Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Movie Update!!

Just got back from seeing a film that needs to be inserted in my top ten best Christmas movies of all time list that was published last year (along with the top ten worst Christmas songs - I like to provide balance). This year I offered the opposite - the ten worst movies and the ten best songs - and I haven't seen anything to change my mind on that side of the equation. But the Ten Best Movie List has to make room for a newcomer. Here's what it used to be:

10. Elf (Will Ferrell at his best)
9. Holiday Inn, or White Christmas (either one will do)
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (classic TV special)
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (classic TV special)
6. Miracle on 34th Street (original)
5. It's a Wonderful Life (Jimmy Stewart; how can you go wrong?)
4. The Bishop's Wife (Cary Grant; how can you go wrong?)
3. A Christmas Carol (1984 version with George C. Scott)
2. A Christmas Story (movie perfection)
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (TV special perfection)

But there's a new kid in town. Rich with colorful detail, amazing animation, witty and clever storytelling, charming characterization, delightful humor throughout and an absolutely lovely story that will entertain children for many, many years - meet Arthur Christmas:

This is a classic Santa story re-imagined by writers, animators and actors who must actually love what they're doing. It shows. Arthur Christmas is Santa's son - the younger son who is not in line to take over the family business, so to speak. And what a business it is! Big brother Steve Christmas is running a state-of-the-art shop up at the North Pole, including using the latest in (hacked) military technology to "make the magic happen."

The scenes that depict the North Pole operation are breathtaking and imaginative. I am quite sure I could watch this several times (on a big screen, please!) and find new and amusing detail every viewing. There is simply too much to take in all at once. This is one of the most visually pleasing animated movies ever. Like wandering through a giant eye candy store.

The characters, from the entire Claus family to the zillion or so elves who inhabit the Pole, are utterly enchanting, and many of them could probably carry their own Christmas movie. But this one's about Arthur - a very, very good person who has to decide what to do when just one little thing goes wrong in an operation of global proportions. How important, after all, is just one child? Arthur knows the answer to that all along, although some of the other characters have to be reminded. What a splendid message for a holiday movie, by the way - that the feelings of just one little child are indeed of great importance.

I'm inserting Arthur Christmas at the #4 slot on the list. It earns that spot because Charlie Brown's unabashed embrace of what Christmas truly is all about must remain at the top, and A Christmas Story is a movie where each scene outdoes the one before it, culminating in the most perfect ending to a Christmas movie ever. I would have put Arthur at #3, but the filmmakers made the horrific choice of including a Justin Bieber version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which will make you want to kill yourself. That misstep means I'm keeping George C. Scott's exquisite version of A Christmas Carol in 3rd, and Arthur slips in just behind. All this, of course, knocks Elf off the list - but that's somewhat deserved, as the last 15 minutes of the Will Ferrell movie offer none of the charm or humor of the rest of the film, and quite frankly are kind of painful to sit through. So off with you, Buddy the Elf. And welcome, welcome, to Arthur Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas! MOVIES we hate, SONGS we love - Another Top 10 List for the Ages!

Last year, I chronicled the ten best Christmas movies ever made… juxtaposed against the ten most annoying, banal, and downright horrific Christmas songs ever inflicted on unsuspecting holiday music lovers. I was asked on more than one occasion – why the hate on Christmas music? And surely there are Christmas movies that suck, too?

Why… yes, Virginia… there certainly are.

As with my list last year, there are candidates who didn’t quite make the cut, but certainly are contenders. For instance, Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” isn’t on this list – and yet how could we fully enjoy the holidays without “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”? On the other side of the spectrum, there are plenty of bad movies just outside the confines of this top ten list – a sorry remake of “The Bishop’s Wife” (“The Preacher’s Wife,” with Whitney Houston) comes to mind.

So anyway, as I said last year…
“…grab a cup of cocoa and settle in for a whirlwind sleigh ride through the heights – and depths – of Yuletide entertainment…”

The 10th worst Christmas movie of all time:


Once upon a time, more than a quarter of a century ago, some filmmakers set out to create the definitive Santa Claus movie. They failed. Miserably. This movie was a big budget blockbuster minus the block and the buster. An enormous flopperoo which you’d be hard-pressed to find on American TV… however, for some unfathomable reasons, it apparently gained some traction in England, so you if you’re spending your holidays with Will & Kate, you might catch it.

A lot of that big budget may have been spent on the scenes of Santa’s workshop, which are indeed visually rich. However, there is so much more that is wrong with this flick. First, the screenplay hopelessly mangles the real Christmas story (you know, the star and the manger and all) and offers up Santa as the savior of the world, for all intents and purposes. Second, it stars Dudley Moore as an elf. (I know, kids, you don’t even know who Dudley Moore is. There’s a good reason for that.) Third, it features an EVIL CORPORATE TYCOON who will DESTROY CHRISTMAS. That theme is just as fascinating as it is in every other Hollywood movie about EVIL CORPORATE TYCOONS, and about as appealing as an unwashed Occupier.

The 10th best Christmas song of all time:


Okay, I’m cheating just a little bit, because this is actually a movie song. It was written for the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” where it was first performed by Judy Garland. But the song has continued to speak to generations of folks who are “muddling through” and looking ahead to better Christmases. A true American classic, and in my opinion never done better than the original.

The 9th worst Christmas movie of all time:


We stay right here at the North Pole as more modern filmmakers take another swing at the legend of Santa. Like the 1985 dud, this version purports to give us the backstory on Santa, and in this case his big brother who always felt like the black sheep of the family. Vince Vaughn is both annoying and grating as possible in this unfunny role, which involves an EVIL EFFICIENCY EXPERT (filling in for the corporate tycoon) who threatens to DESTROY CHRISTMAS. Another eggnog-gagger.

There is ONE marginally amusing scene near the beginning, where Vaughn visits a “brothers anonymous” meeting for guys overshadowed by their more successful brothers. Real-life siblings of Bill Clinton, Sylvester Stallone and Alec Baldwin make cameo appearances. I’ve included it here, but it’s all you’ll want to see of this movie, which after this scene goes downhill faster than an overloaded Grinch sleigh.

The 9th best Christmas song of all time:


I’m pretty sure that I am legally required to include this song on any definitive “best Christmas songs” list. Talk about an American classic. The Christmas song so wonderful that, although it was written for a movie called “Holiday Inn” (yup, I’m still stuck on movie music), it spawned its own movie called (what else) “White Christmas.” Little-known fact: Before this tune was recorded, people used to dream of all different colored Christmases. 

The 8th worst Christmas movie of all time:


We leave the North Pole, but we don’t leave Vince Vaughn, who earns the distinction of starring in two of the very worst holiday movies ever. There are really only two themes in bad Christmas movies (and, to be fair, in quite a few good Christmas movies). The two films we’ve already discussed are of the “Saving Christmas” category… this begins our look at the “Christmas is all about family” category (although Fred Claus contained a few nods to that one as well.)

In this big Christmas turd, an unmarried couple, played by Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, try to take a tropical vacation instead of spending time with their four dysfunctional families (all four of their parents are divorced). When they’re “outed” at the airport by a TV reporter, they’re stuck making the rounds. Much hilarity ensues. I mean, how can you go wrong with making fun of blue-collar and/or religious people, babies throwing up (comedy GOLD), and the always-charming Hollywood staple, oversexed post-menopausal women. Oh, and a guy falls off a roof. Har har har.

Message? Even if all your relatives are horror show freaks, Christmas… it’s all about family.

The 8th best Christmas song of all time:


So I am finally leaving the theater with this choice. This has become a modern-day Christmas classic, without being written for a film – although I am guessing it’s probably been used in some. The Eagles’ soulful take on a lonely holiday makes a nice break from the general cheeriness of most holiday tunes.

The 7th worst Christmas movie of all time:


As reviewers noted at the time this came out, when a studio dumps a Christmas movie before Halloween, that’s a good clue that it’s probably more Horrible than Ho-Ho-Ho.  This movie was released in October 2004. ‘Nuff said.

Ridiculous plots are what one expects in the “Saving Christmas” theme category, what with the necessity for flying reindeer and all that jazz. But in the “Christmas is all about family” category, ludicrous plotlines are not a plus. So, there’s this rich handsome young man who can’t find anyone to spend Christmas with (including his pretty girlfriend). He decides to visit his childhood home and offers the family currently in residence a quarter of a million dollars to pretend he’s their beloved son. Much hilarity ensues. Of an entirely predictable nature. Oh – hilarious plot twist: the preteen son is addicted to computer pornography! Har har har. Warm family holiday fun for all.

The 7th best Christmas song of all time:


I will not accept your hate mail on this one. I know this song is despised by many Christmas aficianados, but I find it charming. Plus, she’s been such a good girl, skipping out on all that fella-kissing – and she wants a ring! What could be more pure than that – after all, “Christmas is all about family,” as we have painstakingly learned. However, only the Eartha Kitt version qualifies. Having Madonna perform the song adds the yuck factor. I don’t think she’s skipped many opportunities to kiss any fellas (or, whatever).

The 6th worst Christmas movie of all time:


NOT the classic animated version, which made my list of the top ten best Christmas films of all time. This big budget live-action remake of the charming cartoon, while visually fun to watch, was a bust. Jim Carrey was flat in the title role, the storyline was contrived and vastly inferior to the original Dr. Seuss book, and the movie featured one of the most nauseatingly stupid songs ever written for a Christmas movie (yup, that made the list last year as well). The original book and animated feature were examples of how the “Saving Christmas” category is done. This version, not so much.

The 6th best Christmas song of all time:



This. Just. Rocks.

The 5th worst Christmas movie of all time:


Did I mention that Christmas is all about family? And what better way to bring that lesson home than to kill off a beloved father at the beginning of the movie, so that he can come back (courtesy of a magic harmonica) as the hands-down creepiest snowman ever? A Christmas miracle envisioned by screenwriters on acid. They were on something, that’s for sure, because this turkey includes witty repartee like: “You da man! You da snowman!” Or, “Snowdad is better than no dad.”

Let’s see… what could we do to make this movie suck even worse… I know! Let’s include music from the Spice Girls and teen band Hanson! PERFECT.

The 5th best Christmas song of all time:

JINGLE BELLS – Barry Manilow

I will not accept your hate mail on this one, either. I liked Barry Manilow when I was 14 and I like him now. But that’s beside the point. The point is, this is the rockin-est, hoppin-est, most fun version of this most famous Christmas song. I love the whole 40s-flavor and the pretend Andrews Sisters. You can’t sit still for this one.

The 4th worst Christmas movie of all time:


Pull on your big boy Santa cap, dear reader – we’re venturing into some real stinkeroo territory now. Unlike the previous films mentioned, the rest of them on this roster have absolutely no redeeming qualities. This pre-governor Schwarzenegger outing pairs the philandering ex-bodybuilder with… Sinbad? Uh, yeah. And the entire point of the movie is that Dad’s in big trouble if he can’t get the one toy that junior wants for Christmas. Great message, there. So, these two buffoons pratfall and mug their way through this holiday monstrosity, reinforcing every idiotic stereotype about how fathers, in particular, are stupid fools. Nobody outside of the governor’s maid could have enjoyed this pile of reindeer poo.

The 4th best Christmas song of all time:


Judging by the amount of play this gets on the radio over the holidays, I can’t be alone in finding it delightful. Like some of the other songs mentioned, this one rocks along at an irresistible pace, tempting you to dance along (which is a far better temptation to indulge than eating the last of the Christmas cookies). And although I really can’t stand anything else Mariah Carey has ever done – the soul-inspired intro to this song is a perfect showcase for her considerable pipes.

The 3rd worst Christmas movie of all time:


I’m guessing that sometime in early 2006, at a weekly meeting of the crappy filmmakers’ club (such a thing must exist; there’s just too much evidence in favor of it), a light bulb went off over someone’s head and they said, “Hey… it’s been ten years since that pile of crap ‘Jingle All the Way’ movie… let’s do another one with pretty much the same story, and this time let’s make it REALLY blow!”

And that, my children, is how we got “Deck the Halls,” with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito filling the not-inconsiderable shoes of Schwarzenegger/Sinbad. This time, it’s not one toy the dueling man-children are after. They’re fighting over who gets to be known as “the Christmas guy” in their quaint New England-ish town. Men making fools of themselves? Yes. Pratfalls? Of course. Cringe-inducing behavior? I’ll say! Especially the scene where both men are lusting after girls in skimpy Santa outfits. These “happily married” men with children are yelling out “Who’s your daddy” to the dancers until the girls turn around and – guess what? The dancers turn out to be their teen daughters. Hilarious!

A good part of the storyline revolves around DeVito’s character wanting to outdo everyone else on his outdoor Christmas display. This idea was executed in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – but with actual HUMOR.

The 3rd best Christmas song of all time:


Of all the musical selections that I’ve characterized as “rocking”… none can hold a candle to this. It’s big and dramatic and lush. Did I mention BIG? It’s so big that when Dwight wanted to make a bold Christmas statement in last week’s episode of “The Office” – he rocked out to this.

The 2nd worst Christmas movie of all time:


Okay. So last year the song that inspired this movie won my highly competitive and coveted Worst Christmas Song of All Time award. Clearly, a movie based on said song is going to rank right up there (down there) as well. This maudlin, sorry excuse for moviemaking is an embarrassment to all things Christmas. The asinine original story/song, about a boy who needs SHOES for his dying mother, apparently wasn’t manipulative and banal enough – the filmmakers had to add another layer of crappy by giving us a lawyer (of course) whose marriage is on the brink. But the well-known phenomenon of Christmas SHOES will bring a happy, poignant ending to all. You’ll cry and cry. If you’re a complete moron.

The 2nd best Christmas song of all time:


No piece of music captures the sheer child-like joy of Christmas like this instrumental masterpiece. And it wouldn’t be complete without the musical “neighing” of the horse pulling the sleigh. I love this even when it’s performed by mediocre junior high school bands. Under the baton of John Williams directing the Boston Pops, it’s pure Christmas magic.

And… the absolutely, positively worst Christmas movie of all time:


Incorporating virtually every objectionable element in all movies previously mentioned, this Tim Allen vehicle is fatuous and determinedly unfunny from beginning to end. (Tim Allen isn’t funny in the Santa Clause movies, either, but this makes those look like Oscar material.)

The Kranks love Christmas and can’t wait to celebrate it every year with all their neighbors who also overdecorate, overbuy and overparty. But – the plot thickens! Their only child is going off to the Peace Corps and now there’s no reason to celebrate Christmas. Instead of spending $6000 on Christmas (uh… what?) they’ll spend $3000 on a tropical vacation. In preparation for the trip, Mr. Krank gets an overdone fake bake (hilarious, no?), but – the plot thickens! The neighbors won’t hear of this! How can they all celebrate Christmas if the Kranks don’t? (Uh… what?) The neighbors threaten the Kranks and attempt to force them to conform with the neighborhood holiday standards. But – the plot thickens! Daughter, after about two weeks in the jungles of Peru, decides to come home for Christmas after all! How will they ever get ready in time NOW? Comical scenes of chasing after the last Christmas ham in the grocery store hearken back to the glories of “Jingle All the Way”… while comical scenes of characters falling off roofs while hanging Christmas lights hearken back to “Four Christmases.” Really, is there anything funnier than a man falling off a roof? I think not. And, in the heartwarming twist we must have in the best holiday movies, the Kranks’ psycho neighbors all come together to help them finish their last minute Christmas prep. Ugh. Feel like vomiting yet?

And… the absolutely, positively best Christmas song of all time:


From the ridiculous to the sublime... or more to the point, from the sublime ridiculous-ness of a Kranky Christmas to the ridiculous sublime-ness of THIS.

The haunting melody of this song stands in direct counterpoint to the cheerfulness of the just-mentioned classic “Sleigh Ride.” But this isn’t about child-like Christmas magic. It’s about the real Child, the real Christmas, and – better than any movie or song profiled this year or last – it’s about what Christmas is really all about. And why we needed Christmas. And how the path that started at the manger ended at the Cross.

And once again... a merry, merry Christmas to one and all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Word Bandits and other Conservative Bad Guys

I certainly am not in the habit of hanging out over at “Crooks and Liars,” a festering cesspool of Leftist rant if there ever was one. But following a link this afternoon I regret to say I found myself lured into an article there entitled “The War of the Words,” in which a leftist, who identifies herself only as the holder of a master’s degree in English (be suitably impressed, less-educated reader!) gets herself all worked up over… well, allow her to tell you herself:
“He who controls the word controls the world. And there are no dirtier, more malicious or ruthless opponents in this vital war of words than the American right wing.”
Yes, you! You bitter clinger. You are not only stupid, greedy, and illiterate, but you are a… WORD-STEALER. (Apparently, “illiterate” and “word-stealer” don’t cancel each other out. We conservatives have magical powers!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupiers in La-la Land

Just a few quick and random notes from the Occupy L.A. movement that has (sort of?) finally ended.

Maybe the police unions are right - maybe we don't pay these officers enough:

These officers had to don BIO SUITS to clean up the disgusting mess left behind by the Occupy L.A. cretins.

This officer should file a union grievance - he also was tasked with cleaning up a kind of disgusting mess, and he had to do it WITHOUT a bio suit. Brave, brave gentleman.

The officers (who are hardly part of the 1% now, are they?) also had to put up with these idiots screaming obscenities at them:

Wait -- is that Garth from Wayne's World?

Anyway, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (who has coddled these idiots all along and ought to get his ass down there and help the cops clean up the mess) says it will take all day to clean up the giant stinking biohazard (the L.A. Times says "the stench of urine and old food emanated from the lawn"). So here's what these assholes did to our city hall:

Of course, all they are saying, is give peace a chance:

Or possibly they're saying (really loudly, through a megaphone), give peace a chance and also be careful not to run over illegal aliens:

I am so, so over these people.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Special for Halloween... the Most Evil Show on TV Is...

Something wicked this way comes… across the pageant stage, wearing a tiny bejeweled $2000 dress, hairspray-lacquered locks, a spray tan and fake teeth (yes, fake teeth).

Okay. In all fairness, what came across the stage isn’t wicked. Her parents, however… another story. A somewhat malevolent story. So what better time than this Halloween season to turn our minds to the dark… the hellish… the evil. Yes, I’m talking about Toddlers & Tiaras, that reality show ode to child beauty pageants from the folks at cable channel TLC. TLC, by the way, stands for The Learning Channel. But with programming like Sister Wives (reality show about polygamy), LA Ink and NY Ink (reality shows about people who tattoo pretty much every square inch of skin), and I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant (reality show about morons), they really ought to change the name to TFC – The Freak Channel.
Amidst this video onslaught against all that is right and good, Toddlers & Tiaras should seem relatively innocent. After all, you may well ask, what could be so wrong about a bunch of little girls playing at Miss America?
Oh, dear reader. There are so many ways it is wrong – dreadfully, revoltingly wrong. Allow me to enumerate. But I caution you – this journey is not for the faint of heart, nor weak of stomach. And if you make it through this, an even more chilling fate is in store at the end, where a commercial-free 45 minutes of Toddlers & Tiaras – the Halloween Bash pageant edition, awaits you. Menacingly.
You have been warned. Here then, ten reasons why Toddlers & Tiaras is yet another ominous omen of the end of civilization as we know it. Let the horror be unleashed:
Read more here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

California's Clown King Jerry Brown Unleashes His Special Brand of Lunacy

Everyone knows that clowns are downright scary.

Not funny. But definitely a clown.

Ahhh… California. You never, ever fail to amaze. I’ve written about you before – how you resisted the tidal wave of Tea that broke over the rest of the country like a wave of good sense and allowed it to come to a crashing halt at California’s eastern border, ensuring another few years in the loony-bin. You brought back Governor Moonbeam, who has now really outdone himself in the bats**t crazy department, as he spent the past few days clearing his desk of the final bills sent to him by his equally barking moonbat legislature. It’s such an overwhelming display of ignorant arrogance that I almost don’t know where to begin.
Read more here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elitists - Almost as Distasteful on the Right as on the Left

Leftists, as I have pointed out before, get all giddy and excited about the royal family. Any royal family. They love royals because they see themselves as royal. Leftists are by definition elitists. They believe they know better than the rest of us how things should work. They’re wrong, of course, as has been proven over and over. But nevertheless, they wish, more than anything else, to rule over the great, unwashed masses – the bitter clingers, the non-Ivy Leaguers, the flyover country inhabitants… you know. The people they believe to be not as smart or beautiful or sophisticated as they are. The little people. In other words, you and me.

Yup, we’re used to this from the Left. From the President who travels with an entourage to rival that of an Arab sultan. From the former Speaker of the House who considered U.S. military jets her own private taxi service. From the Secretary of the Treasury who considered himself far, far above the bourgeois classes who actually PAY taxes. We know exactly what they think of us.

But it’s a bitter pill to swallow when one of our own turns on us. Someone who, philosophically, adheres to some of our principles – but then doesn’t mask his contempt for us.

It's not the greatest, but it is the latest example of this - it happened today on Fox News Sunday. Bill Kristol, who blogger Jim Hoft refers to as an “east coast elitist,” says the Florida Straw Poll is proof of the “weak” field of candidates on the GOP slate.

As Hoft points out, the current field includes:

“…a Texas governor who has created half of the jobs in the U.S. these past two years; a former Massachusetts governor who has a strong business background and saved the Salt Lake City Olympics; a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza; a popular Minnesota Congresswoman; the former Speaker of the House of Representatives…”

Among others. Yeah, that’s an incredibly weak field.

I don’t know who’s going to stay in the running, join the race late, drop out, or win the nomination. But I know that elitists like Kristol are doing us any favors by insisting that these people are not up to par with the arrogant socialist currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Free Market Haters - Insane, Misled, or Evil? You Make the Call.

When it comes to the free market, the beverage of choice for leftists

Leftists hate free enterprise. Yep. They hate the free market, and Hollywood leftists ESPECIALLY hate it. Here - let our friends at prove it in 90 enjoyable seconds:

I know, I know. It’s ironic that those Hollywood types, who make SO MUCH MONEY in the free market that is the entertainment business, are so ignorant of, blind to, and quick to bite the hand that feeds them. More on that in a minute.

You know something that leftists love? Again, especially Hollywood leftists? They love royalty. Any royals will do. Here are a bunch of Hollywood types sucking up like leeches to two young British people who, as it turns out, know something about leeches, as their whole lives will be spent sucking up resources from the taxpayers of Great Britain.

Anyway, the reason leftists love royalty is because that’s the role they envision for themselves in the coming utopia they want to build. (For more on that, see my article Heaven on Earth Comes with a Hellish Price Tag.) After all, someone has to run things, don’t they? And who better than the people who are prettier and therefore better than the rest of us? By the way, they LOVE it when the media calls them “Hollywood royalty” for this very reason - in their minds, it’s a preview of a most alluring coming attraction.

But I digress. Why does Hollywood, and why do leftists, hate free enterprise?

Because the free market means that they cannot control you - and control is what they need to create that perfect world they’re so longing to impose on the rest of us.

But the liberating power of free enterprise means that instead of being forced to do something (like, say, buy health insurance), you can sit back and let different businesses compete for your dollar. Each one of those businesses has to respect you, compete for your attention, persuade you - because their very existence depends on you.

So do you feel respected at the DMV? (As Bill Whittle asks in his outstanding DVD “Firewall: What We Believe.”) Or do you feel respected at the post office? The post office is actually a good example, because in some ways, the free market has brought a ray of cleansing sunshine to that operation. FedEx and UPS have made a lot of money because people (even leftists!) always seek the cheaper, more efficient, and more pleasant alternative. There are no options to the DMV; nothing cheaper, nothing more efficient, and nothing more pleasant. That’s your tax dollars at work.

Government cannot compete with free enterprise, because the genius of free enterprise is that it channels what could be a negative - human self-interest - and makes it work for the good of society. I want more money. I want you to buy my product so I can have more money. So I will make the best product I can and sell it at the best price I can and provide the best customer service I can - all so I can get your business. And my competitor down the street, if he’s smart, will do the same thing.

Who wins? You do, Mr. Customer. You do. And all of society does. Because if my competitor starts getting too much of my business, I will have to innovate and come up with a new, great idea that serves people in another way. And then everybody’s better off again due to my new idea. And on and on it goes.

This, my friends, is how we got cell phones and laptops and iPads, and gourmet ice cream, and plush hotel rooms, and 92,403 TV channels to choose from, and... well, everything that makes our lives better than pretty much any other people in any other time.

I wish the people who are so all-fired insistent on being pro-choice when it comes to a woman’s right to kill her baby were pro-choice in all things market-related (to be fair, some of them are... but most of them aren’t). Pro-choice in the market means you support all of us having more choices, which means we have more power over our own lives, which means we have more liberty.

When the government runs things, we’re stuck. We have no choices, no power to change the situation, and no freedom to go elsewhere. Just imagine that endless line at the DMV, the bored and unmotivated workers behind the counter who will never lose their jobs no matter how incompetent their performance (special shout out to public sector unions!), and the absolute certainty of knowing that you could actually be arrested and put in jail if you don’t stay in line like a good little sheep and get your license.

(a little help for your imagination)

That grim picture... or people competing to make you happy.

Only a crazy person would opt for the former when they could have the latter. Or a person who craves power over others and envisions being in charge. Or a person who’s a true believer in utopia.

And without exception, everyone who hates free enterprise falls into one of those three categories. The good news: They’re not all crazy! The bad news: The power-hungry - and the True Believers - are a lot more sinister than crazy people. And the DMV is only a little preview of a most appalling coming attraction.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Heaven on Earth Comes with a Hellish Price Tag

Oh, sure. It's all great till the butchering starts.

Ever get locked into debate with a “progressive” who’s so off-base on every topic that you realize you have nothing in common except the fact you’re both human – and his bot-like talking points have you questioning even that? Ever find yourself wishing there was some way to break through the ten-inch thick skull and shine a cleansing ray of truth, light and goodness?

Well, there isn’t.

But I do think there’s a Big Question you can introduce that will go a long way toward predicting whether or not your bot-like humanoid leftist friend has a chance in hell of ever seeing the light. And that Big Question is – what is your fundamental view of human nature?

Do you think man is ultimately perfectible? If we just came up with the right society, the right laws, the right situation – man could create a utopian society, right? We could eradicate evil, right? We would all take care of each other in a never-ending hippie circle of peace and hope and change and stuff… right?

If your lefty friend’s eyes glaze over with a misty, faraway look when you put this question to him – if he nods enthusiastically about the heaven-on-earth we are just THIS CLOSE to creating (if we could only get the dumb Republicans to sign on) – if, in short, he answers yes in any way, shape or form… then he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting his head on straight.

You can relegate him to your circle of friends with whom it’s not particularly wise to debate the issues of the day, because he is coming at life from a diametrically opposed point of view, and he will likely never agree with even your smallest point due to his foundation being in exactly the wrong place. All you can do is pray for an intellectual miracle.

If, however, your friend scratches his head, looks puzzled, says he’s not sure – and especially if he says no, he doesn’t believe that humans can or will create their own utopia – well, my friend, you have a potential convert to the Side of Goodness and Light. 

See, as wiser pundits than me have pointed out, this human nature question is really at the heart of everything. The wiser pundit I’m leaning on most heavily here is Bill Whittle, whose DVD “Firewall: What We Believe” is utter brilliance. He clearly and concisely lays out the case for conservatism – if you have kids, you MUST make sure they watch this, in little 10-minute easy-to -swallow segments. I’ll be writing more about this soon, but for now, back to that Big Question.

If you believe that humans can create their own nirvana, that we are a perfectible species, then you will move heaven and earth to CREATE heaven ON earth. You will gleefully undertake all manner of nanny state social engineering, all manner of political chicanery, all manner of power and money grabbing via tax and regulation – because the means justify the end, which is creating a perfect society where nobody has too little, and everyone has just enough. (See? It sounds so nice.)

If you’re busily building heaven here on earth, you will also undertake a lot of questionable stuff, like banning light bulbs and cupcakes and oil drilling and DDT – not because science has proven that they’re so deadly as to merit banning, but because YOU, the utopian, believe that all of us would be better off without them. And you are always right. So for the greater good, we all are forced to agree with you. That “force” part is key. The utopians believe the all-powerful State has the right to take your property (and your life) if it serves the great cause of equality and social justice. And why are we complaining? It’s all for our own good. Or it’s for the children. Or something. 

Actually – it’s tyranny. And it’s the opposite of liberty. And – here’s the kicker – it’s not a new approach. It’s been done, and done, and done. To death (literally). It has never, ever worked.

Yep. Every time in recorded history where do-gooder utopians have tried the central-planning-collectivist approach – it has failed, and left behind (again literally) a bloody mess.

Bill Whittle points out some 30-50 million human beings were slaughtered in Russia to further the greater good. China killed or starved to death another 50 million or so. Not all the failures have been this spectacular, granted, but they have all been failures. Even the French revolution, which is often compared (at least by ignoramuses) to our American revolution, saw a thousand people losing their heads every week as the revolutionaries attempted to create a new man free of religion and income disparity.

We should call these people utopians, because they’re certainly NOT progressive, which is the title they wish to be known by. But there’s nothing progressive about old, tired, failed ideas. 

There was this ONE progressive idea that really was different, back about 235 years ago or so, as Whittle notes. It was the idea that we actually take human nature into account when forming a system of governance. The idea that, because human nature really never changes, and that all human beings are enormously motivated by their own self-interest, that we build in lots of checks and balances to keep utopian tyrants from ruining everything for the rest of us.

That’s the great American experiment. The idea of legally limited the power of government know-it-alls to tell us what to do, as Whittle says – limiting the power of those who might be attracted to “public service” because they really crave power over others (*coughobamapelosireidcough*). Creating those limits, for the first time in history – now THAT’S progressive (to quote an annoying TV ad). And it’s worked amazingly well for those 235 years. 

And that’s why conservatives and tea partiers and others who don’t care for our current state of affairs are not racist or bigoted or small-minded or stupid. They are, as Whittle notes, believers in limited, responsible and frugal government – and they are standing up, now, against those who would build an all-powerful state, who think they are entitled to all our money, and any of our freedoms. How else to remake us all into perfect little bot-like citizens of the utopia that exists only in their fevered imaginations?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Debunking the Leftist Fantasy Myths on Islam: Easy as 1-2-3

Facts. They’re important. Sometimes they’re inconvenient (*paging Rep. Weiner*) but a refusal to face them rarely – probably never – leads to a good place. So, here’s a fact. Jews have faced persecution at virtually every historical turn. Here’s another one. Before the horror of the Holocaust, a lot of people who would become enthusiastic members of the National Socialist Party, the Nazis, were saying a lot of bad things about Jews. And here’s a sad fact: A lot of Christians, as well as a lot of other people, simply looked the other way as an inferno of hatred otherwise known as Hitler’s murderous regime began to ignite.

Never again.

That Islam played a role at the highest levels of the Nazi party is also an indisputable fact. Amin Al Husseini, founder of the World Islamic Congress, was BFF with Hitler, as abundant photographic and documentary evidence attests. So it is not particularly shocking that the same Jew-hating rhetoric that poisoned Europe in the 1930s is flourishing in Islamic countries today.

However, good leftists never let facts get in the way of their fantasy narrative. And they’ve got quite a fantasy working on this issue, which includes the following three articles of faith which they hold with downright religious fervor:
  1. Islam isn’t the problem; extreme Islam is the problem.
  2. There are extremists in Christianity who are just as bad – maybe worse.
  3. And… the Crusades!
Let us now gently debunk each of these three non-facts, starting with the last one. The distorted and politically correct view of the Crusades is that they were all about forced conversion to Christianity, which of course makes no sense since a relationship with Jesus Christ is not something that one individual can coerce another individual into beginning. But yes, they were certainly religious in nature – and political – and a reaction. From the time of Muhammad’s death in 632 to the first crusade more than 400 years later, as author Thomas Woods notes,
“…Muslims spread their religion by force throughout Arabia, and into the modern Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, as well as into Egypt, North Africa, and Spain. Further progress into Western Europe was stopped cold by Charles Martel and his Frankish warriors… it is easily forgotten that some of these territories has been heavily Christian when the Muslims took them over.”
The simple fact that the Crusades began in reaction to some 400 years of Muslim warmongering sheds a different colored light on the historical context. For those interested in learning the facts currently obscured behind popular myths about the Crusades, I recommend Woods’ book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, which will also serve the purpose of providing some excellent food for thought on a number of other ridiculous historical myths that are often repeated as gospel truth.

Moving backward to point 2 – “extremists in any religion are just as bad or worse.” This one cracks me up. First, this postmodern idea that being “moderate” is somehow morally superior to being “extreme” is laughable. Are not all sane people 100% opposed to, say, the Ku Klux Klan? Pedophiles? The Real Housewives of Wherever? The point is, whether or not having an “extreme” view on something is bad or good has a whole lot to do with the “something” being discussed. In short, positing that “extreme=bad” is simple-minded.

And what, exactly, is an “extreme” Christian? Someone who loves his neighbor as himself way more than everyone else? Someone who turns the other cheek way more times? What leftists often MEAN by this phrase is: The guy who shot the abortion doctor. Or, the KKK. Those are “extreme Christians.” Never mind that, in either case, it requires a complete distortion of Christian teaching to arrive at those mindsets. Never mind! THOSE people are “more dangerous” than the ten zillion “extreme” Muslims who have blown up countless men, women and children (and themselves) in the name of Allah. Of course, the “extreme” Muslims indeed ARE following their holy teachings (more on that in a moment).

Leftist tool Tavis Smiley beautifully illustrated this willful blindness to reality when he said that Christians kill more people in America than Muslims. Interrupting someone who was discussing acts of Muslim terror in this country, like the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas day bomber, Smiley offered this intellectually-challenged ode to “critical thinking”:
“But Christians do that every single day in this country…  there are so many more examples of Christians who do that than you can ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country.”
Uh… okay. Tavis buddy, are you under the impression that if you’re NOT a Muslim, then you’re a Christian? Because that’s the only possible way your numbers could add up. So, every crime in this country committed by someone who is not a Muslim has to go in the “Christian” tally column – even though those crimes are all antithetical to Christian teaching. This is how we get the dimwitted “Tim McVeigh and the Columbine killers were Christians!” defense. Yeah. Talk to me when people stop yelling “Allahu Akbar” and start yelling “In the name of Jesus” right before they open fire or blow themselves up. Then we’ll have something to compare.

The slander of Christianity, in the vain attempt to create some sort of moral equivalency between it and violent Islam, flies in the face of reality. Just a few days ago, at that intellectual vacuum known as the Daily Kos, a writer who goes by the handle “Six Dollar Liberal” posted this astoundingly ignorant comment:
“We don’t call out Christianity for being a very violent religion that calls upon the execution of women, children, and homosexuals; so let’s not do it to Islam either.”
Ignoring the fact that this mental midget doesn’t know the difference between “calling upon” something and “calling for” something – this statement boggles the mind. And the writer claims he has a good understanding of Christianity – that’s why he can characterize it as “very violent.”

Hmmm. Well, I guess he’s on to our secret. The fact that we do of course regularly murder homosexuals. He’s got us there. Ha ha, guilty as charged. And of course, we also regularly kill women and children, especially if they’re not wearing the burqa – oh, wait. That’s not us.

Did I mention that his article was entitled, “In Defense of Sharia”? Good grief.

Which brings us back to our first point – that only “radical” Islam is a problem. Well… was only “radical” Nazism a problem? Because both of them are worldview political systems that seek to impose themselves… on EVERYONE. The prime minister of (Muslim) Turkey was quoted as saying, “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. All those people blowing themselves up? They have a REASON for their behavior, and it involves what their scriptures are telling them to do. Muslims who prefer to live in the relative peace and prosperity of the West are making a conscious decision to “moderate” their own religion – but as the prime minister said, it is what it is.

Speaking of Muslims in America – not all of them are here because they love liberty. Some of them are here to shake things up… to say the least. Consider the group that this week celebrated the life of the murderous tyrant Ayatollah Khomeini at a party in Washington, DC. He was “a breath of fresh air,” they said. He left a “legacy of Muslim unity and active resistance to oppression.” One of the Muslims interviewed grins as she recalls how Khomeini made the “mighty great United States seem like a paper tiger.”

Hey! How about a bunch of us get together, migrate to Iran, and then have a party there celebrating Ronald Reagan? We can all laugh together about how Khomeini acted like a scared little girl once Reagan took office. Ah yes, that would be a fun party, just like these Muslims had in DC. Except these Muslims all went home safely after THEIR party.

So, my dear leftist friend, I ask you to consider this very carefully. If AMERICAN Muslims are telling us that Khomeini left a "legacy of Muslim unity" - what does that tell us about that whole "radical Islam is the problem" school of thought?