Socialism Starts With Your Kids' Allowance, Preacher W.S. McBirnie Warned in 1965
Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
Teach Your Child Free Enterprise!
Author: Dr. W.S. McBirnie Date: 1965 Publisher: Voice of Americanism, Glendale, CA Discovered at: San Jose, CA, antique mall
The Cover Promises: "A Revolution in rearing successful and responsible young people." Also, that the word "rearing" once less ambiguous than it is today.
"Many persons who despise socialism in government, practice it at home without realizing they are creating socialist attitudes (and the inevitable spiritual sickness that flows from socialism) in their own children."
Yesterday shameless shouting toadstool Dick Morris took a break from plumping up in fungus-rich woodland soil to take to the Fox news airways to peddle the one idea always guaranteed to sell in our capitalistic society: that our capitalistic society now lies wrecked and dying, thanks to socialism, never mind the fact that it still harbors vigor enough to furnish an excellent living for a shameless shouting toadstool who offers it nothing whatsoever of value.
Like Morris, preacher/author/broadcaster W.S. McBirnie made his fortune warning Americans of the advance of a socialistic government that, really, if it were anywhere near as bad as McBirnie insisted would certainly have shut him down before he managed to publish the 1100 different books and pamphlets his website claims that he authored. That boast might have made a fine blurb for Teach Your Child Free Enterprise: "Of the 1,100 books and pamphlets he wrote," it might have said, "this is assuredly one."
The other thing the cover doesn't say: That the book's only real argument is that socialism starts when parents begin doling out allowance.
Just as it's fishy to make a fortune in America by warning people that it is now impossible to make a fortune in America, Teach Your Child Free Enterprise is the rare book whose introduction explicitly disproves its own premise. On the first page, McBirnie notes that "probably every generation of parents in history" has believed that the generation it is parenting is "rebellious, irreverent, and generally up to no good."
He then cites the ancient Greeks and Egyptians (?) as examples that this was also the case "two or three thousand years ago" and even quotes a few lines of cheery doggerel about how every grandfather ever has felt the world was going to the dogs. But then McBirnie dashes away this Erma Bombeck-ian appeal to the universality of human foibles and declares, "Yet there is a marked change observable in the outlook of young people of today!"
This is like saying "Everybody throughout all of history has made the mistake of believing one ridiculous thing that I'm here to tell you is true."
Hey, you could do worse than following @studiesincrap on the Twitter thing.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.