Ah yes, I remember him well! Tom Anderson, that is. Who, you may ask, was Thomas Jefferson Anderson (1910-2002)? I thought you’d never ask. Around fifty-two years ago I attended a meeting in Lancaster, S.C. The speaker, Tom Anderson, was a man who had the reputation of being a “straight talker”. That reputation was well earned over his long life of 91 years, and from his birth in Nashville, Tennessee in 1910, including years of serving God and Country, he always strove to honor the spirit of our nation’s Founders. That long-ago talk of his I attended included two of his favorite stories and, although he was not their author, he used both of these stories constantly to hammer home his points that Americans were swiftly losing their freedoms because we were being “conned” into accepting “free stuff” that was leading to the loss of our Constitutional liberties. Let me recount both of those stories for you.
THE STORY OF THE WILD HOGS
I can still see (and hear) Tom (see his picture at the top of this article) recounting that old story of The Wild Hogs: In a swampy area lived a band of wild hogs. They had lived there so long that no one knew for certain how they had come to be there. Try as they might, the local citizens could not capture or get rid of them, for they were free and independent of man and were self-sufficient. One day a stranger came to the little town near where the wild hogs lived. He bought several bags of feed corn and loaded them into his truck, which already contained fence posts and wire. A local man told the stranger where the wild hogs were, but warned him that nobody in all the years had ever been able to capture even one hog. The stranger smiled, got in his truck, and drove away.
When the wild hogs heard the stranger’s truck driving through their area, they promptly ran deeper into the brush as they had always done. But
the stranger stopped at a likely looking spot and spread out a large quantity of the feed corn near where he had seen the hogs. He then retreated a considerable distance and set up his camp. For several days no hogs came near the corn. But eventually one hog decided to investigate and, finding the corn, ate it. On the next day he returned, but this time there was another hog with him, and they both soon devoured all the corn that the stranger had again spread out. This happened over and over again for the next few days, with more wild hogs appearing each day.
One day when the hogs returned to the spot where they got the free corn, which they no longer had to “work” for, they did not notice that a small fence had been built around the spot. But each day the fence grew higher until one day, after gorging themselves on the free food, and trying to return to the security of their wilderness, they found their way blocked by a high fence and gate. The stranger killed many of the formerly wild hogs and returned with them to the town. The locals were amazed, but the stranger replied that he could fence and capture any living creature if he could first get him to accept something “free” from him over a sufficiently long period of time. Tom Anderson ended his tale with words I’ll always remember: “Brother hogs, we’re being fenced!”
HOW TO COOK FROGS
Later in his talk, Tom recounted the old story of Boiling Frogs, which says that you can’t kill a frog by dropping him in boiling water. He reacts so quickly that he jumps out before he’s hurt. But if you put him in cold water and warm it up slowly, he never tries to jump out of the pot until it’s too late, and by that time he’s cooked. Tom Anderson reminded his audience, and countless audiences thereafter, that men are just as foolish as the wild hogs and the frogs. Take away their freedom suddenly and you’ll likely get a violent revolution. But steal their freedom from them gradually, under the guise of security, peace, or progress, and you can paralyze an entire nation. As Anderson made clear, mankind never seems to learn the lesson that is taught in some of the most cogent and insightful words ever written by the mind of man: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana).
In those early years of my association with like-minded patriots who, like me, belonged to the John Birch Society, Tom Anderson was known as a conservative activist, the editor of several agricultural magazines, and the leader of The American Party. He was, like many concerned patriots and Christians, also a member of The John Birch Society and had authored a great book titled: “Silence is Not Golden—It’s Yellow!” Tom earned a BS in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1934, married Carolyn Jennings in 1936, and they had one daughter. In those years he wrote for the Nashville Banner newspaper, and sold securities for several brokerage firms, eventually entering the U.S. Navy, in which he served as a Lieutenant during World War 11 (1943-1946). Afterwards he was hired as an advertising salesman for the Southern Agriculturalist magazine in Nashville, where he began his writing (and speaking) crusade against the forces of communist/socialist collectivism.
In 1950 the Southern Agriculturalist magazine was bought by Farm and Ranch weekly magazine based in Dallas, Texas. Tom served as the supervising editor of Farm and Ranch until he left in 1971. During his F & R tenure he wrote a weekly column called “Straight Talk”, which became one of the most popular columns in the farm magazines of that period, ultimately being carried by 375 NEWSPAPERS. Anderson wrote a best-selling book called “Straight Talk”, which went through several printings (I read it long ago). He also served for a time as president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. Throughout the 1960’s, Tom Anderson was highly regarded as a patriotic speaker, and was awarded an Honorary LLB degree from Bob Jones University in 1967. He was a strong Christian and he and his wife belonged to St. Paul’s Southern Methodist Church in Nashville.
Tom never failed to tell the stories of the wild hogs and the frogs. They became a sort of “trademark” with him, and many patriot writers over the ensuing years have also used Tom’s wisdom about the habits of those “critters”. I know that I have. He always pointed out that men have often been as foolish as the hogs and the frogs, because we love to be lied to by those in authority over us, especially if those in government who we elected promise us their traditional “pie in the sky” free programs of one sort or another, always with the promise that they will greatly “help us” or “help the children” or “help the veterans” or “help the senior citizens”, etc. Anderson originated the famous wisdom: “Politicians are like cockroaches: It’s not what they steal and carry away, it’s what they fall into and mess up.” As he so wisely taught, whenever Americans in general, and conservatives in particular, hear the nonsense that government is “here to help you”, they should run from it as quickly as possible.
As some of us recall, as well as being the owner/publisher of Southern Farm Publications (1947-1971), Farm and Ranch Magazine (1953-1963), American Way Features (a national newspaper syndicate), his popular “Straight Talk” weekly newsletter, a noted radio commentator, and a world traveler, author of two books (Straight Talk and Silence is Not Golden—It Is Yellow), Tom was the Vice Presidential candidate of the American Independent Party (1972), the National Chairman of The American Party (1972-1995), for which he ran as its POTUS nominee in 1976 (we voted for him then). He was the National Chairman of ‘We The People’ (1966-1972), and was the recipient of numerous awards from patriotic groups, most notably receiving the “Freedom Award” from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He spent much of his adult life as a crusading speaker and publisher for conservative political causes. He remained very active in pro-constitutionalist political activities, and served proudly as a Council Member of The John Birch Society. He was wildly popular as a speaker (the venue where I first met and heard him), and he appeared on numerous radio and TV programs, delivering more than 1,500 speeches between 1947 and 1994.
Often accused by his detractors and political liberals of being a “racist” (sounds familiar) and “homophobic” in his writings (he did subscribe to traditional Christian doctrines), he nevertheless was considered by those who knew and treasured his work and his friendship as an astute observer of the dangers posed by the real enemies of our Constitutional Republic—the Marxist/collectivists who lurked in BOTH political parties, as well as in many of our bastions of supposed “Americanism”. A friend of Anderson’s once wrote about him: “Tom Anderson is not a common man. He is of the uncommon stock that conceived and created this republic. He is deeply devoted to the principles proclaimed in the U.S. Constitution. Tom Anderson is unaffected, practical and poetic. If you want style and daring with the kick of a Tennessee mule, then Thomas Jefferson Anderson is your man. A smile. A grin. An earnest patriot. A shot of adrenalin in sluggish patriot veins. By example of his life as well as by his word, Tom Anderson has made a permanent contribution to the literature and liberty under law.”
Tom Anderson was a “patriot’s patriot”, and those of us who knew him miss him—a lot! In his senior years he lived in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he passed away in 2002 at age 91 after a life of service to God and Country. He’s buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee. I’m certain that his Savior, Jesus, greeted him in Heaven with the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Many years ago, a man I’ve long admired, the late patriot, Charlton Heston, reminded us that “today we have a headlong rush to sacrifice liberty on the altar of safety.” Sadly, Heston’s wisdom is even more accurate, and apparent, in today’s United States, as Americans find themselves attacked by endless barrages of vitriol and hatred from the anti-American morons of The Klan of New Bolsheviks (formerly Democrats) and their brain damaged allies, including the paid COMMUNIST goons of Black Lives Matter and the COMMUNIST/ANARCHISTS of AntiFa (George Soros’ “darlings”). As deliberate communist/socialist violence swirls around many of our cities, and a DELIBERATELY INDUCED Covid-19 pandemic petrifies Americans, we are tempted to look to our federal government to “save” us. Perhaps at this point we all need to remember the wisdom of one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who reminded us: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
In today’s America the process of granting government (or more accurately the federal government’s unconstitutional grabbing of) more and more power and dictatorial control over our lives at the expense of our constitutional civil liberties, particularly in the midst of this purposely contrived Covid-19 pandemic we are enduring and the carefully planned and orchestrated violence that portions of our nation are experiencing, will surely guarantee that in the near future we, the people, will lose both our liberties and our traditional safety, as the pressures to “defund” and/or “disband” our local police forces rise in orchestrated crescendo, and the demands to institute “national police forces” (by encouraging anarchy to run amok), will lead to the “demands” of our citizenry for the government to totally trash our constitutional safeguards and become our master, for our own “safety”, of course. (Recall, if you will, that “national police forces” in other times and places were called GESTAPO, STAZI, KGB, etc.).
Some of us, with suspicious yet well informed minds are, even now, sounding the alarms that whatever threats the barbarians of violence and anarchy present, they really are nothing when compared to the greatest threat that has ALWAYS faced each one of us: The very government under which he/she lives. We all should have learned long ago from the wisdom attributed to George Washington: “Government is not reason; it is a force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” I’ve always believed in seeking guidance from the past—first from God’s Word, then from the ancient historical wisdom so painfully learned by our ancestors and faithfully transmitted from them to us, that surrendering our freedoms to ANY government, even for the sake of a temporary expediency and a bit of safety, is NOT what freedom-loving Americans should be doing. Surrendering any freedom to any government invariably leads to the LOSS of that freedom, and the insatiable demand of that government to deny even more freedoms to the people!
Let’s not be like those wild hogs of Tom Anderson’s story. Let’s break out of the “security fence” that “our” government is slyly constructing around us, encouraged by the Satanic forces of Anti-Christ over many centuries, and today aided and directed by mega-wealthy and powerful individuals and families who long ago determined to destroy the Constitutional Republic in which we all have lived and thrived, and especially to destroy the Christian Faith which has been the foundation of all of our liberties and which they long ago vowed to eradicate.
These Anti-Christs are still pursuing that goal, more intensely than ever. Just witness the Bible burnings by the barbarian AntiFa Communists in Portland, Oregon in the past few weeks. Just witness the “hammer and sickle” logos that they put on their clothes or shields. Just witness the planned VIOLENCE they are bringing to many of our poorly governed Democrat-controlled cities, violence that is intended to instill fear, hopelessness, and RESIGNATION to their tyrannical forces. They are following the orders of their Satanic master. My concern is whether or not we who follow OUR Master, Jesus the Messiah, will abide by His orders and reclaim our disintegrating country. Only time will reveal the future, but from where I sit today, that future is beginning to look GRIM!