Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Dumbest Bumper Sticker Ever

Driving back home this morning, I had the mixed fortune of being stuck behind a white Chevrolet pickup truck. On the rear window, there were a few stickers, including a U.S. Marines Corps sticker and this, the dumbest sticker ever: "My kid fought in Iraq so yours could party in college."

At just 11 words, it is a condensate of American stupidity (and a source of great amusement for me.) It expresses the belief that the reason why American troops have been fighting in Iraq is the defense of American freedom. It associates college with partying, rather than with studying (an association which sounds particularly easy to draw for the author of the sticker.) It overlooks the irony that the sticker might be displayed on the back of a gas guzzling pick up truck, an irony which is missed both by the sticker's author and even by the vehicle's owner. Quite an accomplishment, for just 11 words.

While we are on the subject of bumper stickers, The Constructive Curmudgeon has also railed about the stupidity of bumper stickers. Not surprisingly, he completely missed the target and twisted facts. The sticker he condemned says "Jesus was a liberal. Hitler was a conservative." The Curmudgeon went on to state his inane and insane conviction that fascism and nazism were an development of socialism, because he read a couple of books by conservative hacks that make that point, and because both Mussolini and Hitler themselves, who would not be your most credible witnesses on the stand, at one point or another made direct or indirect associations between their tyrannical systems and socialism, no matter what the evidence to the contrary suggested. Needless to say, fascism (and nazism, which drew upon fascism) is the ultimate convergence of political and corporate tyranny (Mussolini himself made the shockingly accurate prediction that "the Corporative System is destined to become the civilization of the twentieth century," a statement that was finally realized in Bush's eight year dominion over America in the next century,) über-nationalism, cult of personality, antipathy for and repression of dissent, contempt for everything and everyone that lives outside the borders of the fascist nation, etc.

The fact that most reputable historians and sociologists agree on assigning the expression of fascism to the radical right (where it rightfully belongs) does not deter the Curmudgeon from insisting on his case for fascism as the ultimate expression of liberalism (which he, once again ignorantly, associates with statism, and with socialism--by which he really and always means its worst incarnation, communism).

I agree that a bumper sticker that read "Jesus was a liberal. Hitler was a conservative" deserves to be railed against for its off-the-mark oversimplification. A simpler, but more truthful sticker could read "Jesus is a fantasy. Hitler was real."

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