Growing up an only child in Orange County in the 1970s, I had cultural icons that, to a larger or greater extent, defined the young man I wished to be; chief among these cultural icons was none other than the fabric amphibian, Kermit the Frog.
Sesame Street was, of course, programing de jour for my generation when we were just learning to read and count our numbers. Kermit really expanded his philosophy and began to become politically influential with the advent of The Muppet Show. His stoic attitude as a manager, and a victim himself of sexual aggression, he would occasionally release an existentialist scream when trying to make his abuser, the venerable Ms. Piggy, curtail her abusive advances. Kermit was the “every man”. Educated into a managerial class, with no obvious motivations towards entrepreneurialism, Kermit was the quintessential middle manager. Pleasant, charming, non-threatening, Kermit represented all that was good in a collectivist leader. PBS knew what it was doing… the emasculation of the American male was an essential part in reversing the American character of rugged individualism.
Then Kermit chose to explain himself.
He was not a leftist leader in the mold of Castro, Che, or the Ortega brothers. His activism was more nuanced and complex, though he clearly supported their endeavors, and lamented the solitary nature of the liberal academic revolutionary, as he sang to a curious audience that could never really know him, It’s Not Easy Being Green.
(We can only speculate on what he really meant in the Rainbow Connection.)
Still, with all of Kermit’s misguided political philosophy, I loved the little frog. Since visiting Kermit and his amphibious cousins is not a practical goal, Sandy and I did the next best thing last week:
We went to France.
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Every two years the French host a trade show of sorts called MILIPOL. Essentially it is a weapons, tools, and tactics show for those companies that provide commercial products for European military and police agencies.
Many of you know that Kavon, Sandy and I started a secondary business venture called Orion Training Systems. That company is a producer of simulators (judgmental use-of-force, weapons training, marksmanship, and white label entertainment applications). We use a VR platform to provide a variety of training modalities.
While seeking investors in Orion, a company called Wrap Technologies hired us to help with its product sales as well as training. Wrap Technologies is a relatively new publicly-traded company that has produced a remote restraint device. The CEO of Wrap Tech is also a member at Artemis. He saw what we were producing and asked us if we could produce scenarios that could be used by his law enforcement clients to train on the devices, as well as marketing scenarios that could be deployed at trade shows.
An agreement was struck, and Sandy and Kavon traveled a few weeks back to Chicago for the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police). The system was a hit. So now it was off to Paris for MILIPOL.
Since neither of us had ever been to Paris, Sandy and I decided I would fly out towards the end of the show and then the two of us would play romantic couple in Paris for a couple of days.
So, here we are. The show has come to an end and Sandy and I are in a cute little hotel in the center of Paris. The sounds are what strike me the most. The traffic in the street and the bustle on the sidewalk are what you would expect from most cities, but the distinctive cry of the Parisian Gendarme siren punctuates the low din of traffic every few minutes. The city is actually quite cool. The people are also noticeably nice.
It is unfortunate, but Paris has a bit of a reputation, similar to the reputation New York has had for decades about the aggressiveness of its citizens.
The truth is the exact opposite. The city is clean… (or as clean as a city can be)… and the people are quite nice. They clearly think of themselves as unique artists and intellectuals… but they are not.
They, like most of their counterparts back home, are deeply steeped in the leftist authoritarianism that has become transnational. They truly have become the soft-chested men and women of Western thought.
Kermit can sit back and jauntily tilt his beret.
Steven Lieberman and Sandy Lieberman are the owners of the Artemis Defense Institute. A tactical training facility headquartered occupied California. (www.artemishq.com). Mr. Lieberman is also one of the founding partners in the Law Offices of Lieberman and Taormina LLP. Their law firm specializes in use of force, and Second Amendment defense and litigation.