Since the TSA began its Barney Frank Anti-Terrorist Fondling operation, a whole lot of people who heretofore had appeared to be immune to the tea-party virus have begun to awaken from their Oprah slumber.

By Oprah slumber, I’m referring metaphorically to the Orwellian scene that occurred last week when Oprah Winfrey told her audience that each of them would be receiving a new Volkswagen Beetle. As the omnibenevolent queen of mass-audience hypnotism shrieked the good news to her adoring flock, both men and women went into a frenzy that made the reaction to the 1964 U.S. invasion of the singing Beatles seem like a church outing by comparison.

On hearing the news, the lucky folks who had come to the studio thinking they were in for nothing more than a standard dose of mind-numbing talk-show chatter began screaming, laughing, hugging, waving their arms wildly and, yes, crying. Some even got down on their knees, apparently to praise the almighty Goddess of Stuff who giveth free Beetles to total strangers.

After viewing Oprah’s version of Brazil’s Carnival on YouTube, I expressed my bewilderment to a friend, only to have him say, “Hey, I can understand people getting excited about being on the receiving end of a new car. Nothing abnormal about that.”

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Alas, he missed the point. I, too, can understand why a person would get excited about someone giving him a new car, but what I witnessed was way beyond mere excitement. It was something akin to C.S. Lewis’ pure joy. It was the kind of ecstasy one might expect to see in people who have just been informed that the Messiah has returned to earth.

In other words, neither excitement nor happiness was the issue. The issue was that the reaction was way out of proportion to the news. It bothered me because it was yet another reminder that Americans – and most of what is left of the so-called civilized world – have lost their way (and, one might justifiably argue, their minds).

It was right up there with sports fans wildly cheering multimillionaire athletes, movie buffs worshipping Hollywood actors who appear as experts before Congress, and the walking dead who camp out in front of Best Buy for the privilege of purchasing “stuff” as early in the morning as possible.

Following the show, Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning unwittingly gave an excellent insight into the madness when he issued a statement that said, in part, “Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the Oprah show approached us with this incredible opportunity to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it.”

Question: What the hell is a “deserving viewer”? Is every viewer deserving? Of what? Why? The reason an intelligent CEO of a major corporation would say something so eminently silly is that the masses must be constantly told they are deserving … they are entitled … they are, above all, “hard-working Americans” – even if they’re receiving unemployment benefits!

There’s no question that children respond well to this kind of reassurance. The only problem is that these were not children. They were adults!

The whole thing was reminiscent of a scene from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” when Mustapha Mond, the supreme government power holder, said to the awed and confused Savage from the Indian reservation, “The optimum population is modeled on the iceberg – eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above.”

“And they’re happy below the water line?” asked the Savage.

“Happier than above it,” replied Mustapha Mond.

Those shrieking people in Oprah’s audience are below the water line – way below. And when you’re below the water line, your mind is filled with thoughts of free stuff, today’s reality-show lineup and the latest rumors that Bret Favre will soon be forced into a nursing home. These are the kinds of blissful thoughts that make for a happy savage.

Which brings me back to the TSA’s Barney Frank Anti-Terrorist Fondling operation. When the reality that a Marxist had moved into the White House began setting in with people, millions spontaneously rebelled and became part of a new “tea party” movement.

But millions more refused to come to grips with what was happening before their very eyes. They rejected the notion that Barack Obama was anything but a personable chap who had, bless his youthful heart, simply flirted with far-left ideology as a college kid. Van Jones, Anita Dunn, John Holdren, Mark Lloyd, Cass Sunstein, et al. were simply figments of Glenn Beck’s imagination.

Now, however, as a result of the TSA’s police-state tactics, I believe a second wave of people are ripe prospects for the tea-party rebellion. And it may not be a peaceful rebellion if the feds don’t reign in the perverts who are molesting our wives, our mothers, our children and our grandchildren.

At the recent New Orleans Investment Conference, I participated in the “Summit on America’s Future” panel discussion with Charles Krauthammer, Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. When the moderator, Gary Alexander, asked if we thought America’s decline as a great civilization was inevitable, Krauthammer summed it up perfectly: “Decline is a choice. It’s not inevitable.”

Meaning, in the end, it’s strictly up to us. We can continue to be the United States of Stuff, with our minds below the water line, or we can wake up, grow up and push back hard against an oppressive government. At the end of the day, it’s a clear choice between submission and all-out resistance in an effort to re-establish the foundations of our once-free and proud republic.

Beetles be damned, if we could accomplish the latter, that would be a legitimate reason for being ecstatic.

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