Liberals such as Barack Obama increasingly rely upon a verbal crutch of asserting that their opponents are on “the wrong side of history.” This neo-Marxist hand-waving phrase grew from 524 occurrences in news articles in 2006 to 1,800 last year.
The “wrong side of history” claim became a clichÃ© during World War G over gay marriage, and now is taken for granted in the ongoing World War T (2013-?) over all things “transgender.”
As in every quasi-Marxist revolution, though, the old Bolsheviks are in danger of being chewed up and spat out by the new. For example, consider the unintentionally hilarious New York Times Magazine article “When Women Become Men at Wellesley,” by Ruth Padawer. At women’s colleges today, the lesbians who were long the engineers of human souls are getting shoved aside for being on the wrong side of history by even butcher “trans-men” juicing on prescription testosterone:
Trans students are pushing their schools to play down the women-centric message. At Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke and others, they and their many supporters have successfully lobbied to scrub all female references in student government constitutions, replacing them with gender-neutral language. At Wellesley, they have pressed administrators and fellow students to excise talk of sisterhood, arguing that that rhetoric, rather than being uplifting, excludes other gender minorities. At many schools, they have also taken leadership positions long filled by women: resident advisers on dorm floors, heads of student groups and members of college government.
The Marxist roots of the “wrong side of history” phrase are obvious, but what’s striking is how today’s neo-Marxists have flipped Marx’s pyramid of power upside down. The left now assumes the direction of history is rightfully moving in the exact opposite path of what Karl Marx championed. Instead of priding themselves on siding with the “workers of the world,” they root for transgender CEOs.
While Marx claimed his science of history proved that power would inevitably devolve from the aristocratic few to the bourgeois many to the proletarian masses, today’s conventional wisdom assumes that the whip hand should belong to ever more microscopic minorities, such as Ebola-bearing Liberians and the infinitesimally small number of Seven Sisters students who suffer from Freudian penis envy.
Marx’s logic of class warfare was at least straightforward: in the long run, the side with the larger numbers would naturally win. If all men are created equal, then how can the working-class millions not triumph? (Along the way to the dictatorship of the proletariat, however, the poor dumb brutes would need a guiding hand from those of us who are more equal than others: the vanguard elite of professional infallible geniuses such as Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.)
While Marx’s science of history was fermenting, actual scientists such as Francis Galton began to study empirically just how equal all men are. This led to a growing suspicion that systems for identifying and recruiting the most intelligent people from all classes and backgrounds, such as standardized testing, could create a self-perpetuating caste system in which clever elites have little to fear from rebellions by the leaderless masses.
This unsettling theory was most notoriously documented 20 years ago this month in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve. As you have no doubt heard countless times since, The Bell Curve was discredited because science. As all intelligent people are aware, you must be a complete idiot if you don”t know only stupid people think some people are smarter than others.
The idea that the larger numbers deserved to win was hardly confined to Marxists. English philosopher Jeremy Bentham echoed Frances Hutcheson’s 18th-century phrase that the goal of policy should be “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.”
In the American colonies, the struggle against King George led rebels such as Tom Paine and Tom Jefferson to argue increasingly in favor of majority rule. Eventually, property restrictions on the vote were junked and Andrew Jackson was elected President in 1828 by universal white manhood suffrage. To this day, that historic accomplishment is commemorated in the chief annual ceremony of the Democratic Party, the Jefferson-Jackson Day fund-raising dinner.
Over time, though, the concept of majority rule came to be seen as slightly gauche. Sure, everybody continued to salute “democracy,” but the glamor moved from majority rule to minority rights. And the more minor the minority, the better.
For example, gay marriage lost over 30 straight popular votes in state referenda. But that only proved that the majority was on “the wrong side of history.” Now, with World War G turning into a rout, as elites use the courts to overturn democratic decisions, the prestige press has been looking for a new culture war to wage against the masses.
Thus, the media have been ginning up World War T ever since a May 2013 New York Times article about a mixed martial arts fighter who was the victim of discrimination for not being allowed to beat up women for money. Ray Rice punching his fiancÃ©e (now his wife) is the worst thing ever because Rice is a man, but Fallon Fox pummeling women in front of paying crowds requires our hearty approval because Fox is an ex-man.
For the last 18 months, the media has been obsessing over society’s discrimination against a handful of privileged, powerful, and not quite right in the head individuals. For example, my old MBA school classmate Martin Rothblatt“the most arrogant man I had to deal with at UCLA, but also probably the smartest (he’s a founder of Sirius satellite radio)”has decided he’s really Martine Rothblatt. Thus, he is being celebrated as the highest paid “female” CEO in America.
Similarly, Larry “Lana” Wachowski, co-director of The Matrix, is listed by the New York Times as a role model for women trying to direct in Hollywood.
Of course, Rothblatt and Wachowski aren”t real women. They were never even slightly feminine men. They”re just wealthy science fiction fans playing out transhumanist fantasies from bad late Heinlein novels. (Rothblatt, for example, has become bored with claiming to be a woman and is currently more obsessed with living forever by downloading his brain to a computer.)
A similarly infinitesimal minority are women students at the Seven Sisters who claim to be men. But, by the logic of all that is status-worthy in 2014, attention must be paid to students at expensive women’s colleges who loudly proclaim themselves to be discriminated-against men.