Editor, Daily Nexus,
I decided to go to the College Republicans’ presentation of Ben Stein. He started his speech with a few jokes belittling Bush’s intelligence, made some references to hashish and even threw in something about a priest and a rabbi. Never mind the nonthreatening demeanor.
The propaganda started right afterward. He started giving a little speech on real heroes. He gave the audience a little guilt trip, asking how many remembered the names of various heroic individuals in Iraq. He cited a man who threw himself on some unexploded munitions to save a child’s life (I wonder how the damn thing got there). He cited marines giving their lives to the fight for Iraq. And then he went on to a shameless display of the straw man fallacy in a most masturbatory fashion.
He set up a bit of a contrast. He remarked on the heroics of Hollywood actors who enlisted to fight in World War II. He remarked on the heroism of modern Hollywood, or lack thereof, in our post-9/11 world. He attacked his neighbors in Malibu, building up an image of the rich, liberal glutton. He scoffed at their attacks on U.S. foreign policy as imperialist. He employed his momentum, then talked about those who “hate America,” at which point I stood up and left, with a bit of a scene, saying, “America is NOT the government, you fascist fuck.”
Here was my problem, and here was his proposition: America is the government. If an individual doesn’t agree with the government, he hates America. When the fuck did that happen? Do I hate America? Am I un-American because I don’t support pointless wars? It’s all bullshit. I love this country. I love the Constitution, the land, the people and the freedom. In an age when the government gets away with jailing citizens without charge or trial and thousands die in a war based on lies, the dissemination of bullshit like the lovable Stein’s is irresponsible. He’s promoting a vision of the world where those without absolute dedication to the government are enemies of America. That, my colleagues, is the patriotic face of fascism. It is spiteful of the common good and it’s an assault on this country as an open, honest and free society. And, to be honest, I don’t like that kind of thing.