RUSH: Now, let me make a departure from all of this health care stuff and describe for you a story that I think is perfect, a perfect story for today that illustrates one of the great challenges we face as a country. It is from The Nation. The Nation is the magazine edited by Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel. It's a far-left publication. It's way, way, way out there. "New Wars on Christmas Target Gifts, Santa, Lights," and they're all happy about this. "Along with fruitcake and caroling, one of the many traditions to look forward to in December is the annual 'War on Christmas,' in which religious and conservative activists and pundits accuse secularists and innocent fans of the phrase 'Happy Holidays' of stripping Christianity from the occasion. But this year, seasonal skirmishes have broken out on new fronts. In these new fights, it's not that the holiday is sliding down a slippery slope away from the manger. Instead, it's that Christmas is bad for the economy, bad for your health and bad for the environment:
"While those reindeer sweaters and charming dress socks you put under the tree are good for the retail business, Joel Waldfogel, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, has been spending recent weeks railing against Christmas gift-giving, arguing that it's an inefficient way to spend money that costs the country $25 billion a year. In his book, 'Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays,' Waldfogel says gifts generate less satisfaction than things we buy ourselves. We don't really know what other people want, he says, but we do know what we want. Because of this, in his view, Christmas shopping is 'an orgy of wealth destruction' as we spend on things people don't value as much as the money we pay for them. 'I'm not against spending, just sloppy spending,' Waldfogel said on NPR's Tell Me More. In one experiment, Waldfogel asked his students to rate the level of satisfaction they had with gifts they were given.
"From this survey, he determined that gifts generate an average of 20 percent less satisfaction than things we buy for ourselves," which, my friends, is totally missing the point of giving a gift at Christmas. If you're a secularist, you'll never get it. If you're a pointy-headed academic elite, you'll never get it. Gift giving at Christmas is to remind us of the gift that God gave us with the birth of Jesus and the story surrounding that. "He says this is not true of gifts we buy for our closest family members and friends, who we know well enough to gift accurately." I would also point out: Is it any of this guy's business who we give what to and how much we spend on it? The theory behind this should not be surprising to economists who know well that consumers are best equipped to make decisions about purchasing for themselves.
"'That's frankly the basis of many economists' disdain for government. Because after all, when government chooses for us, they get us the wrong health care program, the wrong color shirt, the bridge to nowhere. And so this notion that we're best situated to choose for ourselves is a pretty basic notion and fairly a commonsense one,' Waldfogel said." Except the government's not giving us "gifts." It's just the exact opposite: The government is trying to imprison us. "While the theory may bear up to microeconomic scrutiny, others say Waldfogel is missing the point altogether: Giving gifts is good for society." Then they move on to something else they approve of at The Nation. That is "The War on Santa's Gut," and that is new this year. That is that Santa Claus is too fat. There's no such thing as this jolly roly-poly guy. People don't dress like that anyway when we're big and fat because it emphasizes how big they are.
It sends the wrong message to kids. Kids were counseled this year that when they went to see Santa Claus wherever he was, they should tell Santa to lose weight. "Last week, Australian public health expert Dr. Nathan Grills of Monash University..." All this stuff comes from these pointy-headed elites in academia, which is one of the Four Corners of Deceit in our country today. Government, Media, Acedemia, and Science are the Four Corners of Deceit. "Last week, Australian public health expert Dr. Nathan Grills of Monash University was called a 'killjoy' and a 'scrooge' in the media for an article he wrote suggesting Santa Claus was promoting bad health habits. The article, called 'Santa Claus: A public health pariah?' was published at bmj.com, a British medical journal, and suggested that Santa was sending the wrong message with his obesity, drunk sleigh-driving, speeding and generally bad lifestyle choices."
Oh, I guess then we could take the kids to an average holiday movie, or let 'em watch an average television show for a while and let 'em being exposed to really good role models instead of this dreaded Santa Claus! The other thing The Nation approved of was the war on your neighbors' light display. "As Christmas trees went up and light displays started flashing around the world, some people cringed at the thought of the electricity required to light the season. One environmental group, the Energy Justice Network, is providing tickets on their Web site for people to hand out to egregious offenders of Christmas light waste." Remember when I was telling you earlier in the show that once this health care stuff happens, that we're going to be pitting ourselves against each other for government services, and we're going to be ratting each other out and telling the government on each other in order to perhaps put ourselves in better shape of getting government service like health care?
I really mean it. You are going to see your neighbor with a bunch of flat-screen TVs maybe more than you "should have" or too big, and you're going to call the pollution control police, and they'll come to your house. This stuff is not without the realm of possibility. "Many of these light detractors suggest swapping out traditional Christmas lights with LED (light-emitting diodes) strings, which can be 90 percent more efficient. LED lights are used in the five miles of lights on Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree and in the 32,256 lights in the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square." Now, this story is datelined today from The Nation, a liberal journal of publication, and I think it's perfect. It's about the war on Christmas and how excited they are about it. Because, my friends, I am not going to participate in this killing of Christmas. They can try but they can't take it away from us. It's beyond what they know.
These secularists have no clue what it is. They are threatened by it. They can't leave well-enough alone, because it is other people's faith in God that scares them to death. I, for one -- and I hope you're one, too -- refuse to let these people succeed year after year, wearing away the joy and the wonder and the true meaning of this time of year and this marvelous holiday. We have to hold fast on many fronts, and this is one. So as we go into this weekend of celebration of the gift God gave us all, I will set aside the socialist scrooges who refuse to let the rest of us live the lives so many fought to give us. We'll get back to battle next week, but as of today and the rest of this week I'm going to enjoy life and my family and my faith, and I'm going to try and relax. But when you are a powerful, influential member of the media like me in constant demand, relaxation is a true luxury. But I'm still going to pursue it. And I bought a ton of presents. Well, I sent somebody out to buy a ton of presents. We bought a ton of presents. I can't tell you how many.
I bought presents for the mice that live in my brother's basement. I bought presents... I can't tell you! I've had more fun this year sending people out to do it. I don't have time to do it. I did some on my own on the Internet, but I have loaded up on the presents. The people at The Nation would despise me be the stupid professor, Mr. Waldfogel, would highly disapprove of my behavior. And we're going to wrap a lot of them tonight. We've got more wrapping to do tonight than I can tell you -- and I'm going to throw away all that wrapping on Christmas Day! We're going to throw it in the trash and we're going to start a fire, we're going to create an ecological disaster with it just like we do every Christmas. We're going to go out and bake food. We're going to get all kinds of the worst food you can eat. Santa Claus is gonna look like a marathon runner compared to our family by the time we finish on Friday, and then I am getting in the airplane, and I'm going to Hawaii, and I'm going to get there before Obama does, 'cause he's gotta sit around and wait for Harry Reid to vote on the health care bill. I am going to enjoy myself -- and damn it, folks, I want you to, too.