- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

No superheroes

“I recently saw the film ‘V for Vendetta’ and looked over some fairly obscure books with a similar theme — overthrow of an evil Establishment by heroic resistance. …

“I was cheered when early in the film it was declared that governments ought to be afraid of their people, rather than people being afraid of their governments. That sums up the spirit of the American War of Independence as well as any concise statement can.

“But nonetheless the overthrow of tyranny in the film left me disquieted. And not because of the trendy and unbelievable portrayal of the oppression of sodomites as the supreme evil of a tyrannical government. There is the same problem here as with Ayn Rand’s John Galt and other similar stories. The overthrow of oppression is seen as the work of a single superhuman individual. I do not think it ever has been that way in the real world.

“The overthrow of tyrannical government requires the collective action of strong elements of a society, not the intervention of a superhero. The barons extracting the Magna Carta from King John at Runnymede; the people of the 13 colonies through their own legislatures and militias throwing out the royal government in 1775; Polish Solidarity bringing down Communism.

“Our culture seems to have lost awareness of or hope in the true pursuit of liberty. The longing for liberation by a superman is not a solution, but is part of the problem.”

— Clyde Wilson, writing on “The Way We Are Now, Ad Infinitum,” Nov. 27 in Chronicles Online at www.chronicles magazine.org

Populist twist

“Populism is one of the more elusory themes in American politics — and in terms of electoral utility, one of the most potent in this country without kings. … Those who tap that current touch something primal — and for decades the Democrats did. …

“In 1964, George Wallace took to the national stage … blasting ‘Eastern money interests’ and ‘bearded bureaucrats.’ … By the time Wallace left the party — taking 10 million votes with him — he had translated populism from economic to social terms, breaking Democrats’ grip on working-class whites in the process. Toiling in the civil-rights vineyard, the Left anticipated a replacement constituency even as they too redefined roles — in reverse. Those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder previously designated ‘the people’ were now cast as ‘the powerful’ because of the color of their skin.”

— Kara Hopkins, writing on “Return of the Native,” in the Dec. 4 issue of the American Conservative

No reason for the season

“The Christkindl, or Christmas Fairy, is welcome at a Christmas festival in Chicago. So is Santa Claus. But a film about the birth of Jesus has provoked city officials to lower the boom.

“Chicago officials deny actually ordering Christkindlmarket officials to cancel an exhibit of ‘The Nativity Story.’ They just sort of asked them to dump it. …

“Judging from recent movies, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward unselfconscious celebration of Christmas so long as it’s safely secularized, as in ‘The Santa Claus III,’ ‘Deck the Halls,’ ‘Elf,’ ‘Christmas with the Kranks,’ etc. …

“What’s still problematic, judging by Chicago officialdom’s absurd stance, is public acknowledgement of the Reason for the Season — the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World.”

— Robert H. Knight, writing on “In Chicago, a Fairy and Santa Are In, Jesus Is Out,” Friday in Human Events Online at www.humanevents.com

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