One of the most important responsibilities of a parent is choosing appropriate reading material for their children. Books contain a wealth of ideas, and while exploring different ideas is a good activity for adults to do on a regular basis, one needs to take into account that children’s minds are not yet sufficiently developed to evaluate ideas morally or logically. Children need protection from bad or infectious ideas. Ideas such as, “you are useless”, “you need to respect force”, “you are responsible for other people’s problems”, “you owe the government allegiance”, “the media are trustworthy”, “casual sex is harmless and fun”, “all religions are peaceful and good”, and so on. There are literally hundreds of very bad ideas being fed to children while their brains are not yet sufficiently developed to evaluate the merit of these ideas and filter out the harmful ones. For this reason, I urge parents to read whatever their children are reading and make sure you introduce intelligent challenges to these bad ideas to prevent your children from becoming slaves to self-destructive ideas. It is also useful for parents to read book reviews of popular books children might read so they get an idea of just how dangerous some insidious ideas can be if absorbed by children during the formative years of their intellectual development.
I first read Isaac Asimov’s book, I, Robot, when I was sixteen years old. I remember thoroughly enjoying the book at the time. Last week, feeling nostalgic, I decided to read it again. After all, rereading books as an adult that one used to enjoy when one was young often leads to profoundly different interpretations and self-learning. Last month, for example, I reread H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and was more impressed with it now than I was reading it when I was ten years old. However, I, Robot does not stand the same test of time as well as The Time Machine. There were subtle and not so subtle political overtones in the entire book.
The first thing that struck me as odd was just how ridiculously emotional and imaginative the robots were. These robots were not at all operating remotely like real life robots do; they were far more like well trained dogs in their operation: well-meaning, but inept due to lack of insight. I had been lead to believe that Asimov was a science fiction writer and would therefore know more about computer science. In the real scientific world, robots do not get drunk, they do not sing nursery rhymes, and they most certainly do not create sun worshipping cults. As plot devices, these are clever or at least amusing, however, certainly not something I would expect to find in genuine science fiction. It was only after I reached the closing chapters of the book that it dawned on me: These robots are the proletariat, they are based on the Soviet ideal of a man with a dog’s heart: mindlessly obedient to a central planning authority. They even eventually staged a peaceful revolution against the regressive pro-humanity (nationalist) organisation and bring in a new world order of a single world government and robot-directed central planning, while the state withers away as predicted in the Communist Manifesto.