I went to Montana for a week to get away from Washington, DC, to enjoy the mountains, have a giant steak or two or three … and find out what it was like to run at 3,600 feet above sea level. The last thing I planned to do was write, but after picking up the Missoula Independent outside the Yo Waffle yogurt shop in downtown Missoula, I couldn’t resist.
“Gimme Shelter” by Molly Laich is a great piece, although not in the sense that The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter was a great song. No, Ms. Laich’s work is notable because of its liberalism, proudly on display for all the world to see.
“Gimme Shelter” is a piece written by someone who appears to have been sheltered from basic economics and personal responsibility her entire life, primarily by the kind of mother who pays for her 30-years-old daughter’s iPhone bills, but also by her liberal friends and colleagues who refuse to pull her aside and tell her it’s time to become an adult.
Before Laich, a community college teacher, leaves Detroit for Missoula, Montana, readers already know the journey they’re about to witness will be of the self-absorbed liberal who travels many miles while ultimately going nowhere.
Teachers make expensive promises the world can’t deliver because we’ve got student loans of our own to pay. As an adjunct instructor teaching two sections of composition for a semester, I make about $3,500. After the money spent on gas to commute to campus, food, clothes and movies to make the pain go away, by the end of April I have about $1,500. Take into account my student loans, in a perpetual state of deferral, slowly accruing interest like an abominable snowman rolling down the mountain to crush me, and I’m worth negative many thousands of dollars.
But that’s okay. I’m not interested in money. I just want to go to the woods and live deliberately. I want to stand in a field of rye and catch children. Barring all that, all I can think is, how can I get back out West, to Montana? And once I’m there, how long can I get away without working?
“I’ve had it,” I tell my mother. “The day after the semester ends I’m going back to Missoula for the summer, and then who knows!”
There’s nothing more fascinating than the liberal college kid who takes out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, and then when the bill comes due they say they “don’t care about money.” Politicians cut from the same cloth have occupied Washington, DC, running up bills they have no intention of ever paying. And why not? In Ms. Laich’s case her mom will pay the bills. A friend will drive her around or let her sleep on the couch. Defaulting on loans means nothing to the modern day liberal, because the costs will be shifted to someone else who “deserves” to be shouldered with the bill (e.g., “the rich”).
Once Laich gets to Montana, the “who knows” she talks about follows a somewhat predictable path:
- The author relies on friends to haul her around town and offer her shelter.
- The author takes on odd jobs to survive.
- The author ends up living in a shabby hole-in-the-wall.
- The author applies for food stamps.
That place the Laich eventually crashes? It’s a $100 a month laundry room in a house filled with Occupy kiddies — punks, anarchists and nomadic dumpster-diving hippies. Laich promises not to write about the house before doing precisely that. And thank goodness she did, because once again everything conservatives have been saying about the Occupy movement is vindicated by one of their intellectual allies:
I’m not sure what it means to be a practicing anarchist in 2012. If anarchy is about rejecting capitalism, religion, popular media and other profit-driven institutions that enslave us, I’m on board. But there’s a belligerent subversiveness that I’m not as sure about. I’m not willing to walk into a restaurant whose business practices I disagree with and shit in their sink, for example.
The kids I live with are not like ordinary people. They don’t spend money on anything if they don’t have to. They’re scavengers. They’ll circle around and around a grocery store sampling the free coffee until their caffeine needs are met.
Today’s hard core liberal kids look at a mom-and-pop shop, and if they don’t like their “business practices” (e.g., owners who don’t appreciate unemployed losers eating all the free samples and walking out the door), then the kids take a dump in their sink. Instead of telling the truth — these kids are society’s skid marks — the best Ms. Laich can muster is: “I’m not as sure about” such tactics.
It takes awhile, but the author of “Gimme Shelter” finally admits the truth: She is 30 going on 19.
To be clear: I don’t know anything about real want. If I run out of money, I can call my mother and she’ll deposit double whatever I ask for into my bank account. She still pays my cellphone bill, based on the shared lie that she needs to in order to keep in contact with me, like if I didn’t use my iPhone to call my mother I would have no need for such a device. She tells me that 30 is the new 19. She refers to this time in my life as an “adventure,” which I consider only a little condescending. …
I apply for food stamps and they arrive in my post office box a week later.
Only “a little” condescending? At what point will Ms. Laich look in the mirror and realize how sad and pathetic her “anarchist” worldview is? Ms. Laich thinks the world is enslaved by profits, when the reality is this: She is enslaved by the fear of failure. Profits come from people who took risks, failed (multiple times), dusted themselves off, and got back into the ring. They didn’t seek shelter from mom and dad. They went out into the wild, uncertain world of ideas and put theirs to the test. Profits are a good thing. And the iPhone bill that Ms. Laich’s mom pays for, and the food stamps used by ungrateful anarchists are all made possible by profits.
Ms. Laich doesn’t need shelter; she needs to grow up.