Monday, August 03, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to the People. Irreverence to Elected Officials


December 14, 2013 --

LPR wonders if the spirit of goodwill towards people will include maintaining the quantity and quality of packaged goods.

Consider, if you will, the lamentable decline of the Hershey bar, getting smaller and smaller in size, with the price rising, LPR believes, in inverse proportion with the decline in size. How puny is what passes for an extra large Hershey bar, these days.

Then again , perhaps the suggestion that the current extra large (lol) Hershey bar is indeed extra large is just part of the current problem we have with language. LPR saw three articles in a November issue of The New Republic that used the term populist -- to describe, variously, Democrats, a Pakistani public official and religious zealots.

This suggesst to LPR that at The New Republic, "populist" has no fixed meaning For LPR, President Lincoln gave us a good definition of "populism" when, at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863, he indicated that government, in America, was "of the people, for the people, by the people". This is quite different from the previous form of government that, as Mark Twain wrote in his notebook, had "for its end the degradation of the many to exalt the few, the misery of the many for the happiness of the few, the cold and hunger and overworking of the useful that the useless may live in luxury and idleness."

Twain suggested that the two-class system -- the many serving the few--reflected "the absence of an irreverent press." Twain went on: " Our papers have one peculiarity--it is American--it exists nowhere else--their irreverence. May they never lose and never modify it. They are irreverent toward pretty much everything, but where they laugh one good king to death, they laugh a thousand cruel and infamous shams and superstitions into the grave and the account is squared. Irreverence is the champion and liberty and its only sure defense."

It is about 125 years since Mark Twain wrote those words and LPR is pretty certain that if Twain were alive, today, he would regard the trend in the media and among celebrities towards adoration for President Obama as a good reason to fear for the future of liberty in America, and to regard the extinction of America's middle class as a return to the days when it was the role of the many to exalt the few.

The flip side of adoration for President Obama is demonization of the president's critics. It is to be expected that the Times, regularly, will reach out to smear the Tea Party, but on in a November 29 editorial, the Times outdid itself in twisting language beyond recognition. The Times referred to "Tea Party nihilists." LPR looked up a couple of definitions of "nihilism" and found one that said that nihilism sought to tear down established laws and institutions, while another dictionary indicated that nihilists opposed "traditional values and beliefs" and thought "all existence is senseless and useless."

As the Tea Party is committed to America's founding legacy of liberty, LPR suggests that the terms "nihilism" and "nihilist" are meaningful not when directed at President Obama's critics, but when applied to the president and his supporters who are intent on transforming our founding legacy into something the founding fathers would recognize as something they were trying to get away from -- what Madison in Federalist No. 57 called the "ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of the few." That The New York Times would apply the term "nihilist" to the Tea Party is but the latest example of leftists pointing a finger at… themselves.

In brief, leftists are regressive, not progressive. Leftists do not support government of, by and for the people. Their concept is the totalitarian model: government TO the people.

This Christmas season, may the American spirit of liberty revive to encourage peace on earth, goodwill to the people -- and, not least, irreverence towards elected officials.