A great deal of harm is being done these days by a sinister program to promote putative virtues among the young and innocent. Popular books like Golden Rules: The Ten Ethical Values Parents Need to Teach Their Children by business writer Wayne Dosick and William Bennett's The Book of Virtues for Young People argue that society's ills can be cured by brainwashing excuse me teaching the "moral sciences" to children. The real agenda behind this campaign, it seems to me, is to control people and limit their freedom.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not some paranoid libertarian. What troubles me is how completely lacking in fun this shortsighted and spiritually empty project is. This irritating man Bennett, for instance, writes that "the kind and number of friends you have will depend on your own virtues." In other words, You'd better follow these rules, kid, or no one will like you except losers. By trumpeting "reputation" as the first reason for being virtuous, Bennett engages in moral blackmail and drains the virtuous life of any transcendent purpose. His idea of schooling young people in the so-called virtues takes away self-responsibility and