"The Very Proper Gander," Updated May 10, 2011

by Will

Will Grigg?s Liberty Minute

May 10, 2011

In 1940, James Thurber published ?The Very Proper Gander,? an allegory describing how patriotic fervor can mutate into irrational hysteria.

In Thurber?s fable, which was set among oddly human farm animals, a description of a fine-looking and very proper gander is misunderstood as a reference to ?propaganda.? This misunderstanding is fed into the rumor mill, and a thousand wagging tongues soon collaborate to depict the hapless gander as a seditious terrorist and mad bomber. Soon a mob materializes at the gander?s home:

"`There he is!" everybody cried. `Hawk-lover! Unbeliever! Flag-hater! Bomb-thrower!? So they set upon him and drove him out of the country.?

As if in conscious mimicry of Thurber?s parable, many residents of Springfield, Ohio were prompted to barrage a local Hampton Inn with threats after a flagpole malfunction left the Stars and Stripes drooping at half-mast. For reasons that make sense only to the unreasoning, the callers assumed that the flag had been lowered as a gesture intended to mourn the death of Osama bin Laden.

Someone once sagely observed that people lose their minds in packs, and come to their senses one at a time.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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