It seems like just yesterday that I was riding back from the Piggly Wiggly after grocery shopping with my mother. Of course, it wasn't yesterday. It was more like the summer of 1970. If memory serves me correctly, I was five years old.
While we were riding in our 1965 Pontiac Catalina, I heard a reporter on the radio say something about a war in Vietnam. I didn't know we were in a war until I asked my mom if we were fighting the Germans again. That's when I first heard that terrible word. "No, son, we are fighting the communists." I asked her who these communists were and where they came from. She paused and said "No one really knows."
Today things are different. We know who the communists are and where they come from. Most of them teach at American universities. We work hard every day to pay the taxes which, in turn, pay their salaries. Meanwhile, they work hard to subvert everything we do, everything we value, and everything we love.
Of course, they don't call themselves communists. They prefer the term "socialist." Whether they are pushing socialized medicine, decrying the privatization of social security, or trying to subordinate our foreign policy interests to those of the U.N., they give themselves away immediately.
The modern socialists also attack our Christian heritage with a zeal inspired by Marx's mordent declaration that "religion is the opiate of the masses." They know that capitalism can never fall as long as our nation retains that Christian heritage. As long as the socialist attack upon our economic system is rooted in social and moral upheaval, there can be no meaningful distinction between the economic and the social conservative. The two components of our conservative heritage simply cannot be divorced.
Hardly a day goes by without parents asking me for advice on how to protect their children from the harmful secular and socialist influences they will encounter in college. Today, I present a reading list, which should help any high school student understand the reality of socialism long before setting foot on a college campus. It will help abort any professor's attempt to advance his agenda by rewriting socialism's disgraceful history.
We the Living (1936) - This is the first and most autobiographical of all of Ayn Rand's novels. It is also a good book for teenagers. So many young lives are destroyed before they have really begun in this gut-wrenching novel. For those who consider Rand to be arrogant and caustic, it is necessary to understand what she witnessed as a young woman in communist Russia. This book will make you appreciate all of the blessings we enjoy in this great country.
Anthem (1938) - I have recommended this book before (see last year's summer reading list). It is a good starting place for teens who have an aversion to reading. At around 100 pages, it has a fast-moving plot. As a professor at a university dominated by identity politics, I see this novel as something more than grim prophesy. Rand captures 1984 ten years before Orwell. She explains the campus diversity movement 50 years before its onset.
The Fountainhead (1943) - Ellsworth Toohey is, in my opinion, the most memorable character from this famous Ayn Rand novel. Toohey was supposed to remind readers of Joseph Stalin. In the wake if the 2004 election, he reminds me of someone else. At around 700 pages, this novel may be a bit long for the average high school student. But, then again, many high school students were required to read it in the 1950s. Rand's philosophy of objectivism really begins to take shape in this classic thriller.
The Road to Serfdom (1944) - After I published last year's summer reading list, I was criticized for two omissions. One was "Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton. The other was "The Road to Serfdom" by F.A. Hayek. Complaints regarding the latter exceeded complaints regarding the former by about two to one. Nothing more need be said.
Animal Farm (1946) - Maybe your high school student is having trouble in his English classes. Maybe that is, in part, due to his inability to pick up on symbolism. I flunked English four years in a row in high school, partly because of my inability to pick up on obvious literary symbols. Nonetheless, I picked up on everything in this great little novel. While this list is presented in chronological order, "Animal Farm" might be the best starting place among these ten books.
1984 (1948) - Over the next few years, how many students will get a daily dosage of "the two minutes hate" by professors who are still seething with anger after the defeat of John Kerry? And how many times will the Office of Diversity remind us of the opening pages of 1984 as it seeks to do exactly the opposite of what its name implies?
Witness (1952) - This is one of the most important books of the twentieth century. Before and after reading this book, parents should encourage their children to visit www.biography.com and search for the name "Alger Hiss." What they read will demonstrate just how far in denial this nation still is regarding the Soviet infiltration of our government during the Cold War.
After 9/11, we can no longer afford such naivet?/P>
The Gulag Archipelago (1956) - If you did not think that "We the Living" painted a realistic portrait of Soviet Russia during the Stalinist purges, this great work of non-fiction by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn will set matters straight. Some call it the greatest non-fiction book of the twentieth century. I can't argue.
Atlas Shrugged (1957) - This is my favorite American novel. It is my second favorite novel behind "The Brothers Karamazov." Based on her other writings, Ayn Rand seems to have considered John Galt's speech to be the highlight of the novel. Francisco d'Anconia's speech at Jim Taggart's wedding was my favorite part of the novel. At over 1000 pages, this one is going to take time for your high schooler to read. If they refuse, you can always teach them a lesson about capitalism by paying them to read it. The results will be well worth the investment.
Treason (2003)-The www.biography.com entry for Joseph McCarthy says the
following: "His wild, unsubstantiated charges and headline-grabbing investigations of Communists in the foreign service, the US Information Agency, and the military...led historians to label the early 1950s the McCarthy era." After you read this wonderful book by Ann Coulter, ask the good folks at A&E just what those unsubstantiated charges were. And, in class, make sure your children ask their professors, too. Be prepared for a lot of stammering, after a long and awkward pause.
Enjoy the reading, my fellow capitalists!