The Corner, as my fellow intellectual masochists know, is the daily blog of the formerly-relevant National Review. Like the Jewish resorts in the Catskills--once the site of so much vitality and schpritzaturra, now mostly mouldering ruins in appalling states of neglect--this is where you go to wander around in a haze of alternating depression and morbid fascination.
Two days ago we had a fine opportunity to undergo the latter. Here, in its entirety, is the apercu of John J. Miller--conservative, writer, and proud father:
'They Just Took My Money' [John J. Miller]
That's what my 8-year-old son said about the sales tax on the ride home from Borders a few minutes ago. He had a $10 gift card from Christmas, bought a Clone Wars book for $7.99, looked at the receipt, and wondered why he still didn't have a full $2.01 on it.
This is how conservatives are made.
Truer words were never inputted. This is indeed how conservatives are made, and this is how they come off the assembly line: whiny with victimization, pissy about money, and in full possession of an eight-year-old's understanding of the real world.
Now, you or I would have pounced upon this "teaching moment" and used it to instruct the lad in the following manner. We would have pointed out that:
1. The "missing" money was kept by the store in the form of "sales tax." The store pays that money to the state (and sometimes the city) government over the year. All states charge taxes on most things (although usually not on food) when you buy them. Why?
2. Because all of us, no matter what this poor child's idiot father and his friends believe or want to believe, share certain needs and provide for each other certain benefits simply because we live in the same area. Look around, young budding conservative. What do you see? You see paved and maintained streets, and street lights, and traffic lights, and police cars and fire engines. Ask daddy to lift up a manhole cover and look inside: See? It's an entire fucking sewage system. Who pays for all this? We all do, via that tax and other taxes.
3. Do you, o son of a smugly moronic father, benefit from such expenditures? Every day. Never mind if your house catches fire or you need to call the cops or the streets have to be cleared of snow or state universities need funding. Take a look at that Clone Wars book. How do you think it got to Borders in the first place? A nice (or a not-nice) man (or woman) drove it, and ten thousand other books, in a big truck across our nation's fine superhighway system.
Without such roads, the book would have cost even more than $7.99. Ask your (idiot) father what "economies of scale" means. When he says, "Don't worry about that. You're too young to understand it," ask him why the hell, then, he feels entitled to interpret a little pisher's confusion as being the beginning of a socio-economic world-view. Then come back here and we'll talk.
It takes a special kind of man to respond to a second-grader's bafflement about finance with some shirt-poppin', chest-swellin' pride over the boy's blameless, understandable, and correctable ignorance. But that's what you'll find at the Corner.
These are people for whom no partisan score is too petty, no lie too egregious, no tortured "observation" too contrived or invented. To them, "true" is no different from "could be true if you squint hard enough and clap loud." When they're not projecting onto others the qualities that only they, themselves, ever actually display ("I am ideologically, reflexively hostile to taxes, so my 8-year-old is, too!"), they're just making shit up and hoping someone, somewhere--the American Enterprise Institute, the Club for Growths (sic), the Koch family--will pay them for it.
You wonder why the Republican Party, and the political right, are so horrendously dishonest when they're not displaying (or pandering to) Olympian levels of plain old provincial ignorance? Now you know. They're raised by the John J. Millers of the world. This is how conservatives are made.
Cross-posted at What HE Said