(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)

Thursday, February 06, 2003
America's children don't need drugs, they need more to do!

My son Cameron is making his first classroom presentation today. He's in the fifth grade, and he has to speak for three to five minutes. He wrote his speech and has been practicing it over and over again, to the point that he has it almost completely memorized. He can literally do it on standing on his head, and only an eleven-year-old boy would feel the need to actually stand on his head while delivering a speech.

Cathy and I took him to my old Toastmasters International club this morning, so he could practice before an audience of strangers and so the members of Valley Toastmasters, very experienced speakers, could evaluate his performance.

My son, making his very first speech in public, won the Blue Ribbon for Best Speaker and the Yellow Ribbon for being 'Warm and Fuzzy.' The competition was very good, but Cameron was better.

He delivers the speech in class later today. If he scores well, he will advance to a school-level competition. From there he can move on to a district-wide contest. Given his choice of subject matter, he may not do very well with teachers as his judges. That doesn't matter. He has been judged by experienced speakers, many of them professional speakers, and he brought home first prize on his first try.

You can email Cameron at

This is his speech:

America's children don't need drugs, they need more to do!

by Cameron Swann

Some people might not think of it this way, but I think the biggest challenge facing freedom today is the drugging of America's young people. Not by pushers of illegal drugs, but by mental health professionals. Children are narcotized for many reasons, but the most common reason is just for acting like children.

Six percent of school age children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, often because they have difficulty sitting still and paying attention in school. Ninety percent of those patients take Ritalin, which, like many other drugs, impairs the growth of the body and the brain.

When a child is bored and jumps up from his or her seat a lot, very often teachers or counselors in the school will try to get parents to drug their child. And the only reason that the child is drugged is because the teachers want perfect little zombies. But is that a good reason to inhibit a bright, healthy child, robbing him of his curious mind?

Dr. Mary Ann Block says that Ritalin is almost identical to cocaine. It goes to the same places in the brain and, when abused, it does the exact same things--even though most doctors say it is safe.

Mary Mostert notes that a ten-year-old boy can be diagnosed with ADHD in the classroom because he is unwilling to concentrate on boring classroom material. Yet that same boy will come home and play on his Nintendo or Game Boy for hours on end. Surely the fault lies with the boring schoolwork, not with the boy's ability to concentrate.

Why do teachers think that children's problems can be fixed with drugs? In fact, most children diagnosed with ADHD would be better off learning better habits, rather than taking Ritalin. As Mary Mostert reminds us, "The very characteristics that working parents and controlling teachers see as 'problems' in growing boys are often the same as the characteristics of success--the ability to move quickly from one idea or problem to another, sociability, curiosity, friendliness--once the boy is grown."

When parents are asked to put their child on Ritalin, what they should really do is teach that child discipline and give him more to do. You can't get an active, eager child from a boring, inactive, drugged zombie.

But is the professional narcotizing of America's children, especially her young boys, really a threat to freedom?

Consider that for many years the Soviet Union sent dissidents to psychiatric hospitals, where they were drugged until they were "cured" of their freedom-loving ideas. These same sorts of abuses continue to this very day in Communist China and Cuba.

And while no one wants war, it remains that our wars are fought by our young men. How successful can our armed forces hope to be if they are "manned" by the lethargic, mind-numbed zombies we are making of our boys?

People like to say, "Hugs, not drugs." But that's an easy answer. As a young American boy, I can tell you that boys need hugs. But they also need discipline, order, and structure. They need valuable rewards for good behavior, and significant punishments for bad behavior. But more than anything else, America's young people need MORE TO DO. You don't create good habits by masking the consequences of bad habits. You don't get active, eager minds by boring children to death, then drugging them to silence their complaints.

Thomas Jefferson said America's liberty results from the informed consent of the people. We cannot have informed consent, if, like the Communists, we drug our dissenters into compliance.

Sunday, February 02, 2003
Yeah, but they can play golf wherever they want...

Acting like something out of George Orwell's 1984 Chinese birth-control personnel would tell the Chinese wives of Taiwanese citizens how many children they were permitted to have, meaning only one. If the woman was found to have two or more children the Chinese birth-control police would order them to have their fallopian tubes tied. To reinforce its totalitarian demands the Chinese birth-control police would also fine the women and confiscate their ID cards.