THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 872, May 15, 2016
Conservatives regularly mealy-mouth about the
First Amendment, lie about and willfully
misinterpret it, exactly the same way that
Progressives mealy-mouth about the Second Amendment.
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
When I was 15 years old, in the 10th grade, I knew a young lady my age I'll call Sue. Sue was a tall, very cool, relatively sophisticated number, very attractive with long eyelashes,long, long legs, olive skin, brown eyes that were pools a guy could fall into and drown in, and a wry, intelligent sense of humor. She looked a bit like the girls in Cretan wall paintings. Like most of the guys in our class of 1964, I figured that she was out of my league, and probably dated college guys.
I owe Sue an unpayable, life-altering debt: she gave me my first copy of Atlas Shrugged; I still have it, held together with rubber bands.
At some point, our class decided that it wanted to have a dance. This was a momentous matter in that particular time and place: our high school was located deep in the Bible Belt, not just the buckle end, but the end with all the holes. Ensuing negotiations with the Powers-That-Were were difficult and complicated. So-called "Hardshell Baptists" ruled the roost, and took George Bernard Shaw's observation seriously, that dancing is "the vertical expression of a horizontal desire".
Somehow, the dance eventually occurred. It was a costume ball, as it turned out. I don't remember what I wore, but Sue's costume was unforgettable: a full slip—fully as modest and concealing as a summer dress—complete with a suite of underwear beneath it; she was coming to the party as Elizabeth Taylor, in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Nevertheless, the dog-whistles running the dance forced her to go home.
And in that moment, that flash of insight, not knowing that Thomas Jefferson had beaten me to it by a couple of centuries, I swore eternal enmity against every form of tyranny over the mind of man (and Sue).
Now what, I pretend to hear you ask, does Sue's purely theoretical indiscretion have to do with an article that concerns itself with the failed Presidential ambitions of Senator Ted Cruz? You're probably way ahead of me: having suffered under the oppressive thumb of religious cooties when I was growing up, I have no desire to be oppressed ever again. Every time one of these holy gasbags starts sounding off like a poorly played bagpipe, about God or Jesus or whatever, I feel a creepy shiver of dread travel up my spine as I recall our school dance in Baptist-land.
And I'll bet I'm not the only one.
Regrettably, most of our culture's resistors to this kind of liberty-chilling oppression seem to be leftists, and their opposition to conservative candidates is as likely to be a product of the right's widely (and falsely) advertised view that individuals should be left alone to keep whatever they earn and possess. That notion is absolute anathema to all good little sticky-fingered Progressives. To my knowledge, nobody conducts polls to measure how many votes are lost to a sensible aversion to religion. However the Founding Fathers had a pretty good idea about mixing religion and politics, an idea which today's right-wingers are trying to weasel their way around and out of.
It's disgusting. Conservatives regularly mealy-mouth about the First Amendment, lie about and willfully misinterpret it, exactly the same way that Progressives mealy-mouth about the Second Amendment. Allow me to repeat that observation, because it's extremely important: the right wing mealy-mouths about the First Amendment exactly the same way that the left wing mealy-mouths about the Second Amendment. Exactly.
It should all be perfectly clear by now. Ted Cruz got his religiosity all over anybody who happened to be within range. So did many of the other candidates. Even the presumed scientist, Ben Carson, cherishes perfectly stupid ideas about who built the Pyramids and how. Whatever his other shortcomings, Donald Trump did not. He may see fairies at the bottom of his garden, too, but he does it on his own time and keeps it to himself. I don't know if he's the one, and I'm not endorsing him, but America—a product oif the 18th century Age of Reason—desperately needs a man who can keep his religion in his pants.
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