Your Life Belongs to You: A True Story About the Birth of the United States

Posted by EgoPriest 2 months, 3 weeks ago to Books
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"Why I Love America" (my edited and extended review)

This is a beautiful book that tells one of the most inspirational stories of all time in an essentialized manner appreciable by young children---and young readers: the font is large, and every other page sports a beautiful illustration of the narrative on each facing page. It is ideal for parents and teachers also: the story is followed by suggested activities and two appendices, one listing a detailed timeline, the other a challenging question and answer game.

Most of all, as the proud uncle of a vivacious young one myself, I have immensely enjoyed reading this to her---only I can never get through the "field of surrender" without getting emotional. That may be due to my having heard John Ridpath who, in his original Independence Day talk in Williamsburg, Virginia (on which this book is based), got choked up there as well.

Dr. Ridpaths glowing Introduction endorses and confirms the value of Ms. Cushman's superlative adaptation; my deepest, heartfelt appreciation goes out to them both.

Now let's get this book into every children's library and classroom in our once glorious republic of individual freedom and consequent prosperity on earth!
SOURCE URL: http://a.co/d/8nBh43m


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  • Posted by  $  mshupe 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    It is surely no coincidence that a Montessori teacher would write this.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      No coincidence at all. For years she found the (actually two) Ridpath talks: This Hallowed Ground and The Declaration of Independence, an excellent source for telling her young charges the story of our nation's founding. It was logical to then transform those lectures into a beautiful book, with his blessing.
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  • Posted by Abaco 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    As I mentioned elsewhere, my kids attend Montessori and I'll be acquiring this to help me raise them right.

    I can relate to getting emotional. I have a book at home written about an American bomber pilot who dropped chocolate bars in WWII - Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot. Mine is signed by the pilot, himself. Tough to read it to kids without tearing up.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 months, 2 weeks ago
    As a child, I was surrounded by relatives who constantly told me how lucky I was to be born in America. They would speak of the lack od freedom, the inability to open their own business or even to have a job outside of their own ethnic neighborhood. Of pogroms and repression. The legend of American streets paved with gold was true in the eyes of the immigrants. The gold was called opportunity. To work, and save and to own property was the same as gold to them. They loved America and inculcated that love in me as they told of how wonderful it was to walk down the street without fear of the government taking you for no other cause than you pissed off a cop or soldier. Of course, nowadays you may substitute a gang member for cop or soldier, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.
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  • Posted by term2 2 months, 2 weeks ago
    I wish it was on kindle. I do all my reading in my iPhone because I can fit it in wherever I go without having to have a physical book and remember where I left off
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    • Posted by 2 months, 2 weeks ago
      I would agree. Only this is a special book given the child-friendly formatting. You might enjoy the original lectures available through the Ayn Rand Bookstore: https://estore.aynrand.org/p/173/this...

      I have also greatly benefitted in listening to Dr. Ridpath's "Religion vs. Man," which I got years ago to counter all the sophistry in a required college course on the subject.
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  • Posted by 2 months, 2 weeks ago
    Considering that in Atlas Shrugged Galt's radio speech was America's second (and final) Declaration of Independence, who in the novel do you think would have become President?
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    • Posted by term2 2 months, 2 weeks ago
      Have no idea. President is an administrator who carries out in part what the constitution says. Galt is a Declaration of Independence writer and maybe a Supreme Court judge.

      A president is more like a Trump responsible for hiring and firing and making the limited national government operate efficiently

      I think of presidents not as some sorts of god or leader figures, like they are now.

      The government should be more like an umpire who enforces the rules of interaction among citizens. I don’t think a country needs a leader like a hitler. The country is made up of individual citizens who should be their own leaders of their lives. IMHO anyway
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 2 months, 2 weeks ago
        Ditto. There have been times when the American people have made me nervous, with attempts to paint a president into a "great leader" to be unquestionably followed. FDR was idolized primarily as a war president. JFK was damn near deified posthumously. Reagan had to remind people to make their own decisions rather than be followers, or he could have been one of those great leader figures. Democrats desperately wanted Obama to be a great leader, complete with dictatorial stagecraft and a media that ignored his many flaws. Thank goodness, Trump seems to be purposely embarrassing those who would attempt to paint him into the "great leader" corner. While unpolished and at times crude, he's no dictator. He consistently makes it obvious he's intolerant of a lazy congress that has become used to their job being done by the judiciary or an imperial president. With his force of personality, it would have been easy for Trump to exercise power like Mussolini, but he has shown an eagerness to somehow make the federal government act in a constitutional way, even when he's frustrated by an incompetent bureaucracy that doesn't like being forced to do the job as intended.
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        • Posted by term2 2 months, 2 weeks ago
          Contrast that with when Snowden was in Russia and Obama petulantly called Putin and demanded that he be extradited. I loved Putin's response- he actions said in so many words- "who the hell are you? I will do what I want in a sovereign country." Then he forced down the bolivian presidents plane because he "thought" snowden was on board. After that, I called Obama a petulant, arrogant brat who never learned to be around people.
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        • Posted by term2 2 months, 2 weeks ago
          I knew when I saw the interview on TV with Trump and his family that he was the one we need. The apples dont fall far from the tree, and I was really impressed with his family. That said a lot about Donald.
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      • Posted by 2 months, 2 weeks ago
        It's a matter of (literary) context. Our first presidents were the revolutionaries who fought to secure our rights.

        They fought and won with the right ideas.

        So I think the Second American Revolution would likely give to Ragnar, the philosopher-commander who successfully strategized on the high seas for the producer's gold the honor (recall his first act, and the last act of the novel was to add to the first amendment a separation between state and economy).

        Judge Narragansett would be chief-justice, of course. Galt (the Adams & Jefferson of the strike) might be second or third in line for the presidency. But of course it would entirely depend on the contract with voters (those citizens who qualify) to select who, from those willing, would serve reason and justice.

        All the theoretical mistakes or complications would not apply in the context of such a revolutionary government. We'd be starting over without the altruistic implications and contradictions that can only lead to statism.

        And then yes, under such political leadership, people would own their lives and "be their own (moral) leaders."
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        • Posted by term2 2 months, 2 weeks ago
          Maybe once the constitution was improved and rewritten to be more consistent and cover all the basis, like separation of state and economy, it would not need a LEADER. It would need an administrator to run the government in accordance with the constitution, and a court system to make sure the congress and president acted in accordance with the constitution.

          I liked Ragnar, and also Francisco. They were both pretty grounded in objectivist principles. Maybe Hank Rearden would make a good administrator, who knows.

          Having a good administrator is like having a city manager today. Its not a job with much fanfare, and shouldnt be. One wants efficient government, NOT what we have today.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 2 months, 2 weeks ago
    Today when me an old dino laid me eyes on "Montessori," me dino wondered "Where the heck is Montessori?" Ha! Ha!
    Do believe me dino learns more in The Gulch than anywhere else on the Internet.
    Welcome to The Gulch, EgoPriast. That's one heck of a moniker, by the way.
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    • Posted by 2 months, 2 weeks ago
      And I mean it (as an atheist---obviously). You can tell "you dino" that Ms. Montessori passed away over 65 years ago, but that her generally valid pedagogical methods live on. ;-)
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  • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    From the author:

    "For many years I presented this story to my class of Montessori children ages 2½ to 6. They loved it. I would only tell them a small part of the story each day as I laid out illustrations of the people and events in order of occurrence. I often gave them a cliffhanger so that they could contemplate and discuss what might happen next, as they eagerly awaited the next part of the story.

    "No child should be denied knowledge of the history of his country. It is important for children to understand that what people have done in the past has an effect on how we live now. They need to be able to connect the dots—to see which prevailing thoughts led to fights, what ideas led to prosperity, what actions led to other actions, and so on.

    "Our country has a unique history of men and women with the right ideas who had the integrity and courage to put those ideas into practice. If Western Civilization is to survive, this is a story that needs to be told and cannot be lost."

    - Charlotte Cushman
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