Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
By Anthony Esolen
ISI Books 2010. Xiii + 237 pp.
Reviewed by Robert E Hurley, M.D.
Editor’s Note: Anthony Esolen will be Credo’s St. Joseph Dinner speaker in St. Louis 14-April-2013 with a talk titled Fatherhood and Freedom. For a preview of his wit, watch this interview on Fox & Friends where he pranks the anchors. Listen to Esolen but watch the male anchor.
“Don’t buy this book – unless you like non-stop wit, energetic writing, fresh insight, and abundant wisdom about how to shape a good life for your children, and maybe even yourself.” — Robert Royal, President, Faith and Reason Institute
Esolen’s work is a volume of clear and present danger to the dominant John Dewey approach to mass education prevalent in our schools, primary through university. On the other hand, it is a great help for anyone with the welfare of children and the next generation at heart – fathers, mothers, priests, rabbis, ministers, teachers and even social workers. It’s a great way to gain valuable insight into a serious threat to children and free civilized society by way of hilarious satire.
In the introduction, the author recounts how a vandal seized forty or fifty thousand books, some of them classics, from his college library, not to read or sell them, but to get rid of them because nobody would read them anyway. Nothing could be done since the vandal in question was the librarian — a good book could foster imaginative thought, a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands.
The first chapter, Why Truth is Your Enemy, uses incisive humor to deal with why politically correct education has to do away with facts. An effective way to accomplish this is to do away with memory, one of the great gifts of youth, depriving them of a very useful storehouse of facts with which healthy imagination could develop, and leave them much less vulnerable to manipulation as adults. Good books must be consigned to oblivion.
The remaining ten chapters are appropriately termed “Methods.” Method 1 – Keep Your Children Indoors as Much as Possible. Some snippets from Method 1 –“Virginia Woolf once wrote that a woman of Shakespeare’s day could never have written such plays as the Bard wrote …….she would not have had a quiet room to write in. That is the gist of Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own.” But Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest writer the world has ever seen, apparently didn’t have a room of his own; neither did Ben Jonson or Samuel Johnson, but they certainly had cities of their own and were not continually indoors. “Albert Einstein used to say that he had first begun to wonder about the speed of light when he was a boy, lazing about by himself upon the sunny mountains outside of Florence.”
Methods 2 through 10 include titles like Replace the Fairy Tale with Political Clichés and Fads (Method 4), We Are All Traitors Now (Method 5), Reduce All Talk of Love to Narcissism and Sex (Method 7), Level Distinctions Between Man and Woman (Method 8), Distract the Child with the Shallow and Unreal (Method 9) and finish with the all-important Deny the Transcendent (Method 10). Each chapter has its own wit and wisdom, but the more foundational topics are treated perspicaciously in Methods 7, 8 and 10.
This book provides a witty, revealing look into the playbook of the government-media-education establishment posing significant threats to the spiritual, intellectual, and sometimes physical, well-being of children.
Great review of obviously a great book. It is indeed refreshing
to see that Anthony Esolen is undeterred by the multiple drones headed his way by an appreciative government.