I have this ten year old boy in my life now. He lived the first eight years of his life halfway around the world from me. I initially guessed that that meant he would be different than typical me-first, screen-addicted American kids. I was wrong. The reach of western television, movies—who am I kidding?—the reach of YouTube, Facebook, Roblox, Fortnite (not to mention the requisite child neglect for these things to have any lasting influence) on planet Earth is near complete, I am unhappy to report.
When I grew up I loved television and movies. I wouldn’t be me without Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, Rocky Balboa, and, of course, Maverick. But somehow, I knew the boundaries, however breakable, of these forms of entertainment. I knew I could never be MJ, and I knew that I had a decent shot of being Maverick.
My ten year old stepson—though deprived of essentially all screen-time for almost a year—still unflinchingly retorts, “I want to play Roblox,” in answer to my, “But what do you want to do?” character development-intending inquiries.
Despite his having no television time (or box, even), I often find that old habits die hard and am motivated at dinner to pull up a clip or song on my phone to help him assimilate—or just because I want to hear it. In a more and more infrequent, but always endearing, display of innocence (and unthinking) the boy confessed after such a video last night (food court flash mob of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus ), “Sometimes I feel like I’m in the video.” Before I had recovered from the brutality of the unexpected admission, he added, “And it’s very hard to remember that I’m not.”
I can’t be more clear than to plainly declare that it is my fervent goal to use the rest of my time with the boy to show him that real life is better than the make-believe world on the screen.
Why? Why is this my goal?
Is it because real life is, point of fact, better than the make-believe world on the screen? No, I don’t think I could say that that is what drives me. Make believe world, the fantasy, is obviously better than real life. Obviously. Definitionally, the fantasy is better.
So why do I hope to show him that real life is better, especially considering that I just said that I believe the fantasy is better?
That’s the interesting question. To help answer it, and to make a bigger point to my conservative and frustrated readers, we need to change gears.
My guided reading through the Great Books of the Western World has landed me in Marx’s Communist Manifesto. I have lots to comment. (For example, though not the point of today’s post, I do have to say here that I had always suspected, but never could confirm until just today, that the proletariat were virgins. Good to know.)
My response to this Manifesto is forever and intimately tied to my quest regarding my step-son. And I believe my response should be every conservative’s response, too. But I never hear them admit the real problem. So it would be foolish to see them respond the same as I do.
To be clear, I am saying here that every republican (not the members of the similarly named political party in our beloved America, but those of us who see no merit to democracy as a form of government), every republican, every anti-communist, every anti-Marxist—but here I repeat myself—to date has misunderstood the problem Marx gave to the world. Their answer to Marx is always the same. Even the great republicans, like Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, have missed the mark when they think “evidence” will help our cause.
“Evidence” is the cause of Communism—not its defeat. This is similar to how “evidence” is the cause of Fantasy. If life really was all that it’s cracked up to be, we’d have no reason to “escape” through entertainments and diversions—through fantasy. Savvy?
To repeat, “evidence” is the cause of Communism—not its defeat. This is similar to how “evidence” is the cause of Fantasy. If life really was all that it’s cracked up to be, we’d have no reason to “escape” through entertainments and diversions.
And this drops us back to my quest with my stepson, and its seeming paradox. If I believe fantasy is better than real life, then how can I want him to see that real life is better than fantasy?
Couched in political language, if I believe that communism is better than this mess of a political system we’ve inherited, then how can I want you to rebuke it in favor of this mess?
Back to my stepson.
What, dear reader, do I want? What, precisely, do I want for my stepson?
I can’t see this answer for you. You may never see the answer. But I do believe that if you can see what I want, and what drives me, then you can help rebuke the Marxists.
Again, I can’t see this answer for you. You may never see the answer.
This post may now feel like a waste of your time.
But this inability is the definition of the problem anti-Marxists face. I hope I didn’t patronize you along the way.