By Bernard Chapin
I recently had a chance to see the documentary, "This Divided State," which I thought, perhaps more than any other film, reflects the political left's method of dealing with their adversaries. The practice amounts to propping up a straw man and setting him on fire. Many conservatives are personally familiar with this approach after discovering that, unbeknownst to them, their desire for decreased taxation or a privatized Post Office is a result of their latent religious fundamentalism, homophobia, and hatred for all living things.
In this documentary, the action stems from Michael Moore's planned visit to Utah before the 2004 election. His was invited there by the student council of Utah Valley State, and the local Mormons who attempt to prevent him from speaking are the plot's straw men. Rather than do the logical thing, which would be to let Moore gibber, and then dissect his positions via rebuttal, they attempt to censor him. Their stance was unquestionably wrong; however, despite the fact that Mormons are often politically conservative, their act of intolerance has far more in common with the tactics of the left than those of the right.
Ironically, it is the improperly named "liberals" who embody repression and restriction in our nation today. The movements of radical feminism, socialism, and multiculturalism have—with the aide of their enforcer, political correctness—diminished our pride, created a war between the sexes, wrongly distorted history, undermined the value of public education, and shamed us into financing a federal government big and powerful enough to take away our every need or aspiration.
Excellent examples of illiberal liberalism can be found on our college campuses everyday. Here, the professors of Utah Valley State uniformly support Moore's views and passionately depict this fabulously rich and thriving millionaire as a modern day Lenny Bruce. Their self-righteous stances are vigorously recorded by the camera, yet their conformity merely serves to highlight the hold the political left has upon higher education. A politicized professorate is a worthless professorate. The current dispensation instructs young men and women that they live in a patriarchal apartheid state even though their instructors' state financed existence indicates just how wildly tolerant our country actually is. Only in our universities is social justice, the notion of citizens keeping what they earn, revamped into being an act of governmental policy favoring one group of citizens over another. There, the solution to every problem is more government spending and government's increased grip upon the economy.
An important question to ask here is why are there so many "liberal" professors? The answer is simple; they refuse to hire anyone who thinks differently from them. They can tolerate no disagreement or diversity on campus. If they did, none of their positions would be tenable. America is only a racist and sexist state when one refuses to examine anywhere else. As far as human beings go, we, as a people, are the most generous and kind on the planet. Yet, political correctness instructs that every white person has the heart of Bull Connor and that every man lords over women as if he were the Sultan of Brunei. These lies, rather than racism, are the true beliefs institutionalized in the system. Political correctness is the height of anti-intellectualism and is an excellent illustration of why a college education has little more value today than helping one to procure one a job. Our professors, supposedly great lovers of the masses, impoverish and bankrupt those they know best, students, as tuition costs irrationally escalate each year.
As it turned out, the locals had little to fear from the Fabricator in Chief's visit. Moore's performance was completely devoid of substance. He is nothing more than an emotion merchant. All he offered was chants, repetition, and clichés. This generous man attacked Republicans continuously, but did say that he would forgive them (specifically, for their poor treatment of minorities) in exchange for a vote for John Kerry in November. Of course, there is no truth in his assertion that the right treats minorities badly. When juxtaposed with the left, the right is a wellspring of equality and opportunity. Currently, as in the past, illiberals are obsessed with race. This is not surprising given the roots of the Democratic Party which was the party of slavery, the party of Jim Crow, and now the party of affirmative action. The only alteration is that now they keep whites and Asians down instead of blacks.
Sean Hannity visited the town before Moore in the hopes that he would be an antidote. He gave a speech in which he too ridiculed his opponents, but there was a vital difference between he and Moore as Hannity allowed his enemies to speak. He took questions from the audience who turned out to be the same "engaged" professors interviewed previously. They hogged the microphone, and, rather than ask anything, gave diatribes concerning George W. Bush. It was also amusing to note that the far left protested both celebrities as two members of the Green Party had to be removed for aggressively heckling the emotor behind "Fahrenheit 911."
"This Divided State" does raise some important questions, but they surely are not the ones the film intended.
Bernard Chapin is a writer in Chicago who, sources have leaked, is about to be named Chair man of the National Organization of Women. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!