Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “In America today, we don’t have free-range children anymore because we’re convinced that everyone in every town is a marauding pedophile pervert, or some kind of serial killer, and you have to helicopter your kids. You can’t let them ride their bikes by themselves. They’re not allowed to go play in the ditch and the mud by themselves. They have to be constantly monitored.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: This woman is the author of a book called Free-Range Kids. Are you familiar with it?
Joseph Pearce: No, I’m not, but I like the sound of it. If I have free-range kids, I can put them out with the free-range chickens and forget about them for the day. That sounds wonderful.
Mike: That’s her point. In America today, we don’t have free-range children anymore because we’re convinced that everyone in every town is a marauding pedophile pervert, or some kind of serial killer, and you have to helicopter your kids. You can’t let them ride their bikes by themselves. They’re not allowed to go play in the ditch and the mud by themselves. They have to be constantly monitored. She began this little – her name is Lenore Skenazy. She began this with an experiment with her nine-year-old son. I’d like to share it with you because I think you would appreciate it. It begins with a quote:
“Can you please take me someplace I’ve never been and let me find my own way home on the subway?”
That was our nine-year-old son Izzy’s odd request. In the end it changed him, it changed me, and it just may change America.
That’s because after talking it over with my husband, we decided to let the boy do it. After all, we’re New Yorkers. We’re on the subway all the time and see how safe it is. (Not clean. Safe.) So one sunny Sunday I took Izzy to Bloomingdale’s, a fancy store right above a subway stop, and said, “Today’s the day.” I left him in the handbag department.
When he came home an hour or so later, he was levitating.
“Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” was the column I wrote for the New York Sun (RIP), and two days later I found myself on The Today Show, MSNBC, Fox News, and—for contrast—NPR defending myself. I’ve been defending myself ever since.
You see, the question I got asked on those first few shows, and have been asked continually in the nine years since, is this: “But Lenore, how would you have felt if he never came home?”
“Um, well, I do have a spare son at home …”
I was always flummoxed, until it finally dawned on me: I didn’t have a good answer for the hosts, because it wasn’t a question.
It’s an accusation.
Mike: That’s a brave lady. I like the idea she’s going with this book she’s coming out with called Free-Range Kids.
Pearce: The comment I would make immediately is, I started as a free-range kid, and I think most people of my generation were free-range kids. I’d go out in the morning, particularly weekends when I wasn’t going to school, and I would be gone all day, come back home at the end of it having had a good day wandering through woods and the rest of it. The point is, we live in a society now which has abandoned virtue. If you don’t have virtue, you will have viciousness. The point is that there are more horrible people out there addicted to pornography. Nobody in this society we’re living in is prepared to address the issue. It’s okay for these people to accuse the woman who’s trying to raise free-range kids, but the point is none of them want to actually accuse the culture which is creating the monsters. I think that’s what I would go with. I’ve got a free-range kid here, but we live on 2.5 acres, 600 feet down a dirt track, and there’s no one around here. Both our children play outside with a stick or a duck, in the creek, what have you. We’re very blessed with our location. If I lived in New York City would I let my nine-year-old loose on the subway? No, I wouldn’t.
Mike: One of the other points she makes in the article, and you just made it, and we talked about it last week when I did this story, and I’ll talk about it next week when I get Lenore on, and I think you just zeroed in on it. How did all these perverts get created? We’re taught by St. Thomas and by Aristotle, the philosopher always looks for ultimate cause. What’s the ultimate cause? Of course, the ultimate cause is the end of the age of faith as we know it practiced and lived publically. If you haven’t practiced and lived publically – you may have some closet perverts, but they’re not all going to be perverts.
Pearce: That’s right. They were a small exception, and everyone knew that’s what they were and would call them that. Now we idolize perversion and say it’s okay and equal and there’s nothing wrong with any of it. The word virtue, I challenge anybody to find the word virtue printed in any secular newspaper or uttered on any secular radio or TV program. The word virtue has de facto been banned. If you don’t have virtue, you will have viciousness. Viciousness, quite frankly, is defined as the absence of virtue. We have a vicious culture because we will not discuss, let alone practice, virtue.
Mike: Studio audience, what am I holding up? Six. Why is that significant? That’s how many times Joseph just said virtue. Touché. You just did it.
Pearce: I used the V word six times. I guess it’s going to take NPR about six years to equal that.
Mike: One final thing before you go, and thank you for being so gracious with your time as always. You probably have actually been here because you live in the vicinity. I was at St. Ann Church in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday. Have you been?
Mike: You would appreciate it. If you ever go to Charlotte, find St. Ann’s and, even if there’s not a mass you can go to, go into the church and see the beauty of it. They have a fresco that’s painted up near where the high altar is. On the fresco are the depictions of 21 Roman Catholic saints. One of them is in your book Literary Converts. Would you care to guess which one?
Pearce: John Paul II? I don’t know. Blessed John Henry Newman? He’s not a saint, though. Put me out of my misery.
Mike: The one and only Edith Stein.
Pearce: I can’t remember actually mentioning her in Literary Converts, but you’ve got the book. Who am I to argue with someone reading one of my books because I can’t remember?
Mike: Who’s the lady who’s on the cover then?
Pearce: That is Edith Sitwell.
Mike: My bad.
Pearce: She’s actually a poetess. I don’t think she’ll ever likely be canonized, although she is a convert to the faith. Not the same person. That’s okay.
Mike: It’s a good thing I had the author here to correct me. They had St. Stein in her habit with a Star of David on the habit, on the tunic or cassock if you will. First of all, the fresco is stunningly beautiful, as is the entire inside of the church. They didn’t have Chesterton painted on the wall.
Pearce: He’s not been canonized yet, but hopefully that will be rectified soon.
Mike: Pursuant to that, are there any miracles attributed to G.K.?
Pearce: There was one. I can’t remember much about it, a healing. You’d have to ask Dale Ahlquist of American Chesterton Society. I’ve forgotten all the details. As far as I’m aware, not enough things to progress, although I suspect the lack of progress has more to do with inertia in the English hierarch and less to do with anything else. That’s me being cynical, for the second time in one interview. I’ve got to stop this.
Mike: One final thing before you go. I might have told you this last time, but I like telling the story. When my grandmother died at 95 years old on Thanksgiving Day of last year, I took most of her little prayer books that she had. She had one prayer book called the Jubilee prayer book. In that book, I counted three quotations from none other than Gilbert Keith Chesterton. And it’s a Catholic prayer book.
Pearce: That’s wonderful.
Mike: I said if anyone would appreciate that, it would be Joseph Pearce.
Pearce: I absolutely do. There’s no doubt at all as regards the spiritual impact he’s had on the 20th century and indeed the 21st century thus far. There are very few people out there, saints or otherwise, that could match that. That’s one of the reasons why I do believe he should be canonized.
Mike: The other tear-jerker chapter in Literary Converts is the chapter where Cecil Chesterton dies, G.K.’s brother, and some of the other young men, just to drive the point home about the horrors of war, and certainly about the unbelievable damage that was done to an entire generation of young men and women by that awful, awful war.
Pearce: Absolutley. In closing quick, you should check out – I’ve got a play opening Off-Broadway in New York on June the 9th called Death Comes for the War Poets. It’s actually about World War I and the United States’ entry to World War I. It’s about pursuing the literary converts. Maybe you want to check that out, and maybe I can come back on the show sometime between now and June 9th to talk about it.
Mike: Absolutely. Who plays you?
Pearce: I’m not in it. There’s only three characters in it. Siegfried Sassoon, the poet; Wilfred Owen, the poet; and a female spirit called Death.
Mike: I loved reading about Siegfried Sassoon because I’d never heard of him until I read him in Literary Converts.
Pearce: He’s a great poet.
Mike: Folks, Joseph Pearce is the guy, the man. This marks our sixth interview on The Crusade Channel. They are all available to listen to on MikeChurch.com and CrusadeChannel.com. Of course, you can find Joseph’s many books, some of them through Ignatius Press. By the by, I am very close to working out an agreement with Ignatius. I’m going to carry the entire line of Joseph Pearce books in my online store, the Founders Tradin’ Post. I’m even going to give you your own little section there. If you want to read some Joseph Pearce, go to MikeChurch.com. Brother Pearce, as always, a pleasure.
Pearce: Always a pleasure. God bless.
End Mike Church Show Transcript