Progressives' campaign strategy: Willful ignorance

Progressives' campaign strategy: Willful ignorance
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In this political year, younger white Americans, in the middle- and upper-middle income brackets, are targeted victims of willful ignorance. The question is why, as well as how, this year’s “progressive” political predators are conning them.

Many young Americans advocate “social justice.” They argue that America is hopelessly racist and heartless when it comes to the poor and disadvantaged. And yet, since 1960 America has enacted and enforced a vast array of programs to reduce racism, sexism or sexual preference-ism, and other discrimination. Similarly, programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Section 8, food stamps/SNAP, Head Start, busing, legal aid, fuel subsidies, Title 1, vocational rehabilitation, loan programs, Medicaid and more have spent well over a trillion dollars on cash payments, food, housing, winter heating, day care, education assistance, training and employment aid to move tens of millions of poor Americans out of poverty. 

No other country on earth has done — or would do — this. Most self-indulgent social justice flag-stompers have no knowledge, or little apparent interest, in this. It is, blindly, “not enough” for them.


They regularly point to the “homeless crisis” to prove how uncaring and heartless America is. They have no knowledge of the 1970s and 1980s when the “progressives” of that time demanded that the marginally and fully psychotic patients be released from “inhumane” state institutions and “mainstreamed” through halfway houses — which these patients wanted no part of, often preferring the streets. Social justice youth insisted that drug abuse should be tolerated and wound up with crime-ridden streets full of homeless and paranoid, drug-addicted Americans whom social justice lawyers and liberal city councils won’t allow to be removed from the streets. 

Many young progressives now claim to believe that the world will end soon because of climate change. Anyone who has actually read any of the reports of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the source for the “settled science”) knows that no serious scientist has claimed that the world will end in 10, 100 or even 1,000 years. There is much environmental work to do, but it is irrational to destroy the American economy by lurching to energy that is many times more expensive. Ironically, as with most progressive plans, the resulting rising costs of fuel, transportation, food and manufacturing would disproportionately hurt the poor, in addition to driving up unemployment for minorities and other at-risk groups.

Likewise, “Medicare for All” would over-stress the fragile American health care system and lead to Medicare for none, providing little available care for the aged and lower-income Americans, while good private care could be bought by the relatively well off (a group that includes most progressives and politicians) — a two-tier system.

Tax proposals to soak the rich, in the name of “fairness,” would demonstrably reduce investments, lead to capital flight and increase private-sector unemployment — again, disproportionately hurting the poor.

Of course, all of this “social justice” costs more than the U.S. economy can produce, especially if the goose that lays the golden eggs is killed and eaten through higher taxes.


The common theme is that a large proportion of America’s highly educated, relatively well off or wealthy, white citizens ages 20-40 demand “social justice” programs that are not needed, can’t be paid for and, history suggests, wouldn’t work — all of which they are willfully ignorant of.

Why? Probably complex economics and social chemistry are at work mixing a drive for personal identity; laziness in really learning about history and these problems; a need to display virtue; a technology era that gives massive numbers of people the impression they understand and have useful opinions about issues they know nothing about; an unforgiving labor market; and a social media environment that doesn’t give most people the time needed to really study and learn.

In other words, it’s a remarkably fertile political environment. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (I-Vt.), for example, does not aim his message at the poor; he aims it at young people who want to think they’re helping the poor without really doing it — the sort of “effortlesse oblige” that drives cocktail party conversation in New York, San Francisco, Hollywood and Palo Alto. Progressive politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (D-Mass.), South Bend Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAn affordable zero-emissions grid needs new nuclear Recovery First: The American comeback shouldn't hinge on warmed-over policy agendas Ocasio-Cortez blames 'political power' of police for lack of accountability following George Floyd's death MORE (D-N.Y.) understand that their stories do not need to be true — they just need to create the image of an America their audiences crave. 

If ever elected president, when Warren governs further right and Buttigieg governs further left, only young progressives would be shocked, having not spent the time to understand their idols. To a large degree, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are inured to these scam artists and see through much of this, but most white youth do not.

Thus, the bizarre political environment we face today, fueled by lying, radically wrong and repeated statements of “fact,” cries of “unfairness” and racism, and radical progressive “plans.” Much of the rest of America understands, or at least senses, much of this, which is why President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE probably will be re-elected by a larger margin than young progressives can even imagine.

Grady Means is a writer and former corporate strategy consultant. He served in the White House as a policy assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and a staff economist in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Follow him on Twitter @GradyMeans.