Brian Birdnow

The nephew of Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge spoke the words above, as reported by Charles Dickens, circa 1840. Yet, today, nearly two centuries later, we are still fighting the same battle. John Bennett, a Townhall contributor, reported in these pages on Sunday about the liberals and their continued war against Christmas. This campaign reaches a crescendo every December and is joined this year, unabated. The assault is waged on many fronts: In stores, where employees are instructed to wish the customers “Happy Holidays”, in schools where the Christmas vacation has been pre-empted by the “winter break”, and in the predictable challenges to Nativity scenes on public property. While the liberals insist that their strenuous efforts in these matters spring from their love of diversity, and a desire to be inclusive, they really harbor an anti-Western animus and hope to detach America from her Judeo-Christian roots. The modern left wing endorses “secular” holiday scenes featuring gaily decorated trees, candy canes, and, of course, Santa Claus. If one takes a closer look, however, at Christmas, he will see that a Nativity scene is far more politically correct than Santa Claus.

A sacred-themed Nativity scene is actually quite multicultural in nature. Such a scene features a Jewish-Galilean baby, born to a working class couple. The baby is serenaded by celestial beings and observed by bucolic shepherds, who are one with nature and the environment. The scene is framed by a very starry sky, unpolluted by industrial excess. Finally, to complete this diverse tableau, we see three philosopher-kings arriving from the East. They come peacefully to dispense gifts and mystical Near Eastern wisdom, far superior to the dry and linear Greek philosophy dominant in Western circles at that time.

A manger scene also stands as an indictment of the misguided capitalist system. The fact that Joseph, a general contractor, and his wife Mary, were refused accommodations because there was no room at the inn illustrates the failure of the free market to adequately address human needs. Granted, the fact that Joseph and his very pregnant wife were traveling to Bethlehem to pay their taxes is a tough nut to crack. If, however, working class folks like Joseph had willingly agreed to tax increases the Romans would undoubtedly have constructed homeless shelters, and provided a modest welfare safety net. The fact that men like Joseph resisted paying their fair share, thereby forcing the Romans to seek new revenue streams proves that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was right. Sometimes people have to be forced to be free! In addition, the nights in the stable really weren’t that bad. People returning to a state of nature and bedding down near the barnyard animals would warm the hearts of PETA.

The truly politically incorrect figure at Christmastime is jolly old St. Nicholas, Santa Claus himself. Take a moment here to compose yourself, after reading the previous line. Yes, Santa is a bastion of reactionary, backward, political incorrectness in almost every conceivable way. First and foremost, Santa is not the democratically elected ruler of the North Pole. His ancestors probably stole the land from the Eskimos and he has flatly rejected calls for reparations. Why do foreign governments continue to recognize the legitimacy of the Claus regime? Mr. Claus must submit to United Nations-supervised elections, with Jimmy Carter personally monitoring the proceedings. Carter, to his credit, has lobbied for a UN censure of Mr. Claus and has noted, that despite Santa’s reputation for public philanthropy, the benevolent North Pole despot has never been nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Santa Claus shows similar robber-baron tendencies in his approach to labor relations. He presses the elves into a state of serfdom, refuses to pay a decent wage, (thereby costing American jobs) and argues that he compensates for such shortcomings by providing good employee benefits such as free hot cocoa and gingerbread. Mr. Claus stubbornly refuses to bargain collectively with the duly elected representatives of the elves union. Furthermore, he will not allow OSHA inspectors free access to his toy factory and warehouse operations.

The animal rights lobby can also argue a good case against Santa Claus. His maltreatment of those eight tiny reindeer borders on criminality. This man “trains” reindeer to pull his bulk through the skies in an open sleigh. Quite disgraceful, isn’t it? Mr. Claus flies around in this contraption lacking seat belts, driver side air bags, anti-lock brakes, or any other safety devices. Meanwhile he cruises merrily along, apparently uncaring that reindeer flatulence contributes significantly to global warming.

Santa is similarly resistant to the march of modernity in his personal life. In fact, he represents the worst of male patriarchy. He refuses to allow Mrs. Claus a meaningful career outside of the home, preferring that she stay in the house, host tea parties, and bake cookies. (Hillary Clinton, call your office!) Santa smokes heavily, he is known to take a drink of wine, and his appetite for food is the stuff of legend. He obviously does not watch his weight, count calories, or monitor his cholesterol, which costs us all in terms of higher insurance premiums. When Obamacare is fully phased in HHS bureaucrats will deal with intransigent old-timers like Claus. That “…right jolly old elf” will just have to get with the program.

The above missive is obviously lighthearted and waggish, but there is a serious intent here. The “Christmas humbuggers” are more than killjoys and professional scolds. They hope to banish Christmas altogether, and not for their stated reasons of diversity and inclusiveness. The campaign against Christmas is, in fact, a warning sign of anti-Western Civilization bias run amok. It is an effort to further tear America from her cultural moorings.

There are some hopeful signs in this struggle. A number of municipalities have backed down from plans to replace Christmas socials with “Winter Celebrations” (much like the Roman festival of Saturnalia) in the face of public protests. Your humble Townhall correspondent recently tuned in to a sports radio talk show here in St. Louis. One of the studio hosts made reference to a “Holiday Tree”. He earned the immediate ridicule of his co-hosts, who declared their program to be a political correctness-free zone. We are starting to see an overdue and welcome pushback on this issue.

So, let us hope that the good sense of the American people will trump the infantile fantasies of teachers, the profit-inspired spinelessness of merchants, and the politically correct madness of the media and certain politicians. In this season of hope let us celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year in the good old-fashioned way. A simple message to all Townhall Readers: Merry Christmas, everyone!


Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.