September 18, 2013

Keep us out! Changing the Booker rules will damage America


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What follows is an excerpt from The Alex Shephard Radio Program. You can listen to the Alex Shephard Radio Program Monday-Friday from 3AM-6AM on WABC


ALEX: Folks, I’m not sure if you heard, but the Man Booker Prize –— it’s some English thing — the Man Booker Prize is considering changing its rules to allow American books to be considered for the first time. Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking — and I can see Snerdley over there thinking it, too—”Alex, why should we give a hoot about some European book thing?”

Look, I thought the same thing too. I thought, “This is just some prize communist countries award each other so limousine liberals will know what makes them look sophisticated” — this Man Booker Prize, it’s very diverse, you know. But still, who cares? If there isn’t a picture of a building in Washington D.C. or a helicopter on a book, I don’t read it. I don’t go there. It’s just not my thing.

But then I started to dig into this a little more. The Man Booker Prize has been around since 1968 — I know, Snerdley, I know — so why would they decide to start offering it to Americans in 2013?

Obamacare, gun control, climate change — we know that these things exist for one reason: to control the population. If you’re a big liberal, if you’re a big communist, socialist, whatever, that’s what you want to do. That’s why you like these programs. And who lives in England? You can put it together, folks.

Now I know you’re thinking, “Alex, how does this all relate together? We’re fighting big battles out here. What does some European nonsense prize matter?” Bear with me, folks. Hold on a minute.

Let me tell you a story that will tell you why this rule change is bigger than it seems. Let me tell you a story about America.

The vast majority of the people of this world since the beginning of time have never known the kind of liberty and freedom that’s taken for granted every day in this country. Most people have lived in abject fear of their leaders. Most people have lived in abject fear of whoever held power over them. Most people in the world have not had plentiful access to food and clean water. It was a major daily undertaking for most people to come up with just those two basic things.

Just surviving was the primary occupation of most people in the world. The history of the world is dictatorship, tyranny, subjugation, whatever you want to call it of populations — and then along came the United States of America. Pilgrims were the first to come here seeking freedom from all of that. They were oppressed because of their religion. They were told they had to believe in the king and his god — the British King and his British god, whatever it was — or they would be imprisoned.

They led an exodus from Europe to this country, people of the same mind-set. They simply wanted to escape the tyranny of their ordinary lives. This country was founded that way. For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION — e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is.

It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the founders recognized it comes from God. It’s part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government. We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it.

The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That’s American exceptionalism.

We wrote the best constitution. We write the best books. I don’t doubt for a second that we would sweep this thing. Every single year. We’d have the best acceptance speeches too. I’m no fan of Kanye West or Marlon Brando, but I think we know what to expect here. Ever notice how the only Nobel Prize acceptance speeches you hear about are in English? You get it. Snerdley gets it. I get it. This is a great country. An exceptional country.

But we don’t bow to foreign leaders — whatever their customs are — and we certainly don’t grovel for attention from foreign powers — no matter who’s in the White House.

But don’t you see that that’s exactly what we would be doing? And you know what that is. It’s spelled out right in front of you. it’s the first step to the recolonization of this country by the British. Sure, you might feel pretty good once we win a couple of Bookers, but I’m sure you’ll be singing a different tune when you’re getting marched off by bobbies for not showing up to mandatory tea and crumpets. When your teeth fall out. When you don’t have to pay for healthcare. Oh, wait…

Anyway, we already have a prize for best book in this country. It’s called the top of the bestseller list.


A portion of this piece comes from Rush Limbaugh’s September 12 show. 


Alex Shephard is the director of digital media for Melville House, and a former bookseller.