Goodbye to a 'challenging' 2015
© by Barbara Anderson

The Eagle-Tribune
Sunday, January 3, 2015


So, summing up the Year 2015: Wow, was that challenging or what?

Of course it takes a certain habitual attitude like mine to see it that way; another adjective, for those paying attention to the news, might be “demoralizing.” Among them, some mention dropping out/giving up for 2016.

Others found the year “scary,” with good reason, considering the rise of ISIS exacerbating ongoing terrorism. As we approached New Year’s Eve, warnings of some kind of attack on our soil had security forces on heightened alert even here in the Boston area. I’ll bet this didn’t keep many people home who had planned to celebrate though.

Let’s end the year with appreciation for some of those who are fighting to fix things: all of our security forces from local police to our military forces; and this year, those in and around government who are focusing on the opioid abuse problem. I don’t like the word kudos, it reminds me of that invasive plant that grows in the South, so I’ll be bilingual for a moment and say “Bravo” to The Eagle-Tribune for its ongoing series on the subject.

I’ll mention Gov. Charlie Baker’s leadership on this, and his determination to deal with the state’s fiscal problems without increasing taxes, though I’m very angry with him for not keeping his promise to fix the injustice of the Fells Acre Daycare case by removing Gerald Amirault’s ankle bracelet -- as Charlie promised early in his campaign for governor. If you are tired of reading this here, please call the governor.

One thing I find a tad demoralizing was the moment, sometime in 2015, when I realized I’ve been wrong my entire life thinking that most people, basically, are really like me. Noting those who do NOT pay attention to the news: During this Christmas season people actually bought their kids hoverboards that, while dangerous enough to just ride, can spontaneously combust; and after shopping, went to Chipotle for lunch.

It was a silly fantasy about my connection with others, anyhow, which began to unravel when voters chose Obama again in 2012. At the moment, I stand with Rand, and that makes me part of a very tiny voter minority.

Speaking of libertarians, did anyone notice that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, during his Christmas musings, actually attacked many of us who believe in individualism, and I quote: “Christmas joy is about discovering that life must be lived in solidarity. The Ayn Rand extreme individualism of our culture is poison, whose antidote is community and solidarity. Christmas joy is about discovering and building solidarity with our families, with our community, with the human beings on the planet, and with our creator.”

Of course, on Christmas Day the cardinal also told people gathered at a homeless shelter in Boston that “Jesus was born in homelessness and in poverty.”

No, actually, Jesus was born to that era’s equivalence of the middle class. His father Joseph was a carpenter, a descendent of the House of David; he and Mary had a perfectly good home in Nazareth until the government made them travel to Bethlehem on their middle-class donkey to register as taxpayers. Jesus was born in a stable not because they were homeless, but because the hotels were overbooked.

I am reminded of when I got off the train in Venice during a convention, and had to sleep in a closet in a hotel near the station; I didn’t feel homeless or poor, though, since my Navy officer husband and I had a nice little home in Greece at the time, and I had $500 in traveler’s checks in my jeans.

Does the cardinal really not know the true story, or is he trying to trick people into falling on the politically correct side of the “income inequality” debate?

He certainly doesn’t understand “Ayn Rand individualism,” which, once you get beyond the novels and into the actual economic theories, you learn that what individualism, i.e., personal freedom, creates is an economic system that works better than any other for the “community,” which should it spread, for all “human beings on the planet.”

Rand advocates capitalism, which has never been properly tried without Big Government, Big Business, and Big Labor butting in, and is now in disrepute. I must, however, acknowledge that “the marketplace” works only with an informed consumer, and who among us can wade through all the complexities of today’s life and news cycles to be one of those?

In a wonderful interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, the liberals’ bogeyman, Charles Koch, was asked if he is a libertarian, and he responded that he once was, but now he is a classic liberal. I had always thought they were the same, but I think I get his point: Libertarians seem to be focusing too much on the individual freedom, without explaining how that leads, as Koch said, to a society that is more responsible, that works for more people.

Bravo to the Koch brothers, for deciding to come out to the public, to show what heroes they have been to our economy, to charities, to culture like PBS programming through their foundations. My choice for Men of the Year: Charles and David Koch. And no, I do not get any funding from them in return for my admiration.

Maybe in the New Year, instead of being a libertarian or classic liberal, I should try being a modern liberal, aka “progressive” — support bigger government, increased national debt, more of the welfare state to distort the tradition of melting-pot immigration, the religion of global warming, more political correctness. especially on college campuses, even gun control in the face of embedded terrorists. Then if the Democrats win the presidency, and perhaps take Congress, I’ll finally be part of the ruling class. Will that feel good? Will I be called compassionate? Next year will Cardinal O’Malley say I have “Christmas joy?”

No, I’m too smart to be a liberal. Happy New Year! One thing for sure, it will be challenging. Let’s not drop out, let’s not be afraid.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

More of Barbara's Columns

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665