The Corner

Happy Birthday to You!

Today is the birthday of the late Dr. Seuss. (Have you seen Google yet?) He certainly wasn’t a conservative. The Lorax is a parable of anti-capitalism and The Butter Battle Book is a peacenik’s morally equivalent take on the Cold War. Even so, I’ve always maintained that his book I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew is deeply anti-utopian. Others have extracted a pro-life rallying cry from Horton Hears a Who: “a person’s a person no matter how small.” And a few have detected anti-socialist themes in Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.

UPDATE: From a reader:

John, I hated reading my kids the Lorax when it was one of their favorites. But have you ever read Horton Hatches the Egg? The entire premise is that if you work hard for something, you should get to keep it…

I’ve had the same experience with The Lorax, which in fact features some of Seuss’s finest writing, no matter what you think of the politics. As for Horton Hatches the Egg, I see this point, though I’d put it a little different: Responsibility has its rewards.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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