07.02.2013 1

Progressives don’t believe in progress

By Marta H. Mossburg

Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said recently at a private event in Toronto that electing a woman president would send “exactly the right historical signal to girls, women as well as boys and men.”

What “signal” is she talking about — one that shows women have arrived? Isn’t that already obvious? That Mrs. Clinton is the Democrat frontrunner for the nation’s highest elected office without having declared her candidacy is evidence enough that the United States has changed without looking to colleges, where women exceed men in enrollment and also surpass them in bachelor’s and advanced degrees awarded, or to Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling “Lean In.” Her book urges women to choose more high-powered positions and in the process shows how free they are to choose their own path.

Supreme Court decisions this week paving the way for gay marriage in the states and invalidating a key part of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) also underscore how America has become more free for more people, although progressives only like the former. That they do not embrace both speaks to a worldview that can’t ultimately accept progress, even on their own terms, as it would annul their argument. After all, for them to move forward the world has to remain backward, so the line keeps moving on what constitutes real progress.

Take the main argument on the left about why the VRA should have remained intact even though in the majority of the nine states requiring pre-clearance by the federal government to make election changes blacks are registered to vote at a higher percentage than whites and months after a presidential election in which a higher rate of blacks voted than whites. As Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent to the opinion, “The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective. The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclearance is no longer needed.” So if achieving the goals of the legislation is not reason enough to dismantle it, what is? Should a couple be required to make mortgage payments to a bank after they pay back their debt? — because that is the same logic.

In effect, Justice Ginsburg and progressives are asking Americans to live in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance where evidence of increased freedom can’t be used as a basis for dismantling laws created in a world 50 years ago that no longer exists.

Mrs. Clinton hinted in her remarks noted above that only a woman being elected president would be evidence that women have achieved equality. But history shows it will prove no such thing to her fellow travelers in the same way Barack Obama being elected president or statistics on voter participation in the south remain separate from America overcoming racism for progressives.

Similarly, the court’s 5-4 decision striking down 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will become only a point in a never ending continuum of battles after being the ultimate goal 10 years ago. The next bright line will likely be legalized same sex marriage in all 50 states. Changes in public school curriculum to celebrate gay leaders have started and will become the norm throughout the country because the question now is not “why?” but “what’s next?” in secular zealots’ quest to convert America to their belief system.

That is the only progress progressives recognize. As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent to the 5-4 DOMA decision, “ It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”

Put another way, “You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him; you must love him,” as George Orwell wrote in “1984.”

Marta H. Mossburg writes frequently about national affairs and about Maryland, where she lives. Write her at marta@martamossburg.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mmossburg.

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