First published at TownHall.com in March, 2008
Even sitting alone on a rock in the middle of nowhere, Moses Sands often spoke as if he were holding court with a roomful of very backward students. He assumed that my generation, and every generation since, had no idea of how even the most ordinary things came to be ordinary. He had a point.
Al Gore elicits a similar sense of condescension when I think of all those puppy-like minds he holds in thrall in the expectation that his words, like their world, will be accepted without critical thought. This causes me to believe, once in charge, that history can indeed move backwards. With Russia, we already have evidence that this can happen.
For ordinary things, consider the refrigerator. It’s a wondrous machine and I did stop to ponder how it got here. My sons are less curious since its evolution has been more cosmetic and less sexy in their lifetime, with maybe a few more gadgets, ice-makers (just like the motel), self-defrosting…and at a price that was unheard of in my father’s or most of my own life time.
The forces that have made all these things happen are a wonderment.
But what I have that my sons do not have is the memory of my father, with a hammer and ice pick, cleaning out the freezer compartment in our old Kelvinator, a compartment not big enough to hold a Nike shoe, much less its box. He would sit down at the table, wipe his brow with a rag wetted by the ice water from the catch basin and tell me how he could remember when the iceman came to his house just thirty years earlier. This fellow was a huge man with biceps the size of a water cooler, and carried a heavy block of ice with steel tongs. His mother would open the top of the small ice-box and he’d lay that block inside, then she’d give him a coin and he’d leave for the next stop down the street.
My dad said every town had an icehouse in those days, but about the only improvement in home refrigeration that he could recall as a kid was its method of delivery, as he saw it go from horse and wagon to a refrigerated truck. Apparently the ice makers were losing too much of their investment watering the unpaved streets, especially in summer time, so improvements had to be made.
As I would learn later, although they are always joined at the hip, improvements in capital equipment and consumer products move at a different pace, so the big leap from an ice-box to electric refrigeration was slower in coming than the means of its delivery. After all, refrigerators were expensive and even into my day, not everyone had easy access to electricity without a private generator.
But no one grieved the changes in the culture and everyone celebrated the coming of electric appliances, however slow. They were a boon to mankind, though I expect there was at least one melancholy speech made in the legislature about the ice-man going the same way as the blacksmith. But my dad sure considered it a privilege to be able to go inside one of those machines every 3-4 months and scrape his knuckles bloody while hammering away the ice from those coils. Twenty years later I hated that same job with a passion.
My children never had that job.
Why I bring this up is that the average 20-40 year old Gore puppy today would never stop to consider all the things that went into making something as life-saving as home refrigeration…after all it is why we can preserve food for long periods of time…as commonplace as it is today. In fact, the modern Gore puppy probably disagrees with most of the its basic premises…even as he pulls a Pizza from the freezer, pops it into the microwave, then grabs an icy cold Pepsi from the door rack (we never had one of those) and takes a long pull.
The modern “progressive” cringes at the concept of using electricity to run this contraption…as well as the coal-fired plants that create the electricity. Then there’s the stuff we put in there to keep cold. After all, preserving meat was the principal reason refrigeration was developed. It was only later that someone found out that cool, crisp lettuce tasted really good when slapped between two pieces of bread, sliced tomato and some Miracle Whip…even without meat. And beer? Don’t get me started. Old tap houses poured warm beer into a frozen mug.
Environmentally, then, there’s all sorts of reason to hate this entire technology if you’re a Gore puppy, without even once considering the consequences.
Neither would the Gore puppy consider all the things that did not go into this consarned machine, which carries us into a more spiritual realm of sorts.
To me, it’s unthinkable, and has been to Americans since 1776, that if something is laborious and tedious, or worse, dangerous, as in the preparation, preservation and storing of food, and the risk of eating tainted food, that someone isn’t out there trying to make it better and safer. And taking profit from it.
But this line of thinking is also looked upon unfavorably by the Gore puppy, for just by considering this he/she must also consider that spiritual element inside mankind that causes him (and her) to constantly want to improve the world around them. Actually there is more than one reason, but let’s stay with the primary one, profit. If rats are swarming through the city, stinking up the place, crapping on food, biting babies, etc it makes sense that if I can build a better rat-trap, the world will pave a path to my door to buy it.
(Google “Necessity, as mother of…” for more information.) People’s lives will be better and I will be richer. But then, there’s that damned profit motive creeping up out of Man’s common sense gnawing at the Gore-puppy’s soul.
If this isn’t bad enough there’s an even more sinister spiritual element, and that is that free men and women get to make these decisions on their own. Both victims of the rats and fellows who think they can defeat the rats team up to kill them off…without a government grant…or (what really gores the Gore puppy’s ox) without government permission. No application forms, no license. So, adding insult to injury, then, there’s also that damned liberty-thing peeping up out of man’s inherent common sense.
It’s always been my position that the average Gore puppy, as a useful idiot, flatters Lenin’s use of the term. But at the top of the food chain, guys like Al Gore actually know the consequences of what they are saying and doing.
But only partly, and there’s the rub. Seems Gore’s class are idiots too, for they don’t know history can move backwards.
Moses Sands once said the modern left was composed of a German (socialist) element, seeking to engineer a better society, and a French snobbish element (the divine right of nobility) seeking to retain the proper class distinction between the common man and his betters. But the Clintons and Al Gore, both true hucksters, however, remind me of a third element, the Mexican element, (Calvera the Bandito, who said “If God had not intended them to be sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”)
This third element makes the modern liberal seem more like the bandits of the Third Reich rather than the true believers of the Bolsheviks. In the 1930s those thugs saw the opportunity to steal their way to power and wealth on the backs of disenfranchised (and later incinerated) millions, filling their coffers with gold, jewelry, and great art. To many the social change offered up by Nazism was a façade, obscuring this perch of stolen opulent wealth by bottom feeders.
In like manner, with the help of the Cliffs Notes series on Intellectualism and Fascism for Dummies, modern liberals have adopted just a hint of fine manners, tastes in art and literature, and an artificial language (psychobabble) that attempts to sound intelligent, but with the aspirations and tastes of middle eastern monarchs, creating for themselves personal satrapies and walled-in mansions filled with the plunder of a wealthy, defeated enemy vilified, imprisoned and burned out much like the Jews of the 1930s…meanwhile, life and culture outside the gates hobbles down.
The flaw in Al Gore’s thinking is that there will always be another, better generation of refrigerators, just as always…but only for him and his heirs. The elites.
He, and the Left are wrong…on two accounts. First, you don’t have to be Glenn Beck to figure out that the state could never have gotten the ice box past the iceman…with the wagon…had the state been in control in 1915 as it is now. Can you imagine the clamor about the lost jobs and the FTC licensing gauntlet leveled against those then garage-sized businesses trying to build a box that could keep things cold with electricity?
Second, when I first met Moses Sands in Moscow he advised me, “When traveling over here, always find out where the old Communist Party stayed (they had their own hotels) and stay there. That way, you will always know you were getting it as it good as it could be got under the Communists.
“Then, when you go back to the States, go down some old US highway the interstates by-passed forty years ago and stay at one of those old motor lodges…say US 25 near Travelers Rest, in the Carolinas. Then compare. That’s all.”
Moses was right. From 1918 to 1992 history moved backwards in the Soviet Union, and at an accelerating pace. Party leaders who stayed there knew they were getting it as good as it could be got. But 74 years and three generations since the slide began, they just didn’t know how good the plumbing had been in 1918. And they had no idea that an American could get about the same comfort for 19.99/night at a Motel 6, where the light was always kept on.
What Al Gore misses is that three generations from now, when all memory of the Sleep Comfort mattress has been lost, and his great granddaughter bathes in a tub with four external pipes hooking up the shower head to the faucet, and falls asleep on the same sort of filled mattress my grandfather slept on in the 1920’s, all in the Democrat Dacha Hotel…
…she will do so in the peaceful bliss that this is as good as it has even been, or ever will be…for she will be one of the hereditary elites.
The Iceman cometh…again.