Lying to Kids

The insightful Paul Graham:

One of the most remarkable things about the way we lie to kids is how broad the conspiracy is.  All adults know what their culture lies to kids about: they’re the questions you answer "Ask your parents." If a kid asked you who won the World Series in 1982 or what the atomic weight of carbon was, you could just tell him. But if a kid asks you "Is there a God?" or "What’s a prostitute?" you’ll probably say "Ask your parents."

Since we all agree, kids see few cracks in the view of the world presented to them. The biggest disagreements are between parents and schools, but even those are small. Schools are careful what they say about controversial topics, and if they do contradict what parents want their kids to believe, parents either pressure the school into keeping quiet or move their kids to a new school.

The conspiracy is so thorough that most kids who discover it do so only by discovering internal contradictions in what they’re told. It can be traumatic for the ones who wake up during the operation. Here’s what happened to Einstein:

Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies: it was a crushing impression. 

I remember that feeling. By 15 I was convinced the world was corrupt from end to end. That’s why movies like The Matrix have such resonance.

What if one wrote a clear simple web page explaining to young kids the important lies they are told?  How popular would it be with kids?  Yes, even if kids like the page it might take a while for word to get around about it, but I suspect it would face a much bigger problem: very few kids really want to see through the lies.  Hat tip to Kat

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