How to Lose Friends and Influence People

Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts speaks at an event in Cambridge, September 8, 2018
Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts speaks at an event in Cambridge, September 8, 2018 (Warren for President)

Social justice warriors can be their own worst enemies.

For the first time, an openly gay man is running for president in America — but queer activists like Greta LaFleur and Dale Peck (whose article was pulled from The New Republic for its obscenity) are still unhappy. Pete Buttigieg is white, married and middle-class, and therefore somehow not gay enough.

The current United States Congress is the most diverse ever, but for Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (one of the Democratic lawmakers President Donald Trump shamefully told to “go back” to their own countries, no matter that she was born in Ohio), this isn’t enough:

We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.

If you thought the point of equality and liberation was that gender, sexual orientation and skin color would one day no longer matter, well, you’re just blind to your own oppression or an Uncle Tom for the patriarchy, heteronormativity, white supremacy — pick your poison. Read more “How to Lose Friends and Influence People”

EU Sets Red Lines for Brexit, Puigdemont to Lead Government-in-Waiting

British prime minister Theresa May speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, July 20, 2016
British prime minister Theresa May speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, July 20, 2016 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Tom Evans)

The European Commission has set out its red lines for Brexit in a draft agreement:

  • Northern Ireland: Would remain in the EU customs union, creating the need for an economic border in the Irish Sea.
  • Free movement: Continued free movement of EU nationals during the post-Brexit transition period.
  • Trade deals: Also during the transition, Britain would not be allowed to initiate or sign trade deals that are prejudicial to EU interests.

None of these red lines are acceptable to hardline Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, whose votes Theresa May needs for her majority in Westminster. Read more “EU Sets Red Lines for Brexit, Puigdemont to Lead Government-in-Waiting”

Government Should Stop Recording Gender Altogether

Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005
Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005 (Thomas Hawk)

Robin Dembroff has an elegant solution to the “gender war”: stop government recording gender altogether.

“Conservatives insist that the state should record what genitals I have,” Dembroff writes. “Liberals insist the state should instead record my self-identity.” Both assume that the state should be concerned with gender at all.

In so doing, each side — whether tacitly or intentionally — endorses the use of legal gender to reinforce its own preferred gender ideology.

Read more “Government Should Stop Recording Gender Altogether”

Hillary Clinton and America’s Need for a Female Victory

Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks with New Jersey senator Cory Booker in Newark, June 1
Former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks with New Jersey senator Cory Booker in Newark, June 1 (Hillary for America/Barbara Kinney)

John Marshall has been writing at Talking Points Memo about how this year’s election in the United States is a particularly gendered one. It’s not just that one of the two major political parties has for the first time nominated a woman for the presidency; it’s that the other party is about the nominate a caricature of an alpha male whose promise, at a deep level, is to put women and other minorities in their place.

It is within this context that you need to read Ezra Klein’s feature about Hillary Clinton in Vox.

Klein determined to find out why the former first lady and secretary of state is perceived so differently by those who know her personally than by the wider public and believes he has found the answer: Every single person he talked to brought up, in one way or another, the exact same quality they feel leads Clinton to excel in governance and struggle in campaigns. “Hillary Clinton, they said over and over again, listens.”

That sets her apart from Donald Trump in a way that will decide not only the outcome of this election but what sort of a country America is going to be. Read more “Hillary Clinton and America’s Need for a Female Victory”

It’s Time For These Women to Take Charge

Sarah Gordon argues in the Financial Times that Britain’s male politicians have failed to rise to the occasion and it is time to hand over to the women. Discipline and maturity may not be their exclusive preserve, she writes, but “the past few days could give one an excuse for believing so.”

There is something to be said for female power at a time when the men in her country’s ruling party appear to be living out their House of Cards fantasies.

Indeed, there is something to be said for female power across the Atlantic as well, where one party is in thrall to a caricature of an alpha male. Read more “It’s Time For These Women to Take Charge”

Two Violent Men, Two Symptoms of the Same Sickness

America woke up this weekend to the news of the deadliest civilian mass shooting in the nation’s history. The senseless tragedy will undoubtedly evoke anger, sadness and helplessness.

In the meantime, many will forget to think and talk about Stanford swimmer Brock Turner’s crime and his “summer vacation” jail sentence: three months for the vile sexual assault of an unconscious woman.

As a sociologist, I was struck not by the abrupt shift to a new moral crisis, but by the continuity. Sociologists look for the bigger picture and in my mind, Mateen’s crime didn’t displace Turner’s. Yet the media simply replaced one outrage with another, moving our attention away from Stanford and toward Orlando, as if these two crimes were unrelated. They’re not. Read more “Two Violent Men, Two Symptoms of the Same Sickness”

What Liberals Can Learn from Donald Trump

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Joshua M. Hoover)

Some Republicans in the United States have tried to make the case that Donald Trump, their party’s likely presidential nominee, is somehow the left’s fault.

Bobby Jindal, the former Louisiana governor and a failed presidential candidate, blamed Trump’s popularity on Barack Obama in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. After eight years of the Democrat’s cool and nuance, it was little wonder, Jindal argued, that voters longed for bluntness and “strength”.

That was followed by an article in The Daily Beast that said “political correctness” had created Trump. Britain’s The Spectator published something similar. At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum rejecting this thesis, but recognized it was not entirely without merit.

Before blaming others, conservatives should take a long, hard look in the mirror. There is more right- than left-wing complicity in Trump’s rise. I argued back in December that mainstream Republicans had for too long ignored or tried to co-opt the crazies among them. Conor Friedersdorf has made a similar argument in The Atlantic. Jonathan Bernstein argued much the same at Bloomberg View not long after Trump launched his presidential bid.

Even so, we can see that Trump is a reaction to liberal pressures in several ways. That’s not to say the left is to blame. But liberals can learn from this. Read more “What Liberals Can Learn from Donald Trump”

The Geopolitics of Women

Philippine foreign minister Albert Ferreros del Rosario greets American secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012
Philippine foreign minister Albert Ferreros del Rosario greets American secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012 (State Department/William Ng)

Mired though she is in e-mail scandal and all the trouble that comes with her last name, Hillary Clinton stands a good shot at becoming the next president of the United States. The nuclear football representing the ultimate glass ceiling, America is nevertheless rather behind many other advanced countries when it comes to women rulers. Some of Europe’s most important rulers have been queens and empresses; think Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Isabella of Castile, among more modern examples.

And yet the relationship between women and geopolitics is rarely delved into, despite women making up roughly half of humanity throughout recorded history. Here now is the tale of geopolitics, women and how both change the other. Read more “The Geopolitics of Women”

American Men Are Falling Behind — And That Should Worry Women, Too

Kay S. Hymowitz writes in City Journal that social immobility in the United States — which is among the highest in the developed world — actually reflect a gender imbalance. Women are doing fine. It’s men who have fallen behind.

Finnish economist Markus J√§ntti and his colleagues at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany found that American girls are far more likely than those in other developed nations to climb up the income ladder. “Almost 75 percent of American daughters escape the lowest quintile,” writes Hymowitz. The rate is similar in Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom. “Fewer than 60 percent of American sons experience similar success.”

One reason is that boys in the United States consistently underperform in school compared to girls. A likely reason for that is that relatively more children in the United States grow up without a father than is the case in most European nations. 83 percent of American families in the lowest income quintile is headed by a single mother.

The left tends to assume this can be addressed with policies that support single mothers, such as maternity leave and day care. Yet the link between fatherlessness and underperformance among boys holds even in European countries that provide all that. It’s the fact that boys grow up without a role model and the stability only a two parent home can provide that causes them to lag behind.

Schools are also less well attuned to boys’ needs. They have come to schedule less time for sports and typically don’t assign much “masculine” literature boys want to read — when they have greater difficulty learning to read than girls do. Read more “American Men Are Falling Behind — And That Should Worry Women, Too”