Cancel Culture Comes for Dr. Seuss | Opinion

Dr. Seuss, it turns out, is just another white racist who had, until March 2021, pulled the wool over our collective eyes for decades (including from the grave). Didn't you know, he was programming the youth of America to indefinitely oppress the marginalized peoples of the world?

Of course, this is complete and utter woke nonsense. Even President Barack Obama once told an audience of White House interns that "pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss." Seuss's own stepdaughter says, "There wasn't a racist bone in his body." Yet here we are.

On what would have been the author's 117th birthday, a day made famous by a nationwide event he helped inspire, "Read Across America," it was announced that six of his books will no longer be printed.

The irony of course, is that Dr. Seuss's books are designed with their morals—not racism—in plain sight. In President Obama's own words, referencing "The Sneetches" and "Horton Wears a Who," he said, "We're all the same, so why would we treat somebody differently just because they don't have a star on their belly? If I think about responsibility, I think about Horton sitting on the egg up in the tree while Lazy Mayzie's flying off, doing whatever she wants. Know what I mean?"

So, if it was good enough for Obama, why cancel these six classic books now? "We believed that it was time to take action," DSE, the company that manages the publishing of Dr. Seuss's catalogue, told the New York Post. "We listened and took feedback from our audiences, including teachers, academics and specialists in the field, too, as part of the review process."

Ah, so there it is. Academics and "specialists in the field" said it was time.

In truth, I was never a fan of Dr. Seuss's books growing up, but they nevertheless feel like a part of my childhood—and millions of Americans obviously feel the same, given the outcry this story has caused. And this is actually why this entire debacle matters, because deeming even a small part of Dr. Seuss's collection unsuitable for children is just the latest leftist assault on America's shared traditions and values—and really, on our entire history.

Dr. Seuss holds "The Cat in the
Dr. Seuss holds "The Cat in the Hat" in 1957 Gene Lester/Getty Images

Whether it's judging men who lived in in the 18th century according to rules that a bunch of academics invented in the last 18 months or canceling Dr. Seuss for not being culturally sensitive enough for "specialists in the field" in 2021, these critiques fail to give credit for the moral and cultural achievements these people made in their own time. Yes, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, as many of his contemporaries did, but he wrote the Declaration of Independence, which set the course for the liberation of countless peoples across the world. Dr. Seuss's depictions of Black characters may not be suitable for our current time, but he still taught countless children "pretty much all the stuff you need to know" about life, according to America's first Black president.

In the real world—not in some "critical race theory" lecture hall—human beings are stuck in the time and space in which we're born. Our moral starting points, for better or worse, are the virtues and vices of that particular time and space. Consider Genesis 6:9: "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." This is ancient wisdom, regardless of whether or not you adhere to an ancient Abrahamic faith. Noah was blameless among the people of his time, not blameless entirely (read Genesis 9:20–21 if you don't believe me).

But it's not about Dr. Seuss's relative guilt or innocence. Time and history are the real enemy of the woke police. Just as the French Revolutionaries adopted the French Republican Calendar—with year one beginning in 1792—in an attempt to remove all religious and royal vestiges from French culture, our modern radicals also want to remove the vestiges of America's shared stories and histories. They want to cast the future of America in their radical progressive image, but how can they do that if America is still in love with its past?

The long march through the institutions thus continues, bullying all of us into repenting for daring to enjoy a children's book, a bottle of syrup, a movie, an anthem or a president. It will continue until we renounce it all. The American Dream? That is just romanticized capitalist greed. The Constitution? A document forever tainted by the Three-Fifths Clause. The triumph of the Revolutionary War over British tyranny? That was just white colonists fighting over stolen land. Landing on the Moon, the Emancipation Proclamation, pioneering computers and connectivity? All of it has to go until we're so disgusted by our home and our history that we're begging for a clean slate. We can start with year one as the year when we finally dealt with that pesky Dr. Seuss.

I may not have ever loved Dr. Seuss as a kid, but I'm tempted to start loving him now just because they tell me I shouldn't. He was, after all, full of timeless wisdom—and unlike the "specialists," I might learn something too edgy for people who can't see beyond their own "lived experience."

Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA and host of the top-rated podcast and nationally syndicated Salem radio show, The Charlie Kirk Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.