Hillary Clinton may have put her foot in her mouth again this week, but give her credit for unintentionally highlighting yet another of the many logical and moral self-contradictions in the worldview of the modern Left.
Clinton lost even the Left the other day when she said President Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky wasn’t an abuse of power. But by what once was feminist ideology, Hillary Clinton had a fairly reasonable point. The feminist catch-phrase “I am woman; hear me roar” has never been openly discarded, but in practice, it has been replaced by “I am woman, eternal victim.” Depending on whose ideological point is most important in any given circumstance, girls and women are either lionhearted warriors just as tough as men or else wilting flowers with no will or moral agency of their own.
So, a 22-year-old with a groupie-like encounter-with-benefits with a powerful man is just living her dream if the man is an aging rock star who asks her to join his “roadie” crew, but if he’s a politician then she’s either victim or, conversely, a “narcissistic loony toon” — but in either of the latter cases, she’s not portrayed as mature, independent, and in control of herself.
The Hillary-Monica example isn’t unique; it’s symptomatic of the Twister-like logical and moral contortions of the cultural Left.
For example, the Left constantly sexualizes children, bombarding them with sexual information and encouragement of “gender fluidity,” and insists that teen sex (promoted for decades by Hollywood) is totally OK and perhaps even beneficial. It even tells teens they are adult-enough moral agents to procure abortions without the knowledge of a parent or a guardian. Yet, it simultaneously infantilizes college students by indulging every outlandish fear about ideas that “trigger” them, providing them “safe spaces,” and telling them their own choices to have sex are immaterial to their victimhood if they regret the sex the next day.
In the legal arena, leftists say the Constitution is a “living” and “evolving” document even though its words never change, but Supreme Court precedents are eternal, except when they aren’t. On racial matters, we’re all supposed to treat everybody the same, except when it’s okay for the law to treat blacks better and Asians worse.
The Left believes it is acceptable for liberal business owners to refuse to serve traditionalist Christians, but not okay for Christian business owners to decline service for homosexual weddings even if they otherwise gladly serve homosexual customers. Peaceful demonstrators on sidewalks praying silently against abortion are treated as an abomination, but an expletive-yelling mob which is physically blocking entrances to speeches by conservatives is just duly exercising its right to protest.
And Christians who merely oppose “gay marriage” are awful, but Muslims abroad who countenance execution of homosexuals are just misunderstood.
The Left’s confusion (to put it kindly) extends to medicine. Its adherents insist that people should be forced to pay for insurance plans covering things they don’t need (contraception for post-menopausal women, for example), but opposes letting patients with potentially terminal illness choose experimental treatments that might save them. But as they oppose such potentially life-saving treatment, they support assisted suicide — so extending life is forbidden, but foreshortening it is perfectly fine.
Of course, the Left has wildly shifting standards even on what is and isn’t considered “political.” As Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito brilliantly demonstrated in a recent oral argument, liberals consider the text of the Second Amendment to be political, but not the First; a tribute to a “Black Lives Matter” stance is not political, but opposition to it is.
Likewise, liberals insist that pornography and flag-burning are free “speech,” but (again as Alito exposed, in the Citizens United case) even a political book is not protected free speech — even though the main point of the First Amendment was to protect political speech.
The examples, of course, could go on almost indefinitely. And none of them excuse the hypocrisy of conservatives who refuse to apply standards they long have championed when the subject of the standards is President Trump. But the Right’s Trump-related hypocrisy is unique to its treatment of him; the Left’s confusions are baked in their ideological cake.
In many cases, it appears the Left is engaged not in willful hypocrisy, but in irreconcilable instincts combined with an ideological rejection of syllogistic logic. Whatever the reasons, the confusion leads to obnoxious results. Americans of good sense and decency should reject their illogic, both at the polls and in daily life.
Quin Hillyer (@QuinHillyer) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a former associate editorial page editor for the Washington Examiner, and is the author of “The Accidental Prophet” trilogy of recently published satirical, literary novels.