An Answer to Progressivism in Less than Three Minutes

If you’ve never watched The Rockford Files, then you have missed some of the greatest social commentaries ever to come out of a sit-com. One of the best episodes is when Jim Rockford, played by James Garner, teams up with a New Age nut named Jane Patten (Valerie Curtin).

The answer to the question “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?” is found in an episode called “Quickie Nirvana” (Nov. 11, 1977).

There’s another scene in this episode where Rockford engages the mumbo-jumbo insanity of what would describe today’s “Progressive Movement.” In the late 1970s, it was called the New Age Movement. While the names and terms have changed, it’s the same irrationality wrapped up in the garb of enlightenment:

In “Quickie Nirvana” we’re treated to the brutal reality of a new ager calling herself Sky Aquarian who is clueless and irresponsible, but she thinks she knows it all and makes judgments on those who are not enlightened. Rockford, in one beautiful scene, lays it on her that she’s a flake who follows any path but her own and mooches off others because she doesn’t hold down a job. It’s an indictment of  insincere, gullible new-agers who think religion and spirituality are all one truth and that every schmuck calling him or herself a guru is worthy of following. (Freethunk)

Here’s the scene:

Rockford: What can you do, lady?

Patten: My consciousness doesn’t lend itself to problem solving like yours, okay! I’m into an alternative lifestyle. I’m a seeker after truth. Now what’s so wrong with that?

Rockford: You’re alternative lifestyle comes out of somebody else’s pocket. You mooch, you borrow, you hardly work, but if anybody doesn’t go along with it, they’re fascists, unmellow, competitive; all that love and freedom is just another way of saying me first!

Patten: It is not!

Rockford: Yes it is! You just don’t have a sense of responsibility, that’s all there is to it!

Patten: What I mean is I’m not into a structured living or accumulated things. I’m into my consciousness!

Rockford: Consciousness! You’re practically unconscious 24 hours a day! What you’re into is having someone else do you’re thinking for you. There’s Gordon Borchet, Baa Baa the Bhagavad Gita. Next it’s going to be Sam Levenson or Francis the Talking Mule for all I know. They have all the answers, right. Don’t you have any answers of your own?

Patten: Those are pathways to bliss…

Rockford: Hmm, maybe. But you don’t practice them, you just talk about them. You’ve flipped from Ashram to water tank and back! Are you any happier for it? Look around you. You see a lotta bliss out there?

Patten: I don’t think I’ve done so bad for being 32 years old.

Rockford: You’re 40. I’ve seen your driver’s license.

Patten: I was 40, but I’m making positive affirmations! I’m 32. I’m youthing myself.

Rockford: You’re 40.

Patten: But I don’t want to get old…

Rockford: Well neither do I.

Patten: But you see we don’t have to. Not if…

Rockford: There’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the way it is. I’m sorry to be the bearer of the bad news. There’s no easy answer, you know. No quickie nirvana. You don’t like it, tough, join the club!

There is nothing new under the Sun. What goes around comes around. Today’s Liberals think they’ve discovered some new truth, that they were with it first. Baloney. Their worldview has been tried and found wanting. A dose of Rockford’s critique of “Quickie Nirvana” might prove to be the cure.

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