Well, that only took decades.
Who knew that the Leftist Playbook would finally get seriously winged by a duck caller?
By now, as even we holiday partiers have learned, the A&E network has sheepishly backpedaled. In direct response to a fierce public outcry the network un-suspended Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the wildly popular Duck Dynasty series. Robertson had been temporarily banned after an interview in GQ in which he colorfully pronounced his religious views on gays and Jim Crow laws, instantly launching demands from the left-wing Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) and others that he be canned on the spot.
Huffed GLAAD to Fox News:
Phil Robertson should look African-American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists,” the statement said. “If dialog with Phil is not part of next steps, then A&E has chosen profits over African-American and gay people -- especially its employees and viewers.
As the year ends, the un-suspension of Phil Robertson is exactly the moment to understand that what Mr. Robertson and his family — who rallied to their patriarch — have accomplished is no small thing.
This “controversy” in fact had nothing to do with gays or African Americans.
In fact, the Robertson-A&E dust-up was merely the latest in a long — very long — line of leftist attempts to impose supposedly sophisticated moral pretensions on the rest of the country.
This laughable air of moral superiority has been at the root of everything from the violence of the anti-Vietnam War rioters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and Obama pal Bill Ayers’ Weathermen to today’s Occupy Wall Street crowd. And all manner of things in between.
In 1969 alone this seemingly bottomless well of sniffy moral arrogance and condescension propelled student strikes or shutdowns at some 400-plus universities. Cornell University, to name but one, was beset by armed black radicals demanding “black studies” programs run by themselves, along with segregated dormitories. Cornell administrators bowed the knee and let themselves be intimidated into agreeing to the demands. The first six months alone of that same year of 1969, according to Steven F. Hayward’s The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order 1964-1980, saw “nearly a hundred bombings, attempted bombings, or acts of arson on college campuses.” In 1970 a bomb went off at the University of Wisconsin and killed a graduate student working late at night inside the building.
The division of Americans into racial identity groups, ironically as Jim Crow was in its death throes, became the renewed staple of leftism known as “identity politics.” Now Americans were supposed to be divided as “feminists,” “white males,” “gays,” “Latinos” etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam to display precisely the same kind of moral superiority that almost cost Phil Robertson his television show. The underlying principle, of course, was identical to the Jim Crow laws — the original identity politics which themselves had been the backbone of the American Left for a century. It is safe to say that groups like GLAAD are the new proprietors of the Jim Crow mentality.
It matters not the immediate subject, either. At the UC Berkeley campus the issue that ignited these moral pretenders was a small piece of land that the University had targeted by purchasing and then razing several apartment buildings that sat on the property. For a soccer field, went the tale. Radical students brimming with moral superiority — in this case a haughty disdain for the bedrock American principle of property rights — took over the fenced-in vacant lot and started sodding and landscaping to their desires. They declared the University’s property to be “People’s Park” — a symbol, wrote Hayward, “of the evil of the Establishment.” The University of California’s regents had acquired a reputation for caving on these things, a reputation that in turn so infuriated Californians that they had elected Ronald Reagan governor of the state in a million-vote landslide. Governor Reagan would have none of this nonsense. He sent in the California National Guard, which promptly flew over the site and sprayed tear gas down below, driving the squatters out. Said Reagan: “Those who want to get an education, those who want to teach, should be protected in that at the point of a bayonet if necessary.”
At San Francisco State, the college president was presented with a set of “non-negotiable demands” by so-called “black activists.” As with GLAAD and its threats to the A&E network and Phil Robertson, they posed as moral superiors. The college president “temporized” — exactly like A&E first responded. He finally resigned after one of these moral presumptionists — a faculty teaching assistant, mind you — went to the president’s office and literally beat him up.
This resulted in a striking change with considerable consequence well-beyond San Francisco State. The college trustees appointed as acting president a 62-year-old semantics professor of Japanese descent named Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa — or as he was popularly known, “S.I.” Hayakawa. A “minority” himself, Hayakawa would have none of this intolerance parading as moral superiority. When protesters showed up to disrupt the school, the 145-pound professor jumped on their sound truck and ripped the wires out of the blaring sound system. At another point he showed up with a bullhorn to answer the bullies. On still another occasion, finding protesters disrupting classes, he called in the police. Said Hayakawa: “The police are there for the protection of our liberties. It is in a totalitarian society that police take away our liberties.” The protesters were removed and classes resumed. Hayakawa, perhaps fitting of a professor of semantics, minced no words. The protesters were, he said, “a gang of goons and neo-Nazis.” And he went after the liberals on his campus who had, just like A&E with the bullying LGBT community of today, expressed sympathy for the bullying tactics of the campus black radicals. The man who was by liberal lights a “minority” himself attacked:
…the intellectually slovenly habit, now popular among whites as well as blacks, of denouncing as racist those who oppose or are critical of any Negro tactic or demand. We have a standing obligation to the 17,500 or more students — white, black, yellow, red and brown — who are not on strike and have every right to expect continuation of their education.
Californians applauded — and in 1976 S.I. Hayakawa was elected United States Senator.
What concerned Reagan, Hayakawa, and millions of other Americans in the day, was the realization that the so-called “Establishment” had caved to all of this intimidation-by-moral superiority. The so-called pillars of American society revealed themselves to be easily intimidated by the snooty claims of moral superiority put forth by those Reagan accurately called “cowardly little fascist bands.”
Over the decades since, this kind of behavior has appeared again and again and again. Last year they wanted Rush Limbaugh’s head on a pike, this year it was Paula Deen.
Which is exactly why Phil Robertson has emerged as a hero to millions.
This time the “cowardly little fascist bands” of Reagan’s terminology appeared in the form of GLAAD. One spokesman for the group, Wilson Cruz, took to CNN and demanded in the style of those long ago black militants at San Francisco State that (bold print for emphasis):
The world is changing, the country is changing and even the state in which Mr. Robertson lives is changing. He needs to get in line.
What are we seeing here in this episode of Duck Dynasty?
What we are seeing we have seen before and aplenty in world history. Some group — not so strangely they are all on the Left — has or thinks they have the ultimate power to deprive others of their freedom. It could be Monsieur Robespierre and his French revolutionaries of 1789 or Lenin or Mao and their Marxists, Hitler or Mussolini’s Nazis and Fascists. In America it has been all manner of Leftist groups from the Klan — the building block of the Democratic Party and the American Left — to the SDS or, as mentioned, the recently vocal Occupy Wall Street. The subject of this moral superiority can be anything. It could be the Vietnam War (or Iraq or Afghanistan), a patch of private property at UC Berkeley, race, gays, a nuclear freeze, the minimum wage, income redistribution, Obamacare and more.
In fact, what really underlies all of this is a self-credited air of moral superiority.
And to his everlasting credit, and that of the entire Robertson family, Phil Robertson would have none of it.
In all of this latest fascist fury, few have stopped to go back to Phil Robertson’s own book, Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander, to find out just how he came by his religious views in the first place. By the account of wife Kay, Phil — a husband and father of a baby at 18 when he was in his first year at Louisiana Tech — had at a very early age “a lot of grown-up responsibility for an eighteen-year old, and he really wasn’t ready for it.” (Yes, Phil’s a serious college graduate, decidedly not the rube. Photos in the book show him pre-beard as a clean-cut young Yuppie-style businessman.)
Phil got in with the hard-partying “wrong group.” Which is to say, Phil was on his way to being an alcoholic. Kay, out of desperation, turned to God — which infuriated Phil. He called her, among other things, a “Bible-thumper,” a “holy roller,” and a “goody two shoes.” The couple… by now with three boys… separated. One day Kay arrived back at her rented apartment to see Phil’s truck. He was in the cab, his head lying on the steering wheel. Warily, braced for violence, she approached — to find her husband sobbing. He said: “I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t do anything. I want my family back.”
And so… Phil, as the saying goes, found God. Among other things, Robertson writes what once-upon a time passed for common sense. Yes, he puts a religious spin on it — but it is hardly unreasonable, nutty, or homophobic. Says Phil:
Don’t you think it is a little ironic that what follows sexual immorality is herpes, chlamydia, AIDS, syphilis, and gonorrhea? How could something as much fun as sex all of the sudden bring these horrible diseases upon us? Doctors have been researching these diseases for centuries, but they can’t cure most of them. They can’t get rid of most of them. What do you call that? You call that the consequences of disobeying the Almighty.
Leftist elites love to preen about their reverence for science. Whether, to use one example, one agrees with Phil Robertson that illicit sex of the hetero variety has consequences because of the Almighty — or whether it’s simple elementary science — saying such obvious things about womanizing and sleeping around hardly makes Robertson anything more than a man who has come to his common sense and religious views the hard way. In his case, his out-of-control life was fueled by drinking too much and Phil realized he simply couldn’t cope, was about to lose his family and so….he stopped.
Which is to say, when Phil Robertson is out there in GQ opining about sin it is because he himself was a sinner by his religious lights. No harsher on others than he was on himself. It is interesting that in his GQ piece he talks not just about gays but, as he also does in his book, about the sins of heterosexuals. Yet no heterosexuals were screeching to get him off the air. One suspects the reason for that is that heterosexuals don’t classify themselves as leftists require gays to think of themselves — by the Jim Crow-style identity politics. A heterosexual Tom, John, or Jim or Sally, Mary, and Lynn see themselves as — gasp! — individuals. As Tom, John or Jim — not heterosexual Tom, John, or Jim. The entire purpose of GLAAD is to force all gays, not to mention the rest of us who are not gay, to think of Tom, John or Jim not as individuals but as gay Tom, gay John, or Jim or lesbian Sally, Mary, or Lynn. Exactly as the Klan and the original Jim Crow laws forced human beings to be regarded by law not as Tom or Sally but as black Tom or black Sally. This is what being a Leftist is all about, and this abusive intimidation certainly isn’t limited just to the subject of being gay.
Among other things, this is how GLAAD makes its money. Its website says that “GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community…”. The group isn’t about allowing people to be individuals, their sexuality no more important than their hair color. No, it’s about stereotyping gays leftist-style as a “community.”
(And by the way….where is the “P” in LGBT? “P” as in “polygamist”? Polygamists are not invited into the “community” because, one suspects, the polygamist demands for marriage equality are considered a political liability to those who support gay marriage. So…poof. Good-bye to the polygamists. One could call that discrimination, but that would digress.)
As an example of how much GLAAD depends on leftist stereotyping and exploiting moral superiority for financial purposes, here is GLAAD’s 2011 filing with the IRS. You can bet a good duck call that the IRS would never in a minute mess with the tax-exempt GLAAD as they have harassed and intimidated Tea Party groups because GLAAD is both a left-wing favorite and deeply politically correct. Note GLAAD’s total assets at the end of 2011 were over $7.5 million, with the number of employees for that year listed as 69.
All of that money — those assets — and those GLAAD employees have one purpose and one purpose only. Just like the students at Berkeley in 1969 or those armed black activists at Cornell or the teaching assistant who beat up the San Francisco State College president or those who went after Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors over Sandra Fluke or Paula Deen’s sponsors and the Food Network over 30-year old comments — the goal of GLAAD is to intimidate by moral superiority. To bully. To silence. To, in the completely on target words of GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz, force people to “get in line.”
Which Phil Robinson — the ex-party guy and big drinker, the man who almost lost his family until he turned his life around by turning it over to God — simply refused to do.
It is interesting to note that when this game was played on Rush Limbaugh — the same results occurred. The Limbaugh sponsors who deserted Rush were themselves quickly dropped by Rush’s fans and friends. Carbonite was socked right in its earnings statement, another self-righteous sponsor so humbled by angry customers it begged to be reinstated as a Rush sponsor — a request that Rush quite properly denied.
What Phil Robertson and the Robertson family have done here is, like Rush’s fans, stand up to the bullies. In this case GLAAD representing what Reagan called “cowardly little fascist bands.” And in doing so, Duck Dynasty’s patriarch and the show itself, like Rush Limbaugh, sails on.
The key to GLAAD’s millions — and the power all these “fascist bands” have exercised over the last several decades — is guilting Americans into believing that if they don’t go along with the latest “non-negotiable” left-wing demand they are somehow…well….pick one. Racist, homophobic, pro-war, greedy, sexist and on and on and on…yada yada yada. In fact, one is doubtless more than safe in suspecting that in those millions of Phil Robertson fans are people with gay family or friends who decidedly could not be considered “anti-gay” — but refuse to sit by silently and watch an obviously good person be lynched in the name of some left-wing conception of gay rights.
What’s happened here with this Phil Robertson episode is more than about Mr. Robertson himself. Much more.
The backlash against A&E and GLAAD says in plain language that Americans are fed up with being routinely confronted by Reagan’s “cowardly little fascist bands.”
At the end of his book, Phil Robertson has a chapter on the Founding Fathers. Again, the notion that Phil Robertson is some sort of uneducated rube is typical leftist stereotyping. At the close of a discussion on Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and John Adams, he finds room to cite this quote from Ronald Reagan: “As government expands, liberty contracts.”
If Reagan were here today to observe what was done to Phil Robertson, he would doubtless have understood that what was being attempted by the left-wing knee-jerk response to force Robertson off the air was nothing more than the latest handiwork of yet another member in the club of “cowardly little fascist bands.”
Perhaps it’s time to add a corollary to the Reagan quote Robertson cites. That being: As intolerance expands, liberty contracts.
Phil Robertson gets it. And in his wisdom as his God gives him to see the light, he — and the entire Robertson clan — refused to buckle to the bullies.
For that one significant gesture, Phil Robertson is an American hero.
And judging by the massive support for him, millions of Americans out there are heroes and heroines right along with him.
All in all, not a bad way to end a year. And start a new one.