- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2000

Pious deceit

"Bill Clinton and his wife are famously mendacious. At this point, after eight years' exposure to them, no sensible person believes anything they say. Most people suppose that this mendacity is personal and particular that it is a failing of the Clintons and does not represent anything larger. Even Al Gore's carelessness with the truth has been attributed to his association with the Clintons, as if it were a sort of infection.

"In fact, a disdain for the truth is fundamental to New Class values and key to their obtaining high political office in a democracy. To the extent that ordinary Americans are aware of the existence of the New Class, they dislike it… .

"The New Class has deep differences of opinion with the common people and therefore cannot get elected without a certain amount of deceit. The American public is, for example, religious; the New Class is atheist… . Thus New Class candidates for power must make a show of piety. At critical points in his various personal dramas, President Clinton has taken care to be seen coming out of church clutching a Bible."

John Derbyshire, writing on "Head of the New Class," in the Nov. 6 issue of National Review

'New kind of fear'

"It is now orthodox to regard social stigma as a form of oppression, to be discarded on our collective quest for inner freedom… . The odd result of this movement to reject stigma, however, has been the introduction of stigma of another kind. 'Judgmental' people find themselves condemned with a vehemence that would have gone down well in Salem.

"Those who live by the old morality end up paraded with abusive labels: If you deplore illegitimacy and the welfare dependency that often follows it, you show yourself to be 'mean-spirited' and lacking in 'compassion'; if you oppose the normalization of homosexuality, you are 'homophobic'; if you believe in Western culture, you are an 'elitist'; all labels that can damage a professional career …

"The new kind of stigma creates a new kind of fear. Political correctness is not a morality in the traditional sense; it does not require you to change your life, to make sacrifices or to live by an exacting code of conduct… . It tells you to speak inclusively of other cultures, other lifestyles, other values; never take a disapproving stance or use words that might imply one… . Any phrase or idiom that seems to imply judgment of another category or class of people can become, almost overnight, an object of stigma."

Roger Scruton in "Bring Back Stigma" in the Autumn issue of City Journal

Childish fashions

"Not only do the models on the pages of the kids' magazines resemble the fresh-faced, size-zero women on adult-fashion covers, they are sometimes the same women.

"This fall a star of 'Popular' … was the cover model for CosmoGirl, a teen magazine. But another tween role model, Sarah Michelle Gellar of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' was on the cover of Glamour, a magazine for adult women. Meanwhile, Britney [Spears'] nubile anatomy bulged from the cover of Elle… .

"So when we look at our children and shudder at the premature adults we think we're seeing, it may simply be that their 'adult' role models are actually almost children themselves.

"The infantilization of women's fashion has helped to blur the boundaries between grown-ups and girls… . A woman today could wear her 10-year-old daughter's clothes without getting a second look. Her daughter, it scarcely needs saying, could also wear hers."

Amy Finnerty, writing on "The Tween Menace," in Friday's Wall Street Journal

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