Monday, January 7, 2013

Gender-Based Authoritarianism

Lisa Jackson, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency

This post is about the central tenet of authoritarianism:

Within the past week, there have been three instances of authoritarian figures giving us a tutorial on their techniques.  Each of them is a woman, and each shows how to foster that authoritarian sense of infallibility.

First is Hillary Clinton.  The issue is the reaction of our culture to her recent conduct as Secretary of State.  According to the New York Times, Mrs. Clinton has “indomitable stamina and work ethic.”

Contrast that with the observations of Ann Althouse, where she questions the characterizations of Mrs. Clinton.  Ms. Althouse gives voice to the minority report against our culture’s portrayal of Mrs. Clinton.

Second is Elizabeth Warren.  The issue here is Senator Warren’s use of ethnic heritage to achieve competitive advantage.

William Jacobson notes the use of Wikipedia to cleanse the public record of certain facts about Mrs. Warren.  If Wikipedia is our source, we find a “new and improved” version of Elizabeth Warren.

Third is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  She demonstrates how authoritarians perceive truth.

Roll Call reports that the “official” picture of House Democratic women was modified by Mrs. Pelosi so that it became an “accurate historical record.”  (Does George Orwell come to mind?)

Yes, this is America in the 21st century.  Official photos and official records are edited to reflect what our culture sees as the correct representation.  It no longer matters what is real; the characterization is what counts.  We now must put the word “reality” in quotation marks.

Should I mention Susan Rice or Lisa Jackson?  Some of our female leadership figures have become caricatures of authoritarianism!

If they aren't careful, they just might give the female gender a bad name.

UPDATE 5/19/2013:
A blog post by William Yeatman highlights the acceptance of authoritarianism (and in fact its celebration!) at the University of Colorado-Denver.

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