The scene of the thought crime

By David Bardallis
web posted September 18, 2000

In the tradition of economist Thomas Sowell's "Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene" columns...

One benefit of not watching television news shows is that I miss out on all the scare stories and dangerous crises that media types are always discovering every week. Do you suppose Dan Rather lives for the day when I contract "flesh-eating bacteria" disease so he can say, "I told you so"?

RATSAnother benefit of leaving the boob tube off is I also miss pseudo-controversies that occupy journalists' under-active imaginations for days at a time, like the Bush campaign's now-infamous "RATS" television ad. As if referring to bureaucrats as rats is controversial.

Andrea Dworkin. Betty Friedan. Gloria Steinem. Why are they called feminists when there is so little about them that could be considered feminine?

Speaking of La Steinem, it's been reported that she recently tied the knot--yes, got married--to a man who must feel guilty because he hasn't suffered enough in his life. In a related story, marine biologists have discovered a new species of fish that traverses the seabed via bicycle.

I have nothing against old people; I fully expect to be one of them someday. I just need someone to explain why the ruthless geezer lobby wants an ever-growing chunk of my paycheck. These are people who have had their entire lives to work their way up the earning scale. Meantime, my idea of an extravagant dinner is the kind of pizza rolls that have both sausage and pepperoni.

I have an answer for everything. It's usually 'I don't know.'

Over 100 million people killed in the 20th century for an idea called "socialism." I don't know what's so sociable about mass murder. Maybe we should call it antisocialism.

If there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties in George Wallace's day, what about now, after adjusting for inflation?

It is strange how decades of treating the Constitution as a "living document" has actually reduced it to a dead letter.

Everyone is for freedom, until they find out what that actually means.

Why do conservatives who should know better say things like "the free-market system"? Markets unencumbered by bureaucratic interference no more constitute a "free-market system" than freely choosing one's spouse constitutes a "marriage system."

On the subject of systems, one of my favorite quotations is from 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat: "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty, for liberty is an acknowledgement of faith in God and His works."

We now have a Web site that boasts "Ana Nova," a computer-generated "virtual news anchorwoman." This is a logical progression, considering that professional journalists have been delivering "virtual news" for decades.

Sometimes when I see news coverage that is relentlessly slanted leftward, it makes me think that the Fourth Estate is really the Fifth Column.

Did you ever wonder why everyone, even Fidel Castro, is a "president" now? Whatever happened to all the caliphs, pharaohs, emperors, and plain old tyrants and dictators?

Why do liberals still consider it "risque," "daring," or "courageous" to insult the values of Christians, political conservatives, traditionalists, and other cultural minorities? Nothing could be safer to do. To find out what "daring" really means today, just try making an ethnic joke anywhere outside of your own living room.

Another of my favorite quotations, from G.K. Chesterton: "The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice."

Try as I might, I can't figure out what politicians mean when they say we can't "afford" a tax cut. How does getting more of my money back cost me anything?

The smallest minority of all is the minority of one. Yet the individual is precisely who is being smothered by the proliferation of anti-discrimination laws that purport to "protect minorities."

According to a recent study by Prof. John R. Lott, Jr. of Yale, women's suffrage coincided with "immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives." The reader must draw his own conclusions from this. All I will say is that I tremble for my country when I reflect that both major presidential candidates are appearing on Oprah.

David Bardallis is co-editor of LexNatura.Net, a conservative, Catholic journal of politics and culture.

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