By Ron Paul, The Ron Paul Institute | September 18, 2023
A 12-year-old Colorado boy became a victim of “woke” education when he was taken out of class and told he could not return unless he removed a Gadsden flag, or “Don’t Tread on Me,” patch from his backpack. The school backed down after a video went viral in which a school official told the boy and his mother that the problem with the patch is that the Gadsden flag’s origin is related to slavery and the slave trade. The school was criticized by individuals from across the political spectrum for seeming ignorance of the role the Gadsden flag played in the American Revolution. Among the critics was Colorado Governor Jared Polis, one of the few remaining Democrats willing to defend free speech from the woke mob.
This incident reminded me of a 2009 Department of Homeland Security “fusion center” report warning that individuals with Gadsden flag bumper stickers, or bumper stickers supporting my presidential campaign or the Libertarian or Constitution parties, were potentially dangerous extremists. After I and many other Americans objected, the offending report was withdrawn. But, the fact that it was issued in the first place, just like the fact the Colorado student was ever removed from class for his Gadsden flag patch, shows how the authoritarians view the “Don’t Tread on Me” symbol.
The reason the woke authoritarians hate the Gadsden flag has nothing to do with racism or extremism. It is because the flag represents a rejection of authoritarianism and an embrace of liberty. Benjamin Franklin originally used the rattlesnake to symbolize the rebellious American colonies. He chose the snake because the rattlesnake “never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders.” In other words, rattlesnakes follow the nonaggression principle that forbids the use of offensive force against another’s person or property, but allows the use of force to defend against any violations of one’s rights — including those committed by government officials.
In contrast, authoritarianism is rooted in the notion that politicians, bureaucrats, and their favored special interests have the right to tread on everyone.
The smearing of the Gadsden flag as racist is just the latest example of how the woke left is using its power in American education and cultural institutions to discredit the symbols and ideals of limited government and free markets. The woke left views schools as a place to indoctrinate children into Cultural Marxism rather than a place where children can gain a good education.
The rise of woke education is leading many parents to consider homeschooling. Parents looking to provide their children a quality home-based education that promotes real learning that does not push a political agenda, but does instruct in the history and philosophy of liberty, should look into my homeschooling curriculum. My curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education that includes rigorous programs in history, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. The curriculum also provides instruction in personal finance. Students can develop superior communication skills via intensive writing and public speaking courses. Another feature of my curriculum is that it provides students the opportunity to create and run their own businesses.
The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize free-market economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. I encourage all parents looking at alternatives to government schools — alternatives that provide children with a well-rounded education that introduces them to the history and ideas of liberty without sacrificing education for indoctrination — to go to RonPaulCurriculum.com for more information about my homeschooling program.
Ron Paul is an American physician, author, and politician who served for many years as a U.S. Representative for Texas. He was a three-time candidate for President of the United States, as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012.
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