September 6, 2008

"in the DNA of the left all along"

I recommend this piece, Why They Hate Her : Sarah Palin is a Smart Missile Aimed at the Heart of the Left, by Jeffrey Bell in The Weekly Standard.

He explains some things that, as usual, I have just been groping towards. In particular, why leftists reacted with instant hatred of Sarah, before we knew anything about her.......except that she has those five children....

....In the short run, most political elites weathered the storm [of the 1960's] . A big reason, the left gradually realized, was that socialist economics had become an albatross. Increasingly, the democratic parties of the left in Western countries downplayed socialism or even decoupled from it, leaving them free to pursue the anti-institutional, relativistic moral crusade that has been in the DNA of the left all along.

This newly revitalized social and cultural agenda made it possible for the left to shrug off the collapse of European communism and the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago. Even in countries like China where the Communist party retained dictatorial power, socialist economics became a thing of the past. Attempts to suppress religion and limit the autonomy of the family did not.

For the post-1960s, post-socialist left, the single most important breakthrough has been the alliance between modern feminism and the sexual revolution. This was far from inevitable. Up until around 1960, attempts at sexual liberation were resisted by most educated women....

....Though earlier versions of feminism tended to embrace children and elevate motherhood, the more adversarial feminism that gained a mass base in virtually every affluent democracy beginning in the 1970s preached that children and childbearing were the central instrumentality of men's subjugation of women. This more than anything else in the menu of the post-socialist left raised toward cultural consensus a vision in which the monogamous family was what prevented humanity from achieving a Rousseau-like "natural" state of freedom from all laws and all bonds of mutual obligation.

If this analysis is correct, the single most important narrative holding the left together in today's politics and culture is the one offered--often with little or no dissent--by adversarial feminism. The premise of this narrative is that for women to achieve dignity and self-fulfillment in modern society, they must distance themselves, not necessarily from men or marriage or childbearing, but from the kind of marriage in which a mother's temptation to be with and enjoy several children becomes a synonym for holding women back and cheating them out of professional success...

...The simple fact of her being a pro-life married mother of five with a thriving political career was--before anything else about her was known--enough for the left and its outliers to target her for destruction. She could not be allowed to contradict symbolically one of the central narratives of the left...

Sara Palin with ski planeIn a sense, Sarah doesn't have to say anything. Her mere existence, her marvelous presence, eclipses many leftish ideas. A slide-show of Sarah pictures makes all sorts of Leftizoid clap-trap suddenly look gray and wispy. Silly. Old. Vegetarianism, Ivy-League superiority, atheist as "Bright," ugly old feminist leader as "liberated," Christians or hunters as "primitive," small-town Americans as dullards.

And there are plenty more. Pacifism and appeasement as having anything to do with peace, for a start. "Community organizer" as serious person. Lofty rhetoric as superior to gritty reality. Biden and Obama as "men of the people."

How you do it, Sarah...I'm mystified. But may God bless you and protect you from your enemies. If you die tomorrow you have already struck a mighty blow for liberty.

Our lives are hectic and frustrating right now, but Charlene and I often just look at each other and start smiling. Or cackling. We hardly need to mention what we are thinking about.

Posted by John Weidner at September 6, 2008 9:00 AM
Weblog by John Weidner