Socialism Starts With Your Kids' Allowance, Preacher W.S. McBirnie Warned in 1965

Categories: Studies in Crap

Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Teach Your Child Free Enterprise!

Author: Dr. W.S. McBirnie
Date: 1965
Publisher: Voice of Americanism, Glendale, CA
Discovered at: San Jose, CA, antique mall

The Cover Promises: "A Revolution in rearing successful and responsible young people." Also, that the word "rearing" once less ambiguous than it is today.

Representative Quote:

"Many persons who despise socialism in government, practice it at home without realizing they are creating socialist attitudes (and the inevitable spiritual sickness that flows from socialism) in their own children."

Yesterday shameless shouting toadstool Dick Morris took a break from plumping up in fungus-rich woodland soil to take to the Fox news airways to peddle the one idea always guaranteed to sell in our capitalistic society: that our capitalistic society now lies wrecked and dying, thanks to socialism, never mind the fact that it still harbors vigor enough to furnish an excellent living for a shameless shouting toadstool who offers it nothing whatsoever of value.

Like Morris, preacher/author/broadcaster W.S. McBirnie made his fortune warning Americans of the advance of a socialistic government that, really, if it were anywhere near as bad as McBirnie insisted would certainly have shut him down before he managed to publish the 1100 different books and pamphlets his website claims that he authored. That boast might have made a fine blurb for Teach Your Child Free Enterprise: "Of the 1,100 books and pamphlets he wrote," it might have said, "this is assuredly one."

The other thing the cover doesn't say: That the book's only real argument is that socialism starts when parents begin doling out allowance.

Just as it's fishy to make a fortune in America by warning people that it is now impossible to make a fortune in America, Teach Your Child Free Enterprise is the rare book whose introduction explicitly disproves its own premise. On the first page, McBirnie notes that "probably every generation of parents in history" has believed that the generation it is parenting is "rebellious, irreverent, and generally up to no good."

He then cites the ancient Greeks and Egyptians (?) as examples that this was also the case "two or three thousand years ago" and even quotes a few lines of cheery doggerel about how every grandfather ever has felt the world was going to the dogs. But then McBirnie dashes away this Erma Bombeck-ian appeal to the universality of human foibles and declares, "Yet there is a marked change observable in the outlook of young people of today!"

This is like saying "Everybody throughout all of history has made the mistake of believing one ridiculous thing that I'm here to tell you is true."


Before getting to his argument that parents should pay kids to work rather than teach them to expect handouts, McBirnie lists "typical attitudes" that he detested in the little shits of 1965:

"Youth has a right to disagree.
Young people's opinions are generally correct.
Freedom is to be defined by the opposite of discipline.
My style of clothing is my own business.
War is the worst of evils and I should be permitted to decide in what wars I will fight."
Big news for historians: The roots of the anti-war movement can be found in parents' reckless bestowal of weekly quarters.

The last item on that list of things that McBirnie believed that kids needed to be disabused of:

"God cramps my style, so I will decide whether I 'believe' in God or not."

Any cult-member can tell you: Compulsory belief is the strongest!

Anyway, here's how you make your children believe in God, go to war, wear what you tell them to, and understand that the opinions of young people aren't correct, which, wait, doesn't that last one undo all the rest?

"Early in life, the child should be taught to associate money and what it will buy, with work!"

So, pay your kids for doing work around the house. That will stop the Red Tide. He suggests paying hypothetical kid Larry a dime to sweep the sidewalks, a nickle to wash the driveway, and fifty cents for lawn-mowing. Caroline should rack up a nickle for ironing ten handkerchiefs and twenty cents for cleaning the birdcage. That's all easy to follow, but McBirnie isn't confident in his readers' intelligence, so he adds this caveat:
"You cannot expect small children to earn their clothes, of course."
Of course you can't! Until those moochers develop a work ethic, just put down some newspaper and make them roam nude!

Shocking Detail:
You may wonder, "Should I reward a kid with money for getting good grades?"

McBirnie says,

"[Children] rewarded artificially for learning become bookworms and stay in college and other academic surroundings too long."


"Economic slavery is the price of all welfarism ... This type of training will forever eliminate the beatnik and the 'world owes me a living' philosophy."

So, free-market parents, if you really wanted to beat Obama you should have shined up your nickles and wadded up your hankies!


Hey, you could do worse than following @studiesincrap on the Twitter thing.

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