My father, as I have related here on other occasions, was a racist. He didn’t much like Jews and he didn’t like blacks – but I can say this for him: he equally loathed what he called “white trash.” He taught us kids that there were different classes of people, white trash being, to his mind, the lowest of the low. I think he saw them as an embarrassment to that nebulous and often changing state of being called “white.”
This “class” idea went contrary to my early egalitarian spirit, but in time, as I got out in the world and began to experience things for myself, I began to believe he might be right about that much at least. In his mind, these classifications of people were based not on birth or genetics but on upbringing and behavior. A person revealed himself in how he acted. I remember many profanity-laden “discourses” on the subject.
I do believe he thought people could “improve” themselves, though being a cynic, he probably considered such instances unlikely. Having grown up abandoned to an orphanage, he came by his cynicism honestly and I suspect now that he saw himself as evidence of this potential for upward mobility. And he did indeed change and even soften in some of his outlooks in time.
I would now go farther, and perhaps regress myself: I think Ted Nugent, who the other day in an interview with Guns.com (where else?), called President Barack Obama a “chimpanzee” and “subhuman mongrel,” actually proves my father’s point about classes of human beings.
See what you think:
I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America. I think America will be America again when Barack Obama, [Attorney General] Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, [Sen.] Dick Durbin, [former New York City Mayor] Michael Bloomberg and all of the liberal Democrats are in jail facing the just due punishment that their treasonous acts are clearly apparent.
Ted Nugent cannot, of course, point to any actual treasonous activities by the president, and there are, I believe, good reasons for this. Rather than simply dismiss Nugent as the douche he no doubt is, I would like to talk about these.
Cicero said “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Ted Nugent is deficient on a number of levels. His education, for one. Now, while I understand we are all to some extent victims of our flawed educational system, which is more or less better or worse depending on the luck of the draw, a person can always overcome that deficit through reading, and, more importantly, thinking about what he has heard and read. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Ted Nugent might know that if he had heard of Socrates, but I find that unlikely because Ted Nugent quite clearly doesn’t care for being educated. If he did, he would not be so ignorant. In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for the levels of ignorance he demonstrates on an almost daily basis.
It’s breathtaking. Witness his answer to Guns.com’s request for Nugent to define himself:
The gun debate is about good people having the individual right from God, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, to stop evil people. If you find fault with that you’re on the side of the evil people — duh.
Duh. Indeed. This utterance at least explains how Nugent could think President Obama is guilty of treason.
I happen to think my third grader could do better. Not only does the Constitution not grant the right to people to “stop evil people,” it does not define who or what “evil people” might be. It grants, for the purposes of a well-ordered militia in the days before a standing army, the right to bear arms. Therefore, to the thinking of the Founding Fathers, an evil person is certainly not anyone who disagrees with you. Thus, while it is tempting, I cannot accuse Nugent of having the mentality of a third grader.
Perhaps not even a second grader. But his mentality and intellectual development is definitely childlike, and childish.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Achievement has no color.”
Nugent is also a bigot and a racist. Now, I should say here too that I was brought up to be both. I also overcame both. As I grew into adulthood, I started thinking for myself, always questioning my early, ingrained assumptions and preconceptions. Actually seeing and meeting and talking to people as opposed to simply being told about them by your parents, tends to have this effect on an open mind.
I came sooner rather than later to the belief that my parents were wrong on a number of levels, and this process of self improvement has continued all my life long. I am constantly having to re-adjust my thinking in light of new facts and I am proud of this fact. I can very much appreciate President Barack Obama’s emerging thoughts about marriage equality because if you’re worth the weight of your component parts, you will have experienced the same sort of evolution in thinking about the world around you. Change is not evil; it is good.
Nugent, quite clearly, has no more desire to overcome this moral deficit than he does his educational deficit. Unlike Socrates, he has not begun to examine his life. He is, to put it bluntly – as witnessed by his utterances in recent years – content to be a despicable and ignorant cracker, or “white trash” in my father’s words,. I could joke that perhaps the “Cat Scratch Fever” got to him, but this isn’t a joking matter, and I’m not willing to cut him the kind of slack that would make him a victim of circumstances beyond his control. No adult is a prisoner of his own ignorance. Nugent has it in his power to be a different person, a better person, but he chooses to be numbered among the dregs of society instead.
Anne Frank wrote, “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I grew up very much admiring Anne Frank, but Anne Frank was wrong on this score. The Nazis were not really good at heart. Neither is Ted Nugent, who, in the essentials of his thinking, is only a haircut away from being a Nazi himself. But J.R.R. Tolkien was certainly right when he wrote, “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
It is people like Anne Frank who make it worth writing for and it is people like Ted Nugent we are fighting against. The only problem with fighting against the Ted Nugents of this world is that we are left with the disagreeable task of dealing with ignorant hicks like Ted Nugent and the people they inspire. We can’t ignore them; they won’t go away quietly if we do.
Nugent laments that he has “failed to galvanize and prod” but there are those who hang on his every word, because it excuses their own failings as human beings. Misery, as they say, loves company. So, too, apparently, does ignorance.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.