… and as usual we’ll take a short holiday break. Daily posting will resume on January 2nd.
In the meantime, why don’t we – tongueincheekish - reflect on some of the human rights issues thrown up by the Holidays? After all, the nativity story is about the slaughter of innocent children as well as the birth of the Holy One. Hardly an event to remember with songs of joy and happiness. And then there’s Santa Claus, giving toys instead of basic necessities, and giving richer children more toys than poor children. The Holidays seems designed to justify rampant capitalism, inequality and consumerism.
Santa also has a 1984-like disrespect for privacy, sliding down chimneys in the middle of the night without a word or a ring of the bell. Even more 1984-like is his ability to read children’s minds and ascertain their “goodness” or “badness”. His morals, furthermore, are arbitrary and authoritarian, and children have no occasion to contest his moral judgment or to justify their supposedly “bad” behavior. All this talk about a ”record” of children’s annual performance is just plain creepy and no better than the KGB. It looks like the myth of Santa has been designed to instill fear of an omniscient moral punisher – similar to the eye of God – and to initiate very young children into the all pervasive social discipline they will have to inhabit as adults.
In addition, let’s not forget that the holiday season is the occasion to elevate Christianity above all other religions, and is a slap in the face of religious liberty, the separation of state and church and government neutrality.
Ayn Rand’s A Selfish Christmas (1951)
In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike. The special ends with the entropic collapse of the civilization of takers and the spectacle of children trudging across the bitterly cold, dark tundra to offer Santa cash for his services, acknowledging at last that his genius makes the gifts — and therefore Christmas — possible. Prior to broadcast, Mutual Broadcast System executives raised objections to the radio play, noting that 56 minutes of the hour-long broadcast went to a philosophical manifesto by the elf and of the four remaining minutes, three went to a love scene between Santa and the cold, practical Mrs. Claus that was rendered into radio through the use of grunts and the shattering of several dozen whiskey tumblers. In later letters, Rand sneeringly described these executives as “anti-life.” (source)
Still, a really sincere “merry Christmas and a happy new year” to all of you, Christmas addicts and libertarians included.