It Wasn't Nurture - Trust Me!
By Bryan Caplan
My basic model of children is that they are extremely honest adults. They say what they think, not what they are supposed to think. So what am I to make of the following incident?
The scene: Sunday night at 8:10 in my home theater
The cast: Me and my 4-year-old sons
Me: It’s time for a new Homer (that’s what my kids call The Simpsons)!
Sons: Yay! Homer!
[I turn on the t.v. and go to the DVR menu. Horrors! Our favorite cartoon has been pre-empted by baseball.]
Me: Sorry, boys. There’s no new Homer tonight. They’re showing baseball instead.
Sons: What! They can’t do that! Make them show Homer.
Me: Sorry, we’re out of luck.
Sons: They’re being bad! We should call the police and send them to jail!
True story. In case you’re wondering, my kids don’t go to pre-school. They don’t watch news or commercials. We’ve told them about murderers and thieves going to jail, but that’s it. So where did they get the idea that bad programming should be a criminal offense?
Evidently the roots of the statist “There ought to be a law” impulse go very deep. You can blame the media, but I’d say the media is just telling people what they’ve wanted to hear since they were toddlers. Alas.