Mao (and Confucius) in the Kids’ Zone

“Our attitude towards ourselves should be ‘to be satiable in learning’ and towards others ‘to be tireless in teaching’,” wrote Mao Zedong (Tse-tung to us oldsters), according to the U.S. Education Department’s Kids’ Zone web site. Actually, Mao wrote “insatiable,” which makes more sense.

When someone objected to giving the “quote of the day” to a Commie mass murderer, it was replaced with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, reports Buzzfeed. That didn’t stop the mockery.

The department apparently takes random education-related quotes from a database and puts them up without proofreading or thinking.

Mao was exhorting fellow revolutionaries to study and promote the Communist movement, writes Robert Upshaw on The Ponds of Happenstance. He found the original in The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War.

 Very clearly, the quote in context is about studying for the sake of propelling the movement, not for the sake of knowledge in its own right. And the teaching bit is about teaching others in order to bring them into the same movement. It’s cult-speak, plain and simple.

“Insatiable in learning” and “tireless in teaching” are Confucian phrases found in The Book of Mencius, writes Upshaw.

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  1. Foobarista says:

    Sad for the world of quoting that Mao was an evil bastard, since he’s even more quotable than Clint Eastwood.

    Ironically, many of his quotes are taken somewhat out of context, ie “political power flows from the barrel of a gun” isn’t so much a statement about the need to get guns as much as a need for what we might call civilian control of the military. It was in a speech about why the Communist Party – and not the Army – needed to be the leading force in the government.

  2. Sigivald says:

    I’m as big an anti-Communist as one might want, but that particular quote is utterly harmless.

    (e.g. “I like sandwiches” – Adolf Hitler)

  3. Stacy in NJ says:

    I’m guessing the intention is to inspire a little critical thinking on the part of those who visit the site.

    What a wonderful example of the idiocy of government. Use a randomly generated quote to inspire the mind and imagination. It requires no effort on the part of the government employees responsible for it and has negative unintended consequences. Perfect.