The Left’s Imaginary Monsters

By Heather Wilhelm Published on May 7, 2015

Every few weeks, the citizens of Earth are treated to an opinion piece so deliriously absurd that it almost serves as a subversive form of art. On Wednesday, the media gods delivered such a treat, this time courtesy of the UK Guardian, crafted by one Martin Robbins. Get ready, as it’s a doozy: “How Can Our Future Mars Colonies Be Free of Racism and Sexism?”

So much ridiculousness, so little time! While we could dissect the article at length, and have great fun doing so, let’s focus on its most obvious, albeit unintentional, takeaway: Human beings, it seems, are growing increasingly intelligent and increasingly out to lunch at the same time. And by “out to lunch,” I mean “as dumb as a state-controlled, fully-rationed Pet Rock Superstore built in the center of a giant rock pit, surrounded by additional giant rock pits, and situated on a planet made almost entirely of tiny, pet-like rocks.”

Let’s take a step back: We’re talking about setting up colonies on Mars, a planet with an average temperature of negative 81 degrees Fahrenheit, an atmosphere that will quickly strangle you without regret, and a cosmic location that is, on average, 140 million miles away. This is spectacular, mind-blowing stuff. Yet, amazingly, even in the face of a pioneering and potentially dangerous push to brave the frontier of the cosmos — and a potential scientific miracle — many of today’s leftists simply shrug, reboot to their default “offended” position, and spit out a laundry list of banal oppression clichés, much like an angry, poorly-programmed R2D2.

An unchecked, unexamined colony on Mars, Robbins writes, can only lead to one thing: racist, sexist havoc. Our oppressive tendencies will even engulf the planet’s robot rovers, he writes, “dragging them into some form of slavery or oppression. It’s just what we do.” Robbins also cites DN Lee, a biologist who regularly writes wildly unscientific things for, yes, Scientific American. “Much of the dialogue about colonizing Mars,” Lee wrote in March, “uses language and frameworks that are a little problematic … no one acknowledges the BIG elephant in the room of racial/ethnic exclusion. Intersectionality isn’t addressed at all.”

Well. Call me crazy, but when it comes to colonizing Mars, “intersectionality” — a feminist concept first cooked up in 1989, now widely interpreted to document how an individual can be oppressed in multiple layers, thanks to a mix of race, class, gender and more — might not be at the top of the priority list. Concerns that might rank higher, for instance, could include oxygen, food, water, spaceship breakdowns, gravity differentials, off-course asteroids, dangerous alien bacteria, rogue colonists going crazy like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, dying in outer space and dying on Mars. But hey, to each her own!

Racism or sexism are both, quite obviously, bad things. Unfortunately, the modern left has become so obsessed with the concept of “oppression” in general — or whatever “intersectional” brew is the craze of the day — that many simply can’t see straight. In the process, they often miss the big picture, fail to discern genuine threats and even create imaginary monsters along the way.

If our culture’s oppression obsession were limited to wacky Guardian articles or the far corners of academia, we could all have a good chortle and move on. Sadly, that’s not the case. Take, for instance, this week’s events in Garland, Texas, where a “draw Mohammed” contest inspired the creation of a whole building full of religiously offensive cartoons — which, in turn, was enough to inspire two Islamic men to attempt a mass shooting at the scene.

Amazingly, in the wake of an attempted terrorist attack on American soil, countless pundits and politicians rushed to condemn, first and foremost, not the would-be murderers, but the cartoons — and, by extension, the people who drew them. In a free society, the implications of this are fairly stunning. But when you think about it in terms with our growing cultural fixations and fears, it sort of makes sense. After all, is there a better metaphor for an oppression-based imaginary monster than an “incendiary,” “offensive” drawing in pen and ink?

Perhaps, in the end, all this silliness serves as a coping mechanism. After all, it’s a lot more fun to worry about “intersectional,” interplanetary oppression than it is to grapple with real challenges and problems. Similarly, it’s a lot easier to worry about the flaws of a cartoon than it is to accept the fact that there are people out there who would kill you for drawing one. Yikes. Let’s change the subject. Tell me again: Who’s going to oppress whom on Mars?


Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin, Texas. Her work can be found at and her Twittle handle is @heatherwilhelm.

This article originally appeared May 7, 2015 at Real Clear Politics, and is reprinted with their permission.



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