The breakdown of rational animals: We agree with the start of Andrew Sullivan's latest essay for New York magazine. He praises Rep. Ilhan Omar, and the progressive moment more broadly:
SULLIVAN (2/15/19): Watching Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this past week has been, shall we say, illuminating. In some ways, I find myself inspired. Finally in 2019, we have one of two Muslim women in the U.S. Congress, proudly wearing a hijab, and immediately destroying any stupid stereotypes of Muslim women as subservient or silent. We have a seemingly fearless and often charming woman of color with the temerity to interrogate the overwhelmingly white and male foreign policy blob in the heart of our political system. We have a refugee from Somalia as a young congresswoman, a hard-left analogue to the great Ayaan Hirsi Ali.In many ways, Sully's inspired. But he quickly moves on to this:
This, if you need reminding, is America in 2019. Whatever the social-justice left believes about our systemic oppression and whatever the Trump right believes about the core ethnic identity of a lost America, this is the most successful, multicultural, multiracial democratic experiment in the history of humankind. Omar is part of it. If her success doesn’t make you proud of America, in this broad and nonideological sense, there’s something critical you don’t understand about this country, and why so many of us immigrants love it so.
So it seems to me there is a massive opportunity for the left now across the Western world. Look at how popular a 70 percent top rate is—in America! The left is correct to sense a huge opportunity and they are right, I think, to be bold...The economic case for rebalancing capitalism is more persuasive than at any moment in my lifetime, as is the profound challenge of tackling our climate catastrophe.
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): But the full package from the contemporary radicalized left in both the U.K. and U.S. brings with it far more troubling ideas. Hostility to the policies of the state of Israel—a perfectly legitimate position—morphs swiftly into ugly anti-Semitic tropes. A passion for social justice curdles into attacks on free speech or degenerates into broad denunciations of “whiteness.” Postmodern critical gender theory denies any meaningful natural differences between men and women, and casts an entire sex as inherently problematic. Social-media frenzies carelessly destroy the lives and careers of individuals who transgress orthodoxies. Important work combating sexual harassment and abuse is hurt by reckless accusations and McCarthyite campaigns...Sully goes on and on from there, listing the various ways our rational instinct is inclined to break down—even Over Here in this, the most brilliant and the most rational or all known political tribes.
Now look at Omar. She didn’t just push back on AIPAC’s distortion of American foreign policy, she reiterated a classic anti-Semitic trope that American Jews buy influence, period. She didn’t just confront Elliott Abrams, she refused to let him answer anything but loaded “yes” or “no” responses. And last week, for good measure, she demanded an investigation into the decision by USA Powerlifting to ban transgender women from competing in women’s powerlifting contests, because of the unfair advantage that developing a male body for most of your life will give you in lifting weights. The organization instituted the ban after a young trans woman, JayCee Cooper, smashed the state record for women’s bench press in Minnesota, beating her nearest female rival by a mile, only a year after joining the sport.
We humans! Our capacity for gong-show adherence to tribal dogma typically knows no bounds. We love to go out and start killing the pigs. If you think you support progressive values, you need to confront this embarrassing fact about our own fallible tribe and our own human nature.
We rarely miss the chance to be wrong. We stampede after gossip and fictions. We love our loathing of Them.
Except in technological pursuits, we rational animals just aren't very sharp! Increasingly, corporate news orgs and career pseudo-liberals are betting money on the idea that we liberals don't understand that fact—on the idea that we'll be willing to follow the ways of the Fox News Channel pretty much all the way down.
We're constantly spoon-fed corporate piddle at our big liberal news orgs. Big money is wagered on the idea that we the liberals and we the progressives won't be able to see through the hustles—that We will love our versions of Hannity as much as They love theirs.
Who hasn't Rachel ever discussed all the looting in American health care? Why is it always who might be going to jail, just over and over and over?
Do you like tribal porridge all night long? We're asking, but we all must decide—and the answer will likely be yes.