we accept la clean home, etc.i is an important one. Childrennrespect books in the first grade, and if voti put it in the hook.n:t i;ives it a stamp or approval (Emphasis added).nWith unsettling candor and self-confidence, this author revealsnthe simplistic psychological assumptions and sense ofnmoral purpose which have motivated the modern bourgeoisie.nrVs ideologues have always known, children’s boolcs dontransmit a society’s commonly held values. Even in our ownnmedia-sotted decade, they help define for young minds thennormal and the abnormal. And they give meaning to thenphrase “social responsibility.” In these respects. Dick andnJane served for forty years as puerile archetypes of middleclassnAmerica. They embodied for children a style of lifenwhich, by every statistical measure, a growing proportion ofn.mericans from all ethnic origins was enjoying in the twondecades following World War II.nSince the youthful pair’s disappearance, children s ‘nooksnhave remained objects of unrelenting combat. They arencombed with ever-growing fervor to eliminate se.xual andncultural stereotypes, or hints of what might constitute thenproper way of living. Contemporary sex-education textsnadvise children to discover their own standards of moralnbehavior, and they assail any remaining restraints on children’snsexuality. The scabrous, best-selling sex book targetednat first- and second-graders, Show Me!, combines kiddie porn,nexplicit photos of adult oral sex and prose that would giveneven Alfred Kinsey, God rest his tormented soul, a nervousnchill. Another children’s sex book, published in England,ndescribes incest as “common” and “loving” and suggests thenpending breakdown of that most universal of cultural taboos.nIn this process, we have watched the ruling figures in education,nthe publishing houses and the media fail in theirncenturies-old duty of passing on to children a unique culturalnheritage. In giving credence to the presumed intolerance ofnstandards and norms and the supposed necessity of unfetterednpersonal choice, they have also subverted whateverninfluence parents, local community or religion might havenin guiding youth toward a responsible and enriching waynof life.nThe consequences of this betrayal of responsibility arenenormous and measurable. One study reported in the Journalnof Abnormal and Social Psychology showed a dramatic correlationnbetween the gradual disappearance of “achievementnimagery” (defined as ‘success in competition with a standardnof excellence’) from American children’s readers in thisncentury and a sharp fall in the number of patents issued eachnyear per 1,000,000 population. One might hypothesize ansimilar relationship over the past two decades between thenpurging of other bourgeois images from the readers and thenconcurrent declines in children’s reading and analytical skillsnand increases in drug abuse, school disciplinary problems,nadolescent pregnancy and teenage crime.n. BOOKS AND THE YOUTHFUL >nND .nIn a recent issue of thenMiami Herald, MarilynnFrench, a best-selling feministnauthor whose vicious distortionsnof the nature of womannand man are circulating in millionsnof copies of her books,ncomplains that censorship isnraging in America:nOur censorship is subtle,nand more a matter of interestsnshared by a powerfulngroup than a conspiracynor planned stance, butnit exists.nShe’s right. If anyone triednto publish an articulate, intel­nnnCensorship in Americanlectually mature defense of,nsay the Reverend Jerry Falwellnand his Moral Majority, nonNew York publisher wouldnever accept it. It’s doubtfulnthat the Miami Herald, whichndevoted almost an entire pagento Ms. French’s factitious ravings—underna title “World ofnWords, Where Women’s WorknIs Never Done”—would printnanything which would proventhatMs. French is both dishonestnand stupid. Yes, Virginia,nthere is censorship in America,nand those who do the censoringnnow are crying wolf.nTh he plain truth, lost to the modern liberal temperament,nis that children and youth desperately need guidance fromnadults on how properly to order their lives. Parents beginnthis process, to be sure. Yet their counsel must eventuallynbe supported, or at least not undermined, by the wider communitynwhich children gradually enter. When a modernnsociety—through its books, educational structure and electronicnimagery—fails in such a supportive task, the inevitablenresult is ruined lives and social decay.nIn the service of an arcane liberation theology, modernnliberals have scuttled the accumulated wisdom of ‘Westernncivilization, and they have embraced a melange of secularncults which pander to every human weakness. In this respect.nthe replacement of fictional children by anthropomorphicnanimals in grade-school readers holds an uncanny symbolism,nfor these misshapen creatures suggest the dehumanizingnincoherence of contemporary “adult” liberal culture.nAfter surveying the resulting wasteland, we can resignnourselves to the termination of social progress, or we cannrescue the cultural-transmission process from those whonhave ravaged it. In every ideological contest, youth are thenultimate prize. For our civilization to begin to heal, we mustndefend and pass on to our children the historically superiornvalues of honor, personal responsibility, charity, faith, lawfulness,nmodesty and the centrality of the family. In the facenof heckling from worldly fools, we need to recapture in morenmeasured fashion the confidence and moral purpose whichnmotivated the not-unordinary creators of Dick and Jane.n—Allan CarlsonnDr. Carlson has recently joined the staff of The RockfordnInstitute as assistant to the president.nSeptember/October 1981n