So today I will rail on what happens when something insightful, revolutionary, and necessary runs its course but lingers until it becomes oppressive, counterproductive, and divisive. As Harvey Dent said, “You can die the hero or live long enough to become the villain.”
Unions, feminism, and the NAACP. Each one arose because of issues facing their members. For unions it was low pay, long hours, and unsafe work conditions. For feminists it was misogyny, second class status, and no political rights. For the NAACP, it was blatant racism. Each group coalesced at a particular point in time when they simply could not suffer society to continue on as it had.
For unions, they rose in the wake of industrialization. Working in dangerous conditions, many being injured and then discarded like the machines they worked, workers struggled to survive on meager pay and uncertain futures. Subsisting just above the poverty line, living in cramped and unhealthy tenements, they struggled on for their families. The way factories grinded through men, women, and children brought into question the humanity of those men who owned them. Unions arose to stop the horrors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Children were removed, conditions improved, wages raised. What came about was a new age, a middle class able to afford more than just their next meal, health care and pensions to ensure their survival, and hours that didn’t swallow their lives leaving open time to pursue hobbies, to connect to their families, and to spur on the economy. And then things went too far. Having achieved a living wage, safer work conditions, and better hours, unions had to find some reason to continue. They pressed for insane wage increases, less hours, even control of the factories and businesses they worked in. They took dues that were meant to help union members in order to buy political influence. Unions, rather than bringing meritocracy and increasing productivity, came to support seniority, inefficiency, and protectionism. They priced their members out of the market demanding wages that made it cheaper to move factories overseas or to automate. Unions killed business because they forgot why they existed, a fair deal, and became obsessed with proving they were still necessary by finding issues that weren’t there. Mandatory raises stole incentive to work harder, seniority protected members regardless of output, and a stance that refused compromise made business of any sort impossible.
Feminism came about at the same time as unions, the Industrial Age. Factories allowed many women the opportunity of independence. With such financial power came the question any group asks when they join the economy: when do I get a say in how things run. Well, thousands of years of patriarchy distorted the discourse before it even started. Why do you want to work? Why do you want the burden of politics and difficult decisions? Women would not be deterred. It took the horrors of World War I and World War II, the daring of female artists, writers and actresses, as well as the drive of pioneers to champion women’s rights. Female suffrage followed. The Fifties saw an attempt to put Jeannie back in the bottle, but the Sixties and Seventies defied such notions. Women pushed back everywhere: Title 9, wage increases, protection against sexual harassment, birth control, abortion rights. They stormed the gates. And then the Nineties came. It wasn’t enough that women were equal. Nope. Men clearly still had it in for them. The language grew coarser, the views more extreme. Women could now cry rape to cover for bad choices or to shame. Mothers abandoned family and responsibility to chase their independent dreams. Morality was completely thrown out the window. Women now were expected to be strong willed, successful, and to use men as they saw fit. Men needed to get out of the way! Anytime a man succeeded, women failed. The recent election is an extreme example with women believing it was their right to have a female president regardless of what the other 50% believed. Who cared if she was a criminal, so she lied, ok, she supported her husband despite his adulterous nature. She’s a WOMAN. That’s what matters. Women today wonder why relationships are so hard. It’s because men just don’t get what you want anymore. Do you want to be the princess, the equal, the superior? What do you even want out of a relationship? What do you even want out of life? The hatred feminists have for men is so paradoxical because you guys can’t survive without the source of your ire, and we can’t survive without you.
The NAACP was formed out of a period that requires no deep investigation. Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation. The NAACP arose to protect it’s black members and to foster their achievements. What it has turned into is an overtly racist group that decries any success save that of blacks. Making up roughly 12-14% of the American population, blacks cry out if they aren’t nominated for every award, receive 51% of television, aren’t grossly over represented in Congress, hell, or even serving as head of state. The NAACP has turned a blind eye to the disdolution of black families, the failure of education, the lauding of thugs and criminals, the fostering of a victim mentality, and a siege like existence that has recreated segregation: us and them. Rather than helping to pull blacks together, to challenge them to rise up above their tribulations, to achieve and thrive, they prefer to foster this false pride that covers real problems and support such hate mongers and divisive influences sych as Sharpton and BLM. They prefer to keep blacks as African-Americans rather than to progress to pure Americans because, then, what would they be? Not power brokers, which they prefer, rather than an organization that inspires and respects.
Yes, this became rather long winded and I know many will not agree but that is what makes free speech important: the ability to share discourse, to learn from one another, and to move past preconceptions. Sometimes outmoded ways of thinking need to go. That’s progress.