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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The War on Joy

This post started off as a little discourse on the Christmas season and the sort of politically correct nonsense we see emerge at this time. I have previously written about how as a Jewish American diplomat I dealt with Christmas in the Far Abroad, and had my own mini run-in with the political correctness commissars. I like Christmas; I like Christmas music and cookies; I like the whole season; I like how happy it makes kids. Reflecting on happiness, however, got me in a foul mood, as you will see below.

The old irascible, politically incorrect, and acerbic sage of Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, once famously defined Puritanism as, "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Mencken today likely would want to revise his definition; Puritans and their ethos have long departed the American political and cultural scene. Today's warriors against happiness, those haunted by the "fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy" are the leftist ideologues in charge of most of our social, political, educational, and cultural institutions. Yes, of course, they have an insatiable drive for power; yes, of course, they want control over all aspects of our lives. I, however, have come to the conclusion that what really fuels them, or put it another way, the hidden turbocharge in their engine, is their hatred of joy, of happiness, and most notably of the special joy and happiness that comes with an individual expressing and exercising independence.

The manifestations of this war are everywhere in small details and in large panoramas. The war on Christmas, for example, is real. The MSNBC crowd might laugh, but the war is there for all to see. We see it, for example, in the mock outrage over Fox newscaster Megyn Kelly's comment that Jesus was white and so is Santa. Who with any amount of brains would think that the historical Jesus was black? That is utter Farrakhan nonsense. What difference, at this point, to paraphrase Hillary, does his race make if you believe he was the Messiah? Presumably we are all creatures of God regardless of race or color. The historical Jesus was a semite, a Jew. As far as I know, Arabs and Jews are considered white. Let's put it this way, he was more white than George Zimmerman whom the press had no trouble labeling as such despite his Afro-Peruvian grandmother. And Santa? Why should he be black? Should Uncle Remus be declared white? If you want you can go with the Three Wisemen, one of whom, Balthazar, in Spanish culture is black. Why ruin the holiday for the kids with this debate? Why try to ruin their joy and wonder? Why does even this issue need to be politicized? This, of course, all forms part of a broader war on the Judeo-Christian fundaments of our society. We don't need to review all that but we all can hear that "dog whistle" loud and clear.

The war on happiness and joy, of course, goes well beyond the assault on Christmas traditions. The left cannot stand the thought of individuals doing things that bring them joy and happiness. Automobiles. Yes, automobiles form a major target of this assault. Driving an automobile can bring joy, excitement, and independence into a person's life. Driving an "impractical" automobile such as a Porsche, a Corvette, a Nissan GTR, a Cadillac CTS-V, a Ferrari, or a 700Hp modified Shelby GT-500 is fun and brings joy. The leftists would have us all in grey buses, trains, and, at best, in subsidized pokey Priuses and Volts, stifling our joy and happiness in the name of protecting Gaia against a fake warming threat. They will use taxes, and EPA and safety regulations, and absurd speed limits to ruin our joy. The same with gun ownership. Guns are fun; they bring joy to the owner, and assert an individual's right to independence and self-defense. Gun ownership, of course, also limits the power of the state, and the ability of the leftists running the state to dictate the arc of our lives. We see the same in the assault on drinking, smoking, eating meat, homeschooling, and on individual choice in medical care. The state will decide which schools our children can attend, what they will learn; the state will decide our medical choices. They wage war on small businesses, which bring joy to the owners and, again assert independence, because after all, "you didn't build that."

My favorite philosopher, William James, argued that "truth" is whatever makes you happy,
“No concrete test of what is really true has ever been agreed upon. . . . If a man chooses to turn his back altogether on God and the future, no one can prevent him; no one can show beyond reasonable doubt that he is mistaken. If a man thinks otherwise and acts as he thinks, I do not see that any one can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him. . . . In all important transactions of life we have to take a leap in the dark.”
Our lefty overlords cannot accept that. They will define happiness and truth and success. There will be no "leap in the dark." At all times we must remember that our success and happiness come at the expense of someone else's. You are well-off, only because somebody else is poorly-off. We must all live in fear of AIDS, SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Global Warming; all huddle together and let the state protect us. 

Well, I will stop here before getting myself too worked up. In sum, it is best not to show that you are happy and joyful. The nannies will not like it, and whatever you're doing to make yourself happy will get taxed, regulated, or banned. So, my advice for the season: wear a dour game face. Don't let "them" know you are happy.

48 comments:

  1. Nicely said. Brilliant, even. But these lefty puritans don't count as puritans why?

    Oxford Dictionary, definition of puritan (religious-historical first definition omitted: a person with censorious moral beliefs, especially about pleasure and sex.

    Okay, it's only male heterosexual sexuality they're against, and that's not their major hobby-horse, but still, the fit is awfully good.

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  2. Never really thought about whether 'Father Christmas' or 'Santa Claus' was suppose to be white or not. So I cheated and looked inside Wikipedia for possible clues. And yes, he is indeed suppose to be white. I mean Wiki wouldn't lie to me would it ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Christmas
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus

    One this that did strike me though, was just how happy this character is portrayed. I guess that's why around this time, he's enemy number one for those of more a puritanical colour.

    PS Do they celebrate Christmas in North Korea ?

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    Replies
    1. Probably not this year. A bit too much upset in the family making dinner tense.

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    2. Looking at it logically white Christians can imagine Santa as white if they so wish, black Christians can see him as black, Asiatic Christians can see him as oriental etc etc. It is simply not an issue. I read once that the image of Santa Claus - fat, jolly, white bearded and red suited was invented by Coca-Cola around 1930.

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    3. "A bit too much upset in the family making dinner tense." "Obamacare" holiday dinner talk, North Korean version.

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    4. I read that the aunt was estranged from the uncle for a couple of years so perhaps she denounced him?

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    5. Apparently the uncle was a former lover of Kim's current wife. It seems she was in a singing group with a former lover of Kim's. She had the old girl friend and most of the singing group machined gunned. It seems Kim's wife is doing some cleaning up of her past, probably with the help of Kim's aunt. There's getting to be a lot of former formers.

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    6. How dare King Wenceslas and Sears conspire against us! (micro-aggresses in a pathetic passive aggressive way).

      leaperman

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  3. "If a man thinks otherwise and acts as he thinks, I do not see that any one can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him." Not mistaken, but wrong???
    This is incoherent at best. The entire statement is a formula for moral nihilism at worst. Truth is what is in accordance with objective reality.

    Meanwhile, it isn't just a case of the modern puritanoids hating what gives others joy, they hate all of life, and more specifically how those that aren't coastal elites and/or approved oppressed minorities live. Buck-toothed, cousin-breeding, NASCAR-driving, gun-toting, bible thumping trailer trash hicks in flyover country need not apply.

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  4. 'utter Farrakhan nonsense' That's gold, Bob.

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  5. I just read your 'Christmas From The Far Abroad', very witty Bob. You mentioned Noam Chomsky, whenever I see that name in print it always reminds me of a rather unappetising Soviet-era candy bar.

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    Replies
    1. "Soviet-era candy bar" . . . must steal that and never give credit . . .

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    2. Fine by me Bob, it's your blog and we post at our peril!

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    3. A Soviet era candy bar....I love that! Why didn't I think of that before?

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    4. Before or after digestion?

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    5. 'A Noam Chomsky a day helps you work work and work some more in the Gulag!'

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    6. Putin was smart enough to never eat a soviet era candy bar. He ordered out.
      leaperman

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  6. Of course some people have rather odd ideas of holiday cheer such as Nguema of Equatorial Guinea :
    " During Christmas of 1975 he ordered about 150 of his opponents killed. Soldiers dressed up in Santa Claus costumes executed them by shooting at the football stadium in Malabo, while amplifiers were playing Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days".[8]

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  7. Well,neither joy or fun is approved by the Collective. Only the struggle and the Revolution brings joy, The Revolution is all.

    Scumbags all of them .

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  8. Matt, the Seventh ReaderDecember 15, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    My town puts up a nativity scene with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph etc. on the lawn of the city hall. There is also a large menorah and a great number of lights around the trees. This warms my atheist heart. Few things annoy me as much as when militant atheists rail about Christmas decorations on public land. When someone wishes me a "happy holiday" I respond with "Merry Christmas".




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  9. Know why puritans don't have sex while standing up? They are afraid that someone might see them and think they are dancing.

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    Replies
    1. I thought that was Baptists?

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    2. No, the Baptists have bruises all over from dancing in the closet.

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    3. James! I am shocked. shocked I say, that you believe baptists dance in closets. No, they dance in big tents.

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  10. Excellent analysis, Dip. I've long thought the leftists hate the thought of people going about their lives, grabbing happiness where they can find it, though it is sore lacking these days. Happy Holidays to All! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy Hanukkah!

    Liberty Grace's Grandma

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  11. While I most often agree with the DiploMad, I find I must disagree with him here.
    The American Left, you see, does not seek the destruction of joy. Instead, what it seeks is the destruction of all forms of joy that are not approved of by professors and graduates of various "studies" programs.
    Between them and us, you see, there are some commonalities: togetherness with family (although their programs undermine said entity), talking with friends, and being out on God's green earth (although they would say 'enjoying Gaea'). But, unlike us, the Left takes joy in deliberately destroying tradition, in tweaking the noses of we, the inhabitants of Flyover Country, and in congratulating themselves on how "diverse" and "progressive" they are--when in reality, they are neither.

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  12. I have one better than the "dour game face"; A slightly silly vacuous grin. That seems to keep em off my back. I wear it at cocktail parties and .ppt meetings least a little contempt leaks through.

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    Replies
    1. I just let them talk and smile vacuously, as you say, (little dribble helps too) and then say, "You sure talk purty."
      Stumps the F*ckers every time.
      leaperman

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  13. In a post written by a cop linked by Instapundit on how to deal with cops if you are stopped, one of the rules was don't smile. "Cops don't like smiles."

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  14. I must disagree with you about leftists and Puritans. They are both found highly concentrated in the northeast, oppose anything that is fun and are obsessive about their religion, which in modern times is environmentalism.

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  15. In keeping with my tradition of [mis]paraphrasing Obama ... If I had a son he'd look like Aaron Alexis.

    If you like your happiness you can keep it.

    Merry Christmas Dip, fellow Readers.

    Arkie

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  16. A fine rant, Diplomad. Joy will be permitted in approved forms, but it must have its papers in order.

    Regarding the Puritans and the modern Left, however, I'm not so sure that we aren't looking at two prominences of a single, partially submerged massif.

    From Mencius Moldbug:

    *********

    "You see, the problem is not just that our present system of government - which might be described succinctly as an atheistic theocracy - is accidentally similar to Puritan Massachusetts. As anatomists put it, these structures are not just analogous. They are homologous. This architecture of government - theocracy secured through democratic means - is a single continuous thread in American history.

    An excellent historical description of this continuity is George McKenna's Puritan Origins of American Patriotism - it gets a little confused in the 20th century, but this is to be expected. However, as a demonstration, I am particularly partial to one particular primary source - this article from 1942, which I found somehow in Time Magazine's wonderful free archive."

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    Replies
    1. I wrote my own reply to our esteemed host's comments on Puritanism. I, for one, believe firmly that the weakness of the Puritan tradition in Christian faith is the wide-open door for our current creeping smiley-face totalitarianism.

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  17. "it is best not to show that you are happy and joyful. The nannies will not like it"

    No you have got it wrong. Be cheerful, smile and tell jokes. Not only will the nannies [progressives a.k.a leftards] not like it but it will make their little empty heads explode. And that is a sight to please any libertarian's heart.

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  18. Dear Mr. Orwell,

    I know you have long since passed, but please have someone publish an official guide detailing how you do *not* approve of the villainous fantasy philosophies in your books. Apparently this is unclear because liberals keep attempting to implement them in the USA.

    It's indeed a brave new world, thanks George.

    - reader #1482

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    Replies
    1. Those animals think they are on animal farm and that Lewis told them they are all equal.
      pshaw!

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. Excellent. Thank you. And for me, most disturbing, is they rob the children of the joys of childhood, including the joy of imagination and discovery that helps them become creative, capable, confident, joyful and self reliant individuals in their own right.



    pmc

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  21. OT, or maybe next thread for the Diplomad.

    What do you think of the US vs India contretemps?
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/17/india-retaliates-against-us-over-arrest-diplomat/

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    1. Both sides are being idiotic. There was no reason to handcuff the Indian diplomat by the NYPD on the basis of an unverified complaint that she was paying less than minimum wage to her maid. On the other side, the Indians know that she did not have diplomatic immunity since she is consular personnel and has immunity only in connection with her work. The Indian reaction is stupid and makes them look childish especially since--I can almost guarantee you--that the Indian consular officer was not paying minimum as required in her visa for the maid.

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    2. How she was arrested sounds excessive, but even a US citizen probably couldn't win that as a police brutality suit. NYPD is not a Federal Government entity, nor is it working off Federal authority.
      OTOH, while I don't know whose authority is removing the security barriers, revoking the diplomatic credentials would be the National authority of India.

      What would you think of ... If the Credentials are revoked, those people and their families are sent home, and only those people -who have been sent away- have authority to sign visas and other forms and authorizations benefiting India.

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    3. The Indians are coming off a slew of gang rapes and prosecutions, with public outcries and mobs roaming around protesting.

      I think the US feeling up an Indian woman and violating her body cavities is perhaps, not something the Indians felt they needed at the same time US publications were criticizing Indian rape and sexual harassment laws.

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  22. "Puritans and their ethos have long departed the American political and cultural scene..."

    Mr. Mad, I beg to differ with you. I, one of your loyal fans, quite unabashedly declare myself a Puritan. I am a Christian of the Reformed ("Calvinistic") persuasion who believes very firmly that there is no other Jesus Christ than the one presented in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, that the Bible is the necessary and sufficient rule of faith and practice, and that the Holy Spirit speaking through it is free to criticize the day-to-day practice of the church. Further, as a Puritan, I am a firm believer in government being a matter of compact between governors and governed; that law (defined ultimately as divine and natural rather than positive) is politically superior to the ruler; and that powers of government must necessarily be limited, for it is a divine institution set up to protect human life, and hence no sinner or group thereof may be allowed too much power (which is bound to be abused).

    Before we fall for the myth that this idea of limited government is an "enlightenment" artefact, let me stress that it was taught by a galaxy of thinkers who adhered to beliefs we'd call "Puritan": Samuel Rutherford, Christopher Goodman, Theodore Beza, Francois Hotman, John Knox, Philippe Sieur Du Plessis-Morney, Hubert Languet, Philippus Marnix van Sint Aldegonde, Johannes Althusius, John Ponet, and numerous others. In Book IV of his _Institutes_, John Calvin himself states that the ideal government is a combination of democracy and aristocracy (sound vaguely familiar to anyone who's had 9th grade civics around here?). It is no accident that our sort of constitutional republic took root and flourished among people schooled in Reformed Protestantism (the heirs of the Swiss Reformation; as opposed to the Anabaptists, Lutherans, Anglicans).

    Indeed, the great 16th and 17th debate over royal absolutism was one over the proper interpretation of I Samuel 8 and Deuteronomy 17. The Puritans and continental brethren took the position that the latter text required that the monarch be subject to law, while the latter's mishpat hamalek was not the "right of a king", but the "manner of a king", and took I Sam. 8 as a warning of what a monarch "like unto those of the nations" might do to the people. There is much on this issue in all the writers I cite, except the waffling Calvin (who used the Vulgate's ius rex).

    One of the reasons why some of us are very disturbed by big government, the cult of the Great Leader O, and the like is because our Puritan beliefs are still very much part of our makeup.

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  23. Not letting "Them" know we're happy sounds like the same tactic of avoiding detection by the pod-people in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

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  24. You missed one point:
    There are influential Jews who have said in public and in print that for Jews to celebrate Christmas is as bad as any atrocity committed against Jews. There is a very strong Jewish link (in addition to the leftist one) to anti-Christian / anti-Christmas activity.

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  25. Lewis,

    You need a laugh. go read some curmudgeon.....
    Adaptive Curmudgeon.

    https://adaptivecurmudgeon.wordpress.com/

    leaperman

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