Monday, 2 March 2009

“When I grow up I want to be free” [update 5]

Rational Jenn has this beaut pic of her kids at Atlanta’s Tea Party protest.mmpol01_AtlantaGA

No wonder they caught they eye of the MSM and Michelle Malkin.  Good on them and their Mum for getting out in the rain to protest the Obamessiah’s fiscal child abuse.

johngalt-sign.story_inline UPDATE 1: MORE ON THE CROSS-THE-USA TEA PARTYS in St Louis, Atlanta, Kansas, Washington, Chicago, New York, Denver

And Jenn has a link to  “a great post up at Pajamas Media called Ayn Rand and the Tea Party Protests.

“The tagline: Protesters must couple their outrage at bailouts with a positive vision of a properly limited government.”

UPDATE 2Writing in the Grand Junction Free Press, Linn & Ari Armstrong reckon that the parallels with Atlas Shrugged are more profound than many people realise: in the face of the ten-thousand commandments of government, producers are starting to go on strike…

UPDATE 3:   “Beautiful women are always on the cutting edge of social trends,” as P.J. O’Rourke once observed. “On that score,” notes Tim Blair, “the anti-stimulus movement in the US is doing just fine.”

UPDATE 4Flibbertigibbet takes up the cudgels on behalf of Mr & Mrs Rational Jenn and their children, on the issue which for some reason has overshadowed the reason for the protest:

    I would argue not only is it appropriate for children to be present at such events, but that it is beneficial to their education to be there. Children SHOULD see their parents engaging in political discourse and being passionate about ideas.  Children SHOULD see how adults conduct themselves when they disagree with the government.  Children SHOULD be exposed to ideas and encouraged to explore, discuss, and defend ideas.
    All these busy-bodies accusing Mr. And Mrs. Rational Jenn of being bad parents, abusing their children's minds, and undermining their own political objectives should check the facts and check their premises.

They might begin by checking the entirety of Flibber’s well-argued post on the matters in question.

UPDATE 5Rational Jenn has responded at length to those who’ve criticised her here (and here) for taking her kids to the Atlanta Tea Party,

to provide a little more context for those who may be interested; to thank those who have supported our actions in the past few days; and to let people know that I did stop and re-examine my premises very carefully. And to make it clear that we'll ALL be in attendance at the next rally.

Good for her.  As she concludes,

Kids should be allowed in the world because they live in the world.


  1. Nice sentiments, but I'm in the camp that says you shouldn't have your young kids carrying political messages, regardless.

    There's something a little too Hitler Jugen about it for my taste.

    Let them carry it when they can understand, at least on some level, what they mean.

  2. I agree with Jeff.

    How does that kid know Ayn Rand is right?

  3. Absolutely agree with Jeff. I was incensed when protestors used their kids as human shields during the Springbok tour. The kids are surely too young to understand the issue. Not to say I don't agree with the message on their placards, of course.

  4. Yeah.....take them along I think so they can see and learn and think about it but don't be seen to be doing what the leftys et el do on their protests....using the uninformed child as a weapon to make your point.We should stand on that principle 100%.

  5. Thanks for the link! I might address some of the commenters' objections in a blog post, but I will say for the record that you're all missing quite a bit of context and they understood more than you might think. My son would love the idea of being a "weapon" though!

    Thank you again, Peter.

  6. Jeff, Daniel, Richard, and James -

    I have to ask -- do any of you have kids? Do you really think they would just sit by in a rally like this, content to watch all of the adults making demands and being passionate about their beliefs, without wanting to participate?

    And when they did ask to hold a sign up (as they would in almost every case), you would tell them, "No, you're too young; you don't understand these things."


    My experience as a parent has shown me, time and time again, that kids understand much more than adults generally give them credit for.

    But that aside -- I can understand how you might be concerned when you see kids being used. But that's not what was happening here -- it's the government, not the parents, who are using these kids. Can we please not miss the forest for the trees here?

    The big picture in the stimulus bill is that politicians are forcing debt onto everyone (including kids -- including THESE kids) so that they can appear to be the ones who solved a crisis that they themselves created, thus ensuring as many votes as possible for themselves.

    In short, they are using these kids' money to buy votes.

    Now, who's using who again?

  7. How does that kid know Ayn Rand is right?

    Who cares. Ayn Rand is right
    and that's all that matters.

    . I was incensed when protestors used their kids as human shields during the Springbok tour

    I wasn't - but I think it's a pity a red squad didn't clout 'em.

  8. "And when they did ask to hold a sign up (as they would in almost every case), you would tell them, "No, you're too young; you don't understand these things."

    That's not the point! Even if they did ask to participate, adults took a photo of them participating and used it for political mileage. If my kid wanted to hold a sign, I'd let him, but I wouldn't take a photo of him and post it on a blog!

    Those kids look like they're being brainwashed, and that is not appealing to most sensible people.

  9. Involving kids in political protest at all is wrong, I think. Seems like they were used purely for their heart-string-tugging properties, and doubly worrying when you read 'Rational Jenn's' blog and see her basking in the attention they created for her.

    It's a long bow to draw that these kids understand the issues involve, and whilst I certainly sympathise with the idea put forward that their parents enthusiasm would make them want to get involved, I don't really buy it. 'Indoctrination' might sound harsh but when you are putting slogans into the kids mouths and using them for media exposure, it fits.


  10. "I have to ask -- do any of you have kids?"

    Yes....well at least until their parents pay the ransom....!


    Come laughed....admit it!

  11. Wow -- endoctrinating? Brainwashing? I'm sorry -- but you guys are WAY off base. But again, I can understand what you might be thinking. Bear with me...

    It absolutely IS endoctrinating/brainwashing when kids participate in (for example) a "save the earth" rally, because endoctrination actually occurred there. They were lied to; they were told that the earth would be *destroyed* unless they could convince people to buy electric cars, use paper instead of plastic, or what have you. Since these are the sorts of protests we see all the time, I can understand the instinct to extrapolate that to this situation.

    But it just doesn't apply. In 99% of modern protests, people are trying to get the government to do something that the government *shouldn't* be doing, to benefit them. There's an agenda, and the kids have been "brainwashed" into thinking it's the right thing to do.

    In this case, we have kids who are participating in trying to *stop* the government from taking their money and selling them down the road into future servitude. They weren't brainwashed; they were given the facts about what was happening, and they *do* understand that it is wrong. Because it is. Nobody lied to them, which is a required step for brainwashing. Nobody tried to paint an incorrect or exaggerated version of reality in order to get them to do this. They *wanted* to do it, because they actually do understand that their money belongs to them. This is not a lofty concept that only adults can understand.

    Kids do not have to be brainwashed into accepting reality for what it is. They're born with the innate ability & desire to understand reality. They have to be brainwashed into accepting things like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and God. THOSE are the lies; this is not.

    And James -- I admit it, I laughed. That was damned funny!

  12. Brendan

    Fair enough. You're probably right.


  13. I'm thinking a couple of things about all this.

    First, that a few of you here might have at least paused to say "Bravo!" to Jenn for getting out on the streets against the Obamessiah before laying into her.

    That might have been the polite, not to say the just. thing to do.

    Not to say too that "brainwashing" is hardly the way to describe Jenn's raising of her kids.

    Seems to me you might want both context and perspective before sounding off.

    And Jeff, I'm not sure the "Hitler Jugend" reference is entirely apposite -- I think you might have violated Godwin's Law right there.

    Frankly, Brendan makes two valid points on the context here: First, that kids, properly raised, understand much more than adults generally give them credit for.

    And I'd wager Jenn's kids in particular understand more than most adults. Certainly any in the Obama Administration.

    And second, which all of you seem to be ignoring, is that to foster the illusion that Obama Administration is doing something, they're spending the money of future generations. THESE generations. "The big picture in the stimulus bill is that politicians are forcing debt onto everyone ... In short, they are using these kids' money to buy votes."

    And so they are.

  14. Oh thank goodness!

    Because I was under the impression that objectivists were fallible!

    My mistake.

    Y'know, there's a reason Ayn Rand is neglected in philosophical circles. It's because many of her arguments are invalid. Hopefully that kid in the photo learns the difference between valid and invalid arguments before she reads any of Rand's rhetoric.

    I can't believe some of you have used the argument "yes, but it's not brainwashing because Rand IS right". It's zealous and pig-headed.

  15. Brendan - yep, got 3 kids, at least one of whom is sympathetic to libertarian ideas. He and I followed the brief but exciting Ron Paul presidential campaign with interest. However his mother and I let him form his own political views in his own time. He wasn't really that interested in politics until his mid-teens.

  16. PC, I think what I was reacting to in this post is that the assumption is that the impetus came from the kids as an outgrowth of their enthusiasm and desire to help their parents. Furthermore, that they have an understanding (albeit rudimentary) of Objectivist thought.

    If that were the case, one might expect to see different signs they were holding up. But the signs were written as if the kids themselves were expressing the sentiments - "When I Grow Up I Want To Be Free!". I just don't believe that a kid of that apparent age has read or understood Atlas Shrugged, or that they really understand enough of Ayn Rand to suggest that she was 'right'. I would bet money that if they HAVE been exposed to Ayn Rand's philosophy to any extent, that they haven't been exposed to a wider tranche of political thought, in order to make real qualitative judgement about the 'rightness' of Objectivism. And there is a word for feeding kids one type of politics - gets bandied around a lot in regard to global warming at schools etc.

    Kids soaking in the atmosphere at an event like this - all good. Kids being used as mouthpieces for media attention - worrying. And before anyone comes up with it, of course the opinion counts for any political stripe.


  17. Tim, I'm not suggesting that I am infallible. You accused me of "brainwashing" my kids. I'm merely suggesting that you understand the meaning of the word before you brandish it about. In order to brainwash, you must lie. That didn't happen here.

    As to your larger gripe against Objectivists in general, it sounds very much like a "sour grapes" argument. You're not judging Rand's ideas on their own merit, just hiding behind "philosophical authority".

  18. PC & Richard -- hey, thanks. It's nice to know that there are at least some people who don't think I'm brainwashing my kids.

    I can't explain it any more plainly than this: Teaching your kids about reality, answering their questions truthfully, and encouraging them to explore things on their own is what we do. And, by definition, it is not brainwashing.

    It seems that some posters would argue that kids can't do anything unless they fully understand the concepts behind what they are doing. All I can say to that is, I hope these people don't have any kids. I can't imagine growing up in an environment where there were only two answers to virtually every question I ask:

    First answer: A LONG lecture about all of the concepts behind, and causes of, the thing I was asking about, or...

    Second answer: "You're too young to understand this."

  19. "First, that a few of you here might have at least paused to say "Bravo!" to Jenn for getting out on the streets against the Obamessiah before laying into her.

    That might have been the polite, not to say the just. thing to do."


    You make a good point and I should have said more than "nice sentiments" to indicate my approval.

    I don't want to blow this out of proportion, since it really is a side issue. Anyone who spends as little as five minutes reading my blog will learn how fully I support the philosophy, goals, and actions of the Tea Party protesters.

    Last, I'm not going to get into a long debate about what children can or cannot understand or how they should be educated about politics and political philosophy. I'll just lean on the view that knowledge is hierarchical (and spiral) and let it go at that for now, with only one small comment added. I don't have to have children to know what they are capable of. I was one, I grew up with them, and I have observed many nieces, nephews, and neighbors at close range for decades. I don't underestimate their ability, nor exaggerate it.

    Best regards to Jenn, Brendan, and everyone else fighting for freedom.

  20. Jeff -- thanks for your comments. I'm not trying to get into a huge debate here, either. Just defending the way I raise my kids.

    I agree that you don't need to have kids in order to understand what they're capable of. But I would wager that few (if any) of the kids you've mentioned closely observing are raised in the way that the kids in these pictures have been. You may not be underestimating most kids, but you certainly underestimated these little ones :-)

  21. Brendan,

    "you certainly underestimated these little ones "

    I'm glad to hear it! I'm convinced that by the time one hits High School (probably a lot earlier), the pattern is set for most people for life. If we're to live in a free country again, it will only be because of the young ones that were raised properly.

    Thank you for your efforts in that area (even though, I understand, that's only a tiny part of why you exert them).

  22. I thought I'd post because my daughter is the one holding the sign that says "Ayn Rand was Right." The thing is, it was my sign. She wanted to hold it because it was pink. I don't think anyone was under the impression that she knew anything about Ayn Rand. Anyone with sense knew that she was holding a sign made by her parents.

    She did know the basic facts about the protest and understands them. The government wants to take even more of our money than they already do and give it to people that we don't know and love. Even my 5 year old can understand that that is wrong.

    The important thing about her being at the protest wasn't the info on the sign she was holding. The important thing was that she saw that I care about what the government does to our lives. That I care enough to stand in the rain. That our voices matter.

    She learned almost nothing about bailouts. We talked about them, of course, but children don't take those kinds of things in as some kind of floating abstractions. Children raised rationally just let things they can't grasp yet float by. What she learned was that when she is passionate about something, she should take action.

    It would be wrong if I taught her little phrases to say to the media about Objectivism. It would be wrong to leave out facts about the other side so that she agreed with me. It is not wrong to take children with you into the world, let them help you as best they can, and answer their questions. Children learn to be adults by watching and mimicking. If you keep them away from any activity they may not fully understand, don't try to take them to the bank, to your work, or to a movie or play.

    And by the way, can you imagine why a proud parent would get excited by seeing her child's photo on a well-read blog? It makes me all keyed up to see a picture of Ayn Rand's name on a conservative blog. But if the darling face of my baby is there too, getting as famous as her big green eyes deserve, I just can't help but be happy.

    My primary goal is that she is happy and learning, and so she goes with me where I go. I will worry about what liberals and other think of seeing her with a sign when I have more time on my hands.


  23. Hi Kelly .. what an interesting thread. I loved your comment.

    I especially loved this bit: "The government wants to take even more of our money than they already do and give it to people that we don't know and love."


  24. I saw this on Sean Hannity's Fox News program the other day, the child holding the sign, "Ayn Rand was right".

    Sean stated that he wished that White House officials, Congressmen, Lawmakers and politicians from the Capital Hill would have seen that, because he said that the country is sliding into socialism quite fast.

  25. You have the gaul to play your children as pawns.

    As much as I may agree with the sentiments on the placards, the fact that parents promote their children to political or religious agenda, is immoral and thoroughly disgraceful.

    Photos such as this, IMHO are akin to child pornography and Palestinian propaganda. Stooping to such levels is as immoral as charities who accept money from the coercion of others.

    Shame on them!

  26. "child pornography" ... "Palestinian propaganda" ...

    Are we perhaps seeing evidence of the dangers of posting while drunk?

  27. "child pornography" ... "Palestinian propaganda" ...

    Are we perhaps seeing evidence of the dangers of posting while drunk?

    (snort) -- now THAT'S funny. Heh heh -- "gaul".

  28. Rebel Radius

    That's got to be one of the silliest piecies of idiocy you've ever posted. Lift your game.


    PS do you have children?

  29. Rebel Radius is a racist. She hates Muslims as shown by her opposition to the Canadian Fund trying to buy into the Auckland Inernational Airport (AIA) shares last year.

    She can't reason that the kids who held up Libz signs, were doing the right thing in protesting against state abuse of their rights not to be taxed heavily in the future to pay for this mess when they grow up. They're (kids & parents) worried now for the state coercion they will face in the future and that is a legitimate concern.

    Rebel Radius, however boycotted and lobby politicians to use state coercion to stop the share purchase by the Canadian Funds into the AIA on the basis that the Funds is predominantly controlled by Muslims. This is going against her own Libertarianz philosophy of free-market. I wondered if she's just a pseudo-liberianz or just a bigot and a confused person.

  30. It infuriates me to see children used as billboards.

    Accompanying parents on marches is not the issue, it is children being used to promote political and or religious agenda, which is clearly over the heads of babes.

    Placards that have obviously been drawn up by parents or those who choose to speak for the child, is IMHO prostitution.

    Prostitution, the word
    "prostituere" in Latin meaning to expose indiscriminately.

    A child parading a billboard with a statement obviously not made by the child, and or is obviously incomprehensible to the child exposing it, is exposing indiscriminately by default of innocence/ignorance.

    If, a child held a placard that was created, worded and designed by the child, then obviously this SELF expression and I support this fully.

    Palestinian children (emulating suicide bombers by wearing elaborate costumes, created by a parent or another adult, are a classical example of how children are used to prostitute political agenda.

    After all, it is the children's bodies which are selling the message!

  31. Rebel Radius says "Prostitution, the word "prostituere" in Latin meaning to expose indiscriminately."

    I know these people, I know their kids. There is nothing indiscriminate about what they do, or the way they do it. You would be hard-pressed to find more careful, respectful and benevolent parents than these.

    It seems to me that you are assuming a malevolence of intent based on your own experiences that has nothing to do with these children and the Atlanta Tea Party. If Jenn and Brendan chose to take their kids to a rally that encouraged violence to others, or mindless adherence to dogma, I'd be upset (and probably wouldn't be friends with them anymore). But they took their children to a proactive, peaceful gathering to protest the violation of our right to keep what we produce.

    Context is everything.

  32. Jessica

    Unfortunately Rebel Radius is one of those imbeciles who operates without regard to context. RR is little more than a shallow minded bigot with an intellectual radius that extends slightly less than that of her gut. RR's half witted ideas are not worth your attention.


  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Jessica....Context is everything.

    Are you saying that as long as the context suits a particular agenda it is OK to use
    Children as billboards?

  35. No, I'd say she's saying you've completely ignored the context here, and made a wild slur without a moment's thought -- which you might have had the grace to reflect on overnight.

    Shame you didn't, because if that's what she was saying then I would have to agree with her.

  36. I find it repugnant for any child to be used as a billboard. This is not a wild slur, because its a fact. I do. If I were to hold "grace" and to reflect on this, my opinion would not change.

    My question to you PC. Is it in your HMO, permissible for some children to be used as billboards, as long as the situation/agenda is acceptable to their parents?

    Your move.

  37. PC: I don't know that Rebel Radius has ignored the context, it's just that in one case the protest is one you agree with, and in the other it is one you are opposed to.

    I am certain that Fred Phelps and his adherents have given the t-shirt wearing kids all the information they need to believe that 'God Hates Fags,' and probably a slew of reasons as to why competing views are wrong.

    I don't for a second think that the case in point relates on the same level - advocating hatred - but I reiterate my opinion above, that allowing kids to ascribe opinions to themselves that they couldn't really be said to have reasoned out for themselves is wrong.


  38. No matter the validity of the message this is not a forum for children toting placards. It reminds me of the dull-eyed child victims dragged into the "Hikoi of the Hopeless" a few years ago. Childhood is the time for nurturing innocence not barracking. (Note the use of the President's christian name!)

  39. Faversham and especially Rebel Radius:

    I don't know what to say to you other than I can understand being upset about using and brainwashing kids to promote crazy ideas.

    But surely -- SURELY you are not equating kids protesting to prevent *themselves* from being forced into future servitude, with kids who have been brainwashed into thinking that "God hates fags".

    One is the truth, and the other is not.

    Please, if you haven't already, read ALL of my earlier posts on this subject. If you're still not convinced, I'm left with two possibilities. 1) you are a moral relativist, or 2) you are not rational.

    In either case, you'll believe whatever you want to believe. The truth has no effect on your opinion, and I don't wish to waste any more time trying to convince you.

  40. Brendan,

    I am not questioning your ability to judge truth v untruth as you appear to be suggesting, I am questioning your taste! If that makes me a moral relativist, which I doubt, so be it.

    It has been asserted that the death knell for any aspiring actor is to share a lead with either a child or an animal. I perceive that the death knell for a political opinion is to convey it on a child's shoulder.

  41. Faversham, I guess you're right. It was in poor taste. I should stop.

    Twenty years from now, when the government has spent us all into poverty, and the kids in these pictures are either waiting in soup lines for food, or paying 75% or more in taxes, I know I will take great comfort in the fact that I'll be able to say to myself:

    "At least Faversham approves of my taste now."


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