Monday, October 8, 2018

Scorched earth and its consequences

Progressive ideology has so corrupted western culture that in many places, that ideology now passes for conventional wisdom.

The #MeToo movement seems to have become a prime example of that. Have you read Neo (formerly known by the nom de plume "Neo-Neocon")? I don't know of any other blogger who has so succinctly summarized why that is so, which means that her thoughts on the #MeToo movement are worth pondering. She points out that it "always contained the pernicious idea 'believe the women', " and the problem with that reflexive response is that it is "a rubric incompatible with fairness and justice." In a just society, what we ought to believe is the evidence (hence that cornerstone of American jurisprudence that lawyers like to call "the presumption of innocence.") Moreover, #MeToo has what Neo calls "a built-in contagion effect in which the very title of the movement encourages a willingness to join in the accusative chorus and be part of the victim group."

That same penchant for finding victims and turning them into totems inevitably corrupts public discourse by weaponizing empathy and compassion so that they become clubs with which to beat ideological opponents. In the minds of activists, this is a feature, not a bug. In a milder form, it's what made a former writer for Sesame Street claim that Bert and Ernie, the iconic Muppet duo, are gay. Muppet creator Frank Oz tried to set activists straight (heh!), but they had the temerity to claim that Oz did not understand the characters that he and the late Jim Henson had created, or what those characters meant to the people hoping to hijack their identities.

Here's hoping that Frank Oz has a chance for a friendly beer with Hank Azaria, the actor who took fire from the left for voicing the estimable Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Indian-American grocer extraordinaire on The Simpsons.

David Harsanyi shed light on what happens these days when he noted in a recent essay for The Federalist that "According to liberals, every conservative-run institution is illegitimate" and "Working out how it's illegitimate is the only question." Forensic looks at that "problem" start in academia.

Ironically, the mindset that sees illegitimacy in things like the Electoral College refuses to see it in such cultural touchstones as Roe v. Wade, and this in spite of the fact that (as National Review once opined) "the abortion regime was born in lies." More specifically, "The abortion lobby lied about Jane Roe, claiming her pregnancy resulted from a gang rape. It lied about the number of back-alley abortions." And Justice Blackmun, writing the majority opinion, "relied on fictitious history to argue, in Roe, that abortion had never been a common law crime." 

Not to jump too far down the rabbit hole, but abortion corrupts everything it touches -- including logic, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the nomination process for Supreme Court justices. If the vitriol looks one-sided, that's because only one of the two major political parties in the U.S. explicitly endorses abortion in its party platform (see, for example, this language from 2016).

David Horowitz agrees with David Harsanyi: "Under the leftist mantra of 'social justice,' " he writes, "American society is falsely portrayed as a system of racial, gender, and sexual hierarchies." Accept that assertion (as progressives do), and you are paradoxically empowered, because if the deck is stacked against you, then victimhood in that twisted calculus exempts you from norms of civilized behavior. That's why, as people have noticed, "leftists have a huge problem with the concept of rational debate with people who think differently than they do."