Democratic Underground

We are Neither Marie Antoinette nor Hollywood
August 15, 2001
by achildleftbehind

This article is a response to Jonah Goldberg's editorial "Marie Antoinette Goes to Hollywood," at http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg080701.shtml

To begin, the article itself was well written, however, the issues that were discussed within it were examined with either too little depth or with too few distinctions made. First we need to see how Mr. Goldberg performed on history. "Let them eat cake" was a completely fictional line, and there is no evidence that Rousseau was referring to Maria Therese, or her bread industry regulation policies. Rousseau was in many ways a left-libertarian, he believed that the government should preserve the rights of the people and promote the common good based on a majority rule, minority rights system. He had strong sense of personal freedom, but did, however, advocate a civil religion.

The statements made in regard to Marie Antoinette are correct, she was a kind-hearted and benevolent person, but she was not in charge and was (unfortunately for her) the wife of the king and thus subject to whatever fate he might receive. Though her character was accurately portrayed in this editorial, her demise, which was carried out by an angry mob, should not be used to demonize liberal principles. We didn't kill her, and the French didn't kill her over the issues, they killed her because they were crazed, starving, and in need of another blamable person to execute.

The clouded logic of this article is not limited to its interpretation of history; the entirety of it is riddled with various fallacious concepts and statements.

First and most importantly is Mr. Goldberg's "Big Bread" anecdote. He suggests that bakers were forced to sell their most expensive bread at the price of their cheapest, thus causing them to lose money and become forced into bankruptcy because the price of cheap bread was also kept artificially high. This scenario is intrinsically accurate, however, it is a poor analogy for our own times. He somehow manages to forget several major and important changes that took place over the near 250 years since the reign of Maria-Therese over the Austro-Hungarian empire: the democratization of American and many European governments, the industrial revolution, the advent of the corporation, the very creation of big-business itself.

You cannot appropriately compare the individually owned, private bakeries to, say, Exxon. Regulation over business has changed as the concepts of it have continually done so. We no longer control the price of the retailer as much as we control that of the big company that manufactures the item. This whole argument fails to hold water, historical or otherwise.

The article continues with a laundry list of celebrities and their expensive tastes, activities and neuroses. Mariah Carey's personal towel-hander-over and opposing-diva sign-remover (read the article and you'll understand), Kim Basinger's solar allergies (read the article and you'll understand), and Mike Myers' refusal to work without adequate "margarinal" compensation (you know what do).

I don't read the tabloids, and if Mr. Goldberg were looking for a respectable and truthful source of information, neither would he. But whether or not these allegations of wasteful spending are true, so what? It's their money. Just because you spend the money you have in a wasteful fashion doesn't mean that you would protest to being more heavily taxed under a progressive system. And at least they are employing people in the process, if nothing else. Though Mr. Goldberg may say, "Some of them are too dumb to breathe without a cue-card," I can think of a current president with a lack of wits even more astounding.

And yes, of course Hollywood supports the Democrats because they are more socially liberal. Unless you are so high and mighty as to think that social liberalism makes a person any less of a good, law abiding human being, that shouldn't matter in the slightest as to the soundness of liberal perspectives. What does it matter if Barbara Streisand auctioned off her bathrobes? I smell a big fat red herring. If some fool wants to pay exorbitant prices for her used wardrobe, how does it invalidate her perspectives on taxation of the wealthy? Of course, the piece makes no mention of what she HAS done for good causes.

Now comes the most essential and compelling argument of them all, the point to mute all the others. WE ARE NOT HOLLYWOOD! It is completely irrational to let such a small segment epitomize all liberals and their philosophies. Let's not talk about stars and divas! Come out and argue the issues based on down-to-earth, average citizens! What a concept!

 
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