Friday, August 3, 2012

Lady Liberty's New Lover

In 1883 Emma Lazarus wrote the poem “The New Colossus,” which in its closing couplets gave us something like our national soul. With apologies to Ms. Lazarus, and with longing for the sentiment she so beautifully expressed, here is my update.

No longer Mother of Exiles,
Embracing all within these lands.
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates now stands
A timid woman with a torch whose flame
Has dimmed, and her name
Fear’s Courtesan. From her beacon-hand

No light shines; her averted eyes demand

Nothing of those who invoke her name.

“Keep, Suffragettes and Freedom Riders, your storied pomp!” cries she

with hardened lips. “I cannot bear your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses beseeching their brothers.

The wretched refuse of poor health,

The homeless, the tempest-tossed I leave to others.

I turn my face to the caress of wealth.”


  1. So cynical!


  2. Am I cynic? Perhaps. Mainly I’m confused about how we have come to equate liberty and libertarianism. Libertarians advocate free will. That’s all well and good if you are in fact free to choose. Half the jobs in the country today pay less than $34,000 a year. If you’re trying to get by on that, maybe feed and clothe a few kids too, you aren’t free to do anything but struggle to survive. If we want widespread liberty, the kind our great lady of the harbor offered, we have to make food, health care and education broadly available. Social Darwinism (which I’m not suggesting you advocate, Carol) is not a platform for liberty, it is an excuse for selfishness.

  3. You assume political virtue is superior to economic virtue?