Political Hay

The Left and Power Inequality

When equality is suddenly not important.

By 1.9.14

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“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in his inaugural address

“[Americans] may not follow the constant back-and-forth in Washington or all the policy details, but they experience in a very personal way the relentless, decades-long trend that I want to spend some time talking about today. And that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain — that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead…. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time.”
President Obama, December 4, 2013

His name is Matt.

Matt E. His last name not given, presumably for fear of retribution.

Matt is a teacher in Chester County, Pennsylvania. And he is a victim of Power Inequality.

President Obama and New York’s Mayor de Blasio have decided to focus on “income inequality” as the major issue facing Americans, with Obama calling income inequality “the defining challenge of our time.”

Earlier this week, the President introduced America to Katherine, a woman who has tried and failed to find a job.

But you can rest assured that neither the President nor any other progressive is interested in telling you about Matt E.

Why?

Because Power Inequality is a pillar of the progressive movement, literally financially and politically holding it up. Were Power Inequality to be banished — voted out of existence — progressivism would begin to stagger to its well-deserved collapse.

How does Power Inequality work? Here’s Matt E. in his own words:

The union supports policies I completely disagree with, and I have to pay for it. I have no choice if I want to keep my job.

The union of which Matt speaks is PSEA — the Pennsylvania State Education Association. PSEA is the rich man of Power Inequality in Pennsylvania.

PSEA is not about fairness, much less equality of power.

Taking Matt E.’s money by appropriation — and he must let them take it or he will lose his job — and then they use it for the union’s political purposes. Political purposes which are not shared by Matt E.

In this Power Inequality equation, Matt E. had his money taken from him so PSEA could lobby and advocate for Obamacare, put out a direct mail piece endorsing Barack Obama’s re-election, and use its money to oppose the privatization of Pennsylvania State Stores (in Pennsylvania liquor stores are run by the state) as well as common-sense pension reform.

The plight of Matt E. has been brought to the attention of Pennsylvanians by an energetic think tank called the Commonwealth Foundation. Through a flyer mailed to households throughout the state that says, in part (with bold print in the original):

Pennsylvania government unions spent more than $5 million on politics last year — and you paid to collect it for them!

No other organization gets this privilege.

It’s time to give teachers like Matt a choice. And it’s not fair to force taxpayers to collect union campaign contributions political money.

In other words, Matt is — to use a favorite liberal word — a victim of Power Inequality. The teachers union has power — and Matt has none.

And, as the flyer says using another liberal mantra, “It’s not fair.”

Matt is right. The Commonwealth Foundation is right. It isn’t fair.

The decision by the Obama White House and their progressive allies to raise the flag of “income equality” has an unintended consequence. If the issue of “fairness” and “equality” is to be front and center as a national objective — why is this limited to income?

Surely if it’s time to use the government to enforce “income equality” than it is way past time to use the government to end the blatant unfairness of “Power Inequality.”

The plight of Matt E. and his powerlessness within his union is but one example of the Power Inequality problem faced everyday by millions of Americans. In academia, Hollywood and the media to name but a few examples, Power Inequality reigns without a peep of concern from the Left.

Academia: Over at Dissident Prof Mary Grabar (possessor of a Ph.D.), the site’s founder, is the author of a book titled Exiled: Stories from Conservative and Moderate Professors Who Have Been Ridiculed, Ostracized, Marginalized, Demonized, and Frozen Out. The book is described this way, bold print for emphasis supplied:

Mary Grabar, Ph.D., founder of Dissident Prof, (www.dissidentprof.com) gathers stories by six of her colleagues, professors “exiled” professionally and socially for ideas deemed heretical by today’s radical academic gatekeepers. Readers will get an inside look at how the academy operates—and how the gatekeepers deny that they discriminate. With lively and entertaining prose, these six professors tell tales of being ostracized, ridiculed, and denied opportunities to teach — even when their students protest on their behalf! They will learn how the radicals use tax and tuition money to fund studies and academic centers to smear political opponents and those who disagree with their politically correct worldviews.

Not to be forgotten here is the always reliable David Horowitz and his Indoctrination U.: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom. The book is described thusly, again with bold print for emphasis supplied here:

In dramatic commentary, Indoctrination U. unveils the intellectual corruption of American universities by faculty activists who have turned America’s classrooms into indoctrination centers for their political causes. It describes how academic radicals with little regard for professional standards or the pluralistic foundations of American society have created an ideological curriculum that it is as odds with the traditional purposes of a democratic education.

Indoctrination U. is also a riveting account of the reaction to Horowitz’s campaign by professor unions and academic associations, whose leaderships have been taken over by the political left. The anathemas pronounced on the campaign and its creator, which are recounted in this book, are not unique to Horowitz’s efforts but have a long and squalid history in the left’s battles with its opponents. The story of the campaign against academic freedom, told in colorful detail in Indoctrination U., can also be read as a case study in the political methods of the radical left.

What Ms. Grabar and Mr. Horowitz are describing in their books is Power Inequality as it displays itself in academia. The Left has the power — and uses it against conservatives. Any and every way that power can be used, whether the issue is curriculum, hiring teaches or administration of the university itself. There is no intention of equalizing that power or, in the fashion of political solutions in this or that Cold War-era country, coming up with a “power sharing” formula between the Left and conservatives that would be used to run and teach at the college or university in question.

The Left has the power in academia and it has no intention whatsoever to be “fair.”

Hollywood: Last November, the legendary screenwriter and playwright David Mamet sat down with Fox’s Megyn Kelly, saying among other things that conservatives in Hollywood are “legitimately frightened for their jobs” if their conservative leanings became known.

Mamet is seemingly fearless as both writer and citizen, boldly writing of his political change-of-mind (“Why I’m No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’”) in one of the longtime leftist outposts, the Village Voice.

And there are — increasingly — others willing to, as it were, come out of the Hollywood political closet. Vince Vaughn, Dennis Miller, Adam Carolla, Gary Sinese and the also fearless Ben Stein among them. Yet the very fact that this is in any way notable illustrates the core of Mamet’s point.

To say that conservatives are “legitimately frightened for their jobs” in Hollywood is Mamet’s way of discussing Power Inequality in Tinsel Town. Either you bow to the God of Progressivism — or else. If Hollywood is where you work, be afraid as a screenwriter, actor, producer, director if seen as a conservative. And as in academia, there is not the slightest intention among powerful Hollywood liberals to be “fair.” 

The Media: In the last few days, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has been the subject of numerous stories concerning a new book — make that the latest book — that does its damnedest to sling as much mud as possible at him as it can. Forget the book. Ask yourself this: why the book in the first place? Why is Roger Ailes repeatedly at the center of stories — and over the years this has happened in books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet — in the mainstream media that set out to a job on him?

The answer is simple. Unlike Matt E., the teacher who is at the mercy of the power of the teachers union in Pennsylvania, or those conservative professors on the receiving end of liberal power on college campuses, or those Hollywood conservatives that David Mamet says have every right to be “legitimately frightened for their jobs” — Roger Ailes stands almost alone out there in breaking through the barrier that is Power Inequality.

Roger Ailes has taken on the media — on its own turf — and won. He beat the Power Inequality odds in the creation of Fox News. A serious media outlet that he has personally built into a first class news organization and deliverer of both genuinely fair and balanced news as well as conservative opinion.

The same is true of Rush Limbaugh, who picked up what was once considered to be an almost dead medium — AM radio — and made of it through his show and now multiples of others a serious force in modern media.

For this sin of taking on Power Inequality in the media both men have effectively made themselves targets. Big time. Each man has drawn fierce demands to shut down their creations, with Fox News being directly targeted by President Obama’s White House and its network of progressive money-types who set about launching Media Matters to declare a “war on Fox.”

Only last year these same people were leading a drive to get Rush Limbaugh off the air.

In both cases, the enemies of Ailes and Limbaugh failed.

The point here is as simple as it is obvious.

Progressives have made a mistake — a big one — in launching the “income equality” movement. In an instant the issue will now focus on where in American society “inequality” is to be found.

And the first place to look is in those areas of American life that are overwhelmingly controlled by liberals. By progressives.

Equality?

Really?

Progressives don’t care about equality. They care about power. First, last and always. Whatever else the fresh kerfuffle that has exploded around the release of former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’s book, the anecdote that has then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly admitting to Gates and President Obama that she opposed the surge in Iraq for purely political reasons says it all.

The only principle progressives have is power.

They will do anything — even acquiesce in losing a war that is killing American kids — as long as they can win and keep power.

Is there a Power Inequality in America?

You bet there is.

And there isn’t a liberal in the land who objects to that Power Inequality — as long as they have the power.

Ask Matt E.

Better yet?

Ask Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.