It’s said that political parties are really just coalitions of various interest groups, which in one sense is less true than it used to be. Most die-hard Democrats and Republicans will tell you they’re party members not because of a particular spot at the trough they wish to dip their snouts but because the Democrat or Republican ideological platforms most accurately reflect their tastes.
That’s probably truer of Republicans, or better put some Republicans, than Democrats — only for the reason that the GOP is generally more resistant to identity politics than is the party of Jackson and Jefferson… and Jackson and Sharpton. That might be changing, though, since straight white people who work in the private sector and pay taxes have more and more begun to regard themselves as an identity group of their own.
On the Democrat side, it’s really all identity politics these days — and their 2020 presidential nomination Gotterdammerung can best be understood as a competition to pander to as many identity groups as possible.
And the maneuvering among that field has generated varied results. For example, there was South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has done everything he can to own the role of smarmy-but-smarter-than-you gay leading man among the field (such a role, ubiquitous on TV, has to exist in a field of two dozen Democrat candidates, no?), who found himself amid a near-riot back home when a white South Bend policeman shot a black suspected car thief after the latter brandished a knife in his direction. Buttigieg’s urbane, post-Christian (he deigns to lecture traditional Christians that he knows more of God than they do) shtick is famously lost on the black community, and when Eric Logan was shot it was a perfect opportunity for that community to jack up Mayor Pete over his lack of inclusion.
Which they did, forcing Buttigieg to come off the campaign trail and bend his knee. “The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that,” he groveled.
On the other hand, one of the more successful efforts at pandering to Democrat identity groups appears to be the promise, made most prominently by noted Communist Bernie Sanders and academic affirmative-action fraud Liz Warren, to spend some $1 trillion or more on forgiveness of college loans. It seems that a large number of Americans, induced by an academic elite which has been running on an economic bubble perhaps even larger than the real estate industry crashed the American economy with in the later part of the last decade, are carrying around six-figure college debt that can’t be extinguished in bankruptcy and which they can’t pay.
And why can’t they pay it? Without doing too much research to confirm what’s patently obvious, these aren’t usually college graduates with medical or engineering degrees. At this point it’s a well-worn cliché that many of them either didn’t get degrees or graduated in majors which imparted very little expertise in subjects for which there is an economic demand. A Women’s Studies degree from Wellesley might be fabulous for achieving wokeness; it won’t tend to land you six figures from Ford or Intel.
As such, the victims of American academia operate as both an identity group, indoctrinated as they’ve been to function as social justice warriors, and an interest group looking for free stuff from the government. And Sanders and Warren, and the rest of the denizens of the clown car, can’t pander quickly enough to them on both fronts.
So we now have a scramble to find a “workable” delivery of Free Stuff to people who were intelligent enough to get into a college but not wise enough to train for a suitably remunerative career that they can pay off their student loans. And when less-mondaine types like Dan Crenshaw object, as the Texas congressman did on the basis that it’s immoral to ask the two-thirds of the public who didn’t graduate from college and generally make less than those who did to pay for Free Stuff for their betters with nothing to show in return, we must castigate them for their deficiency of woke.
Therefore, here is a simple solution to this problem — tax university endowments to pay for student debt relief.
As of fiscal year 2015, there was some $547 billion tied up in university endowments in the United States. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton alone accounted for $86 billion of that figure. As our Democrat friends like to tout a top tax rate of 90 percent as a wonderful tool in producing a “level” society such as existed in America in the 1940s and 1950s, let’s just apply that to the endowments and use the proceeds to pay off those who were cheated out of their American dream.
That’s only fair, right? It’s sure worth it to fund a half-billion dollars of student debt relief. That would lower the burden on every student loan in America by one-third or so. But we wouldn’t do that, because we’d want to make sure the wokest, brokest graduates got more relief than the ones with means. That’s how we can make this EXTREMELY fair.
And in order to make sure that this debt relief isn’t just a band-aid on a gunshot wound, we’ll need to continue taxing those endowments at a 90 percent rate — doing so would insure we’re not just providing a one-time delivery of Free Stuff but an ongoing program of reparations to the Disposable Income-Challenged among us.
You say this isn’t a workable plan? You say that it’s unconstitutional to rob the university endowments and economic fantasy to believe people will continue donating to those endowments when, instead of holding tax-free status as charitable contributions they would then be taxed at 90 percent?
The obvious and correct response is that you’re a bigot who hates poor people. After all, as Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan said, after he was fired as a university dean for having taken Harvey Weinstein on as a client, “Unchecked emotion has replaced thoughtful reasoning on campus. Feelings are no longer subjected to evidence, analysis or empirical defense. Angry demands, rather than rigorous arguments, now appear to guide university policy.”
Sullivan is obviously an anti-#MeToo Neanderthal, because he lacks an appreciation for unchecked emotion as a policy motivation. His brand of analysis has no place in the Democrat Party of 2019, and neither does yours if you don’t like our plan to help the poor victims of our academic elites.
There has been something of a buzz over a Washington Post op-ed by gay rights activist and author Nathaniel Frank discussing, as part of the ubiquitous celebrations of Pride Month, regarding the direction of the gay rights movement and its accomplishments.
The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher does an excellent job of deconstructing Frank’s arguments and making the point that when the gay marriage issue surfaced 15 years ago and social conservatives saw it as a Pandora’s Box of societal dysfunction on the way, they were largely dismissed as busybodies and bigots — but Frank’s piece confirms everything the social conservatives said and lauds the fulfillment of their fears as achievements. From the Post op-ed…
The LGBT movement, including the push for marriage equality, has also helped upend repressive attitudes about sex, establishing nonmarital sex — and sexual behavior once thought perverse — as largely uncontroversial. (Last year, for instance, Teen Vogue posted a guide to anal sex.) Inherent in queer desire is the belief that sexual pleasure is a good in itself and need not be justified by reproductive ends, a principle enshrined in law by gay rights court decisions affirming that sex and marriage are not instruments for reproduction but expressions of individual liberty and dignity. Just as its loudest opponents feared, granting same-sex couples access to marriage has further aligned the hoary institution with sexual choice, helping sever the link between sex and diapers — at just the moment when abortion rights face their greatest test in a generation.
Stonewall’s legacy isn’t just about making queer people look more like everyone else. It’s also, perhaps more mutinously, about making everyone else look a bit more queer. The movement’s enduring celebration of difference, personal authenticity and norm-questioning has allowed straight people to recognize the closet that confines them, too — the outdated pressure to perform prescribed gender roles, inhibit certain emotions, conceal their true selves in a thousand ways — and to envision a way to step outside its walls. This is what Joe Biden was referring to when, as vice president, he thanked LGBT advocates for “freeing the soul of the American people.” It’s what Barack Obama meant when, on the day the high court handed down its marriage ruling, he said, “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
With marriage equality secured, the transgender and nonbinary movements found voice and visibility, crashing into inevitable backlash but also driving successful new challenges to norms and helping people transcend what some insisted were the narrow dictates of gender.
Emphasis Dreher’s, who comments…
Understand what he’s saying here: Frank laments that the LGBT rights movement has not eliminated the nuclear family and marriage. He is glad that it has brought about Teen Vogue articles teaching teenage girls how to receive penises into their rectums. He glories in the fact that the movement is alienating an increasing number of people from their bodies, and leading them to mutilate their breasts and genitals with hormones and surgeries. And he concedes that people like me were right to say back in the day that gay marriage was going to de-nature marriage as a child-centered institution.
Frank makes clear what some of us have known for a long time: that for the last 25 years, LGBTs have been the Leninist vanguard of the Sexual Revolution. To an old-school Cassandra like me — one of the Cassandras who was mocked in the 2000s as a paranoid — this entire column reads like an I told you so, and a vindication of the Law of Merited Impossibility (“It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it”). Not that it does a bit of good now.
This can be summed up by saying there is the sane view, which holds that nine-year-old drag queens and naked people riding bicycles on city streets in the middle of the day represent rapid and dangerous societal decline which has flowed from the abandonment of society’s standards with respect to sexual behavior — and then there is Frank’s view, which holds that those things are awesome and if you don’t agree you’re “repressed” and your point of view must be shouted down.
As this is Pride Month, so we have to spend a disproportionate amount of time on LGBTQ issues most of us (including most gay people) would rather not be bothered with, we’ll finish with a related item. There is an internet meme out there, which has been shared ubiquitously by the woke crowd, which purports to offer “Things Queer Culture Teaches That Straight Culture Doesn’t,” and the list includes a litany of “lessons” which can best be described as the worst elements of the low-character egocentrism which is destroying our societal standards. Among them…
• You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to.
• You don’t have to have kids if you don’t want to.
• People will judge you and reject you without knowing you. This isn’t your fault. You’re not the broken one.
• Physical affection in public is a deliberate act of courage.
• Family is a matter of choice. Loyalty is a two-way street.
• Sensitivity isn’t weakness. It just means you pay attention.
And a coup de grace…
• People who think “sex” only means a penis in a vagina deserve pity. (They don’t deserve better sex, just pity.)
This is where we are, and we wonder why there is so little public virtue left in our society.
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