Tea Party summer camp

It doesn’t exactly come as a surprise that right-wing activists would want to indoctrinate their children at a young age, but the Tea Party summer camp in Tampa seems to take matters to comical levels.

Of course, it’s not a “camp” in the traditional sense; it’s a week-long indoctrination session called “Tampa Liberty” for kids ages 8 to 12, now that they’re out of school. Children will be told to accept principles such as “America is good,” “I believe in God,” and “I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.”

I’d be inclined to run away from 8-year-old children who go around saying, “Government cannot force me to be charitable,” but perhaps that’s just me.

In any case, this project has been organized by conservative writer Jeff Lukens and is staffed by volunteers from the 912 Project, a Glenn Beck initiative. Lukens explained that his messages are important for young people because public school curricula “have a lot of political correctness,” though he conceded he’s not familiar with any actual school curriculum.

He’s got quite a lesson plan in mind.

Tampa Liberty is modeled after vacation Bible schools, which use fun, hands-on activities to deliver Christian messages.

One example at Liberty: Children will win hard, wrapped candies to use as currency for a store, symbolizing the gold standard. On the second day, the “banker” will issue paper money instead. Over time, students will realize their paper money buys less and less, while the candies retain their value.

“Some of the kids will fall for it,” Lukens said. “Others kids will wise up.”

Another example: Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).

Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.

Still another example: Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other’s bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimics socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.

“What they will find out is that you can do a lot more with individual freedom,” Lukens said.

As best as I can tell, none of this is a parody. The report comes from The St. Petersburg Times, arguably the best newspaper in Florida, not from The Onion. What’s more, Lukens apparently wasn’t kidding.

All things being equal, I’m not sure whether to laugh at such ridiculousness, or fear the coming generation of right-wing young people whose parents are this nutty.