Thursday, February 14, 2019

Not 'All Americans' Are 'Proud That We Have More Women in the Workforce Than Ever Before'

Dennis Prager
In his State of the Union address, President Trump announced, “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.” It was one of the few times he received a standing ovation from both Democrats and Republicans.

I would not have stood and cheered.

Either the president or whoever wrote that line honestly thought it was something worth celebrating, or the president simply wanted to say something that would sound wonderful to both Democrats and Republicans, as well as to Americans who do not otherwise support him.

Whatever the reason, both the fact that there are more women in the workforce than ever before and the fact that Trump thought mentioning it would bring credit to his administration constitute a victory for the feminist left. Getting women to leave home for the workplace has been one of the central goals of modern feminism.

Feminists deny this, claiming they don’t prefer women work outside the home; they only want women to have the choice to do so. But if that were true, why did congressional Democrats — the women in white, feminists all — jump up and cheer?

The answer is obvious: Feminists consider women who eschew a career to take care of their home, their children and their husband to be less than women who place career first.

But even if one prefers that women work outside of the home, “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before” is simply not true. As feminists often note, many women work outside of the home not because they want to but because they have no choice: They have to support themselves, their household and/or their children.

Why should we be proud of that?

What if every woman in America were in the workforce? Would we be proud of that? By the “more of women than ever” logic, we should be.

On the other hand, if the president had said, “All Americans can be proud of the fact that more women than ever now have the choice to work inside or outside the home,” that would be true. That is something I, too, would have cheered.

But the members of Congress did not stand and cheer because more women have the choice to work outside the home. They cheered because more women than ever before are working outside the home.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, nearly 75 million women were in the American civil workforce. But it is inconceivable that 75 million women want to be in the workforce. So, again, why all the cheering?

We know why Democrats did: They want women to eschew homemaking and time with children in favor of work outside the house.

But why did Republicans stand up and cheer?

One reason bears testimony to the thesis of a recent column I wrote: The greatest fear in America is fear of the left.

 The last thing Republican members of Congress wanted was to be photographed sitting quietly after the president of the United States announced, “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before” — especially while every Democrat was standing and cheering. The left-wing media, meaning virtually all mainstream media, would have depicted every such Republican “sexist” and “misogynist.”

A second reason bears testimony to another fact of contemporary life: Republicans have been far more influenced by leftism than Democrats have been by conservatism. While many of the Republicans who cheered did so out of fear of the left and/or to support their party’s beleaguered president, many sincerely believe the record number of women in the workplace is something worth celebrating.

But believe it or not, there are still many women and men who do not agree. We all acknowledge that with enough money and/or familial support, a woman can raise fine children and maintain a happy home and a loving marriage. Nevertheless, we also know that doing all three is difficult enough when a woman devotes full time to those three goals. But when a woman works outside the home, devoting full time to home and family is impossible.

So, yes, more women than ever are in the workplace. But before we stand and cheer, it is worth asking:

Are women happier today?

Are families doing better today?

Are marriages happier with wives at home or in the workplace?

Do young people grow up happier and better-adjusted with mothers at home or with mothers in the workplace?

Is society’s emphasis on work and career inhibiting more young women from marrying and having children?

Is society better off or worse off when a record number of women leave home to enter the workplace?

Only when those questions are answered will we know whether to cheer.


Due Process and Proving Guilt Are Important Principles of Fairness
NOBODY should be judged on mere allegations

Defending Democrats is not something I feel the need to do very often, but recent developments compel me to defend those condemned for something without due process.

In America, we live by an important principle: Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

When the hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court began last year, many people automatically believed Kavanaugh was guilty of the accusations against him without having seen or heard anything besides the accusation of wrongdoing that allegedly occurred decades ago.

Today, the Lt. Gov. of Virginia, Democrat Justin Fairfax, stands accused of sexual improprieties from years ago. Immediately upon those accusations being made public, people were again jumping to conclusion by rendering him guilty based upon nothing more than accusations.

Yes, there is more evidence of Fairfax having a connection to each of his two accusers than what was shown against Kavanaugh. But so far it is just an accusation, albeit a somewhat convincing story. Even so, that falls well short of what ought to be required to remove someone from office.

There is a process for removing an official like a lieutenant governor from office. It’s called impeachment and trial.

If we are so shortsighted as to be willing to demand someone be removed from a position simply because of an accusation, we will have abandoned a critical protection from vicious and unfounded charges that every one of us benefits from.

Never forget: Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time. If that is the standard required for trashing someone’s reputation and removing them from a position they hold, we are indeed in trouble as a nation.

There are also demands for the resignations of two other Democrats in high Virginia government offices for activity decades ago. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring both have admitted to appearing in public in blackface.

Northam first apologized for being in a photo showing a blackface man and another person in a KKK costume, but later denied being one of those two people. He also said later he had participated in a dance contest in blackface as Michael Jackson.

Northam and Herring are also hearing demands for them to resign. If these resignations happen, the new governor for the Commonwealth would be the speaker of the House of Delegates, who is a Republican.

As much as I personally would like to see a Republican as governor of Virginia, this is not the way that should be accomplished. Northam and Herring might be racists. This episode of decades ago, however, does not prove that.

Today, the activity Northam and Herring participated in is identified as wrong. However, a few decades ago, it was not unusual for white folks to appear in blackface for minstrel shows and other performances. Blacks actually were sometimes in those shows. Many times these performances involved a white person playing the part of a black person, but they were not ridiculing or insulting blacks. They were often honoring them.

Perhaps this outrage is due, at least in part, to not knowing much about our history. White people appearing in blackface goes back a long, long way, to the 19th century. More recent Americans to have appeared in blackface include old-timers Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope.

But some current popular folks appearing in blackface include Ted Danson, as his girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg, looked on laughing; Dan Aykroyd, who appeared in a movie with Eddie Murphy; and left-media darlings Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Joy Behar, and Sarah Silverman. Billy Crystal, Cyndy Lauper, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jason Aldean have also have painted their faces.

The key element here is that when Northam and Herring performed these acts, they were not considered wrong. Context is important.

When someone is offended by what someone else does, says, or writes, that is not all there is to the story. Being offended has replaced baseball as the national pastime. It’s almost as if people go to college and major in “how to be offended.”

But just because being offended is popular today does not mean that the offended party is always correct in their reaction to things. And just because someone or some group takes offense at something doesn’t mean we must hasten to pass laws against it. The intent of the person being accused of some social infraction is the most important thing.

Just because one or more people think what someone wrote, spoke, or did is bad doesn’t mean that the person intended it that way. The error might well be on the part of the offended party that doesn’t understand the context but feels empowered to complain about it.

Furthermore, it is unfair for people to be criticized today for doing things that were common and not unacceptable when they did them years or decades before.

We’ve got to get past this idea of perpetual victimhood, get control of the tendency to believe that our individual feelings are paramount, and return to dealing with things we don’t like in a mature, American fashion.


Ilhan Omar: The Effluent of Leftist Identity Politics

But if Democrats ever start to lose Jewish votes in significant numbers, watch out.

Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar appears to think her role as a freshman member of Congress is to troll the president, tell lies about Catholic boys, and peddle anti-Semitism. After already facing rebuke for a 2012 tweet asserting that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” Omar suggested Israel’s American political allies were motivated solely by money, saying, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — clearly a nod to old stereotypes about Jews and money.

Given her own Muslim faith, associations with other anti-Semitic individuals, backing of the socialist and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and general support for the Palestinians terrorizing Israel, Omar’s comment is more than just misspeaking. There’s a hate-Israel pattern here. The same can be said of her fellow Muslim congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Stung in recent years by valid charges of rampant anti-Semitism in their ranks — not to mention the whole racist fiasco in Virginia — Democrats may have had enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat leaders quickly issued a statement condemning Omar’s “use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters” and demanding an apology.

That apology was soon forthcoming, but Omar couldn’t resist a wink and nod to make clear it wasn’t sincere. “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she said. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. … I unequivocally apologize.”

But then she added, “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists [like] AIPAC” — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Translation: Sorry not sorry.

At least she has the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

From a larger perspective, the growing anti-Semitism on the Left could become a political problem for Democrats. More than 75% of American Jews voted Democrat in the 2018 midterms, and that’s roughly in line with most of the last century. There are 34 Jews in Congress, and all but two are Democrat.

Dennis Prager and Don Feder, both conservative Jews, have attempted to explain this seeming paradox. The situation may be unlikely to change anytime soon, but Democrats must also be careful to sweep their anti-Semites under the rug where they won’t cause too much voter bleed. That also explains their effort to elevate a small rabble of anti-Semitic “alt-right” loudmouths and tie them to President Donald Trump. Like blacks or women, if Democrats ever begin to lose Jews in serious numbers, they’ll be in serious trouble.


Outrageous decline in reason

Driving down a meandering mountain road in British Columbia late last month, I passed a sign outside a small Christian church that read: “Try hard not to offend. Try harder not to be offended.” It sums up our modern malaise, a culture that suffers from a surge in fragility, an overriding focus on feelings. That sign is a gentle dig too that growing secularism hasn’t freed us from zealotry; it has led us to different forms of fervour in the wrong places.

Unless we start joining the dots to this cultural demise and retrace how this happened, we will continue to grow weaker, more complacent as a society, unable to confront the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We are certain to become angrier, and dumber too. Worse still, we will be less free.

Here is a small vignette, part of this bigger story about us. Last week, Liam Neeson gave an interview to promote his new movie, Cold Pursuit, a story of revenge killing by a father whose son dies in mysterious circumstances.

The 66-year-old actor told The Independent newspaper that he knows something about revenge, describing his reaction many years ago after a close friend was raped by a black man. Neeson said that for a week he went out at night looking to be set upon by “some black bastard” so he could kill him.

Neeson didn’t kill anyone. He described his actions as awful. “But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f..k are you doing?’ ” Neeson spoke about primal urges for revenge, his early years growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. “I understand the need for revenge, but it just leads to more and more killing.”

Social media exploded. Neeson was labelled a racist. The movie premiere was cancelled. Neeson tried to explain himself in later interviews but the fury continues. And Neeson’s message that a primal urge for revenge only fuels more killing was lost in a caco­phony of outrage. Ironically, his critics succumbed to their own tribal urge: to howl outrage, hurl racist epithets and demand boycotts of films and people.

Another small report this week adds to this bigger story. The Oscars, on February 25, will be without a host. And who in their right mind would put up their hand for this once coveted gig when they risk getting torn down for a comment from years ago?

Comedian Kevin Hart was lined up last year to host the star-studded Hollywood evening, but he stepped down in December after an outcry over homophobic tweets he posted a decade ago.

Hart has apologised for those tweets many times. He was called on to apologise again. He refused. And then came the same crazed chorus line of feeling offended, confecting outrage, and ripping into Hart until he resigned as host.

Hart’s departing message — “I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve, I don’t know what to tell you” — was entirely lost on a modern army of offence-takers.

In fact, the puritanical search for any tiny misdemeanour, from 30, 40 years ago, at odds with modern pieties is intensifying. The Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, is under pressure to resign after photos from his 1984 medical school yearbook hit the media, featuring people in blackface and KKK robes. Northam was swiftly hoisted on the Left’s petard of puritanism. He apologised. But that was not enough.

He has been hounded with demands to resign so he can “start his road to redemption”.

Except that the new puritans offer no redemptive path for sinners. Only complete reputational destruction. Northam’s next move was to deny that he was in the photo.

To avoid the pack-hunting mob, people are now outing themselves. On Wednesday, Virginia Attorney-General Mark Herring admitted that he wore blackface makeup at a college party in the 1980s.

Where and when does this house-by-house search for past indiscretions end? Who is so pure as the driven snow that there is in our past no small transgression of modern values? One critic of Northam was former Democratic vice-president Joe Biden, now considering a run in 2020 for president. Yet in 1975 Biden was in favour of segregated schools.

Pity the polite German teenager who stayed with our family on exchange a decade ago. For History Day at the school she attended with my daughter, she dressed up as Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who wrote The Diary of a Young Girl describing her life hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Let’s hope the exchange student doesn’t consider a public life, certainly not one in politics. Today she would be excoriated. You dressed as Anne Frank? But the Germans murdered her.

My daughter, a wise girl even at 15, dressed as Agnetha from ABBA. These are not unrelated fragments. The Stasi-style hunt for past transgressions of modern values are part of a bigger picture of cultural decline, one hastening in recent years. Finding a remedy will depend on more people being willing to identify the sources of our malaise.

Tracing our way back starts with how parenting has changed in the past few decades. Children are constantly clad in protective wrapping to avoid anything that might graze them physically or emotionally. It’s a natural step for schools to apply more layers of overprotective cladding to their young charges.

No one condones the bullying of a child. But the modern anti-bullying phenomenon routinely treats anything that one kid says or does to another that hurts their feelings as a form of abuse.

It is a small, yet inevitable step for university campuses to craft a new lexicon to frame words and ideas as a form of violence.

Students seek safe spaces, demand trigger warnings, uncover micro-aggressions and cultural appropriation and no-platform people with views that are uncomfortable.

To these cultural changes add legal and institutional shifts from almost 40 years ago that prioritised a new human right to “equal concern and respect” — a notion developed by legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin. This transformed human rights into a movement based on victimhood. Feelings became the new measurement of human rights.

This new victimhood movement rejected Enlightenment ideas around what it means to be a human being. People are not seen as autonomous, resilient and rational beings. Under this new framework, people are weak, vulnerable, quivering masses of nerves needing safe havens and trigger warnings, and, of course, laws to prohibit words that are offensive or insulting.

The marketplace of ideas, where we critique ideas and sharpen our minds, has been usurped by a crude, highly competitive market place of outrage. If you see yourself as a victim, where words and ideas are a form of violence, then it’s easy to justify shutting down words, ideas and people that challenge you.

There is another layer to our personal and cultural fragility. Today in the West fewer people go to church or join political parties or other community groups. But we still seek a sense of meaning, of belonging.

Religious tribalism has been replaced with people seeking meaning elsewhere, in groups — from Black Lives Matter to #metoo, people fracturing along sex, sexual identity, race, colour, creed or other such traits. Forty years of multiculturalism and its related cousin, cultural relativism, followed by the more recent obsession, diversity, have been a fertiliser for this growth in identity politics.

When people join smaller and smaller identity groups, the “others” — the outsiders — grow larger in number. There are more people to be suspicious of, to fear and loathe. And more people for a growing army of puritans within groups to censor, shame and destroy as sinners.

And there is a special place in hell for those from within who transgress group politics, for people such as [Australian] Warren Mundine and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

It has reached the stage where stamping out supposed oppressors ranges from shaming a Hollywood actor to demanding the head of a Democratic governor for dumb behaviour from decades earlier, to repudiating the teaching of Western civilisation on campus as an exercise in violent white supremacy.

As Francis Fukuyama has written, identity politics on the Left and more recently the Right, whether from Black Lives Matters or the American working class, is cemented in the lived experiences of group members and “prioritises the emotional world of the inner self over the rational examination of issues in the outside world”. Today’s outraged mob of virtue signallers have drifted dangerously from empiricism, from a search for truth that dates back to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment.

The upshot is that identity politics is undermining the modern liberal project, supplanting timeless ideals that all individuals are equal regardless of colour, creed and gender. If we continue down a path of being less educated about the legacy of freedom delivered by Western civilisation, we risk becoming less free.

Yes, these small stories signal a culture in decline, but each of us — as parents, students, educators, politicians, citizens — has the power to repair our intellectually fragile culture.

Small stories can signal a culture in ascent.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

the more I watch the Outrage Theatre that modern life is becoming, the more I think that Trump's policies have little to do with how much the Left hates him, and his complete indifference to their shock and horror at his utterances has a good deal more. He doesn't Play The Game, so their pre-tilted playing field has no effect on him. Naturally they hate him.