Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Handwriting is on the Wall

In another sign that independence and resourcefulness are on their way to the ash heap of history, schools in Eastern Iowa will no longer stress good penmanship.  They haven’t completely eliminated cursive writing, but the time spent stress this once-essential habit will be greatly decreased.

Every summer, my mother made us practice our handwriting because she said it was an art that we could easily forget.  Handwriting is crucial to, first and foremost, our signatures.  Forget how to sign our names and we will be relegated to the illiterate art of “making our mark”, usually an X.  One more piece of our individuality will vanish, like invisible ink.

Without handwriting, people will no longer be able to establish their identity.  Forgers’ lives will be made infinitely easier, of course.  Criminal investigators will have a more difficult time, in consequence, in identifying criminals.

The art of writing also hardwires us to the written language the same way talking does.  Writing words, in our own handwriting, makes it personal for us.  This “indoctrination” is particularly important in our formative years, even if we give up most of the practice of handwriting later in life for printing or typing.

Personally, I found writing in the cursive style a darned nuisance.  By high school, I was printing out words because it was faster, and by college, I was using shorthand, which ironically, is based on cursive writing.  Once I got into the working world, typing was the main form of written communication.  I spent some years as a Dictaphone typist and at one time could write at the speed of speech, which didn’t do anything for my handwriting.

We love our electronic conveniences – our power windows, locks and steering, our computers, cable television, Ipads/tablets, cell phones, digital cameras, microwave ovens, auto-pens, blackberries, copiers, faxes, and garage door openers.  But using all these things, we put our power into someone else’s hands that can turn off the power just like that.  Then what do we do?

The Amish totally refused to live by electricity; they’re completely off the grid.  Survivalists write books about living off the grid.  Draconian measures to be sure.  Living on the grid is fine.  We shouldn’t apologize for living in a modern, technological society.

Still, we need to pay homage to the mechanical way of life, when we used manual typewriters, rotary phones, manual lawnmowers, wrenches, hammers, and rakes, and printing presses.  What will happen if someone turns off the power, outlaws gasoline, and taxes the Internet for those lucky few with alternative power?  Our bicycles, manual typewriters, and analog watches might come in very handy.

Without our handwriting, it will be very easy for a Socialist bureaucracy to justify “stamping” us with some sort of numerical identification – an identification with which it will be all too easy to monitor and control us.  Therefore, practice your handwriting at least once a month.  Your signature is the only thing you can truly call your own.

Like a car with power windows but no manual handles, if something goes wrong, without our individual signatures, we'll be trapped in that socialist bureaucracy, with no way out.

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