There was a recent study of the 50 states that determined that the five freest were North and South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Oklahoma; the least free were Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, California and New York.
The results shouldn’t be too surprising. The freest, after all, tend to be more conservative, the least free are all liberal. That stands to reason when you see how much leftists relish bureaucratic regulations and regularly elect nannies such as California’s Jerry Brown and New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg.
It occurred to me that even though I don’t watch Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman, I don’t read the trashy magazines or tune in to “The View” or Ellen DeGeneres, I am all too aware of people like Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Madonna and the 4,000 women known collectively as the Kardashians. It’s as if all this vile protoplasm were floating in the air, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid sucking them in like human smog.
In the old days, movie stars and singers hired publicity agents. They paid good money to get their names and pictures in the press in order to promote their careers and enhance their images. Thus, nymphos, drunks and drug addicts, would be sold to the gullible public as if the next logical step in their lives wouldn’t be Oscars and hit records, but canonization as saints.
One of the few celebrities who was an exception was Frank Sinatra, who paid an expensive flack to keep his name out of the press. Even a guy who liked to play up his connection to Mafia dons didn’t want it to be headline fodder every time he sucker-punched some shrimp or had his thuggish bodyguards put some guy in the hospital.
But how the times have changed! Now every two-bit schnook can’t wait to go on TV and confess all. Instead of seeking atonement through private confession to a priest, these bottom-feeders seek out one of those aging sob sisters, like Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer or Oprah Winfrey, while 500 pinheads in the studio audience mindlessly applaud, and the viler the confessions, the louder the applause.
Whenever I see someone like Bill O’Reilly get dewy-eyed over Abe Lincoln, I wonder why. I know the 16th president has been passed down to us as a humble log-splitter who was killed during a valiant attempt to end slavery. But that doesn’t quite mesh with the fact that he only freed the slaves in the Confederacy, not those in the Union states. I also know that he didn’t care for black people and urged the freed ones to self-deport to Liberia.
On top of all that, although his fable tells of his walking five miles in the snow to school and five miles home, uphill in both directions, and being a poor, but honest, lawyer, he was in fact constantly running for one political office or another. In the meantime, he served as a very wealthy mouthpiece for the railroad barons, who, in turn, financed his successful run for the presidency.
Then there was also the blatant hypocrisy of his “malice toward none, with charity to all” malarkey, while constantly urging his generals to wage bloody havoc on women and children, burning down homes and farms, all the while waging a war that left 620,000 Americans dead. What’s worse, his overriding motive was to make it possible for the North to continue punishing the South with tariffs that protected the producers of steel and textiles, while ruining those who raised and exported cotton and other farm products.
To me, the greatest of our presidents was without question George Washington. Not only had he commanded the Army that defeated the mighty English forces, but he both rejected the crown and was probably the last president who couldn’t wait to leave the presidency and return home.
George (“First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”) Washington was to American politics what Babe Ruth was to baseball. Ruth, while with the Boston Red Sox, was one of the greatest pitchers in the game. Then he went to the New York Yankees and became the game’s all-time greatest hitter.
One of the worst results of the Lincoln fable was that, to this day, politicians never stop bragging about how poor they started out. Did even a single day go by in 2012 when Joe Biden or Rick Santorum didn’t remind us of their humble origins? But neither, you may have noticed, bothered mentioning how wealthy they had become in the guise of being public servants.
Another subject of popular fairy tales are Indians, or Native Americans, as they’re referred to in certain effete circles. Although there were some peaceful tribes back in the day, don’t believe anyone who tells you that it was white men who introduced torture and genocide to the noble savages. Many of them even engaged in cannibalism.
These days, they have added something new and shameful to their resume. It’s called disenrollment. That is a process whereby tribal leaders get to decide who does and who doesn’t have a legitimate claim to tribal identity. This outrageous activity owes its origin to the success of Indian casinos.
The way it works is that the fewer members of the tribe, the bigger the payouts to those who survive these purges. What’s more, because the tribal leaders get to make these decisions unilaterally, there can be no appeal to state or federal courts. I guess some people would take heart from the fact that in this way, at least, the Indians have finally learned the ways of the white man.
Finally, although Bob Beckel, who, for some unfathomable reason has become the darling of Fox News, should be commended for being a recovering alcoholic, I have to confess that every time I see him blathering away on “The Five” or “The Factor,” I feel as if I’m being driven to drink.