Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Taking Children Seriously & the Future of Liberty

This chick kicks ass.

TCS: The Final Phase of The Enlightenment

Transcript of a speech given at the World Libertarian Conference in London, Ontario, in July, 2000.

by: Sarah Fitz-Claridge

Taking Children Seriously (TCS) is the name of an organisation I founded to promote the libertarian educational philosophy.

How can there be such a thing as the libertarian educational philosophy? Aren't parents in a libertarian society free to educate their children in any way they wish?

Yes. But that doesn't make every possible choice morally right, or best for the child, or compatible with the survival of the libertarian society. To satisfy these criteria, we must look more deeply than libertarian political philosophy – which is basically about how a society can run without the initiation of physical force.

What justifies both libertarian political philosophy and TCS education theory in my opinion is reason – something which, I fear, has yet to emerge in the spheres of education and childrearing.

Many parents do a very good job of bringing their children up to believe in authority and obedience to dictators, whether parents or the state. Recently, I had the misfortune to be present when someone I know was subjected to a violent attack by his parent. I was very shaken and didn't throw myself between my young friend and the angry adult, but I did manage to pluck up the courage (once I poked my head up from behind the sofa where I was hiding) to express the opinion that hitting children may not be the best way to deal with disagreements, and that it may not be entirely morally unobjectionable. Perhaps I was less diplomatic than the parent thought appropriate, because he accused me of trying to coerce him into changing his parenting practices, and then played the “children-are-property” card: “It's none of your business how I raise my child.” ...Read More...

More TCS links:

Wikipedia - Taking Children Seriously

Genius Toiling in Obscurity's take on TCS

This is not the same as that... so don't any of my Aussie readers mistake the two.

The Real Costs of Nuclear War: Radioactive Breastmilk, Birth Defects, Contaminated Food Chains

Well, I'm an Eastern Washington baby, born and raised in the downwind nuclear shadow of Hanford, so this kind of stuff hits especially close to home. If you think humans only suffer injury or death when a plant melts down or a bomb goes boom, think again. Isn't reproduction a freedom and a right to be protected at all costs? Shouldn't the health risks to pregnant women and small children, when coupled with the environmental costs and wreckage, be enough to convince people that nuclear energy is not even remotely safe and we should perhaps find better ways of reducing energy consumption rather than increasing energy production? Anyway, here's a bunch of terrible news on uranium mining in other countries and on Native American reservations, depleted uranium, radioactive breast milk, birth defects in infants due to radiation sickness acquired by their mother from working in nuclear power plants, Hanford's Environmental Impact Statement ... you know, some of that dark underbelly we don't often hear about unless we go looking.

Miscarriage, stillbirths after mining

Genetic Effects and Birth Defects from Radiation Exposure - Hanford Health Information Network

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Uranium Mining in Utah

History of Uranium in Utah

Gulf War Syndrome, Depleted Uranium And The Dangers Of Low-Level Radiation

The High Cost of Uranium in Navajo Land

Claims by uranium companies in the United States have soared

Indigeneous Peoples Call for Global Ban on Uranium Mining

Wikipedia - Uranium Mining

New Uranium Mining Projects in the USA

Libertarian Socialist Alliance for Self Managed Energy Systems

Australian Message Board on uranium mining and a nuclear waste dump

Online Book on Uranium Mining in Saskatchewan

Industries that are Harmful to Women

Fighting breast cancer: A Native woman's journal

Miners' health may be the cost of a nuclear future

Cancer mortality in a Texas county with prior uranium mining and milling activities, 1950–2001

India's Uranium Nightmare

Final Hanford Site Solid Waste Program Environmental Impact Statemant January 2004

Hanford Comprehensive Land-Use Plan
Environmental Impact Statements

September 1999

Uranium mining left a legacy of death

Manuel Pino at

Uranium Mining and the Laguna People

The First Carnival of Radical Feminists

Thanks to my gang down under at for bringing this to my attention:

The First Carnival of Radical Feminists

I can't wait until we have stuff like this organized for fathers and groups of young men.

Other recent highlights from my radical anarchist sister:

Trafficking of Women and Children

Raising children collectively…

So I hacked the tip of my left thumb off with a two-century old sugarcane harvester about a week and a half ago. That's been a joy to deal with. Got to learn how to shuffle cards, change diapers, garden, shower, dishes, etc. with no left thumb. Give it a shot sometime, it's trickily challenging and it might even be fun if you were only pretending to be a crippled gimp. Good thing my gorgeous girlfriend has been around to pamper me and help with the near-impossible tasks.

Still plugging away on my goddamn lawn and garden, trying to knock most of the grass down before the girls' birthday bash on June 2nd (e-mail Steph or I for details if you're planning on attending). Camping with your favorite crazies, big and small! Anyway, I've devised a brilliant system for kee
ping the deer (and my stupid cats) out of my garden:


just kidding. i just curse at the deer and throw kids books at my cats and dream of the days (next year?) of fancy fences when my future fat wallet learns to be a little less fickle.

Despite my infrequent posts and scattered correspondence skills, Pirate Papa has been getting more and more traffic. I just have yet to find that happy medium of personality and privacy demanded by this marriage of publicity and parenthood. So as soon as I find my new voice we'll get this hunk 'o junk really up and running.

Thanks to my faithful, loyal audience (friends and strangers alike) and to all those weirdos who find my site through google image searches or strange poorly spelled pornographic searches resulting in the mangled english versions of my twin toddler's twisted talk. It takes all kinds.

Had a great trip to Walla Walla with Hannah and the girls. More decompression time (there's never enough) at my old cabin near the Oregon border. Girls got Grandma and Grandpa time. All those friggin' books got worked on and over a bit more, the slow evolution of our little book empire.

My vegetables are thirsty and so my words must wait until this clock again corresponds with the proper channels of inspiration, piled-up notes and housework apathy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No Nightmares, Please - Why is so much children's poetry full of sadism and doom?

A nice piece by my new internet buddy.

by Jeff Gordinier

One day it dawns on you that your kid has watched too many episodes of Dora the Explorer. Every time the Dora character known as “Map” shows up on screen and sings, “I’m the Map I’m the Map I’m the Map I’m the Map,” you entertain private fantasies of dousing him in lighter fluid, torching him with a match, and giggling uncontrollably while he flails in agony. If a cartoon inspires this much raw hatred before you catch the train to work, it’s probably not a good idea for your kid to watch a ton of it.

So maybe you want to expose your children to fine poetry instead. Which is great, except that you live in a country where some moron makes way more money than you do by writing lyrics like “I’m the Map I’m the Map I’m the Map I’m the Map,” so you’re sort of on your own. And when you come right down to it, reading poems to your adorable offspring is, like breastfeeding, much harder than you think.

When I first tried to introduce my daughter to the wonders of verse, I thought I would kick things off with a couple of haikus, mostly because they are super-short, so she wouldn’t have time to run away. I picked up a collection by Basho, the magnificent Japanese poet of the 17th century, opened the book at random, and flipped to this:
Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die
Ummm. Gosh, I thought . . . impermanence, death, a melancholy beauty—couldn’t we wait until kindergarten before we got into all that? (Now, if only it was the Map who was about to croak . . . ) I flipped around, and up came this little gem:
Whore and monk, we sleep
under one roof together,
moon in a field of clover
Uh, no. Won’t be reading that one...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nature Deficit Disorder

Just got a copy of the Book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder and started reading it today. It is reinforcing a lot of ideas I knew to be true, having grown up in forested seclusion, and helping me realize a whole skill set of which I was only vaguely conscious until recently. Will toss up a review upon completion (which at my current speed of reading might be one or two months unfortunately). In the meantime, here's what the web has to say: