As if the world wasn’t already strange enough.
That bastion of intellectual prowess, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has its own, proprietary publishing outlet, called MIT Press. It’s likely you’ve heard of MIT Press before. Known principally as a publisher of academic journals, MIT Press also makes it their business to publish scholarly books, as well.
Do you suppose one of their latest offerings, Communism for Kids, counts as one of those?
You read that right: Communism for Kids.
According to Heat Street, Communism for Kids represents one of MIT Press’s first efforts at publishing a book for young people. Heat Street’s article about the book goes on to describe the entry on its behalf over at Amazon. Here is the first paragraph of that description:
“Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true? This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism. Offering relief for many who have been numbed by Marxist exegesis and given headaches by the earnest pompousness of socialist politics, it presents political theory in the simple terms of a children’s story, accompanied by illustrations of lovable little revolutionaries experiencing their political awakening.”
Duke University professor Frederic R. Jameson provides one of the listed editorial reviews of the book. Here’s how his review reads:
“This delightful little book may be helpful in showing youngsters there are other forms of life and living than the one we currently ‘enjoy’; and even some adults might learn from it as well. At a time when our younger generations are not only dissatisfied but active enough to have some new thoughts of their own and to look around seriously for alternatives, political pedagogy has a real function and might well, as here, be reinvented in new ways.”
Not stunning is that the book exists at all. These days, nothing should really surprise any of us, any longer.
Even so, the decision by MIT Press to publish the manuscript does seem a little curious, even as colleges and universities travel ever further down Progressive Avenue. You would just think that a school like MIT would have a bit more sense.
Turns out, you’d be wrong.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large