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October 30, 2018





Dear Liberty,


     Frightened by the socialism descending upon the country, her radical writings prompted an investigation by the FBI.  The daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who edited her mother’s books, inspired a political party and movement.  Her influence went from a little house to the White House.


     Almonzo and Laura Wilder welcomed Rose on December 5, 1886, at their De Smet farm in Dakota Territory.  Hardships pledged the Wilders in 1889, starting with a poor crop.  In August, their newborn son died after living only two weeks.  Days later a kitchen fire destroyed their home.  Distraught, the family moved to Spring Valley, Minnesota, to stay with Almonzo’s parents.  After a year in Westville, Florida, they returned to De Smet in 1892 to give farming another try.

     

     At age 16, Rose needed a more challenging school that also extended beyond 10th grade.  She moved to Crowley, Louisiana, to live with Almonzo’s sister, Eliza Jane, and finish school.  Still thirsting for knowledge, Rose expanded her education with her own studying, including teaching herself several languages.


     While Rose loved listening to her mother’s childhood stories, she wanted more for her life.  An increasingly independent woman, Rose learned telegraphy and obtained a position with Western Union in Kansas City.  Moving several more times, she settled in California in 1908 where she met Gillette Lane, marrying him on March 24, 1909.  Just over a year later, Rose gave birth to their only child, a son, who died shortly after.  They never recovered as a couple, especially after medical complications prevented Rose from having any more children.  


     Gillette and Rose moved several times, returning to San Francisco to sell real estate.  As worries loomed among citizens over World War I, the real estate market suffered.  Therefore, Rose took a position with the San Francisco Bulletin as an editorial assistant.  She quickly rose to full-time feature writer as her stories found audiences across the country through syndication.    


     In 1918, Rose's marriage officially ended in divorce.  She also broke from the newspaper, becoming a freelance writer.  Her writings found homes in The Ladies Home Journal, Harper’s Monthly, Country Gentlemen, Good House Keeping, Saturday Evening Post and others.  In addition, Rose wrote several books and biographies, including Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford (see Fording The Way), and Herbert Hoover before his presidency.  (see The Forgotten President)


     Following World War I, the American Red Cross hired Rose as their publicist.  (see Angel Of The Battlefield)  Traveling throughout Europe, she reported on the organization's post-war activities.  During her trip to Russia, just four years after Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks overthrew their monarchy, Rose witnessed firsthand the horrors of communism.  (see A Dynasty’s Fall and Communism’s Rise)  It was an experience that would further shape her political views in the coming years.  


     While in Southeastern Europe, Rose fell in love with Albania, making it her second home.  Albanians loved her too as King Zog and tribal chief Lulash of Thethi each proposed marriage, but Rose declined both offers.  She often took exertions to experience Albania’s mountains up close.  On one such journey, a young orphan Rexh Meta saved her life.  Rose unofficially adopted Rexh, later funding his education at Cambridge University in England.  


     In 1928, instability in Albania forced Rose back to her parents' Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri.  Financially secure from her books and articles, Rose built her parents a new retirement cottage on the 200-acre farm while she settled in their original farmhouse, which she remodeled and updated.  Again, Rose opened her heart and home to two local orphaned brothers whom she educated.


     Like most families at the time, Rose and her parents lost everything they had invested when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Relying on themselves, Rose discovered a way for her family to rebuild their finances.  Recalling her mother’s childhood stories, Rose encouraged Laura, an accomplished columnist herself, to write them down in book form.  (see Pioneer Girl)  After her original manuscript, Pioneer Girl, was rejected, Laura started rewriting her novel as children’s books known as the Little House On The Prairie series, published from 1932 to 1943.  It is accepted Rose helped edit her mother's books, however the extent of her involvement remains a point of debate.


     The series grew in popularity as the Depression lingered on.  People craved the work ethic, individualism, and freedom the books espoused.  It was also a time where Americans could relate and understand the trials and tribulations of the pioneers and frontiersmen of their parents' and grandparents' generations.   However, younger Americans eagerly accepted the government’s welfare instead of fighting through their hardships with courage, which angered and grieved Laura and her generation.


     As the nation maneuvered through the Great Depression, Rose recognized the necessity of self-reliance.  Her personal writings stressed the importance of freedom, individualism, and small government.  Witnessing the abhorrence of communism during her time in the Soviet Union, Rose recognized Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal as a move towards socialism with a complete reliance on government.  (see Unlearned Lessons Of The Bonus March)  As Laura shared Rose's free-market and conservative values, whether purposely or inadvertently, those values started showing up within the pages of the Little House stories.  


     In 1938, Rose took the proceeds from her book Free Land and purchased a rural home on three acres in Danbury, Connecticut, where she practiced what she preached.  Rose grew and canned her own fruits and vegetables while rejected the New Deal and Social Security, which she considered a socialist Ponzi scheme, comparing it to Nazi policies.  Choosing to live as much off the grid as possible, Rose and her neighbors shared several farm animals as she reduced her expenses to the bare minimum.  Likewise, she controlled her income, earning the lowest amount possible to avoid taxes.  Rose went as far as to stop writing her own books, “because I don’t want to contribute to the New Deal.”  This tactic always occurs among higher income earners when politicians increase taxes to extraordinary levels.  During World War II, Rose refused the ration card so many eagerly accepted.  Watching America's greatness diminish with every government handout caused her to label Roosevelt a dictator.  


     Not alone in her movement, Rose met Ayn Rand and became friends with Isabel Paterson.  These three women are “The Mothers of the Libertarian Movement.”  The last Little House book published by Laura and Rose, These Happy Golden Years, took to the presses in 1943 allowing Rose to turn her full focus on books, columns, and publications condemning government programs. Heavily criticizing Keynesian economics, Rose laid the groundwork for libertarianism in America.  Her essay, The Discovery of Freedom, endorsed the principles of individualism and denounced both major political parties, becoming the framework for the Libertarian Party.  In fact, Rose is credited with first using the term “libertarian movement.”





LIBERTY ON THE PRAIRIE

“In 1933 a group of sincere and ardent collectivists seized control of the Democratic Party, used it as a means of grasping Federal power, and enthusiastically, from motives which many of them regard as the highest idealism, began to make America over. The Democratic Party is now a political mechanism having a genuine political principle: national socialism. The Republican Party remains a political mechanism with no political principle. It does not stand for American individualism. Its leaders continue to play the 70-year-old American professional sport of vote-getting, called politics. Americans (of both parties) who stand for American political principles therefore have no means of peaceful political action. A vote for the New Deal approves national socialism, but a vote for the Republican Party does not repudiate national socialism.”  

The Discovery of Freedom

“In 1933 a group of sincere and ardent collectivists seized control of the Democratic Party, used it as a means of grasping Federal power, and enthusiastically, from motives which many of them regard as the highest idealism, began to make America over. The Democratic Party is now a political mechanism having a genuine political principle: national socialism. The Republican Party remains a political mechanism with no political principle. It does not stand for American individualism. Its leaders continue to play the 70-year-old American professional sport of vote-getting, called politics. Americans (of both parties) who stand for American political principles therefore have no means of peaceful political action. A vote for the New Deal approves national socialism, but a vote for the Republican Party does not repudiate national socialism.”  

The Discovery of Freedom


     Because of her outspoken rejection of Roosevelt and his socialist programs, the FBI investigated Rose for “subversive activity.”  She responded by publishing several articles encouraging Americans to guard their rights, entitling one brochure, “What is this, the Gestapo?”  As a regular columnist for The Pittsburgh Courier, an anti-New Deal African-American paper, Rose expounded on her principles of individualism, free will, liberty and antiracism.  She carefully dissected the pros and cons of communism’s collectivism verses capitalism, inspiring such economists as William F. Buckley.  


     While working with editor Burt MacBride in 1943, Rose met his 14-year-old son, Roger.  Adopting Rose as a grandmother, the young Patriot spent weekends at Rose's house helping her garden as he drank in her views on conservatism, economics, independence, and liberty.  He embraced these values while running for Governor of Vermont in 1966.  In 1972, MacBride cast the first electoral vote ever for a woman with the Libertarian John Hospers/Toni Nathan presidential ticket.  Following Rose's death, MacBride revived The Discovery Of Freedom, which he used as the Libertarian Party platform during his 1976 presidential run.


     Upon Laura's death in 1957, Rose inherited the royalties from the Little House books.  She donated many of those funds to the Freedom School in Colorado, a free-market, conservative academy that began in 1955.  Among its most prestigious attendees are Charles and David Koch, two of today's most influential conservative businessmen and philanthropists.  


     Rose's ideals influenced other conservative giants such as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.  A huge fan of the Little House TV series, Reagan declared, “And many Americans today, just as they did 200 years ago, feel burdened, stifled and sometimes even oppressed by government that has grown too large, too bureaucratic, too wasteful, too unresponsive, too uncaring about people and their problems.”  Some things never change.


     Anti-capitalists criticize Rose, claiming she removed certain facts from the Ingalls' history in her editing that counter her free market values.  For example, the books omit the family obtaining land through the Homestead Act, which granted settlers 160 acres for a $14 filing fee.  Even though the land was basically free, it was the homesteaders who took the risk to venture into unsettled territory and make something of it.  Capitalists, entrepreneurs, and individualists also flocked to the opportunity.  The government granted land in anticipation of receiving settlements in return.  This aspect does not discount Rose's beliefs, it intensifies them.  The land was not a government handout but a transaction, a concept completely different than welfare programs where money and food are freely given to citizens with nothing expected in return.


     Now a very wealthy woman, Rose did not need to work but she did anyway.  In 1965, at age 78, she traveled to Vietnam becoming the oldest war correspondent reporting on the war.  While there, Rose again took another student under her wing.  Bringing the girl back to America, Rose sponsored her college enrollment, once more practicing self-reliance and capitalism instead of relying on the government.


     Three years later, Rose prepared to embark on a three-year trip around-the-world.  She died in her sleep on October 30, 1968, the night before her departure.  The 82-year-old author was laid to rest next to her parents in Mansfield, Missouri.  Her tombstone quotes Thomas Paine’s The Age Of Reason: “An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.  Neither the Channel nor the Rhine will arrest its progress.  It will march on the horizon of the world and it will conquer.”  (see It Just Takes Common Sense, Your Country Is At Stake, and Reign Of Terror)


     Rose named MacBride her sole heir, who published Laura's unedited The First Four Years, recounting Rose's birth and toddler years.  He also co-created and co-produced the Little House On The Prairie TV series, bringing Laura and Rose's books to life for a whole new generation.  


     Liberty, Rose believed, “These are the most dangerous times in history and I am convinced that they will get much worse before they are better in any obvious or concrete terms.  Since 1933 I have not been able to see anything in the near future but a terrific political, economic, social crash and chaos, with violence.”  Experiencing that same feeling, Rose’s small government values and principles resurfaced in 2009 as her fans, like me, emerged as part of the Tea Party to once again fight against the socialist policies of Democrat President Barack Obama. (see Tyrants And Tea Parties)  History is repeating, which actually gives me hope.


     Like the Little House series, my letters are written to teach you about self-reliance, individualism, liberty, and freedom, the values upon which this country was formed.  Like Laura, I’m giving you the history so you can be this generation’s Rose, bringing forth a movement that affects the entire country.  For as Rose declared,


“The greater the individual freedom, the faster is human progress, for free minds think of even more new things to be done than men can do in the limits of space and time.”


     That’s my 2 cents.


Love,

Mom