Archive for the ‘#heroes’ Tag

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.

Faces of Money   Leave a comment

These days there is a movement to take the old “heroes” off our money and put new “heroes” on them. Remember, I’m not a big believer in “heroes”. I think people commit acts of courage and sometimes live through heroic seasons, but people are a pretty crap foundation on which to hang the label “hero”.

This is a part of the Open Book Blog Hop’s yearlong exploration of courage. When you have 52 weeks to explore a topic, you can range rather wide on your explorations.

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I don’t really care who is on the face of our currency …

Well, except … I do because other people do.

I know some politically foolish American Indians who have boycotted the $20 bill for years because Andrew Jackson was guilty of Indian genocide and they hated seeing his face. That’s their right, of course, and I would never try to stop them from expressing their opinion in this way, but I think Andrew Jackson’s been dead for some years and not using $20 bills is just silly. So, as an American Indian, I’m glad to see the US Treasury is finally removing Jackson from the $20 bill and I think Harriet Tubman is a fine choice … except ….

If you’re trying to make a statement apologizing for the North American Indian genocide that Andrew Jackson represented, then maybe an American Indian as his replacement would be a better choice. I can name a few potential candidates. I’m not big on warriors, but American Indians did have some peacekeepers: Denanawidah of the Huron-Wendat who sought peace among the Iroqois nations; Massasoit of the Wampanoag who sought peace with the Plymouth Colony; Tarhe of the Wyandot, who had been a warrior for many years, but when he became Sachem tried to make peace with settlers in the Ohio Valley; Handsome Lake of the Seneca, who preached peace during Tenskatawa and Tecumsah’s violent uprising; Sweet Medicine who was founder of the Cheyenne Peace Chiefs; Black Kettle, White Antelope and Lean Bear also Cheyenne Peace Chiefs; Chief Komotalakia of the Sanpoil …. Just a few thoughts there.

Before you complain that Harriet Tubman deserves to be on the $20 bill and excluding her would be racist … how about we replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with Tubman. Despite his revisionist press, Alexander Hamilton was a monarchist and opportunistic con artist whose economic policies re-instituted mercantilism in the American economy, mixing with nascent capitalism and eventually leading to the mess we have today. I’m not surprised that he ended up on our money, but he doesn’t belong there anymore than Andrew Jackson or King George. He is as much a symbol of tyranny … we just don’t realize it because the tyranny he espoused was economic rather than political. So give Harriet Tubman her due by replacing him.

There is discussion of removing Benjamin Franklin from the $5 bill to replace him with some feminist rights leader. I object. First, Benjamin Franklin EARNED his place on our money, maybe more so than George Washington and certainly more than Alexander Hamilton. Franklin, Jefferson and Adams co-wrote the Declaration of Independence, after all. Second, many of the feminist rights leaders were horrible people. Margaret Sanger was a racist child-murderer. Alice Paul promoted violence as a means to “equality”.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a virulent supporter of extremely liberal divorce and Christian heresy.

Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, or Matilda Joslyn Gage might be good choices, but the above shows that just selecting some random women’s rights activitist would be as bad as selecting Andrew Jackson. Just because a woman was loud and obnoxious does not mean she was a good role model for women’s rights.

Now here’s the thing — they can change the faces of our money and I ultimately won’t care because I have more important things to do with my time than lament that a genocidal racist from 200 years ago is on the $20 bill or the $10 bill or the penny, but there are people who really care about these things and maybe we should stop and take a deep breath and be absolutely sure that the people we’re holding up as heroes actually did some courageous things rather than just won a military battle or three or yelled more loudly at a suffragette gathering.

Heroism should always include some measure of actual courage and effort toward something actually worthwhile.

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