Wanting It Both Ways
I am frustrated by many things, but intellectual inconsistency is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, many Americans, perhaps even an electoral majority, embrace it.
Let’s begin with Hillary Clinton. An inadvertently laugh-out-loud headline accompanies the latest effort by Politico writer Steven Shepard to maintain that website’s grim determination to promote Democrat Party talking points even as it feigns objectivity. “Can Hillary overcome the ‘liar’ factor?” the title of the piece asks. Liar “factor?” Anyone else think Hillary Clinton’s repeated, documented, shameless, reflexive lying about virtually everything is something a tad more problematic than a factor?
Actually, the answer is yes. A Quinnipiac University poll taken August 20-25 reveals that more than six in ten respondents, or 61 percent, view Clinton as woman with a rather tenuous relationship with the truth. Respondents asked to offer the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Hillary came back with “liar,” “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” Yet a majority of those same respondents indicated they would hand her the presidency if she ran against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Donald Trump.
Granted, that could indicate a greater disdain for Republicans in general. But those same respondents also gave Hillary a higher negative rating than all three GOP candidates. This leaves us with two possibilities: Either the poll respondents are highly cynical, or they are intellectually inconsistent. Either way, the notion that a majority believes integrity is not the decisive factor in choosing the next leader of the free world is extremely troubling. Moreover it is impossible to reconcile with a Real Clear Politics poll showing that 63 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.
That dichotomy may represent a number of different things, but intellectual consistency isn’t one of them.
Remember Rachel Dolezal? When the former head of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NACCP was outed as a white woman, the American Left was apoplectic. “Her case suggests more than just a deep-seated problem, something more than just a highly narcissistic form of histrionic personal disorder, or an unhealthy need for obsession and approval,” opined Patrick Blanchfield in a column for The Daily Beast. Slate’s Jamelle Bouie accused her of “adopting the [black] culture without carrying the burdens.” and “deceiving people for the sake of an à la carte blackness, in which you take the best parts, and leave the pain aside.” Mary Elizabeth Williams insisted Dolezal was guilty of "unforgivable" fraud.
Yet those very same leftists have lionized Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner who was rewarded with a Diane Sawyer interview, a Vanity Fair cover, and a TV show. And they have strained to delineate the difference between the two. “Most people who are transgender, [when they are] as early as 4 or 5, believe already that at some level that they are a child born with the wrong anatomy. I don’t see this [with Dolezal]," insisted Derald Wing Sue, a professor of psychology and education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. "I think [the comparison] is all an attempt to not really see the issue. The issue is deception, honesty and pretense. You have to get to the bottom of that.”
Baloney. The “issue” is elevating the notion of self-identification to the ridiculous point where it transcends demonstrable reality. Jenner has male genitalia and XY chromosomes, yet he chooses to identify as a woman. Dolezal was born Caucasian, yet chooses to identify as black.
The difference? Jenner is a politically convenient tool for an American Left determined to mainstream transgenderism, even as it completely disdains “transracialism.” That mainstreaming includes the latest effort by the University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, which is suggesting the newly created “gender-neutral” pronouns — ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr — be substituted for the apparently anachronistic designations known as “he” and “she.” “We should not assume someone’s gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems,” declares Donna Braquet, director of the University of Tennessee’s Pride Center (italics mine). “Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth.” Assigned at birth?
Self-identifying as a member of a different race? Dolezal is a liability for those heavily invested in the sub-group, grievance mongering/victimization template that is the foundation of leftist power accumulation. Dolezal suggests an inherent inclusiveness utterly anathema to those berating “white privilege,” and demanding apologies from clueless leftists like Martin O'Malley, who offered up a mea culpa for saying “all lives matter” instead of “black lives matter.”
Thus, one kind of self-identification is apparently “more equal” than another, and intellectual consistency gets tossed under the bus.
Speaking of #BlackLivesMatter, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) passed a resolution last Friday afternoon supporting the movement at the party’s summer meeting. (The group returned the favor on Saturday, chanting, "Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon,“ in reference to police during a march to the gates of the Minnesota State Fair). Those would be the same Democrats who have staunchly supported Planned Parenthood (PP), the nation’s largest abortion provider. According to data gleaned from the 2010 Census, PP locates 79 percent of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods. And while black Americans comprise 13.2 percent of the population, non-Hispanic black women account for 30 percent of the nation’s abortions.
Furthermore, Democrats have long supported PP’s founder Margaret Sanger, with presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton praising "her courage, her tenacity, her vision” following Clinton’s acceptance of Margaret Sanger Award in 2009. That would be the same Margaret Sanger who wrote a letter to Dr. C.J. Gamble in 1939, containing the following quote:
“It seems to me from my experience … that while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts. We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
And just in case one thinks such a quote is an anomaly, try this from a 1921 speech at the First American Birth Control Conference:
“Birth control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
Anyone care to hazard a guess regarding which ethnicities Sanger viewed as defective stocks? Martin Luther King’s niece, Alveda King, put PP’s worldview in the proper perspective, calling it the “most obvious practitioner of racism in the United States today.” Nonetheless, barring a miracle, black America will overwhelmingly support whoever the Democrat nominee for president is.
That’s not just intellectual inconsistency. That’s intellectual insanity.
And maybe it’s inevitable. As I mentioned above, when integrity is no longer the principal element in determining who are leaders will be, why should we be surprised when we get lousy leaders? Why should we be surprised that at least half of those leaders are willing to exploit intellectual inconsistency to amass an ever growing share of power and influence? “By any means necessary” is their calling card, and if their agenda is served taking positions diametrically opposed to one another, so be it. This nation has long abided one of the most terrible inconsistencies of all: Doing anything one wants without taking personal responsibility for the consequences.
Yet I am still optimistic. If the current political climate is indicative of anything, we are a nation fed up with the status quo. How much of that exasperation bleeds over into the general culture remains to be seen, but I’m betting it’s substantial, as more and more Americans discover the unbearable emptiness that ultimately accompanies an “anything goes” mindset. When a nation reaches the bottom of the cultural barrel — and I think we’re close — there’s nowhere to go but up.
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