Different Villains for Different Ideologies


Marriage advocate Maggie Gallagher recently sent around this clip from a GOP primary debate in the race for Pennsylvania governor:

Sure, it’s interesting that one candidate has chosen the co-ed bathroom issue (hot-buttoned as an objective of transgender ideology) as a nail to hammer on the conservative side, but something in the back and forth emphasizes a point that I haven’t seen made anywhere.

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Scott Wagner — who, I take it, is the more-establishment, moderate candidate — tries to frame the issue as a matter of discrimination.  That is, he wants to protect an identity group from the bigotry of school administrators and other ordinary people with whom we come into contact every day.  The villains of this narrative, in other words, are just people who might disagree on a cultural matter.  Their bigotry is assumed, and the law is constructed to restrain them.

The more-conservative challenger, Paul Mango, frames the issue as one of protecting all children broadly from people who actually want to hurt them.  That is, the villains of his narrative are the disturbed creeps who drift into our lives now and then and cause lifelong harm when they enter our lives.

Implicit in the advocacy of adherents to identity politics is that people are broadly bad.  They (the politicians) are smarter and more compassionate than everybody else.  A law must be passed because nobody lower than the politicians in the hierarchy can be trusted to make decisions that adequately balance the multiple interests of their communities.

To claim that power, progressives have spent decades sliming ordinary folks.  In that mainstream presentation, anybody who seems upright and friendly must be suspect.

We on the other side let progressives get away too often with this sort of insinuation.