Slumbering Nation

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May 24, 2007

It's the rare person indeed who tells me, in my informal surveys, that they had good, nurturing parents. Even then, I have to wonder about them. People have a need to recall events the way they would like to remember them, especially if their parents are deceased. After all, denial is a rampant defense mechanism in our culture and all of us have the ability to overwrite actual memories with other thoughts or simply forget things. One fellow I know says he had good parents who only hit him when he needed it!

I am a person who can honestly say that as a child, I was not properly nurtured. My husband wasn't either. In fact, I've never had anyone actually describe to my satisfaction that they were properly nurtured.

One friend recalled for me the sweet things her mother used to say to her, such as singing 'Here she comes, Miss America !' when Diane would come down the stairs each morning. There was obviously affection there. However, when she grew up, Diane married an alcoholic and admittedly became one herself. There had to be some other serious problem going on that Diane either could not or would not articulate. Often, even people who think they were basically nurtured are in the unawares when it comes to the nature of interpersonal relationships and what functional problem solving actually is.

I've read of a woman considering a marriage proposal. Her friend asked her if she loved the fellow. She said, 'Yes, he doesn't hit me and he goes to work every day.' This is love?

I've seen women smile when their child hits them or throws food. I've also had mothers tell me that it's mean for my child to refuse to play with a 'hitter,' it hurts their feelings. Many people seem normal at first and then surprise you.

One woman I knew had a mother who seemed kind and gentle ' always promising traits in a parent! She gave Tina lovely gifts and sent thoughtful cards. When Tina felt bereft after having a stillbirth, her mother told her to her to think a happy thought! Growing up with someone as unable to deal with reality as this woman sent Tina into a couple of decades of painful, addictive, dysfunctional living, and she's not out of the woods yet. How on earth could Tina possibly treasure, much less fight for something like freedom from government tyranny? It's just not possible when there are basic psychological needs going unmet.

I've come to the conclusion that 'nice' is not the same as functional. These two mothers were not overtly abusive as many are, and yet they were unable to raise relatively healthy daughters.

I'm not saying there is a requisite for perfection in parents, because there is no such thing as a perfect human being. I'm talking about people who have a consciousness; a basic love and respect for themselves and their children and an ability to handle difficulty when it seems too painful to do so. This is the definition of responsibility, the basis of freedom. Until we achieve a modicum of mental health, America will continue to be one of the largest, most pathetic group of fearful people who willingly trade freedom for the illusion of a little security. Because people are fearful, government will continue to grow exponentially, war will continue to spread about the globe at the behest of the madmen in Washington and our tax dollars, and people will continue to chase illusions to the detriment of our children.

Overcoming

How do we attempt to explain the fact that there are some of us who have clearly risen to a level of mental health and compassion from choice rather than history? I believe, as most people do, that nurture is necessary for children. I didn't really get much, yet I possess it and exercise it. How is this possible?

It can only be explained in one way ' the resilience of the human spirit. It is the thing that allows us to triumph over horrendous circumstances and against tremendous odds. A good, concrete example of this is in the true story depicted in 'Touching the Void.' It is the fascinating story of a mountain climber cut loose by his partner. He fell, broke his leg in several places and was left for dead without food or water. He crawled for days, starving and nearly blind, over seemingly insurmountable terrain and in excruciating pain with his fractured shinbone actually jutting through his knee. He was finally rescued barely alive. Years later he has healed and continues to climb.

Who's to say what makes one person choose suicide or the slow, soul-crushing disintegration of dependency on government when faced with adversity, rather than rising to the occasion? What kind of man will embark upon a quest to live freely at any cost? What makes anyone wake up to the facts?

I know what made me wake up ' pain. I'm convinced that most people only change when the pain is great enough. From the looks of things around here, economically speaking, this country is in for a great big wake-up call. There's just no way to continue the top-heavy handout program in existence today, even if taxes were increased to 100%.

There are, in life, many natural opportunities for realization and adjustments to one's operating paradigm. Problems arise when we choose to let other people be responsible for us. It may seem like the easy way out, for instance, to entertain the thought of government providing for your golden years. However, no one is as interested in your well being as you are, and no one is as interested in their own well being as is a bureaucrat. News flash ' they lie! There are unlimited opportunities to wake up to the facts, but most people don't until it's too late in the game, and the cost of correcting the problem, if there is a way, seems unbearable.

I'm reminded of a book titled Touching Spirit Bear. It is miscast as a young person's book. Its thrust is a powerful life lesson, which adults would do well to heed. It's the story of an angry young man with social aggression problems. He was abused and has a violent history. Rather than being sentenced to a detention facility, he is sent to a remote island by Native American elders for brutally attacking another boy and causing him permanent damage. There he arrogantly encounters a bear, which he ignorantly intends to dominate. The bear, like life, dispassionately 'educates' the boy about humility with a couple of bone-crushing, skin-rending blows. This event marks a pivotal point for this lost boy.

Life is full of dispassionate lessons for us, but most Americans are too busy watching reality TV and drinking beer to learn them. They ignorantly miss all the little, unpleasant messages life sends them until it has no choice but to deliver a powerful, dispassionate and near fatal, 'Spirit Bear' blow. Sooner or later they will pay a great price for their laziness. Life and liberty require vigilance and courage, and if you go to sleep on either, you instigate the demise of your own house.

People who fail to give their children accurate information about life, who insulate their children from disappointment or buy them every possession imaginable are as destructive as mean control freaks. They create Paris Hiltons and Alpha Dogs everywhere, again and again. By interfering with the normal process of life learning, they create monsters who will only be saved by an encounter with a 'spirit bear' of life, provided they are lucky enough to have one while there is yet time. The problem with this is that such a dispassionate smack down could also destroy them. Who would play so fast and loose with their own child except someone in constant slumber?

To grow up resembling somewhat well adjusted adults, free in our thinking and living, we usually need parents who are loving and respectful to each other and to us. We need parents who operate with at least a minimum level of personal integrity and responsibility, people who are not active in an addiction, or living some kind of double life cheating on their spouse, etc. Children need parents who have an active, internal, self-correcting guidance system: people who live consciously. In my experience, most people don't have parents like this. Do they have a chance of living fully?

Free people are not necessarily raised that way. I'm not saying children don't need nurturing; they most certainly do need and deserve it. Somehow I have managed to rise above the tyrannical horror that was my childhood to achieve an acceptable (for now) level of freedom. I did so because life hurt enough. The predatory Leviathan of government America suffers from today is the major cause of our collective suffering ' none of us lives in vacuum. The nanny state/police state interferes with the normal process of living and learning and self-correction at every turn.

They'll monitor what, where and when you eat, drink smoke or copulate. They'll watch everything you do to ascertain that you're doing it with the proper equipment and voltage. They'll tell you when and how you can marry, what kind and how much medicine you can take, when, how fast and where you can drive a car, as well as what you can put in the gas tank.

They'll tell you how to prepare raw meat, how to climb a ladder and fine a retailer for removing a tag from a pillow or for selling a product containing ingredients unapproved by bureaucrats (unless they change their minds about what's acceptable tomorrow).

They'll make sure you're told not to stick anything into an electrical outlet or go near water with an electrical appliance and what kind of outlet can be placed where. They'll tell you where, what kind and how many electrical outlets you can install and how much water you can flush down your toilet. They'll tell you down to the most minute detail where, how, what kind and what size shelter you can create for yourself, who can live in it and who can't. What kinds of activities you can do inside the home and what you can't. They'll tell you how far away your stove must be from a window and how many square feet of space are acceptable for a second story.

They'll number, categorize and 'educate' your children for you. They'll measure, monitor, surveil and discipline them for you, too. They'll even tell you when your children need surgery or medicine (vaccinations, Ritalin, anti-depressants) and take them away from you if you don't comply.

They spend tax dollars creating amazing rules. One of my favorites is 'no balls in the water' at the local swimming hole. They'll tell you when and how much to pay for these state 'services.' Basically, the state tells you to jump, and your reply better be 'how high?' Like Ponzi schemes, extortion or murder, slavery is unlawful unless it is the state that is committing it.

My response to this is the same as Jimmy Stewart's in 'Shenandoah' when the State of Virginia came for recruits for its war. ' Virginia needs all her sons, Mr. Anderson.' In outrage he responds, 'That may be so, but these are my sons-- MINE! They don't belong to the state! When they were babies, I never saw the state come around with a spare tit. We never asked anything of the state and never expected anything. We do our own living, and thanks to no man for the right.'

Needless to say, the state left empty handed. Even if it had previously come round with a tit, I doubt a man like Anderson would have accepted it any more than I could. What the state giveth, the state taketh away. These are my sons indeed, not theirs.

Anderson depicts a man. He raised his own family on his own land and denies an armed tyrant any claim. Such a man is all but extinct today. (If you are looking for inspiration to say 'no' to the state, I highly recommend 'Shenandoah.' I've only given you a sip of what is has to offer a thirsty soul.)

Today the armed tyrant is preceded by a SWAT team and followed up with tanks. See The Waco Massacre or countless other examples via an Internet search for 'examples of tyranny.' You won't have to look hard ' there are too many to enumerate.

Today resistance is sure to bring swift and certain death. (Alas, it is surely even visited upon those who do not resist as well.) This is why Thomas Jefferson warned against a standing army ' sooner or later its guns will be turned against those who paid for them. As my Dad used to say, this is what happens when you give evil an inch--it takes a mile and then another. The ravenous appetite of government is never satiated. It is time to abolish it.

It's time to take back our land, our lives, our livelihoods and our children. If we don't do it, who will? We can't sit around hoping our children will do better than we have the courage to do, any more than we can rest on the liberty achieved by our forefathers--it doesn't work that way. We must quietly but resolutely assume the mantle of liberty for ourselves or perish under the heel of the marching state. Get busy, my man.

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Retta Fontana's picture
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Retta Fontana is an atheist, anarchist, baker, potter and parenting teacher.  Children are her favorite people.