The Reactionary Utopian
                    November 17, 2006

by Joe Sobran

     Those who like to portray President Bush as a 
nincompoop always fasten on his alleged mispronunciation 
of "nuclear." It apparently never occurs to these 
intellectual snobs that maybe he is the only one 
pronouncing it correctly and the rest of us have been 
getting it wrong.

     A trivial matter, you say? We may soon face nucular 
war in the Middle East. Seymour Hersh of THE NEW YORKER 
has reported that the president has refused to rule out 
the nucular option against Iran.

     President Bush's religious views are unclear, but he 
is reportedly tight with people like the preacher John 
Hagee of the Religious Right, for whom events in the 
Middle East hold the promise of Armageddon. Think of 
Dr. Strangelove reading the Book of Revelation, and 
you'll get some idea of the showdown they seem to have in 

     As a Catholic, I take my hat off to these "Bible 
Christians." We Catholics keep Bibles on hand in case we 
really need them, but it must be admitted that we can't 
hold a candle to these folks. They can quote rings around 
us, Scripture-wise. What do we know? When they cite a 
verse like Second Ben-Hur 26:19, we can only take their 
word for it. And they are at their most impressive when 
they interpret the Book of Revelation, which lays out the 
schedule for the Rapture, the Second Coming, the clash of 
Gog and Magog, and related events right down to the 

     Hagee looks to Revelation, the most exciting book in 
the Good Book, for "God's foreign policy," as he calls 
it, and he doesn't seem to share the voters' general 
disillusionment with the way things are going over in 
Babylon and environs. When you've got the Almighty's 
playbook, what do election results really matter?

     I still can't figure out what liberals mean by the 
expression "right-wing," but Hagee & Co. evidently don't 
take their bearings from such arid secular humanist 
PAPERS. Adam Smith and Alexander Hamilton wrote before 
the advent of nucular weapons gave foreign policy 
apocalyptic possibilities, especially with George W. 
Bush's finger on the button.

     Now that even the neoconservatives are having a few 
second thoughts about our Babylon policy, it's time to 
raise an issue that most of the postelection analyses are 
ignoring. In fact I've seen not a single mention of it 
anywhere. You could easily get the impression that it's 
dead, upstaged by such issues as war, illegal 
immigration, and same-sex marriage (a clear threat to the 
nucular family).

     I refer, of course, to the flag-burning amendment. 
This has energized conservatives and patriotic 
organizations for years, especially the American Legion, 
which has poured millions of dollars into the drive to 
prevent hippies from torching Old Glory with impunity. 
Emboldened by the Republicans' defeat, these dope-crazed 
"flower children" are already making the most of their 
opportunity to blacken the skies with smoke. A neighbor 
of mine has suffered second-degree burns on both hands 
while trying to rescue a flag from desecration.

     We could have predicted it. This is what happens 
when America lets its guard down.

     It is no discredit to the Framers of our 
Constitution to note that they didn't think of 
everything. They were only mortal, and they couldn't have 
foreseen the startling implosion of America after 
generations of moral relativism had taken their toll on 
the minds of our youth. But the passage of time 
inevitably presents new challenges, and now it's up to us 
to meet this one.

     I haven't seen Clint Eastwood's new movie, FLAGS OF 
OUR FATHERS, but it's not hard to imagine how the Marines 
who planted the flag on Iwo Jima would react if they 
could witness what is being done to that flag today. They 
would be astounded that it should even be felt necessary 
to amend the Constitution to prevent behavior they would 
have found unthinkable. It's rather like amending the 
Constitution to outlaw stabbing one's mother.

     Alas, what was once freakishly infrequent has now 
become so common that revising the fundamental law of the 
land is about the only way left to cope with it. Indeed, 
many well-meaning liberals will tell you with a straight 
face that burning the flag is protected by the 
Constitution itself!

     Such rubbish is enough to make you go nucular.


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