By John Feeny
During the early-to-mid portion of the 1990’s, what I will call a “phenomenon of litigation” began to develop in our society. Now that I think about it, that was also probably right around the time when I first began to notice that something was “wrong” with America.
If we were to believe what we were seeing on the news, there was apparently not one, single solitary lifetime smoker who was at fault for having developed serious, smoking-related health issues.
I remember my years as a college student when I would often mutter to myself in subtle disbelief at the antics and general sense of entitlement on the part of some of the students on campus. That was during the late 1980’s. America still seemed to be a fairly common-sense place to me, but there were some things that struck me as somehow strange, most of which I began attributing to the ever-expanding menu of television and entertainment choices and the encroachment of technology. A lot of that technological stuff struck me as pretty cool, but it also seemed to be manifesting itself in some strange behavior.
It was, however, the middle of the 1990’s when (to me anyway) things seemed to turn a corner for good. I would often look at the people on the national news, stridently claiming to having been victimized by the tobacco industry’s malicious goal of “forcibly” addicting a large portion of the populace to cigarette smoke. This, in all honesty, blew my mind.
I even had a minor dust-up with my father over it, a man who had been, at a minimum, a two-pack-a-day smoker for 26 years before quitting in 1980. He eventually developed smoking-related throat cancer as a result, and he too jumped on the litigation- victimization bandwagon, claiming that it “wasn’t his fault.”
Look, he’s my dad, and I supported him throughout his ordeal with cancer, which he won and still lives a good life; but when he one day hit me with this argument and I looked at him in stunned disbelief, he seemed to take umbrage with the fact that I was essentially saying to him that he was the one who made the choice to smoke in the first place. In retrospect, I believe that this was one of the first genuine signs that we were truly beginning to lose our way as a people. No one wanted to take any personal responsibility for the consequences of their own actions. The end result of all of the litigation fallout was that the grand majority of these people–a lot of people, mind you–received a ‘bailout’ of sorts for having been irresponsible.
Further personal edification on this phenomenon happened when I watched the movie called The Insider, which starred Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, and Christopher Plummer. Many of you have no doubt seen the movie, a true story about a career tobacco industry worker-turned-whistleblower who spoke up regarding what was actually taking place in the cigarette manufacturing process. The line in the movie that truly gripped my attention, and still does to this day, was when the main character (played by Crowe) claimed in an interview that the tobacco companies had for years been using ammonia as a chemical additive so that the cigarette itself became, in effect, a direct nicotine-delivery system to the brain’s pleasure center, something that we might otherwise refer to as addiction.
Forgive me for having provided so much context here, but as I put this article together, I felt it necessary. My discussion of the rough beginnings of America’s bout with personal irresponsibility speaks for itself, but the other part of this pertains to something even more troubling. At least I think so.
Much has been made lately of the encroachment of socialist and communist ideals in our country. Many of us no doubt wonder how this cancer was allowed to grow and thrive in a free society like the United States of America, but it doesn’t take a financial doctor to point to the lack of personal responsibility, the addiction to the easy “high” brought from acquiring more and more material comfort rather than earning our keep, and utter political negligence as some of the larger factors that have landed us in this situation. I suppose we could all band together and attempt to file a class-action lawsuit against our politicians for “forcibly” addicting us to the allure of easy money, but I suspect that such an effort wouldn’t get very far with champions of the entitlement society like Sonya Sotomayor sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land. My question here, however, is simply this: what were the forces that came together that made the delivery of this mindset seemingly so seamless? What was our ammonia?
Let’s think about this, just for a moment. What are some of the “mind-altering” substances or concepts that have one of a variety of effects on the brain’s pleasure center? Well, the first two that would come to my mind are drugs and sex — it’s pretty easy to enslave a person or people with either of those, in the hands of the “right” people. What about television, however? Scientific studies have proven that anything that utilizes “video”–television, computer, video games, etc.–all work on the pleasure center of the brain and, in their own ways, can become nearly as psychologically addictive. Couple that with all of the leftist propaganda on television aimed at young people, and then roll that around your cerebral cortex for a while.
Here’s my real question, however: what about religion? Depending on the strength or degree of the individual’s faith, I think we’d all agree that while it certainly is not physically addictive, it most certainly can become a mind-altering concept and certainly a psychologically-dependent mechanism.
History tells us that when Roman Emperor Constantine was on his deathbed in the late 4th century, I believe, he supposedly converted to Christianity. As a common-sense person, it doesn’t take me too long to see right through the historical veil: Constantine, a life-long pagan (a religion based on the cyclical nature of the seasons, not Satanic worship, as many would have you believe), most assuredly did not suddenly “see the light” and the errors of his ways and open his arms to Jesus Christ at the last moment; his empire was in its initial stages of beginning to crumble (are we seeing this here?), and it needed an infusion (bailout?) of “life” that would ensure its stability, at least for a while. The religion that had been growing in strength throughout the empire from the Middle East was a “cult” called Christianity, something that Roman Emperors had for generations been trying to crush, but to no avail (is this beginning to sound vaguely familiar?). The Empire needed Christianity; Christianity needed the Empire. In Constantine’s mind, he probably saw it as a political inevitability.
Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, and the Roman Empire became the “delivery system” for Christianity. And it worked. The Roman Empire was consequently politically stabilized for about the next century, after which time it collapsed for a number of reasons. One might argue that it collapsed under its own weight, or that the relentless immigration of the Gothic hordes were simply too much for the Empire to withstand. One could even argue that Constantine’s politically adept decision was so incredibly adept that the Roman Empire lives and breathes right to this day, albeit in the form of the Roman Catholic Church. That, however, is another discussion for another time.
Today’s geo-political situation is terribly unnerving. Watching the violence that has been transpiring in Copenhagen over the last several days has made me wonder, more than ever before, about this: what if the truly terrifying ever took place — the marriage of the geo-political uber-left and radical Islam?
It would make Nazism look like a peace movement.
Look, I’ll admit that I’m thinking outside the box, but would anyone argue that we have reached a point in this country (and world, for that matter) at which we must start thinking outside the box? I’ve always been a big-picture guy; I’m always trying to look beyond the present to the eventual endgame. Let’s look at some of the characteristics, that, in my mind, anyway, are beginning to find a disturbing “point of convergence” (a tip of the cap to Randy Wills’ phrase) in Copenhagen.
There are many of us who are often bewildered by the antics of those on the radical, hard, political left. They’re violent, uncompromising, and will do anything–anything–to achieve their ends. No idea or action is off the table. Ultimately, even if they were to achieve their ends, they’d probably kill each other for no reason whatsoever. I’m being totally serious. This, my friends, is the mindset of religious fanaticism.
Many political experts whom I’ve read, people who are a lot more well-versed in this stuff than am I, have often remarked that liberalism has evolved into a cult, nearly religious in nature; look, after all, at what has happened since the release of the e-mails that have, for all intents and purposes, dropped the proverbial anvil on the global warming industry. What have been the reactions of the political left? Well, let’s see: they’ve resorted to arguing about the manner in which the e-mails were obtained (to say nothing of what’s actually in them, and tactics that they would use in a heartbeat themselves), they no longer want to answer any questions about the science, we on the right are referred to as “deniers,” and, most incredibly, the entire debate (which, apparently, has been settled for us) has been divided into “believers” and “non-believers.”
This is a faith movement, with ardent followers of the Word of Al.
Do you think that megalomaniac Al Gore sees himself as some sort of de facto god?
What would be the psychological consequences to these people if they were ever to learn that everything into which they’ve invested themselves–emotionally, politically and financially–is suddenly proven false?
Quite simply, they cannot allow that to happen.
This is a situation that is eerily similar to the persecution of Galileo and Copernicus. Both men had science on their side, much as we do on the political right; however, what is frightening about this is that while Galileo and Copernicus were not deliberately attempting to undermine the authority of the Church but rather to enlighten minds in claiming the sun to be the center of the universe, they were in fact doing just that; the Church could not have such heresy bandied about. Both men were to be forced–by inquisition if necessary–to publicly re-affirm that the earth was the center of the physical universe.
Freaked out yet?
Today, we now have a political leftist movement that has, for all intents and purposes, morphed into a cult/religion that also claims that the earth is the center of the universe, albeit the moral one. We on the right–those actually advocating real science–had better be careful, because if Copenhagen and the result of the damning e-mails are any indication, we may well be putting ourselves in line for an “inquisition” ourselves. All we have to do is look at what happened to Lord Monckton–one of the most outspoken diplomatic voices on the environmentalist movement–while he was in Copenhagen. His own account can be read HERE.
In short, people, we are living in times that are going to be discussed in the pages of future history books. I certainly hope that this is not going to be the case, but I really think that things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better.
Now, can you name another possibly burgeoning religious movement, one that we’re desperately trying to hold off (not in the sense of persecuting them for their beliefs, but in the sense of totalitarianism) here in America? Did anyone notice that almost immediately after Obama’s election, a delegate of American financiers convened in order to learn more about Sharia law? How many of us have taken note of the five-story mosque in New York that is being built a mere five blocks from Ground Zero? Who is allowing this to happen, and more importantly, why?
Like Christianity, radical Islam needs a “delivery system,” and the geo-political left needs strength to stabilize it. If only those who claim to be “liberals” had the intellectual wherewithal to realize that they’ve been painstakingly brainwashed and are no longer capable of seeing the forest for the trees.
John Feeny is the author of the recently published book, Congress Shall Make No Law…Abridging Freedom of Speech and works in secondary education at a Catholic high school in the Northeast. He and his wife, Sheila–who works in higher education–have been married for 14 years and have become increasingly alarmed with the direction of the young people in our society and what that means for the future of our society. They’ve been blessed with one son, who at 11 years old is in the process of giving John a run for his money. John has been an America’s Right contributor since September 2009.
Congress Shall Make No Law…Abridging Freedom of Speech can be purchased at Amazon.com and is currently being sold alongside the books of Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Michele Malkin at Patriots Heart Network. John can also be followed at Twitter (JJFeen).