I recently just finished the Shadow Children Series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first in the series is Among the Hidden. In this book Luke Gardner is the third born child to his parents in a society where parents are only legally allowed to have two children. This law is enforced by the death of all people who are third born.
This law was create in response to a drought which meant that there was very little food for the people. A group of politicians decided that if they reduce the number of children per couple to 2 children, then they could better control the shortage of food.
However, even after several years of better weather and a situation where food could have been better produced, the law remained in effect. I won’t tell you much more except to say that the series of seven books follows the experiences and lives of Luke and several of his third born friends as they work to overcome this evil power that threatens their lives.
While the books aren’t excellently written and to a certain extent rather predictable, they are fun and exciting to read. But more important than the read is the message that is taught. Simply put, government control over our lives no matter what the reason is not good. The wrong people will get a hold of that government and it will be at the loss of freedom and rights of every citizen.
It was great to have a discussion with my daughter and my wife (both who have read the books, long ago) about how easily we can lose sight of what is important all because of a drought or security or other disaster. It lead me to thinking about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. Roosevelt’s intentions were good. He wanted to help the people in a time a great trial. However, his deal with American became the biggest disaster of our country’s history.
We are slowly losing more of our freedoms to the government. The more time that passes with the new deal mindset in government, the more our will be like the lives of the citizens in Haddix’s fictional world. Sure, Haddix’s governmental control was a lot faster spread than ours is. However, it shows that power in the hands of government isn’t ever a good idea. It should also stand as a warning at how much of a slippery slope we are on.
I strongly encourage everyone to read the books. If you have children, have them read it too; it is juvenile fiction and a fairly easy read. After your children have read it. Have a great conversation about how government can become our worst nightmare.
P.S. You see that I couldn’t even last two weeks without talking politics. Oh well, I am sure there is a lot more politics to come.