Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Debt reversal

It's not too late to halt the next generation's march toward socialism

Issue: "The ABCs of C Street," Aug. 29, 2009

Out of all the polls that have been taken and then recited back to the American public about the reform of healthcare, none is more ominous than this: that, generally speaking, the younger you are the more likely you are to favor the socialization of the healthcare industry as proposed by the Obama administration.

That is scary in the short term because it increases the likelihood that the Obama plan-if only in watered-down form-will pass. Politicians are listening to younger voters.

But it's much more scary in the long term because it suggests that the growing majority of younger voters simply have no clue when it comes to basic economics. They have no fear of future indebtedness.

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Not that our generation set a great example for those I'm now calling naïve. And not that we taught them what we should have-either on the issue of debt or several dozen related matters of basic economic and governmental understanding.

Here's a simple test. Identify half a dozen young people you know, middle school or older, in your family or in your church. Now quiz them a bit on these three basic issues: "debt," "revolving credit," and "compound interest." What can they tell you? Or turn the discussion toward governance issues, and see how well those same young people do with "representative democracy," "socialism," "centralized control," and "welfare state." If your experience is anything like mine, you're in for a punch-to-the-gut surprise.

The fact is that we Americans have done an abysmal job of passing on to our own children anything like a clear understanding of their heritage on these issues. If we marvel at the ease with which our nation may be trading away its birthright, we need look no farther than our own failure at teaching such values to those we're most responsible for.

All of which is why we are renewing our commitment here at WORLD magazine and our parent organization, God's World Publications Inc., to do a more proactive job than ever before at reaching out to the children within our sphere of influence, trying to inculcate in them a clear understanding of biblical values as they apply to issues of economics and governance.

We have, in fact, been busy doing this for the last 28 years through the weekly publication of God's World News-a series of current events magazines for children offered in four graded editions from kindergarten through middle school. God's World News goes regularly through the school year to about 150,000 children, mostly in Christian school classrooms and homeschool settings.

Through the God's World News magazines, we intend over the next year or two to sharpen our focus and heighten the intensity with which we say to children: There are specific reasons why this nation has been so blessed, so free, so prosperous. We want to explain those reasons. We want you to understand and treasure them. We want you to do a better job than we have of passing them on to yet another generation.

If you haven't seen a copy, write me and ask me for a free sample. You can also learn more about GWN by going to our website at gwnews.com. I'd like also to enlist a host of WORLD readers-like you-in taking God's World News to new school and homeschool settings. For the cost of four WORLD subscriptions ($49.95 each), you can provide GWN to a typical Christian school classroom for a whole year. For the cost of just one WORLD subscription, you can provide a year's subscription to all four levels of GWN to a homeschooling family.

I used to think of God's World News as a sweetener or an enhancer to a child's learning experience. I used to think this was an add-on to an already good education.

But when I read that it's the young people among the voting public who are propelling us down the road to socialism, I'm having to change my mind. Nothing short of an all-out, focused, and intentional effort will turn that tide. Some will say this is too little, too late. I'm too much of an optimist to accept that kind of discouraging outlook. And I'm hopeful that there are hundreds and maybe even thousands more such optimists among WORLD's adult readership.

If you have a question or comment for Joel Belz, send it to jbelz@worldmag.com.

To hear commentaries by Joel Belz, click here.

Joel Belz
Joel Belz

Joel, WORLD's founder, writes a regular column for the magazine and contributes commentaries for The World and Everything in It. He is also the author of Consider These Things.

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