Tag: Progressivism

Why Are You Voting Against Your Own Interests?


shutterstock_99826235A major pet peeve of mine in the world of politics is the phrase “voting against their own interests.” It’s usually used to indicate a sense of exasperation and disbelief on the part of the speaker that a certain group of voters is favoring a candidate or political party whom the speaker believes does not represent their best interests (see here, here, and here, for examples).

More specifically, it’s often used by Progressives to bemoan the tendency of some female voters and some of lower socioeconomic status to vote for Republicans. The insinuation is that Republicans are the “party of the rich” and they support policies that might jeopardize “women’s health” (i.e., abortion), therefore they should be universally rejected by certain classes of voters. The writers of these pieces struggle to explain this behavior and they usually settle for some combination of religious belief, small-mindedness, fear, and stupidity.

One explanation that never seems to cross the minds of those who write these pieces is that they themselves may have misidentified the “best interests” of the people on whose behalf they purport to be speaking. Put another way, it takes a special kind of arrogance to think that you are capable of defining the best interests of anyone other than yourself, much less large swathes of society. In fact, when these individuals attempt to define the “best interests” of others, they often assign those interests that drive their own behavior and choices.

Same Old(er) Hillary


The six-year house party the activist left has been having with the country is coming to an end — and they know it. The death rattle for the antagonistic left began as soon as Wall Street grandmother Hillary Clinton announced her run for the presidency.

When a candidate is nominated for President, the party no longer drags them to their position; instead, it automatically becomes the party of that candidate. That’s why you see Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren all curbing their enthusiasm. The moment Hillary accepts the nomination, their electoral talking points are for the most part rendered benign — the party becomes a Clinton party again. They also know the same dirty secret the rest of the country knows: Hillary can’t run on class warfare and pop-socialism. Democrats understand that any time Hillary plays class warrior, she falls over her gold-plated walker and hits her Life Alert for the media to bail her out.

Tolerance and the Despot


obama as despot“That’s my reality!” she said over and over again. It was 1997, I believe, and I was relaxing with a few friends in the NCO Club at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina following my return from another tour of duty in the Mideast. A female NCO was at our table, where we all took turns telling stories from our various deployments over the years. As the number of empty beer bottles increased, so too did the eccentricity and humor of the stories, except, that is, for this solitary NCO whose demeanor became more emphatic and grim as time passed.

I forget the specifics of the stories she told, chiefly because of the startling manner in which she concluded each anecdote, leaning in for dramatic effect, her eyes widening all the while, and announcing, “THAT’S MY REALITY!” The effect was immediate and as she desired, for it foreclosed any further question or attempts to explore her perspective in depth. Indeed, it seemed that to trespass on her “reality” would have been akin to saying, “No, actually, I don’t think your children are attractive at all, and that crayon scrawl your jug-eared son drew suggests that the epilepsy meds aren’t working very well either.” Certain things just aren’t up for discussion after all, and that included her “reality.”

To her everlasting credit, however, she didn’t demand our immediate and universal endorsement of her reality, such a presumption being considered, once upon a time, rude and small-minded. She could have her reality, and we could have ours, and we would coexist in a genial conversation. But that was back then, when from the academy to the editorial page we were encouraged to push against the alleged tide of intolerance, to celebrate inclusiveness, embrace diversity and, above all, to exercise Tolerance. Remember that word? That goal? That talisman?

At My Wits’ End in the Culture War


Bad-CommunicationI’ve never had great difficulty in getting along with my liberal friends. It is a skill I likely learned growing up with conservative instincts in the state of New Jersey. Most of life can be enjoyed with others without our political differences getting in the way. At the margins however, there are always issues. Some ideas permeate the culture so thoroughly, that a friend will often state what they believe to be an innocuous statement of truth in passing, working under the assumption that all good-hearted people will agree with it. Since I do not share many of their beliefs, the obvious implication is that I am not a good person.

It has always been a character flaw of mine that I cannot allow these remarks to pass without challenging them. Close friends know me well enough to either engage me in a friendly debate on the point, or concede that they probably shouldn’t have thrown the statement out like that. Casual friends and acquaintances are generally caught off guard by my challenges. Issues of taxation can be laughed off, along with any number of others in regards to the size and scope of government. It is only in the culture wars that friendships are lost.

Culture would seem an easy issue for one with strong libertarian leanings, such as myself, to deal with. I don’t care how you live your life, or who you share it with, provided you not encroach upon the rights of others. My world view is inherently easy to get along with. I am supportive of same-sex marriage and disapprove of institutionalized discrimination. These facts buy me nothing though when I challenge media lies about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Origin of the Minimum Wage in the Progressive Eugenics Movement


Maybe I knew this and just forgot about it somehow, I dunno. But this 2005 paper from Princeton economist Thomas Leonard on the racist/eugenics/progressive origin of the minimum wage is pretty fascinating stuff. It’s a strange world:

Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics, believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service of ridding the labor force of the “unemployable.” Sidney and Beatrice Webb put it plainly: “With regard to certain sections of the population [the “unemployable”], this unemployment is not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health.” “[O]f all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,” Sidney Webb opined in the Journal of Political Economy, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.”  … A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants and also by removing from employment the “unemployable,” who, thus identified, could be, for example, segregated in rural communities or sterilized. …

Member Post


Recent posts on Ricochet have taken up the debate over abortion, specifically, asking whether there is or ever can be grounds for settling this issue – or at least reaching some mutually acceptable compromise – between pro- and anti-abortion proponents. While I might be willing to hold out hope of some sort of compromise if […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Member Post


During my long life I have always been puzzled by Progressive thought. Why do Progressives ignore 150 years of evidence that collectivism always fails (including the controlled studies conducted – at great human cost – in Germany and Korea)? Why has Diversity (formerly a mere nice-to-have) become the uber-virtue, against which all the other, formally […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Bask in the Crazy: Hate Speech


Though the bulk of a conservative’s time engaging liberal arguments is best spent addressing their most pointed and nuanced positions, I believe we should occasionally indulge ourselves by reveling in their worst arguments and fringe elements. Arguments such as this piece by Tanya Cohen which flips George Orwell the proverbial bird.

Published on the site Thought Catalogue — a name is straight out of an Orwell novel — Cohen makes the case that the United States trails far behind such paragons of virtue as Turkey, Jordan, Russia and India when it comes to basic human rights.

How To Talk to Your Progressive Niece about Obamacare This Thanksgiving


As your family gathers around the table this Thanksgiving, the conversation may get a little heated if a left-wing relative brings up President Obama’s signature health law. The Affordable Care Act remains both unpopular and misunderstood among the American public — a combination that makes it likely fodder for holiday conflicts.

In fact, the website ThinkProgress posted an article titled “How To Talk To Your Tea Party Uncle About Obamacare This Thanksgiving.” So, if your niece blogs for ThinkProgress and starts making wild assertions about the Affordable Care Act, here are some key points that will help keep your conversation on track:

Progressive Puritans Try to Ruin Halloween


Traditionally moral scolds have been characterized as creatures of the right, but today all the tsk-tsking arises from the fever swamps of progressive purity. The next victim of these pinched-face church(less) ladies is Halloween.

The College Fix (hat tip to John J. Miller) notes a series of advisories and admonishments being distributed to students around the country. They also reprint a letter issued by a Residence Life coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Catcalls and the Death of Chivalry


Savages around the globe are murdering young women, selling them into sex slavery, and tossing acid into their faces. But a new viral video wants to redirect our outrage to another battleground of the global war on women: catcalls.

The video appeared yesterday in my Facebook feed with an image of a female and the headline “This is what it’s like to be catcalled on the street 108 times in a single day.” At first I thought it a humblebrag, but soon discovered it was yet another campaign to make men feel guilty.

Progressives Just Don’t Wanna Have Fun


Today’s sage advice from the progressive left: it’s a given that you should eat organic and locally grown food, but if you’re out at a trendy restaurant serving this kind of food, you should also consider the morality of the business’s practices. Namely, are they paying their servers a fair wage? Are they paying a rent that is respectful of the community (i.e. did they force out another tenant that could not pay such a high rent)? Are they contributing to gentrification?

Per this essay posted a few days ago at everydayfeminism.com:

Introducing the Oppression Index!


We’ve all argued with liberals, especially online. The issue could be health care, tax rates or city zoning rules, but they’ll quickly turn their policy disagreement into personal attacks.

Conservative: “I think hiking the minimum wage will reduce jobs.”
Progressive: “You would say that, RICH RETHUGLICAN!”
Conservative: “Actually, I’m lower middle class, so…”
Progressive: “Are you denying your WHITE privilege?”
Conservative: “Well, I’m Asian, and…”
Progressive: “I’m glad the PATRIARCHY protects your precious job!”
Conservative: “Wrong again. I’m a woman.”
Progressive: “Probably sitting at home baking cookies for your husband!”
Conservative: “I’m a lesbian. By the way, who are you?”
Progressive: “Stop voting against your own self-interest by electing old white men like me!”

Ezra Klein’s Open Contempt for the Rule of Law


Sometimes, you don’t even have to scratch a liberal in order to find their inner totalitarian. Ezra Klein wants the world to know just how much contempt he has for the rule of law in his most recent piece on California’s new affirmative consent law.

For several paragraphs, Klein insures the reader fully understands that he enters his support for capricious and non-uniform regulation of sex with his eyes wide open to the consequences.

Obama Can’t Afford to Win in Iraq


Obama’s half-hearted decision to take on ISIS has confused everyone. Even as the President sends the U.S. military into harm’s way, he hasn’t articulated a clear strategy, nor even defined the action. Some days it’s called a counter-terrorism effort, other days a war, while its purpose meanders between degrading ISIS, destroying ISIS, or following ISIS to the gates of hell.

As Islamists continue to taunt America, ersatz allies are understandably slow to side with a dithering leader. Despite our excellent armed forces, observers wonder if any military action can be successful with a leader so reticent to lead.

‘Good vs. Evil’ vs. ‘Weak vs. Strong’


As the fight rages between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza, those supporting Israel shake their heads at progressives around the world. How can a movement which boasts of its dedication to tolerance, feminism and LGBT equality endorse a terror state founded on thuggery and theocracy?

Israel is a modern, multicultural nation in a sea of medieval misery. Women can vote, gays can marry, and Arabs can serve in government. Just over the security fence, women are subjugated, gays are lynched, and there isn’t a Jew to be found (unless he has been kidnapped).

Progressive Philosophy of Minimum Wage


I was catching up on Jonah Goldberg’s piece of last week on Elizabeth Warren and the broader progressive desire to keep big business as a lap dog, and clicked through to David Harsanyi’s piece at The Federalist on Elizabeth Warren more generally. David, in turn, linked to Warren’s “Eleven Commandments of Progressivism,” one of which is: “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

After quelling my reflexive irate reaction about the economic idiocy pertaining thereto (lost jobs at the margin, fewer first jobs for teenagers, etc., etc.), I started thinking about the implications of the above “commandment” and realized that the key phrase is “work full-time and still live in poverty.” The progressive worldview implication, I believe, is the plain reading of the words: a belief that no one should fill their days with work, but still be poor. (I’ll leave alone for now the begged question of the definition of ‘poor,’ at least as pertains to life in the U.S.)

Member Post


As mentioned Addiction is a Choice’s posting the other day, Archie is to die in a comic spinoff series which explores the life of the Riverdale gang as they mature. A lot has been said about this, on whether this is a good or bad thing, but I mentioned I believed this storyline was an […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.