POLITICS IS, by its very nature, a reactionary enterprise. It's outrage — outrage about the existing order of things or outrage about whatever threatens the existing order of things — that provokes politically interested people to pay attention. At the heart of every political struggle is a sacred cow, whether it's the Second Amendment, the welfare state, marriage, or Roe v. Wade. On opposing sides are those who want to lead the cow to slaughter and those standing guard with shotguns at the barn door.
Because what outrages politicians, activists, and political movements often sheds more light on their motivations than any of their publicly stated positions, I've compiled the following list of some of the modern American left's most reviled people, objects, institutions, and ideas. The list is broad but not exhaustive, based on a life spent around leftists (I have lived in three states: Massachusetts, New York, and California) and the observations of some astute friends.
These are the things that most infuriate "progressives," followed by a brief explanation of why. The mere mention of these words will cause the typical left-winger to see (even more) red:
Cars — especially SUVs; the bigger and safer the vehicle, the worse. For leftists, cars are a polluting, annoying expression of individual freedom — a painful reminder that the longstanding efforts of social engineers to herd Americans into mass transit remain unfulfilled.
Guns — and the irritating insistence of "gun nuts" (anyone who owns a gun legally) to look after their own safety rather than trust in the benevolence and capabilities of the all-protecting state.
Suburbs, AKA "sprawl" — and the selfish desire of so many Americans to own their own homes with their own garages and their own backyards.
Straight white men — especially the dead ones that once dominated classroom curricula, and any institutions where they once flourished, such as military academies, prep schools, and fraternal organizations.
Jokes about sexual orientation, race, or gender — unless they're about straight, white men.
Jokes about most anything else — except for the items on this list.
Traditional families — Heather's mommies both deserve full health benefits now, but married couples ought to be penalized with higher taxes until they either die or divorce.
Abstinence — and for that matter, all traditional sexual mores and anyone so backward as to demand them of their children, politicians, or clergy.
Tobacco — the one form of instant gratification the left won't permit.
Religious "zealots" — that is, adherents of any faith that that makes claims on truth, especially Catholicism, Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, and Evangelical branches of Christianity (but not Islam).
The rich — anyone who has earned a lot of money no doubt did something wretched to obtain it and deserves to have it forcefully taken away. (Rich leftists excluded.)
The middle-class — and their contemptible bourgeois values.
The poor — so long as they aspire to become middle-class or rich instead of remaining happily dependent.
Vouchers — a threat to unions, social engineers, and the government monopoly on public education.
Home-schooling — a threat to unions, social engineers, and the government monopoly on public education — and a favorite among the religious zealots.
Standardized testing — or, for that matter, educational standards of any kind.
Real sports — the kind with winners and losers, where things like, height, strength, intelligence, or skill can determine outcomes.
Missile defense — and most other efforts of the U.S. to protect itself from foreign attack.
American "hegemony" — defined as any expression of American interest that contradicts the conventional wisdom of the croissant-munching "international community."
Red meat — because animal life is sacred.
McDonalds — for selling fatty foods containing red meat and marketing them to minors, and for doing what socialism never could: feeding billions and billions on the cheap.
"Big box" stores — like Home Depot or Wal-Mart, for killing the small businesses that taxes and regulations couldn't.
Pharmaceutical companies — for spending billions developing new, life-saving drugs, then charging money for them.
Successful businesses — they must be ripping off their "stakeholders."
Failed business — they must be ripping off their "stakeholders."
Nuclear energy — even if it is all the rage in France.
All other kinds of energy — except for those that are either untenable or prohibitively expensive.
Drilling for oil in ANWAR — and drilling for oil anywhere else.
Clarence Thomas — for acting, thinking, and speaking in a manner inappropriate for successful African-Americans.
Laura Schlessinger — for acting, thinking, and speaking in a manner inappropriate for successful women.
Rush Limbaugh — for thinking and speaking.
The Midwest — backward, uncouth hicks.
The South — backward, Bible-thumping rednecks.
The West — backward, gun-toting nuts.
John Ashcroft — a southerner and a devout Christian at that. For vilification purposes, he's the Newt Gingrich of the new millennium.
Police officers — Latent racists and unrepentant thugs, every one of the them, except for those who happened to be on duty on Sept. 11.
Laws that are tough on crime — and courts that are tough on criminals.
Individual responsibility — the government causes AIDS, poverty causes crime, and discrimination is the root of all inequality.
Anything that isn't safe — and anything that might not be safe. For more clarification, contact legal counsel.
This list is surely just the beginning. Submit your additions in the Go Postal forum.