Mocking Freedom

Mike Lee, Republican senator from Utah, gave a speech prior to the Senate vote on the Democrats’ “Green New Deal,” in which he promised to give the proposal “the respect it deserved,” and then proceeded to invoke Aquaman and giant sea horses as the most feasible means of realizing its absurd goals. In response, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the House of Representatives’ female approximation of David Hogg, sent out this message to her adoring fans (who of course have chosen her as their favorite politician because of her impressive, um, ideas and her youthful…mind) via Twitter:

For “the haters” in that tweet, read “rational adults who are tired of being preached at by ignorant thirteen-year-olds, whether of the biological or intellectual variety.” And yes, Alexandria, they are right: you are an “impostor.”

Just to clarify her trendy undergraduate lingo, here is the Wikipedia definition of “impostor syndrome”:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. [It’s tempting to drop the main topic of this essay right here, and just post a full grammar edit of this Wikipedia article, which appears to have been written by a college freshman AOC fan, right next to his margin doodle of AOC as a sunflower.]

The key to impostor syndrome as a condition indicating a false self-assessment lies in this phrase: “Despite external evidence of their competence.” But since AOC shows plenty of evidence of incompetence, and can hardly be said to have earned her current position and constant media deference through any relevant achievement or serious political rhetoric, she clearly does not suffer from impostor syndrome, but simply is an undeserving “fraud.”

In any case, my interest in this particular message from the first-term impostor from New York pertains not to her self-aggrandizing condescension to the little people — “Remarkable as you all know me to be, even I am susceptible to moments of self-doubt, just like a normal person” — but to her assessment of Senator Lee: “If this guy can be a Senator, you can do anything.”

Apart from the typical Hogg-style disrespect for grown-ups who have actually accomplished things in their lives, if they happen to disagree with her Marxist dribblings (“this guy”), I think her self-congratulatory sarcasm is most interesting for what it reveals about the two politicians’ contrasting views of life, problems, and government. In short, what we are seeing here is the difference between confident adulthood and dependent infantilism, between belief in the private citizen and belief in omniscient government, between faith in the individual human mind and faith in the State.

Let us take a moment to examine the context of AOC’s mockery of Senator Lee. Lee’s overall judgment of the Green New Deal is that it is not a serious policy document proposing any viable solutions for anything, but rather a declaration of progressive right-thinking — “a token of elite tribal identity, and endorsing it a public act of piety for the chic and ‘woke,'” as Lee so perfectly puts it. 

After making fun of its outrageous “goals,” such as eliminating air travel, Lee turns theoretical to offer an alternative means of tackling the supposed problem of climate change: 

The solution to climate change won’t be found in political posturing or virtue signaling…. It won’t be found in the Federal Government at all. You know where the solution can be found, Mr. President? In churches, in wedding chapels, in maternity wards across the country and around the world. Mr. President, [pointing to a picture of infants] this is the real solution to climate change: babies. Climate change is an engineering problem — not social engineering, but the real kind. It’s a challenge of creativity, ingenuity, and most of all, technological innovation. And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws. They are solved by more humans…. More babies will mean more forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term problems, large-scale problems. 

It was his suggestion that the solution to climate change is “more babies” that set AOC and her hordes into apoplexy. For the serious premise underlying Lee’s senatorial stand-up routine on the Green New Deal was a principle that Ocasio-Cortez-style drones are quite unable to comprehend, let alone credit as plausible, namely that large-scale solutions to human and societal problems can never come from government, but only from individuals, and particularly individuals permitted to think freely and try new things without artificial restraints. That is to say, Lee, along with an ever-shrinking number of like-minded others, sees the regulatory reflexes of government as essentially artificial, and fundamentally restrictive of human productivity, energy, and ingenuity. 

Progressives like AOC, by contrast, see the independent, individual human being as the essential social problem, and the regulatory power of government as the only viable means of eradicating that problem. 

In short, Lee believes that when problems arise among free people, they can only be solved by free people, whereas Ocasio-Cortez believes such problems can only be solved by ending freedom

To state this aphoristically, and in a manner consistent with the spirit of Lee’s proposition, the progressive solution to all human problems is to throw out the baby with the bath — not because there is no better way, but because progressives hate babies.

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