Expiring Minds Don’t Want to Know


I fear for many of my friends. I fear for my country. Because of many of my friends, I fear for my country.

Earlier this summer, I attended a pool party hosted by the local chapter of a gay and lesbian Catholic organization. Though a precious few of us are libertarians or conservatives, it shouldn’t be hard to guess the political sentiments of the rest. And sentiments they are. I’ve come to believe that they amount to little more.

Prior to the Era of Trump, these people talked about politics only slightly more often than anyone else. Since this past November, they’ve been obsessed with the president. Specifically, they’re obsessed with the notion of deposing him from power.

In their minds, Vice-President Mike Pence has morphed from a homophobic zealot into a genial and benevolent soul, sort of an amiable dunce.

How are they going to accomplish this? Though the details are fuzzy, it has something to do with the Russians. They’ll find some other reason when the Russian thing poops out — as it eventually and mercifully will. And after that, there will be another, and then another. Their logic about each reason will be as murky as it was about the one before.

Reason itself is now considered, by the enlightened souls who have taken it upon themselves to enlighten my friends, to be Western and Judeo-Christian, white-skinned and patriarchal. Therefore it has been banished from Left World. I’m not sure what’s supposed to replace it. But if the leftists I know give any indication, what they say scares the hell out of me.

In the minds of my “progressive” pool party friends, Vice-President Mike Pence has morphed from a homophobic zealot into a genial and benevolent soul, sort of an amiable dunce in the tradition of their cartoon-character Reagan (rehabilitated from villainy when it suits them), who will be a “responsible caretaker president” in a time of new political peace. Which, of course, they’re currently convinced the nation will enjoy, once the Evil Donald has been driven from the White House. It’s what they are evidently being told by those who tell them what to think. When I told them what I thought would really happen, they reacted as if I were as unfabulous as the Wicked Witch of the West, swooping down on herbroom to snatch Toto.

Because of my pesky and apparently incurable habit of thinking without seeking permission, I became a heretic.

What I said was that Trump is not going to be impeached. But that if he were, the Republicans would probably not permit another Democrat president to finish a term for some time to come. And that in the meantime, the leftist puppeteers and their puppetettes would quickly turn from seeing President Pence as a harmless caretaker into damning him as the Devil. He’d almost certainly give them a lot more to be outraged about than Trump ever would.

How soon they forget that the same Mike Pence advocated taking money from research on HIV/AIDS and using it, instead, “to provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” That he defended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by calling it “a successful compromise” and warned that permitting gays to serve in the military without hiding their orientation would “advance some liberal domestic social agenda.” That he declared, “There’s no question [that] to mainstream homosexuality within active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion.” And that he imagines Disney engaged in a dark plot to corrupt the tender flower of American womanhood, having once said, of the movie Mulan, he suspected “that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right.”

Do my friends even realize the next step to which they’re being led by their lords and masters? The goal, of course, is not merely to get rid of Trump. By whatever means necessary — no matter how illegal or unconstitutional — they want to control the government of this country and the lives of its people. This means that however benign the Left’s leaders may sound about the vice-president at the moment, they will not ultimately let him stand in their way.

Whatever must it feel like, to be told exactly what to think and not to be permitted to think anything else, on peril of excommunication from the Church of Progressive Feelgood? I don’t know; because of my pesky and apparently incurable habit of thinking without seeking permission, I became a heretic. I was a libertarian even before I knew what a libertarian was. I left the Left for many reasons, but perhaps the main one was that being led around like a sheep is little better than a walking death. The greater distance I place between myself and my former political comrades, the more horrifying their mentality becomes to me.

Would they want to live in a country where the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another was no longer possible?

Another friend of mine, an 80-something Hillary Clinton Democrat, recently remarked of Trump that “we need to get him out of there.” Once upon a time, simply to avoid an argument, I would have let that slide. But I’ve gotten so tired of listening to all the mean-girls-in-the-cafeteria sniping that I asked her for an explanation. She spluttered a little, then changed the subject.

I don’t think she knew why she thought “we” needed to get President Trump “out of there.” She just knew that she was supposed to think it. And she was perfectly comfortable saying so, because she assumed I knew that I’m supposed to think it, too.

Do the leftist demigods’ obedient little do-bees even realize what life in this country will be like if our electoral system is destroyed by nonsense like this? Would they want to live in a country where the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another was no longer possible? There’s a lot about our political life that I dislike. That doesn’t mean I want to see the United States turned into a Third World hellhole.

Our political environment is beginning to resemble one of those horror movies in which an evil entity possesses people, transforms them into zombies, and programs their terminated brains so they’ll destroy the country. That may sound hyperbolic, but I’m no longer sure that isn’t really what’s happening. As the undead rise out of the cornfields wielding scythes, they aren’t even allowed to suffer a stray idea. If there are any other ideas, expiring minds don’t want to know about them.

It simply isn’t natural for a huge population of human beings to have such uniform opinions. When their views are truly their own, unanimity is impossible. Even if they were all inspired to random acts of kindness and goodwill toward all, their uniformity would still be creepy, although it might make the world a nicer place. If they were all possessed by the spirit of self-reliance and fiscal responsibility, they could save the country. But the ideas they share are almost all abysmally stupid and destructive. It’s hard to understand how even a few of them could come up with such foolishness by their own best mental efforts.

There’s a lot about our political life that I dislike. That doesn’t mean I want to see the United States turned into a Third World hellhole.

There is no way to turn this idiotic tide by dint of any collective counteraction. As big a job as it is, it must be tackled by a great many of us as individuals. It won’t be pleasant, because we’ll need to be the skunks at an endless number of garden parties. But I’m beginning to find that it isn’t as difficult as I feared. I keep making an infernal, contrary nuisance of myself, but I haven’t lost a friend yet.

What I do, in polite conversation, is the equivalent of waving a hand in front of their faces, snapping my fingers, shining a flashlight in their eyes (or ears) and saying — as encouragingly as I can — “I know you’re in there somewhere.” I tell them they’re too smart to believe the things they say. Instead of calling them idiots, I say that the people telling them such rot are mendacious hucksters who think (quite wrongly!) that their audience must be idiots. A surprising amount of the time, this works at waking them up,at least for a fewminutes.

They live in such a bubble that many of them honestly don’t know there’s any other way to think, but friends don’t let friends become zombies. Every expiring mind is worth saving. As they’re probably sure former Vice President Dan Quayle once said, “A mind is a terrible thing to lose.”

Share This


Luther Jett

Ms. Heine, I agree with you about the potential perils of a Pence Presidency, but I am not sure we are much better off under the current Bully-in-Chief. (Just look at his recent decision to ban transgender people from the military.)

I realize that it is tempting to take potshots at progressives and liberals, given their historical propensity for government intervention, but I must say, it is a gross oversimplification to see their opposition to the present administration as a case of sour grapes because their preferred candidate, Ms. Clinton, lost the electoral vote. That is like attributing the rise of the Tea Party Movement in 2009 to disappointed McCain supporters. I will concede that one could well argue that many who oppose the present Occupant of the People’s House do so because their progressive agenda is threatened.

However, it is mistake to overlook the clear and present danger to our country and the values on which it was founded posed by this Presidency. We’re heading toward a Kleptocracy (at best) with this gang in the White House prepared to plunder the nation for their own aggrandizement. This is the antithesis of everything for which libertarianism is supposed to stand and strive.

I have identified as a Libertarian since the early 1980s. I have never been so disappointed in the movement as I am at this moment in time. Are we prepared to see our freedoms immolated on the bonfire of venality now smoldering in Washington, rather than sully ourselves by working with those who don't entirely share our ideological perspective? I think you are to be commended for trying to help your friends on the left understand the situation, but I also believe it is far graver than most libertarians seems to think it is.

Russell Hasan

Hi Lori,
It is unwise to take people at face value or to not read between the lines in the context of politics. The liberals who are obsessed with the Russia Investigation are not really after Trump's impeachment, and are well aware that Pence would become the Devil to them if he were to become President. What they are after is an excuse as to why Hillary lost. The real reason is, of course, that the liberal elites lost touch with the Democratic white working class base in the Rust Belt, especially by screwing Bernie Sanders over when Hillary essentially stole the primary from the Democratic voters through her corrupt liberal elite superdelegate system, and when Trump won that white working class liberal vote, it put him over the top in the swing states. Can you imagine liberals ever admitting they have lost touch with the working class, when every justification for their absurd paternalism is the working class? No. They are in denial. Every last liberal in the country, the whole Russia-obsessed bunch, is in denial about the fact that, no, the Democratic party isn't run by socialists, but by a rich, crusty, dismal bunch of Ivy League liberal elitists who, like Hillary herself, hates the socialists as much as the Right and now deeply alienates even people who had voted Democratic for the past 80 years. So now it's blame Russia, blame Russia, blame Russia. If you think you are going to get your liberal friends to wake up, actually they are already well aware of the truth, they just have to be in denial because they are stuck with the Democratic Party and its liberal elitism.
That having been said, there are plenty of alt-right Trump supporters who are making their way into the libertarian movement and who are just as dogmatic, but in a pro-Trump direction. Try explaining that Trump's opposition to free trade is just statism and can't coexist with a free market over the long term, or that sending goon squads of DHS-ICE police into cities to start rounding up illegal immigrants isn't going to evolve into a Gestapo-like authoritarian police state (to say nothing of the recent moves to crack down on pot). The libertarians already know this, whereas the Trump supporters also need to "wake up" and never will, since they, between the lines, already know exactly what Trump is.


Lori, you're a light, shining in the darkness. I believe the left is in severe, emotional shock. The ones with whom I spoke on election eve were convinced of the inevitability of Hillary's election and of the righteousness with which they'd be imbued, having elected a "she." In spite of that, they knew deep inside they were voting for a bad person. Evidence of this was the dearth of Hillary signs stuck in the front yards around town. County commissioners, State Representatives and Senators, Congressional and US Senatorial candidates and many other types of electioneering signs were abundant …. save Hillary for Pres.

I don't think they have a clue what to do, other than to hate Donald Trump. It's really quite sad, but still humorous.

Scott Robinson

Dear Lori,

Very interesting observations. I like that you referenced Zombies because I also think that the popular talk of Zombie apocalypses reflects the summary of political talk being mindless clones echoing the mantra that their masters have told them. Nice conclusion, I agree that even though it can be frustrating, each one of us should not individually give up and just echo the mantra to fit in. When somebody tells us something, we should fully consider it and explore for any areas that are lacking in supporting the mantra. The frustration is this is never ending work, death by a thousand cuts, but that's why so many people just echo mantra, because it doesn't require any work. The less you examine it, the more "true" it is and of course you feel good about yourself if you are speaking the truth.

Never Stop Exploring,

P.S. Just curiosity related to the article's title. Is "Enquiring Minds Want to Know" a sales pitch that the National Enquirer used to use in ads?

Lori Heine

Hi Scott,

Yes, I believe the essay's title is a reference to that old ad from the Eighties. I can still remember the blonde lady on the commercial brightly proclaiming, "I want to know!"

She was annoying, but at least she wasn't a zombie.

Credit for the title must go to our editor, Stephen Cox. It was his suggestion, and it's better than mine. I don't even remember what mine was.

© Copyright 2019 Liberty Foundation. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed in Liberty are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Liberty Foundation.

All letters to the editor are assumed to be for publication unless otherwise indicated.