When Santa Claus Came to Town

A society is defined by the things it wishes were true, or perhaps believes actually are true, though perhaps in a non-obvious sense. Take Santa Claus, the bearded benefactor presiding over a supply chain of elves at the North Pole, who stands in for doting parents the world over who by dint of saving and self-denial give presents to their children on Christmas Eve. Santa represents a concept of love, charity, and sacrifice that is hard to explain to little children or indeed adults, so society instead describes a magical man in a red suit riding a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

The left, on the other hand, regards Santa as a pernicious lie; a monstrous falsehood about the goodness of America foisted on credulous childhood. On Christmas Eve, as has happened for the past sixty years, NORAD tracked Santa Claus and his sleigh as he made his way around the world. Of all of the modern traditions of Christmas, you might think that this is one of the more harmless and fun ones for children to follow and, in some cases, participate in by calling the hotline. But it would appear that there is a grinch for every season these days since someone found a reason to object to the tradition and call for it to end. That would be MSNBC opinion columnist (and former Buzzfeed writer) Hayes Brown, publishing a not-safe-for-children column titled ‘NORAD’s Christmas Eve Santa Claus tracker needs to end.’”

No, I’d prefer we end the tradition because it’s about time that we decoupled St. Nick from the world’s most powerful military. American culture is saturated with a desire to associate the military with the saccharine. We get videos of soldiers returning home to their pets or children but never questions about why they were deployed for so long or what threat they were fighting; military jets flying over NFL games give us an injection of jingoist testosterone before more regionally focused battles of testosterone are played on the field; and we get the Netflix movie “Operation Christmas Drop,” a seasonally themed rom-com that cheerfully seeks to boost approval for America’s military base in Guam.

The myth progressives rather the public believed in is that everyone, adults and children alike, can get something for nothing 365 days of the year from the government. “Just after midnight, the House passed a bill to raise the debt limit by $2.5 trillion, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk just in time for the deadline… that should allow the U.S. to pay its bills through 2022 and into 2023.” In this version, Santa doesn’t resemble a portly man in a red suit; he looks like a former senator from Delaware. As to deep civilizational truths it wishes to convey, Modern Monetary Theory represents a concept of deficit spending, taxation, and fiat currency that is hard to explain even to adults like Larry Summers, former president of Harvard. So to help us understand it Nobel Laureate Larry Krugman proposed, in place of a NORAD tracker, to fake an alien invasion from outer space.

There’s no shortage of ideas on how to help the faltering economy, but Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has come up with what has to be the oddest suggestion yet: Fake a looming invasion from outer space. In an interview with CNN, Krugman cited “a Twilight Zone episode in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time… we’d need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.” According to Krugman’s tossed-off theory, we’d need a massive buildup to counter the apparently looming invasion. “[If] inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months.”

Two myths, two truths. The biggest difference, as it turns out, is not over the existence of Santa — on this they are agreed — but in which kind you wish to believe in. In this choice of myths, there is the Santa of the individual human heart and the Santa of the bureaucrat in the White House. In only one can the gifts be valued in money, even in debased currency. In the other, the presents cannot be represented in dollars, only in magic left under a tree.

Related: Santa Is Real and Covid Isn’t Stopping Him From Coming

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