I grew up on a small Indiana farm during the 1940s and 1950s. Dad was a farmer and a businessman, a civic leader, and a parish advisor. He was a quiet, sober, industrious man, who was also generous and friendly, with a great sense of humor. He had little education, but he was well read; he could recite poetry and Shakespeare and recount the histories of American innovators and entrepreneurs, whom he greatly admired. He cared little or nothing for politics, although he occasionally voiced contempt for the State and its wars.
I absorbed many of my dad's attitudes while I was growing up. Thus I felt protective of our property and resentful of State-imposed quotas on farm products, wartime rationing, the military draft, and taxation. At an early age, I felt that these State intrusions on our private lives were unjust, a sentiment that was common in our community at the time. But times were changing.
I didn't know it, but many of the teachers in our community high school were hard-core socialists who did the best they could to shape our opinions of socialist political programs. Thus when I wrote a paper on the marvels of Swedish socialism for my sophomore English class, my dad hit the roof. Then he explained the difference between private charity and socialist redistribution of wealth, and the difference between controlling your own life and having it controlled by the State. I got the message, but I'm afraid that many of my classmates did not.
Dad didn't care much for Joe McCarthy either. While he clearly disapproved of socialist propaganda in the high school, he regarded the House Un-American Activities Committee as an anti-Constitutional police-state tribunal whose sole purpose was acquisition of power, not justice. Watching the Enron witch-hunts today reminds me of dad's comments on the newsreels we watched during the fifties.
I was raising a family in northern California when Vietnam triggered widespread civil disobedience in America. While I supported the effort, I also worried that it would provoke martial law, something like the Patriot Act and the Presidential Star Chamber we've got today, that would endanger the future of my children. Dad told me, don't worry too much about it, the world has been going to Hell all my life and we haven't arrived there yet. Somehow I did not feel reassured.
I don't recall preaching to my children, though I did not hesitate to correct the misinformation they were taught in school. I guess I was following in my father's footsteps, as they say. I wanted them to recognize social problems and to solve them on their own, if they could, or discuss them, if they couldn't. That approach worked and we continue to discuss the finer details of problem-solving today. As independent adults, they don't like people telling them what to think or what to do and they don't like having the results of their endeavors stolen from them year after year.
Now I ask you, was my dad anti-American? Am I anti-American? Are my children anti-American? My family firmly believes in the absolute ownership and control of our private property, including our lives, wealth, and innovations. Our family firmly condemns slavery, including tax slavery, chattel slavery, and conscription slavery. Our family firmly supports freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of action. Our family accepts Constitutional government even knowing that it is coercive government. Our family rejects tyranny. Is that anti-American? AVOT says it is.
AVOT believes that we are sheeple to be herded according to their will. They seek to redefine an American as a slave. They seek to silence true Americans. They are the anti-American voice.
Dad would say, beware, we're almost there.
March 29, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Robert Klassen