What Should A Boy Know?

From Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol 13, No. 10

What should a young male of 21 know and what should he be able to do? There are no conclusive answers to those questions, but they are certainly worth asking. We agreed upon “civics” or what was called American government. A young man should know how this country is run and how it got that way. He should know the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville, and he should know recent world history. If he does not know what has been tried in the past, he cannot very well avoid those pitfalls as they come up in the future.

Superficialities, of course, are rife. A young man should be computer literate, and moreover should know Hemingway from James Joyce. He should know how to drive a car well – such as is not covered in “Driver Ed.” He should know how to fly a light airplane. He should know how to shoot well. He should know elementary geography, both worldwide and local. He should have a cursory knowledge of both zoology and botany. He should know the fundamentals of agriculture and corporate economy. He should be well qualified in armed combat, boxing, wrestling, judo, or the equivalent. He should know how to manage a motorcycle. He should be comfortable in at least one foreign language, and more if appropriate to his background. He should be familiar with remedial medicine.

These things should be available before a son leaves his father’s household.

I urge everyone to read Cooper. He is an extraordinary man.

This entry was posted in Quotes. Bookmark the permalink.