Book Reviews

Just finished reading several books and thought I would post some comments on them here.

Don’t Let The Kids Drink the Kool-Aid, by Mary Beth Hicks.

There seems to be little doubt that since 1960 the nation’s attitudes with respect to sex, marriage, ethics, religion, self-reliance, and a host of other matters has gone into decline.

I used to think the situation could only improve, since leftists and secularist elites were having fewer children; it was home-schoolers, Catholic and religiously conservative parents who were having larger families and training their children in right values. I thought that the left would self-select itself out of existence.

What I failed to realize is that secularist leftists don’t need to have kids: they can steal yours. And they have. Your kids are largely trained by the culture, not by you. Television, YouTube, educators, teachers, lesson plans, video games, Internet, Facebook, mandatory textbooks, mandated sexuality education (more than sex education), nearly every aspect of your child’s life is mediated by some group or authority which does not hold your values, and which desires a different kind of child, a different kind of nation, even a different kind of civilization.

None of this was new to me. But Marybeth Hicks does do a good job of pulling all the threads together. Those 1960’s hippie radicals are now controlling the bureaucracy and the textbooks, the movies, the schools, the programming. She begins by agreeing with Barack Obama that “the culture wars are just so 90’s.” “Obama was right,” she says. “The culture wars are over. We lost.” By the end of the book all doubt is removed.

She ends on a hopeful note, with some ideas on renewing our children’s innocence, restoring civic virtue, restoring personal ethics and morality.

But I’m not real hopeful. She says that we have raised the first generation of American socialists. It seems to me that the kids have already drunk the Kool-Aid. They’ve become drunk on it. I don’t know if that can be reversed. If not, the nation as we have known it will be gone. Perhaps when global monetary crisis becomes inevitable, we will either opt once again for self-reliance or freely choose tyranny. But the odds are not good.

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen

After reading the Mary Beth Hicks book, I relaxed with this kid’s book. It was written 25 years ago, but I’d never read it before. I liked it so much I read it twice, the second time more slowly, sometimes reading aloud.

The protagonist is a 13 year old boy stranded, lost and alone, in the Canadian wilderness after a small plane crash. What kept my attention were the physical and mental challenges this urban boy had to overcome to survive. In adversity he develops mental toughness. He learns to make fire, to find food, to hunt, he learns to read nature, to use all his senses and his intellect.

When near the end of the book he at last he manages to retrieve the emergency kit from the downed airplane submerged in a lake, he goes through it, finding numerous “treasures”—freeze dried food, sleeping bag, a rifle. His feelings are mixed. “Up and down, he thought. The pack was wonderful but it gave him up and down feelings.” With his new found treasures, the new skills he had developed through hard work out of dire necessity became less important, his ability to read nature less important. That seemed sort of a loss.

In many ways this book was a welcome corrective to the Marybeth Hicks book. I’m ready to read it again. I think every 13 year old (or older!) boy should read it. Twice.

This isn’t a review but I would strongly strongly suggest anyone who enjoys catholic reading to read “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross. It will humble you. It is an incredible read by an incredible man. St. John was a Doctor of the Church for good reason. Only took me three chapters in to see his position was well deserved lol.

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