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A little education

To the editor:

In Plato’s book, The Republic, written in 380 BCE, there is a discussion about what kind of stories should be taught to children and youths for their education. Mothers, nurses, and teachers were to be persuaded to pick stories that would mould their minds and develop good character, and to reject most of the stories current in that day as inappropriate. The stories of the gods being jealous, quarreling, and fighting were to be avoided. They felt that children couldn’t distinguish as to what is an allegory and what isn’t, and they might get a distorted view of reality that is difficult to change. Stories must aim at encouraging the highest morality since they will be the future leaders of the polity.

Consider our present time. What stories and books would we want our children to hear and read? Suppose there is a book that is filled with mayhem, murder, and genocide. It contains stories where cities are destroyed with all inhabitants killed, including pregnant women, children, and babies, with the heads of babies put into baskets and displayed in public.

And it has scatological passages such as passing wind, urinating against a wall, eating dung, and comparing men’s private parts. There are also stories about incest, fornication, allowing ones daughter to be used, and cannibalism. What if it instills fear of extremely severe punishment, even for trivial misbehavior? On top of all that, what if the book advocates hating certain people?

Would anyone want their children to read those unfortunate passages?

Clearly, any book that has some or all of the above immorality should be kept out of the hands of children. It should be in a restricted section of any library, or locked securely away in the same manner that one would lock guns away.

Any book worth reading should contain a loving philosophy. Its morality should be the highest. It should contain nothing cruel, vengeful, vindictive or infamous. It should be filled with intelligence, justice, purity, honesty, and mercy. It should be opposed to war, to slavery, to ignorance, and superstition. It should develop the brain and civilize the heart.

Besides undesirable books, there’s also the problem of violence in movies, video games, and television dramas. Unfortunately, what children learn when young frequently gets acted out as an adult to the detriment of society.

Therefore, careful monitoring by parents is of the utmost importance.

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