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Opine Needles

The Blog

In Defense of Tradition–Old Things Are Best

JR Pierce--WWII

Over the past couple years, Opine Needles has addressed two levels of concern about the left’s ongoing onslaught on American Exceptionalism:

1) the overt, and

2) the covert.

An example of the overt would be the Obama administration’s radical and egregious NLRB attack on Boeing’s attempt to make its way in the face of global economic headwinds by opting to open a plant in a right to work state. Boeing’s union costs are making it increasingly difficult for the firm to compete on an increasingly competitive world stage. The President could care less. He has a union constituency to support.

On the covert front, and perhaps even more nefarious and destructive in nature, is the ongoing and pervasive attempt by the progressive left (as personified by members of the current administration) to simply “deconstruct” all things traditional in American society. For the past several decades, we’ve witnessed myriad attacks on our fundamental, personal (and Constitutional!) right to pursue happiness.

Thus, we have seen relentless forays into the field of battle to abolish all things traditional; by way of a few examples,

–hunting, (gun ownership!),

–fishing with barbed hooks (eghads, the poor fish!),

–fraternities and eating clubs, (male dominated bastions of chauvinism in the academe must go!)

–private clubs, (beware the elitist public servant who might have belonged-or God forbid still belongs!-to a private club!)

–societies (free masons, etc).

And that is just a small, random sampling of the nature of the campaign against our personal pursuits of happiness; ones firmly rooted in the Constitution.

In the academic and professional worlds, we have witnessed the emergence of an insidiously pervasive form of disguised affirmative action, as well as institutionalized socioeconomic realignment. The Supreme Court has made it clear that affirmative action quotas are not constitutional, so the left has concocted numerous ways to undermine the inherent values of our uniquely American meritocracy. Opine Needles calls it “creeping expropriation”. Individual components of the attack do not seem so atrocious, but the sum of the parts has managed to creep up on all of us, and now represents more than just an existential threat to American Exceptionalism. The value system that made us a great country is being expropriated, and the majority of the country does not even know it is happening.

It is not a coincidence that these attacks emanate mostly from (and the attackers reside in) the “blue states”. The culprits are the leaders in our liberal academies. They are professional limousine liberals. They are those who desire a legislated equality of outcome above all else.

Cut through it all and this is what the left is saying. “Out with the old: in with the new! If some people can’t be happy, we’ll confiscate the happiness of those who possess it and distribute that happiness to those who don’t have it! We know best, and we know how to make everyone equally happy!”

The Great Society was so successful that all of us must surely comprehend why the progressive left is hell bent on adding insult to injury! Wait, what is that tapping sound on the floor? Oh, it’s just Karl Marx dancing a jig from down under!

Traditions matter.

Our father (when one writes in the third person, it is sometimes awkward. This is one such time, as we truly are writing about our [my] father–who art, as it happens, in heaven) wrote an op-ed that was published posthumously by Guns and Hunting Magazine. While he was not a writer by trade, he wrote from the heart, and he valued things that mattered.

We herewith reprint his opine, entitled “Old Things Are Best.”

“Old things are better than new things. They may not perform better, but they are nicer to own; they are friends. My Randall knife, while not my oldest, is a prized possession, not for any monetary value that it might have-but because we’ve done a lot of fun things together in the past 30 years.

My oldest knife was ‘requisitioned’ from the arms chest of the Tacloban Shore Patrol during WWII. Six months ago, I gave it a new handle of leather rings. It, too, provides memories.

I have two pairs of old leather bird boots, which date back to when they cost $18.00 to $20.00; big money then. Believe it or not, I still have fond memories of my first pair, which were bought before the war and carried me into the fifties. They were prime examples of what a cobbler could do if he really cared about old and good boots. There were from L.L. Bean, as is one of my current pairs.

Old wool deer pants are better than new ones only because you can look at the various repairs and bring back memories.

Old deer hunting friends are better than new ones. They took the test of time and passed. Old deer hunters are better than young ones. They know more and their hearts and legs make them move more slowly.

Old rifles are better than new ones and, in this area, I must personalize the statement, for I’ve only had my current ‘old’ rifle for one season. It’s a custom-stocked .308 built on a Sako action. The bluing has worn off due to it having been in and out of countless scabbards.

It previously belonged to Warren Page, marksman, hunter, and Field & Stream writer. I’d like to think that it was one of his favorites because of its worn condition. It weighs under seven pounds, with sling and scope.

I can’t tell you all the places it has been, or the stalks or excitement it has witnessed. However, I can tell you that on my back it has gone to four different states and accounted for three whitetail bucks. In time it will earn a place alongside my Randall as a source of retrospective good memories.

Old hats are better than new hats and everybody knows that. I brought mine home from the Pacific. Its previous owner, and Australian, gave it to me after punching me in the nose. I had, in company with an MP, walked into a bar and immediately found myself on the floor—for no particular reason other than being an American with a shore patrol band on my arm.

My old Aussie hat bears the inscription ‘Denham & Horgrove Ltd, Atherstone 1943’ on the band. The felt is about ¼” inch thick, and the brim keeps the rain off my glasses and the snow from going down my neck. Other than being practical and irreplaceable, it’s a best hat because it’s old.

I have lots of good old things; old compasses, shirts and two mended pairs of my father’s red long underwear. All these things give me warmth and comfort.

Someday you will get older and you, too, will be a best thing.”

Say no more.

Think Right. Act Right. Vote Right.

  • C. Wood-Burrow

    Thoughtful tribute to your dad. I’ll never forget his gift subscription decades ago–his act of good will and courtesy remains in my mind, still, after all these years. On the other issues, think historically: the power of the nation state increased over time; Tocqueville, Hayek, Randolph Bourne, John Dos Passos–and of course Hobbes–understood the potential of ” Leviathan.” One argument to be made on American Exceptionalism is that in the face of state centralization there has been ongoing concern over time, at multiple levels, not at all coordinated, and quite inchoate, but decidedly present, whether from the NRA or other civil liberties groups, about the nature and use of state power. I am not so sure that debate is as vigorous, if at all, elsewhere in the West.