The War Against Wakefulness

“The enemy must be defeated!”

Well, hell—there is always an enemy that must be defeated. Occasionally, the enemy is a genuine threat to civilization; more often, it is just a different perspective, a way of thinking that threatens people’s spiritual torpor.

We recently went through the most notoriously stupid of all phony wars: The annual “War Against Christmas.” This idiocy started with grumbling about people saying “Happy Holidays” because not everyone celebrates Christmas. Right-wing media motor-mouths quickly invented the ludicrous lie that Christmas was under assault and evil atheists were trying to ban the phrase “Merry Christmas.” Nonsense. No one was trying to ban that phrase; if anything, the right-wingers were trying to enforce it by banning any alternate phrase.

What was that nonsense all about? Religious piety? Don’t be absurd. Did the Christmas Warriors ever complain that their sacred day was being trivialized by endless songs and images of Santa Claus, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman? No. Did they ever complain that the purity of Christmas was being sullied by adaptation of pagan rituals of tree decorating at winter solstice? No. The dire threat was people saying “Happy holidays.”

Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, bauble-bedecked trees, and “Merry Christmas” have become traditions—rituals. To break a tradition is to say, “I thought about this, and it doesn’t make any sense to me.” That is the real threat—the independent thinker, the enemy that must be defeated. If left unchecked, independent thinkers will go on challenging our rituals, our assumptions, our very perceptions. They will stir us and drag us awake from our mental and moral coma. They will force us to open our eyes to the light, to open our minds to reason. The Christmas Warriors are bravely fighting for people’s right to remain comatose.

It’s far more than “Happy holidays” and the War on Christmas. This is the War Against Wakefulness.

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