The Palin pulse factor
Her presence is causing hearts to race….and not all out of love.
From the instant of Palin’s designation on Friday,
August 29, the American left went into a collective mass seizure from
which it shows no sign of emerging. The left blogosphere and elite
media have, for the moment, joined forces and become indistinguishable
from each other, and from the supermarket tabloids, in their desire to
find and use anything that will criminalize and/or humiliate Palin and
her family. In sharp contrast to the yearlong restraint shown toward
truthful reports about John Edwards’s affair, bizarre rumors have been
reported as news, and, according to McCain campaign director Steve
Schmidt, nationally known members of the elite media have besieged him
with preposterous demands.
Pause on that for a moment. The liberal blogosphere, supermarket
tabloids and the elite media have become indistinguishable lately.
Though they’ve been somewhat in concert before in their ideology, this
current descent into the muck is actually unprecedented. And yes, in
stark contrast to the restraint by big media in holding
back the Edwards story when they knew it well before the January
primary season kicked off. Imagine the difference it would have made on
the Democratic race to honestly report that story. That true story.
As opposed to the outrageous lies they have breathlessly spread
about Palin, or the true factoids spun darkly about her and her family.
Why do they hate her?
If she’s so inexperienced, so unprepared, so silly and
insignificant…..why don’t they just ignore her or laugh off the pick
Because she’s a threat.
This is instructive…
The most important thing to know about the left today is
that it is centered on social issues. At root, it always has been, ever
since the movement took form and received its name in the revolutionary
Paris of the 1790s. In order to drive toward a vision of true human
liberation, all the institutions and moral codes we associate with
civilization had to be torn down. The institutions targeted in
revolutionary France included the monarchy and the nobility, but even
higher on the enemies list of the Jacobins and their allies were
organized religion and the family, institutions in which the moral
values of traditional society could be preserved and passed on outside
the control of the leftist vanguard.
Full human liberation always remained the ultimate vision of the
left–Marx, for one, was explicit on this point–but the left in its more
than 200-year history has been flexible and adaptable in the forms it
was willing to assume and the projects it was willing to undertake in
pursuit of its anti-institutional goals. For more than a hundred years,
the central project of the global left was socialism.
It’s an ideology that has gone through changes over the decades, but has enjoyed its power and growth.
Increasingly, the democratic parties of the left in
Western countries downplayed socialism or even decoupled from it,
leaving them free to pursue the anti-institutional, relativistic moral
crusade that has been in the DNA of the left all along.
That pretty much explains the cultural downfall of the past four decades. Now here, the analysis gets keenly focused…
For the post-1960s, post-socialist left, the single most
important breakthrough has been the alliance between modern feminism
and the sexual revolution. This was far from inevitable. Up until
around 1960, attempts at sexual liberation were resisted by most
With the introduction of the Pill around 1960, things abruptly began
to change. Fears of overpopulation legitimated a contraceptive ethic
throughout middle-class society…The fact that the Pill was taken only
by women gave them a greater feeling of control over their sexual
activity and eroded their social and psychological resistance to
premarital sex. “No fault” divorce, a term borrowed from the field of
auto insurance, in reality amounted to unilateral divorce and began to
undermine the idea of marriage as a binding mutual contract oriented
toward the procreation and nurturing of children.
Now stay with this narrative. It’s well done, and instructive.
Though earlier versions of feminism tended to embrace
children and elevate motherhood, the more adversarial feminism that
gained a mass base in virtually every affluent democracy beginning in
the 1970s preached that children and childbearing were the central
instrumentality of men’s subjugation of women…
If this analysis is correct, the single most important narrative
holding the left together in today’s politics and culture is the one
offered–often with little or no dissent–by adversarial feminism. The
premise of this narrative is that for women to achieve dignity and
self-fulfillment in modern society, they must distance themselves, not
necessarily from men or marriage or childbearing, but from the kind of
marriage in which a mother’s temptation to be with and enjoy several
children becomes a synonym for holding women back and cheating them out
of professional success.
On August 29, in the immediate aftermath of the announcement by the
McCain campaign, all that was widely known of the governor of Alaska
was that she was married with five children, the last one of whom had
been carried to term with Down syndrome, and that she was pro-life.
And that put a bulls-eye on her.
The simple fact of her being a pro-life married mother
of five with a thriving political career was–before anything else about
her was known–enough for the left and its outliers to target her for
destruction. She could not be allowed to contradict symbolically one of
the central narratives of the left. How galling it will be to Sarah
Palin’s many new enemies if she survives this assault and prevails. If
she does, her success may be an important moment in the struggle to
shape not just America’s politics but its culture.
Read the whole piece. This parsed version should only serve to direct inquiring minds to the story.
(And thanks to David for directing it here.)
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