Righteous Indignation

May 22, 2009

by Tammy Drennan

A little righteous indignation, please

One of the things that fueled the American Revolution was old-fashioned righteous indignation – who did King George think he was to muscle us around as if we had no rights, as if we were his naughty little children?

We seem to have lost the capacity for this healthy emotion that keeps tyrants at bay and feeds our passion to live free and completely.

Now we ask, “Who are we to imply that we know better than the state?”

Before you think that many of us are exempt from this shift in attitude, consider that a significant number of homeschoolers seeks state recognition of their children’s diplomas. Think about it – one of the most independent groups in America today still vacillates in self-doubt.

Why do we yearn for affirmation from the state — as if we are inadequate until our government tells us otherwise? Where is our sense of pride and self-reliance, of confidence and independence? Where is our outrage that a government that is supposed to be under our critical eye is instead the critic and we the critiqued?

This is one of the many gifts we’ve been granted by a system of schooling controlled by the state. We started as a country of fiercely independent innovators and leaders and by way of government schooling ended up a little pile of sniveling submission and insecurity. Our small acts of independence are tepid. We constantly look over our shoulders at Pa Pa state, hoping for a nod of approval. The ultimate jewel in our cardboard crowns is Acknowledgement by the State.

Yes, I’m being hard on us – that is, those of us who have chosen freedom. We’re still wading in its shallow end. And while we wade and worry that the water is too cold and keep taking little steps back toward the shore and keep eyeing the “life preservers” state schools throw out to erode our confidence and tempt us back, the state tightens its noose.

But the state is encroaching where it has no authority. Government has no more right to define us intellectually, socially and morally (and schools do all of that) than it does to define us religiously. It does not have the right to tell us what we should think, learn, believe, or do in preparation for our lives or vocations. And we should be furious that it imposes on us, by force of law, in every one of these areas.

When we do step into independence, it should be with confidence – so much confidence that we not only don’t care if the state approves, we would reject any offer of its approval as an insult. It is the state that should be seeking our approval and not the other way around.

Some “How dare you? Step aside at once!” is in order. A good dose of righteous indignation will immunize us against the advances of the state on our children and families and fire our drive to live free and excel.