My Dad the Warhawk

My dad is boycotting pretty much all of Hollywood, most of the rest of the entertainment industry, and all of the TV news stations except one. I’ll let you guess which. Far be it from me to excoriate someone for exercising one of the few rights we have left in this world, voting with our wallets in that democracy known as the marketplace, but his latest boycott declaration just got on my nerves.

He will now apparently never watch anything on ABC ever again because Ted Koppel read the names of all the American soldiers killed in Iraq. (I don’t suppose he’ll be adding daily updates to the list.) My dad didn’t like this because it was an affront to the Bush administration’s foreign policy. Maybe he thought reporting facts that hurt the credibility of the neocons was too much editorializing in a news broadcast? I thought: as narrow-minded and stubborn as that is, it’s his prerogative to boycott whoever opposes his ideas, which is fine, even if it looks a little foolish. I mean, I don’t like those socialists in the entertainment industry, either.

But then came the part that really bothered me. He said it wasn’t just that it was a display of liberal-peacenik protest that irked him; it was that Koppel was making the high price and the death toll of this war hit home too hard, and the liberals don’t understand that for this war to succeed, Americans must be shielded from the grim realities of war, or else they won’t support it. Yeah, you read it right. He said it, probably not in so many words. A man who’s been a “conservative” all his life, claiming to oppose growth of government, welfare, regulation, socialism, and above all, Democrats, said Americans can’t be made aware of the realities of war because they can’t handle it (we’ve been so sissified, after all, which is true), but the war must be waged in full force by the government to ensure…victory, freedom, security, I don’t know. The citizens of the United States cannot and should not know too much about what the Imperial Federal Government is doing, and for the leftist media to report on it is reckless, immoral, and contrary to the interests of the United States, or maybe the government – according to a lot of people, they’re one and the same thing. He directed this declaration towards my mom, but my sister and I were right there at the table, so it was really to everyone.

(As a side note, my mom recently informed me, as I flipped past his show on CNBC, that, “You know, Dennis Miller is a conservative now.” HA! According to whose definition? All those people who call themselves “conservatives” and “liberals,” that’s who. He hasn’t changed philosophical paths; he’s merely changed direction, somewhat, along the same path. Though they claim different labels, they’re all leftists. We know better. My mom doesn’t, but it’s not her fault. She doesn’t have the time, know-how, high-speed internet, or interest in the internet to expose herself to anything other than the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boortz, Hannity, and my dad. She is often incredulous and even suspicious of things they spout, but too insecure, diffident, and gullible to stand up to them and defend her original inclinations.)

But back to the topic of the realities of war. I wonder what my dad would think if Americans were so unaware of, or indifferent to, the number of people killed so far in the war on terror that they didn’t really raise much of a fuss when the Imperial Federal Government started enslaving boys to serve as cannon fodder. He has two sons. I might be old enough to avoid a potential draft; I don’t know about my brother. He is 20. He is not in college, not that college would protect anyone whose close relative didn’t vote to pass the slavery legislation.

What unnerves me as much as, if not more than, anything else in the world is that if one or both of my dad’s sons died fighting in a seemingly endless and not so successful war on terror, against their will, that still might not change his mind about the correctness of his militarist doctrine; he still might rationalize and justify his incredible loss, our ultimate sacrifice, the discontinuation of his family name, etc., because it was for some greater goal of his. Well, maybe he’d have more sense than that. If you’re not selfish enough to put your own family above your government (or country, same thing), then something is terribly wrong with you. Then again, I guess that’s why senators and congressmen and warmongers in the executive branch would protect their sons as much as they could.

But what else should the military do that we don’t know about, for our own good? Put foreign-born American citizens or legal immigrants in internment camps for the duration of the war (forever)? Imprison liberal anti-war dissidents? Censor the press? Rig the elections? Should it not tell us why it suspends various Constitutional freedoms, nor even need a reason? How much would these “conservatives” endorse? How much would it take for them to say, “Hold on. We’ve gone too far. We are not defending a free society from attack anymore. We are killing ourselves.” They say the Democrats have been doing so for decades; they are right; it might take a lot more before they realize the leftists in the other party are hurting us, too.

I know freedom-loving Americans like my family shouldn’t be fooled into the same old statist mindset that’s haunted humanity for millennia. I don’t know exactly whom to blame for the corruption of their minds that allows statism to take such a strong hold and convince them it’s “freedom.” Maybe the media, for starters. Talk-show hosts like Neal Boortz, whom I will write about in my next column, ought to know better. Newspaper columnists are idiots. TV personalities wish they rated as high as “idiot.” My dad never uses the internet; my mom hardly uses it other than to get emails from me. Baby-boomers are not exposed to the plethora of libertarian thought on the worldwide web as much as younger people are. Then again, I don’t know if I would have had enough sense to remain a true libertarian if a friend hadn’t recommended to me. With all my use of the internet, I might still be listening to the statism, excuses, spin, and backtracking spouted by Neal Boortz, Sean Hannity, and the columnists at, the Wall Street Journal, and Washington Times. It seems the neocons and social democrats are doing all they can to discredit themselves lately, though.

June 1, 2004