Today’s Tom Woods Letter, which all the influential people receive every weekday. Be one of them.
Well, this is rich: leftists are complaining that schoolkids are being indoctrinated.
I’ll give you the details in a minute. But you know what? I could probably identify 10 outright falsehoods and another 10 ideological propositions that virtually all kids have absorbed by fifth grade.
The leftists who are complaining today wouldn’t call that indoctrination, because the ideas the kids are indoctrinated in are so obvious to the left that they barely consider them propositions at all, much less controversial ones.
Now to the reason for leftist whining: my friend Connor Boyack has written five books in the Tuttle Twins series — beautiful children’s books that take a classic libertarian text and illustrate it via a children’s story.
The first book in the series, The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil, takes Leonard Read’s essay “I, Pencil” and conveys its beautiful truths to a young audience.
The point of the essay? The labor, resources, and know-how necessary to assemble something as simple as a pencil are beyond any one person’s individual knowledge. More than that, they are amazingly far flung, and involve a complex structure of production spanning the globe.
For instance: there’s wood in a pencil, yes, but to get that wood you need a saw. For a saw you need steel. To make steel you need an additional production process. Same for the gasoline to power the vehicles to transport the steel, the rubber in the tires of those vehicles, and on and on.
That the price system, with no central direction, is able to coordinate this complex process, such that pencils are produced affordably and without surpluses or shortages, is a veritable miracle. Yet no one pauses to appreciate that miracle.
Hence the beauty of Connor’s book: it asks us to stop and appreciate this spontaneous order, for lack of a better term.
Connor is raising money to get this book, along with a lesson plan, into the hands of schoolteachers who are interested in teaching this material.
I’ve donated a bit of money myself. It’s a good cause: http://www.tomwoods.com/connor
Well, this project is just too much for the leftist who made a video called “Right-Wing Indoctrination.” He sees no left-wing indoctrination going on 24 hours a day, naturally. But a book about a completely non-controversial economic insight, which any economist of any school would agree with? Why, that’s indoctrination!
Some people in the comments were saying kids aren’t interested in economics and shouldn’t be forced to learn about it.
Yet they’re not interested in 99% of what’s shoved down their throats, and I hear no leftist violins about that.
And in fact, they are interested. What’s more natural to a child than a sense of wonder? Connor’s book encourages that sense of wonder, urging us to appreciate the amazing, worldwide cooperation that goes into creating the most trifling consumer good.
I’d say we could all stand to learn that lesson. I don’t know about you, but I find myself surrounded by a generation of entitled whiners, who seem to think these wonders occur automatically, and have not paused to appreciate the amazing latticework of human cooperation that makes it all possible.
It’s not that the kids are learning bad economics, and we want to teach them good economics. They learn nothing about any of this at all. They learn about how a bill becomes a law (see the statist bias already?), but nothing about the self-directed market and how the price system, in tandem with private property, gives rise to a cornucopia our ancestors could scarcely have believed.
(1) I’ve had two more spaces open up for the Orlando escape room I’m doing with my Supporting Listeners this Tuesday night. Want to join me? Join that programand reply to this email as soon as possible and I’ll add you to the list!