Wednesday, March 30, 2011


As is their custom, the Left is once again debasing the language, turning perfectly useful words into meaningless space-fillers and empty pejoratives. The latest example is their use of the word "extremist" as a means to smear their political opponents. Senator Charles Schumer was recently overheard telling his Democrat colleagues that he was instructed to use the word often when talking about the tea party, presumably in order to couple the words tea-party and extremist together in the public consciousness.

From the frequency with which Senator Harry Reid and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi employ the word it's likely that they all received the same memo.

But what does it mean, exactly? What is an extremist in the liberal lexicon? Here are a baker's dozen criteria by which you can discern whether someone, yourself even, is an extremist. You know you're an extremist in the minds of liberal Democrats if you believe any of the following:
  • The American people should be governed by what the Constitution says and not what we wish it said.
  • Government should not spend more money than what it has.
  • Paying a third or more of your income in taxes is quite enough.
  • Regulations and taxes on business depresses the number of people businesses can hire.
  • The best way to become energy independent in the short to medium term is to exploit the energy resources we have within our borders.
  • People who come to this country should do so legally.
  • Marriage should be between one man and one woman.
  • The military is not a laboratory in which to conduct social experiments like inserting women into combat units or using affirmative action in promoting officers.
  • Killing unborn children is not an acceptable means of birth control.
  • Able-bodied people should work for their living and not be permitted to live off the labor of others.
  • The United States was founded on principles that trace their genesis to the Christian tradition and that freedom of religion does not entail freedom from religion.
  • We oppress the poor by denying them the right to choose the schools to which they will send their children.
  • The most racially just society is one which is blind and indifferent to color. A society which makes color a criterion for special treatment is fundamentally unjust.
These are the beliefs held by the people it pleases Senator Schumer to disparage for their "extremism".

Here's an interesting thought experiment. Try to imagine what the views of the Left in this country must be if Mr. Schumer and his ideological soul-mates consider these views to be "extreme" by comparison.

Evolving Elites

First Things reports some fascinating statistics about the correlation between attitudes toward marriage, family and level of education.

The statistics, issued by the Institute for American Values, divides Americans into three groups: the least educated (no high-school degree), the moderately educated (a high-school degree and perhaps some college study), and the highly educated (at least a college degree).

Of these, the highly educated are much less likely to be divorced, cohabit, and bear out-of-wedlock children. They're also much more likely to attend church regularly, believe that divorce should be more difficult to obtain, and believe that premarital sex is always wrong.

This is striking in that it runs completely counter to what we often hear about these matters from our cultural mavens. The conventional wisdom is, or so I thought it was, that our educated elites are much more liberal in their attitudes toward family, sexuality and religion than were the less educated classes who tended in their ignorance to hold on to "traditional" values. The "redneck" conservative was generally portrayed as an uneducated rube, someone who clings bitterly to his Bible and his guns, as our president so inartfully put it, and as the folks in the tonier echelons of our culture imagine it.

It may have all been true thirty or forty years ago, but evidently it no longer is.

The editors at First Things opine that:
There is a certain view of culture, not an implausible one, that presumes the dominance of elite sensibilities: What the elite think and do now, everyone else will eventually think and do. The elites led the intellectual deconstruction of marriage fifty years ago. If they’re changing, and coming (finally) to see the necessity of marriage, perhaps everyone else will also. The moral fantasies of the 1960s generation are certainly due for retirement.
For our children's sakes, let's hope so.