"Even the smallest pleasures," writes Mark Steyn, "have to be earned." Your standard issue top-twenty hit needs high civilization -- it takes some level of culinary arts, however base, to produce even "My Boy Lollipop" -- and enough affluence for artists to mooch on. But more than that, it takes a people with some sense of itself to inspire them to art-making, and a willingness to discriminate bad art from good. And it takes a foil -- an awareness of other peoples, with their own cultures, competing for resources -- to arouse a sense of urgency; for in Switzerland they had brotherly love, and 500 years of democracy and peace, and produced but the cuckoo clock.
This philosophy of a people is its humanities. Without the humanities, we share ever fewer of the smaller pleasures, until eventually we no longer agree on the big questions either. Today we don't even share a philosophy why "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not good cause for civilizational annihilation, for fear of committing the sin of "othering," or "privilege" (we don't yet know, however, whether this unfortunate condition is genetic or environmental, but science is working on it). And that puts us at a disadvantage against peoples not lacking in cultural self-confidence. All the means in the world don't matter without the will.
Even Phil Miller, the last man on earth, has to learn the value of the humanities. Mankind depends on humanities and biology -- a reason to carry on, and the means to do it. Having neither, Phil bathes in margarita mix and moves his bowels over the swimming pool. Because who cares. Without a philosophy, rules are arbitrary. The only reason to use a toilet instead of the end of a diving board is to impress the opposite sex. It takes a woman of faith to civilize the last man.
So don't get me started on Trump's l'affaire d'taco salad. As if our disgusting culture of eating had not been degraded enough by abominations such as the "catlike activity" of licking ice-cream cones, it reaches its apotheosis in the taco salad, served in, of all things, an edible bowl, as though to say to its servingware, "relax, I got this." A man who, having means, and surveying the vast bounty of mankind's culinary offerings, and yet selects a taco salad, cannot be trusted with mankind's achievements in the science of government.
A people must have standards. If we do not draw the line at taco salads, what are we?
#NeverTacoSalad. My hands are clean.