by Tammy Drennan
“Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.”
– From The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal
Doris Lessing is a controversial figure, and I’m not endorsing anything about her or her writing or thinking – I don’t even know enough to comment intelligently on her.
But – I do want to consider the above quote by her.
It’s a discouraging sentiment, but as Ms. Lessing points out, if we fail to face the truth, we’re pretty much doomed. Avoiding truth rarely bodes well – for individuals or nations.
So, do very few people really care about freedom? Do very few have the guts to actually be free rather than just feel good talking about freedom?
86% of American school-age children attend state schools. Of the 14% who do not, many of their parents are more than ready to accept state payment for tuition in one form or another. Most conservative organizations support state education. Most Christians and their churches support state education. This is the truth.
State education is the antithesis of freedom. Free people are not intellectually prepped for life by their government. In a free country, the government does not dictate or even predict the future then fashion the citizens to fit it. That’s how they do it in dictatorships. That’s how Hitler and Stalin and Mao did it. That’s how dozens of tyrannies and wanna-be tyrannies do it today.
All governments are wanna-be tyrannies. That’s the truth. It takes citizens with a lot of guts, an incredible amount of intestinal fortitude, to resist the many ways the state bullies and lures people into submission.
Public schooling has been a goldmine for our wanna-be tyranny. At one time, there were a lot of people in our country with the guts to walk on their own two feet, to face the hard work of being free, to conduct life as if the state were an annoying gnat buzzing around their heads. That’s how we ended up with a free country.
Are there enough gutsy people now to keep our country free? There’s only one way to be sure. Those who still have the nerve to act on their liberty must pass that nerve on to their children, spread it to their neighbors, challenge even their legislators to have a backbone.
And as a barometer of how we’re doing, we can watch the degree to which the state continues to rear our children. Few indicators will give us a truer reading of our future. Will we continue to live in a free society – or will we succumb to the thousands, even millions, of wanna-be tyrants who grace the halls of our capitol buildings and “our” schools?
The state has the guts to demand our liberty from us. Do we have the guts to hang onto it?