What do I tell the kids?

So, how does one begin to tackle the political and cultural implications of the recent announcement that Harriet Tubman may, at some point, appear on the $20 bill?   Unfortunately, it seems that this particular issue has departed (if it ever resided in) the land of reason, and has landed, with great fanfare, behind the walls of an ever-growing fortress of political correctness and sanctioned victim-hood.  Sorry, folks, someone has to say it, and it’s not going to be the media, or public schools.  This is going to have to come from parents, and nowhere else.  I, if you haven’t noticed, am one of those parents.  🙂

As I continue to read through the avalanche of responses in the mainstream media, I am deeply disappointed that nobody (whom I have found, anyway) seems to be talking about this issue as something to be discussed or evaluated any further.  It is simply nothing less than a universal victory for mankind, and a righteous blow to a false narrative of American greatness. There are lots of references to slavery, slave-owning, reparations, persecution of American Indians  (I reference the official name of our national museum, by the way) and “enhanced” stories about Tubman’s exploits, which were already gallant and righteous, by the way, without any embellishment. The NYT actually had to correct its original claim, that she personally guided “thousands” of fleeing slaves to freedom, to “hundreds”,  which is still untrue.  The real, non-legend figure is closer to 60-70.  Still damn impressive.

From everything else I’ve read about her, I would certainly want her in a fight, as would many of my warrior brethren, I suspect.  However, I  noticed a near complete dearth of mention, in the “news”, that she traveled armed.  Apparently, there are many images of her carrying  weapons, and several folks have already floated the idea that she should appear on the bill with a weapon.  What a great idea!  Think it will happen?  No chance in hell, of course.  You’re talking about a bureaucracy that would just assume air-brush FDR’s cigarettes out of photographic history.   Read a bit about the weapon angle at the below link.

Tubman – Gun toting Republican

In the “news”, I also noted references to the opinions of pivotal figures in U.S. history such as Ellen Degeneres and Katie Couric.  I did not, however, see a single iota of significant information about Jackson, his accomplishments, his presidency, his life, or any opposing/diverse opinions about his move to the other side of the bill or, for that matter, why he landed on the bill in the first place. Certainly nobody mentioned that he ranked #66 in Time Magazine’s 2013 report “The 100 Most Significant Figures in History.”  Right in front of Constantine the Great, and two above Socrates.  Saint Peter beat him out by one, at #65.  Meanwhile, every single person who now appears on U.S. paper currency also made the list.  Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson were in the top ten (5, 6, 10). Grant, Franklin, and Hamilton were 28, 35, and 45 respectively.   Who topped the list?  Jesus, Napoleon, Muhammad, Shakespeare. Keep in mind, this is the history of the WORLD.   Harriet didn’t quite break the top 100.  If you see any coverage about this, please send me the link.

Check out the list here

According to U.S. media, Jackson is simply a guy who owned slaves, and killed a bunch of Indians. That’s all we need to know.  He was a bad man (and, ultimately, the easiest target for activists to kick off paper money).   Supporters seem to see this as a strike at the heart of the hateful, racist history of the U.S. that has been, for all-too-long, advanced by those wrong-headed, straight, white, male neanderthals who still have the gall to think that a bunch of “dead white guys” could, perhaps, have had a lot to do with creating the most prosperous, courageous, liberty-loving nation in the history of the human race.  Of course, that’s preposterous!

Then again, if anyone thinks that this has anything remotely to do with a serious measure of U.S. history, he is sorely mistaken. If there were an exact opposite of that ideal, it would look a lot like what’s going on right now. Any person or organization who raises his head in this particular battle-space will, no doubt, quickly draw withering fire from race, gender, and culture warriors who have already calibrated their sites.  That’s exactly what all those small-minded, hateful, sexist, racists deserve, right?   Also, the fact that the announcement was made during the run-up to a presidential election is not lost on astute observers.  The pressure, of course, has now been placed squarely on any future (read that Republican) “elected officials” who may want to tamper with the big plan (the $5 and $10, and all to follow).  The Secretary of the Treasury has already opined that, “I don’t think somebody’s going to probably want to do that — to take the image of Harriet Tubman off of our money? To take the image of the suffragists off?”  Well, none of it is actually ON any money yet, and it’s a long way from being there.  Let’s see how long it takes (maybe it’s already happened) for someone to ask Ted Cruz to “commit to not changing the currency plan.”  You mean the plan that doesn’t really exist yet, from an office that he doesn’t even hold?   See how this works?  If ever there were a good example of where Buckley may have chosen to stand athwart history, this may be a good spot.  Among many, of course.

So, what will I be telling my kids about all this?  Am I against putting a woman on U.S. paper currency?  Nope.  Do I think that Harriet Tubman was a great and courageous woman?  Yup.  Do I think that she deserves to be on U.S. currency?  Nope.  Well, at least not in front of about 10 others I can list off the top of my head.  Do I think that Andrew Jackson should still be respected as a significant figure in U.S. and world history?  Yup.  Do I think that slavery is an unforgivable sin that deserves to permeate the rest of American history? Nope.

I will also be telling them that this is a bad process, hijacked by people who have no interest beyond the arena of identity politics and racial/gender/minority “justice”, whatever that means.  Their vision expands only as far as their anger at the U.S. can allow them to see, to include all of their perceived injustices at her hands, and very little, if any, of her greatness.  It’s a shame that they have to be so angry, while living in a nation-state that may very well represent, in and of itself, the very apex of human achievement in all of history.  The fact that we exist as we do, as a society, is nothing short of miraculous, and they simply don’t want to hear it, never mind shut up and live it.

I will also teach them that, as educated, critical-thinking Americans, they should never feel like they cannot ask reasonable questions, or engage in genuine fact-driven dialog with (allegedly) level-headed people, about controversial things, without fear of retribution simply for making the attempt.  If they are afraid to speak, then they should know that something is very wrong.  When it comes to societal affairs, if you find yourself afraid to speak, then you absolutely need to be speaking (in other words, they are going to be the most politically incorrect kids in town).  Thank goodness we home school. The public schools, I am certain, simply will not even attempt to teach children to value (or practice…or maybe even recognize) the great traditions of academic and intellectual debate that should always accompany “big ideas” like the ones proposed above.  Never mind teaching the greatness of America.  Never mind the tenets of physical and moral courage (like Tubman had!). Never mind self-reliance, independence, and mental toughness. Never mind speaking an unpopular truth to those who would not hear it. They’re going to have to get all of that at home, and through their extended families, and that’s just fine with me.  Bring it!

Go love your kids!





Who would say such a thing?

“We cannot control every situation that a child may experience. Here it remains true that “time is greater than space”. In other words, it is more important to start processes than to dominate spaces. If parents are obsessed with always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. But this is no way to educate, strengthen and prepare their children to face challenges. What is most important is the ability lovingly to help them grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy. Only in this way will children come to possess the wherewithal needed to fend for themselves and to act intelligently and prudently whenever they meet with difficulties. The real question, then, is not where our children are physically, or whom they are with at any given time, but rather where they are existentially, where they stand in terms of their convictions, goals, desires and dreams. The questions I would put to parents are these: “Do we seek to understand ‘where’ our children really are in their journey? Where is their soul, do we really know? And above all, do we want to know?”

OK, I’ll admit that it’s quite convenient when someone else does your writing for you.  The above statement is pulled directly from the Pope’s recently released Apostolic Exhortation, “On Love in the Family.”   (April 8)   The passage appears on page 198-9.  The emphasis is mine.

Read it all here…it’s long

I’m guessing this means we can now officially count Pope Francis among those in the Free Range community. Welcome aboard, Your Holiness!  🙂

Busy bodies strike again

Woman Cited for making kids walk to school

The above-linked story tells of yet another busy body who picked up the phone and caused mayhem, where there should not have been any.  As I write this, I have a call in to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, requesting a phone interview with Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Ladd, the officer featured in the story.  Let’s see if he answers up.  In the meantime, let me pen a few thoughts here that I will try to bring up with Ladd.  First item, who was the reporting source, and what did they report?  Was this a 911 call?   Was this treated as an emergency?  Second item,  was it illegal for the kids to be walking where they were walking?  If not, then what was the basis for the subsequent traffic stop of the mom, and the finding that, “Mrs. Palmer was in no position to reach her children safely in the event of an emergency.”  Yeah, so what?  Is there a law that requires a parent to be in such a position at all times?  Third item, if the kids were, in fact, walking legally, and no parent had been there at all, would legal action have been initiated in some way against the children themselves?   What if they just reported that they were walking to school?  Would all of this have simply gone away?  In essence, did the mom’s presence, in and of itself, provide law enforcement the opportunity to intervene when there was no justifiable reason to do so?   With nothing else to go on, I’m guessing yes.  You’re here for us to cite; we may as well cite you.   Now, here comes dad, starring in the next chapter of a story that never should have started in the first place. Funny how dominoes fall like that.  It’s bad enough what did happen, but now let’s imagine that, God forbid, the officer thought that the dad was going for something other than a knife, and emptied a clip into him.  Oops.  All this, for what again?

Now, let’s talk about the parents a bit.  OK, so maybe they’re not the Cleavers, but that should not matter in this case.  I’m imagining that the busy-body, nosy-neighbor population wants to make the argument that “This all probably worked out for the best.  We can tell that they were rotten parents, and had been in trouble with the law before.  Maybe the kids will be better off for it.”  That’s dangerous talk, if you respect the rule of law that is.  And, in this case, it would seem that the police are not on solid legal ground.  In an otherwise danger-free situation, “something could have happened” is not sufficient cause to mentally insert danger where there is none, and then take action based on it.  I’m sorry, but “something could have happened” is the root of this entire child-safety social contagion in the first place.  We cannot justify and/or sanctify applying this ridiculous standard to innocuous situations such as this, even if we suspect that the parental “skills” in the game are perhaps sub-par.  Maybe there is even a “local angle” on this story, and on the parents.  It’s likely that there is.  However, we’re talking about the rights of all parents here, and the perceived quality of care-giving should not matter in those cases where the real, evident, demonstrable danger to the children is nearly zero.  Are there shitty parents out there?  Sure are.  Maybe these guys are examples.  But as long as the police continue to prosecute parents based on moral righteousness (these parents suck!), not to mention imaginary danger, the rights of all parents are threatened.  The fact that the police could get away with doing what they did here should disturb all clear-thinking parents.

Let’s see if I can gain further insight by talking it out with the police who were there.  I’ll keep you posted.