ugly allegation. In fact, I demand a retraction and an apology!

  • $park¥||

    Well good luck with that.

  • ||

    I'm beginning to think you're a secret Québécois. At least bring some poutine to share with the class frenchy.

  • ||

    As much as I hate Canadians, even the Québécois don't deserve to be saddled with responsibility for Epi. After all, they already have to answer for Céline Dion and the Parti overall.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No way, man. Go, Dog, Go! is my special childhood book.

    "Well, anyway, I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that it spirals toward an incredible twist turn that parallels my own life."

  • John||

    There doesn't seem to be anything in there about police brutality or the Vietnam War, but perhaps those pages just haven't been scanned yet.

    Because such issues are so appropriate for a seven year old. Really guys? Come on. And besides, at least it isn't overtly political. Now, they probably have the same book but just substitute "Obama" for "government".

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Fair enough, but I've never understood the appropriateness of leading 5 year old in daily loyalty pledges either.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Brains don't wash themselves.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    ...Or requiring 18 year olds to register for the draft, for that matter.

  • SIV||

    All Jimmy Carter's fault.

  • Killazontherun||

    He was going to pardon us no matter what we did anyway. Why didn't we make that guy king?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's pretty creepy, really. I mean, I remember that stuff growing up, but it's totally contrary to the tradition of being suspicious of government. We were founded on that principle, after all.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Distrust of authority is not a good thing to inculcate in a little kid. They actually NEED authority to survive as they're not capable of taking total care of themselves, mentally or physically.

    The teenage years will take care of any trust of authority they developed as little kids.

  • sloopyinca||

    Distrust of authority is not a good thing to inculcate in a little kid. They actually NEED authority to survive as they're not capable of taking total care of themselves, mentally or physically.

    I agree totally. But why would you equate "the government" with "authority" in an absolute form.

    Or look at it this way: would you say the same about a 7 year old Jewish kid in 1935 Berlin?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If the US govt starts gassing libertarian children, things might be different. No doubt raising a child is going to be difficult in a lot of ways if that happens.

    But as a general rule you shouldn't teach little kids to disrespect authority. Massive unintended consequences there.

  • sloopyinca||

    I would never teach my children to disrespect legitimate authority: his/her mother and I.

    Sorry, but just being a part of the state does not make one's authority legitimate. That is earned and maintained through action. Even my button-down parents taught me that.

    But as a general rule you shouldn't teach little kids to disrespect authority. Massive unintended consequences there.

    Well, so far I'm 2 for 2 on raising good kids that have a strong disain for abused/illegitimate authority figures. kepticism is healthy, Tulpa, even at a very early age.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not to pry, but let's say your 7-year-old (just making up the age, I have no idea of your kids' ages and genders other than the most recent publicized one) is out enjoying himself and his independence on the main drag of your town one day, and there's a bank robbery going on with a potential hostage situation. When he encounters a cop who tells him he can't go any further down the street, do you want him to disrespect authority at that point? I seriously, seriously, seriously doubt that a 7-year-old can be easily made to understand the intricacies of the situation, particularly given the cops' likely limited skills in explaining things to children.

    I'm also dubious about whether the distinction between legitimate/illegitimate authority is inculcatable for young kids... but maybe yours are just precocious.

  • prolefeed||

    But as a general rule you shouldn't teach little kids to disrespect authority. Massive unintended consequences there.

    I've made a point of teaching my kids to question whether any authority is legitimate, including mine, but in particular the authorities at their government indoctrination camps trying to turn them into good little leftists.

    If by "massive unintended consequences" you mean "not blindly accepting whatever they are told", then I'm failing to see how that is bad.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Little kids? Like 6-7 years old, just learning to read kids?

    I mean, do as you wish with your own kids, but that seems like a bad idea to me.

  • Brandybuck||

    I remember that book too, but I don't remember any of the adults around me complaining about it. And there were several birchers around me.

    I guess the trusting of government was pretty pervasive back before Nixon demonstrated the fallibility of the executive office. It was up the unwashed hippies to protest government. Too bad those same hippies are now among government's biggest cheerleaders.

  • sloopyinca||

    Because such issues are so appropriate for a seven year old. Really guys? Come on. And besides, at least it isn't overtly political.

    Right. Like telling a kid "laws are for your own good. If you don't follow them, you're bad" isn't political.

    Nothing could be more political than shit like this, John. They're forcefeeding nationalism down kids' throats and telling them it tastes like candy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Civil disobedience is for adults, or at least older kids. 7 year olds don't have the mental faculties to make distinctions between good rules and bad rules.

    Having kids yourself, I'm sure you know this at some level. Perhaps you're letting your (arguably justified) hatred of govt get the better of you.

  • sloopyinca||

    Kids at 7 know what is moral and immoral. Rules =/= morality.

    Civil disobedience is for whoever believes they are wronged. At what age would you set for it to be acceptable for a parent to teach their kid that some rules are inherently unfair? Also, who are you to tell me when is the right time since kids develop at different ages/rates.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Well, IMHO parents should be free to do whatever they want re: their children, so long as they don't cause permanent physical or mental damage. In general I don't think it's a good idea to teach disobedience, but maybe some young kids can handle it. Determining that is going to be very hard and I don't see any benefits, since disobedience will become the norm in a few years anyway.

  • sloopyinca||

    Define "mental damage".

    Wow, I guess I always think you're just fucking with us when you go full-bore authority-fellation. But then you reinforce an idiotic point like this long enough to convince me that you really love the state and are happy to have it run your, my and everyone else's life.

    "The Tulpa goes: BAAAAAAAAAAAH."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The comment you're responding to was in favor of REDUCING state power over the parent-child relationship. How you get "authority fellation" out of that I'm not sure, but you recently seem to be a magician of misinterpretation.

    Permanent mental damage would be something like disciplining a kid to the point where they run from people or piss themselves, or locking the kid in the basement for 15 years while sliding pizzas and pancakes under the door.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Seven years old was considered the age of reason since the Middle Ages. You might not be too sophisticated about it, but you could tell right from wrong. That was the theory anyway.

  • Killazontherun||

    Was watching Richard Nixon resign, and the evacuation of Saigon appropriate material? I watched both with my mom and dad when I was five.

    Transvestite showgirls on Phil? Yup, those were around on afternoon television in the early seventies too.

    A few years later, Dog Day Afternoon, Godfather I & II, and One Who Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest with the old man. Filtering reality just wasn't something in their agenda.

    I realize these are some strong arguments for censorship and a robust social welfare system I'm making given how I turned out, but some of you became fully functioning adults in spite of all that early exposure.

  • Sam Grove||

    at least it isn't overtly political

    Really?
    It indoctrinates children with the meme that obedience is is what makes a good citizens.

    That is so reminiscent of something, but I don't want to b accused of pulling a Godwin.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Stat for Dr. Barfman, paging Barman.

  • CE||

    Does it occur to them that we wouldn't need a government school crossing guard, and there would be no danger of being hit by a government employee driven government school bus, if the government didn't steal our money to fund their schools and force our children to attend?

  • Hugh Akston||

    or ROADZZZ for that matter.

  • CE||

    Dang, how could I forget ROADZ?

  • ||

    Your government handler forgot to remind you?

  • ||

    The only thing that occurs to them is OBEY.

  • ||

    I'm sure it occurs to the people who write this propoganda, knowing that it will never occur to the public who reads it.

  • albo||

    In 1969 we'd line up and say a prayer before going to lunch.

    It was a different time--men were men, women were girls, astronauts got the best trim, and Carnation Instant Breakfast was part of a nutricious breakfast.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I doubt we'll ever get back to the Moon. NASA has evolved from cutting-edge, scientific agency into a common bureaucratic money hole.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It was always a bureacratic money hole. Cheaper access to LEO is more important to increasing the general public's access to space, but that's boring, so the X-plane program gets cut to pay for an unsustainable publicity stunt that does nothing but demostrate that our goverment has the biggest space-penis on the planet.

  • SIV||

    Astronauts got a lotta 'Tang.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I assume you mean the astronauts got their pick of NASA's space research monkeys.

    Except for Armstrong, of course. Without a mailbox he'd never know where or when to rendezvous with them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's Neil Fucking Armstrong--mock him at your own peril.

  • sloopyinca||

    I've thought about this a fair bit lately. I doubt I ever had a negative impact on Neil Fucking Armstrong. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet his mailman took his mail all the way to the front door and kissed hos space-boots.

    Shit. I did that fucking guy a favor.

  • ||

    I'll say it again, if you improperly secure your mailbox you deserve what you get.

  • sloopyinca||

    And since in reality a mailbox is the property of the US Postal Service, and not the property owner, I was really taking a poke at the government thugocracy and their immoral monopoly on postal delivery.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Let me clue you in on something, sloopy--getting Episiarch's approval is like getting Hitler's. Except worse, of course.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I bet he'd be alive today if it weren't for you. In ten thousand years, they'll remember Neil Fucking Armstrong and probably nothing else about the U.S.

  • sloopyinca||

    There's at least a 5% chance they'll remember me as the only one brave enough to tear down part of the facade that was Neil Armstrong's invincibility.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You'll be remembered, all right, when you're publicly executed for disparagement of an American icon during the purges in 2023.

    They draw and quarter you--with Saturn V rockets, built especially for the occasion.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'd actually be OK with that...so long as it was 2063 instead of 2023. I want to be around to see all my kids graduate high school, after all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's okay, because all the rest of us get executed in 2023. For commenting here.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'll be OK with that if you're all executed by being incinerated in the rocket fuel used on the Saturn V's that draw and quarter me. It'll be a win of sorts.

  • SIV||

    I think we had that book, it looks familiar.Much like our intensive elementary drug abuse education it didn't work.

    Our school books were often out of date. I remember a photo-heavy 5th grade social science text that had cool pictures of Biafra with shades-wearing rebels carrying Stens and Tommy Guns. We all wanted to know if they won. Our teacher had to go look it up after school.They lost about 4 years earlier. About a year before the textbook was published.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    They only lost if you consider being bombed by MiGs, starved en masse, and re-conquered by a brutal central government to be "losing".

  • CE||

    Here's another helpful pointer:

    When Jimmy steals Billy's lunch money, it's bad because stealing is bad.

    When Jimmy's parents and Billy's parents steal Fred's money via taxation to pay for Jimmy's and Billy's government provided education, it's good because Jimmy and Billy will learn to become good citizens.

  • ||

    I proudly pledge allegiance to the flag. What part of that entails any sort of respect for the government? None.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    How about the fact that it was originally written by a socialist?

  • ||

    1) I wasn't referring to the official pledge, just pledging allegiance to the flag generically.

    2) Bellamy was a retard, apparently, because nothing he wrote in the Pledge actually reinforces any of his socialist beliefs.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "because nothing he wrote in the Pledge actually reinforces any of his socialist beliefs."

    "And justice for all"?

  • ||

    Justice. Not social justice, even if that's what his stupid ass intended. Tough shit, Bellamy.

  • SIV||

    In one of the Primary grades a teacher read us the story of William Tell. I think there were transparency illustrations for the overhead projector or maybe a film strip. I raised my hand and asked why we saluted the flag because that was just like forcing people to bow to the King's hat. Needless to say, no good explanation was offered.

  • ||

    That's the thing -- it shouldn't be mandatory.

  • SugarFree||

    It's not mandatory, but the peer pressure from doing something you are supposedly free from not doing is pretty great. It had me mumbling along to morning prayers over the PA until 1980.

  • ||

    Then resist the peer pressure. It's like saying you're compelled by good marketing and, therefore, the pressure of your peers to buy "unhealthy" shit like cigarettes and high-fat foods, and then complaining about it.

  • $park¥||

    Tell that to a six-year-old. Make sure you yell it right into his/her face for added effect.

  • ||

    I get the picture, Francis. Thanks.

  • SIV||

    I quit standing for the pledge in 9th grade. My circa-second grade understanding was that failure to stand led to being forced to shoot an apple off of a family member's head.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I mouthed some truncated, less authoritatrian version of the pledge before I stopped saying/standing fir it altogether in 10th grade.

    But it was a tough pill for the libertarian youngster in me to sign the papers for Selective Service.

  • Mainer2||

    Was it, I pluck aluminum from the face of the untied snakes of anemia...

  • ||

    Yeah, I guess the fact that it's about young kids changes things. Sorry.

  • ||

    Also, the Milgram experiments.

  • ||

    I think I didn't stop pretending to say the Pledge of Allegiance until like 11th grade. Behaviors that are ingrained early are tough to stop.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Can a 5-8 year old understand what's voluntary or not?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Let me re-phrase that, can a 5-8 year old be expected to differentiate between voluntary/involuntary when following the instructions of an authority figure?

  • ||

    Honestly? Not really. I'd say the teachers should articulate very explicitly that it's all voluntary, at least. Or forget about it altogether.

  • $park¥||

    Most kids just go along to get along. The upside is, they don't really believe what they're saying. They're only reciting it because someone told them they should.

  • robc||

    Maybe its the job of the parents to tell the kids that the teacher isnt an authority figure.

  • sloopyinca||

    Agreed, robc. That said, a pair of parents vs the entire school/safety/peer machine telling the kid that the teacher is an authority figure makes that a tougher sell.

  • ||

    I think whenever we see people bickering back and forth about this issue the response from libertarians should be: Wouldn't it be great if we had market competition in the education system, where all of this can be decided by free exchange between individuals?

  • robc||

    99.44% of all education issues can be solved by separation of school and state.

  • Killazontherun||

    Don't exaggerate, rob. 99.438%.

  • $park¥||

    Why would you pledge allegiance to an object?

  • ||

    cant tell if serios

  • $park¥||

    "I pledge allegiance to the Republic, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

    Mine is better (but I still wouldn't repeat it).

  • Zeb||

    Well, that's all in the regular pledge.

  • Andrew S.||

    If he's not serious, I am. When I was in High School, I stood up during the Pledge, but I remained silent. It's a piece of cloth. Nothing more.

  • ||

    I'm pledging allegiance to the flag for what it represents. You honestly don't get that?

  • Andrew S.||

    I get it, I just think it's silly.

    Plus I'm not a big fan of what it represents, nowadays.

  • ||

    What it represents? What does a flag represent? It's a fucking object.

  • Zeb||

    I have a problem with pledging allegiance to anything at all. But if the flag represents to you the founding principals of the USA, then I can understand. Particularly as (if I recall correctly) you are an immigrant from the USSR.

    But I'm not pledging allegiance to anything. Especially a flag. To me the flag represents the government. It is there to put on ships and in front of post offices and government buildings.

  • ||

    Yeah, my parents ran to the US when I was a small kid.

    And I totally get your position. It's the outright demonization of expressions of patriotism from leftists, among others, that I'm raging about.

  • ||

    *by leftists of expressions of patriotism

  • Ted S.||

    The problem is, those (the ones expressing "patriotism") are the sort of people who would demonize me for not sucking up to the military/"woundd warriors" [retch]/"hero first responders" [double retch]

    Try talking about ways the War on Drugs has damaged the Rule of Law with these people sometime.

  • ||

    I know the kind, but they're certainly not mine, and almost none of my patriotic acquaintances, friends, or relatives are like that.

    Liberty is liberty. The people you're talking about are just hypocritical assholes.

  • Ted S.||

    "And to the republic for which it stands...."

  • ||

    Yep -- the principles of American republicanism, not members of a government or any institution.

  • Paul.||

    I'm noticing the kid in the first frame with his arms stretched out is wearing one of those belt thingies that makes him look like he's preparing to invade Poland. You know who else wore those belt thingies and prepared to invade Poland?

  • CE||

    Did they also teach younger kids to respect their authority?

  • $park¥||

    The French Imperial Army?

  • WTF||

    The Soviets?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    The Avars?

  • John||

    You guys are totally missing the real anachronism in that book; there is a male and straight looking grade school teacher!! That could never happen today.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    there is a male and straight looking grade school teacher!! That could never happen today.


    Well, that's because the book is trying to be inclusive, John. Get with the times!

    It's like that instructive book on social skills: "Nina has a male and straight 3rd grade teacher."

  • SugarFree||

    And the lone black kid hovers in the background, an uncertain smile on his face.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He's holding out for the Purple Stuff.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    PUT THE GLASSES ON.

  • ||

    Not this year.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And the lone black kid hovers in the background, an uncertain smile on his face.

    "Gosh, maybe this will be the day I get to sit in a seat."

    *crosses fingers*

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Why would you pledge allegiance to an object?

    Why would you give a shit if somebody set that object on fire? Or waxed his car with it?

  • ||

    Hopefully these kids get lucky and when they get to high school they get not one, but two libertarian English teachers like I did. I mean really, what were the odds of one school employing a hardcore Objectivist and a standard libertarian, both women?

  • ||

    My soph year English teacher had us read Ayn Rand. In public school. Pretty stunning when I think back on it.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand was never on the reading list, but my AP Lit teacher did have a big stack of Rand in her book cabinet that we could check out when we wanted.

    They also let her teach philosophy as an elective course which everyone loved to take. Some bureaucrat really fucked up when they hired her.

  • $park¥||

    English teachers have always been mean. Thankfully I never had a teacher try to inflict anything like that on me.

  • ||

    My ninth grade English teacher made us read A Separate Peace, for which I will eternally hate that anal bitch.

  • robc||

    Every 9th grade english teacher made every 9th grader read A Separate Peace.

    Actually, I think I was in 10th, but same idea.

    I think she hated it as much as we did.

  • ||

    No, dude, she analyzed every fucking line of that interminable book, and we had to go along with it. Horrible. Even analyzing the utterly boring Black Elk Speaks with my crazy sophomore year English teacher was preferable to that.

  • Zeb||

    Everyone hates that book. Yet it seems to be universal for 9th grade English. I think it is mainly because it is full of heavy handed allegory and symbolism, so it is sort of useful in teaching what those things are.

  • $park¥||

    Huh, never even heard of it until just now.

  • SugarFree||

    I didn't have to read Black Elk Speaks, at least. I got out right before the huge "marginalized voices" push. Though, I did have to read The Mayor of Casterbridge, and that I shall never forgive.

  • ||

    Though, I did have to read The Mayor of Casterbridge, and that I shall never forgive.

    Dude, you complain about Hardy and it's not Tess? Give me a fucking break.

  • SugarFree||

    Dude, you complain about Hardy and it's not Tess?

    Whatevs. It could have at least been Jude for some hot cousin-on-cousin action.

  • ||

    Or Far from the Madding Crowd for some romantic romance...mmm, yes, Gabriel Oak, please help shear my sheep for me...

    Seriously though, I fucking hate Tess with an undying fire.

  • ||

    Never heard of that one. 9th grade was To Kill A Mockingbird, Les Mis, Animal Farm, and Romeo and Juliet.

  • Killazontherun||

    Same here. Neither that nor Black Elk Speaks.

  • Killazontherun||

    Tenth grade geometry teacher had an unreal crush for Raúl Juliá. Every few months when we finished a core area there would be a few days to burn until the next one, so she would have us watch one of his movies on tape. Mostly Shakespearean productions, but no test involved so it was fun. Even for a teacher she was kind of kooky.

  • sloopyinca||

    But not The Addams Family? That was pretty much the world's introduction to The Fivehead, wasn't it?

  • Killazontherun||

    Adams Family came out in my last year of college, but I'm sure later classes got to see it. I almost talked myself into sending her a card when he died.

  • sloopyinca||

    You lucky bastards. I got stuck with a progtarded reparations-lover that made us read Beloved, as well as An American Tragedy and of course The Jungle.

    It took me a long time to read for enjoyment after 9th grade English.

  • ||

    We had to read Song of Solomon for our dose of Morrison. I actually liked it since I'm a fan of magical realism and such and it dealt with issues beyond race like identity.

    The Collector, The Stranger, and Wide Sargasso Sea were some of my favorite stories, along with absurdist plays like 'The Zoo Story' and 'Waiting for Godot'.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The Bluest Eye and As I Lay Dying

    Yes, my teachers were a little morbid.

  • Killazontherun||

    As I Lay Dying, seriously? Holy crap. We read Light in August in senior year which was pretty good.

  • sloopyinca||

    I actually liked An American Tragedy, but not the way Dreiser wanted people to. IMO, it put to bed any delusions that social justice and equality of outcomes was a good thing. Fucker thought he was entitled by birthright to shit he hadn't earned and he let a woman die after he ruined her life.

    That said, The author was a socialist piece of shit and would likely have ended up against the wall as a useful idiot if his political philosophy came to being writ large.

    Oh, and Sister Carrie and The Titan both sucked huge balls.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If I ever teach ninth grade, I'm making the little bastards read We by Zamyatin and The Cyberiad by Lem

  • sloopyinca||

    Were I a Ninth Grade teacher, I'd just tell them to get a syllabus from the local college's English department and agree on a book to read (each 9 weeks), and to write a paper on it. That way, I might read a new book or two every year and I also might get a chance to prove how fucking dumbed-down colleges have become.

    Also, I'd have them read graphic novels, the complete Calvin And Hobbs and The Daily Fail's US Showbiz section once a week.

  • ||

    Is A Separate Peace the one with Calvin Ball in it? I know I have the book someplace, and vaguely remember reading it.

  • SugarFree||

    My ninth grade English teacher made us read A Separate Peace

    It was to help you come to grips with your budding sexuality as a gay man, Epi.

    Let it out, buddy. Crying helps.

  • ||

    So that's why I kept getting erections in class!

  • ||

    I read that fucking piece of shit in 9th grade too. Burn in hell, Ms. Whatever Your Fucking Cunt Name Was.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Could be worse. I had to read Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

    Imagine if the Victorian version of Jezebel had written a novel.

  • ||

    First of all, some of us are already complaining about Tess.

    Second, I don't get the Jezebel comparison at all. In the Jezebel version she would have had an abortion. She wouldn't have been a sainted angel for being the stupidest woman ever alive.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The plot of the book is basically: woman has a crush on a guy who is completely not interested in her, who she tries to trap into marriage by getting herself pregnant. This ends up backfiring on here, and completely screws up her life. But she bears no responsibility for this whatsoever, because men are such evil rapey bastards. This is all really our fault, which is why we should support letting women murder men they have a crush on but who refuse to marry them.

  • ||

    "My ninth grade English teacher made us read A Separate Peace, for which I will eternally hate that anal bitch."

    I had to do the same thing in the 9th grade. I hated that book so much, I don't even remember anything about it.

  • robc||

    I will take any Rand over Pere Goriot.

    Ugh. That and some bullshit french canadian shit I read in 8th grade have to be the worse inflicted on me by english teachers.

  • sloopyinca||

    Ugh. That and some bullshit french canadian shit I read in 8th grade have to be the worse inflicted on me by english teachers.

    Well, based on that sentence alone, I think it's safe to assume they didn't inflict basic grammar on you.

    /sarc

  • Murgatroyd||

    My English teacher had us read a brief, multi-page excerpt from The Fountainhead during my sophomore year of high school. It didn't make much of an impression on me and I don't even remember what it was about.

    This is why I don't understand the common progressive critique of Ayn Rand's works as only being appealing to teenage boys. Generally the concepts rand presents are somewhat counter-intuitive, especially in the face of the constant indoctrination of statist beliefs that a teenage boys would typically encounter in public school. I'm guessing most people have never cracked a Rand book, even those with libertarian leanings.

  • ||

    The thing about Rand is that her writing can be difficult to get through if you aren't already a good reader.

    I personally think her writing was okay for someone who's first language was not English, but realistically not many teens are going to want to slog through Atlas or The Fountainhead. Her most accessible work of fiction was probably We the Living.

    I can't imagine the average teen picking up her non-fiction philosophy.

  • Murgatroyd||

    The only work of Rand's I have read was Atlas shrugged and I enjoyed it, although it was certainly a slog through certain sections.

    I think that most people's criticism or dislike of that book has to do with the aloofness and invincibility of the main characters. Most major novels of the last half - century have attempted to convey the introspective emotions and motivations of the main characters. The trend has been to de-emphasize the the importance of the plot in favor of humanizing the characters and making them relatable. Rand obviously has no interest in this and her characters are generally emotionally unrelatable.

    I found that I most enjoyed Atlas Shrugged when I envisioned the story in a kind of film noir-ish manner - black and white, sharp lighting, contrasting shadows, etc. This imagery fit the mood and tone of her writing well.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I thought The Fountainhead was way better than Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged is a great concept, but the execution is way to Anvilicious.

  • ||

    Yeah, I started skipping the monologues, I apparently missed a few choice quotes from Galt's speech, but her need to explain her position instead of letting the story carry itself drove me insane. I have The Fountainhead sitting on my "unread books" shelf, glaring at me. It's prominent display in my room has queered more than one date.

  • sloopyinca||

    You need to read it. It really is her best work, even if Gregory fucking Peck tried to ruin it for me.

    Speaking of Any Rand. Is Atlas Shrugged III coming out this year? Have they decided to follow my diagram of progressively worse production and do it in claymation?

  • Zeb||

    "My soph year English teacher had us read Ayn Rand."

    Mine too, actually.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    My senior year English teacher had us read Rand in public school too. The weird thing is she was the most openly lefty teacher I had my whole education, but didn't really politicize it at all.

  • SIV||

    I had a HS civics teacher who was ultra-right and in between talk radio gigs (in the age of the fairness doctrine, no less). He wasn't tenured and was at my school for just 2 years. He had been a staffer for Phil Crane (R-IL)and had worked for Paul Weyrich. That was probably the most entertaining public school class I ever had.

  • Murgatroyd||

    They are about as rare as a black astronaut...or a unicorn...

    Seriously though, I have only ever met one other libertarian face-to-face. He happens to be my sister's boyfriend and is studying economics. Everyone else I have discussions with on libertarian subjects are people to whom I have introduced the basic concepts.

  • sloopyinca||

    In the first frame:
    1: There is a stop sign, giving the pedestrians the right of way. The crossing guard is a waste of taxpayer money.
    2: The stop sign is yellow instead of red, making it invalid under DOT requirements.
    3: The black kid is stuck in the back of the line: racist!
    In the second frame: the black kid is in the back...again. More racism!

  • Zeb||

    I only see a gray kid.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, so this was taken at Punahou School, where a young Barack Obama had yet to join the Choom Gang?

  • Zeb||

    It's from about the right time, so that must be it.

  • thom||

    Huh. The implication in the first picture is that it is the pedestrians who are obeying the law, in order to be kept safe. Even to prove their point, they should have shown the crossing guard stop the car so that the children could cross safely.

  • sloopyinca||

    Maybe a member of the Politburo was driving the car and the crossing guard was saving all those peasants' lives.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It appears to be an alternate universe where the is only one legal hair cut for each gender.

  • Killazontherun||

    Mop head, lusterless gray skin. Venezuelan exchange student, circa. late 60's.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Unless it's a marked crosswalk, pedestrians only have the right of way if they were at the intersection before the car reached the stop sign. Maybe those kids just walked up after the car reached the stop sign.

  • Zeb||

    I thought that the point of a crossing guard was that the pedestrians have the right of way when he says they do.

  • Mr. Soul||

    these kids look like they could use some Army-man cupcakes!

  • sloopyinca||

    Holy shit. OT, but I wonder what Epi and our other upper northwestern posters will think of this.

    Why would the Vikings let Harvin go? Fucking retarded.

  • Virginian||

    Wow the Seahawks are going to be even better next year?

  • Killazontherun||

    With McShorty as their quarterback how can they fail?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Right, I would totally step out in front of a moving car if it hadn't been for the law against it.

  • sloopyinca||

    You do see the Stop sign, right? Shouldn't the pedestrians have the right of way?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK, I'm reinterpreting the picture. I thought the kid was stopping the other kids from crossing, but now it looks like he's stopping the cars.

    If you think drivers automatically obey RoW considerations without being forced to run over someone if they disobey, there's a lethal crosswalk in Pittsburgh I'd like to introduce you to.

  • ||

    Californians have unrealistic expectations of safety when crossing the street. Also it's entirely too fun to step out into traffic and watch cars scramble not to hit you.

  • KDN||

    I spent 5 years walking from Penn Station to 50th & Lex and back each weekday. I can only approve this comment.

    Of course, the best time is when you dash across an avenue and truck a bike messenger as you're halfway across the street. Those guys deserve everything bad that ever happens to them. If I ever see Premium Rush I'm sure I'll root for the villains.

  • sloopyinca||

    He's not stopping the cars, you nitwit. The correct way to stop cars is to step into the intersection with a state-approved flashing Stop sign.

    No, he's keeping these kids from crossing the street, thereby falsely imprisoning them in the name of the state and preventing them from legally exercising their RoW at that intersection.

    And IIRC, according to the way you interpret the NAP, he could be shot and killed for doing so. Right?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't think he's stopping the kids. That little blond puke is already past his left arm. He's looking at the car, too, so I think he's stopping the car.

  • sloopyinca||

    He's not looking at the car. He's looking off into the distance, longing for the time when the crossing guards will be unionized so he can make fat bank and get a pension at 56 years old.

  • I GOT HUNG UP SILLY||

    Sadly in American Government today,little Americans do not have U.S. politico$ brave enough to submit Congressional legislation that would protect our USA www children.

    Elite owned www Networks Hardcore Adult Porn & violence being supplied to our Children Nationwide is obviously Demonic work not Godly !

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