A funny thing happens on the way to getting my house cleaned. It seems that within a few minutes of my maid arriving we always find ourselves deep in a political discussion. She, originally from Mexico, recites the Leftist talking points and I, six-foot-tall white entrepreneur, am by default cast into the role of privileged meanie trying to explain myself while carefully picking apart the flaws in her too-good-to-be-true arguments.
Let me interject to say that she really is the sweetest, most agreeable person who in some ways truly has embraced American life, from doing yoga and Zumba to even having a therapist! Far from the stereotypical plump peasant mama, she is a fit and with-it forty-something whose heart is in the right place, and I only use her as an example because her journey is instructive of some broader trends playing out across the country right now: the convergence of feel-good liberalism, metastasizing feminism, and the recruiting of immigrants into the Democrat fold to create this behemoth vanguard of a voting block that’s hell-bent on achieving the socialist dream for all of the oppressed.
My maid says an example of inequality she sees is when lower income people who have informed themselves about making healthy food decisions discover that it’s very expensive, whereas more “privileged” people don’t struggle as much to buy these same groceries. I asked what about airbags in cars—some only have 1 or 2, others have up to 10. Why shouldn’t poor people and their kids be just as safe as the wealthy? That’s not fair! All kidding aside, here’s the bigger point: in theory every Utopian idea seems to make perfect sense, but when you actually remove it from the timeless vacuum in which it was conceived it soon crumbles to pieces.
Her response to my critique was to ask, “So do you not believe that inequality exists?” After many years of being befuddled by this kind of what I thought was misdirection by liberals, I’ve come to realize it is merely a reflection of how shallow their thinking really is. Its foundation seems to be predicated on a very simple form of binary logic where yes-no, on-off scenarios play out in isolation. Therefore when you disagree with a Leftist’s solution to problem X, this computes in his mind as indicating that you do not believe the problem even exists. He can’t conceive that you might have a different, often more nuanced solution, or that the problem has a different cause altogether.
Perhaps most revealing and chilling was when my maid said that she viewed America as not just this country but the entirety of North, Central, and South America—that we’re all the same people. The unspoken meaning of course being unrestricted open borders to the south, and surely we must let all the Honduran “children” in. But why stop there? Let’s take this idea further down the road and say that we are all citizens of the world, not just this or that continent, so why not let everybody in? What if a million (non-Hispanic) children from China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia were at the border, would Leftists then be so eager to let them in? What if the entire 77 million-strong population of the Congo had fled civil war and was knocking at our door?
The conclusion is clear: The logistics and practicalities that are required to live in a stable and functional society are socialism’s terminal blind spot. Every road it takes leads to a head-first collision with absurdly unsustainable situations.
SWEPT INTO THE FEMINIST FOLD
My maid’s biggest concern was with wage inequality between the sexes. When she said that women being out there pursuing advanced degrees is something to be happy about, I interjected that females now account for a significant majority of college students, which made her raise her arms in the celebratory “rah rah” shake. So I added the absurd suggestion put forth by Ramzpaul and asked why stop there—shouldn’t the goal be that women represent 100% of college students? Why not have 100% of the workforce be women? Why don’t women take all the construction, mining, and combat jobs too? She said, “If they want to, they should.” And here’s the rub which Feminists just don’t see: men don’t have that choice!
I just get this sickening feeling as if the range of motion for men is slowly being constricted from all sides. Our society seems to be guided by the notion that anything and everything any woman wants must be celebrated, indulged, subsidized, and empowered immediately and without reflection, implication and consequences be damned. This girl-power juggernaut bowls over boys from an early age and later as men they are left to fend for themselves in an increasingly feminized and sterilized work environment. The imbalance is compounding to the point that we could very well see bands of ostracized men choosing to roam wildly in the woods rather than die in society’s vise—that or a million feeble, stay-at-home dads crocheting “SOS” into blankets while their wives are out prosecuting law and filling cavities.
And what I just don’t understand is why women so badly want to be a part of the system. Where’s the thrill in taking on college loan debt? Why are you so excited to pay the city for a business license? What’s so great about doing work that is taxable when as mothers you are endowed with a profoundly meaningful role that doesn’t require paying a tithing to the IRS? The life of toil and its sacrifices that men once begrudgingly conceded to in order to support their families has been appropriated by women and rebranded as a playground. Meanwhile non-relatives who have no skin in the game raise your children and implant who-knows-what kind of ideas and habits in your absence.
As Edgar Allen Poe said, “Some things are so completely ludicrous that a man must laugh or die.”
THE HYPOCRISY AND MYOPIA OF LEFTIST THINKING
In America today the Left so strongly believes in democracy that it vehemently insists that anyone who shows up at the polls on election day should be allowed to vote even without presenting identification verifying who they are. However when a judge strikes down a duly enacted ballot measure that is not in line with their social beliefs—as in the case of gay marriage—they are not in favor of the democratic process. The hypocrisy is chilling—are they in fact cloaked totalitarians simply following the principle of “by any means necessary”?
They seem oblivious to the wider implications of how this logic can be applied: what other laws could be struck down judicially? Or better yet, why even bother with the tedious and costly legal process when you can just ignore any rule at your personal discretion? My body, my choice…for everything! Wait, did we just stumble into Libertarian territory? Can of worms, anyone?
COMMUNICATING WITH THE INTELLECTUALLY DEAD
Perhaps 95% of a Leftist’s core assumptions are flawed. Year after year they remain uncorrected thanks to an ingenious mental body armor which employs an “ignore the messenger” method of discrediting even the most well-articulated challenges to their claims. The thought process goes something like this: “I believe A to be true. He said that in actuality B is true, but he was aggressive and sounded mean about it. Therefore A is still likely correct and I will not trouble myself to investigate further.”
They don’t even realize it themselves but Leftists will simply discard an opposing viewpoint if it is not perfectly couched in their own puffy language and equivocating tones. Never mind that everyone else must patiently suffer through their convoluted treatises and only call them out on the major plot holes, lest they not utter a full sentence before facing more valid objections and requests for clarification than you see in a scintillating courtroom drama on cable.
But life is not black and white. Many of the people we disagree with are our friends and family, they’re not comic book villains even if some of the ideas they’ve adopted are quite dangerous when taken all the way. So even though we’re not required to express dissenting opinions in a manner that ensures they don’t feel uncomfortable, in the interest of “winning hearts and minds” we should engage them using their own delicate words, slowly guiding them to that “aha” moment a child often experiences when he suddenly “gets” something for the first time.
At heart Leftists are not as earnest as they’d like to think they are. While always eager to “do something” for the amorphous oppressed masses down the street and around the globe, they cringe at having to admit that a shiny idea they embraced might have a rotten core. But as any ancient Asian philosopher will wisely tell you, we’ve got to let them have a way of saving face. Rather than make them feel like they were wrong, we should convey our ideas in their language to show that we’re not heartless but act pragmatically out of our insights into human nature. We could say something like: “Take this as a learning experience. Now you’re better able to deal with contingencies, because hey, life really is complicated and things never play out exactly as planned. Wouldn’t you feel terrible if the help you provided to that hardworking single mom was only a band-aid and she found herself vulnerable again in six months?”
LOOKING UP FROM UNDER THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
A culture war is raging where half of the participants believe themselves to be on a holy crusade toward world socialism. How and why they think it won’t turn into a Stalin or Mao sequel is mystifying. Those of us who simply want to slow the train to ask some questions about the track ahead are demonized as bigots, sexists, racists, and just downright insensitive. Oh, how very little the Left comprehends that we are actually quite thoughtful and spend many troubled hours grappling with the truckload of powerful issues that have been dumped on the human psyche to the point of being too much to reconcile.
Everything we knew and understood is under assault from inside and out. I am 35 years old and some days feel utterly obsolete, like Rip van Winkle stumbling into an alien village that was once his very own. If I were to actively engage in the “culture war to save America” I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But maybe that’s not what we’re supposed to do anyway.
When I lived in LA I bought toner refills from a very earnest Iranian Christian who had fled his homeland in 1979 after the Revolution. Every six months when I showed up at his little warehouse we found ourselves having spirited conversations about life, history, and the clash of religions. One time after the 2008 crash, in which his business had suffered just like everyone else, he sat there on a stool with his thick black hair and impeccable charcoal slacks, smiled and said, “The most important thing for me is to stick around, because I just have to see what happens!”
Maybe that’s it. At some point we’re supposed to get over the frustrations of our own personal melodrama and just ride the ride.