Skip to Content
Search Icon

Why the Bear Chewing on My Leg Should Stop Doing That

Thomas G. Wiggleby is a Professor of Politics at Pepperhill University, where he also holds the James Blaine Chair in Classical Liberal Studies. He is also a visiting fellow at the Koch-Singer Institute for Pornography, Union-Busting, and Great Books and a senior fellow at the Nice Christians Center. This article was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Action Institute.

The world is not what it once was. Tensions in America have never been higher. Today’s “Liberals” do not show liberality toward heterodox ideas, such as “Nuns don’t need birth control” or “It’s only racist if I say that word with a hard R.” Even many of our so-called “Conservatives” do not seem interested in conserving American institutions like the family (and by “the family,” I mean purchasing the wombs of third-world women and killing millions of embryos in order to to have a child when you’re both forty-two).

Yet we must not give up hope: there is a better way. If Americans simply reach back to our founding principles—the Anti-Catholicism of John Adams, the Anti-Catholicism of Thomas Jefferson, and the Anti-Catholicism of Thomas Paine—we can put aside our petty differences and come together to serve the common good, rightly understood, and conducive to human flourishing (e.g., payday loans).

I do not deny that reaching this goal will be an arduous journey, but as Tocqueville observed in Democracy in America, “nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” In this case, I mean the freedom to use my leg, which is currently being chewed on by a large bear.

Yes, I too have become a victim of the “cancel culture” running amok on our campuses. This afternoon, I was walking through the wooded outskirts of our college grounds with a pound of raw rabbit meat in my pants pocket, as one does. Out of nowhere, a bear pounced upon me and sank his teeth into my leg, in a clear attempt to “cancel” me for the difficult truths I have courageously told students for thirty years (and which I update every five years or so with new Tocqueville quotes). The intolerance of this bear was astounding—he refused to debate me on the merits of crushing my tibia in his jaws!

Nevertheless, I refuse to believe that this bear and I cannot engage in fruitful dialogue and both come away enriched by the marketplace of ideas. This is the case even though it sometimes appears that that open-mindedness, as in being open to other challenging ideas, such as not trying to devour all of my limbs, has become a dirty word among many entitled snowflake specimens of the genus Ursus. I pointed out this obvious contradiction to the bear. His only response to my well-reasoned arguments was to snarl at me and bite down harder. Who is the anti-intellectual now, hmm?

And so, like our great nation, this bear and I remain at an impasse. He continues to remove all the tissue from my leg, and I continue to vigorously explain to him the irony of his refusal to consider my compelling arguments. I expect we shall be locked in this stalemate for years to come. But I do not fear this outcome: I have many bright, young proteges who I am sure are anxiously awaiting the day when they may take my place in my lively exchange of ideas with this bear who, at the time I am writing this, has finished gnawing my thighbone clean and now looks hungrily at my left arm.