I loved reading the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" books to my daughter.
The somewhat Aesopian theme is that if you give the mouse what it wants -- a cookie -- it will just want more: a glass of milk, a straw, etc.
The story came to mind last week, a week that began with many vowing to inter the Confederate flag and ended with the
It might be too much to think that progressive activists and intellectuals would demobilize after such a "Mission Accomplished" moment. But a reasonable person might expect social justice warriors to at least take the weekend off to celebrate.
But no. Even when the cookie is this big, the mice want something more. The call went out that there were new citadels to conquer. Within hours of the decision, Politico ran a call to arms titled "It's Time to Legalize Polygamy: Why Group Marriage Is the Next Horizon of Social Liberalism." On Sunday,
Earlier in the week, as corporations and politicians were racing one another to shove the Confederate flag down the memory hole, a co-host asked
Within hours of the same sex-marriage ruling, the
Many of us always believed
It is something of a secular piety to bemoan political polarization in this nation. But polarization in and of itself shouldn't be a problem in a democracy. The whole point of having a democratic republic, never mind the Bill of Rights, is to give people the right to disagree.
A deeper and more poisonous problem is the breakdown in trust. Again and again, progressives insist that their goals are reasonable and limited. Proponents of gay marriage insisted that they merely wanted the same rights to marry as everyone else. They mocked, scorned and belittled anyone who suggested that polygamy would be next on their agenda. Until they started winning. In 2013, a headline in Slate declared "Legalize Polygamy!" and a writer at the Economist editorialized, "And now on to polygamy." The Atlantic ran a fawning piece on
We were also told that the fight for marriage equality had nothing to do with a larger war against organized religion and religious freedom. But we now know that was a lie too. The
I very much doubt we'll get a constitutional right for teams of people to get "married," but I have every confidence the drumbeat will grow louder. Social justice -- forever ill-defined so as to maximize the power of its champions -- has become not just an industry but also a permanent psychological orientation among journalists, lawyers, educators and other members of the new class of eternal reformers.
By no means are social justice warriors always wrong. But they are untrustworthy, because they aren't driven by a philosophy so much as an insatiable appetite that cannot take yes for an answer. No cookie will ever satisfy them. Our politics will only get uglier, as those who resist this agenda realize that compromise is just another word for appeasement.