Conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg has a problem with How to Train Your Dragon: It's not scary enough.
My long-standing complaint against this sort of story — aside from its being a complete cliché — is that it teaches kids there’s no such thing as monsters. No, I’m not keen on telling kids that there are things that go bump in the night or beasts in the closet — particularly when that means I have to spend half the night with a terrified kid in my bed.
But monsters once served an important purpose. The word’s Latin and French roots mean a grave warning or omen. Monster stories once told us that evil exists and that we shouldn’t assume all motives are good and kind.
Sure, kids today are taught to yell “Stranger danger!” or some such when approached at the mall, but you won’t find that sort of lesson in popular children’s books and cartoons. And, let the record show, some of those strangers really are a horrific, soul-sickening danger and not merely misunderstood.
That's it. Train 'em young, Goldberg. The Republican impulse to live in, and profit from, a perpetual state of fear doesn't just come naturally. The essay continues, blaming Sesame Street's cuddly monsters for the modern-day liberal agenda. It's a dumb essay written by a dumb essayist, but it's noteworthy because it's a pretty clear, honest restatement of the Republican agenda as it has been since the 1950s.