One of the things that’s been playing through my head lately is the distance between the liberal worldview and actual reality. The media arguments directed at Palin, especially those that deal with women’s issues, really highlighted that divide for me.
Let’s begin with the way in which liberals distinguish themselves from conservativeds, something David Smithee examines in Palin and the Left’s Comprehension Gap. The title is self-explanatory. Smithee explains that part of the hubris that characterizes the Left is the fact that it is unable to take a clear look at conservatives. It sets up easily defeated straw men, without ever really touching upon true conservatism, a mistake the conservatives tend not to make:
But we also know that when liberals look at conservatives, no such courtesy or openness of mind is extended. They don’t see considered issues, critical thought, or the faintest possibility of reason. They see white trash men waving bibles at teen brides, while a gaggle of kids groom each other for lice on a cracked linoleum floor. ‘Bitter clingers’ who mindlessly adhere to second-amendment rights so they can shoot baby possum off a tin fence on slow Friday nights. The other sort of conservative invariably invokes 19th century robber barons, plutocrat industrialists swollen with loot plundered from the proletariat, abating their whipping of Dickensian child labor just long enough to polish a monocle.
The flip side of this hysterical denigration is the liberals’ own self-aggrandizement. If conservatives are people who crawl in the dirt, alternately praying to God and picking lice, liberals, by obvious corollary, are higher beings, with vast intelligence and delicately refined sensibilities.
Certainly that’s how I always understand myself as a Democrat: I was better educated, more refined, and better traveled than my conservative counterparts. Therefore, any conclusions I drew, values I had, and opinions I held must be better too. Never mind that there are large numbers of educated, refined, and well traveled conservatives, and never mind that conservative conclusions, values and opinions actually operate with more efficiency and humanity in the real world (as opposed to the theoretical one). It was enough that I knew I was better than they were.
For a long time, because they own the MSM, Lefties have been able to sell the American public on their “we’re better than you are, so just shut up and follow our lead” meme. What’s so wonderful about the Palin candidacy is less what it says about conservatives, who really haven’t changed, and more what it says about liberals, who are casting off their loving sheep mantels and showing the wolfish reality behind the rhetoric. It’s not pretty.
The “feminist” attacks on Palin are the ugliest thing of all, of course. They reveal that “feminism” has absolutely nothing to do with enabling women to live as fully realized citizens in the United States of America, able to strive for all the opportunities this great country makes available to its citizens. (Or, alternatively, opting to take advantage of the opportunity to be an old-fashioned wife and mother, which is just another right of citizenship in America.)
Instead, feminism has almost nothing to do with paving the way for full and equal citizenship for women, and everything to do with bowing before the Leftist political line. Politically-aware conservatives have long known this. The attacks on Palin allow others to see it. (For more on this topic, I recommend Jonah Goldberg’s column, which spells out what’s going on with these current anti-Palin attacks, and Christina Hoff-Sommer’s wonderful Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, which was published in 1995, but is as fresh today as the day it was written.)
When it comes to women, Obama is just as guilty of putting distance between himself and his high flown rhetoric. Despite the fact that equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land since 1964, Obama has shrilly demanded he be elected because, he assures us, under his tender loving care American will finally see the realization of the historic goal of “equal pay for equal worth.” Let’s ignore the fact that his muddled rhetoric really seems to be aiming at the nightmare of “comparable worth” pay, which seeks to have some Leftist college professor assign an abstract value to women dominated jobs, to make them line up nice will men dominated jobs. The Hell with the market. Let the government and the professors assign wages. It worked in the Soviet Union, right?
But as I said, let’s ignore that. Instead, let’s focus on Obama’s own reality. It’s obvious that, if he’s saying those things he must mean them, right? Right? I’m sorry to say that the answer is “wrong.” As Deroy Murdock explains, a non-partisan group that presents data about the wages American senators pay their staff reveals Obama’s ugly little secret: the women who work for him have lower level positions and lower wages. Strikingly, McCain’s staff has women holding the higher level positions and receiving higher wages.
Keeping on the subject of women, it turns out that the whole “pro-Choice” theme constantly sounded by Leftists since 1973 is also more rhetoric than reality. For 30 plus years, Americans have been told that the Left isn’t pro-Abortion, it’s pro-Choice (with the corollary being that the conservatives are anti-Choice). It turns out that this too was also more rhetoric than reality. I already quoted the following yesterday, but I’m going to quote it again today — “it” being James Taranto’s analysis of three of the more horrible attacks against Sarah Palin for her decision to have baby Trig:
This is worse than tasteless or even unhinged. It is depraved. It represents an inversion of any reasonable conception of right and wrong, including liberal conceptions.
Fowler uses Palin’s motherhood to disparage her accomplishments, an obvious betrayal of the principle of women’s equality. And although proponents of permissive abortion laws nearly always claim to support not abortion but “a woman’s right to choose,” here we have three of them rebuking Palin for choosing not to abort her baby.
Sullivan and Wilson go further, ascribing evil intent to an act of maternal love. To Sullivan, Palin’s decision to carry her child to term is a salvo in a “culture war”–that is, an act of aggression against those with different political views. (That, at least, is how he sees it for the purpose of this post. In an earlier one, he praised her for going through “eight months of pregnancy and a painful, difficult, endless labor for a cause she believes in”–which, although considerably less obnoxious, still depicts the decision as a political rather than a personal one.)
To Wilson, Palin’s adherence to her own principles about the sanctity of life is an act of neglect toward her children–proof “that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform.” Never mind that the alternative would have ensured that one of her actual children did not live.
Since I’ve kept these examples of the vast gulf between Leftist rhetoric and Leftist reality in the realm of women’s issues, I’m going to close with another example that arises, not at the political level, but at the personal level — and that appears in a book that, like Hoff-Sommer’s book, was originally published in the 1990s (and republished in 2003). The book is called The Second Shift, and it focuses on the fact that the average working woman work harder than her average husband, since the woman, on average, layers housework and childcare on top of her paid job.
I don’t think most women will find this conclusion all that exciting. What the writer did find — at least in the 1990s edition of the book, which is the edition I read — is a fascinating divide between older, traditional men and younger, more liberated men. The older men resented bitterly that their wives had to work, believing women should take care of the home and children. The younger men thought it was wonderful that the women contributed to the family wealth and said that, of course, they (the men) would help in the home. One would think, therefore, that the women in traditional households would be buried under double loads of work, while the women in progressive households would have an equal partner. The opposite was true.
It turned out that the conservative men actually valued what the women did in the home, and helped a great deal. (And indeed, my father exemplified this attitude when my mom was forced to take a job.) The progressive, modern men paid lip service but, in fact, did almost nothing. They’d say things such as “We’ve divided it in half. I do the outdoor work, she does the indoor work.” It sounded good, but the reality was that the outdoor work consisted of taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn once a week, while the indoor work meant shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking care of the kids, all on a daily basis. There was a complete divergence between rhetoric and reality in the progressive households and it did not redound to the women’s benefit.
I leave you to find other examples of the divide between Leftist words and Leftist reality. While Leftists blindly castigate the conservative straw men they’ve created, they remain curiously unmoved by the vast divide between their perfect intellectual world and their own acts. However, because of Palin, ordinary Americans are getting a glimpe of this divide, and they might not like what they see. If for this reason alone, therefore, the Palin nomination was a blessing for America.