Prometheus Bound -- and Gagged

by L. Neil Smith

         Consider, for just a moment if you will, all of the myriad things poor "liberals" have to be against these days, simply in order to retain their social credentials and remain "politically correct."
         First and foremost, I suppose, comes smoking. Every bigoted gaggle of prune-faced prudes desperately needs some poor fool to pick on constantly and feel superior to -- usually because they have so many things to feel inferior about, themselves. Eventually, if they are able to gain enough political power they can beat him up and kill him.
         For Hitler, it was Jews.
         For fat southern 1950s deputy sheriffs in mirrored sunglasses, it was blacks.
         For their Volvo-driving, wine-and-cheese gobbling equivalents today, it's those who enjoy tobacco. Never mind that nobody hurts anybody with tobacco but himself -- that there's no scientifically respectable evidence that "secondhand smoke" hurts anybody. If these fascist geeks so much as glimpse somebody smoking a cigarette, downwind and five hundred yards away, they fall into a gasping stupor, and when they come out of it, can be heard to demand in a lapse of self-control that smokers "go back to Virginia where the came from."
         It's hard to choose, but I guess the private automobile and the internal combustion engine usually occupy the next place on the list of "liberal" hate fetishes, although for some -- apparently our soon-to-be ex-Vice President is among them -- these items of 19th century technology take first place on the hit parade despite the countless blessings of swift, reliable transportation, personal self-sufficiency, and privacy -- not to mention employment -- they provide us with.
         I really ought to stop trying to put these things in any kind of rational order; there's nothing rational about them. Let's just agree that another thing you hear lefties whimpering about all the time is the individual right to own and carry weapons -- with a particular emphasis on firearms. Very few left-thinking folks have the moral courage to swim upstream on this one, even though the widespread ownership and use of handguns has been proven -- Florida is a fine example of the phenomenon -- to reduce violent crime. And never mind that the mindless prohibition of such useful artifacts works an unfair, often deadly hardship on women, the elderly, and minorities -- while giving criminal gangs and individual brutes the upper hand.
         Judging by their performance in the appropriately-named criminal justice system -- not to mention West Side Story -- "liberals" have a certain fondness for criminal gangs and individual brutes, anyway.
         Then there's the highly respectable two-million-year old human practice of eating red meat, rare, medium, and well done. "Real food for real people." The worst way you can offend "liberals" in this area is by insisting on cooking it yourself over a simmering charcoal grill in your own back yard -- more guff about secondhand smoke, I presume.
         And don't forget the sorry, self-contradictory specimens who enjoy whining about the accumulation of garbage in America's precious and dwindling landfills -- or was that wetlands? -- but who demonstrate vociferously against doing the intelligent thing and incinerating it.
         Last, but certainly not least, is that ultimate of "liberal" bugaboos, nuclear power.
         Now in case you missed it, what do all of these "horrors" have in common? Well to begin with (consider this a hint) most people -- although by no means all -- have to ignite tobacco in order to enjoy it properly.
         And modern personal weaponry employs smokeless gunpowder consuming it as a fuel to propel bullets toward burglars, rapists, and freelance tax collectors in America's alleyways and municipal parks.
         The key political word in the phrase "internal combustion engine" seems to be "combustion". Almost every one of the lame-brained substitutes "liberals" adore so well would eliminate the use of that foul four-letter word, "burn", which is also inextricably involved in eating meat (unless you're a lot braver than I am), cooking it indoors or outdoors, and properly disposing of the refuse afterwards.
         And while nuclear power doesn't really burn anything, most of the feebs who oppose it think it does. It's especially interesting to note, in this connection, that during the late and largely unlamented 1960s -- that period of greatest "liberal" hatred and distrust of computers -- these now ubiquitous devices (I'm using one right now) were invariably portrayed as failing in a shower of sparks and curtains of black smoke. When it became clear, even to "liberals", that this doesn't happen, computers somehow miraculously became acceptable.
         Clearly then, today's "liberalism" consists principally of delayed emotional reaction to the discovery, somewhere around a hundred thousand years ago, of fire. The question that comes to mind -- to my mind, anyway (although I'll confess, to quote Tom Hanks in a much better role than Forrest Gump, that they pay me to be this way) -- is, "what the hell took them so long to find out about it?"
         Fire good.
         Put that way, over and over again, perhaps today's "liberals" will eventually get the message. Of course once they do, they won't be liberals any more.

L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

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