Reagan Youth

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Bush Administration, conservatism, Republican Party

More on the increasing irrelevancy of George W. Bush, which I discussed yesterday — in the November 2006 issue of Harper’s there’s a bone-chilling article by Wells Tower called “The Kids Are Far Right.” I very much regret that it isn’t online yet, and probably won’t be for a couple of months. If you want to look for it on newsstands, the cover art is a donkey head with a halter made of $100 bills.

Tower spent a week at the National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, DC, talking to the young folks. Among many striking passages was this one:

Despite all the jaunty blood thirst for liberals and hippies, it’s interesting to note that none of the students utters words of praise for George W. Bush, or goes in for any cuticle-nibbling over the daily media forecasts of the drubbing the G.O.P. is supposed to suffer at the polls fourteen weeks from now. The more than 400 attendees is a record for the conference, and although this is good news for the conservative movement, it is also an oblique sort of nose-thumbing at the Republican Party, whose frantic volunteer trenches these students have disdained to spend the week in Washington. Proud self-declared Republicans, in fact, are curiously hard to come by among the students , nearly all of whom identify themselves as libertarians or simply as “conservatives,” and who will later describe our president to me in the following terms: “embarrassing,” “stupid,” “arrogant,” “a halfway conservative,” “a puppet of lobbyists and special interests,” and “a liberal, basically.”

Our President is many things, but of course there’s nothing in him that remotely resembles “liberal.” I assume the young person was using liberal in the sense of “nyah nyah nyah.” In another passage, one not-conservative tatooed and black-garbed Goth, attending the conference at the behest of her father, described how she was snubbed by the other attendees:

She says she is still trying to make sense of an incident yesterday, when a group of conferees inside the dorms yelled “neocon” at her, evidently road-testing a new vulgarity they had not quite mastered.

If these young people are in any way a representative sampling of rightie youth, this suggests that young people are breaking from the Republican Party establishment and populism generally. And this reminds me of the way the New Left dissed the Dems and ditched New Deal populism back in the 1970s. Young righties are working hard to marginalize themselves, in other words, which is good news, because this is one creepy bunch of kids. More on that later in this post.

As far as President Bush is concerned, I extrapolate from this that when he retires from the White House — and however he retires from the White House — he is unlikely to be the conservative icon that Ronald Reagan was and still is. The Washington Republican establishment may, or may not, continue to make excuses for Bush in the years to come, but the young folks intend to bury him alive so they can forget he ever lived. He’s not going to be invited to their parties. They aren’t going to buy his ghost-written books or cheer him at his public appearances. Bubble Boy is in for a hard fall.

Instead of remaining actively engaged in public issues as many former presidents do, I predict G.W. Bush (assuming he escapes prosecution for war crimes) will disappear into a ghost world for the rest of his sorry life, much as Lyndon Johnson did in his retirement.

Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, is an icon — nay, an idol. The cult of Reagan that permeated the conference was so strong it made a few attendees uncomfortable. “I know Reagan was amazing,” said one, “but I think it’s weird that we’re supposed to pretend he’s God.” That Alzheimer’s ate Reagan’s retirement (and, IMO, his second term) is not an issue, and I suspect it may have helped keep his almighty presidential image pure.

Lately much attention has been paid to the authoritarian tendencies of conservatism. On the surface these young people seem both authoritarian and anti-authoritarian at once. Their heroes — Dr. Walter E. Williams and Wayne La Pierre, for example — are treated with unquestioning adulation. Otherwise their attitude toward authority, particularly government, reflects that of a spoiled little boy told he’d better be nice to Grandma or he won’t get dessert. Come to think of it, that may be the most normal thing about them. But some seem to take anti-authoritarianism to extremes. Tower writes of a young man who has already abandoned political ambitions:

The conference has drawn, or perhaps cultivated more people like Jeff Scott, who would like to see government wholly destroyed (save for the military), than students with fantasies of ascending to the highest office in the land.

So what is it, authoritarian or anti-authoritarian? I think this bit from a panel on conservative literature provides a clue:

Majory Ross recommends the usual syllabus: Goldwater, Kirk, Buckley, Ayn Rand. At the mention of Rand, a current of ardor passes through the ballroom, and someone gives a low, deferential whistle.

I’ve long viewed Randians with astonishment and wonder. Here are people who have built a cult around someone whose message boils down to individuality is God; the hell with community. If you ever have the bad judgment to wander into an Objectivist forum, you’ll find one Randian after another quoting the same passages from The Fountainhead to demonstrate how individualistic they are. But as this fellow says, “Rand’s sacred word is unmistakably ‘EGO.'” Since most of the world’s philosophy, East and West, warns against the perils of egotism, if you’re looking for a philosophy that says ego-indulgence is good, Rand’s is an obvious choice. And I understand Randians hate neocons almost as much as they hate liberals, which accounts (sorta) for the epithet hurled at Goth girl, above.

Thus, the Reagan youth are less individualistic than they are self-centered little brats who mistake egotism with individualism. As such, it is striking how much they resemble George W. Bush — like him, they are spoiled, narcissistic, and badly socialized.

For example, one evening a young man from Oregon describes what he does for fun:

Bunny bashing, he explains, involves borrowing someone’s father’s pickup truck for an evening and filling the bed with young men armed with cudgels. Then you drive around the countryside until an unlucky jackrabbit freezes in the high beams, at which point somebody hops out and clubs the animal to death.

What becomes of the dead rabbit? I ask.

Chase Dannen turns bashful. “Do you really want to know?”

With a little prodding, he continues. If you’re keeping true to the spirit of the thing, what you do is rip the rabbit’s head off and then impale it through the throat and eye socket on the antenna of the borrowed truck. On a bountiful evening, he says, you can accumulate a totem pole sure to astound the truck’s owner when he sees it in the morning.

This reminded me of the charming story of Young George and the Exploding Frogs.

“We were terrible to animals,” recalled [Bush pal Terry] Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush borne turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out. “Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,” Throckmorton said. “Or we’d put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.”

Kristof made plain that “we” explicitly included George W. Bush, and that George W., the Safari Club International Governor of the Year in 1999 for his support of trophy hunting, was the leader among the boys who did it.

There is a well-documented link between animal cruelty and Antisocial Personality Disorder.

That was just one kid, but the Reagan youth do seem to have a proclivity for romanticizing cruelty and violence. For example:

In her facebook bio, Samantha Soller listed among her hobbies “political science, philosophy, and hippie-hunting, enjoys foreclosing on poor people’s cardboard boxes, eating red meat, using her Sigarms P232 Stainless to shoot cute little bunny rabbits.”

We’re into the creepy part, by the way. Note that these same young people can work themselves into outrage over the “cruelty” of abortion.

Throughout the young folks display the easy arrogance of the privileged toward the poor. Sheltered and provided for from birth, they cannot imagine their life any other way. Thus they are eager to dismantle all “welfare,” including Social Security. They imagine that poor people would learn to fend for themselves if cut off from government assistance.

Bennett Rwicki, who has been in a quiet, reflective mood since the lecture, ponders the drug issue with a troubled brow. After a moment he brightens. “Hey, do you think — like what Walter Williams said — if you got rid of welfare, so that if families had to support themselves, that would lead to people doing less drugs?”

“Absolutely,” says Marianne Brennan.

“I think so,” says Samantha Soller.

“Definitely,” says Tom Samper of the College of New Jersey. “If it’s a choice between drugs or survival, they’re going to spend their money on survival.”

With the trouble birds of welfare reform and the drug problems of the American poor neatly felled with a single stone, an air of satisfaction settles over the table, and Samantha Soller makes a trip to the buffet table to fetch everybody some dessert.

Like I said — bone chilling.

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44 Comments

42 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Oct 14, 2006 @12:07 pm

    Were these young zombies raised by hyenas? Good grief!

    There isn’t even a fundie Christian component to their insanity– as evidenced by their worship of Ayn Rand. (And anyone who rants against abortion is not a libertarian.) It appears they were brought up on Rush, guns, and Ayn’s rape fantasies. All they need are some neatly-pressed brown shirts and a spittle-flinging Adolf to follow, and the American Reich is off and running.

    Sidebar question: with this horror story inside the issue, why’s there a derogatory picture of a donkey on the cover?

    And yes, Jeffrey Dahmer got started torturing small animals.

  2. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @12:56 pm

    Take away daddy’s credit cards and cocaine and we’ll see the compassion emerge within several months.I learned my lesson the hard way.
    After earning a sweet income over a 15 year period in California, I returned to Florida finding what a luxury a hotdog and coke from the quickie mart could be. Money ( or lack of it ) drastically alters one’s perception of “reality”.
    Another lesson is “if you kill it, you eat it”.Self explanitory.

  3. Gordon  •  Oct 14, 2006 @12:58 pm

    How to be a Randian:

    Posit that “altruistic” is the opposite of “selfish”.
    Define “altruistic” as that vanishingly small set of actions in which absolutely NO self-interest is involved (including feeling good about it). Hope opposition doesn’t notice that therefor “selfish” now means any action involving ANY self-interest (including feeling good about giving all your money away).
    Point out that no sane person does anything “altruistic”, so “selfish” behavior is not only OK, it’s the only sane thing to do.
    Now switch back to the normal definition so you can cut in line, spike your date’s drink, rat on your co-worker and steal that handicap placard from your aunt’s car. With practice, you’ll soon be CEO of a major corporation, filching pension funds, exposing your undocumented workers to hazardous chemicals and rewarding cooperative congressmen with your largess.

    Hey, a little gratitude here folks, I just saved you reading 900+ pages of dreadful writing!

  4. A. Citizen  •  Oct 14, 2006 @12:58 pm

    Reality will do for these pampered little sickos. As John Dean wrote ‘conservatism’ doesn’t really exist. No one can agree on what it is or how one advances it’s ‘agenda’ which it also doesn’t have other than trying to destroy the works of FDR.

    Do you think these little pussies will be able to do that?

    What would happen if they met a Norteno, or a Crip or god-forbid a progressive.

    They’d end up like the rabbits.

    Metaphorically….

  5. wmr  •  Oct 14, 2006 @1:12 pm

    I sure hope you’re right about these kids marginalizing themselves.

    My guess on “Bush as liberal” is that he’s expanded the government and that makes him a liberal. As for Bush’s future, I expect he’ll finally get his dream job of baseball commisioner and he’ll consider it a promotion.

  6. Swami  •  Oct 14, 2006 @2:26 pm

    Another lesson is “if you kill it, you eat it”.Self explanitory.

    Not really..Is it in reference to joanr16’s mentioning of Jeffery Dahmer or the killing of the bunny rabbits, or both?

  7. maha  •  Oct 14, 2006 @2:29 pm

    why’s there a derogatory picture of a donkey on the cover?

    The “cover” story is “Barack Obama Inc.: The Birth of a Washington Machine.” I haven’t read it yet. It’s a pretty donkey, btw.

  8. becca  •  Oct 14, 2006 @2:58 pm

    Once left to fend for themselves, in real life, the ebb and flow of financial forces may deal these “people” a harsh hand. They are the products of highly dysfunctional homes, and self-loathing leads to drug abuse, sexual abuse, and a plethora of social ills already rampant in our society, and highly prolific in the closets of these neo-yuppies. Most will self-destruct, others will get help, and become truly productive citizens.

    Also, dessert has two s’s, not one, and Raygoon sucked then, and sucks now. He was an actor/puppet; research this subject instead of absorbing the bullshit your uptight, dysfunctional parents inculcated into your tiny, little, fragile minds.

  9. Disturbed  •  Oct 14, 2006 @3:15 pm

    Badly socialised and poorly educated. These are not, in themselves, alarming traits…what’s alarming is any older person giving these young people the idea that these traits are legitimate and healthy, and should be maintained well into adulthood.

    My real grief over this is that if you are like this past the age of 25, only a horrific crisis of some kind will effect meaningful behavioural change. And these people seem to always have *the money* to put off these crises.

  10. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @3:21 pm

    I was speaking about the rabbits (and frogs).
    However, you raise an interesting question, Swami
    Re: “Silver Spoons” by Grace slick. I think the song fits the situation also.

  11. owlbear1  •  Oct 14, 2006 @3:28 pm

    They imagine that poor people would learn to fend for themselves if cut off from government assistance.
    ===========================
    They would. Things like hiding in the woods and waiting for soft rich white boys to come a-bashing rabbits.

    It is truly astounding how ignorant these children are of how much the system of “social welfare” protects their otherwise completely helpless lives.

  12. paradoctor  •  Oct 14, 2006 @3:38 pm

    Randianism is like German measles; best caught – and thrown off – when young. Its flaw, as you noted, is confusing individualism with egotism. But the ego is not the same as the individual, no more than ambition is the same as freedom.

    Enlightened self-interest needs to be self-interested, or it won’t be able to exist; but it also needs to be enlightened, or it won’t deserve to exist.

  13. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @3:40 pm

    Right-o OwlBear,
    Social welfare keeps the have nots floating so they won’t prey on the haves. Cheap insurance, in my opinion.When there is no hope, all options are on the table.

  14. Timtimes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @4:10 pm

    I believe a proper study would find many more horrible murdererers than Dahmer who abused animals in their youth, although Dahmer is a nice placeholder.

    Enjoy.

  15. maha  •  Oct 14, 2006 @4:55 pm

    dessert has two s’s, not one

    Corrected, thank you. It was spelled correctly in the magazine.

  16. QrazyQat  •  Oct 14, 2006 @5:32 pm

    “Bush is a liberal” is the same thing as “you are/that is so gay”. It’s an insult which is braindead.

    Reagan has become the icon for the right because they are desperate to disengage conservatism from the disaster that results when you do what conservatism is all about. They’re been working on this pretty hard for the last year or so, trying to get “conservatism” disentangled from “GW Bush” so they can claim that it’s not that conservatism is a proven failure but that it just wasn’t tried… not “real” conservatism. Reagan is the last guy they have who they can point to as having had any successes while claiming to be a conservative. Of course his major successes were getting the economy going by enacting the biggest tax increase ever (very conservative, that) and happening to be there when the Soviet Union had a couple hardliners die unexpectedly and Gorbachev slipped through into office. Reagan did — to give him credit — ignore the appeals to not negoiate with Gorby, although doing what any of his predecessors would’ve also done is hardly super impressive.

  17. Chilled to the Bone in TN  •  Oct 14, 2006 @6:27 pm

    Oh, Goody! Another Generation of the College Republicans which spawned such satanic offspring as Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. We must win this election. And, then, we must win every election after that. Maybe they will shrivel up and die like the creepy children of the corn they are—once we shine some sunlight on the tomb called Congress and have a mass exorcism.

  18. donna  •  Oct 14, 2006 @6:36 pm

    If you really want to change our society, start ostracizing the selfish bastards. Seriously. Make fun of them, ostracize them, whatever you like.

    My favorite is cutting off Hummers and expensive cars and sneering at them in traffic, shaking my head slowly. You should see them turn red….

    And be exceedingly nice and friendly to ANY person doing a service job – waiter, check out clerk, whatever. And old people.

  19. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @7:18 pm

    Be careful cutting off Hummers, you could get hummeroids!
    (or squashed like a bug)
    Now, be nice to me ’cause I’m old….

  20. News Nag  •  Oct 14, 2006 @7:19 pm

    and people wonder where the ‘good German’ Americans have and will come from. look no further than this group of stupids and their bored, evil banalities.

  21. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 14, 2006 @7:43 pm

    LBJ, unfortunately, didn’t do too many interviews, or write much.
    People wanted to know about him and his decisions..
    Nixon, awhile after Watergate did write. And it was very interesting. I read his books and kinda… sorta… almost… Nah, I didn’t! People were curious as to why… Ah, we know why!
    Ford talked – but his writing… eh… Honestly, if he wrote anything, I don’t remember…. But still, a likable fellow and one you wouldn’t mind talking to years later.
    Carter is living his Christaianity…. He’s written at least one geat book – his latest! Would I like to hear from him about today’s issue’s? Sure!
    Reagan couldn’t or wouldn’t – but Douglas Brinkley is editing the memoir’s none of us ever knew he wrote!!!! BTW – I’d love to talk to “Dutch!”
    Bush 41? I’d like to share a martini with him at his club, go out on his boat, and hear what he has to say.
    Clinton? I’m all ears!!!
    Shrub (43)? I’m sorry, but I’d rather stick my private parts in a blender and put it on “frapppe” before I hear another word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What will he add to the future? Nothing.. .
    $#!thead radio hosts will invite him, like Rush, just to be polite.
    So will Hannity, O’Reilly, and Hewitt. And, when the former Prez’nit opens up his mouth, listeners and viewer’s will either change the channel, or deafen and blind themselves with whatever object is nearby.

    Seriously, can you even imagine turning to a news channel and thinking you want to hear this imbecile’s opinion?

    Never mind “Frappe…” How about “Puree…”

    What can Georgie, the Frat Boy add to anything? If he ain’t added it now, you tell me…

  22. erinyes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @8:29 pm

    OOPS! Sorry about the “hummeroid” quip Donna, but ya gotta be nice to me ’cause I’m old….

  23. Donna  •  Oct 14, 2006 @9:05 pm

    I might have met a grandma of one of these young ‘republican’ creepsies. I spent four hours this morning canvassing for a challenger in a U.S. House race, in all, hanging some 200 sets of campaign materials on doors. As I was walking down the street of the neighborhood, this 70ish woman drove up on my left, buzzed down her passenger window and held out one of the campaign kits.
    When I reached in to get it, she said, “Even my garbage can is too clean to put anything from Democrats into it.” I was startled by this old lady’s venom, but I bit my tongue and didn’t say what first came to me to say, which was a retort about the danger of harboring hate. What I did say was, “You need to vote your conscience, and I need to vote my conscience. Have a good day.”
    As she drove off, I instantly found myself mentally asking God to surround her with a protective light.
    So, I guess I was kind to ‘an old folk’, as per the other donna’s comment #18 [yet another donna…..hmmm…], even it that particular ‘old folk’ enjoyed being ugly to me.

  24. Best Served Cold  •  Oct 14, 2006 @9:17 pm

    I remember kids like this in high school. Rich, pampered ones who were so confident of their place in the world. One of them used to make life hell for me and taunt me for being poor. He’d throw change at me and tell me not to spend it all in one place. Years later I ran into him bagging groceries. He asked me how I was. Just fine, I replied, practicing law, got a little office near the courthouse … The look on his face was priceless. A lot of these kids are going to fall hard. And some of them are going to be like the ex-rich kids I’ve represented on their drug charges and theft charges, shivering with their heroin joneses because they believed they were too special to get addicted. Give them time. Most will either fall down or grow up.

  25. Swami  •  Oct 14, 2006 @9:51 pm

    I instantly found myself mentally asking God to surround her with a protective light.

    You should have asked God to surround her with white phosphorous like Bush surrounded the innocent people of Fallujah with.

  26. maha  •  Oct 14, 2006 @10:08 pm

    white phosphorous

    Now, now. Remember, we’re better than them.

  27. lafrance  •  Oct 14, 2006 @10:22 pm

    I just knew Bushie boy was the type to torture animals. And then laugh. I just knew it.
    But, don’t despair of the kids. Some of it is just searching for self, dealing with being forced into conservativism and not really relating. Being taught democrats were evil and yet, being at the age of questioning this. And kids sick humor. Like that girl who wrote libral hunting. alot of it is sarcastic and something shocking to write.
    I remember watching a cspan program with left journalists – helen thomas, Katrina vandenhovel, eric alterman, on the panel and this girl, a freshman, asked what it was like during Clinton. She seemed wistful and curious. She grew up in a very conservative home where it was Fox and gop all the time. She knew some of the things like Clinton bashing, wasn’t right or true. She was dipping her toe into the water of freedom of thought, searching for her own beliefs and answers. growing.

  28. Doug Hughes  •  Oct 14, 2006 @10:27 pm

    I read Ayn Rand; “Atlas Shrugged” and “Fountainhead”. I disagree with Gordan that the writing was ‘dreadful’. I disagree with Ayn Rands conclusions; from that point of view, I can debate & normally refute someone who is not familiar with the full implications of the philosophy.Those who are aware of the full ramifications can usually be exposed as brutal and shallow.

    Frankly, I wish Ayn Rand was around to answer questions about the state of greed in corporate America and the multinationals. What we have is so obviously removed from her vision of rewards for those who do the best, contribute the most. What we have is greatest rewards for the best connected, most corrupt and least principled.

    Blind followers of any book can suffer from a nearsightedness. An author is like an architect (to borrow from ‘Fountainhaead’). They can make the drawings, plans and renderings to awe the client. Turning those plans into reality – is a different matter. The situation we are in was never addressed by any of Any Rands novels.

  29. maha  •  Oct 14, 2006 @10:53 pm

    The only Rand book I read all the way through was Anthem, which I thought absurdly juvenle. I was about 17 at the time. Having met many of Rand’s followers in the long years since, I’ve not been tempted to read another one.

  30. lorelynn  •  Oct 15, 2006 @2:10 am

    Don’t kid yourself – these kids don’t come from wealth although that is what they want you to think. They’re sociopaths who are behaving as they believe they’d behave if they were wealthy.

    As for the Bush-is-a-liberal meme, we hear it on tv from time to time. It has to do with his defict spending. He spends money as the braindead right believes that left does. It’s their attempt to separate him from Reagan, so that their deity can be kept in place.

    Let’s remember that Reagan had more staffers convicted on corruption charges than any president in history – 19 that I know of, and Sean Willentz says 28. Even so, I only know of 15 convicted in Watergate. Harding, also a Republican, had 2 or 3 convicted. Taft had a couple. And Grant a shitload – well, for the 19th century. I don’t know the numbers on him. You have to go back 150 years to Buchanan to find anything comparable in a Democratic administration.

  31. Kevin Hayden  •  Oct 15, 2006 @3:03 am

    Where I grew up, we had a name for a gathering of kids like that. It was either ‘an insurance convention’, or ‘security guards who coulda been contenders as cops’.

    I wouldn’t fret about them in the least, as the only damage most’ll do is to the King’s Table buffet bar, which only they are entitled to dominate.

  32. Clarke  •  Oct 15, 2006 @8:19 am

    Not to get all Peter Singer about it, but y’know what else animal cruelty is linked to? Being cruel to animals.

    I’m not taking issue with anything said here, it’s just that this phenomenon’s always put into a utilitarian context and I’m thinking maybe torturing bunnies is irredeemably sick whether or not the perp graduates to… dum dum DUM… the most dangerous prey of all, MAN.

    Well, back to my vegan soy-milk latte, or as I call it, “smuggachino.”

  33. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 15, 2006 @10:07 am

    My parent’s came here from Stalin’s USSR via Hitler’s camps.
    It must be nice to be born rich…
    What’s it like, Paris?
    George?
    Jeb?
    Please tell me! I want to know what it’s like. How is it???

  34. joanr16  •  Oct 15, 2006 @1:47 pm

    Clarke, you’re absolutely right. Torturing animals is terrible in and of itself, and doesn’t need to be a “gateway activity” to anything else.

  35. maha  •  Oct 15, 2006 @3:46 pm

    torturing bunnies is irredeemably sick whether or not the perp graduates to… dum dum DUM… the most dangerous prey of all, MAN.

    Well, yes, and I believe that’s what I said. Animal cruelty by itself is symptomatic of a serious character disorder. I didn’t say anything about graduating to homicide.

  36. julia  •  Oct 15, 2006 @10:40 pm

    Ayn Rand’s writing reminds me a great deal of the writing of the Marquis de Sade – a great many cardboard characters acting out the author’s fantasies, occasionally broken into by pages and pages of turgid political exposition only nominally intended to be dialog.

    I suspect that the best-thumbed pages of these kids’ Rand books don’t have a whole lot of political theory on them.

  37. WereBear  •  Oct 16, 2006 @9:40 am

    Oddly enough, Rand’s first book was her most personal and best, about life in Soviet Russia. It explains a lot of what came later.

    My comeback to misinformed Seniors is to remind them where their Social Security & Medicare came from. I haven’t met one yet who doesn’t looooooooooooooove those devilish socialism devices!

  38. apishapa  •  Oct 16, 2006 @5:16 pm

    Last weekend, my son and his friends went to “check on some horses” that they had heard might not be getting fed. The owner had called his friends and said she thought her ex had taken off and she didn’t know if her horses were being cared for. What my son was enough to make a pretty strong man break down and cry. Horses are standing in small pens with no food or water, knee deep in shit. It was obvious that they had been standing there waiting for someone to feed them for about a month. The two stallions were emaciated and could barely walk. In addition there were about 50 Australian Shepherds in on pen, also no food or water, starving to death. My son looked through the windows of the house, there were loose dogs running around, but he did not go in because they were looking pretty mean. So he put food and water in through the door.

    After having nightmares and waking up crying half the night, he got up and went back out there and fed them all again. Then they called the humane society. They found cages full of puppies inside the house starving to death. Every time I think about it I get more angry that this happened.

    People who do this to animals are not human beings. It hurts to the point that I can barely keep from crying to think of those poor horses standing there, trusting thier human caretakers to take care of them. Waiting day after day for their owners to feed them, expecting someone to come. Becaue that is the dealwe make when we take on an animal. They give us love and trust us to take provide for them, and we love them back and take care of them. That is our obligation.

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that people who think that children deserve to suffer if they can’t fend for themselves are no better than the bitch who left these animals caged to starve. We have an obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, human or otherwise. It worries me that so many people do not feel an obligation to take care of those who are having trouble getting by. That so many so-called Christians cannot see that this is the most important we are supposed to teach our children is appalling.

  39. Samantha Soller  •  Oct 20, 2006 @8:27 pm

    I thought I would just take the time to clarify a few key points Harpers seemed to miss:

    1. My bio (which was not a facebook bio, as the article incorrectly stated) was obviously intended to be a joke. As in “funny.” Of course I don’t shoot bunny rabbits. Nor do I own a gun. And you think conservatives are the stiff-necked bunch.

    2. You all seem to think young conservatives are snotty little rich kids (whose parents are hyenas). I just want to put it out there that I am independent, self-sufficient, and paying my own way through college. I’ve worked very hard for everything I have. Please don’t make judgements.

    3. Most of the conversations in the article did not happen or happened very differently from how they were told. In fact, a woman from Harpers called me to verify the stories. When I told her I didn’t believe the events occured as she described, she told me, “Well it could have happened,” and included it in the story. If a magazine publishes a story based on “what could have happened,” then I’m sorry, but all integrity has been lost.

  40. maha  •  Oct 20, 2006 @8:38 pm

    Of course I don’t shoot bunny rabbits.

    I didn’t think you did. It’s the persona I find worrisome. It bespeaks an antisocial worldview.

    Advice from an old lady: Don’t marry a guy who even brags about bashing rabbits or any other animal, even if he doesn’t actually do it. He is not husband and father material.

    I am independent, self-sufficient, and paying my own way through college.

    That may well be, but you all sound extremely sheltered and bigoted nonetheless. Not to mention cognitively challenged.

  41. Marianne Brennan  •  Oct 20, 2006 @9:47 pm

    As someone else who was actually at the conference, and actually met the kids there, the assumptions in both your original post and the comments are just plain wrong. Yes, some rich kids are conservative. But there are also plenty of rich kids who are liberals. And yes, some of the students in attendance were wealthy, I’m sure, but there were plenty more who weren’t. The fact that you resort to character attacks and pop pyschology to make a point about the conservative movement is proof of how little you have to say.

  42. maha  •  Oct 20, 2006 @10:37 pm

    Marianne — the relative wealth or poverty of the participants was not the point. The very fact that these innocents admire Walter Williams and Wayne LaPierre is solid proof they are seriously miswired.

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