This post is not about the story I’m linking, not really. It’s about something bigger than that. But to get the basics out of the way, women in Britain are protesting because their feminine products are taxed. (I don’t know how VAT taxes work in Britain, or sales tax in other states for that matter, but in Texas nearly all the stuff you can’t eat and some stuff you can eat are taxed at the store.)
But that doesn’t really matter to this post. I don’t even know that this is any kind of revelation to me, just underlining something I already knew.
This week we’ve seen the Religious Freedom debate playing out over Indiana’s RFRA. Why Indiana? Why not, say, Connecticut, where a very similar law is on the books? And why do we see Christian owners of pizza joints threatened with arson and death, and not, say, Muslim bakers?
It’s no accident that things are playing out the way they are. Other than the timing being about seven months earlier than I think would be truly useful to the left in 2016, this seems like a Standard Left Manufactured Outrage Campaign ™ prepackaged somewhere and then released on the public.
And I’m pretty sure it is just that.
I might have thought once that the left pours its energy into a campaign of ‘awareness’ or whatever, eventually gets what it wants, and then returns home from storming the barricades, satisfied with victory and ready to return to normal life. And I would have been dead wrong. I see that very clearly after finding this story.
And what I relearned this week is that for them, for the Grievance Union™ on the left, there is no ‘satisfied’. There is no ‘normal life’ to return to. That IS their normal life. It’s never truly about the thing they say they’re after; whether gender equality, racial equality, income equality or whatever the protest du jour is ostensibly about.
Instead it’s about the perpetual need to find something wrong, something unjust, something they can label downright evil that is going on, cast some villains to shame and revile, and then force said villains to give in to their demands. Consistency doesn’t matter; easy targets are preferred to hard targets (hence, nobody is harassing Muslim-owned bakeries or protesting Hillary paying women less on her staff than men). But there is always a cause, always a fight, always a carefully chosen campaign.
You see, a leftist without a cause is stripped of his purpose, rendered irrelevant and unheroic. And the leftist cannot tolerate that. Thomas Sowell outlined the Mascot theory of leftist activism in his book The Vision of the Anointed, but I’ll try to summarize it here. Essentially the left (wanting to control as much of society as it can, because they tell themselves they know best what everyone should do and have and think) needs to cast themselves as heroes and saviors. And they need ‘mascots’ – adopted classes of people who they see as victims of society – to save; and villains – establishment, right-leaning or traditional Americans – to defeat. Sowell says ‘It is a world of victims, villains, and rescuers, with the anointed cast in the last and most heroic of these roles.’ And it doesn’t matter what it costs other groups or society as a whole, because the cause is sold as being so important as to render the cost irrelevant. ‘HOW can you put a COST on JUSTICE?’
And that makes sense of so much of politics these days.
It’s why the left takes up causes where other people didn’t see a problem, or see the problem in a different way – they aren’t interested in debate, but in vanquishing the Villains.
It’s why the left often devolves to name-calling and misrepresenting the facts in debate, and attempting to silence dissent – they aren’t interested in the truth, but in vanquishing the Villains.
It’s why the left uses simplistic slogans and Alinsky tactics against their enemies – they aren’t interested in education and compromise, but in vanquishing the Villains.
And it’s why the left never intends to go home after a victory and why they will never, ever stop – they aren’t interested in achieving a goal, but in vanquishing the Villains.
And make no mistake, you, me, and every other person on the right side of the spectrum is getting cast every day as a Villain. And if there isn’t an injustice to fight or a wrong to right, they’ll go looking for one. They’ll manufacture one, just so they can make you out to be a villain.
So having said all that, the reason this struck me anew is that I had to wonder what kind of person makes a crusade out of removing taxes on feminine products? Taxes are sometimes arbitrarily levied, sure, but is this the height of injustice and sexism? Is the situation so unfair that an entire campaign has been launched to attempt to repeal these burdensome taxes? I couldn’t believe it at first.
And then, all at once, I did believe it. Because I stopped looking at the issue as the issue, and started looking at it as part of the pattern. Victims: women. Villains: politicians who haven’t removed the taxes. Heroes: protesters.
Minimum wage? Victims: low skilled, low wage workers. Villains: greedy business owners and corporations. Heroes: protesters.
Birth Control and Abortion? Victims: women. Villains: men, conservatives, Republicans, the patriarchy. Heroes: protesters.
The pattern will always hold. The left will never stop identifying the imperfections of this world (or manufacturing them), they will never stop coming up with new causes and mascots, and they will never quit.
And it means we can’t afford to either. Period.