From "Living Like a Liberal: it's hard work politicizing your whole life":
When we get there, I quickly unrack the bikes, and we tear off down the trail before anyone can stop us. There are signs everywhere warning park vehicles to slow for turtles. The river below is thick with spatterdock and pickerelweed. Our bikes slalom through trails lined with Green Ash, Red Maple, and Swamp Magnolia, while the skies overhead are patrolled by red-tail hawks, ospreys, and even the occasional bald eagle.
We have a fine time of it. But when we return, and I start re-racking the bikes, as sure as the sun rises, a park employee comes shuffling across the parking lot. “For future reference,” she says, “there’s no biking here. We are a sanctuary.”
“Really?” I say. “You allow vehicles to go through. There’s no sign saying ‘no biking.’ ”
“Well,” she says, “we have one on our website.”
I thank her for her attention, telling her we just finished biking, so we won’t be needing to anymore today. Back in the car, the kids are puzzled. “Man,” says Luke. “Isn’t it annoying when people try to ruin our walks and rides? They don’t let us do anything. They don’t allow dogs. They don’t allow bikes. They only allow turtles.”
“Yes,” I say, trying to share my values. “But we learned an important lesson.”
“Don’t bike there?” asks Dean.
No, I say, trying to bring it home. I explain to them that my assignment is to live liberally, and that classic liberalism was all about fighting for freedoms to do things (for voting rights, for civil rights, etc.). But that modern liberalism is mostly about people telling you what you can’t do—no smoking, no sodas in schools, no trans fats, no biking in parks.
“Some people tell you to question authority,” I explain, “But if you never ask authority for permission in the first place, they can’t tell you no.”
The boys nod their heads in unison, both of them wearing conspiratorial smiles. Sharing values can be rewarding. Let’s just hope they don’t tell their mother.
Remember this summer to be ungovernable and to experience life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness subversively and completely irresponsibly.