As I look back on 2010, I see discouraging signs of cultural and political decline leading America toward dictatorship. We now have socialized medicine, government control of banking, automotive and insurance industries, and widespread acceptance of other forms of government control of our lives, such as the Bush administration-created Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), and what I would describe as a public drift toward resignation, cynicism, and nihilism. The nation is in despair. People are suffering. Economics are getting worse, not better. Freedom, individual rights and capitalism are under internal and external siege by jihadist Moslems and those who seek total government power. We are mired in wars about nothing in Iraq and Afghanistan, where thousands of our soldiers have died for nothing. On the upside, the Tea Party led a resurgence for the opposition Republican Party, which is a repudiation of the Obama administration’s nihilistic New Left agenda, and not an endorsement of those who advocate mixing religion and government. 2010 was a year that began with Scott Brown‘s victory in Massachusetts, climaxed with government-controlled medical and health insurance professions, bid farewell to actress Patricia Neal, and ended with the death of Marine Martin Russ, who warned during my 2000 interview marking the 50th year since the Korean War that communist North Korea would again invade South Korea, and the announced retirements of men of reason such as Drs. Dean Edell and Leonard Peikoff, who forecast the rise of dictatorship and jihadist Islam, the death of the medical profession and the possible end of America. Goodbye, 2010, and good riddance. Let there be passion for reason and activism and a re-enlightenment in the United States of America. That would make a very Happy New Year.
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This year, I’ve been lucky to have made some good picks from my perspective, to varying degrees of quality. What I have not reviewed on the site’s Movies section or on my blog, I have not considered worthy of comment, and I see more movies than I write about. As usual, the 2010 pictures I like tend to be more serious, romantic, and often sentimental, some say too sentimental. The older I get, and the more I see and experience, the less tolerant I am of pointless blood, guts, and violence on screen, as I think there’s too much purposeless bloodshed in real life, such as the sacrifices of our troops in the unending, non-war against jihad Islam, which people choose to forget, ignore or evade.
The better movies in 2010 include Alejandro Amenabar‘s agnostic drama Agora, which I found disturbing; Tim Burton’s surprisingly engaging Alice in Wonderland in 3D; Secretariat, which I found exhilarating in its enthusiasm for winning in contrast to The Social Network; the rousing Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe; Mao’s Last Dancer; Queen Latifah’s flawed but charming Just Wright; Disney’s animated Tangled, which is botched but a wonder in the second half; The Tillman Story; The Wolfman (a thriller with Anthony Hopkins); the predictable but endearing Letters to Juliet; Tyler Perry’s bold undertaking for Lionsgate, For Colored Girls; and, in the take-it-for-what-it-is category, Green Zone, Sex and the City 2, not nearly as awful as critics made it sound, The Last Song with Miley Cyrus, the sentimental Valentine’s Day, and Burlesque. Movies to skip: Hereafter, When in Rome, Little Fockers, Yogi Bear, It’s Complicated, How Do You Know, Dear John, and The Runaways.
Based on what I’ve seen, the best movie of 2010 is a toss-up; either the animated happy ending to childhood Toy Story 3, or the insightful The King’s Speech, an enjoyable psychological study of how a man becomes a king and how a king becomes a man.
Despite the President’s efforts to sabotage his half-hearted campaign pledge, which he stalled during the first two years of his presidency, to repeal Clinton’s idiotic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” patch on the ban on gays in the military, Barack Obama signed the repeal earlier today (in attendance: writer Lance Black, who won an Oscar for writing the Milk screenplay, and the son of a World War 2 veteran who was saved by a gay comrade during the Battle of the Bulge).
Though Obama admitted in his book Dreams From My Father to having problems with homosexuals, and he invited an anti-gay Christian to preach at his inauguration, and he defended the Clinton administration’s ban on gay marriage, which he opposes, and he has refused to denounce Islamic persecution of gays, President Obama did sign the bill, which he damned with faint praise by declaring the action “good…very good.” With no real vocal opposition among Republicans, eight of whom (including Scott Brown) supported the measure in the Senate, and with general public support, approving this law was an easy win. Some scholars have asserted that a Congressional repeal was not necessary, arguing that Obama could have issued an executive order, as Truman did when he integrated the U.S. Army. And lifting the ban on gays in the military was delayed by Obama, who sees everything in terms of race and class and is clearly uncomfortable talking about the individual rights of gays. There is also recent evidence that Republicans may be moving toward secularism on gay-related issues. Lifting the ban was a no-brainer.
However, as I have warned on this blog, gays and those who think they deserve equal protection under the law should think twice. The repeal does not take effect until “certification” and a government-mandated waiting period, challenges remain, and it is obvious that Obama, whose moral views were shaped by New Left college professors and the vicious Judeo-Christian Reverend Jeremiah Wright, will not hesitate to throw gays, blacks, and anyone else “under the bus”. Personally, I see no evidence that gays in the military constitute a threat to unit cohesion, though military readiness is best evaluated by military generals. But if undercutting gays in the military suits his higher political aims, Obama and his cohorts, who are neither enlightened nor truly liberal when it comes to the rights and progress of man, can be counted on to do it. At least Obama signed the legislation, which faith-based Bush would not have done, and the more urgent issue facing our military and our nation’s defense is not gays who choose to be open, enlist and serve; it is the policy of appeasement toward our jihadist Moslem enemies and their state sponsors, such as Iran, and the suicidal rules of engagement imposed by our military and political leaders. We already have gays in the military, we have had them for decades, and we should accept open, honest gays in the military and move on to demand that our leaders achieve the proper purpose of the military: defense of America and eradication and, as is necessary, annihilation of those who systematically subjugate all human beings, including gays: the jihadist Islamic enemy.
Amid horror stories, press reports, and public outrage over the U.S. government’s blatant violation of an American citizen’s right to travel unmolested by the state, the TSA was accepted by the American people this Thanksgiving. The TSA had recently changed its security procedures to include state-sponsored groping by government agents for those passengers who declined a full body scan, another recent addition to the TSA’s battery of dictates for Americans who travel by commercial aviation. Established under the equally wretched Homeland Security department, another monstrosity created by George W. Bush (and continued by Barack Obama), the TSA possesses and uses unprecedented power over anyone who travels in America.
Less than 10 years after middle class, college-educated Islamic terrorists boarded American jets without violating a single aviation security law, the U.S. is on its way to becoming a dictatorship.
How did this happen and why? I do not pretend to know all the answers. I do know that, as the TSA furor reached its Thanksgiving climax, something happened and we lost our rights. Judging by personal experience and observation, Americans did what, unfortunately, (today’s) Americans do. They choked. Rather than take ideas seriously, when faced with imminent and grave threat to their individual rights, they opted for total submission to government control; faith in the state.
There were no serious, widespread protests in opposition, no outbursts, no real resistance to the molestation. I think the public’s submission began in earnest with a line that has been improperly interpreted by some as having sparked an uproar. The San Diego, California, passenger who strenuously objected to the government’s handling of his “junk” unintentionally made a joke of the TSA’s existence, as anyone with a Puritanical streak who’s uncomfortable at having to think about the TSA’s legally-sanctioned violation launched into what’s become an endless parade of jokes about touching one’s “junk”.
But the human body and its most precious parts are not junk; the body is an exalted, sacred form that should be treated with respect. Not pawed at random by a government agent who’s eager to put the nation on perpetual lockdown in the meantime while the Defense Department does nothing to defend the United States of America. No, the TSA, which ought to be abolished with its host the Department of Homeland Security, will not end anytime soon. It will fester and get worse and so will the jihadist enemy and the states that sponsor them (which the U.S. government appeases).
The TSA will start to stop when Americans stop making a joke out of tyranny and cease referring to that which ought to be regarded as sacred as “junk”. It will stop when Americans start thinking, the first step toward thinking for themselves.
Remember the show about nothing? That was the tag for the popular 1990s comedy Seinfeld, which marked the rise of nihilism, the worship of the nothing, in American culture. This incessant sneering at values, any values, is rampant among what passes for today’s intellectuals: various leaders, artists, and politicians. Nihilism is everywhere, in cynical TV animated programs such as The Simpsons, South Park, and the defunct Beavis and Butthead and numerous live action examples in movies and television. From smart but cynical Seinfeld sprang smart but sniveling comedians, such as Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (with conservatives Denis Leary and Dennis Miller on the right), who routinely engage in and dominate what’s left of the nation’s political discourse. Appropriately, earlier this week, the nihilist-in-chief made an appearance (the first by a sitting president) on one of those shows, Stewart’s aptly nondescript Daily Show on Comedy Central. Just as appropriately, the twin nihilists, put-down artist paired with a put-down president, apparently talked for the duration of the program about nothing.
Now the nothing worshippers are having a rally about nothing, conveniently timed as a sort of counterstrike against those idealistic Tea Party activists who care deeply, passionately, and openly about America and have no shame in saying so. Messrs. Stewart and Colbert are planning a congregation in the nation’s capital to accomplish nothing. Presumably, their legions of fans, water cooler cynics from coast to coast, will follow like lemmings into the abyss. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, which tried desperately to make sense of the affair, the two jaded comedians are refusing to disclose details about Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” as they call it. According to an official description, it’s a rally near the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial “for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat.” Stewart told CNN’s Larry King last week: “This is not a political rally in any way, shape or form.”
Then what is it?
As indicated in the above quote, Stewart prefers to define the rally by what it is not, insisting that the rally for nothing is not intended as a response to Glenn Beck’s recent conservative rally in the same location or a rejection of the Tea Party movement. In an interview with NPR, Stewart said the rally is non-partisan and non-ideological. Last month, he told NPR: “I have no obligation to the Democrats or progressives or liberals or unions. We’re not warriors in their cause.” In fact, a Daily Show producer described the rally as a comedic call for calm, adding: “Right now we are banking a lot on the Great Pumpkin showing up.” A rally for nihilists in a city ruled, for now, by a nihilist Leonard Peikoff rightly calls America’s first New Left president? Whatever its outcome, Saturday’s rally represents the culmination of worshipping nothing, which is what millions if not most Americans have done for a long, long time. Unless Americans choose to go by reason instead of blanking out, many will be left with nothing at all. They can start by choosing to think, voting for gridlock and, for once, changing the channel.
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