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America’s New Theocracy

Liberals and the Gospel of Banning.

By 3.14.13

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Welcome to America’s New Theocracy.

Please take a pew while we kneel reverently and pray the Gospel of Banning.

Guns. Soda. Salt. SUVs. Trans Fats. Plastic bags.

Have I mentioned:

Styrofoam.
Fracking.
The Bible.
Rush Limbaugh.
Conservative talk radio.
Fox News.
Plastic bags.
Smoking.
Shark fin soup.
Bacon.
Paper Bags
Oil.
Coal.
The internal combustion engine.
Incandescent light bulbs.

And don’t forget the Foie Gras.

One could keep going, but suffice to say these things are on the short list of things liberals in America either have banned or seek to ban. All with a religious fervor that puts those celebrating yesterday’s selection of Pope Francis to shame.

And these liberals think the Puritans were up tight?

At a certain point… have we reached a certain point?

One can only ask the obvious: What is going on in America when the once upon famous description “Banned in Boston” has now morphed into a quasi-religious liberal campaign to ban almost everything, almost everywhere?

The phrase “Banned in Boston,” it is good to remind, came originally because the literary work of one William Pynchon -- that would be 1651’s The Meritous Price of Our Redemption (which is actually still sold on Amazon for a mere $111.00) -- outraged the ruling Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Author Pynchon, a one-time treasurer of the colony, took aim at what he considered to be the colony’s theocratically minded ruling class. Suffice to say, his book was not appreciated by theocracy bosses. Nor was Pynchon, who was so scorned he eventually found himself on a boat for a one-way return trip to England a year after the publication of his book. 

Pynchon’s book became the first of several centuries worth of literary works (and later, films) to be, literally, “banned in Boston,” although the actual phrase wasn’t coined until the 19th century. One Anthony Comstock, a moral crusader and creator of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, took it upon himself to become the watchdog of public morality. Comstock, a postal inspector by trade, persuaded Congress to enact what became known as the “Comstock Law” in 1873, in which it became illegal to send "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" material through the U.S. mails.

During his crusade Comstock discovered that he was receiving particularly strong support from the good citizens of Boston, the descendants of the banners of William Pynchon’s troublesome 1651 book. Boston was now regularly banning literary works the town fathers considered too racy. This included H.L. Mencken’s magazine The American Mercury. Mencken promptly showed up in 1926 Boston with a copy of his banned-in-Boston magazine in hand -- and was just as promptly arrested. His case was dismissed by a local judge and the Sage of Baltimore sued the Boston group that had targeted him, winning on the grounds of restraint of trade. But banning rolled on in Boston, the tide finally turning with a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, Memoirs v. Massachusetts (the book was a 1749 hottie titled Fannie Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure). The case clamped down on municipalities (read: Boston and any other localities similarly inclined) who took upon themselves the role of literary nanny.

But now?

Now, banning is back. Big time.

And in perhaps the most interesting role-reversal since Freaky Friday -- in which suburban Mom Jamie Lee Curtis switches bodies with teen-age daughter Lindsay Lohan thanks to a strange Chinese fortune cookie -- no longer is banning the be-all-and-end-all of blue nosed puritanical Bostonians and their hero Anthony Comstock.

In today’s America banning is the Gospel of America’s new theocrats -- liberals. 

That liberals are obsessed with banning is beyond doubt. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s momentarily failed-in-court attempt at ridding his city of the 16 ounce soda (or “sugary drink” as it is quaintly called) being but the latest, much publicized example.

The question is not that liberals are obsessed with banning. They are. The real question is -- why? Well beyond the specific person or thing they seek to ban -- what compels people in a free society to go out of their way to ban someone or something that a considerable number of their fellow citizens see as part of the warp and woof of American society?

The answer, it appears, derives from the leftist longing for control. And the perceived threat that the object of the ban is seen as posing to that control.

Let’s run through a few of the people or things that are targets of the liberal American Theocracy.

• Rush Limbaugh: The conservative talk show host is every liberal’s favorite target. As seen in this particular call from feminist Gloria Steinem and actress Jane Fonda to shut off Rush’s microphone. But what is the real reason liberals want Rush banished from the air waves? From the moment in 1988 that Rush Limbaugh burst into the nation’s consciousness, he has been a threat of considerable force to the liberal dominance of the way the news is interpreted. Or, for that matter, the definition of what is news in the first place. In short, the control of the national narrative, once monopolized by liberals from the New York Times and Washington Post to the three broadcast networks, was at last under serious challenge. Control of was lost -- and that is a threat to the liberal theocracy. Thus: Ban Rush.

Fracking: The practice of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve natural gas has environmentalists in a panic. Last year Vermont, now a liberal paradise, went after fracking with all the zeal of those uptight Bostonians furious about Fannie Hill. The practice was banned amidst much political fanfare from the state’s liberal governor. And Vermont isn’t alone in this effort. New York, for example is already four years into a ban on fracking. Reason: Every one of the anti-fracking arguments presented by environmentalists -- climate change, water and air pollution, public health -- essentially all boil down to the same issue. In the liberal drive to control America’s energy future, fracking is a decided threat to that control. What are two of the component parts of the liberal coalition? Environmentalists -- and unions. And as illustrated in this pro-fracking op-ed in the New York Post by Greg Lancette of the New York State Pipetrades Association, “a group of 14 local unions whose 25,000 members perform plumbing, heating, cooling and sprinkler installations” -- fracking means one thing: jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Which is to say, not only is fracking seen as a direct threat to the liberal environmentalist narrative of who controls America’s environmental narrative of what is and is not good for the environment, fracking threatens liberal control of its own coalition members. Thus: Ban Fracking.

Salt: Mayor Bloomberg may have won himself the scornful nickname of "Nanny Bloomberg," yet he isn’t the only one who wants to ban salt from restaurants. Bloomberg’s ban applies to New York City eateries. But New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn liberal, is determined to extend the same ban to all of New York State. Why? Well, it seems that Ortiz’s father, according to the New York Times, “used salt excessively for years and developed high blood pressure and had a heart attack.” So? So back in 2010 Ortiz was determined to control other people’s health so that what happened to his Dad wouldn’t happen to yours -- or you or your loved ones. It’s all in the compassion, you see? Thus his proposal, here in legislative language:

No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off the premises.

Which is to say, in the quest to control your health -- and in theory the cost of health care -- Ortiz will ban salt.

• The Bible: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell called for banning the Bible from the Obama presidential inauguration ceremony -- and Twitter went in to overdrive with liberals demanding the Bible be banned -- period. In Arizona, the Arizona Book Banning and Burning Board, a division of the Arizona Department of Education, decided the Bible should be banned because the Bible is “totally biased in favor of the Jews" and teaching the "superiority of the Jewish race." Yet again, the idea is control. Control the narrative of life in American society -- and the official recognition of the role of religion in American life, whether in a presidential inaugural or an Arizona class room -- is a decided obstacle to that narrative of a secular America.

And so it goes with the liberal desire to control not just their life but your life. A desire that is now sanctified as the Gospel of Banning.

You will be safer, reads the Gospel of Banning, if we ban SUVs. The rest of us will be safer if we ban guns. The environment will be safer if we ban Styrofoam, plastic bags and stop slurping down shark fin soup. And those poor ducks and geese will once again be treated humanely now that California has banned foie gras. And all of America will be better off if they can just ban that damn Rush Limbaugh and get Fox News off the air. Not to mention stop the kids from reading the Bible.

But… why?

Why this obsessive need to control -- literally -- every last detail of your life? From how you season your food to what you drive to how you throw away your garbage to whom you listen to on the radio to how America gets its energy?

Control. Control. Control.

The very nature of the American Left -- of the Left period -- is about control.

Control is at the heart of the Gospel of Banning.

It recalls these words:

The Left is about a:

…cheap-jack Utopia….inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State…they hunger for controls of every kind….There is to be one State to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State is to be the arch-employer, the arch-planner, the arch-administrator and ruler….(It) is an attack…upon the right of the ordinary man or woman to breathe freely without having a harsh, clumsy, tyrannical hand clapped across their mouths and nostrils.

No, Mark Levin didn’t write that in Ameritopia or Liberty and Tyranny.

The man who said this was… Winston Churchill.

In fact, Churchill said it during the campaign leading up to his stunning loss for prime minister in 1945. And as we now know, that election sent Britain on a 34 year experiment with British Socialism that eventually came crashing down as the country was swamped with a virtual bankruptcy, repeated labor strikes, high unemployment and inflation. Resulting in the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. 

Through those 34 years Britain had Labour Party prime ministers and Conservative Party prime ministers -- including a second round with Churchill from 1951-1955. Yet through those 34 years, not unlike America shifting back and forth between liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans in the White House, the British state continued to grow -- and grow -- grow.

Sooner or later, Thatcher famously noted, you run out of other people’s money. Defeating her own former prime minister Edward Heath for leader of the Conservatives, Thatcher swept to victory. Spending the next eleven years reversing the long decline of the British economy and totally reshaping British life.

What is happening right now in America with all these various -- and rapidly increasing -- demands to ban this , that or the other is in fact what Mark Levin more than accurately calls an assault on American “liberty, the character of our country, and our way of life.” Levin adding that “if we do not come to grips with the significance of this transformation, we will be devoured.”

All of this Gospel of Banning to achieve what Churchill called a “cheap-jack Utopia” and Levin “Ameritopia.”

When these statists are into everything from your salt shaker to your soda to your garbage bag, and gun cabinet, when they insist you can’t read the Bible or slurp shark fin soup or listen to Rush Limbaugh or drive an SUV -- this will not end well.

And that’s before you get fined for not buying your mandated health insurance.

The ultimate irony?

The very people who shriek the loudest about the danger of an American theocracy based on religion -- something that has never happened under the Constitution, nor can it -- are well on their way to creating the secular version of just that.

Welcome to the new American Theocracy.

Does anybody have any salt?

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.