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The Right To Wish, Play, and Make Money

Germany seems to be a lot bigger on holidays and festivals than the States. And every region has it's own "national" holidays. I'm still not sure how they all work, and to be honest, I don't know if I can know, because there are too many for my head to sort out in a mere six months. 

After here a couple weeks, the family I am staying with said that they were having a festival for children's rights next week. 

Sarcastically, my mind thoughts, "The right to what? Vote?" 
Yes, I know what sort of rights they actually meant. But my brain likes to be ornery. Thankfully, my mouth is smarter and didn't spill out my sarcasm. 

For those of you that wonder, here's a page that lists just what they mean by children's rights
 The event started with all the children from the area going on stage and singing and speaking their "wishes" for the governor to fulfill.

This was quite interesting (especially as I could only understand bits and pieces of the German). Supposedly, because of the laws in Germany, schools and children can't simply raise money or have benefit auctions for what they want. You have to have a permit or license to sell anything and everything. 

The way I sell essential oils on this blog, or bread on Facebook, or the way I'm self-employed; all of that would be illegal in Germany. Because I never had permission from the government or had my bread approved by any health department.

So, the children must ask the governor for what they want. And hopefully, he attends or hears somehow, and fulfills their requests by the next year.

"It's a great way of teaching children that they can achieve whatever they want," someone told me.

"No offense," I said. "But that's not what real achievement. To me, achieving is to learn to do something on your own or to make it. Not asking for someone else to just give it to you."

"Yes, true. But that's not allowed here."

Isn't that just so sad? These children must learn to beg for handouts, never allowed to actually work or earn for anything of their own. They aren't being taught to be successful in their own right but to rely on another. This, at its core, is socialism. This is government owning all resources and granting it to those who beg loudest, giving to those who they decide "need it".
 Also, many of the requests were obviously mature in nature, and not something children could think of on their own.

The kindergarteners asked that "drive slowly, children at play" signs are posted at all nursery's and schools. (I was surprised that all schools didn't already have that? Another issue with socialism: when you give the government all control, they will not use it to the benefit of the people.)

There are many immigrants around where I live. I love diversity, but it is interesting to see how the people are affecting the economy. I do think it's good they have open arms, but Germany is hurting for it.

A bunch of immigrant boys got up to make their "wish" known, and it was much more child-like. They wished for go-carts. Cute, for sure. But so sad that they aren't allowed to raise the money and buy their own, but must wait to see if their requests will be given.
After that, there were many activities (and foods to buy, though because of the children's allergies, we had to stay away from most of that).

I really loved the first one the kids did.

The library put a bunch of their old books in a wooden bin and let children "fish" them out.

 There were quite a few people there, and booths set up all around the perimeters, each one with something for children. Some had activities with prizes, some had free toothbrushes, and some had crafts.

One thing that impressed me was that there was little to no trash and very little plastic. And some things were what our American social services would deem unsafe or unsanitary, but which I thought amazing because it was real and fun for children.
 The idea of this game was to have two sets of items in a row and to have every other row full of different items. I thought it neat that they used the same apple throughout the entirety of the afternoon. Definitely bruised and covered in many kids' fingerprints byt the end of the day ;)
sitting in a Polizei van and wearing one of their uniform hats. The Police officer was there also to speak to children and hand them fliers and quizzes, and to talk to them if they wanted.
 sifting shells out of the sand.
 tasting foods blindfolded and saying what it is. I had to ask in German if  "Gibt es Eier in dem geschmacktest? Sie hat Ei allergie." Is there eggs in the taste tests? She has egg allergies. 

At least that's what I think I said.
The lady said, "Vielleicht in der Schokolade?"

So we passed on the chocolate.

And she tasted Zitrone (lemon), Paprika (bell pepper), Apfel (apple), and Zimt (cinnamon—yes, they actually gave her a little cinnamon on a spoon!).

The funniest thing (to me) was that they used the same spoons for all the children. One lady put the food onto the spoon and handed it to the other lady. That lady would tell the child to open out her hand, and then she'd take the food off the spoon and put it into the child's hand. Then set the spoon aside (they had one spoon for each food), and do it again with the next food. Unless it was cinnamon, then it all went into the child's mouths.

I totally don't see that being allowed in the states. But I think it's great ;D I'm all for not being terrified of a few harmless germs.

Oh, and that lady wearing the green scarf was so much fun. I learned so much German from her, just listening to her talking to the children. She was so enthusiastic and laughed so much with the children and really egged them up with "Oooohhh, weist du?" or laughing at their faces, or encouraging them on toward the correct answers. Her enthusiasm was gorgeous.
There was a table where children could make bracelets. They cut a bit of tube from this large coil, then corked one end and stuffed it with crinkled bits of wrapping paper, then connected the cork to the other end.

So ingenious, and resourceful, and fun!
 The two little ones with their mother making bracelets.
 rolling around the parking lot. There were several of these things there for children to play in. Don't you see some adults in the States trying to outlaw this fun for kids?

"But you might bust your head open," Our crazy social workers.

"Oh, but their heads are spinning with imagination, something you lost long ago under all your fear and laws," me in defense of the children.
 There were all these bits of wood for children to build stuff with, that took up a huge part of space at the festival. Quite a few little boys spent a good portion of their time there.
 trying to get all five her balls into the holes up the other side. Took her three rounds, but she did win a piece of candy at last.

There was this hilarious clown there ... I learned tons of German from him, too. He wore a doll on his back and big yellow rain boots, and had the children running after him all afternoon. That guy had some energy, and really made the children's day.
E getting ready to slide down a platform. There were choices between crates of flat boards ... there were no railings on the thing they slid down. To be honest, I was kinda scared the kids would top off even as I admired the fact that kids do something like this.
I guess the orange cones are what keeps them on the platform as they slide down, lol. But seriously, I didn't notice any accidents happening. And there were a couple adults there to make sure kids got on the right way and went down correctly.
The boy on the far left is the oldest of the kids. He is part of this program called Young Fire Fighters. Kind of like boy-scouts, but much more impressive because they aren't forced to be sissys. Like, they are actually allowed to do and own boyish things like fire-lighters and pocket-knives. And they get to help learn about fire fighting with the grown-ups.

At the end of the festival, all the young firefighters go to put out a small man-made fire.

E and I, exhausted after the end of an exciting day. 

Overview of thoughts
So as you can see, I have quite a few blunt opinions in this post about socialism and how that relates to our being responsible, mature adults. 

And then as you see, there were also quite a few things that I loved about how the festival was done, and how I think Germany is doing quite well toward its children. Or basically, that it's allowing its children to be free to be children, unlike our progressive statism. 

So which is it, socialism or statism? 

Neither is the simplified answer. 

I'm for freedom of the individual. I believe our system still allows for some things, better than Germany, in that we still haven't given America complete right to "permit" us to live life and pursue wealth. We still have an ounce of capitalism left in us, though USA is heading down a steep dangerous path, that without a breaks and some sharp u-turns could pour us straight into full-force socialism. 

Yet ... when socialism does happen full force, several things result. 

  • Less personal freedom. And with that, the right to personal contracts and promises. Because we've not signed away our individuality, and must always have someone to intermediate between the two of us to make sure it's fair for everyone. 
  • Less caring about the individual. Which is good (children can play and get dirty without being reported and adults aren't prone to so sue happy because it just doesn't happen) and also bad  (because then you have children begging for cautionary road signs, and no one to care whether they have them or not, and those who do care are unable to do a thing about it because of the forfeiture of their personal rights and freedom). 
  • Less love of work. There's something about working for something that is yours. But it's quite hard to work for because you have to work, and there's no reward in it. And I'm not just talking about monetary reward, though it is awful that over half of wages seem to be taken here in taxes and tithes. 
  • Less love of life. I haven't seen much love for the every day here. You always love something when it's yours by the effort of your own hands. But here everything seems to be granted. 
  • Less value of everything. Of money, of life, of words. Germany still is known for making and producing quality things. But they are not known for good customer service (they seem to think America has it better, haha!), and as of yet I really haven't seen a store that actually sells anything of quality. I mean, you can find those stores ...
When it comes down to it, it's up the individual. 

It's always an individual who defies the norm, who says, "I will make it better." 
There's always someone who sees hope in the rubbish and creates beauty. 
There's always someone who dreams for humanity. 

Such people produce. 
Such people influence. 
Such people lead others to change. 

They are the exemption, the ones who make something that is worth having, who love their life and their thoughts, who love the people around them, and who see clearly to make life better for others, starting with themselves. 

The saddest thing, is progressive people desire to do the right thing; to be selfless and modern and considerate. They don't want to think of the individual, of their right to do and live. Of their rights at all. 

The problem with we conservatives is we often like to throw the baby out with the bathwater and condemn anything and everything of those we disagree with.

We shouldn't do that.

Germany is beautiful, and there are many things we can and should learn from it. But we can learn without embracing everything about it. America can still keep her freedom and improve on it. 

Actually, America must improve on her freedom, because already she's blindly becoming more and more socialistic by not paying attention and guarding herself. 

We are individuals who have sway. 
The battles we choose to fight ... and lose ... determine everything. 

Have you had much contact with socialism, of anything like this festival? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Also, do you agree or disagree that the children's activities were just so lovely? 




Comments

  1. It's interesting how different it is there. Great pictures!

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    1. It is, for sure! Though I'm mostly finding how interesting it is how much alike we are, too. Thanks!

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  2. Hi there, I'm interested in how Americans see socialism so gave this a read when someone pointed me to it. It's well-written, but as someone who's read a lot of leftist literature, including much of Marx's works, I have to say that I don't think you've understood what socialism is. This is understandable as it's become such a vague word that can mean almost anything.

    In the Marxist sense, socialism only exists when the workers own the means of production and society is run 'from everyone according to ability, to everyone according to their work'; communism is the next stage on, 'from everyone according to ability, to everyone according to their need.' By this standard, Germany is still clearly a capitalist country - in fact, Marx and Engels argued that even when the State takes on many functions, it is still capitalist as long as wage-labour is maintained.

    I'm not a Marxist or socialist, but I do think that such perspectives can be helpful in discerning the workings of Mammon in the world, the endless drive for profit that crushes many under its wheels. The solution is not worldly politics of whatever stripe, but living as the Kingdom of God in a dark world.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for visiting and reading, and for your kind words. That's a great honor that someone recommended my blog to you ... Do you mind me asking who?

      America is so big and there are so many people, so I wouldn't base my views on how America thinks. Not at all. First, most people don't know what socialism is. And then many of the people I know like it, too. And yes there are many definitions of what socialism is, but from what I've studied and I still have much to study as I'm still working my way through Marx's books and all other leftist books, socialism is basically communism wearing a brighter smile. Even most of the leftist podcast and books I've read (which are few I'll admit) say tbis.

      I don't believe in workers or government regulating money, but in private contracting between individuals, and a local judge intervening only when absolutely necessary. Aside from her Christian values, I hold many similar stances to Ayn Rand. Though if you want actual current day American anti-socialists, my top favorites are Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, and Ben Shapiro. And Steven Crowder.

      I agree it's good to understand all of this, but to have our main focus on God and His kingdom. But then, he's also placed us here and commanded us to care for the earth and to use and to increase what He's given us. Also, I believe America has an extra burden in that unlike many other countries, we govern ourselves. And so if their are bad policies and laws or systems, the burden of guilt doesn't fall on any one man or small group of men, but on every American individual.

      I'm excited to check out your blogs, though. I've already skimmed and it looks like some interesting content.

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    2. Thanks, Keturah. My wife pointed out your post actually, which I think she saw through a Facebook homeschooling group.

      It may be helpful to note that, according to Marx's definition of communism in which the State has melted away and everyone receives 'according to need', communism has never actually existed. His ultimate vision was more akin to the anarcho-communism of Peter Kropotkin than anything like the USSR, and I think he was ambivalent about the nature of 'socialism'... by the time Engels wrote Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, it seems they felt that a capitalist state (i.e. that still functions around wage-labour) remains capitalist, even if it nationalises certain industries. Wage-labour must be abolished for it to be real communism, with goods given according to need rather than who has the money, which is how indigenous societies function(ed). By this light someone like Bernie Sanders (or in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn) is entirely in favour of the capitalist mode of production, just with some of the profits redistributed. This is why those like Shapiro and Crowder are misguided in their attacks, I think.

      For me, the greatest problems with capitalism are the disposability of the proletariat, which has nothing to fall back on if made redundant as any common lands have long been stolen by those seeking profit (at least in the UK or urban US). The profit motive - the endless 'valorisation of value' - is the god which shapes all behaviour to the exclusion of care for people beyond how useful they are towards this end. This is why Tolkien (who I see is one of your favourites) hated industrial civilization and longed for Merrie England, where the peasants at least had protected property for their subsistence, however lousy their deal otherwise. So I don't buy the idea that capitalism protects individuality as at the end of the day, unless you are self-employed or own your own property, you are just another disposable cog in the machine in which only the strongest and most ruthless rise to the top. Which as I understand it was Rand's vision.

      I won't ramble on any further... I just find your mindset interesting as its very different to that of European Christians in general. I haven't meant to sledgehammer your views, I just enjoy conversation around these matters. Although I would gently encourage you to think about whether Americans really do govern themselves in any material sense greater than Europeans! Is corporate rule any better than State rule?

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    3. I'll answer the last of your comment first: I totally don't feel like your sledgegammering my views. Though views are meant to be hammered so one night habe refined and perfected views. It's why I enjoy debate, and I find this fascinating.

      Next, I do not believe current day America is any better off than many other first world countries. Because of our size we have certain freedoms, true. Bit even still ... we are quickly becoming too corporate and socialist for my tastes.

      I'll admit, I still need to learn a lot more about Marx before I can talk about him with any authority. I don't necessarily think Crowder or Shapiro are off: they understand the state of affairs here well considering. Of course I still don't agree with anyone 100%.

      I agree with you in that it's dangerous to serve Capitalism, because that quickly turns into idolizimg Mammon as you say. I believe (unlike Rand) that the only way for Capitlism to work is through the individual that serves God more than their own interests, yet holds enough confidence to steward all God gave them.

      I'm like Tolkien in that I think those merrie old days delightful despite their hardships.

      I am self employed, and I'm working toward being totally self suffiecent and dependant. Which isn't completely possible until property taxes are abolished (I'm hoping to see bills put into action toward this soon.)

      But yes, neither corporate nor state rule is ideal.

      I think you might enjoy my other blog, The Girl Who Doesn't Exist.

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    4. Hi Keturah - I'm glad you took my thoughts in the right spirit. It may be worth thinking about whether it is ever truly possible to be self-sufficient - about the complex web of dependencies that we are always contained in and have to negotiate. Most of mankind has always lived a very communal lifestyle, which is after all the basis of family life. I'd also suggest that capitalism always inevitably ends up with corporate rule: in order to beat competition, bigger and stronger corporations will be formed to get on top.

      Rather than bury you under more writing though, I'd recomend Ben Reynolds's 'The Coming Revolution' as an excellent introduction to Marx's thought and the coming problems of capitalism. He's not a Christian, and so I don't share his utopian dreams and ethics (see my blog post before last on that), but it's a good way to understand something of Marx beyond the false Marxism=Stalinism equation that Shapiro would espouse.

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    5. Oh I also think It's so neat your wife found my blog through a homeschool group as FB groups are always removing my posts for them being too controversial or political 😂

      But yes you're right in that it's impossible to be completely self sufficient, and in a way that's all right. One does need community, and it's healthy to rely on others to a large degree as long as one also allows for others to rely on oneself too.

      I think you're right that capitalism inevitabley leads to corporations. Or I should say it leads toward that and destruction through socialism, because of greedy people getting in and adding laws and such. Because they have no God, and because they have forsaken the true idea of capitalism: to be independent of outside laws. That's why I view Corporations as reverse socialism, because both are taking from or hindering what is not truly there's.

      I'll check out the books. Thanks for all the great food for thought!

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    6. No problem. As a final note, it strikes me that your views are more akin to some forms of anarchism than to anything like how capitalism has actually existed or been theorised in the past. If you look into the 19th c. anarchist thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and his Mutualist system you might find a surprising amount to agree with.

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    7. I've been told that before, but I don't like claiming the label of anarchy as I'm not anti-government, and those words are often associated together as one. But thanks, I will definitely check out that author, too!

      Delete

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