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G. P. Bear goes to Washington

The true story of a libertarian carnivore

by Bill Steigerwald

George Orwell used satire and talking pigs in “Animal Farm.” Now, with snowfalls in Houston and Houston signaling the start of the next ice age, veteran journalist Bill Steigerwald shamelessly steals Orwell’s idea and uses talking polar bears to poke fun at global warming alarmists, polar bear hysterics and their fellow travelers in Washington and the media.

Twisting the title of director Frank Capra’s movie masterpiece to his own evil ends, Steigerwald and his son Joe have created  “G.P. Bear Goes to Washington.”  The 6-part serialized “docu-fable” stars Grandpa, a magical, media-savvy and proudly skeptical libertarian polar bear who understands his species is in far greater danger from the interventions of the federal government, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio and overzealous wildlife scientists than from anthropogenic climate change.

 Part 1

“Are we not polar bears?”

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and “almost a man.” Some called the bear “the great lonely roamer.” Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

– Polar Bears International

 TASIILAQ, EAST GREENLAND

 

Grandpa Polar Bear was relaxing in his easy chair watching a special news report on TV called “Plight of the Polar Bears.” As a mother bear and her cub stood forlornly on a tiny shrinking iceberg somewhere near the Arctic Circle, the dashing reporter from CNN sounded like he was going to cry.

“…. because of global climate change, polar bears are suffering population losses and may soon become extinct. Rising temperatures are melting the sea ice earlier and earlier each summer, leaving the bears less time to hunt for their primary food ­ — ringed seals. If we don’t reduce our burning of fossil fuels soon, scientists say the only place our children will be able to see these magnificent creatures will be in a zoo or in a Walt Disney movie. For CNN, I’m Anderson Cooper.”

“Extinct!?” Grandpa roared, slapping the arms of his leather chair with his huge paws. “Melting sea ice!? Shrinking bear populations? Who writes this junk, Al Gore?”

“Don’t get upset, Dad,” said Mother, looking up from her latest copy of Reason magazine. “It’s CNN. What do you expect? Fairness? Balance?”

“What were they saying about polar bears dying, Grandpa?” asked Junior, looking worried as he came in from the kitchen with a bottle of Coke.

“Nothing, Junior. Nothing,” Grandpa grumbled. “Just a lot of make-believe.”

After dinner, Grandpa read Junior a bedtime story. As Grandpa was about to turn off the nightlight, Junior asked, “Grandpa, why do you yell at the TV? The people in it can’t hear you.”

“I know,” Grandpa said with a smile. “They live far away in New York and Washington. That’s why they don’t know anything about polar bears or the Arctic.”

Junior looked anxiously at Grandpa. “Mother said your heart will get attacked if you keep yelling at the news.”

“Don’t you worry,” Grandpa chuckled. “I just get mad when humans make us look like sissies who can’t handle a little change in the weather. We’re polar bears, for Pete’s sake. We’re not helpless victims. We don’t need the government, Keith Olbermann, Greenpeace, Leonardo DiCaprio or anyone else to protect us from Mother Nature.

“If humans just left us alone ­ and if their scientists stopped chasing us with helicopters and shooting us with dart guns ­ we’d be fine.”

“Why don’t you go to where the humans on TV live and yell at them?” wondered Junior. “Everyone always listens when you yell.”

“They wouldn’t believe a thing I’d tell them. But that’s a good idea, Junior,” Grandpa said, clicking off the nightlight. “A darn good idea. ”

*****

“Guess what I learned today?” Junior asked as he came running in from school.

“I can’t imagine,” Grandpa mumbled.

“Shush, Dad,” said Mother. “What did you learn, Junior?”

“I learned all about ‘global melting,’ ” Junior began breathlessly. “The whole world is getting hotter because humans drive too many cars. The sea ice is going to go away forever and — ”

“Whoa!” interrupted Grandpa. “Who taught you that stuff? Rachel Maddow?”

“No,” said Junior. “Principal Hansen. She came to homeroom today. Her big computer says Earth is getting hotter and hotter and Greenland is melting really, really fast. All the ice will be gone when I get as old as you.”

“That’s preposterous,” Grandpa said.

“Principal Hansen said the oceans will get taller and taller,” Junior said with a worried look on his face. “Principal Hansen said polar bears and lots of other animals will get ‘stinkt if humans keep burning stuff like coal. It’s really scary, Grandpa.”

“Principal Hansen’s crazier than Al Gore,” Grandpa said to Mother so Junior couldn’t hear. “Didn’t I tell you that boy should have been home-schooled?”

Later that same night, after midnight, Grandpa was at his desk. He was sending his usual round of disparaging e-mails to the politicians in Washington when Junior’s cry pierced the stillness.

“Grandpa!” Junior wailed. “Help me. I’m burning!”

Grandpa and Mother raced to Junior’s bedside. Junior was crying in his sleep. “Help me, Grandpa,” he pleaded mournfully. “I’m too young to melt.”

“Junior, wake up,” Grandpa said, shaking him. “You’re dreaming.”

Junior’s eyes popped open. “Grandpa! Mother! The ice was all gone! We were stuck on a tiny iceberg. The ocean was boiling!”

“It was just a silly nightmare, Junior,” soothed Mother. “The ice isn’t melting. See?” she said, patting the rock-hard wall of their cave.

Grandpa was fuming. He gritted his big teeth and looked Junior straight in his teary eyes.

“Boy,” he said firmly, “I’m going to tell you something I want you to remember for the rest of your life. We are polar bears. We are the largest land carnivores on Earth. We are the species ursus maritimus — ­ ‘bears of the sea.’ We can swim 200 miles. We can walk 100 miles a day.

“We learned how to live on this frozen wasteland thousands of years before humans discovered fire. There are 25,000 of us alive today ­ — twice as many as 50 years ago. We are not going to become extinct ­ no matter what Principal Hansen and her big computers say. Now go to sleep ­ and no more silly nightmares.”

“That was no nightmare,” Grandpa whispered angrily to Mother. “That boy’s being brainwashed by a bunch of kooks.”

“That’s all the schools teach,” said Mother. “It’s like a new religion. Every cub I know thinks the ice will be gone before they grow up. All the mothers are complaining.”

Grandpa was fuming. “Polar bears having nightmares,” he snarled. “That’s pathetic. It’s time somebody stood up to lunatics like Hansen and their doomsday stories.”

 

READ PARTS 2-6 OF THIS MAGICAL ADVENTURE HERE.

In the second season premiere of Politics for People Who Hate Politics, I had a terrible connection, and we all had technical difficulties, but then — wonder of wonders — things went really well. And that is very surprising when you consider that we were not discussing paranoia or aliens or fun stuff like that, but politics.

My panel was me (hi), Joe (he’s terse, I can be terse — once in flightschool I was laconic), Franklin Harris (assistant metro editor for the Decatur Daily News), Todd Seavey (website! book!), and Liberty.me king Jeff Tucker (also he’s at FEE now!). We covered the debates, what hope libertarians can have in politics, how much Rand Paul sucks or doesn’t, how dangerous Donald Trump is or isn’t, how Jeb Bush could possibly seem less awful than, well, anyone, and why libertarians always pick one dumb side or another. Our Better Than Politics segment was about Halloween! Spoiler alert: Jeff Tucker is a very dapper fast food item. (To be fair, that’s sort of every day, isn’t?)

Give it a watch. It was one of those fun discussion that I therefore hope is fun to watch.

The ladies of Bourbon and Bitches — Meg Gilliland, Tiffany Madison, and Lucy Steigerwald — joined forces with Politics for People Who Hate Politics staple Joe Steigerwald, to make one mighty crossover podcast episode. The theme? Reasons for optimism about liberty. The conversation? Very tech-heavy, and also full of regret on Lucy’s side for being a sectarian douchebag libertarian for a minute there (sorry about that, Matt). We cheered about Uber, AirBnB, and 3D printed octopuses metaphorically attacking the police. We tried gamely to find any optimism about war, then changed the subject. Platonic Ideal of Libertarian Optimism Jeffrey Tucker popped in briefly — possibly because we summoned him like a deity. We wrapped things up with many, many tangents, until Joe no longer had time to visit the gym.

Host: Lucy Steigerwald: writer for Antiwar, VICE, Rare, and The Stag Blog; wry human of Bourbon and Bitches@LucyStag

Panel: Joe Steigerwald: technical wizard for various websites, mighty bass player for Act of Pardon, older, rarely wiser brother;@steigerwaldino
Meg Gilliland: Voice and Exit, cofounder Creative Destructors deadpan sass goddess of Bourbon and Bitches; @MegGilliland
Tiffany Madison: VP of Coin Congress, cofounder Creative Destructors, writer for all sort of places, rant queen of Bourbon and Bitches; @TiffanyMadison

Jeff Tucker (in brief): Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me, distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education;@JeffreyATucker

A libertarian podcast where ranting is optional, and smashing the state is mandatory.

Our panel discussed two “great” (read: tedious) scandals from the elder Paul, and the curly-headed moppet semi-libertarian Paul Jr. We mused on how much the Washington Free Beacon sucks (or Lucy did). We moved onto chatting about American Sniper, even though Seavey is the only one who had seen it. Lucy had a side tangent about how humanizing Hitler makes for an amazing movie. We finished up with a talk about what non-political things we had been enjoying in the past week or so — sometimes a difficult task when it’s nerdy libertarians chatting.

Host: Lucy Steigerwald, writer for Rare, Antiwar, and VICE, queen of The Stag Blog, co-host of Bourbon and Bitches; @LucyStag
Panel: Joe Steigerwald, technical wizard for The Stag Blog, myriad other sites, bassist for Act of Pardon; @steigerwaldino
Todd Seavey: ghostwriter, excellent and tragically infrequent blogger, sometimes podcaster, former cable news producer; @toddseavey
Jayel Aheram, writer, college student, Iraq war veteran, kick-as photographer; @aheram
Chris Morgan: New Jersey writer, formerly with Biopsy magazine; @CR_Morgan

A libertarian podcast where ranting is optional, and smashing the state is mandatory.

Our flailing, feverish (maybe just Lucy) panel discussed the ethics of blowing up the Death Star, then talked for a long while about cops, the backlash against cops, and the backlash against that since the murder of two NYPD officers on December 20. We then noted the depressing with which we all forgot about the now-“ended” war in Afghanistan, and mused on solutions to being a militarized society with a short attention span. After that we gave a little time to the idea of a basic income, without getting into a full econ war with Mike. We topped things off with a chat about things we enjoyed that weren’t politics during the past week or year, depending on mood.
Host: Lucy Steigerwald, writer for VICE, Antiwar.com, and Rare; editor in chief of The Stag Blog; @LucyStag
Panel:
Mike Miller, singer/songwriter/main dude for Endless Mike and the Beagle Club, maker of one of Lucy’s favorite albums of all time, big damn hippie anarchist, but that’s okay, we like him anyway.
Joe Steigerwald, managing editor and technical wizard of The Stag Blog; bassist for Act of Pardon; @steigerwaldino
Michelle Montalvo, not an intern, has a Doctor Who mug, surprisingly not laconic; @michellemntlv

Please enjoy my libertarian podcast where ranting is optional, and smashing the state is mandatory.

Our enthusiastic, liberty-loving panel discussed President Obama’s immigration order and the dangers of executive power — even when it’s doing something we like. We then had a long talk about the idea of rape culture — going off of Cory Massimino’s new, controversial piece that cites it as an example of spontaneous order. There were a few tangents about popes, and what the state really consists of, and whether yelling at Meter Maids is good for liberty. We concluded with Jeff Tucker’s harsh words about fancy wine.
Host: Lucy Steigerwald, writer for VICE, Antiwar.com, and Rare; editor in chief of The Stag Blog; @LucyStag
Panel: Jeffrey Tucker, Chief Liberty Officer for Liberty.me; distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education; @JeffreyATucker
Cory Massimino, Associate Editor of DL Magazine, a Fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society, a Students For Liberty Campus Coordinator, and a Young Voices Advocate; @CoryMassimino
Joe Steigerwald, managing editor and technical wizard of The Stag Blog; bassist for Act of Pardon; @steigerwaldino