My favorite Intersectional Term of the Day

Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists—or “Terfs,” as they style themselves—are right now sounding the alarms about transwomen (that is, women who used to be men and who in many cases still have male, um, attributes) claiming all sorts of traditionally feminist prerogatives. Unless you were born and raised as a female, the Terfs (reasonably, in my view) assert, you can’t really speak to the feminist experience.

Source: What Drag and Blackface Have in Common – Commentary

Identity politics may be divisive and may undermine democracy, but hey, they’re starting to be a lot more fun to watch!

Susan Sarandon would take Trump over Clinton

If Bernie Sanders fails to get the Democratic nomination, Susan Sarandon isn’t sure she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton. She even said Monday that Trump could be the better option.

Source: Susan Sarandon: Trump Might Be Better for America Than Hillary Clinton – The Daily Beast

I have always believed that when you point a finger at the other guy to blame him, you point three fingers right back at yourself. Thus, as a conservative, I have aimed a disproportionate share of my criticism in this forum at the Right in an effort to provoke reflection, self-awareness, and change that will make us once again the source of practical, intelligent governance and progress.

There has been no greater barrier to governance in the past eight years than ideology. It so happens that ideologically-based obstruction has been a greater factor on the Right during a Democratic administration.

But this election cycle should make clear to every thinking individual on both sides of the political spectrum that the Right has no monopoly on obstructive orthodoxy. Case in point: Susan Sarandon. To suggest that “Trump might be a better option

The Orthodoxy of Dissent

I found this delightful (and highly relevant) clip in “The Politics of Dissent,” an old Gertrude Himmelfarb essay in Commentary. It was aimed at the legacy of Dwight MacDonald, but it has only become more piquant today:

The politics of dissent, it has become all too evident, creates its own strident orthodoxy, in which the “independent critical intellect” tends to lose not only its independence but also its purity and its viability. “When you start looking for purity in politics,” Mario Vargas Llosa says of the Trotskyist hero of one of his novels, “you eventually get to unreality.”

We have seen this strident orthodoxy develop on the far Right as well as on the Progressive/Radical Left. It is discouraging to see it among the masses. It is disheartening to see it among the intellectuals of both sides. And it is fascinating and frightening to watch how it evolves in the Trump movement.

Identity and the Naked Emperor 

A 5’9″ white guy goes onto the University of Washington campus and asks students to explain why he isn’t a 6’5″ Chinese female child in first grade. They can’t do it. They are so afraid of being judgmental, and offending against the sacred dogma of Self-Definition that they are unable to deny anything he claims about himself.

Source: Dictatorship Of The Dimwits | The American Conservative

The insanity must end. We have gone too far down this road and need to turn back.

It is time for us to begin debating the limits of self-definition, or we make a mockery of the important progress – and the critical work yet to be done – in the civil rights movement.

The point of identification in the first place is to mark the individual as a possible target for systemic discrimination, and to enable the process of ameliorating that discrimination. To take physical attributes out of the identity discussion is to render identity meaningless, and at some point renders efforts to redress discrimination meaningless, wasteful, or both.

So I open it up: I posit that there must be limits to self-definition, and that in all cases where physical attributes are relevant, that physical attributes make the determination of gender, race, and disability. End of story.

Bernie Problem #2

Bernie Sanders declared his presidency on April 30, 2015. As of February 10th, 2016, he had yet to articulate a comprehensive foreign policy. Nine months into an 18 month campaign, and no foreign policy? That’s a problem.

Here is the question: is this illustrative of a much deeper problem with the candidate and the way he would behave as Chief Executive?

The Progressive Debate

The ugly truth is that you can be a progressive and be from nearly any point on the American political spectrum – see both Roosevelts, Truman, Ike, Earl Warren, etc.

Of course, if you accept the rhetorical construct promulgated by the far Left – that “progressive” is just a euphemism for “radical” in the way that the far Right uses “conservative” as a euphemism for “reactionary,” then this all falls apart.

In the name of truth and clarity, however, we must reject these political inexactitudes and name things for what they are.

Bernie Sanders is not a progressive. He is a radical. Hillary Clinton is a liberal.

Ted Cruz is not a conservative. He is a reactionary. John Kasich represents something far closer to a conservative. John Huntsman is a conservative with progressive leanings.

And Donald Trump is a power-hungry opportunist who takes on whatever political shadings he thinks will rouse the nearest rabble and get him one more delegate close to election.

We can argue definitions, but let us do so in the quest for accurate descriptions, not for the sake of political spin.

Warning to my Sandernista Friends

Viewed from across the Aisle and without passion for either camp, a few things seem quite clear about the respective camps on the Democratic side.

  • Not all Sandernistas are bros.
  • Not all Clintonistas are hateful, divisive, and dismissive.
  • There are a lot of people out there for whom it is in their best interest to stir s*** between the two camps.

Beware you’re not being subtly manipulated by really smart people.

The End? Good.

Screenshot 2016-02-17 11.27.07

This is an Ending of some sort for conservatism as we’ve known it, and, depending on outcomes, probably liberalism as well. For better or worse – and I’m just enough of a political Pollyanna to think “better,” I’d say it is time for a major re-alignment in American politics and for a questioning of some of the assumptions we’re all making.

I don’t much care for the idea of either a narcissistic blowhard capitalist or an idealistic septuagenarian sitting in the White House, but I’ll freely admit that the system needed the combined jab-to-the-face/punch-to-the-gut these two represent.

It is Time for some New Deal Revisionism

Revisionist historians and economists keep trying to stomp on FDR’s legacy. But declaring that WPA workers were unemployed is just silly.

Source: The right-wing New Deal conniption fit –

It has been over seven decades since the end of the Second World War, so it is the ideal time for us to re-examine the historical period bracketed on the one end by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and on the other by the infliction of the Iron Curtain upon Eastern Europe. We are sufficiently removed to give us historical perspective; most of the players have passed from the scene; and we now have access to troves of formerly classified or sequestered information that offer valuable new information.

There is no reason for The New Deal to be above that renewed scrutiny. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the nearest thing that America has among its 20th Century citizens to a national saint, evinced by a continued flow of laudatory popular histories. But if we examine that legacy with anything less than unalloyed vigor, we risk learning the wrong lessons from the time.

As we cast about for policy solutions for the present, we cannot afford sentimental nostalgia. That goes every bit as much for the Age of FDR as it does for the Age of Reagan.

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