There you are at a party you didn’t really want to go to. You’d rather be sitting at home watching Daenerys Targaryen flying on a dragon, reading Milton Friedman’s A Monetary History of the United States: 1867–1960, and sipping a well-made Manhattan; instead you are making painful small talk with plebeians about sportsball and shooting cheap whiskey. That’s when it happens. The air suddenly becomes chilly as she lurches forward.
Her hair is cut short and dyed pink, no makeup on, wearing combat boots and a shirt stamped with “Busy Destroying the Patriarchy” on the front. It is clear she doesn’t believe in Western hygiene practices because she is an anarcho-feminist. You didn’t mean for it to happen, but she overhears you telling your bros about your new leather coat made from baby seals you clubbed yourself. Everyone chuckles politely at your irreverent joke, but she flies into a rage and starts screaming about animal rights! Somehow this leads to an indictment on diamonds, Halliburton, American imperialism, and institutional racism. It happened. She ruined the party by refusing to have fun and taking everything too seriously.
Have you ever noticed that liberals seem to hate everything that could be considered fun these days? Eating a rare steak from non-free range cattle. Smoking tobacco in any of its forms. Drinking copious amounts of alcoholic libations. Gorging one’s self with junk food washed down with a 64 ounce sugary soft drink. Shooting the gun of one’s pleasure.
Modern liberalism, beginning with the Progressive and Prohibition movements, has actively sought government regulation of behavior they deemed inappropriate and harmful to society. Now, if one were being generous, such prohibitions could easily be seen as logical extensions of key parts to liberal philosophy, i.e. the needs of the community outweigh individual liberties, public health has real personal and economic costs, and animals should be treated with respect.
However, to be honest, the real reason liberals behave in such a manner is they hate fun and those who have fun. They have no sense of the Epicurean. Our vices are what make life far more enjoyable, but liberals have a tendency to stop any such enjoyment. The influential Albert Camus believed that politics should not be a catechism for our lives, yet this is exactly what liberals have done. Every aspect of life is politicized, which is why on so many topics they opine that no one should find humor in them because they’re “so serious.”
Now, conservatives could defend such practices as drinking or smoking based on the principle of individual liberty, but what they should really say is that life is meant to be enjoyed. There is too much death and despair already. Early theologians spoke of hilaritas, humor keeping the Devil away, and Jesus’s first miracle was to procure more wine at a wedding. We should learn from J.R.R. Tolkien and his hobbits: take pleasure in life, in the simple things. And liberals need to grow up and learn to have fun.