Proud to be a conservative

Burt Prelutsky
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Posted: Dec 21, 2005 12:05 AM
The other day I was listening to a talk radio show, and heard a caller announce that there’s no freedom of speech in this country, that, because of the fascistic administration in Washington, people are afraid to criticize the government. His proof was that Cindy Sheehan had been rebuked for merely exercising her constitutional right to mouth off against authority figures. The show’s host correctly pointed out that the 1st Amendment guarantees her freedom to speak her mind, such as it is, but that doesn’t in any way curtail the right of other Americans to call her an idiot.

What the host didn’t point out was that even as the caller spoke, he was contradicting his own statement. He was freely sharing his own foolish thoughts with millions of listeners.

Liberals have become so accustomed to having only their own points of view disseminated by the mass media that they now believe that any opinion in conflict with their own is an infringement on their right to free speech. So not only do they feel entitled to spout off ad nauseam, but honest disagreement is regarded as censorship!

What they enjoyed before talk radio and the Internet bloggers came along was a virtual news monopoly, consisting of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three major networks. All of which could be counted on to parrot the liberal line. Now, like spoiled brats being forced to share their toys, they can’t stop whining.

Frankly, I’m amazed that liberals can be wrong so often about so many things. One of the few issues they are occasionally right about is protecting the environment. But even when it comes down to that, the radical element that infests their ranks like termites are always trying to stop any and all forms of development, the source of homes and jobs for those of us who don’t want to live in trees. Their love for Mother Earth leads them to blow up buildings, bomb car dealerships, and sabotage logging sites, all with an air of moral authority. They don’t, in fact, love snail darters, spotted owls or Alaska’s caribou, anymore than the rest of us; they merely hate western civilization in much the same way that Islamic fascists do.

A fact worth noting is that during LBJ’s administration, a group of tree huggers got an injunction to prevent the feds from working on a certain project in the South, for fear it would harm the environment. The project involved shoring up the levees of New Orleans.

As someone who has spent most of his lifetime working in television, I find it odd that there are two Hollywoods. The famous one is filled with wealthy writers, directors, actors and production executives, 99% of whom are liberals, all of whom naturally regard themselves as populists, standing shoulder to shoulder with the working stiff. What isn’t so widely known is that when it comes to the caste system, whatever its status in modern day India, it’s alive and well out here. Go on any movie or TV sound stage and you’ll find that among Hollywood’s untouchables, those who don’t pop up on award shows or in the tabloids -- the grips, the costumers, the camera crew, the wranglers, the stunt people, the technicians -- the percentage of conservatives is roughly 99%.

I would think the hardest part of being a liberal is always having to remember to spout the party line, just like old-time Stalinists. For instance, they always have to keep in mind that they support our troops even though they believe the men and women in Iraq are spilling innocent blood in an evil war. In the same way, they must always remember to parrot the propaganda that they, every bit as much as conservatives, want a strong military. The basic difference, of course, is that they don’t want it to do anything.

Sometimes, people ask me why I invariably identify myself as a conservative, and not a Republican. The first, I point out, is a philosophy, while the latter is a political party. A philosophy can afford to be pure as the driven snow. A party, on the other hand, has to deal with the nitty-gritty of fund-raising and electing candidates. I accept the realities of politics. Furthermore, I know too much about human nature to ever have my illusions crushed. Unlike my fellow conservatives, I don’t believe it when an office seeker of any political persuasion vows he’ll cut spending and clear out all the bloated bureaucracies once he or she is elected and goes off to Sacramento, Springfield, Albany, Montgomery, Austin, or, especially, Washington, D.C. It simply goes against every instinct known to man to seek office with the intention of having less money, power and influence, than one’s predecessor.

While it’s true that I invariably vote for Republicans, I never fool myself into thinking they’ll be anything except better than their Democratic opponents. Those people who are hurt by such political facts of life are to be pitied. It’s like a child’s discovery that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t who they’ve been cracked up to be. To such conservatives, all I can say is: Grow up.

Looking back on my own political metamorphosis, I realize how typical it is that, as one matures, takes on responsibilities, deals with tragedy and loss, one tends to drift from left to right, and how rarely the reverse occurs.

It is hard to dispute the old truism that if, at 20, you’re not a liberal, you have no heart; and, if by 40, you’re not a conservative, you have no brain. And, it’s worth noting that if, by, say, 50, you have neither, you’ll probably wind up voting for Ralph Nader.