The Left’s Clueless Condescension
Following Richard Nixon’s defeat of George McGovern in 1972, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael said, “I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
The late Ms. Kael “felt” conservatives in such a way as to be upset at the idea they were around her. This truly is sad. And typical of liberalism.
The people of the left don’t understand conservatives. We are, to them, unknown and undesirable. We are frightening, as we believe in such concepts as revealed truth, human fallenness and, maybe most shocking of all, historic Christian sexual ethics.
Consider Samantha Allen, writing in Slate. Allen says that Wal-Mart’s decision to remove the Cosmopolitan Magazine from its shelves is due to “conservative sexual moralism.”
Make that “conservative sexual morality” and concern for women and for all who would consume such trash, and Allen’s got something there.
In an era when there are roughly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections annually, Wal-Mart’s decision is more than welcome news. Yet Allen protests.
She admits that “Cosmo” has become little more than glamorous pornography: “Whether publishing lesbian sex tips, a beginners’ guide to anal sex, or in-depth interviews with women who enjoy BDSM, the Cosmopolitan of today unapologetically belongs to a new world where LGBT people aren’t erased.”
This is an absurd statement. How are people attracted to the same sex going to be “erased” if their sexual practices are not be blared on the cover of a magazine in a grocery store checkout aisle?
Wal-Mart’s decision to cancel Cosmopolitan came after an effort by the National Center for Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) petitioning them to do so. NCOSE is staffed by people (mostly women) who understand the intersections of pornography, sexual abuse, human trafficking, prostitution, abortion, and sexually-transmitted diseases.
‘This is Personal’
Allen notes that one of NCOSE’s staffers was an intern at the Family Research Council (FRC). Allen comments that FRC has been called a “hate group” by the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, implying a sinister link between scary organizations.
This is personal for me. The woman she mentions, now the Vice-President for Outreach at NCOSE, was my intern. As Senior Vice-President of FRC, every term I was assigned one young man or woman whose ability was exceptional. She, like all of NCOSE’s staff, is also brave, articulate, and passionate about defending women from the kind of thing Cosmopolitan celebrates: objectification, degradation, and abuse.
Allen is upset that NCOSE’s victory is “an attack on consensual forms of sexual perversion.” You bet it is. And also, an attack on exposing innocent youth and decent adults to them.
By the way, consent does not mean moral good. A suicide pact might be consensual, but explaining to people how to kill each other is morally sick. I think even Ms. Allen would agree. Even as she apparently agrees that some kinds of sexual intimacy are, in fact, perverse.
To the Left’s bewilderment about conservatives add one more quality: Arrogance.
The Left’s Arrogance
In a devastating 2016 article in Vox, the leftist commentator Emmett Rensin had the honesty to note, “There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.”
Indeed. The people of the left believe that the rest of us should thank them for enduring us, eat the spinach they serve us, and be quiet already.
Many Americans are passive citizens. But dumb they ain’t. And they are confident of their tastes. They enjoy watching stars dance, footballs being thrown, paychecks honestly earned, and a country that lets them live freely. Not bad things, these.
Do they lack the educational credentials the left thinks of as a secret handshake to become a novice in the company of the Anointed? Some do, as do some liberals. But read National Review or The Public Discourse or First Things. I will put conservative intellectuals up against liberal thinkers any day.
“American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason,” wrote University of Virginia professor Gerard Alexander a few years ago in The Washington Post, “while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.”
In this, the liberal elites reveal their bigotry, social isolation, and intellectual laziness.
Frank Capra, the great film director, was honored in 1982 by the American Film Institute with its lifetime achievement award. The son of illiterate Sicilian immigrants, Capra knew what our country meant.
After thanking the many attendees at the event, Capra said that while he appreciated the honor they had given him, his real thankfulness was for something more, something more lasting than a statuette.
“For America,” he said, “for just allowing me to live here, I kiss the ground.”
Pauline Kael was a film critic. But she apparently never knew what Frank Capra’s films were about.
How sad. And how characteristic of the elitist Left.