Spreading Neoconservative Ideals Through Children's Literature

911 words - 4 pages

The argument presented in this thesis is that even though the Neoconservative rhetoric lost considerable power in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal system, their voice and rhetoric will continue. How will it accomplish such a task? The most obvious answers lie within media outlets that are sympathetic or support their agenda. These outlets can maintain the base of the group which is essential in keeping the Neoconservative agenda from falling silent, but in order to maintain or strengthen their support they must recruit new members from somewhere. After all, there is always strength in numbers. This thesis proposes Neoconservative ideals will continue to spread in one of the more overlooked places, Children’s Literature.
The reading materials for children and young adults is quite possibly one of the most overlooked genres of literature. Many people do not exactly associate political rhetoric with books for children. Most books of the genre generally teach simple “universal” morals and values like sharing with others and how to make friends. Most books within the canon of children’s literature either fall under fairytales, historical fictions, or basic fact books about particular subject matter. Tempe asserts that, “Children’s literature is generally understood to have multiple purposes of entertaining, instructing and informing, or, rephrased, to serve the purpose of contributing to children’s intellectual, moral and ‘personality’ development” (qtd. in Lampert 6). Most people would agree that books such as these are geared to educate a child about socially acceptable behaviors and practices. The values they are generally geared to teach children are the proper etiquette of everyday society.
This is the heart of the thesis. I would argue that an ideology can still have the ability to recruit young people to align themselves with certain ideals. In order to reify an ideology for future generations a political group can implement the use of children’s literature. As stated earlier a child’s book can teach a reader certain “natural” assumptions about any given subject matter. Children’s literature is usually constructed to perpetuate certain ideas as matter of fact. When viewed in this manner certain knowledge can become legitimated even if there is no backing or explanation behind the claims a text asserts. If some of these “natural” assumptions of society include unwavering patriotism, free market capitalism, and Neo-liberal globalization without proper instruction about critical thinking or discourse as to what effects they may have on others, we may re-experience the mistakes of our past.
Children are the most vulnerable targets of an ideology for a number of reasons, they are dependent upon adults for protection and their young minds are virtual clean slates ready to fill with...

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