The Gospel Truth

Why Liberals Hate Horses | October 19, 2010

The competitive racing of horses is reputed to have originated among the prehistoric nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia who first domesticated the horse about 4500 BC.

For thousands of years, horseracing flourished as the sport of kings and the nobility.  It is the second most widely attended U.S. spectator sport, after baseball.

The interaction between horses and their owners, as well as the notion of winning and losing has ordinarily resonated very well on the screen.

The Jeff Bridges 2003 movie about Seabiscuit is a case in point.

After all who can hate a horse?

Liberal can—that’s who!

According to Rush Limbaugh it appears that liberals or at least some liberals have expressed a profound hatred of a new movie about a winning horse and his owners.

My wife and I saw Secretariat the other night.  It is the dramatic presentation of the behind-the scenes story of one of racing’s greatest winners.

In 1973 Big Red won the sport’s coveted triple crown.


The best horse of all-time?

It is a feat that has been accomplished only eleven times since Sir Barton won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont in 1919.

It is composed of these three different races in five weeks and in three different states and at varying distances.

Secretariat won all three races, capping off his crown with an incredible 31-length victory at New York’s Belmont Stakes.

It was a wonderful movie, staring the demure Dianne Lane in an inspiring role as a strong-willed woman who put winning and saving the family farm above her secure and cozy life in Colorado.

How could anyone find fault with that?

Then I started thinking about this movie being a paean to conservative values.  Its protagonist, Penny Chenery, had a crisis in her family.

The mother of Lane’s character, Penny Chenery dies early in the movie and her grief-stricken father drifted into the deep recesses of his own mind.

Penny valiantly tried to make a go of the farm at great personal sacrifice and to the discomfort of her husband and four children.

The real drama occurred after the father’s death from a stroke.

As Penny’s boorish brother, the economics professor and her lawyer husband advised her, they needed to sell Secretariat to pay the six million dollar estate tax bill.

But Penny would not quit.


Penny would not quit

She showed a deep-seated American trait of intelligence and ingenuity to circumvent the intended destruction of her family-run farm.

Penny was the personification of economist Julia Simon’s argument that man (and woman), with his ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit is the ultimate resource.

This is what created the drama of the movie and perhaps the real complaint behind the liberal Angst.

Penny was able to pay her taxes by establishing a consortium of investors in Secretariat’s projected winnings—all on speculation.

The movie is also a vivid illustration of the innate harm of the estate tax or the death tax that has confiscated billions in family wealth.

What most people forget or never knew is that the estate tax is one of the most onerous planks in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’ 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto.

Salon columnist Andrew O’Hehir found some even darker things about American individualism and traditional values that upset his mental applecart.

He savagely attacked Penny’s character, even demeaning she was dressed in a resplendent collection of period knitwear and steel-magnolia ‘tude.

To O’Hehir she is like a classed-up version of Sarah Palin feminism.

This leftist critic was upset that Lane’s iron-willed superwoman, striking and magisterial but utterly nonsexual, illuminated from within like a medieval saint does not have despicable characteristics that would make her his kind of gal.

I thought liberals liked strong women.


A strong woman liberals hate

This is is by far the strongest character Lane has ever played and she carried the role with a dignity and aplomb that hopefully will win her an Oscar.

Maybe they only love certain strong women, who abort their children, cheat on their husbands or sleep with other women?

Lane does none of that.  She is June Clever, who just passed away this week, without the pearls, who will do anything to preserve her family’s traditions…and enjoy the thrill of the game.

O’Hehir was also disturbed by his perception that so many all right-thinking Americans are united in their adoration of a Nietzschean Überhorse,

The Nazi implications of his thinking are as subtle as a train wreck.

To him Secretariat is creepy, half-hilarious master-race propaganda almost worthy of Leni Riefenstahl—a symbolic window dressing for a quasi-inspirational fantasia of American whiteness and power.”

For O’Hehir to see this in Nietzschean terms is as appetizing as a 300 pound woman, trying to squeeze into a size 4.  It just doesn’t fit.

On the cover of Time magazine... Super Horse

A Nazi Horse?

Religion is also another problem for O’Hehir.

While director Randall Wallace references barely mentions the social context of the times, O’Hehir is convinced that this movie was constructed and marketed with at least one eye on Christian consevatives, who flock to Tea Parties and embraced a movie of a similar vein from last year, The Blind Side.

The film opens with a voice-over passage from the Book of Job and ends with a hymn.

Wallace, also the director of We Were Warriors and the writer of Braveheart and both Mel Gibson movies and is one of mainstream Hollywood’s few prominent Christians who has spoken openly about his faith and his desire to make movies that appeal to people with middle-American values.

O’Hehir also finds a troubling racial subtext in Secretariat in the groom, Eddie, who is an African-American groom belongs to a far more insidious tradition of movie stereotypes. Eddie dances and sings.

370But can he dance and sing? 

He loves Jesus and that big ol’ horse. He is loyal and deferential to Miz Penny, and injects soul and spirit into her troubled life.

I guess O’Hehir prefers the gang-banging, rap-spouting, drug-dealing nihilists whose stereotypical figures dominates in movies about black people today, as being more reflective of African-American culture.

He is upset by movies with strong family members, with its moral values,who support each other in the long run.

Liberal criticism of  this movie that does not have any scenes of gratuitous sex or violence and does not have any foul language is proof positive that liberalism is a mental illness.

It is probably unfair of me to say that all liberals hate horses.  I know that many are quite fond of the proletarian horse boxer (Barbara?) in George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm.

View Image

A Liberal's kind of horse


1 Comment »

  1. BB, I rarely attend a movie these days. Most of it is rot-gut. When I heard about Secretariat, made it a point to attend . I was thrilled by the whole thing. No violence, no sex scenes, no cursing. Good family movie with values. I agree with you and feel sorry for the liberal critics. Putting out a bi-weekly newsletter for the Catholic residents here at Kingsley Place. Upped the rosary from once a week to 4 times, got a Catholic bibly study going once a week and Mass is now twice a week. Write to me sometime in an email. Pax.

    Comment by Mary B — October 25, 2010 @ 1:53 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







%d bloggers like this: