Liberals, in the footsteps of Bernie in this election year, have worked themselves into a white heat denigrating business, employers, profit, entrepreneurship, …, in short all the trappings of free market capitalism. Our local outlets for such sentiments include the neighborhood progressives whose commentaries decorate The Union’s op-ed pages. Among them is the recently added Ms Hilary Hodge who today writes ‘Working harder for less reward’.
Her lament opens with, “The idea of work has changed significantly in recent years. I think this is especially true for people living in California, where opportunities are waning and where wealth disparity can be especially stark.” When I read that I automatically gave a little internal cheer – ‘Hold and develop that thought Hilary!’ But instead, she went on to cite some stats about how CA has the nation’s second highest underemployment rate (15.4% not fully employed) and that “more than 38% of households in Nevada County live below the self-sufficiency standard.” With these we include the 40% of CA residents who are on some form of government assistance, and that, no matter its hokey calculation, the state enjoys an unemployment rate that’s 12% above the country’s average.
Moreover, according to longstanding surveys done by various universities and policy institutes our golden state occupies a very tarnished bottom-of-barrel place in the nation’s rankings of personal and economic freedoms. For example, the Mercatus Center of George Mason University has us 49th overall with component rankings – fiscal 44th, personal 47th, regulatory 50th (here). It is especially the latter that gives rise to the exodus of productive people and companies from the clutches of Sacramento’s entrenched socialism. (And we have yet to feel the impact of the $15/hr minimum wage.)
As a poster-child progressive, Hilary and her ilk cannot see the political forces they have unleashed and continue to bolster year after year. As a class, she and hers are demonstrably blind to matters fiscal and economic, and labor under a jaundiced view of human nature that constantly vexes their elite central planners. They cannot understand why a heavily regulated social order based on feel-good altruism cannot function – along with their eloquent spokesman Rodney King, they consternate, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’
Nowhere in her column does she recognize that information-resistant popular sentiment, our longstanding dominant ideology, and inevitable government corruption have given rise to an economy that is destined for greater depths. Instead she directs her lament towards the unfathomable heavens from whence the gods have decreed arbitrary punishments which we mortals must suffer, and can hope to alleviate only by continuing stubbornly on the same road that brought us here.
[Addendum – 15apr16] It was recently brought to my attention by some liberal acquaintances claiming that the above post is a personal attack on Ms Hodge. A bit of querying revealed that these folks were not familiar with political op-ed writing, or were simply pursuing another agenda. For my purposes here it does not matter, since I want to go on record for other readers with similar backgrounds.
An objective of my piece was to introduce Ms Hodge to my readership as a new progressive voice that has recently entered our local public forum as a regular Union columnist. She joins a retinue of fellow liberal columnist featured regularly in the newspaper. In the main all of these columnists embrace versions of an ideology and through it purvey positions and interpretations of events, happenings, cultural evaluations, public policies, … that I as a conservetarian consider inimical to the beneficial future of our republic, and to western civilization in general.
An objective of blogs like RR is to counter such ideologies and diminish the credibility of their adherents in the public eye. Of course, the favor is returned in spades by the Left motivated by a dedication that is no less than of those of us on the Right. In the west such has been the contention in the arena of ideas since at least the French Enlightenment. So the purpose of my piece was to criticize Ms Hodge’s ideological shortcomings and illustrate for the middle-road readers her inability to see the underlying causes for the societal problems she describes. Hopefully, if I do this well enough, then the next time such readers will also be more critical readers of her future offerings.
So my assault on her political persona here is twofold – first to devalue her ideas, and second to convince the reader that she is more than a bit of a naif when she ventures into the arena of socio-political ideas. None of this should be taken by mature readers as an attack on her as a human being and a member of our community. I know Hilary Hodge and can attest that she is a good woman.
Now about her homosexuality and my quoting her use of the word “wife” to unambiguously communicate that sexual orientation as she refers to her spouse (a more neutral term). She has purposely expressed that in previous writings. IMHO, emphasizing her sexual orientation again was gratuitous and not needed to make her points. Doing so reminds at least half of Americans that there is another agenda at work here having to do with the DOMA issue and the overall effort to revise our culture to embrace homosexual relations as not only normative pairing of humans in society, but also as pairings that are not to be differentiated from heterosexual pairings.
Now to a leftwing reader seeking to make more of this, the argument will be that she made no mention of homosexuality when she used “wife”. This is a ludicrous assertion, on the face of it. When a woman purposely talks about her “wife” instead of, say, her spouse, she is emphasizing her homosexuality. And there is nothing more wrong with her doing that than is wrong with my pointing out how it was done. To claim that Ms Hodge's statement is equivalent to a heterosexual saying the same thing about his wife is simply a confirmation of pushing the normative notion of undifferentiated pairings. Without prejudice I choose not to hold such pairings to be equivalent, and I believe that viewpoint is shared by most of the country (world?). See also my 27mar13 dissertation on 'garriage'.
The Left’s broader agenda in this contest is to paint all conservatives as determined racists and homophobes, or at least predisposed in those directions. In lieu of other evidence, that is a major element in their attempt to counter and denigrate commentary from the Right. These pages provide ten years’ testimony to that observation.
Finally, how and when I use quotes and semi-quotes has been made clear on RR over the years. Below are some examples of what I have explained to readers. In sum, I hope this has shed light on the matter of Ms Hodge’s column – I stand by my original post. Now we may hear from those ever-talented progressives who always claim to know what the other person really thinks.
13 June 2010 - I was taught that full or double quotes are used only when delimiting words that were actually spoken or written by a certain source. So quoted material can always be attributed. Semi-quotes are used to emphasize words to indicate an extended contextual meaning, or to approximate the general thrust, direction, or intent of something which originally was said or written but for which the actual quote is not available. I strive to follow this standard on RR.
28 May 2014 - I come from a more exact school of written rhetoric about which I have expounded before. Semi-quotes are to be used for words and (para)phrases to which special attention needs to be drawn, to include indication that their meaning is to be taken in jest or cynicism. In expository writing full quotes are in the realm of 'holy of holies', they are NEVER to be used except to indicate the words that someone identifiable has actually said and/or written.
2 July 2015 - As I've clarified before, I try to use quotes and semi-quotes very carefully. Quotes only enclose what someone has said or written, and semi-quotes enclose emphasized or highlighted terms/phrases and non-verbatim quotes that attempt to paraphrase or duplicate an uncited assertion. In short, quotes are sacrosanct.
28 November 2015 - Quotes are used to denote something specific that was said or written; semi-quotes to highlight or emphasize a word, or include an indirect quote which approximates what someone said or wrote. Quotes are to be treated as the holy of holies in referencing or in citations - not to be trifled with.
[21apr16 update] Apropos to the points made above, Ms Hodge’s latest contribution in the (18apr16) Union can be added to Exhibit A. The lady definitely appears to have an agenda. Here is a discussion of the piece on another local blog (Sierra Dragon’s Breath).