And Then They Came for Bart Simpson – Connor Mortell 11/8/23


In 1994, Murray Rothbard released what was, in my opinion, one of his best articles of all time: Tobacco Smokers: America’s Most Persecuted Minority. A serious read of it shows that his concern is not just regarding the loss of tobacco smoking – for that matter, he was not even a smoker – but rather a rise of left wing neo-puritanism.

Rothbard wrote showing that the neo-puritans of today are twisting theology and twisting science and marrying the two in order to justify controlling regulations. For the sake of his article, he showed how they did just that with tobacco smoking, but he also goes on to point out:

If today they come for the smoker, tomorrow they will come for you. If today they grab your cigarette, tomorrow they will seize your junk food, your carbohydrates, your yummy but “empty” calories. And don’t think your liquor is safe either; neo-Prohibitionism has been long on the march, what with “sin taxes” (revealing term, isn’t it?), outlawing of advertising, higher drinking ages, and the neo-Puritan harpies of MADD. Are you ready for the Left Nutritional Kingdom, with everyone forced to confine his food to yogurt and tofu and bean sprouts? Are you ready to be confined in a cage, to make sure that your diet is perfect, and that you get the prescribed Compulsory Exercise? All to be governed by a Hillary Clinton National Health Board?

Almost thirty years later, we see this continuing to snowball. Most recently, the long running sitcom The Simpsons is adjusting their style of comedy in the face of the neo-puritans of today. For almost as long as it’s been since Rothbard wrote this piece, Homer Simpson has been comedically strangling his son Bart for a quick cheap laugh. However, most recently, it’s been removed from the show. Why was it removed? Because “Times have changed.”

This seems innocent enough. After all, we do all agree that strangling children is not good. However, right wing parody artist, Seamus Coughlin very well pointed out the flaw with this stance that “Times have changed” as he quipped, “I love the implication that strangling a 10 year old was considered normal in the 90s,” continuing “‘Back in those days, stranglin’ was the way you dealt with an unruly child!’” and ‘Times have changed-attempted murder is no longer considered an appropriate response to a child quipping about your donut intake.”

Have the times really changed in such a way that we are just now noticing parents cannot strangle their children? Of course not! Any parent watching the very first time Homer choked Bart would obviously acknowledge that was just for comedy and to actively strangle a child for a mild joke would be unacceptable.

This is the same situation as smoking or junk food. No one is enjoying a slice of cake or a cigarette with the claim that there is absolutely no possibility that it is bad for them, yet when the neo puritans’ sights were set on these activities, the merger of twisted theology and twisted scientist acted as if it was brand new information that these things could possibly be bad. Now, this cartoon is the latest in a long line of attempts to bring about the “grisly land of Left Puritanism, of a Left Kingdom which proposes to bring about a perfect world free of tobacco, inequality, greed, and hate thoughts… in short, in the land of The Enemy.”

As silly as it sounds to whine about a cartoon no longer being able to strangle his cartoon son, these little steps are how the culture shifts entirely to that Left Kingdom that Rothbard described. Every show having to repent for its secular sins is how political candidates are crippled – as they have also committed such secular sins one way or another. Or how those who resisted the COVID regime were also perpetrators of such secular sins. Indulging the neo puritans in the little things sets the framework they need in the big things.