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Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy…

Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child (2015)

by Anthony Esolen

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Life Under Compulsion is a very interesting study of the ways in which modern society restricts and guides people to act a certain way and how you can free yourself (or your children) from its grasp. The goal is true freedom of thought and an escape from the rat race, with a focus on reading and classical thought and the quest for beauty in the mundane. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific area of modern society, how it is problematic, and what one can do to break out and forge your own path. Some of this has been heard before, but some is new, and there is a lot to chew on. It's definitely the kind of book to savor slowly as to get as much out of it as possible.

The one thing you can say about Esolen is that he knows how to write. His prose is worth reading for its style even if you think his thoughts are nonsense. Whether this preaching will reach anyone but the choir is questionable, but Esolen gives the reader much to consider, whether or not they agree with him. Highly recommended for anyone who thinks that modern society is turning humans into cloned automatons and has wondered what to do about it. ( )
  inge87 | Aug 26, 2016 |
Any parent who longs to raise children emancipated from all this—children who can sit and read a good book, be moved by beauty, think deeply, and possess wisdom rooted in the truth—has an invaluable resource in this book.
added by inge87 | editTouchstone Magazine, David E. Prince (May 1, 2016)
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The trouble with language is that you can use it not only to reveal the truth but also to conceal it or distort it.
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How do you raise a child who can sit with a good book and read? Who is moved by beauty? Who doesn't have to buy the latest this or that vanity? Who is not bound to the instant urge, wherever it may be found? As a parent, you've probably asked these questions. And now Anthony Esolen provides the answers in this wise new book, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to his acclaimed Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Esolen reveals that our children are becoming slaves to compulsions. Some compulsions come from without: government mandates that determine what children are taught, how they are taught, and even what they can eat in school. Others come from within: the itches that must be scratched, the passions by which children (like the rest of us) can be mastered. Common Core, smartphones, video games, sex ed, travel teams, Twitter, politicians, popular music, advertising, a world with more genders than there are flavors of ice cream-these and many other aspects of contemporary life come under Esolen's sweeping gaze in Life Under Compulsion. This elegantly written book restores lost wisdom about education, parenting, literature, music, art, philosophy, and leisure. Esolen shows why the common understanding of freedom-as a permission slip to do as you please-is narrow, misleading, and dangerous. He draws on great thinkers of the Western tradition, from Aristotle and Cicero to Dante and Shakespeare to John Adams and C. S. Lewis, to remind us what human freedom truly means. Life Under Compulsion also restates the importance of concepts so often dismissed today: truth, beauty, goodness, love, faith, and virtue. But above all else, it reminds us of a fundamental truth: that a child is a human being. Countercultural in the best sense of the term, Life Under Compulsion is an indispensable guide for any parent who wants to help a child remove the shackles and enjoy a truly free and full life.… (more)

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