by Karen Kwiatkowski
The LRC blog reports the capitulation of paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan on Fox's O'Reilly show last week. Pat now admits that he agrees with the robotically predictable O'Reilly that we really can't pull out of Iraq right now because things are still wiggling in Fallujah. Wouldn't feel right, and all that.
Our job there is not yet done; someone somewhere still lives to resent America's virtuous plan, someone in Iraq resists our courtship and stubbornly returns our great gifts of cultural advancement, state capitalism, and democracy. I think we were even offering peace in the region at one time. Isn't one of the seven sins that of being ungrateful? Well, it darn well should be.
If America was a person, she would be a sadly deluded stalker with an Uzi or two strapped to her leg. I only want the best for you, my beautiful Baghdad. You know you love me too, and we are going to be so very happy together. If you resist my love, I'll follow you, and lurk in your backyard, and maybe conduct a little B and E, and if you still resist our perfect future, I may have to kill you… Please don't make me kill you, America pleads.
Well, I'm just being absurd, aren't I? We are a good country just trying to help out a poor wretched one, and it is our duty after all! That's what the Bush people say, and they must be right. One mustn't question the divine will of the people, or something like that.
Americans have consumed the porridge of beneficent state socialism for almost 100 years. Good government has become whatever government tells us it is. For example, good government this week is the approval by the House and Senate to raise the federal debt limit to $8.2 trillion dollars. Next week may bring an attack on Iran or military "recruiting" from the judge's bench, or Iraqi and American troops attacking mosques after Friday prayers. It's all good government, you know, and you're either with us or against us.
When I was growing up, one of my favorite TV shows was Get Smart. It was a spy sitcom, showing government, code named CONTROL, and its key agent, Maxwell Smart (Don Adams), in a comedic light. K.A.O.S was the enemy, and its leader was "Mr. Big," played by the extremely diminutive Michael Dunn.
Delicious irony of course, but what predictive accuracy on the part of the Get Smart team of writers! In the very first show, the goal of K.A.O.S. was to melt down the Statue of Liberty, and er, destroy our freedom. How's that for a forecast!
We have today a newer version of Get Smart, coarser and more radically in your face, not on the airwaves but in theaters, with the feature length movie Team America. If once our enemies were Mr. Bigs played by little people, today our government heroes are lusty marionettes drawn by cartoonists.
Beyond the caricatures, but not too far, we have our current evil enemies and agents of chaos. They consist of a very strange man in Pyong Yang and a grandfatherly appearing Saddam Hussein, captured in a hole in the ground looking confused and eating cans of American Spam. As for Iran, their democracy allows for a Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini, and an elected President, currently S.M. Khatami. My goodness, who do we kill? First, I mean?
Such are the dilemmas. We should be laughing, but Get Smart was cancelled 35 years ago. Today's television entertainment consists of staged science and fake reality shows, mock sitcoms that focus interminably on pseudo-domesticity of one kind or another, and cheerleading television news that simply wants to pump you up for mo-go (more government).
Nowhere can we find television comedies about big government gone loco, except, thank goodness, on the Comedy Channel. Clearly the country craves more of this sort of thing. Even funnier is the idea among many Bush supporters that The Daily Show is left leaning and not conservative because it pokes fun at big, omniscient, enforcement-oriented, central-planning government.
However, laughing at government isn't as funny as it once was. I hear from my military readers that access to websites like LewRockwell.com and the LewRockwell blog is now blocked by military Internet systems. Big Internet providers, like AOL and Earthlink, have long been amenable to governmental electronic data drift nets. Yet these same companies seem curiously less tolerant of customer freedoms, as AOL's and Earthlink's recent blocking of subscriptions to Lew's daily email may illustrate.
Maxwell Smart, his government bosses and his hilarious opponents all took themselves seriously so we wouldn't have to. Today, in Washington and among the entertainment and chattering classes, we have much the same situation, but today we're not encouraged or even allowed to laugh, poke fun, or expose the paradoxes in our once interesting Republic.
Laughing at our overgrown obnoxious government seems to be increasingly verboten. When we want to chuckle or point out a flaw in Washington, we may soon require a Cone of Silence. Come to think of it, I always wanted one!
November 20, 2004
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.
Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com