THE NEW PURITANS

The rap against Republicans -- especially conservatives -- is that they want to legislate morality. But compare the Left in the early 1970s to where it is now. In his excellent book on the 1970s, How We Got Here, David Frum wrote that prior to the Great Society, and certainly, prior to the mid-1970s, Americans were relatively carefree folks:

They lit rockets in their backyards on the Fourth of July. They bought their steak marbled with fat. They smoked. They bought cars without seatbelts. They gave boys .22-caliber rifles for their eleventh birthdays. How they would gape and stare at a contemporary playground, with its rubber matting underneath the swings, safety belts on the teetertotters, and three-year-olds strapped into crash helmets before they can mount their tricycles. How they would snicker at grown men gird­ing themselves like test pilots to pedal through the park, at a Post Office that airbrushes the cigarette out of Humphrey Bogart’s hand lest some im­pressionable stamp-collector get the wrong idea about smoking, at the massive Range Rovers we buy so that we can commute to the office with­out fear. Back then, one did not show so much concern for one’s carcass.

Beginning with the combination of OSHA, MADD, PETA, the anti-smoking movement, the anti-SUV movement, the anti-fast food movement, the left changed from being wild and carefree to being -- if not Big Brother, then Big Nagging Grandparent, who always bugged you to button up your coat, look both ways before crossing the street, make sure your shoelaces are tied--and be a general nag. Even sex -- the last bastion of fun for the Left was looked down upon, when (prior to Bill Clinton's impeachment), seemingly any compliment a man gave a woman was suddenly sexual harassment--or at least potential grounds for such.

You can't help but think that the Left, embarrassed by their own excesses during the 1960s felt that everyone needed the big nagging grandparent that they collectively lacked in the 1960s--and that they were each going to assume that role--thus the rise of MADD, PETA, Michael Moore, Gray Davis, Mike Bloomberg (the definitive RINO -- "Republican In Name Only"), and all of the other Big Nagging Grandparents.

'Scuse me while I go run with scissors before I launch some rockets.