How Rousseau Destroyed the West

I’ve told you, Phil, don’t scold the child.
I will not have our son reviled
For being what every child should be:
Com­pletely and entirely free
To be him­self, and not con­trolled
Or forced to fit a social mold.
A child is a noble sav­age;
Don’t bur­den him with moral bag­gage—
Let him grow as nature meant,
Not psy­cho­log­i­cally bent
By silly growth-restricting rules
They teach in sad, old-fashioned schools.
Author­ity makes a child a slave
Insist­ing how he must behave:
A noble sav­age needs no guide
But Mother Nature by his side—
The less soci­ety inter­feres
The more his nat­ural self appears.
Nat­ural man is sweet and gen­tle
Till social forces drive him men­tal.
Don’t judge his actions by your stan­dard—
I will not have my child com­manded!
And when you speak of his “aggres­sion”
You’re lim­it­ing his self-expression.
So please don’t tell him what to do—
You’ll only make a clone, like you!
You were raised tra­di­tion­ally
But I want Johnny to be free
Of all con­di­tion­ing and find
His own ideas in his own mind.
I won’t con­demn his edu­ca­tion
To reg­i­mented rote-frustration:
The child of Nature knows the best
Way to learn, and needs no test
To judge him and dis­crim­i­nate,
Which is the sole cause of hate.
And while I’m here, don’t mend his gram­mar—
Do you want to give the child a stammer?




Mark Allinson was born in 1947 and was raised in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. After work­ing and trav­el­ling over­seas for a num­ber of years, Mark returned to uni­ver­sity and com­pleted a Ph.D in 1989 in Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture, and taught for six years at Monash uni­ver­sity in Mel­bourne. He now teaches part-time on the remote cam­pus of a regional uni­ver­sity, south of Syd­ney. Since 2005 Mark has been writ­ing poetry and has pub­lished many poems in small mag­a­zines, online mag­a­zines and anthologies.