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So "liberalism" is all over the map. It won't hold still. Its insanities keep multiplying. That's why liberals need a bunch of asterisks.
For instance, as of 1976, when I first decided I was a Democrat, there was still a substantial "sane wing" of the Democratic Party. I could call myself a Moynihan Democrat – strong on defense, strong on civil rights, but able to compromise and govern rationally.
But "liberal" has shifted so radically in meaning since that time that without changing any part of my general philosophy, I have found myself accused of being a "conservative."
It's like discovering, 30 years later, that the rock group "The Eagles" now sounds like a country band – not because they changed, but because country music has now become 1970s rock-and-roll.
So Gallagher is right – liberals need to explain for about 15 minutes what they mean by calling themselves "liberal," because we all know that what passes for "liberalism" today is so deeply insane and anti-social that no rational person can possibly support the entire program.
It contradicts itself too much to bear even cursory analysis, and it has never had to pass through the wringer of public discussion in order to knock off the weirdest features of it. It is automatically hugged by academia and kissed by the media without anybody noticing just how diseased this thing has actually become.
And yet ... and yet ... I still remember why I became a Democrat in 1976, and all those reasons are still there. So even when I find myself laughing and nodding through Gallagher's book, I keep thinking, "But he's referring to those 'liberals,' who aren't really liberals at all."
Because that's where we are right now – the most repressive Zwinglian group of thought police in America call themselves "liberal," a word that means the exact opposite of everything they do. Obama is not a liberal – he's a lockstep mechanical man in the mindless police force of the puritan elite. He shows no evidence of knowing anything about history or economics or actual human nature or anything except how to play at Chicago politics.
So Gallagher is right about that kind of "liberal." But he's not right about me. And there are still a lot of people in America who share the views and values I have. They just don't call themselves liberals anymore. The word has been coopted by the thought police.
We're the politically homeless, and nobody's writing books to us or about us. All the political books seem to be written as if Sean Hannity and Bill Maher were the only two flavors in the whole ice cream store.
At least Gallagher seems to notice that the whole world isn't divided between (1) the spawn of the devil and (2) people who think Ronald Reagan was God's second-favorite son. That's progress, don't you think?
So if two political conventions aren't enough to depress you about life in America, you can cheer yourself up considerably by reading The Book of Deadly Animals by Gordon Grice.
He starts with wolves and dogs and points out that if you want to get killed by an animal, the one that will get you is probably already somebody's "pet."
Then he goes on to bears. Believe me, there are no cute bears. Just bears that haven't felt like killing you yet. And in the cat chapter, you can be very glad that housecats are so small. Otherwise we'd all be dead – whether we "love" cats or not. They don't love us.
Between sharks, rays, jellyfish and whales, there's really no reason to venture into the ocean. Or water of any kind that doesn't have heavy doses of chlorine.
Then he gets to the arachnids and insects and let's face it. It's a miracle the human race survived long enough to get us where we are.
It's a jungle out there, folks – and in here, too, with all the insects and spiders lying in wait to poison you or suck your blood. I started reading this monstrous book at midnight and set it down at 5 a.m., only to lie there under my covers trying to imagine just how many ways I might get killed without leaving my yard.
The raccoons that forage on my patio at night no longer seem so cute. No wonder they sit there complacently when I shine a light on them, as unworried as if I were the size of a squirrel. I have no claws. I have no teeth. What threat could I possibly pose?
The raccoon that stares up at me, unafraid, is really thinking, "Just you wait till I get rabies. I'm coming straight here. Then you can come out in your little bare nighttime feet and shine lights on me. See what happens then."
So I'm in Earth Fare and I see Sunflower Flax Snax by Go Raw. I was aware of the existence of the raw food movement. It wasn't even a surprise. Whenever somebody becomes a puritan, somebody else has to come up with ways to be even more pure.
So vegetarians were trumped by vegans. And now vegans are trumped by the raw movement.
Still, just because you're Raw doesn't mean you don't need to have snack food – after all, you're still American, right?
Besides, if you're Raw, you're hungry all the time – even hungrier than vegans. Human beings began cooking their food long before we achieved sapiens status – until we had cooked food to eat, our teeth couldn't evolve to their present semi-useless, McDonald's-ready size and shape. And they've been that shape through at least a hundred thousand years of human fossilization.
So when you "go Raw," you're trying to turn back into a creature we stopped being before our brains got big enough to enable us to figure out the area of a rectangle.
However, the more I read the ingredients of the Sunflower Flax Snax, the more I realized: I like all this stuff. Why not see what the Raw are eating?
Here's what I learned. Sunflower Flax Snax are delicious. Really, really delicious. I ate half a package at one sitting, thinking, If Raw is always like this, I could live with it.
Within about five hours, however, I learned that my body thinks that Raw food must be ejected as quickly as possible. Without regard to what I might be wearing or where I happen to be at the moment. That was a memorable two days. Especially since six hours of the time was spent on an airplane.
In conclusion, I intend to stick with the last hundred thousand years of human evolution, and eat mostly cooked food. But those who go Raw, I salute you. In your effort to turn yourselves back into proto-chimps, you exhibit a level of courage and stamina that I don't even want to emulate.
One nice thing about listening to classical music on XM Sirius satellite radio is that now and then, I hear a piece of music I never heard before. And if I switch from my GPS map view to the satellite radio view on my Hyundai Santa Fe's viewscreen, I can find out who the heck the composer is, and what the piece is called.
That's how I found out about the piece "American Solstice" by composer Barbara Harbach.
I went on Amazon and looked for any CDs containing that piece. I found a series of six albums of the orchestral, vocal and chamber music by this remarkable composer, and I'm listening to them all....continued on page 3