Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wilder's Little House as libertarian propaganda

'Little House' Is Not a Big Libertarian Conspiracy - Bloomberg - Megan McArdle:

August 13, 2013 - "Did Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, turn the 'Little House on the Prairie' stories into libertarian propaganda? That’s the argument of a long article in the Boston Globe.... Christine Woodside, the author of the Boston Globe piece, argues that Lane imposed her own politics on her mother’s narrative....

"Bold claims! Unfortunately, they are not bold claims backed up by excellent evidence.... For example, here’s one of the most damning bits of evidence that Woodside offers:
"In the fifth book, for example, “By the Shores of Silver Lake,” Laura promises to become a teacher to pay for her older sister Mary to attend a college for the blind. Wilder’s own account of her life reveals that although Wilder’s sister did attend a college for the blind, in reality it was the government of Dakota Territory -- and not the family’s hard work -- that covered the bills....
"That the Dakota Territory government paid Mary’s tuition at the Vinton, Iowa, college for the blind has been well known to Ingallsologists for some time; it’s mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, by Pamela Smith Hill. However [according to Smith Hill], ...
Dakota Territory actually paid for Mary’s tuition; the family paid for her room and board, books and supplies, and clothing.
"Woodside’s passage implies that Wilder basically lied about having to work hard to keep her in college, but .[Wilder's account was] ... not nearly as misleading as what Woodside wrote, if Smith Hill has the right of it. And [Woodside] doesn’t offer any proof that this was politically motivated."

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