Curtice Mang’s new book is a rambling, rambunctious collection of thoughts on polity. With things as they are, Mang’s humor provides a nice break from the infuriating news that bombards practical and sane Americans daily.
To be sure Mang sees what we (sane and logical people) see, but somehow doesn’t let it frustrate him. Instead he turns to a deft application of humor to point out the foibles of the political class.
Mang starts out with a very brief explanation of the various “isms” of the political philosophies which governments around the world put into practice in the course of the last few centuries.
It’s hard to make Facism, Socialism, or Communism funny. It’s not easy to gloss over the fact that these systems resulted in the slaughter of millions of innocent people. However, the author couldn’t very well go into that and maintain the light tone he was looking for. So, instead of chronicling the atrocities, he assumes that the reader knows what happened, and instead makes fun of them, while pointing out the salient features.
- Communism is Marxism put into practice. It is the theory that the state is the distributor of all things.
- Nazism can perhaps best be described as a fascism for racists.
- At its core, fascism is about pure authoritarian power and the power of the state above all individuals. But wait, isn’t that what communism is all about? Well, yes, but fascism is anti-communist, so there must be a difference. The difference is this: Italian fascism was inherently nationalistic; Bolshevism was international in its goals.
- With apologies to John-Paul Sartre, socialism is the political system of the mediocre. Isn’t that what Socialism is all about — making sure that everyone is mediocre? One cannot rise too high, that would be bad. Nor can one sink too low, that would also be bad. Socialism is the salary cap in the NFL and teams with 8-8 records making the playoffs.
- …progressivism is liberalism in a clean shirt and tie. To be a progressive is to know everything and to make sure that everyone knows you know everything. … Progressives believe all people (themselves excluded, of course) are toddlers wandering near the backyard swimming pool (without floaties), thereby requiring constant supervision.
- Modern liberalism has nothing to do with classical liberalism. Rather it is a frat party with the beer and strippers paid for with dad’s 401K withdrawal. … At it’s core, liberalism is the firmly held belief that government knows what’s best for its citizens and is out to prove it. It further suggests that there are haves and have-nots and the haves must provide stuff for the have-nots. Not only that, but they should like it. This is called wealth redistribution.
- Conservatives favor limited government with the least amount of governmental interference possible. Libertarians believe the size of the government should be no larger than that which can fit on the head of a pin — a very small pin. Libertarianism also differs from conservatism in that it is the Greta Garbo of political philosophies — “I want to be (left) alone.” This makes it hard, nee, impossible to organize for the long haul. They would like to rally, but, well, the game is just starting, and isn’t Verlander pitching?
After offering his definitions for the various -isms, Mang covers some current events and wonders, in one entertaining chapter, what if Hostess had gotten a government bailout? With this in mind he had some suggestions for new products which might have been offered:
- Zuccinkinkies: Twinkies would be banished. These new delights would be zucchinis stuffed with hummus, with the crushed bark of the Eucalyptus sprinkled on top. Yum! Unlike Twinkies, whose shelf-life was about as long as Bill Clinton speech (i.e., endless), Zuccinkies would need to be sold within 90 minutes.
- Escorts: This product would replace Ho Ho’s, as the prior name would be too offensive to women participating in the world’s oldest professions. Naturally, being politically correct would need to be first and foremost in the minds of the government-bailed-out company.
- Sno Balls: These would simply be discontinued because we all know we have seen our last snowstorm. What with global warming and all that. In a few years, American youth would not know what a snowball (a real one) is, so what would be the point of a snack that requires an explanation.
Mang’s new book is filled with tasty morsels like these. His commentary on why voters pulled the lever for Mr. Obama a second time is especially poignant.
Obama’s statement, “Voting is the best revenge,” just days before the election didn’t really make sense to me. It also seemed the Obama voters didn’t understand the whole concept of revenge either. “Revenge,” by definition, is an act of retaliation — against someone else! Obama supporters apparently saw it as an act of self-flagellation. Many walked into the voting booth and said, “I’m tired of the lousy economy, eight percent unemployment, five trillion more in debt, overburdening regulation, and I’m going to take it out on somebody — me! I’m voting for Obama again. Ouch! “ Leading up to and including election day, there was a spike in Google searches for “Who’s running for president?” If you didn’t know by the Monday before the election who the candidates were, you should have sat that one out. Unfortunately, given the results, I suspect many went to the polling place with a copy of their Google search in hand. Some, I think, were still confused. A full six percent of unmarried women who voted for Obama believed they were casting a vote for the 1980’s female band Bananarama. A simple mistake, but ultimately it was a wiser choice than Obama.
Mang’s second book is a delightful break from the dreary news of the day. Sometimes it’s better just to laugh.