Many contemporary liberals have taken it upon themselves to advocate tolerance and understanding as the highest social values. Such self-professed ambassadors of magnanimity usually extend these principles to everyone except those they disagree with.
Each year, my columns addressing the attacks upon the Christmas holiday elicit a number of emotional responses. My essay expounding the attempts by environmentalists to stifle enjoyment of the Advent season prompted a number of ultrapluralists to expose their true colors.
One such critic began, “This article...was too full of name calling, stereotypes, and mean spiritedness. It is very opinionated and one sided. Rang of the all too familiar ‘Rush Limbaugh’ lets bash everyone who is not like us.”
While it is an honor in the content of the column in question to be compared to Rush Limbaugh, I ask you is not the offended pluralist the one engaged in “name calling, stereotypes, and mean spiritedness”? Of course, my column was “very opinionated and one sided”. It’s suppose to be one sided; that’s why it’s called an “opinion piece”.
There is no “Fairness Doctrine” that applies to commentaries and editorials. If someone wants to consider what the other side has to say and has way too much time on their hands, one is perfectly free to consult the National Wildlife article I originally referenced.
Interestingly, this insistence upon objectivity is usually only imposed upon conservative thinkers and ideologues. I don’t remember the National Wildlife or Carroll County Times articles clarifying that holiday over-consumption was merely the opinion of a few disgruntled academics and activists with other scientists feeling differently about the matter.
Furthermore, who is a scientist to say something is too much or not enough since it is not the place of science to make such value judgments? When they do, they veer off into the realm of philosophy. Nor do I remember an evenhanded approach being taken by this professed disciple of evenhandedness.
The criticism does not stop here and proceeds on in a similar vein. The comment continues in its haughty progressivist tone, “It lacked any reference to the obligation commanded to be good stewards, it offered no options or alternatives.”
Firstly, there is no provision attached to the First Amendment saying one has to sit there with your mouth shut unless you have a solution to the problem you feel the need to speak out against. Sometimes the best solution to a problem that really isn’t much of a problem is not to apply any solution at all. Some things just really aren’t any of the government’s business.
Americans have been celebrating Christmas for quite a while now. Why all of a sudden do we need the government and tenured professors telling us how to celebrate it?
There is far more waste going on in society (often in government) than whether or not I buy a present someone really doesn’t need apart from the pleasure I will derive seeing the joy I will bring into the life of the loved one I decide to give the gift to. Furthermore, who is to decide whether or not I need that extra present --- Barbara Streisand or Arianna Huffington as they live on their palatial estates and ride around in limousines?
Claiming this is a matter of Christian stewardship is stretching that concept in some areas and misapplying it in others. The Apocalypse won’t result if I use a little too much wrapping paper or have an extra slice of pumpkin pie. There is no reason to be wound that tight.
If someone is going to get all worked up into a twitter that Christmas as commonly celebrated is a misuse of resources worthy of widespread social intervention, shouldn’t they be spending the most valuable commodity they’ll ever possess --- namely their time --- in a manner far better than responding to online blogs? To paraphrase a classic adage, those who can, write blogs; those who can’t, post comments.
Better yet, if every decision we make is to be characterized by the utmost sobriety of Christian stewardship and responsibility, should those that feel this way even have the Internet at all? Wouldn’t that $20 a month be better spent elsewhere if we are going to get all jacked out of shape that someone bought at extra DVD this Christmas instead of sending a check to some televangelist so he can buy another gilded throne for his set or more pink hair dye for his wife?
The criticism continues, “it [the original column] offered no options or alternatives.” Other than people minding their own business as to how others spend their money at Christmas time, what other alternatives are there?” I am not the one calling people to change the way they live their lives in terms of this issue to make Al Gore happy or whatever else it is an emotional Popsicle like him happens to feel.
Back in the days before we were conditioned into thinking government, academia, or the media knew how to run our lives better than we do and when people went to church to hear about their individual relationship with God and not about the imperatives of submitting to the glories of the community, people use to make decisions like how they’d celebrate Christmas on their own. Seems the communitarians are as thrifty with backbones as they are about allowing people to enjoy themselves without Big Brother staring over their shoulders.
This effusively sensitive ascetic concludes by exhibiting a bit of an elitist streak by saying of the commentary, “Too-done too many times and there wasn’t any new voice in the piece.” In other words, if someone at a pay-grade above yours has already said something similar to what’s on your mind, you’d better keep your mouth shut.
Frankly though, isn’t everything said since ancient times simply variations on a theme? Alfred North Whitehead said all of Western thought is but a footnote to Plato and the Bible puts it as there is nothing new under the sun. Since that’s the case, if liberals really cared all that much about the various forms of pollution including that of unneeded noise, shouldn’t they cease their yammering as well?
Winston Churchill is credited with saying the following: under 30 and conservative, you have no heart; over 30 and liberal, you have no head. The worldview espoused by liberals is so devoid of logic and commonsense that they themselves refuse to adhere to the rigors and demands which they expect those of us of inferior intellectual caliber to themselves to abide by.
Copyright 2006 by Frederick Meekins