American Liberalism began with the generations immediately following the one that fought and died in WWII. The central belief was that society had progressed both in material comfort and enlightened thought to a degree that life should, and could, be kinder, easier & freer. Indeed, it was the many of the old values holding us back from these things. American Liberalism in the 70s was optimistic, hopeful, curious and fundamentally decent.
First Wave Feminism was focused on equality of opportunity. There was no assumption that men and women were interchangeable, but grossly unequal in political and economic power, including even the right to vote.
First Wave Feminism was successful in correcting the injustices it targeted. Celebrate this.
Vietnam brought the choice between the old and the new into sharp relief. You could be for being drafted to slog through the jungle, schlepping 60 lbs of gear, nursing a persistent and painful foot fungus, killing and being killed in a senseless, amoral war, or you could be for dropping acid, smoking weed, listening to the Mamas and the Papas, Neil Young, and Buffalo Springfield while having casual consensual sex.
The correct choice here was not only clear, but also an excellent deal for most men. They became lefties for life. And why not.
Second Wave Feminism taught us that women and men were biologically identical, with one observable exception: only women could bear children. Any behavioral, aptitude, or preference differences between adult men and women were entirely the result of socialization, which was bad because it was limiting for women. Nobody really believed this, but feminism and liberalism were achieving good things, and so folks started on the long road of pretending to believe.
Second and Third Wave Feminism were primarily concerned with violence against women, sexual freedom, and employment opportunity and income parity with men. These movements wanted women out of the homemaker, caregiver, wife and mother roles, if they so choose. Celebrate this.
Between the 60s and AIDs, sexual liberty exploded, but generally against an assumed to be forever value system of committed, loving, loyal relationships being desirable and important.
This value system remains true for the middle classes and above. The poorer folks tend to actually do what the elites claim to be good for them. The elites for the most part talk a lot smack but practice traditional values. So far.
Women, having attained the holy grail of being able to be shipped off to war or work all day in a factory or office, discovered what men had long known. It isn’t that fun. Men don’t work 50 hours a week for an unpleasant boss for their entire lives without complaining because it’s spiritually fulfilling. They do it because it is expected, and supports their families. And their hearts break as they watch their children grow up from a distance. Generally, they suffer in stoic silence. And retreat into sports and beer.
One of successes of liberalism was civil rights. Celebrate this.
Along the journey, we were taught to know that gays were born this way. Most folks didn’t really know or care if this was actually true or not, but it was a helpful way to break through the stigma that homosexuality was unnatural or actually a sin. What was never explained was how to square the fact that men and women are certainly not born this way but entirely shaped by their upbringing and life experience, but gays were.
But no matter. When you are inventing an entirely new religion you have to make some compromises along the way for the greater good. Like every other religion.
Somewhere along the way, every vice became a disease. Nobody was responsible for anything anymore. We’re all victims of something or another. Hold that thought.
At this point, I would like to write something, likely critical, about Critical Race Theory, but I can’t understand it. Something about epistemology and white privilege and unending structural racism and oppression. As huge progress against actual racism and oppression were made and broadly welcomed, we are taught that it is simply impossible not be an opportunist, oppressive racist, if you are white, or to not be a victim of this if you are black.
Don’t celebrate this.
STDs, children, jobs, aging parents, and the greedy 80s put the brakes on American liberalism. Indeed it would never return as it was understood at the time.
With the dawn of Forty-Seventh Wave Feminism, things have a gotten a little more complicated. Over time, denigrating fathers, Christians and family itself, and systemically feminizing boys, and using victimization as weapon have replaced the hopeful, optimistic liberalism of the 60s and 70s.
Many young men, having been feminized from birth, lacking in positive masculine role models and organizations, try and fail to make sense of drunk hookup culture, Tinder and Grindr, and “lol yusss. I’ll be over w da females soon” Mattress Girl and decide, rationally, that internet porn and video games is a safest option.
Many 30-something women wonder why there aren’t any good men left, and increasingly expect other taxpayers to support them as there is no husband to do so.
Intersectionality is liberalism’s (now renamed progressivism), New Testament-esque grand unifying theory. Intersectionality teaches us that America consists of 3 demographic groups, and that the values and actions of two of those demographics are constant, determined solely by skin color, gender and ethnicity.
The first demographic is white men and Christians. This demographic has no redeeming qualities, but this is not entirely their fault (or fixable), because they are in fact born this way. It is socially acceptable to speak of these folks in denigrating and unkind terms.
The second demographic is Jews, Asians, and immigrants from India. This demographic shares many qualities with the first, but it is generally not socially acceptable to speak of these folks in denigrating and unkind terms. Celebrate this. A bit.
The last demographic is everyone else, with the shared quality that they are born this way victims of the previous two groups.
Intersectionality is an entirely rational theory. Being included in government, industry and academic official lists of approved victims, affords one with considerable structural favoritism. And being excluded, discrimination. And while this might seem unfair , indeed just old fashioned prejudice to some people, Intersectionality teaches us that it is not. Because oppressors and victims are born this way, and will remain this way until death. Nothing can ever be fixed. And yet we must continue to try.
But with so much money and power at stake, and obvious in and out groups among the victim demographic, things can get a little tense.
Unlike in the past, when men and women were born interchangeable empty vessels for society to program, now men and women don’t actually exist. There are no genders, or infinite genders, we are taught.
Unless the lack of traditional women-ness interferes with any legal or structural advantage women have earned. Like say, child support, women-only places or Title IX. Then it’s just nonsense.
The pronoun nonsense will be short lived. Nobody believes the gender nonsense.
Gender is a mildly clinical synonym for sex, when used as a noun.