Flunking Liberty

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A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently.

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite.

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie.

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at Dailykos.com telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them.

To wit:

Question 1:
Sarah Palin is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 2:
Michelle Bachman is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 3:
Hillary Clinton is:

  1. The Secretary of State (for now).
  2. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
  3. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
  4. Less hot.

Question 4:
Libya is:

  1. A nation in North Africa.
  2. A nation in the throes of civil war.
  3. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
  4. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5:
Moammar Ghadhafi:

  1. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
  2. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
  3. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80’s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
  4. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6:
Scott Walker is:

  1. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
  2. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
  3. A union-busting hero.
  4. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7:
The Service Employees International Union:

  1. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
  2. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
  3. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
  4. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8:
Sendai is:

  1. That new sushi joint down the street.
  2. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
  3. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
  4. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9:
Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

  1. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
  2. Lower than it is in Kenya.
  3. Lower than it is in Detroit.
  4. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10:
Common Cause, Moveon.org and ACORN are:

  1. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  2. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  3. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  4. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11:
Kinetic Military Action is:

  1. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
  2. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
  3. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
  4. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12:
The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

  1. Breitbart is a bigot.
  2. Breitbart is a liar.
  3. Breitbart is mean.
  4. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13:
Joe Biden is:

  1. The Vice President of the United States.
  2. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
  3. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
  4. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14:
Nancy Pelosi is:

  1. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
  2. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
  3. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
  4. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15:
Harry Reid is:

  1. The Senate Majority Leader.
  2. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
  3. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
  4. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16:
Obamacare is:

  1. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
  3. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
  4. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17:
President Obama’s energy policy entails:

  1. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
  2. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
  3. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
  4. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18:
The national debt of the United States is now:

  1. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
  2. Increasing at a geometric rate.
  3. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
  4. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19:
President Obama hails from:

  1. Hawaii.
  2. Kenya.
  3. Chicago.
  4. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20:
The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

  1. John Boehner.
  2. Harry Reid.
  3. Barack Obama.
  4. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.