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How to Raise an American Idiot

Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum says that everyone should read a new book called How to Raise an American Patriot by someone named Marijo Tinlin. You’re gonna love what this book is about — and especially about one particular claim made in it.

This book presents the stories of 13 modern-day patriots, including how they came to love America and how they taught their own kids to cherish being citizens of the greatest nation on Earth. Some of these patriots are fairly well-known, such as former Attorney General Edwin Meese, actress Janine Turner, and Hillsdale College president Dr. Larry Arnn. Others are not well known but are active spokesmen for what makes America exceptional. Each chapter has a theme — truth, history, character, debate, faith, duty, or sovereignty — and ends with key points and practical action items for parents.

The author makes suggestions for visiting interesting historical sites and reading historical fiction. All these activities provide a solid foundation for instilling what the author calls the five pillars of patriotism: learn our history, have faith, be good citizens, do your duty, and pass it on.

The book also highlights some heroes to motivate younger kids. The book retells the amazing true story about how George Washington had his horse shot out from under him and bullets penetrated his clothes, but did not harm him so he was saved in a near-miraculous way to become our victorious commander in the American Revolution and then our first President. Young children will be interested to learn, for example, that James Madison was an ambassador to Russia when he was only 14 years old.

Apparently you can raise a patriot by teaching them ridiculous lies. No, James Madison was not an ambassador to Russia or anywhere else at 14 years old. John Quincy Adams did go to Russia when he was 14 as a secretary to Francis Dana, who was sent to secure official recognition for the United States from that country. Adams was later named ambassador to Russia by James Madison, but not until he was 42 years old. But those are facts, which have no currency on Planet Wingnuttia.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    The author makes suggestions for…reading historical fiction.

    Yep, that pretty much sums up the Right Wing these days, eh?

  2. Larry says

    How to Raise an American Patriot*

    *Not intended to be a factual representation of historical events.

  3. shouldbeworking says

    A full time job at 14? A great idea to get those kids out the house and doing something useful.

  4. exdrone says

    Having a 14-year-old ambassador probably does not seem so far-fetched when your party’s slate of presidential candidates have the mentality and maturity of 14-year-olds.

  5. says

    “George Washington had his horse shot out from under him…”
    Okay, who did he have shoot the horse, and why?

    It would be clearer if she had written: “George Washington’s horse was shot out from under him.”

    The only reason I have time to write this is because I’m having the mail delivered late today. Yesterday I almost had a careless driver crash into my bike. And so on.

    But I digress.
    She touts the book thus: “The author makes suggestions for visiting interesting historical sites and reading historical fiction.”

    Aha, that’s it. Historical FICTION! Not history but fiction! Train ‘em young to accept bullshit as facts.

  6. chilidog99 says

    George Washington had his horse shot out from under him and bullets penetrated his clothes, but did not harm him so he was saved in a near-miraculous way to become our victorious commander in the American Revolution and then our first President.

    Yeah, but Kim Jong Il shot a 38 the first time he played golf!

  7. chilidog99 says

    ,blockquote>“The author makes suggestions for visiting interesting historical sites and reading historical fiction.”

    They are still making kids read “Johnny Tremain” in school.

  8. organon says

    #1 beat me to it. “The author makes suggestions for …reading historical fiction.”

    How appropriate. Is the authors book on the list? I know, I already missed my opportunity but had to write it anyway. Full acknowledgement regarding not being the first.

  9. Aquaria says

    Having a 14-year-old ambassador probably does not seem so far-fetched when your party’s slate of presidential candidates have the mentality and maturity of 14-year-olds.

    You think they’re that old?

  10. Stevarious says

    I’ve seen a couple of rsemi-reliable sources on the interwebs mention that Madison was named as a secretary to the ambassador to Russia on a trip to Europe with his dad.
    Obviously in Wingnutland, there’s no difference between being the nominal secretary to a diplomat and actually being a diplomat.

    For people that don’t actually care about diplomats or diplomacy or Europe or Russia or history or facts, I don’t suppose the distinction is particularly meaningful.

  11. d cwilson says

    Keep in mind that this the mother of the guy who is rewriting the Bible because the KVJ had too much socialism in it.

  12. Strategically Shaved Monkey says

    “Five pillars of patriotism”?
    OMG LOL ROFL etc
    It’s too late. Screw shariah, the US has always been a koranic state.
    It all makes sense now.

  13. John Hinkle says

    This book presents the stories of 13 modern-day patriots, …and Hillsdale College president Dr. Larry Arnn…

    Ah yes, the famous Dr. Larry Arnn. Yes…

    Dr. who?

  14. daved says

    James Madison was born in 1751. When he was 14, the Revolutionary War was still well in the future, thus making it impossible that he was ambassador to anywhere at all.

  15. harold says

    George Orwell was either onto something, or predicted trends accurately by an amazing coincidence.

    The right wing definition of “patriotism” is – “behaving in a way that severely harms one’s country, fellow citizens, and future descendants, while simultaneously claiming that doing so is an expression of love of country”.

  16. jakc says

    JQ Adams traveled with his father and is the 14 year old referenced (though he was not the ambassador to Russia at that point). I don’t believe that Madison ever traveled outside of the US, unlike most of the other founding fathers.

  17. stubby says

    I had the biggest crush on Janine Turner back in her Northern Exposure days. It was sad to find out she is a wing nut.

  18. D. C. Sessions says

    The book also highlights some heroes to motivate younger kids. The book retells the amazing true story about how George Washington had his horse shot out from under him and bullets penetrated his clothes, but did not harm him so he was saved in a near-miraculous way

    And then there’s the true story about Kim Jong Il’s first game of golf, where he scored 38 below par including several holes-in-one. Or the fact that he never excreted either urine or feces [1].

    And indeed, Ms. Schlafly appears to be right. The people of North Korea appear to be incredibly patriotic. I can understand her desire to model the United States after them.

    [1] Yes, the obvious joke about being full apparently never occurred to the North Koreans. It may be an American thing.

  19. had3 says

    Wait a minute!!! Did Kim Jong the Second (thanks Perry) shoot a 38, or 38 under? It’s important to an historical fiction that I may suggest readers consult in the future regarding patriotism.

  20. chilidog99 says

    had3, it was 38. It was on the first hole, but Il was so awesome he didn’t have to play the other 17.

  21. chilidog99 says

    There were a couple of comments questioning the James Madison bit, but they are gone nad they don’t appear to be approving any new comments.

  22. says

    I clicked the link, went to the Eagle Forum website, and saw, at the very top: “YOU SAVED OUR LIGHT BULBS”.

    So these are the very people against phasing out incandescent light bulbs! Wow. Here they are!

    From the first month that I had changed to the new light bulbs (and an LCD monitor) my electric bills have been DOWN from an average of $150 per month to $85 per month.

    But I guess wingnuts love paying those higher rates. They are probably also against mandated seat-belts, motorcycle helmets, handrails on stairs, and smoke alarms. In the name of Liberty.

  23. vmanis1 says

    I’m a great admirer of Ms Schlafly, in the way that a microbiologist might be an admirer of a particularly virulent strain of poodle halitosis virus: it’s not that she has any redeeming social value, but she does what she does so incredibly effectively that you have to be impressed with her fitness for her ecological niche.

    Her acme of perfection was the torpedoing of the Equal Rights Amendment, on the grounds that it would put sex in the Constitution (presumably she preferred sex in the bushes); it would lead to unisex washrooms (just like the ones, presumably, in her house); it would lead to women in combat (a terrible thing in an all-volunteer military).

    But seriously: Ed Meese…?

  24. dingojack says

    “… how George Washington had his horse shot out from under him and bullets penetrated his clothes… ”

    What? Couldn’t Georgie figure-out how to dismount? It seems a little harsh on the poor old horse (not to mention how Georgie’s aides had to blast away wildly to achieve their aim).

    [In fact, many horse-mounted soldiers from the 16th to the 20th centuries could claim to have been dismounted because their horse was killed under them (in fact some lost more than one horse in a battle), so it’s really not that remarkable].

    Dingo
    —–
    Chillidog99 – “… they are gone nad… ” presumably found in teste tees. :)

  25. ArtK says

    Having a 14-year-old ambassador probably does not seem so far-fetched when your party’s slate of presidential candidates have the mentality and maturity of 14-year-olds.

    There’s a 14yo about 5 feet away from me who could take any one of these idiots in a debate. Please don’t insult 14yos that way.

    The current “conservative” crop are much more like toddlers. They rely on very rigid black-and-white thinking; myth is as important as (or more important than) reality — not knowing the difference, they’ll happily make up ‘facts’ to support their story; they whine and pout when someone says “no”; they’re afraid of strangers, especially ones that look “different”.

    The good thing about a toddler is that with good parenting, they’ll grow out of it. Phyllis & co. have grown into this and have little reason to change.

  26. dingojack says

    Art – to be fair, I think exdrone meant:
    collectively the PoG Presidential line-up has the mentality of a 14 year old. So toddlers would be a good approximation.

    ;) Dingo

  27. says

    …instilling what the author calls the five pillars of patriotism: learn our history, have faith, be good citizens, do your duty, and pass it on.

    I am genuinely curious as to what these people think that being good citizens entails, and what they think “doing your duty” means. These are people who believe they owe nothing to nobody, and at the same time complain endlessly about being victimized by poor people, gays, and minorities. I imagine their sense of duty would have a hard time filling a thimble.

  28. says

    Area Man,

    Doing their duty: Going to church, expressing support for the troops, spanking misbehaving children, and throwing gay children out of the house.

  29. dan4 says

    @16: I don’t understand your comment, but then, maybe I shouldn’t expect too much from someone who believes that the U.S. is a “state.”

  30. dingojack says

    Dan – here ya go!

    state   /steɪt/ [steyt]
    .
    .
    .
    adjective
    15. of or pertaining to the central civil government or authority.
    16. made, maintained, or chartered by or under the authority of one of the commonwealths that make up a federal union: a state highway; a state bank.
    .
    .
    .

    No, no need to thank me.
    Dingo

  31. ArtK says

    @DingoJack

    Fair enough!

    @dan4

    Please put your ignorance away and stop waving it around. “State” is often used as a synonym for “nation”. The comment was also pointing out the similarity between the “Five Pillars of Patriotism” and the “Five Pillars of Islam” found in the Koran. It was irony coming from a crew that cries “Creeping Sharia” at the drop of a hat.

  32. paulburnett says

    Ed Meese is best known as one of the puppetmasters behind Ronald Reagan.

    When Meese was Attorney General in Washington, one of his sons would get stopped by police for speeding and tell them his dad was the Attorney General and they couldn’t touch him. One night he lost control while speeding and was killed in a collision with a large tree – police officers around DC gave thanks.

  33. Michael Heath says

    paulburnett:

    Ed Meese is best known as one of the puppetmasters behind Ronald Reagan.

    Illustrating once again that conservatives aren’t the only ones willing to make shit up in order to denigrate a partisan opponent while instead revealing their ignorance of actual history.

  34. dingojack says

    Uh Michael:

    “On November 17, 1980, Meese and James Baker held a meeting to divide their list of White House responsibilities, since both saw the potential for future conflict since their positions were somewhat similar in nature. The one-page memorandum listed Meese’s responsibilities as: “Counselor to the President for Policy (with cabinet rank); member Super Cabinet Executive Committee (in absence of The President and V-P preside over meetings); participate as a principle in all meetings of full Cabinet; coordination and supervision of responsibilities of The Secretary to the Cabinet; coordination and supervision of work of the Domestic Policy Studies and the National Security Council; with Baker coordination and supervision of work of OMB, CEA, CEQ, Trade Rep and S&T; participation as principle in all policy group meetings; attend any meeting which Pres attends – w/his consent.”
    Schieffer, Bob; Gary Paul Gates (1990). The Acting President. Plume. p. 45.

    So Meese was what exactly, the presidential janitor?

    Dingo

  35. harold says

    @dan4 –

    Ignorance can theoretically be cured with knowledge.

    Unfortunately, extreme ignorance well into adulthood may be a sign that intense biases and/or cognitive deficiencies impede the acquisition of knowledge.

    Nevertheless, there is always hope.

    Like most of use here, I have surely seen thousands of comments on the internet. Yours was above average in grammar and spelling, relative to the overall internet.

    But I have never, ever, ever met a native English speaker who did not know that “state” is often a synonym for “nation”. Yes, Dan, it can mean either a political division of a nation, or it can mean “nation”. This is extremely basic, common English usage.

    Because of your adequate grammar and spelling, I assume that bias, rather than cognitive deficiency per se, is the problem.

    The source of the bias/cognitive dissonance is obvious.

    Authoritarianism is authoritarianism, whether it is nominally Christian, nominally Islamic, or nominally Communist.

    You don’t want to admit that your nominally Christian authoritarianism is virtually identical to Islamic authoritarianism, and not all that different from other forms of authoritarianism.

    Tough. It is. When Phyllis Schlafly said “Five Pillars”, she accidentally used terminology associated with Islam. That highlighted the extreme similarity and overlap between what she supports, and what sharia-imposing Islamic authoritarians support.

    Now deal with it.

  36. dingojack says

    harold – you neglected the possibility that Dan might have some form of Asperger’s Syndrome*. It could be this that is impeding his recognition of other meanings and connotations in everyday speech.
    Dan – Having said that, I am certainly not any more that vaguely acquainted with this field, so I would recommend speaking to real experts.
    Dingo
    —–
    * I don’t mean this in any kind of disparaging way, just that this could be a possibility that should be considered (and tested). And that I apologise to Dan if I have treated him unfairly.

  37. D. C. Sessions says

    But I have never, ever, ever met a native English speaker who did not know that “state” is often a synonym for “nation”.

    Actually, the original meaning of “State” is “Nation.” The use as a lesser division within a nation is original with United States federalism, where what would otherwise have been independent nations joined together into a larger body which required a separate designation.

    Other English-speaking countries (e.g. Canada) have preserved more of the original meaning since they can have “provinces” to avoid the distinction. Aussies, well, …

  38. harold says

    Dingo –

    you neglected the possibility that Dan might have some form of Asperger’s Syndrome*

    Actually, I covered that. Like you, I don’t mean to disparage people with Asperger’s, nor any other condition that impacts on verbal comprehension, and in retrospect, I wish I had said “disabilities” instead of “deficiencies”, but I did say…

    Unfortunately, extreme ignorance well into adulthood may be a sign that intense biases and/or cognitive deficiencies impede the acquisition of knowledge.

    Note that people can have extremely high academic ability and still have a specific cognitive disability. A friend of mine in medical school had profound dyslexia; he managed to excel in undergraduate work despite being unable to spell common English words correctly. He did an MD/PhD degree, which involved writing a lot of journal articles, and by the end of that degree, he had more or less learned to spell. He’s now a professor of pathology at one of the world’s top medical schools. Dyslexia is associated with higher than average academic ability, but can cause people to make very basic spelling errors.

    (I’m not that great of a speller myself, not because of dyslexia, but because I learned to read in the US, then did elementary school through college in Canada, and then returned to the US. Thanks to spell check, I’ve gotten a good handle on US English spelling, and I use that consistently.)

    However, I did go on to assume that Dan is probably an authoritarian wingnut in denial and cognitive dissonance, partly because, as I mentioned, his grammar and spelling don’t indicate verbal problems (with the caveat the we don’t know how long it took him to write the message), and partly because denying ability to understand really obvious sarcasm and humor, when it is directed at them, is a common wingnut trait.

  39. ArtK says

    @ harold

    A friend of mine in medical school had profound dyslexia; he managed to excel in undergraduate work despite being unable to spell common English words correctly. He did an MD/PhD degree, which involved writing a lot of journal articles, and by the end of that degree, he had more or less learned to spell. He’s now a professor of pathology at one of the world’s top medical schools. Dyslexia is associated with higher than average academic ability, but can cause people to make very basic spelling errors.

    An anecdote to go with yours. I have an acquaintance who is a very successful screenwriter — he told me that he had a horrible time with spelling through HS and college. It wasn’t until he started using software with spell check that he got better. The constant corrections finally drilled the right spellings into his brain.

  40. dingojack says

    Art – ah, yes I see. It’s just that ‘cognitive deficiencies’ meant something a little different to me.
    As to persons with Aspergers (and other Autism Spectrum disorders) who are famous (or infamous) in their own fields see here.
    Dingo
    —–
    A particular favourite of mine is Temple Grandin

  41. slc1 says

    Re Harold @ #44

    Other examples of dyslexic individuals include General George Patton and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. I have also read that Albert Einstein had a very mild case of the disorder.

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