MADD: Stooges for Bin Laden?

If you enjoyed David Weigel's fine piece yesterday on kitschy visions of the Islamo-American dystopia, let me recommend one book about an Islamicized west that has some genuine literary merit: G.K. Chesterton's The Flying Inn. The novel includes some elements that will rub modern readers the wrong way -- Chesterton drops the n-word like a gangsta rapper -- but it's a delightfully peculiar satire both of Islam and of "progressive" puritanism. Philip Jenkins summarized it ably in an essay for Chronicles in 2001:

Chesterton was doubly alarmed to find that the Muslim rejection of wine--with all that it implied--was echoed by many good and rational non-Muslims in the early 20th century, those Christians and secular liberals who championed the prohibition of alcohol. Worse, those reformers were trying to remodel human behavior to eliminate the taste for wine--and often, they tried to impose their puritanical standards by seeking to eliminate meat....

In a striking imaginative leap, Chesterton used the symbol of the war against wine to present what might be described as the secular Islamicization of contemporary England and (by implication) the United States. One of his least-known novels is his bizarre 1914 work The Flying Inn, in which he depicts a near-future England in which secular progressives are riding high....The progressives hope to create a well-organized utopia, free of the curse of alcohol and purified from the horrors of (Christian) religious fanaticism. Then as now, the term "religious fanaticism" was defined as the obviously irrational idea that religious belief should make any difference to everyday conduct, especially when such amended conduct might cause any personal convenience to the believer or to those near him or her. If Christians behaved according to their lights, then they were ipso facto dissidents, who needed to have their personalities modified to conform to contemporary secular mores. So, too, did those bizarre and troublesome eccentrics who foil the schemes of social engineering by creating the "flying inn" of the title and organizing hit-and-run attacks that permit ordinary citizens to obtain their necessary booze and pub food.

The leading prohibitionist "moves neatly from representing the voice of Fabian or progressive idealism -- the world of H.G. Wells or Bertrand Russell -- to becoming a tool of organized Islam, which uses him as a convenient front man for the annexation of England."

Back in ought-four, our own Tim Cavanaugh penned an appreciation of Chesterton for The Rake.

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  • ||

    "One of his least-known novels is his bizarre 1914 work The Flying Inn, in which he depicts a near-future England in which secular progressives are riding high....The progressives hope to create a well-organized utopia, free of the curse of alcohol and purified from the horrors of (Christian) religious fanaticism."

    Bizarre? I think not. Substitute "consumerism" for alcohol and add in the crude and primitive religion of environmentalism you have the agenda of the nannystate progressives of the 21st Century. I would call this novel bizarre. I think frighteningly perceptive would be a better discription.

  • ||

    Thanks, Jesse, I will! Any excuse to read Chesterton is welcomed.

  • dhex||

    thank goodness we have actual religious nutjobs too. otherwise things would get all unbalanced.

  • ||

    I just have one observation. Is MADD the right organization to lampoon? According to its website "MADD is not a crusade against alcohol consumption - MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving."

    The Southern Baptists, on the other hand, are well known for their desire to rid the world of alchohol consumption in any form. Besides, I think they'd be a lot funnier to poke fun at.

    They've brought us many endearing things like dry counties, blue laws and jokes about how many Baptists you should take fishing. The answer, BTW, is 2. If you take only 1, he'll drink all your beer.

  • ||

    So, I guess that's where Douglas Adams got the idea for the flying party that hits Arthur Dent in the small of the back in Life, The Universe and Everything.

  • ||

    Madpad,

    MADD says that but the policies they promote would effectively outlaw alchohol consumption. MADD is nothing but a bunch of fanatic puratins. I know of few orgainization more worthy of satire and derision.

  • ||

    Is MADD the right organization to lampoon?

    Yes.

    For a start, it's now run by men.

  • ||

    well...I expected that response from a certain percentage of the reading posters here.

    A: I don't know enough about MADD's current activities to dispute or support anything anyone says about them. Although a review of their position statements doesn't seem to back up John's statement that they would effectively outlaw alchohol.

    B: Some folks here (and I say this with all the love in the world, John) label ANY group that
    advocates for any reform that in any way might affect anyone's right to choose anything as "an extremist group." As they advocate checkpoints, BAC testing and stiffer punishments and sentences for drunk drivers, I can see where some feel this makes them extremists. I personally don't think this makes them extremist in terms of the others groups and individuals that usually promote these issues. But I'm open minded enough that if John can point out some specifics, I'll consider them.

    In an case, I still think the SoBaps make a funner target.

  • ||

    jeziz H, madpad. Don't actions speak louder than position statements?

  • ||

    According to its website "MADD is not a crusade against alcohol consumption - MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving

    Uh huh. Of course, stopping drunk driving can only be done with a zero tolerance policy (theshold of 0 BAC coupled with jackboot enforcement), and if that isn't a crusade against alcohol consumption, I don't know what is.

  • ||

    It is precisely the observation in The Flying Inn that makes me hate the whole 'Reality Based Community' crap. Articles of faith are articles of faith. The Church of Public Health holds that your choice to ingest a twinkie can be restricted because it violates the dictates of A Higher Power. It is Reality Based only to the extent that one happens to be on board with its assumptions about the Public Good.

  • ||

    Of course, the claim that Muslims reject alcohol because they don't like matter doesn't really explain Mormons, who believe God has a physical body and a wife and kids, but reject not only alcohol but the Muslim inventions of coffee and tea.

  • ||

    Don't actions speak louder...?

    'splain please. What actions?

    stopping drunk driving can only be done with a zero tolerance policy...and if that isn't a crusade against alcohol consumption, I don't know what is.

    I understand your conviction. I don't agree with the logic that got you there.

  • ||

    "Some folks here (and I say this with all the love in the world, John) label ANY group that
    advocates for any reform that in any way might affect anyone's right to choose anything as "an extremist group."

    Madpad,

    I appreciate that. You just gave me more libertarian street creed than I have ever had. Most people on here look at me as a tinfoil hat neocon. I understand your point and maybe MADD isn't as bad as I think.

  • ||

    I understand your point and maybe MADD isn't as bad as I think.

    There goes that street cred. John...I way did not see that coming...unless of course you're working me.

  • ||

    mapdpad, MADD has also changed their mission to include prevention of underage drinking. Whether you agree with that or not, it IS prohibition.

    Here's a quick rundown on how they've changed their mission.

    http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/17

    Perhaps you'd like some figures on how many southern baptists are officers and upper management of MADD??

  • ||

    "...the Muslim inventions of coffee and tea."

    Say what?

  • ||

    I don't worry too much about underage drinking, although I've always thought it should be 18 rather than 21.

    Since you asked...is there a connection 'twixt SoBaps and MADDers?

  • ||

    Mormons, who believe God has a physical body and a wife and kids, but reject not only alcohol but the Muslim inventions of coffee and tea.

    Probably becaus 19th century America was obsessed, not only with the evils of alcohol, but also with all sorts of other health issues.

    It would be like forming a religion today and banning its participants from consuming high fructose corn syrup :)

  • ||

    I also believe that lampooning MADD is improper in this context. They are against the freedom to drink alcohol in the measure that doing so infringes our freedom not to be killed by a drunk driver.

    Same way thata our freedom is infringed by a legally blind man who insists on his freedom to drive (we had a retired PSU professor killed by such a legally blind driver).

    This is a case where litigation after the fact does not help at all. All the lawyers in the world will not bring back the person killed by someone's insistence on his/her right do drink and drive.

  • ||

    "...the Muslim inventions of coffee and tea."

    Geez, what's next, the Muslim invention of the internet? Let's declare a moratorium on the "Arabs invented X so they must be really swell" kind of talk. That includes the fallacious references to coffee, algebra, and telescopes.

    Oh, and in every jurisdiction, it is indeed legal to "drink and drive." The debate is about what amount is prohibitively dangerous. I have talked to MADD members (I'm not aware of their national policy on that issue) that endorse "zero tolerance" of any alcohol amounts while driving. So to pretend that MADD is simply trying to prevent deaths due to intoxication is disingenuous.

  • Ron Hardin||

    ``If it weren't for the drunks, a lot of them wouldn't be mothers.'' - F.T.Grampp

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    Monkberrymoon: Coffee certainly is a Muslim invention, the west picked it up from the Turks, but it's been drunk in the middle east for at least 1000 years.

    Tea isn't (It's chinese), but once again, it was introduced to Europe via the Ottoman Empire. However it wasn't until the British acquired a taste for it that it became truly popular in the west.

  • ||

    Sorry, I meant "tea". But I also thought that coffee was grown in Ethiopia eons before Mohammed, no?

  • ||

    James Kabala,

    I've got to join those calling BS, unless we consider Ethiopia as somehow or other "Islamic".

  • ||

    The woman who founded MADD, Candy Lightner,
    left MADD
    because they changed their mission from preventing drunk driving to preventing drinking altogether.

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  • mrbill||

    Candy left once she found they were a Prohibitionist org and receiving large funds from the Roberts Woods Johnson Foundation, one of Naders type groups. They also fund the CSPI and other nanny orgs. They want to reduce the legal limit to 0.02 so they can arrest anyone anytime. If you want fo find out who and what many of these orgs. and foundations are and who they give their money to try out

    www.activistcash.com

  • Mike Perry||

    Fans of Chesterton might want to watch for Chesterton at War. It should be out in a couple of months and collects under one cover many of his writings on war written just before, during, and just after WWI. At that time he was firing broadsides in two directions: against pacifists and against Prussian militarism.

    With his usual finess, he points out that the two share an identical belief. Both believe that world ought to be run on the principle that "might makes right." And as with anything Chestertonian, once you understand the context in which he wrote, he's marvelously relevant to today's issues.

    --Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

  • ||

    If MADD were really against drunk DRIVING, rather than simply railing against any consumption of alcohol, then they wouldn't focus so much on punishment of drivers who have consumed small amounts of alcohol, but on promoting and/or providing alternate means of transportation for people who enjoy alcohol.

  • dave Hardy||

    I dunno their general position, but the MADD here came out AGAINST a plan to offer free rides home on New Years' from bars. stating that it just encouraged drinking. I think that clearly crosses the line from stopping dangerous conduct into prohibitionism.

    It's achieved its ends. .08 blood alcohol levels, year-long license revocation for refusal to give a breath, blood or urine sample (officer can choose which of the three without restriction), mandatory jail plus stiff fine plus license revocation, mandatory MADD classes (for which you pay), etc., etc., etc. But somehow I don't expect them to announce success and fade away. They'll keep hunting for something else to enact. (I forget whether it passed, but they were pressing here to make it illegal to be over .08 within three hours of driving, so that even if a personal was legally sober when driving, if their level is continuing to rise they can still be convicted for conduct that didn't relate to their driving).

  • ||

    Muslims Against Dick Diving, great organization!

  • ||

    I think your ridicule for the possible end state we might face if we do not take the Islamofascist threat very seriously is misplaced. While these writers may not have the skill or imagination to get anyone to suspend disbelief about the possible scenarios for getting to that end state, that such outcomes have existed and do exist all over the world and throughout history is simply a fact. Promoting the notion, with not a little patronizing smugness, that "it can't happen here" is myopic folly, as history has demonstrated repeatedly.

  • ||

    I stand corrected. I think I remembered the old MADD and I thought they stayed on the message.

  • Nike Dunk Low||

    thanks

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