Sneetches, and Anti Capitalist Indoctrination

This post inspired by Say Uncle’s post about bedtime stories.

Dr. Seuss was clearly a socialist, and the Sneetches story is but a minor example of it.  The Lorax is worse.  Maybe I’ll do a post about that later.

I’ve always wondered why the plain-bellied sneetches didn’t just host their own beach parties instead of being all butt hurt and envious over being excluded from the star bellies’ parties.  Ayn Rand would tell us that the star bellies were attempting a monopoly, which in a free market (that is to say, a market without some means of enforcing the monopoly through legislation or outright brute force) is merely enticing capital into start-up competition.  If the plain bellies’ started throwing really good parties of their own, some of the star bellies would eventually want to attend.  If the plain bellies let them attend, the plain belly organized parties would begin to dominate, or take over altogether unless the star bellies changed their discriminative ways.

A free market is self correcting in so many ways, and correcting against arbitrary discrimination is but one example.  We see this in real life just looking at music or sports pre civil rights era, where excluding black players meant missing out on some of the best.  By the time I was in middle school (late 1960s) Motown was well-represented, if not dominating, the top 40 on AM radio.

That’s what I tell my kids.  If their public school teachers can’t handle it, well, it’s their own problem that they choose to make fools of themselves.

5 thoughts on “Sneetches, and Anti Capitalist Indoctrination

  1. Well, at least you can read the “What was I scared of?” story in that same book, you shouldn’t be deathly afraid of a gun just because it’s unfamiliar to you, but you also have to learn how to handle it properly. Great kid’s story.

  2. Seuss a socialist? One more childhood icon goes down in flames.

    I’m not sure I ever got much (conscious) politics out of him, the stories were just fun to read. But then I never took things like his stories very seriously.

  3. Dr. Seuss wrote enough that his collected works contain stories that can satisfy almost any political persuasion.

    Those two books might lean socialist, as does Horton Hears a Who, but The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is an anti-authoritarian, individual-rights delight.

    Horton Hatches the Egg is also a wonderful story about personal responsibility.

    Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose is a screed against the welfare state.

    And Fox in Socks is just plain fun to read out loud for the 100th time to your child as a bedtime story. Tweedle Beetles! Yay!

    I say let the man’s works stand as a monument to early childhood reading, without censure.

  4. Points taken. There are some great stories.

    In my defense; I don’t think you can write The Lorax and understand free market economics at the same time. Wontonly destroying the very source of your wealth (the Truffula trees) makes no sense, even for the greediest of the greedy. Then there’s the unanswered question of who owns the land. Even a fool can see that to continue making money you need a reliable source of Truffula trees. Most especially when you own your own land, you’re going to see to it that it continues to produce. If you’re leasing the land, you have to uphold your end of the contract, and the landlord isn’t going to want you fouling it all up. Taking the worst case (that the Once-ler is a mad man bent on destruction) he’s going to have to sell the property, since it no longer produces for him, and like water flowing downhill the property will find its way into the hands of someone who can make it produce again. My example in real life is the Potlatch held land here in North Idaho. They log it, plus they keep it nice and attractive for recreation and they sell recreation permits. I go there to shoot. Others go there to fish, hunt, and camp. There are more deer and other wildlife there than there was when Columbus first sailed to America because there is more underbrush to support it. If Seuss’ vision of industry had played out, Potlatch would now be sitting on worthless, poisonous ground, with nothing but a tax bill and some useless saw mills.

    Far worse than these oversights, the Once-ler song (in the movie) is as snarky and sarcastic an anti capitalist piece as I’ve seen or heard anywhere.

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