By FRITZ PETTYJOHN
The division of the human family into its two distinct branches, liberals and conservatives, occurred some 20,000 years ago. Until then all humans coexisted as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. A thousand generations ago, in the pivotal event of societal evolution, beer was invented. This epochal innovation was both the foundation of modern civilization and the occasion of the great bifurcation of humanity into its two distinct subgroups.
Once beer was discovered, our prehistoric forebears decided it was time to settle down. Making beer required grain, and securing a steady supply of it ordained the invention of agriculture.
After that was accomplished, ancient man quickly, and unfairly, consigned actual cultivation to women.
Men couldn’t just run off, willy-nilly, however. Neither the glass bottle nor the aluminum can had yet been invented, so it was necessary to stick pretty close to home, and the brewery.
This left our male ancestors with a lot of time on their hands, and led to the division, which persists to this day, of the species.
Some men tried to conserve remnants of the old way of life (hence the term “conservative”) by spending their days in the open field in the dangerous pursuit of big game animals. At night they would roast their prey at a big barbecue, and afterwards sat around the fire drinking beer and telling off-color jokes.
Other, more timid, souls stayed closer to home. They are responsible for the domestication of cats and the invention of group therapy. Mostly, they sat around worrying about how life wasn’t fair and concocting elaborate schemes to “liberate” themselves from inequity (thus their designation as “liberals”). In the evening they gathered around their fire, nibbling on fruit and nuts, sharing their innermost feelings.
Today some liberals try to pretend they’re really sort of conservative, and sometimes succeed in confusing people. The following are a few tips to use in distinguishing the two types.
By definition liberals believe in big government and high taxes. Life is unfair and the government is there to do something about it. Most people are too stupid to spend untaxed income wisely, and high taxes allow liberals in government to do a better job of it.
Conservatives don’t like government, and, aside from the military, wish it would just go away. They hate taxes, regulations, speed limits, and small cars.
Typical conservatives are former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the late President Ronald Reagan, and, up there with the Big Man in the Sky, the incomparable John Wayne.
Typical liberals are Dustin Hoffman, Shirley McLaine, and Pee Wee Herman.
All conservatives drink beer. American beer.
Some liberals like imported beer, but most prefer white wine or foreign water from a bottle.
Liberals like to drive Volvos and Saabs because they’re made (or used to be made) in socialist Sweden. They like to eat weird food because it’s un-American.
Your basic conservative vehicle, especially in Alaska, is the Chevy Suburban. It’s big, it’s American, it’s four-wheel drive, and it sucks up the gas. Conservatives eat beef, which they (surprise!) like to barbecue.
Big game hunters are conservative. Interior decorators are liberal.
Liberals invented the designated hitter rule in baseball because it wasn’t “fair” to make the poor pitcher take his turn at bat.
Conservatives, inspired by a remark of the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Jack Lambert, believe quarterbacks should be required to wear skirts, so they can more easily be distinguished from real football players.
James Brown and Ray Charles were conservatives. Michael Jackson and Milli Vanilli were liberals.
Most social workers, personal injury lawyers, journalists, and group therapists are liberals. Most ranchers, loggers, professional soldiers, and steeplejacks are conservatives.
Liberal jurors distrust the prosecutors and police. Conservatives figure the defendant must be guilty or he wouldn’t be on trial.
Most conservatives not only believe in the death penalty, they would cheerfully implement it, personally, if called upon to do so.
Liberals think capital punishment is a barbaric relic, and unfair to boot.
Liberals believe Europeans are, generally speaking, far more enlightened than Americans. Conservatives think they’re basically decadent, as evidenced by their complete absence in the NFL. (Place kickers don’t count).
Typical conservative movies are “Raising Arizona”, “Patton”, and “Conan the Barbarian”.
Typical liberal movies are “Prince of Tides”, “Last Tango in Paris”, and “The Big Chill”.
The quintessential liberal is the handicapper, the person who decides how much extra weight to saddle the faster horses with in order to make the race “fair”.
The American cowboy, of course, is your basic, full bore conservative. The following story, part of this writer’s family folklore, demonstrates why:
A hundred years ago an Englishman in South Dakota was trying to find the owner of a huge cattle ranch. He rode up to one of the ranch hands and asked, “Excuse me, but could you tell me where to find your Master?” To which the cowboy replied, “That sumbitch hasn’t been born.”
Fritz Pettyjohn served in the Alaska Legislature from 1982-1986 and now blogs at ReaganProject.com.