Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write and is the competence of knowledge in a specific area. The links between literacy and freedom continue to be hotly debated among scholars, especially those scholars who choose to be revisionist historians. One of the essential distinctions in scholars is those centered around revisionists. No matter the flavor of a scholar, revisionist scholars always support a policy of revision or modification, or worse, advocate for the same. Revisionist scholars are always looking to revise a topic’s history to fit a political bend for personal gain and political profit.
The most egregious example of this is found in the revisionist historians who derive from journals or other documents the sexuality of a historical figure, based upon the scholar’s agenda, political flavor, and the understanding of today’s culture. During the summer of 2020, America saw many revisionists trying to rewrite history where statues and historical reasoning for erecting those statues were concerned was blatantly attacked by ignorant savages! By changing history, the culture shifts ever so slightly, and it is only a few degrees of separation across time that can eradicate truth and leave myths instead of fact.
All of which is mentioned because currently, literacy and the links to freedom are being revised heavily to reflect less need for literacy as a means of curtailing expectations of freedom. Kaestle, Damon-Moore, Stedman, Tinsley, and Trollinger (1991) authored “Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading since 1880, and the first topic in chapter one is discussing the revisers of history and the downplaying of literacy in early (Preliterate) Greece. While Kaestle et al.’s. (1991) is more of a scholarly work, the point remains that there remains a significant amount of debate on a logically understood topic.
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints reveres “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” as scripture. In that book, there are two accounts of people who did not have records to teach reading and writing in their respective populations, which, when taught reading and writing, gained economically, financially, and developed new thinking and acting methods. One of the first points in “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” the point is made that without written records, people’s memories cannot be passed down, historical lessons are lost, and art, culture, craft, industry, and so much more stem from the ability to read and write and records are critical to human understanding and growth. While I am not here to debate religion, the historical underpinnings of needing to read and write as social customs with power are well established. Consider the Old Testament and the Jewish culture and society, and the same pattern is discovered, when the people know how to read and write, they are different from those who do not know how to read and write.
Hence, from a purely anthropological perception, reading and writing are essential keys in society forming and development from hunter/gatherers to tool-wielding crafting and agrarian societies. While the scholars will debate causation until everyone is confused, the links between literacy and social development cannot be separated without twisting logic and ruining the historical facts found in ancient writings held by religion. Causation and the connections between one topic and another remains an area ripe for abuse by the researchers’ personal bias. I fully admit sufficient peer-reviewed sources are supporting and denying literate societies’ links and freedom to bury an ocean liner in paper. Mark Twain is quoted as, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run. Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.”
Mark Twain is also quoted as, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” These quotes point to the specific problem facing America. In every society globally, literacy has been purposefully designed to be worth less to people by conspiring leaders who want and need drones instead of people. The world is poised on the knife blade’s edge of history, pushed there by those conspirators, and every person is now faced with a choice, stand and learn, or remain ignorant and fall. If we fall, we will fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle, and our graves will be cursed by those who come after us.
Mark Twain points to the same problem discussed here, “The man who does not read has NO advantage over the man who cannot read. [emphasis mine]” Knowing how to read does nothing if it is not practiced, knowing how to write does nothing if it is not practiced, and failure to read and write puts us worse off than those who have never been taught to read and write. Why worse, because we make a conscious choice not to use the tools we have been provided, and the consequences are worse for knowing better and not acting in a manner that honors the tools we have been given.
Let the scholars argue about how to measure literacy in a person and a population, but for us, let us measure literacy by how often we read a full book, paper, or eBook and write. Not just emails for work, but journals, blogs, our histories, and family histories. The aim is not to get readers as much as it is to exercise the power of writing.
For example, my wife loves to write letters and cards. She has a master’s touch on expressing through words her feelings, developed over her entire life of 80-years. The receivers cherish her letters and cards, and I cannot count how many people write to her and express this sentiment. I have all the letters she wrote me while I was in the US Army. Due to my luggage’s theft at a Greyhound Station, I have very few to none of her letters written to me in the US Navy, which remains a great sadness to me. Never having been professionally taught, my wife writes music, and I cherish the song she wrote for me that I have never heard. Using experience and constant trial and error, my wife drew pictures for each of the grand kids. Literacy is the power behind letters, arts, music, and so much more, even if the scholars disagree.
Jim Croce wrote a song asking a simple question, “Which way are you going?” I know my direction; I am headed to a library, a bookstore, and then a computer to record my thoughts, for I desire more literacy. Join me and let us make a “Liberty FIRST Culture” where literacy is cherished as the source of our collective mental batteries!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.
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