are Neither Marie Antoinette nor Hollywood
August 15, 2001
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
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
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
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!