America’s young conservatives have President Bush confused with Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Take the National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg for example. Even conservatives have reason to "cheer the immense popularity of the Buffyverse," he wrote in June this year. Why? Because Buffy’s creator Joss Whedon makes the struggle against evil a central part of Buffy’s world:
Running like a steel spine through Whedon’s work is the conviction that evil exists, isn’t going away and must be constantly fought or it will win. Indeed, the series finale of Angel last month concluded on the eve a massive battle we’ll never see, offering a simple message – redemption is for tomorrow, but the battle against evil is for right now.
Fellow NRO columnist Thomas S Hibbs has discovered philosophical profundity in Buffy . He writes that the slayer’s love for her friends and sister is "a counterpoint to the metaphysics of evil":
By contrast to goodness and in parasitic dependence on it, evil involves isolation from the rest of humanity, a closing off of the possibility of love, friendship, and communication; it is a will to raw, unconstrained power, a nihilistic drive to destroy all that is, including oneself.
You see, Buffy didn’t want to spend her life saving the world from demons and vampires but, because she was the only one who could do the job, it became her responsibility. And when the Watcher appointed by The Council to supervise Buffy stood in the way of saving the world from the evil Mayor of Sunnydale she unilaterally decided that The Council and its officially appointed Watcher had no authority over her.
Is this sounding familiar? When you’re battling against powerful evil forces and everyone else is either too stupid or too weak to get the job done, then you have to go it alone. The battle against evil isn’t for cheese eating sissies or Massachusetts Liberals. People are going to get hurt. You just can’t do it nicely. So when George W Bush was faced with his very own Mayor of Sunnydale did he ask the Watchers for permission? Of course not. He did what Buffy would have done. He smacked Saddam so hard that the evil dictator turned and ran. Then Buffy… er… I mean President Bush… chased him out of his festering spider hole and put him in chains. As for his minions, he blew them up and took pictures to prove it.
A world filled with evil doers is no place for liberal squeamishness. That’s the best thing about it. When the world’s survival depends on rooting out and destroying evil the normal rules of civilized behavior no longer apply. If free speech, human rights, or the United Nations stand in the way then they’ll just have to be put to one side until the crisis is over. And with any luck the crisis will never be over.
The trouble with liberals is that they make everything boring. They’re like high school English teachers who make you read books with no robots, pirates, ninjas, or laser guns in them. Books like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (you really should click that link). Who wants to watch the news when nothing gets blown up? What fun is CNN if our troops aren’t out there crushing evil with their Abrams M1A1 main battle tanks and AC-130H Spectre gunships? Who wants to watch forests grow or see poor kids learning to read?
The great thing about being a moral warrior battling evil is that it allows you to do all kinds of things that are normally against the rules. As psychologist Linda J Skitka argues, people who feel they have a moral mandate for their cause are likely to ignore niceties like due process (click here for a pdf paper). Normally it’s not cool for teenage girls to use rocket launchers down at the local mall but when you’re saving the world it’s another matter. Why else do you think that the Australian‘s Janet Albrechtsen is always declaring war on things? Somebody pass that woman a bazooka, somebody’s teaching those kids whole language!
Rocket launchers and their political and rhetorical equivalents are the real reason hip young young conservatives are so keen on morality. If it wasn’t for evil doers life would be very dull.