Opinion

How ideologues have ruined the Democratic Party

“Women make up about half our workforce,” President Obama said in the State of the Union address in February. “But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.” Hillary Clinton warns America is “turning back the clock” for women. Bill DeBlasio, meanwhile, refuses to fund pre-K if it doesn’t involve taxing the rich, and the bulk of college humanities courses, rather than introducing students to great art and literature, remain obsessed with critical theory sniffing for “the Other.”

I think about these things, and I stop and ask myself, in what party am I registered? Are “liberals” now completely out of touch from their origins, classical liberalism, that an ideologue is now an acceptable thing to be? It isn’t that I disagree with these positions. It’s that I am horrified they are held at all; received in an entirely uncritical way by their target audiences.

Let’s go down the list. First, women don’t make less than men. Obama has to know this; anyone with integrity and the ability to read is capable of finding out this well-known fact. But the vampiric line never goes away: women make 77 cents compared to every dollar men make. 77 cents your grandmother! How many times must that be proven a bogus statistic? Here’s the truth: the 23 cent gap reflects solely the average wages earned by men and women working full time positions. It is not a comparative number reflecting difference in pay for the same jobs. In other words, there is no data proving that a female economist makes less than a male economist, a female teacher less than a male teacher, etc. Women just consistently choose careers with lower salaries. You’d think feminists would be happy about that and respect women’s choices in professions, but then there would be no fictitious “War On Women” to yap about.

Yet there is no reason to be surprised that Obama is pandering to feminist interest groups. This is something he has been doing for his entire presidency. Remember the stimulus package back in 2009? Drafted with the intent to rescue a free-falling economy after 5.7 millions jobs were lost in less than two years, it originally focused mostly on manufacturing and construction jobs. This seemed natural, given that those two industries were hit hardest in the recession (3 million total layoffs). While we were being told over and over again about GOP obstructionism to the bill, not a word was uttered in mainstream media about the women’s activist groups picking apart and destroying it piece by piece. Manufacturing and construction are fields dominated by men, and 80% of jobs lost in the Great Recession were held by males. In that light, it is baffling that groups like the National Organization for Women demanded that one-third of the the stimulus package go toward traditionally women’s professions like nurses, librarians and child care, their only justification being they didn’t want a stimulus package for “burly men.” But they got what they wanted: Obama did not even put up a fight to this astonishingly ignorant sexism. So, just because Claire Underwood—I’m sorry, Hillary Clinton—and the President are trumpeting a lie out of their backsides doesn’t change the fact that it’s a lie. Feminism, once the greatest social movement in this country, is now a Stalinist parasite on the political system.

Second, New York’s new mayor, Bill DeBlasio, though immediately christened a savior of progressivism and social change, appears poised to be the jack of the lefty pack. I’m willing to change my mind—he’s still very new—but he is already showing a classic sign of a neurotic liberal: the treatment of taxing the rich as religious dogma. After proposing increased funding for pre-K programs, DeBlasio was told by Governor Andrew Cuomo the state would gladly provide funding. But that’s not good enough for Robin Hood Bill; he’ll only accept funding if it comes right out of the rich’s pockets. Though it will accomplish absolutely nothing, he still contends it is “for the best.” It is very strange, the tingling feel that taxing the rich gives Democrats. Though the tax rate is more progressive than it has been in decades (which I support), you’d never know it with folks like DeBlasio running the show. I have found it increasingly baffling how the left behaves as if rich Americans pay no taxes. This is a particularly bad strategy given that there are injustices that need repair, such as mega-corporations like GM paying 0% in taxes. This will stay on the back burner if we continue to talk about the top tax rate in a DeBlasio style.

Third, pseudo-leftism also permeates university settings through cryptic, labyrinthine “scholarly articles” in humanities classes bloated with pretentious prose and very little actual content. Donna Haraway seems to be a favorite at this school, who claims that there are zero unifying characteristics for either of the sexes. This is someone with a PhD in biology—let that sink in for a second. That kind of assertion isn’t edgy or progressive. It’s poppycock. While Macalester does a decent job of encouraging students to question what they read, higher education is slanted far too much toward feminist, queer and poststructuralist theory, encouraging young minds to look at great art and literature and inspect it for “racism,” “sexism,” “heteronormativity” and “commodification.” There is a difference between a socially conscious person and a careerist—one can’t help but suspect that these scholars go for such topics because they’re safe; mention the “Other” (a usurped term coined by the great Edward Said) and you’ll land a spot in a journal somewhere.

So what to do? Free thought and free speech used to be virtues of the left, but they have been eroded by pet liberal causes and political correctness. This problem is shoved under the rug by those who dismiss them as simply “being civil” and “doing the right thing.” Many who buy into the lies and dogma of liberalism do so with the best of intentions. But once the truth is out, you can either lie to yourself or face it: a disturbing amount of American liberal values are a house of mirrors. Both the American Democratic Party and liberal thought itself need to be dismantled and rebuilt. My advice to other disillusioned liberals is to seek out dissident voices in media and the intellectual world. Listen to talk radio, a place constantly being attacked and ridiculed by left-wing press. It will enrage, amuse and delight you if you are the type who enjoys to argue with the radio in your head. Read trailblazing columnists and authors like Andrew Sullivan, Christina Hoff Sommers and Cornel West. Liberal darlings like Rachel Maddow won’t expose the quackery permeating the decadent American left. But above all: think for yourself and shun the ideologues. They are not liberals, and we shouldn’t settle for them.

March 14, 2014

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