Aug 072008

From a WSJ article about the comeback of the Children’s Railway in Hungary (aka the Pioneer Railway). It’s run by childen aged 10 to 14.

Fun wasn’t the goal in 1948, when the line was created by Stalinist apparatchiks to train future rail workers and instill political obedience in youths.

Say, what? Install political obedience in youths? Would a government on our planet ever do such a thing?

Well, maybe it would. After all, what’s the purpose of seat belt laws and mind-numbing safety warnings on anything you can buy at the hardware store if not to get people in the habit of letting the government decide these things.

But back in Stalin’s day, Hungarian kids who qualified got special perks with which to lord it over their peers, such as Coca-Cola to drink. In our country kids can buy their own Coca-Cola.

Well, maybe a better analogy than seat belt laws would be organizations such as the Peace Corps and Americorps. And then there is Obama’s plan to institute mandatory volunteering for young people. Maybe we’re not so different from Stalin’s Hungary, after all.