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The New Moderate Gives Thanks

November 24, 2021

Even George Orwell couldn’t have concocted a more dystopian society than the America we’ve known for the past few years – and he was the acknowledged master at concocting dystopian societies.

Instead of a passive populace dominated by the ever-watchful eye of “Big Brother,” we’re greeted by the spectacle of a once-proud nation split into two squabbling tribes. Each tribe comes equipped with its own sacred narratives, brazen politicians, propaganda outlets, online amen corners and torrents of self-righteous rhetoric whipping the faithful into frenzies of irrational anger and mutual loathing.

The left continues to spread its myopic race-obsessed dogma through the conduits of academia, journalism and corporate America. They’ve conveniently redefined racism and white supremacy so that the majority of us must plead guilty. (Correct grammar? Objective reasoning? Merit? Math? Individualism? Mea culpa! Please don’t hate me!)

Meanwhile, the militant right slips farther into a dark bog of conspiracy theories, anti-Democrat hysteria, gun fetishes, knee-jerk resistance to science, and an unhealthy fixation on their ousted orange-skinned leader, who’s still pushing the buttons of his followers and pulling the strings of Republican politicians who’d like to stay in office.

Of course, virtually nobody listens to the sensible voices that still emanate from the center. And if the extremists do listen to them, they go out of their way to silence them. Leftist social justice warriors cancel anyone whose wayward opinions depart from woke scripture (even if they’ve been dead two hundred years), while right-wing Republicans threaten their more reasonable colleagues who dare to cooperate with the Democrats – even for the good of the country. Both tribes come complete with inquisitors whose job it is to purify the ranks by expelling the heretics.

What else? How about the statue topplers, white vigilantes, black segregationists, Trump insurrectionists, The 1619 Project, hoarders of assault weapons, and the woke editors of the AP Stylebook who decided to capitalize “Black” but leave “white” in lower case? Oh, and let’s not forget our beloved social media outlets for turning former friends into screeching adversaries. (Keep it up, America, especially if you’re itching for a second Civil War.)

To top it off, this madness is taking place within the context of the worst pandemic since Woodrow Wilson was president – a pandemic that keeps reinventing itself with new strains of the abominable bug, thanks partly to the hordes of obstinate anti-vaxxers who help keep it in circulation. The rest of us take our shots in the arm, wear our masks at the supermarket and hope we don’t get sneezed upon at point-blank range by a clueless covid carrier.

So, you might ask, what exactly does The New Moderate have to be thankful about? Well, I’m still alive – and if you’re reading this, so are you. Where there’s life, after all, there’s hope – and mirth, love, passion, creativity, sympathy and kindness, not to mention cynicism, chagrin, spleen, vexation and all the other colorful responses to life that prove we’re not ready to become coffin fodder. I prefer being a curmudgeon to being dead, don’t you? Possessing a live body comes in handy for all manner of amusing earthly pursuits, even as we approach terminal geezerhood.

What else moves me to give thanks? Food — especially turkey and cranberry sauce this time of year – but even granola, spinach and legumes. Where would we be without the nourishment that keeps our bodies from sputtering out and decaying prematurely? I give thanks for tap water, too. What a miracle it is that I can simply turn a spigot and guzzle pure H2O without having to dig a well in my yard or pay $1.50 a pop for commercial spring water in flimsy plastic bottles.

Friends and relatives come in handy, too – especially when we grow tired of talking to ourselves. Pets give us affection when almost nobody else will. Books, movies and TV take us to interesting places without getting us mugged, kidnapped or thrown into a river wearing cement shoes. Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, even if the latter-day descendants of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Scott Joplin sound relatively savage themselves.

And how about the natural world? Trees, meadows, wooded trails, mountains, beaches, pristine lakes and cascading brooks, birdsongs and wildflowers, fall foliage, snowflakes and spring rain – all wholesome and good and worthy of our gratitude. 

Manmade monuments deserve our thanks, too: the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, the Great Wall of China, the surviving splendors of Greece and Rome, the Gothic cathedrals of Western Europe, Independence Hall, the Empire State Building – tangible reminders that we’re heirs to civilizations greater and more lasting than our petty tribal identities of the moment.

I have to thank my readers, too – the contrarians as well as the cheerleaders, and everyone in between. Without you, I’d essentially be playing tennis with myself. It always helps to have someone across the net to keep our reflexes sharp and supple.

I’m even tempted to thank the architects of our current social, cultural and political divide. Why? For engineering such a godawful mess that only dedicated moderates like us can patch it up and create some semblance of domestic tranquility. I’m confident that the extremists will have to listen to us eventually or be marginalized into insignificance. They’ve made us indispensable, and for that small favor The New Moderate is eternally grateful.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three brilliant (but inexplicably overlooked) collections of dark-humored essays are available as e-books for just $2.99 each on Amazon or wherever else e-books are sold. 

All material in The New Moderate copyright 2007-2021 by Rick Bayan — but feel free to quote from this site as long as you credit me as the author.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    November 24, 2021 1:04 am

    Well Rick you out did yourself with this one. Very Nice. And you about used up every possible descriptive word in the English language to make your point. Loved it!

    So for you meals you mention food. “especially turkey and cranberry sauce this time of year – but even granola, spinach and legumes. Now the first two I agree, the other not so much. But I would add “stuffing” (not dressing, but stuffing). Because my wife lives dangerously just like her mom, her grandmother, my mom, my grandmother and all the other ladies that preceded them in the kitchen because they all stuffed the bird and cooked it inside the bird, not outside where it drys out. And by the way, it doesn’t take much to get the stuffing at a high enough temperature, not dry out the bird and take it out of the bird before it begins to cool to avoid any health issues. And with 11 people for dinner, it ain’t a small bird either!

    To close, we must be one of the dying breed that still drinks water from the tap. And just think experts say “Making a single water bottle takes three times more water than the bottle will hold. Because this water is exposed to harmful chemicals during the production process, it cannot be reused and is then wasted.” And that is suppose to be better? What happens to those chemicals in the plastic? I will stick to the tap! (beer that is)

    Have a wonderful Thanksiving!

    • November 25, 2021 12:20 pm

      It would not matter if it took 10,000 times more water than the bottle will hold.

      Water is infinitely renewed. You should have learned that by 5th grade science.

      We constantly trade efficiency for convenience and safety.

      It is the free market price system that properly regulates that choice.

      You would go out to a stream to drink water – if the cost of tap water was too high.
      You would drink from a tap – if the cost of bottled water was too high.

      You are personally free to drink water however you please – as are others – so long as they are prepared to pay whatever the price is for water in the form they choose.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 25, 2021 4:17 pm

        “Water is infinitely renewed.”

        Tell that to the people out west where the ground level has gone down several inches in the San Joaquin because too much water has been removed from the aquifers or those along the Colorado River that watch the water level in the damn drop to the lowest level since they began filling the damn with water.

        Technically you are right. Water around the globe,continues to be replaced,. Much of it goes into the oceans and not where drinking water is replaced.

      • November 27, 2021 10:18 am

        Again – atleast in my school we were taught something like this.

        The oceans are NOT the end of the journey for water.

        Absolutely there are natural constraints on the amount of water flowing through specific regions, and absent tremendous effort by humans we can not use more than those limits in that region.

        But humans are incredibly good at the engineering to move water from one place to another.

        Doing so obviously benefits some at the expense of others.

        There is almost no limit to the water that can be brought to the san jaquin valley – so long as you are prepared to leave someplace else short.

        I would also note the trivial fact that global warming means MORE water.

        Higher global temperatures mean more evaporation from the oceans and more water transported to land. but as with everything in nature – it does not mean MORE water everywhere. It can mean much more in some places and less in others.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 27, 2021 12:32 pm

        Depends on where you are in the world. And right now, no snow in Rockies, meaning it looks like another year of low snowpack.

        You look at things with rose colored glasses. you see the country actually going to get better. Others see it going in the wrong direction for years. You see libertarian principles being followed legally by everyone, others see criminals that would take advantage. You see rain replenishing all the water people use without regard to how it may be wasted. Others see issues like this and the fact ground water has been taken from the San Juaquin valley so fast the ground is sinking becasue the rain can not replenish underwater aquifers fast enough.

        https://weather.com/photos/news/2021-06-15-lake-mead-before-and-after-photos

      • November 28, 2021 11:45 am

        “Depends on where you are in the world.”

        NO!

        The water cycle and the infinite renewal of water are universal.

        Local surpluses our deficits are just that – extremely local issues.

  2. Priscilla permalink
    November 24, 2021 10:13 am

    Hey, Rick, great column…very “you” both in spirit and style. It’s difficult, these days, to find much in the news to be thankful about, which is, I suppose, why so many people have detached from the news. Problem with that is, when a big story hits, those people tend to hear/read only the top-line narratives, and remain unaware of the actual facts. Pushing those (often 100% untrue) narratives has become the main goal and purpose of the national news media and those narratives exacerbate, by design, the divisions among us.

    Actual investigative journalism and a free and uncensored press would be the answer to this, but we appear to be moving in the opposite direction, at least when it comes to the national news.

    That said, we don’t drink tap water~ yet~ in our new town, because there has been a longstanding issue of chemically contaminated water, by a subsidiary of DuPont, from the Cape Fear River, and inadequate filtration, which became the primary local issue in the 2020 election. As a result, reverse osmosis filtration systems have begun to be installed. But, for now, I’m sticking to bottled water, not sourced from Cape Fear…

    Anyway, stories like this ~ clean water activists successfully getting the right people elected, who then work to resolve important local issues ~ are what keep me thankful, and somewhat optimistic, about America’s federal system.

    And, Ron, very glad to hear that there are still brave people out there who are not afraid to cook the stuffing in the bird, the way it was meant to be!!

    • Priscilla permalink
      November 24, 2021 10:14 am

      Sorry, I meant the 2018 election…

  3. rondabellelane permalink
    November 24, 2021 11:54 am

    Happy ‘Day before Thanksgiving’ Rick.

    You already know I posted your words for others to read. I can’t (who can?) predict the response, especially since (unlike your friends), many of mine pass by things they don’t want to argue with… but I find little to argue about.

    But I did discover something you don’t know about me – like Ron, I too stuff my turkey (when I have one)! Never had an issue, and keep track of the temperature to make sure of that. It just tastes SO much better – although excess stuffing in a bowl properly basted (like the turkey) isn’t bad either, and served those with trust issues…

    Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving – even that singular multiple personality whose posts I delete before reading!

  4. Ron P permalink
    November 24, 2021 12:33 pm

    Priscilla/Ronda

    I dont remember people when I was younger getting sick from turkey and stuffing. I do know that there was three rules that most everyone knew. Safety in cooking was stressed by older generations. 1) If you had to clean your turkey, clean the sink, place the bird in the sink and clean it in the sink. Then move it into the pan that it was being cooked in and finish preparing. That made sure anything from the bird did not spread on counters. 2) People did not have magic gadgets that popped out when the bird was done. But they did have thermometers and checked the temp. And most knew that turkeys take hours to cook, so they had a very good idea when it was ready before even checking..But the main issue with the stuffing is many people did not learn the basics being handed down. They would stuff the bird and then scoop out enough for a bowl for the dinner table , let the bird and stuffing cool on the counter while eating and a few hours later take the rest out and then put leftovers in the fridge. That’s like taking mayo on a picnic in the middle of summer and not eating for hours.

    Priscilla, one issue with investigative journalism may be the changes in journalism at the local levels. No longer are local papers owned and operated by local companies. They are owned by large conglomerates. Just yesterday it was announced our local paper owned by a larger company, but one that puts importance into local reporters and news has received an offer by a “slash and burn” hedge fund. Papers they own do little local reporting, use mostly wire service articles and have little to no local interest stories. So eliminating local reporters reduces those that make it to the investigative level. And some who do like Sheryl Atkinson rub the wrong person the wrong way, step on money toes and get fired.

    Last,as I have said hundreds of times, we are losing our freedoms one drip at a time. How does the “leader of the free world” come in 6th, one step lower than the last report and continuing a trend of going down. Links at the bottom of this report provides detailed info.

    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/economic-freedom-of-the-world-2021-annual-report?mc_cid=b1a8556f3c&mc_eid=8f49c0d583

    • rondabellelane permalink
      November 24, 2021 12:51 pm

      Well Ron, I must say, you’ve got the bird down pat… I always use a thermometer, never those pop-ups… and get up early.

      …and you’ve given me an interesting site to look at – thanks!

  5. Vermonta permalink
    November 24, 2021 3:35 pm

    Rick its a great theme. Our political system is a ^&%$# &$#@ I don’t even want to think about it. But Gratitude is one of the best things in life. I am grateful to have been born where and when I was because I have read history and just 50 years earlier (let alone 100 or 200 or 500, etc.) my life would have likely been much, much worse. Not to mention being born in most other places. I was lucky in the parent department too so I won the trifecta. I am one of the lucky ones, my grandparents would not have believed what I soft life I have had.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  6. Priscilla permalink
    November 24, 2021 10:15 pm

    Not sure if this will work (I can’t recall if Rick blocked videos, back from the day when too many were clogging up the site). But, I think it’s time for a cockatoo video. I think it’s us, Roby. I just don’t know which one is you and which one is me…

    • Vermonta permalink
      November 25, 2021 4:15 pm

      I was expecting them to talk. Cockatoos talk, right? Find me two talking cocktoos arguing and I will choose one to be me.

      In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, sans any nasty PC element. Just celebrate Thanksgiving in the opposite way that, say, AOC would. Eat the opposite of what she is eating today. Nothing organic. I’ll even join you. As to what to drink, consult this:

      • Vermonta permalink
        November 25, 2021 4:17 pm

        As a bonus, I do not endorse this 100% but its appropriate fodder for this site on this day.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 26, 2021 4:32 pm

        Hahaha, this is great… Even I wouldn’t endorse this 100%, but it’s quite funny, and, as you say, appropriate fodder for the site, during the season.

      • November 27, 2021 10:11 am

        Wow!

        Louder With Crowder ?

        Who will you post next – Alex Jones ?

        Regardless, thank you for the laughs.

        Crowder has an important core point – even if there are a few inaccuracies.
        That point is that history is full of things that offend modern moral standards.
        We can not go back to Eden and attempt to right every past wrong.

        In the 1400’s people did not know about germs, but they knew that the clothes and blankets from people who died of small pox could pass small pox, even if the mechanism was not understood.

        In fact biological warfare was common in the middle ages with trebuchett’s used to lobb infected corpses into cities under seige to defeat them.

    • Vermonta permalink
      November 27, 2021 3:13 pm

      He’s more like an opinionated sloshed guy that you might meet in a bar than an actual historian or expert on archeology or indigenous Americans. Does he really know what he is talking about? Not much. But there is a grain of truth or two in his comedy routine and I was just looking for anything anti-PC related to Thanksgiving. Somewhere between Howard Zinn’s very twisted views of history and this guys all too glib and superficial shtick lies a well informed but not left wing view of the whole sad story of the native Americans.

  7. November 25, 2021 2:13 pm

    Despite what Rick calls my contrarian nature – I am far more hopeful about the future than most here.

    My mother had a tendency to spend much of her life anticipating disaster. A trait she has passed on to a lessor extent to me.

    But it is not the fear of imminent disaster that was my big take away, but the way she and everyone jumped in to fix things when disasters occured.

    I am very sad – and often angry about the mess that is being made in this country.

    But I am more optimistic I think than nearly everyone here.

    Bad things have happened in the past, and will happen again.

    We have recovered ALWAYS, often very quickly.

  8. November 27, 2021 11:22 am

    In Nov. 2017 Trump made a surprise trip to Troops in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving.
    In Nov. 2021 Biden spend Thanksgiving at a Billionaire’s compound in Nantuckett.

  9. November 27, 2021 11:41 am

    Bret Weinstein normally writes and Vlogs about Covid – he is an evolutionary biologists and one of the early scientists to publicly note that the lab leak hypothesis for Covid origens deserved examination.

    Weinstein is one of the growing body of left intellectuals increasingly at odd with the left.

    https://unherd.com/2021/11/the-liberal-case-for-gun-ownership/

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