I have grown to love Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly in a sort of masochistic manner for his consistent blather. He is the perfect symbolic face of the aging conservative generation: smart-ass puritans cocksure in their worldview, quick to anger when you do not agree, shallow on substance which they wear as a merit badge, disillusioned with the changing culture, ready to play the victim as they shout down leftist PC “victimization,” and yet still powerful enough to make everyone else’s life a fresh hell.

Thus, I am not surprised at O’Reilly’s idiotic squawking the other day about the Denver Post’s hiring of a pot editor. O’Reilly’s outburst is one of those moments where I, as a millennial, sit back and say, “I’m glad things aren’t the way they used to be.”

But what really irks me goes beyond the merits of O’Reilly’s paternalistic position on prohibition. It is a much bigger problem, the same problem I have with the GOP and many conservatives in general, i.e. they all give liberty a bad name.

I assume Papa Bear Bill and the GOP would attest to their ardent fealty for the ideas of political liberty and personal responsibility. They claim to support free-markets. They claim to speak for the “job creators.” They may even claim “the best government is that which governs least.”

Their claims would be fine and dandy if they were true, but they’re not. We have the tenures of the George W. Bush, H. W. Bush, and Reagan administrations to thank for revealing this fact to its fullest.

Put simply, Republicans love freedom and personal responsibility so much they want a big government to promote it both at home and abroad. And by “freedom and personal responsibility” they actually mean a massive warfare, welfare, and surveillance state as well as the promotion of “virtue” at the point of a legal gun wrapped in fervent nationalism.

As someone who actually wishes to see more freedom and personal responsibility in the United States of America, listening to the GOP claim they are the champions of liberty is like listening to the porn industry claim they are the champions of celibacy. We have what you do on tape, and it’s not always pretty.

So Mr. O’Reilly, next time you go on another rant about the dangers of drugs, next time you opine about the good ole’ days of an America where personal responsibility reigned supreme, next time you feel the need to shout your opinion at the top of your lungs, ask yourself, “Why am I supporting a paternalistic government that treats its citizens as though they were children? Why do I presume to teach personal responsibility at the point of a gun? Why do I persist in stealing the liberty of the population and expect this will bring about more responsibility? Why am I such a pinhead?”