Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Zenith Of The Entitled

     I’ve certainly written about entitlement syndrome before:

     ...so my longstanding Gentle Readers will already be familiar with my thoughts on the subject. Still, when a certain kind of development becomes visible, an old crank like myself will feel an urge to vent on it no matter how frequently he’s already done so.

     The urge becomes particularly strong when the evidence suggests that something noxious has reached its apogee and is about to begin its fall to Earth.

     As far as I can tell, the number of groups claiming to be “oppressed” and therefore “entitled” to something has never been greater. Such groups are allies of a sort, in that their various “causes” are championed by a single political party. However, it’s in the nature of coalition politics that when the party that represents the coalition approaches a 50% grasp on the electorate, every element in the coalition will sense an opportunity: specifically, the opportunity to extort the party by demanding more for its continued support. The dynamic is similar to the “lock-in / holdout” phenomenon in voting power studies.

     Let no one imagine that the election of Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress indicate a firm grip on the majority of American voters. In point of fact, the political affiliations of the electorate are balanced evenly, almost perfectly so. The election results of 2016 were due more to the Democrats’ poor campaign strategy, which alienated a great many potential supporters into “staying home.” The Democrats’ coalition has built Democrat / left-liberal / “progressive” sympathies to just about 50% of the party-affiliated populace. And so the abovementioned dynamic has kicked in.

     Each of the “oppressed / entitled” groups, knowing how many such groups there are and sensing the importance of standing out from its competitors, has responded by increasing the volume and stridency of its demands. The cacophony has become deafening. The effects on the willingness of other Americans to extend their sympathy have been dramatic. The effects on the Democrat Party are just becoming visible.

     Bookworm’s most recent piece is unusually relevant:

     If you’ve checked out Facebook in the last 24 hours, you’ve probably seen a lot of your female friends post two words: “Me too.” This is a shorthand version of a meme that started yesterday:
     Me too.

     If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

     Please copy/paste.

     As you’ve surely noticed, the meme jumbles together harassment and assault, which are entirely different things. Assault is a criminal act. It involves any unwanted physical touches on the person, from the butt grabbing Ben Affleck apparently enjoys, to the pussy-grabbing that President Trump noted rich guys get away with (without ever saying he’d done it himself), to out-and-out rape. Harassment, on the other hand, doesn’t involve physical contact. It involves mental contact, with the man using words or touch-free motions to impose his power or sexual desires on an unwilling female.

     Just about every woman I know who routinely appears on Facebook has put up a “Me too” post. I suspect, though, that few of them have actually been raped, something for which I am grateful. One of the virtues of life in America is that women aren’t raped often, even on college campuses.

     Anyone familiar with the nonsensical claims of an American “rape culture,” which originated on college campuses but have spread more widely since then, will see the connection. What many will fail to see is the largely invisible reaction against such claims, as ordinary Americans, familiar with the quotidian realities of life, measure the claimants’ rhetoric against those realities and ponder the affiliations of those who have been proved guilty of sexual assault. The consequences have not been kind to the Democrat Party.

     Wishful thinking has its role in politics just as in ordinary life. In 2014 the Democrats inner circle, sensing the weakness of its national field, settled upon Hillary Clinton as its best bet for retaining the White House. That was agreeable to Mrs. Clinton, of course – probably even more so to her husband – but it proved catastrophic to the Democrats in November of 2016. However, the reasons for the Democrats’ electoral calamity aren’t yet widely understood.

     Mrs. Clinton notoriously played the “sex card,” repeatedly trumpeting that it was “time for a woman president.” It was an ongoing theme of her two year campaign. In addition, it dovetailed with the rest of her approach to the election: to position herself as a spokeswoman for the “oppressed / entitled” groups. In other words, she coppered her bet on the success of the Democrats’ strategy that elected Barack Obama, without adequately weighing the weakness of the 2008 Republican candidate and his campaign.

     The odds-makers deemed Mrs. Clinton to be a shoo-in. The “oppressed / entitled” groups responded by amping up their rhetoric and their demands. The effect was to drive many voters who might otherwise have voted for Mrs. Clinton or “stayed home” to give their votes to Donald Trump. That effect was most pronounced in the “blue-collar industrial” states where Republicans had been weak for decades. It certainly didn’t help Mrs. Clinton that candidate Trump pitched his appeal directly to those voters.

     The zenith of the entitled had come, and the voters had passed them by.

     In retrospect, the strident, disruptive behavior of the “oppressed / entitled” groups in the eleven months just behind us was predictable. Electoral politics had been their hope. It failed them spectacularly. What fallback did they have? Only to make good on their old threat to “make the country ungovernable.” They haven’t succeeded, though it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

     We’ll see still more efforts in that direction. The alternatives continue to be unpalatable to the defeated. It will take some time for the Left’s thinkers to accept that the tactics of the past are the reason for their defeat. Success breeds failure, in politics just as in other kinds of combat.

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