Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 14 February 2022
Overall I'd say this is a very good book, but too often the author lets his political ideology get in the way.

When discussing negative aspects of internet chat / Facebook groups, his examples thereof is the alleged rise of white nationalism. White nationalists haven't have killed as many people in the US in the last decade as get shot in Chicago on a pedestrian week.

It's a considerable yet consistent failure of progressives. They focus their attentions on make believe problems whilst ignoring real ones. Imaginary white nationalists are a growing concern yet liberals rioting, mass looting, burning down city blocks doesn't even rate a mention.

This is legitimately because they don't see that as being bad. Not even close to bad. These criminal activities are so mundane to progressives it's akin to watching someone get on a bus. It's mundane, or not even worthy of noticing (let alone noting), as those people wreaking that havoc, destroying those buildings and businesses and beating up those pensioners are on my team, they're the "good guys"; so it's like they have an invisibility cloak on. Whereas the "other guys" simply raising objections to third trimester abortions or stating that males aren't women for example, are apparently fascists on the verge of dismantling democracy for merely voicing an opinion or objective truth.

Another example the author uses is about the possible negative aspects of standardised testing in US schools. It's prioritised rote learning over free play he says and he likely has a valid point.

Yet again however, the author cannot help himself. How so? He pins this on George Bush's No Child Left Behind program.

I'm not defending Bush or the program, I know nothing of the latter and hold no great affection for the former. I'm sure it's a horrible end result wrapped up with good intention. But surely you're either wilfully ignorant or have deployed the progressive invisibility cloak yet again here if you believe schools are influenced by a long disposed conservative.

Schools, school teachers, school administrations, school curriculum, school boards and school unions are overwhelmingly liberal enclaves. Top to bottom, the entire schooling system is lousy with liberals. Well over 80% of those bodies are occupied by progressive liberals. Yet the example he plucks from his pocket for the woes of school education structure and how this damages children's development manages to lay the blame with a conservative.

In the book he makes a very strong argument for allowing and encouraging children to engage in unsupervised free-play. In it he tells of parents who agree unsupervised free-play sounds great, that they did it themselves as children and have the most fondest memories of it. Yet when challenged if they'll allow their children to do what they themselves did (and loved), they promptly do nothing of the sort.

His assertion that education problems are based on conservatives that have essentially zero say in education in the US makes those parent's decision making prowess seem Einsteinian in comparison.

Look at the school Covid lunacy in progressive hotbed states in the US. Kids masked eight hours a day, behind plastic screens, sitting distanced from each other out in the freezing cold during winter. Meanwhile in the red states, which are apparently on the precipice owing to Facebook not censoring their chats, children are engaging in exactly the activities he's advocating for in his book. They're outside, playing sport, living normal lives and not dying of Covid.

In the scheme of his book, these gripes I have with his ideological blindness are not large as a percentage of the content. But it is consistent enough and annoying enough in it's hypocrisy to detract from an otherwise very good book.
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