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 SandersSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Human Rights Campaign president rips Sanders's embrace of Rogan endorsement 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 Ann WarrenKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Warren pledges to release Trump records if elected MORE (D-Mass.), South Bend Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: 68 percent of Democrats say it 'makes no difference' if a candidate is a billionaire CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary Poll shows tight general election battle between Trump and top Democrats MORE, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezImpeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa The Hill's Campaign Report: Ten days to Iowa 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 TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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.