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Illuminations from Black Friday

They call it Black Friday. I call it The Annual Running Of The Shoppers. Almost as hallowed a tradition as the day that precedes it, Black Friday is the day when the same people who a day earlier were humbly thanking and beseeching The Almighty for His past and future graces, commence stomping, pounding and treading roughshod over their fellow man to get to the merchandise. Wander into the path of this stampede and you’ll be trampled, squashed, and flattened into an exquisite section of wall-to-wall carpeting with a few teeth at one end. Remember the old song? 

Fast away the old year passes, 

Fa la la la laaa, la la la la

‘Tis the day to kick some asses, 

Fa la la la laaa, la la la la…

Driving from Michigan into the south side of Chicago today, I felt as if I were suddenly swept away in a great cyclone of vehicles careening across all lanes of traffic, cutting each other off with only a hair’s clearance. Driving as if by the Divine Guidance of an Indecisive Divinity, more than one vehicle would suddenly catapult from the far left lane across five or six lanes of traffic, causing the occupants of those lanes to take evasive action, and nearly fly across the exit ramp too. I assume they all made it to their destination undeservedly safe.

Matt Drudge chronicles the blood sport of Black Friday as always: There’s the report of a gang fight at a mall in Grand Rapids. In San Antonio, a man started punching his way to the front of the line until a gentleman who was not well disposed to being punched pulled a gun on him. I like Texas. In Santa Monica, shoppers smashed through the glass doors of Urban Outfitters, injuring five in their number. Customers have been run over in the parking lot, security officers have been maced, and five men robbed a 14 year old boy outside of a Bed Bath and Beyond in Baltimore. Those who say the country is going to hell will not go wanting for evidence today.

What’s that? A tap on the shoulder and the voice of the progressive saying, “Well, what did you expect, Bourgeois Breath? I thought you liked greed!” Ah, but here he steals a base too many, because greed is the exclusive feature of neither the left nor the right. The liberal who views as greedy the entrepreneur who seeks to protect his earnings from governmental appetites, never quite sees the greed in his own forcible acquisition of the property that someone else earned. Instead, he tells the entrepreneur that, “somebody else built that,” and then makes off with the goods under the guise of egalitarianism, and at the point of an IRS gun. Besides, there are nine other commandments that mankind has been busy circumventing since Moses delivered the stone tablets.

Freedom, unmoored from the moral imperative, is license. As John Adams observed, “We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality or religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” This year’s Black Friday headlines illuminate the consequences of the disconnection of freedom from virtue, which disconnection the left has been successfully pursuing in America’s classrooms for decades. As syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz recently wrote on Twitter, “We have EXACTLY the type of people in this country today those who created our govt education system 100 years ago intended for us to have.”

The result is a sort of cultural cancer that seems all but incurable. Like the union which recently killed an entire company and over 18,000 jobs, the cancer invades and then destroys the host organization. “I really can’t afford to not be working, but this is not worth it.” said 46 year old Kenneth Johnson, an employee of Hostess until his union killed the business, adding, “I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment.” So there you have it! Destroy one business and thousands of jobs, and then move on to another company or onto the growing list of people on the public dole. At least cancer doesn’t jump from one body to the next. This is more like a locust problem.

The majority of the voting public has, as Governor Romney correctly observed, decided that it’s more blessed to receive than to give, and that receiving is certainly to be preferred over producing. Fine. Just like the union members at Hostess, they will reap the rewards. But conservatives are under no commensurate obligation to blunt our assessments or dilute our principles. We need not take seriously criticisms of greediness from public sector unions who bleed the taxpayers dry, and we are entitled to answer their claim that, “it’s for the children,” with the observation that teacher’s unions do as much in the furtherance of education as Madonna does in the furtherance of chastity. Nor should we take seriously the claims of moderates, whose moderation we just bet the country on and lost, that what we need is yet more moderation.

We ought not go quietly into the awful night that awaits, but should instead shine what light of liberty remains on the disastrous folly of the utopian and his apologists on both sides of the aisle. When the madness has run its course, perhaps enough people will be receptive to such enduring truths as that free men and free markets are practically, historically, and morally superior to the continued effronteries and failures of societies planned by self appointed masterminds. Until then, let the progressive look askance at the decidedly immoderate behavior of The Annual Running Of The Shoppers, and learn the hard way that no government program can transcend or perfect human nature. 

  1. Lavaux

    Outstanding piece of writing, Dave! Thanks for synthesizing and sharing your road musings.

    America enjoys the benefits of many talented patriots. So when the bloody-minded savages get you down, think about the Ricochetti on the other side of the equation.

  2. Neolibertarian

    When I was 8 or 9, my older brothers explained to me that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I felt disoriented and disillusioned.

    Later on, I grew up, got married and had children. Then I found out the truth. There is such a thing a Santa Claus. First he’d been my father, and now I was Santa Claus.

    It all made perfect sense to me, finally. My illusions had been redeemed.

    You gotta understand, Dave, that those poor dumb bastards clawing over each other for the Chromebooks, Converse Tennis Shoes and Call of Duty Black Ops are doing so because my Johnny and my Sally deserve a Wonderful Christmas.

    Best of intentions…and all that.

    Yeshua tells us: “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

    There’s never been a greater gathering of rich men than in the United States, has there? During the Gilded Age, the US economy overtook even the great European empires. The US economy was the richest on earth, even when in the throws of the Great Depression.

    Perhaps liberty can’t survive its own successes.

  3. Gretchen

    “Well, what did you expect, Bourgeois Breath?  I thought you liked greed!”  Ah, but here he steals a base too many, because greed is the exclusive feature of neither the left nor the right

    It is perhaps worth considering the distinction between “greed”, the desire to keep what is yours, and its counterpart, “envy”, the desire to have what belongs to someone else.

    The Ten Commandments say nothing about greed, but do admonish us not to steal what belongs to another; not to covet what belongs to another; and not to bear false witness, a temptation often born of envy. On this score at least, it would seem that progressives have nothing to hold against conservatives. And that private property rights are pretty firmly grounded in the Scriptures they love to throw in our faces.

  4. Macsen
    Dave Carter

    Jimmy Carter:’Tis the day to kick some asses..

    Boy, You ain’t kiddin’.

    When the madness has run its course, perhaps enough people will be receptive to such enduring truths as that free men and free markets are practically, historically, and morally superior to the continued effronteries and failures of societies planned by self appointed masterminds.

    This is true, but You can’t rely on “enough people” to be “receptive to such enduring truths.” I just don’t see it. The default condition, for the majority, is slavery. · 1 minute ago

    Well, enough people caught on in 1776.  It can happen again.  At some point.  Maybe.  In any event, it’s a goal to strive toward.  · 9 hours ago

    If memory serves, and my history teacher was right, it didn’t even take a majority back in 1776.

  5. prolix_redux

    Dittos on the deftness of this piece. I particlarly liked this observation:

    “This year’s Black Friday headlines illuminate the consequences of the disconnection of freedom from virtue, which disconnection the left has been successfully pursuing in America’s classrooms for decades.”

    But…hang on…

    I assumed that our public education and college systems, the main blades that have severed liberty from morality, had excised from us the rapaciousness of our founders, they being nasty white racist European male homophobes and all.

    What could possibly have gone wrong?

  6. Group Captain Mandrake

    What a great piece of writing.  Thank you.

    In San Antonio, a man started punching his way to the front of the line until a gentleman who was not well disposed to being punched pulled a gun on him.  

    Priceless.

  7. grotiushug

     

    Dave Carter   

    The majority of the voting public has, as Governor Romney correctly observed, decided that it’s more blessed to receive than to give, and that receiving is certainly to be preferred over producing.  

    As always, Dave, well said.

    I wonder whether in the coming years Romney’s 47% “gaffe” will come to seem common sense, rather like (it seems) a growing number of Brits are wondering where the scandal was in Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech. With luck it won’t take 40 years for that to happen.

  8. Dave Carter
    C
    grotiushug:  …I wonder whether in the coming years Romney’s 47% “gaffe” will come to seem common sense, rather like (it seems) a growing number of Brits are wondering where the scandal was in Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech. With luck it won’t take 40 years for that to happen. · 0 minutes ago

    I’m hoping 40 years isn’t an optimistic assessment. 

  9. Dave Carter
    C
    Group Captain Mandrake: What a great piece of writing.  Thank you.

    In San Antonio, a man started punching his way to the front of the line until a gentleman who was not well disposed to being punched pulled a gun on him.  

    Priceless. · 23 minutes ago

    Thank you, sir. 

  10. Jimmy Carter

    ‘Tis the day to kick some asses..

    Boy, You ain’t kiddin’.

    When the madness has run its course, perhaps enough people will be receptive to such enduring truths as that free men and free markets are practically, historically, and morally superior to the continued effronteries and failures of societies planned by self appointed masterminds.

    This is true, but You can’t rely on “enough people” to be “receptive to such enduring truths.” I just don’t see it. The default condition, for the majority, is slavery.

  11. Dave Carter
    C
    Jimmy Carter:’Tis the day to kick some asses..

    Boy, You ain’t kiddin’.

    When the madness has run its course, perhaps enough people will be receptive to such enduring truths as that free men and free markets are practically, historically, and morally superior to the continued effronteries and failures of societies planned by self appointed masterminds.

    This is true, but You can’t rely on “enough people” to be “receptive to such enduring truths.” I just don’t see it. The default condition, for the majority, is slavery. · 1 minute ago

    Well, enough people caught on in 1776.  It can happen again.  At some point.  Maybe.  In any event, it’s a goal to strive toward. 

  12. wilber forge

    Likey  Gladatorial Shopping is just a sample of the Bread and Circuses to come.

  13. EThompson

    The liberal who views as greedy the entrepreneur who seeks to protect his earnings from governmental appetites, never quite sees the greed in his own forcible acquisition of the property that someone else earned.

    Just, just… quite perfectly expressed!

  14. Dave Carter
    C
    EThompson:The liberal who views as greedy the entrepreneur who seeks to protect his earnings from governmental appetites, never quite sees the greed in his own forcible acquisition of the property that someone else earned.

    Just, just… beautifully expressed! · 0 minutes ago

    Thank you kindly.  The toughest challenge was to not cuss. 

  15. BlueAnt
    Dave Carter

    What’s that?  A tap on the shoulder and the voice of the progressive saying,”Well, what did you expect, Bourgeois Breath?  I thought you liked greed!” Ah, but here he steals a base too many, because greed is the exclusive feature of neither the left nor the right.

    Very true.  And inform that progressive jerk that the people scrambling over bodies for a $5 discount are exactly the people whose intellect he praises when they vote for the candidate promising bigger government.

    (Not because bargain hunters are liberals; but they are “the masses”, the non-millionaires and people with tight budgets, who are targeted by the progressive’s promises of government largess.  Those average shoppers who do not fall for the pitch are labelled as fools who “vote against their economic interest” and confound liberal writers and pundits.)

    Kenneth Johnson, an employee of Hostess until his union killed the business, adding,”I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment.” 

    But but but… the Democrats swore that unemployment benefits did not discourage job seeking and productive labor!  Surely they wouldn’t lie to us?!?  Clearly, reality is the liar here…

  16. AIG

    I liked your last paragraph. Especially your last sentence. It has applications not just for the left, but for the right too, lest we forget.  

    In “defense” of the “people”, however, I would venture to guess that the hordes represent far less than 1% of the population, so maybe we shouldn’t generalize the behavior of a few. The real question is, have these people never heard of the internet?

  17. Macsen
    prolix_redux:

    (snip)

    But…hang on…

    I assumed that our public education and college systems, the main blades that have severed liberty from morality, had excised from us the rapaciousness of our founders, they being nasty white racist European male homophobes and all.

    What could possibly have gone wrong? · 2 hours ago

    HAHAHAHaHaHahahaha!!(snort)

    Heheheheheheh…

    Dude- yer killin’ me.

  18. Nanda Panjandrum

    Exquisitely evocative, as ever, Dave…Thanks and stay safe out there.

  19. Eeyore

    “When the madness has run its course

    Ah, but there be the rub, sir. The madness has been going on for so many decades. We’ve reelected the American Idol President. I think if there is one face literally and figuratively representative of this Idol-ization of the nation, it’s host/producer/talk show guy, Idol’s Ryan Seacrest. At 37, he was born just a few months after I did my student teaching in a high school where the history text had two paragraphs on Abraham Lincoln and five pages on Marilyn Monroe.

    We’re still a couple of decades behind Europe in “the madness”. I don’t know if there was pushback, but I heard that British history texts have dropped Winston Churchill. Not purged in a Stalin-style manner, but he is simply not considered important enough to be included in a basic overview of British history.

    And Sweden(?) has proposed dropping national history requirements altogether. It was something like “Such a large proportion of the population consists of immigrants, for whom the nation’s past has no relevance…”

    Dave, the end of this course of “madness” is not yet even faintly in sight.

  20. Dave Carter
    C
    Eeyore:”When the madness has run its course…”

    Dave, the end of this course of “madness” is not yet even faintly in sight. · 2 minutes ago

    I wish I could argue the point with you, but I can’t.  I doubt it will finish its ruination in our lifetime.  I’m looking at the long game.  

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