Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Sotomayor: Every single individual in this society chooses, if they can, their sexual orientation

original article: Sotomayor: We’re not taking away your liberty, because we won’t force you to marry a gay person
April 29, 2015 by Ben Johnson

One moment in the Supreme Court’s oral arguments over same-sex “marriage” reveals what an embarrassment Sonia Sotomayor is as a justice.

John J. Bursch, who argued on behalf of marriage, said that the people, not five unelected justices, should be able to decide whether to redefine a pillar of society that predates the government and written history.

“This case isn’t about how to define marriage,” he said. “It’s about who gets to decide that question. Is it the people acting through the democratic process, or is it the federal courts? And we’re asking you to affirm every individual’s fundamental liberty interest in deciding the meaning of marriage.”

The “wise Latina” immediately interrupted him with the following non-sequitur:

“I’m sorry. Nobody is taking that [liberty] away from anybody. Every single individual in this society chooses, if they can, their sexual orientation, or who to marry or not marry. I suspect even with us giving gays rights to marry that there’s some gay people who will choose not to.”

I’ll pass over Sotomayor saying that “every single individual..chooses” his or her sexual preference. But don’t miss the full illuminating brilliance of her argument: The Supreme Court is not trampling on the right of 50 million people in 35 states to settle their own law as long as straight people are not forced to “marry” homosexuals.

For Sotomayor, apparently anything short of judicially mandated sodomy is within the justices’ constitutional prerogatives – a view that would surprise any of our nation’s founding jurists, whether Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian.

This would be a laugh line if the Left didn’t keep saying it with a straight face. (No pun intended.) The Obama administration made a similar argument about the HHS mandate. In February 2012, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the conscience-destroying provision of ObamaCare strongly upheld individual freedom. “It’s important to note that our rule has no effect on the longstanding conscience clause protections for providers, which allow a Catholic doctor, for example, to refuse to write a prescription for contraception. Nor does it affect an individual woman’s freedom to decide not to use birth control.” (Emphasis added.)

Sebelius basically said, “Hey, be happy we’re not stuffing birth control pills down your stupid Catholic face!” Coming from an administration whose Science Czar John Holdren has justified “compulsory abortion” for American women, that comes as cold comfort, indeed.

abortion, bias, civil rights, constitution, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism

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Filed under: abortion, bias, civil rights, constitution, freedom, government, homosexuality, ideology, judiciary, left wing, liberalism, litigation, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, relativism

Hillary wants government to change people’s religious beliefs: any MSM concern over separation between church and state?

original article: Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Change Your ‘Deep-Seated Cultural Codes, Religious Beliefs’
April 27, 2015 by Susan Calloway Knowles

Former Secretary of State and current 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on a mission and it has been completely ignored by the mainstream media.

Speaking at the sixth annual 2015 Women in the World Summit in New York recently, Clinton had a few choice things to say to the world. And even though the summit was about women, Clinton had another agenda which went mostly unreported.

Clinton, the proud recipient of the Margaret Sanger award in 2009, the award from none other than the “mother of eugenics,” now wants to change your “deep seated…religious beliefs” among other aspects of your culture, so that abortions will be available without interference from principles that shouldn’t matter.

“Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton argued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will … And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” Clinton added.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a round table conversation and press conference announcing a childhood development initiative with first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray on April 1, 2015 in New York City. The initiative is between New York City Children's Cabinet and Too Small to Fail. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Reminiscent of the rhetoric from President Barack Obama’s “Hope & Change” campaign mantra, Clinton’s new campaign slogan, at least from what was said during her New York speech, should probably be “Move over God, Family & Culture.”

Reading between the lines, it was obvious that Clinton took aim at Christians in America during the recent women’s summit. Implications of Clinton’s speech toward Christians couldn’t be clearer.

It was perhaps Clinton’s attempt to hammer the final nail into America’s proverbial coffin by lessening Christians’ religious, cultural, and familial beliefs. If achieved, the result will be that God, the Bible and the U.S. Constitution which was founded upon Christian principles, will take a back seat to other progressive agendas, at least in a Clinton presidency.

America, under Clinton, would usher in yet another new era. It could possibly be such a cataclysmic transformation that even Obama will have to admit that he’s impressed.

Perhaps hoping that she had not revealed too much, Clinton returned to the original subject about women, setting aside religion and other important beliefs for a moment, and moved on toward “unfinished business.”

“As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton claimed.

Clinton added, “Not just for women but for everyone … And not just in faraway countries but right here in the United States.”

Clinton then moved on to another part of her discourse.

Clinton, not wanting to leave out those that may have the opportunity to illegally vote for her in the 2016 election should she become the Democratic presidential nominee, tied women’s rights to the rights of those illegally in the country and even took aim at talk radio.

“There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life, rather than risk the ire of talk radio,” Clinton said.

What is ironic about Clinton’s speech and where it was given is that the summit was held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

As you may know, Koch is a Republican and part of the “hated” Koch Brothers’ dynasty that all “good” progressives on the left despise as being a participant in the “war on women.”

Apparently, the irony of the venue was lost on Clinton and those in attendance.

But as for her religious principles, not to worry. I’m sure Clinton’s Christian principles will never change and parts of her speech were just a misunderstanding of what she really meant, right?

Clinton clarified in June 2014 while doing her best “Nancy Pelosi” impression during a New York Times interview that she’s really all about the “Word,” just like you.

Clinton was asked by the interviewer if she had to name one book that made her who she is today, what would it be?

In an answer that Pelosi could be proud of, Clinton answered, “At the risk of appearing predictable, the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking.”

She continued, “I was raised reading it, memorizing passages from it and being guided by it … I still find it a source of wisdom, comfort and encouragement.”

Perhaps Clinton’s recent statements at the women’s summit regarding religious beliefs just mirror the fact that religious liberties of Christians are currently under attack by the progressive left in this country. Maybe indicating that those beliefs must be changed is just her idea of “riding the popular left-wing progressive political agenda” with no intent to ever follow through on diminishing the rights granted to every American under the Constitution.

I’m not buying it. Let us not forget how Clinton once “evolved” on her views toward gay marriage when she was first against it and then for it.

Undoubtedly, if true to Clinton form, look for her further evolution when it comes to changing Americans’ religious beliefs, family and culture should she be elected president.

And, if true to form, also expect the mainstream media to remain silent on such a crucial issue to Christians.

anti-religion, bias, campaign, civil rights, constitution, Democrats, elections, extremism, first amendment, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, religion, separation

Filed under: anti-religion, bias, campaign, civil rights, constitution, Democrats, elections, extremism, first amendment, government, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, relativism, religion, separation

The tolerant left turn on Bruce Jenner

So there was a great deal of praise for Bruce Jenner finally coming out as transgender, for being who he is. And then all that tolerance and compassion went out the window when he admitted to being a conservative Republican! I guess tolerance only goes as far as agreeing with progressives.

Video: Bruce Jenner comes out — as a conservative Republican
April 25, 2015 by ED MORRISSEY

Twitchy recorded many tweets praising Jenner for the courage to come out as transgender, and many tweets of pure hate after coming out as Republican:

 

BRUCE JENNER IS A… REPUBLICAN

The Huffington Post mentions the interview as well. And you probably won’t be surprised by the mindless regurgitation of the “anti-gay” narrative progressives tell themselves about what Republicans believe.

Bruce Jenner

Yes, my friends, to the progressive left, being a Republican is more shocking than anything else. I’m not shocked by the quick 180 progressives turn when anything they hear something they disagree with – lying about and vitriol against any differing point of view is in the progressive blood. Tolerance and honesty are one way streets to the bigoted political left.

Listen to the Indpendent Women’s Forum discuss this:

Caitly Jenner fights stigma of belonging to … the GOP

bigotry, bullies, culture, diversity, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, relativism

Filed under: bigotry, bullies, culture, diversity, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, political correctness, progressive, relativism

The Class of 2015: Book Burners Afraid of Matches – Bill Whittle

The Leftism of today’s college campuses will lead to the Fascism and Socialism of a Hitler or a Stalin. These Occupy-ers are essentially book burners.

communism, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, entitlements, extremism, foreign affairs, government, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, terrorism, video

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Real rape culture on campus: the war on men

Another reason to separate school and state

original article: Columbia Univ. sued for supporting fake rape allegation
April 25, 2015 by streiff

Most of you have heard Emma Sulkowicz. She’s the rather homely girl, shown above in her natural environment, who has made a college career of lugging a mattress about campus as a way of commenting on sexual assault on campus. You see, Sulkowicz claimed that she, herself, was raped and the Columbia University did nothing about it.

In fact, Columbia and other authorities have cleared the young man with whom Sulkowicz is obsessed several times and they have done this even in the feminist dominated world of academia and under the impossibly low standards of proof required to convict in the Star Chambers/kangaroo courts that universities use to investigate these matters. Both parties were subject to confidentiality agreements. The young man kept his end of the bargain. Sulkowicz, unsurprisingly as it has turned out, did not. Rather she began a campaign of harassment that has driven the innocent man from college, achieve heroine status for herself among the hairy-armpit feminist set, and she got college credit for doing it. Because carrying a mattress to protest something that didn’t happen qualifies as performance art, much like covering yourself in chocolate syrup and beans sprouts. For instance, slightly bonkers NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)2% invited Sulkowicz to be her guest at the last Obama “State of the Nation” speech.

Via the New York Times

The lawsuit alleges that Jon Kessler, the professor who is named as a defendant, not only approved the project but also “publicly endorsed her harassment and defamation” of Mr. Nungesser.

“She is actively earning course credit from Columbia for this outrageous display of harassment and defamation,” the lawsuit says, with the school aware that “Paul’s legal rights are being violated and that his well-being and future prospects are suffering immensely.”

Ms. Sulkowicz is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The suit seeks damages in an amount to be determined at trial for what it calls the harm caused to Mr. Nungesser’s reputation, and his loss of educational opportunities and future career prospects.

Mr. Nungesser’s suit only involves Columbia so Sulkowicz will not be able to testify. And by filing the lawsuit, he is able to tell his side of the story, something he had been prevented to do while Columbia colluded with Sulkowicz to paint him as a rapist. The lawsuit is here. Read it. Some of it is gold. For instance, this is Sulkowicz in mating mode:

nungesser-complaint1And Sulkowicz gives public health advice:

nungesser-complaint2

Fake rape seems to be the sign of sisterhood these days. You have the pudgy Lena Dunham claiming that an easily identifiable Oberlin student raped her. You have the fabulist at UVa conspiring with a polemicist from Rolling Stone magazine to smear and slander a fraternity. You have the Duke Lacrosse case. This is probably only the tip of the iceberg.

Conservatively, Sulkowicz is nuts and should be institutionalized. She enlisted at least two friends of hers to also accuse Nungesser of rape and she filed a false complaint with the NYPD. Columbia grossly violated its own rules in how to handle complaints and it is probably going to be an expensive lesson to them in letting political correctness and feminist-weirdoism run amok. Unfortunately, Mr. Nungesser’s life is damaged, His academic career is probably over. He will forever be the guy this promiscuous woman accused, from the Pantheon of possibilities, of raping her.

abuse, bias, bullies, corruption, criminal, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, false, feminism, fraud, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, litigation, oppression, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sex, sexism, tragedy, victimization

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Lack of outrage at Letterman shows us the real war on women

original article: PC LETTERMAN’S REAL ‘WAR ON WOMEN
April 23, 2015 by Joseph Farah

There was David Letterman last week warming up his studio audience before airtime, preparing them for live laugh tracks for the show.

Apparently, not being prepared with any jokes he wanted to waste off air, he decided to react to questions from the group.

According to an account in the New York Post and other sources, the first one came from a college staffer who asked what advice the scandal-scarred funnyman would give to this year’s graduates.

Without missing a beat, what came to mind for the late-night host was these politically incorrect sage words of wisdom: “Treat a lady like a whore, and a whore like a lady.”

Huh?

This from a guy who panders to so-called “progressives” with uncanny consistency – referring to Rachel Maddow as “the smartest person in the world,” characterizing Michele Bachmann as a “whacko” and throwing softballs to Barack and Michelle Obama?

Scratch a so-called “progressive” and they reveal their true character.

Now, I’m 60 years old, and I have never heard that expression. I did not grow up as a sheltered Christian. I was a bomb-throwing lefty as a young man. But this is one of the most insulting proverbs I have ever heard in my life – particularly about women.

But Letterman will survive this little controversy unscathed – mark my words. Because he has paid his dues by paying homage to “progressive” causes and personalities over the years. He’s earned immunity. He can say whatever he wants. He’s got a get-out-of-jail-free card from the PC police. That he is retiring as host of his show is beside the point.

By the way, if it was a joke, it bombed. That’s how the world even knows about it.

This is the real Letterman, by the way. Don’t forget in 2009 the married comic was forced to admit having a series of affairs with female staffers. That didn’t matter to the radical feminist crowd either – any more than Bill Clinton’s sexual predatory behavior, including at least one credible allegation of rape, did.

He, too, had earned “progressive immunity.” So did his wife who helped him cover it all up. She still does, as she carries on about the “war on women.”

We’ve learned the saying uttered by Letterman is a throwback to another age, first attributed to 1930s screenwriter Wilson Mizner. But it’s those quick retorts that often reveal more about a person’s character than the scripted material he’s used to following.

When the zinger fell flat, Letterman tried to recover by urging future alums to “eat a lot of salad” and always be nice, said one person present in the studio.

Nice try, Letterman. Quick comeback.

Think about what that saying really means: It suggests nice women want to be treated like tramps. It turns women into sex objects. It’s disgusting. I can say that as the father of five daughters. One doesn’t need to be a feminist.

Interestingly, I haven’t seen the NOW gang jump on Letterman. That makes my case. If you say Rachel Maddow’s the smartest person in the world, you can get away with being a misogynist.

Personally, I think it’s time to judge people on the basis of what they do and what they say in unguarded moments behind closed doors rather than by the carefully rehearsed patronizing political pabulum they spew.

But keep in mind, it’s not just Letterman. You will see this behavior throughout Hollywood. They love everything that smacks of progressivism, but watch what they do behind closed doors. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve been there. The hypocrisy is palpable. And nobody seems to care.

bias, bigotry, corruption, cover up, culture, Democrats, elitism, ethics, feminism, hate speech, humor, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, relativism, scandal, sexism

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Just call it ‘potential marriage’

Two contemporary issues are converging more potently than ever before: homosexuality and abortion. How so?

First, unless you’ve been missing in action for a while you’re well aware of the recent push to legally compel religious people to violate their conscience on matters of what marriage means.

So you think you know what objections to gay marriage are all about?

Gay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy

When did ‘tolerance’ start to mean punishing people for their beliefs?

Law firms willing to work with companies dealing in tobacco, pollution, and murder – but not traditional marriage

Religious conservatives are the targets of discrimination, lawyer says

Age of intolerance: What the Indiana pizza attacks tell us about free speech

There are those who would construe the issue as though declining a customer asking for a wedding cake for a gay wedding is the same as preventing the ceremony from happening (despite the fact there is another baker just down the street who would do the job). Absurd, yes, and false, and dishonest, sure, but emotionally satisfying for those willing to lie to push for the gay agenda. What’s really going on here is not anti-gay hate but anti-religious hate. And not merely hate, we are now faced with a situation where not only are religious people being legally forced to violate their religious beliefs but this situation is also one where a constitutional right (blatantly spelled out in the US Constitution) is being entirely disregarded for a different agenda. As it stands, the law can compel people to violate their conscience if their conscience is of a religious nature.

But there is another area of life where moral objections to involving oneself in certain controversial acts are challenged.

ACLU sues feds in bid to make Catholic groups provide abortion to illegal immigrants

Twelve Nurses Forced to Take Part in Abortions

Kill or Get Out of Medicine: What Canada And Australia Tell Pro-Life Doctors

So now the situation includes forcing people to either fund or participate in abortions, despite moral objections.

What connects these issues? Conscientious objection. It’s worth mentioning conscientious objection to war and the draft was a very popular thing in the 1970s. Moral conscience was treated as a valid reason to change the law. But on the issue of being forced to participate in or contribute a gay wedding or being forced to participate in or contribute to an abortion, these objections tend to be motivated by religious beliefs. And somehow being of a religious nature makes these objections invalid.

So what can be done about this obvious double standard? An idea is already provided.

You’ve probably heard the term “potential person” being used in defense of abortion rights. But did you know that same term is being used to expand abortion rights to kill infants as well?

Modern Babykilling

Infanticide on Demand

Murder of Newborn Babies in Infanticide as Bad as Abortion

The three stories linked above are all about the same instance of a paper published by medical experts claiming infants are not “persons” yet, they are merely “potential persons”. Now it’s bad enough to claim we don’t know when life begins and then deny personhood to a child in the womb and all civil rights including the right to life (pretending we actually knew the child is NOT a person). But, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, there is actually something worse: denying a recently born child personhood and all civil rights – including the right to life.

You thought eugenics died with the Nazis? You were wrong. And, of course, we are subjected to further distortion of language and logic trying to justify medicalized killing:

Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva are associated respectively with Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, and with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, at the University of Melbourne.

They argue that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth. To emphasise the continuity between the two acts, they term it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.

Their conclusions may shock but Guibilini and Minerva assert them very confidently. “We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.” This assertion highlights another aspect of their argument. Killing an infant after birth is not euthanasia either. In euthanasia, a doctor would be seeking the best interests of the person who dies. But in “after-birth abortion” it is the interests of people involved, not the baby.

The astoundingly evil thing of killing children is often justified by pretending we know things we really don’t know and inventing new distinctions without real differences (medicalized killing is medicalized killing, I don’t care if the killing is done with the interests of the people involved instead of the presumptuous interests of the baby). Science cannot answer the question of when life beings, and it certainly can’t tell us when personhood begins. Science is not equipped to answer questions like these. That’s where philosophy comes in. But abortion rights advocates cop out on these questions, too, by arguing we don’t have to know the answers to these questions – we can simply ignore them by calling the child a “potential person” or the even more ridiculous term “pre-person people“. And you know what, these semantic games have worked for them pretty well so far. Why don’t we give it a try.

I propose we start calling gay marriage “potential marriage”. I don’t suggest this as a genuine position; I mean it as a means of bringing more attention to the asinine semantic game being played already in the intellectually and morally fraudulent defense of abortion. We, the defenders of children inside and outside the womb, should make the case that western society’s standard for what qualifies as injustice has been convoluted and insubstantiated and entirely undercut by pretending the killing of children merely for someone else’s convenience is a civil right. If killing babies is not evil I’m not sure how we can call anything evil. If killing children (the most innocent of us) for other people’s convenience is not injustice how can we call anything injustice?

By what standard can we say declining to bake a cake for a gay wedding is injustice when we praise the killing of children and trash those to speak out against it?

Let’s put the gay mafia and abortion mafia on defense. Call gay marriage “potential marriage” and see how they try to defend a double standard when we use their own propaganda against them. They want to play semantic games. Fine, let’s play.

abortion, anti-religion, babies, bigotry, bullies, children, eugenics, extremism, fraud, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, scientists

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More Anti-Factual Analysis from Paul Krugman

International Liberty

I don’t know whether to be impressed or horrified by Paul Krugman.

I’m impressed that he’s always “on message.” No matter what’s happening in America or around the world, he always has some sort of story about why events show the need for bigger government.

But I’m horrified that he’s so sloppy with numbers.

My all-time favorite example of his fact-challenged approach deals with Estonia. In an attempt to condemn market-based fiscal policy, he blamed that nation’s 2008 recession on spending cuts that took place in 2009.

Wow. That’s like saying that a rooster’s crowing causes yesterday’s sunrise. Amazing.

Let’s look at a new example. This is some of what he recently wrote while trying to explain why the U.S. has out-performed Europe.

America has yet to achieve a full recovery from the effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Still, it seems fair to say that we’ve made up…

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If you want to help the poor take an honest look at the data instead of cherry picking it

So you think you know how the world works? The very popular push to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour is in full swing and gaining ground. But there are many false assumptions at work in this movement. I realize some of you already are aware employees get their paychecks from their employers, the businesses who’ve hired them. But not everyone knows this. And many people don’t realize where businesses get their money; many think all businesses have millions in cash resting safely in the bank, and the only reason workers are paid low wages is because of corporate greed. That’s the sort of enlightened ignorance that governs not only the popular movement for a $15/hr minimum wage, but also the political one.

So instead of reading (or rather listening to someone else talk about) only the things $15/hr advocates want to hear, someone needs to explain how the world really works. These two articles address the flawed studies used to support the high minimum wage.

A $15 minimum wage is a terrible idea
June 22, 2013 by Dylan Matthews

Raising minimum wage won’t lower poverty
September 16, 2011 by Michael Saltsman

The Congressional Budget Office has looked at a higher minimum wage as well, and that office says something very different from what President Obama is saying.

Minimum Wage Hike Could Cost 500K Jobs, CBO Reports
February 18, 2014 by JOHN PARKINSON

Of course, if you’re really a nut job who wants to actually look at a real study instead of just reading news articles journalists have written about the data, you can find one here:
Revisiting the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?
January 2013 by David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas, William Wascher

I also recommend considering some dangerously explicit common sense on the matter.

Fast Food Workers: You Don’t Deserve $15 an Hour to Flip Burgers, and That’s OK

culture, economics, economy, government, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, philosophy, political correctness, poverty, progressive, propaganda, public policy, recession, reform, regulation, socialism, spending, study, unintended consequences

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The Mirage of a Classless Society – shifting power is not the same as equalizing it

original article: The Mirage of a Classless Society
April 15, 2015 by SAMUEL GOLDMAN

Modern liberalism isn’t about challenging hierarchy; it’s about establishing rule by liberal meritocrats.

In a recent post, Paul Krugman reiterated his view that conservative critics of the welfare state are petty authoritarians. Citing Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind, Krugman explains:

It’s fundamentally about challenging or sustaining traditional hierarchy. The actual lineup of positions on social and economic issues doesn’t make sense if you assume that conservatives are, as they claim, defenders of personal liberty on all fronts. But it makes perfect sense if you suppose that conservatism is instead about preserving traditional forms of authority: employers over workers, patriarchs over families. A strong social safety net undermines the first, because it empowers workers to demand more or quit; permissive social policy undermines the second in obvious ways.

In contrast to conservatism, Krugman argues:

…modern liberalism is in some sense the obverse — it is about creating a society that is more fluid as well as fairer. We all like to laugh at the war-on-Christmas types, right-wing blowhards who fulminate about the liberal plot to destroy family values. We like to point out that a country like France, with maternity leave, aid to new mothers, and more, is a lot more family-friendly than rat-race America. But if “family values” actually means traditional structures of authority, then there’s a grain of truth in the accusation. Both social insurance and civil rights are solvents that dissolve some of the restraints that hold people in place, be they unhappy workers or unhappy spouses. And that’s part of why people like me support them.

I’ve written about Robin’s widely-misunderstood argument in the past. But Krugman’s post is a good opportunity to revisit and summarize my critique. In short, Robin is right that classic conservative theorists were defenders of  economic, social, and political hierarchy against modern liberation movements. But he misunderstands the basis of the position.

The conservative position has never been simply that a hierarchical society is better than an egalitarian one. It’s that an egalitarian society is impossible. Every society includes rulers and ruled. The central question of politics, therefore, is not whether some will command while others obey. It’s who gives the orders.

Radical leftists understand this. That’s why Lenin’s “who, whom?” question became an unofficial motto of Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks promised that a classless society would one day emerge. In the meantime, however, they were open and enthusiastic practitioners of power politics.

Modern liberals find this vision upsetting. So they pretend that their policies are about reducing inequality and promoting freedom rather than empowering some people at the expense of others. They associate inequality with wealth and freedom with liberation from religion and family. So they assume that a society in which rich people, churches, and fathers have less power is ipso facto freer and more equal.

Notice how Krugman’s hostility to these traditional hierarchies blinds him to other kinds of inequality. He praises France because social insurance and stronger protections for employees make it easier for mothers and workers to stand up to patriarchs and bosses. Do they really make France “fairer and more fluid”? In cultural terms, perhaps. But not politically or even economically.

The defining feature of French life is that the welfare and regulatory state Krugman admires is administered by graduates of elite educational institutions. These aristocrats of the universities and civil service are geographically concentrated in Paris and anecdotally quite “inbred.” France is not a class society in the Marxist sense. But it could be described with only minimal exaggeration as an ENAligarchy.

Krugman doesn’t see the énarques as a ruling class that need to be knocked down a peg because their authority isn’t traditional. They wield power over other people’s lives because they got good grades, not because they have a lot of money or are heads of households or leaders of religious communities. But academic meritocracyis not the same thing as a fluid and fairer society. It’s certainly no fairer that some people are lucky enough to be smart than that others are good at making a fortune.

And France is no star when it comes to economic mobility. According to a review of the literature by the economist Miles Corak, France joins the U.S. and the UK as the Western countries with the least intergenerational mobility. Krugman also doesn’t mention that France is a very good place to have a job, but not so hospitable to people looking for work. That’s especially a problem for young people who didn’t go to the best schools.

There are serious arguments in favor of rule by a highly-trained administrative class within a moderately redistributive capitalist economy. Those arguments were a crucial source of the modern liberalism that Krugman endorses, and have recently been reiterated by Frank Fukuyama. What modern liberals really want, however, isn’t freedom or equality—terms that have no meaning before it’s determined for what and by whom they will be enjoyed. As conservatives have long understood, it’s a society in which people like themselves and their favored constituencies have more power while the old elites of property, church, and family have less.

culture, ideology, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, power, progressive

Filed under: culture, ideology, left wing, liberalism, philosophy, power, progressive

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