One of the less understood criticisms of progressivism is that it is totalitarian, not in the sense that kale-eating Brooklynites want to build prison camps for political nonconformists (except for the ones who want to lock up global-warming skeptics) but in the sense that it assumes that there is no life outside of politics, that there is no separate sphere of private life, and that church, family, art, and much else properly resides within that sphere.

Earlier this week, I expressed what seemed to me an unobjectionable opinion: that politics has a place, that politics should be kept in its place, and that happy and healthy people and societies have lives that are separate from politics. The response was dispiriting but also illuminating.

Among those who directed tut-tuts in my direction was Patti Bacchus, who writes about education for the Vancouver Observer. “That’s one of the most privileged things I’ve ever heard,” she sniffed. Patti Bacchus is the daughter of Charles Balfour, a Vancouver real-estate entrepreneur, and attended school at Crofton House, a private girls’ school whose alumni include Pat (Mrs. William F.) Buckley. It is one of the most expensive private schools in Canada. I do enjoy disquisitions on “privilege” from such people. But of course her criticism is upside-down: It is exactly we privileged people with education, comfortable lives, and spare time who expend the most energy on politics. But there are other pressing priorities, like paying the rent, for poor people. If Ms. Bacchus would like to pay a visit to West Texas, I’ll introduce her to some.

Another objection came from a correspondent who demanded: “What if politics greatly impacts every facet of your life?” That would be an excellent question if it came from some poor serf living in one of the states our American progressives so admire, such as Cuba or Venezuela, where almost every aspect of life is under political discipline, where government controls whether you eat — and, indeed, whether you breathe. But if you live in the United States and politics greatly impacts every facet of your life, you have mental problems, or you are a politician.

(But I repeat myself.)

Interesting Read…

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