The Outstater

March 20, 2022

Understanding Holcomb

(For the use of the membership only.)

“This victory (Governor Holcomb’s veto of a bill banning transgenders from playing on girls sports teams) belongs to the trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves and to play the sports they love, free from discrimination.” — Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana.

WE HAVE SOLVED one great mystery of political life — why officeholders don’t care what we think — but we still are puzzled by another.

First, the solved one. In the upcoming issue of the quarterly Indiana Policy Review, a former banker and systems analyst exposes a Statehouse racket that protects legislators from their own constituents. A caucus campaign commission gives them enough money to ward off primary challenges if they vote in line with leadership, the strings of which are in turn pulled by a shadowing private group.

Don’t pretend to be surprised, and spare us the platitudes about them working for us. It is the nature of our time that the elite of our institutions work hard to shield themselves from accountability, Thus, university administrators, corporate CEOs and, yes, legislative leaders, strive to create a situation where alumni, stockholders, voters, etc., don’t matter.

The Indiana Republican Party in supermajority has attained this inviable position. Their legislators don’t need to go out among the hoi polloi. They merely show up at a cocktail party and collect lobbyists’ checks with the understanding there will be a kickback to the caucus committee.

There’s none of that nasty back-and-forth that you get knocking on doors asking support from a guy in a wife-beater who just spent $100 filling his truck with gas and whose trash hasn’t been picked up by the city for a month.

Mystery solved.

Now for the second one, the spontaneous wokeness of leadership. Why did every suit with a title plaque on his desk suddenly coalesce on the same narrow set of bizarre social values?

Only a few years ago, if the owner of a pizza shop didn’t want to cater an event, that was his business. And it would have struck many as odd for a governor to proudly establish a cabinet-level department to encourage a system of identity politics that makes no moral, political, economic or administrative sense — something with the incomprehensible title of Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer (CEIOO).

Nor would the state’s largest newspaper treat as one side of a serious, honest “debate” the proposal to allow the sexual transitioned to compete in women’s sports. And who gave Levi’s, Nike and Coke the idea they should pontificate about any of this? And by the way, can there be even one African-American commercial actor who can’t find work?

Coincidental with the first mystery, even the crudest polling must tell them that the average Hoosier is fed up with this guff. How exactly do they think it is progress to define diversity by something as irrelevant as melanin count or to insist that women high-jumpers can have penises?

They aren’t saying.

For an answer, we had to turn to Martin Gurri, a former CIA analyst writing in City Journal. Gurri introduces his argument by noting that anything goes these days, so much so that the National Archives places warning labels on the Constitution, “because reading it may induce unpleasant sensations in some identity groups.”

He goes on to explain, as ironic as it may sound, that even as the elites achieved the power to install such idiocy they became insecure about it, pathetically so.

Gurri says that the older “institutional types” realized somewhat suddenly that we were laughing at them. Wokeness offered a way out of the room. They could align with that younger, callow generation that is forever demanding perfect social “change” and “justice.”

“Stripped of the splendor of their titles, panicky elites have cast about for some principle that will allow them to maintain their distance from the public,” he says. “They could reorganize society on woke values, with themselves in charge as high commissioners of purity, They could trade institutional authority for social control. With uneven measures of sincerity and cynicism, the cult of identity could be appropriated by power.”

Now that we understand, why don’t we feel any better? — tcl



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