Emptying the Attic

After you finish this bonus article, be sure to read “Wrangling With Rangel.”

In this fast-moving world, it is next to impossible to keep track of all the zany stuff that takes place on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. It’s a lot like finding yourself in a movie whose cast combines the Three Stooges with the Four Marx Brothers.

Vladimir Lenin in Seattle?

For instance, I often find myself wondering why left-wingers continue to promote communism. I mean, speaking of people named Marx, it would be different if Karl had just recently introduced Das Kapital to the world. But that happened way back in 1867. In the intervening 145 years, as we’ve seen his philosophy morph from mere words in a book to one bloody tyranny after another in the real world, how is it that anyone can see what it has led to in Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, Venezuela and North Korea, and continue defending it?

In a related matter, I just learned that in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, there stands a 16-foot statue of Vladimir Lenin. The good news is that during Gay Pride Week, it’s dressed in drag. If you happen to be a left-wing atheist, the bad news is that it is adorned every December with Christmas lights. One can only ponder which of the two decorative motifs would have been the more offensive to the Father of the Russian Revolution.

While watching this year’s Oscar show, it occurred to me that if you were a show business celebrity, 2011 would have been a good year in which to adjourn to the Big Studio in the Sky. Judging by the number of below-the-line technicians acknowledged during the In Memoriam interlude, there were very few major names who took their leave this past year. But once the show ended, I realized that not only had gorgeous Elaine Stewart, who had lit up the screen in The Bad and the Beautiful and Brigadoon, passed away, but also my old colleague, Harry Morgan, of The Ox-Bow Incident, Dragnet and, most memorably, M*A*S*H. I can only assume that somebody at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had fallen asleep at the switch.

Burt missed Harry Morgan

Mainly because I have spent the past six years or so hearing dire warnings about Iran’s being a year, a month or a week, away from having a nuclear bomb, I have been forced to come up with an alternate theory. I’m not suggesting that Ahmadinejad and the mullahs shouldn’t join bin Laden and Gaddafi in Hell, but I keep thinking about Leonard Wibberley’s 1955 Cold War satire, The Mouse That Roared. Briefly, the book dealt with the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny European monarchy that finds itself in economic straits. In order to rectify that situation, they decide to declare war on the United States and then to quickly surrender, figuring they will receive the sort of financial largesse that Germany received after losing World War II.

Through a strange set of amusing circumstances, they somehow manage to make off with a doomsday device along with its peace-loving inventor. In the end, Grand Fenwick puts the world on notice that they will unleash the mighty Q-bomb if the superpowers don’t come to their senses and quit rattling their atomic sabers.

While lodging his deadly invention in the bowels of Grand Fenwick’s royal castle, Dr. Kokintz discovers the Q-bomb is a dud. He wisely decides to keep that his little secret.

That is what got me thinking about Iran. If it had a nuclear bomb, would they be likely to drop it on Tel Aviv, knowing full well that it would unleash a nuclear holocaust from the United States? I’m not suggesting that the Iranians don’t hate Israel, but the fact remains that those five million Jews are worth their weight in gold to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the rest of those creepy places in the Middle East. After all, whenever something bad happens, the Arab and Muslim leaders get to blame Israel. Whenever their citizens wonder why they are poor, ill-educated and living no better than their camels, the leaders get to blame the world’s all-time favorite scapegoats, the Jews.

In a way, if Israel didn’t exist, Iran would have had to invent it.

Speaking of inventions, Obama, who despises oil and coal nearly as much as Muslims hate Jews and Christians, has now proposed that $14 million in tax dollars be used to subsidize turning algae into a bio-fuel. He hasn’t explained why if it’s possible to turn pond scum into energy, the private sector can’t be trusted to provide the funds. He has also neglected to explain why they can’t use the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Henry Waxman and Eric Holder, in a pilot project and see if the five of them, after being properly processed, can propel a motorbike down Pennsylvania Avenue.

I only recently discovered that over and above their salary and franking privileges, every senator has an office budget of $3 million. Senator Rand Paul set a good example when he kicked back $500,000, but that still left him spending $2.5 million-a-year on a squad of sycophants. And please keep in mind that senators aren’t paying rent on their palatial office suites. In retrospect, it seems to me that our Founding Fathers went off half-cocked when they revolted over something as benign as taxation without representation.

Finally, after months of hearing people like Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, running as the alternative to Romney, it will be a relief when we can all focus our attention on getting rid of the real alternative to Mitt Romney; namely, Barack Obama.


©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com!

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
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  • BurtPrelutsky

    John in MA: One of the major problems with the Left is that whenever they talk about fair and just, they’re referring to take from those who produce and giving to those who merely want.  In a fair and just world, a great many people would be lined up in fron of a firing squad and a great many others would be horsewhipped in the public square.

    Wally: I have no doubt that Iran would be happy to arm any number of terrorist groups with suitcase bombs, assuming that the blowback wouldn’t include them, just as Saudi Arabia escaped being held responsible for 9/11, which reasonable people would have laid at their door.

    Burt

    • JohnInMA

      Burt, I spend about half of my time in a place known as the Five College area of MA, and I come into social contact with a number of the progressive “social science” academics among others.  A few I meet from Hampshire College are by far the most radical.  Not only will most openly advocate economic redistribution as a necessary means to an end like you describe, but they will go even further.  For example, to meet “social justice” goals, shifting power by taking it from the empowered group and giving it to the out of power group is an acceptable tool.  Perhaps the Critical Race Theory recently made currently known by the Breitbart effort is best shows such philosophy at work.  Once you accept that the system is inherently and irreversibly flawed and that your end point is to empower a certain race, then taking power from another race becomes valid.  I’ve actually been told that the loss of jobs or college enrollment of one race is a fair and necessary consequence of affirmative action policy as long as the preferred race is given the opportunity.  Making the field even is more important than having high employment or high enrollment for all.  If the “balance” is achieved more quickly through opportunity loss for the “other”, that is a good result.

      Just my opinion, but progressives like the idea of “evolving” Marx because his theories necessarily pulled classes together at some middle nexus requiring a sacrifice for some/many.  Expanding it past class into other areas like race, gender, etc. simply gives the social engineers more tools to affect the changes the want to make.  I think it explains some of the absolutely irrational efforts of modern times – like creating youth sports without winners.  After all, to a lot of post-Marxists sports are barbaric in the first place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GC36UFUX3FP57OIQ74YHHQUL3M wally

    I agree with most of this. In terms of Iran, I also agree they will not drop the bomb as soon as its ready on Israel. However, I do believe they will not stop at one bomb. They will manufacture enough bombs and delivery systems sufficient to cause mega disaster. In the mean time they will use the threat of a single bomb as leverage and bargaining chips to get what they want such as a division of Israel and more power over all the middle East and the world community. Last, they may provide their renegade friends with nuclear mini bombs to raise havoc on the US or others. Will they also start a nuclear war as some of the radical Muslims desire as part of their religion?

  • genann59

    Another good article, Mr. Burt. I didn’t read The Mouse That Roared, but did see the movie, and agree with what you had to say about it relative to Iran. Brought back some memories. And also agree that if Israel didn’t exist, the Arab nations would have to come up with something similar to use to  keep their people willing to live in the existence they maintain, about the same level they lived in 500+ years ago.  Poor, uneducated,primitive, very little advancement since invention of Islam in 600 whatever.

  • JohnInMA

    Burt, it is clear to me that many on the left have moved from liberalism to progressivism.  Classical liberal ideology is more live and let live.  Progressives are simply wiser and perhaps of better genes (literally?  not sure) and truly believe their role is deservedly one of being in power and control.  And we see and hear of their vision nearly everyday.  Just add the word “justice” to the end of something and it is a new progressive initiative.  Economic, social, racial, etc.  To many it is their “rightful” place, as they know better and just plainly ARE better.   Following that logic, communism is a great basis from which to build for broad “control” and the only problem is that it just hasn’t been perfected.  I’ve seen presentations in the last 10 years that consider many of Marx’s principles to be the most “just” and “fair” for governance, and all that American society needs is to move into the post-Marx era as they define it.  Post-Marxism is inherently better than capitalism for being “fair” to all in their view.

    Post-Marxism is heavily rooted in sexual, racial, ethnic, etc. “divisions” instead of Marx’s reliance only on class.  Sound familiar?

  • BurtPrelutsky

    Jeffreydan: No argument.

    cma: Again, no argument.  America is full of men and women my age who wish desperately that they could turn the clock fifty years so that they could once again devote themselves to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, while simultaneously convinced that they hold the moral high ground. 

    Burt

  • Jeffreydan

      According to the Academy, Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston deserve mention, the likes of Harry Morgan & Charles Napier don’t. Worst memorial ever. 

  • cmacrider

    Burt:  
    Re: Left’s Fascination with Karl Marx.
    I think if you did a survey of the leaders of the political Left you would find that almost non of them have read Das Kapital … I suggest the most they have ever read is Marx’s political pamphlet The Communist Manifesto.  If they have read Das Kapital … its obvious that they are oblivious to the obvious economical fallacies upon which Marx premised his thesis.  However, the Communist Manifesto is an easy read and provides a class struggle model which they can understand while they were majoring in sociology.  Hence it has become their mantra even though at best it never works and in real application produces an apocalypse.  However, they are all caught in a 1960’s time capsule and they revel for the good old anti-vietnam …. anti segregation days when they could all play little Karls.

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