We Didn’t Consent, We Won’t Comply   13 comments

What historical/public figure would you most like to learn more about? Would you ever write about them?

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Hard One

Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God, Benjamin Franklin

History is replete with figures I’d love to know better. They lived interesting lives. They made pivotal decisions, They wrote thought-provoking philosophy. Or they just lived lives that mattered more than other people’s. My modern life would be enriched by getting to know them.

So it wasn’t hard for me to come up with a historical figure I’d like to learn more about. The problem is winnowing the list down to one.

Modern Public Figures

I can’t think of any modern public official I’d like to meet. I’m just not interested in learning about petty tyrants. Well, maybe a group gathering of the Freedom Caucus, but I’d want to remove their filters and find out what they REALLY think of the ongoing insanity of Congress these days. I have no real use for politicians in today’s world. They act like they’re relevant, but they’re helping to enslave us all ($28 trillion in debt) and so I’m not sure getting to know them any better would enrich my life. (I have already met all three members of the Alaska Congressional Delegation. Lisa Murkowski is useless — my daughter was 11 when she asked her a question about education and she flubbed the answer so badly even an 11-year-old could counter her argument and make her look stupid. Dan Sullivan is from Ohio. His wife is from Alaska. That’s not a qualification for representing Alaska, although he does a lovely job of representing Ohio. Don Young is still a wonderful curmudgeonly Alaskan character and I love that he’s decided to spend his last few years remaining to him stirring up trouble — calling Nancy Pelosi out as a divider who wouldn’t recognize unity if it ate her expensive ice cream and introducing bills decriminalizing cannibas nationwide is something only an Alaskan politician in their 80s can get away with. I’ll be sorry to see him go, but it’s important to get someone in there who will represent Alaska before we have the wrong governor in office when Don dies).

Well, maybe, if I had to choose someone in the politician category, I’d like to meet Tulsi Gabbard and sit down for a lengthy conversation. I’d want to invite along some friends who know Austrian economics better than I do to help enlighten her on economic realities. I feel like she’s one of the few politicians who is still malleable enough to listen to people and represent them rather than herself and whoever pays for her campaign. And I think that’s going to be of vital importance as we approach a coming (and I believe, unfortunately inevitable), national crisis caused by federal government overspending. Whether we survive as a nation or not will depend on the necessary understanding of economics not just of would-be leaders, but ordinary Americans.

I’m not interested in meeting celebrities either. Yeah, you acted the snot out of that role, but being an expert musician/actor/comic doesn’t mean you know zip about anything else, so why would I want to sit down with any of these vapid attention whores? The other day, I did feel like I’d like to sit down with Prince Harry and explain to him why he’s an idiot and utterly “bonkers” and should probably not speak in public again, at least until he goes back to live in England, where perhaps people appreciate royal stupidity more (and, no, I’m not saying Britishers are stupid, but that they seem to understand and appreciate the venality of their royals more than Americans). And, while I would relish that conversation with Harry, I’m not convinced he’d grow any brighter by the encounter because I seriously doubt he’s smart enough to learn from thinking humans. Like many generationally-wealthy people, he hasn’t needed to use his brain and I’m afraid you just can’t make that up after about age 18.

Of course, not all modern public figures are politicians. Some are former politicians, others have the good sense to do something worthwhile. I can imagine sitting down with Thomas Sowell and having a conversation about economics and history and how they impact current culture. I’m sorry I missed meeting Walter E. Williams who passed away a few months ago. Jordan Peterson and/or Brett Weinstein would be a worthy evening’s time. I think I’d walk away smarter by the encounters.

It’s really sad that out of 7 billion people, I can’t think of but a handful of modern public figures I really want to know better. We live in an age of banality and, while there are a few bright people who break out from the otherwise mediocre crowd, I fear for a society that have so few thinking individuals. We have a lot of opinion-influencers and so few thinkers and I’m convinced that we are the poorer as a society for having nonthinkers influencing public opinion.

Historical Figures Galore

Well, the obvious answer would be Jesus, but since He lives in my heart, I think I already have the capacity to know Him better than I know anyone other than myself…if I would just take the opportunities offered to me, which I so often don’t.

I admit, I’d love to sit down with Paul of Tarsus because he wrote so much of the Bible and I suspect it would be a brilliant conversation. I feel the same about Thomas Jefferson. The fact is if I spent only a day getting to know each historical figure I’d like to get to know better, I wouldn’t have enough time to finish my list–assuming I’m two-thirds to three-quarters through my natural lifespan.

Narrowing It Down

So for the purposes of this article, I decided to choose one. So hard!

You have been pleased to send unto us a certain prohibition or command that we should not receive or entertain any of those people called Quakers because they are supposed to be, by some, seducers of the people. For our part we cannot condemn them in this case, neither can we stretch out our hands against them…We desire therefore in this case not to judge lest we be judged, neither to condemn lest we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master. We are bound by the law to do good unto all men, especially to those of the household of faith.

As the town clerk of what is now the Queens neighborhood of Flushing, New York, Edward Hart wrote a powerful 650-word document known as the Flushing Remonstrance. December 27, 1657. Hart wrote on behalf of the 30 inhabitants of the village who also boldly signed their names below his, in a defiant shot across the bow of the state, personified by Governor Stuyvesant. The act of resistance became an early declaration in favor of the freedom of peaceful worship, supporting a defense of freedom of others — none of the Flushing residents were Quakers so they could have ignored the oppression altogether, but they chose to involve themselves because the governor of their colony was a hamflower deserving of remonstrance.

Governor Stuyvesant promulgated a policy of intolerance in the Dutch settlements of New York, persecuting those who did not adhere to the Dutch Reformed Church, primarily targeting nonconformist Quakers. Governor Stuyvesant’s policy of persecution began in 1656 with an ordinance banning unauthorized religious meetings, causing Quaker preachers to be harassed, arrested, jailed, and fined.

Stuyvesant reacted to the Remonstrance in anger. Determined to quash the spirit of the Remonstrance, he dissolved Flushing’s town government and put his own cronies in charge. He arrested four of the signers of the Remonstrance, including Edward Hart. To his credit, the elderly Hart went to jail but never recanted.

Relief from Stuyvesant’s harsh rule finally arrived in 1663, but not by the hand of any government. The Dutch West India Company, sponsor and investor in the Dutch colonies of North America, dispatched a letter to Stuyvesant ordering him to stop religious persecution. Thomas Jefferson reveled in the spirit of the Flushing-inspired motto, “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God”. He inserted it on his personal seal. 

And, yes, I would enjoy writing about Edward Hart and the members of the tiny village of Flushing who had the chutzpah to play chicken with a colonial government. Those are my favorite kind of characters. In fact, this battle has inspired a future conflict in Transformation Project.

13 responses to “We Didn’t Consent, We Won’t Comply

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  1. I must admit that the names of your politicians are unfamiliar, but your sentiments are not. Those who desire no celebrity are usually much more interesting.

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    • Exactly. Here in Fairbanks, we just lost one of those extremely interesting people who never wanted to be famous beyond — maybe — this town. Urban Rahoi was 102 years old, cut the trails for many of our local major roads now, and was the longest active licensed pilot in America — age 15 to 99. Guiness claims it’s a world record. Urban complained that he was going to kick the butt of whomever submitted that to the magazine. He died last Thursday. A life well-lived!

      I asked to interview him a few times, and he always said “Nope, young lady. I’m sure there are another attention-whores who would like to be famous, but I just want to live my life.”

      So, in the end, I incorporated a lot of his wisdom into the character of Jacob in Transformation Project. My next book will be dedicated to Urban.

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  2. I echo Richard Dee’s sentiments – as a Brit, the names are alien but the sentiment is very much the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry that I haven’t heard of the politicians you speak of, but yes, Harry is now an embarrassment and should stop washing his dirty linen in public. I for one have had enough of all the whinging, especially now he’s down to his last £11m.

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  4. Nobody does well as a highly public second fiddle. The Queen’s sister was a classic example. And I’ll second or third or whatever the don’t know who they are but I wholeheartedly concur with the sentiment bit.

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    • In high fantasy, Princess Margaret would be the “spare heir”. Utterly necessary in case something happens to the heir, but since the heir never dies, utterly superfluous. It’s a sad life — not unlike Charles’ life after it was announced he’d be passed over for William.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charles is his uncle. There’s a tasteless quote somewhere in the aging taste of abdication for “love”, whether it was from the job, or to avoid the job. Charles is one of those unfortunates who by birth are Kings and by reckoning also-rans. However Wills is looking quite King-ly these days. Good that he got most of his mother’s looks, bad that he got his father’s hair. I think if it hadn’t been for Diana the monarchy would be drawing unemployment now.

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      • Can you imagine Harry filling out that app?

        Former employment – royal non-heir. Got tired of hanging out to be given something to do and I’m married to this woman whose got me by my — well, enough said about that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lela, I don’t know these politicians but I have little regard for any of them anywhere in the world. Honestly, politicians never even crossed my mind with regards to this prompt. I enjoyed your commentary about the brave town of Flushing. PS, I also think that Prince Harry is a prat and a disgrace to English royalty.

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    • I frankly don’t know why the royal family exists. Do they serve a purpose beyond distracting the UK people the activities of their real government? We have a similar problem here in the United States. Congress and particularly the White House are merely distractions from what the real power brokers are doing and we concentrate on what they’re doing, as if they can control the power brokers who control them.

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