. . . equality to the standard-issue progressives who run the Houston Chronicle.
It means, of course . . .
. . . equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity.
Today's case study comes from the most important story in Houston this fine Monday morning: Eric Mulvaney, "Fewest women on council since '99: Runoff leaves two, and no minority woman for first time in decades, a 'step back' for city."
We know this is the most important story in Houston because it is the front-page lede, displayed with a six-column banner headline above the fold. That story is, by definition, more important to the editors than anything else happening in the whole wide world.
We know that equality of opportunity is not the problem here, since nothing is said about the subject.
Nothing about how women who tried to sign up to run for the city council were turned away.
Or about how women candidates were denied the privilege of whaling away at you and me with 6 p.m. robocalls.
Or even how women, a majority in our electorate, were prevented from voting for their noble sisters.
No, the election offered perfect equality of opportunity. So what's the problem?
The problem is that things didn't turn out well.
To which the natural reply is, says who? The women who wanted to run, ran. The women the voters of Houston wanted to elect, got elected. Let the governing begin.
But the operation of elections, like the operation of markets, rarely measures up to the standards of progressives, including the local cell that runs the Houston Chronicle.
What differences does it make that Houston has considered the candidates who offered themselves and expressed in the only way that matters a preference -- momentary, I am sure -- for a 14-2 split on council?
Well -- here comes a dirty little secret of progressive and feminist doctrine -- women are just better than men. This angle is only hinted at in the story, but it's definitely there.
The cover story is not that women are better but that our old friend, diversity, is better. Fourteen-two is not an "optimal mix." Says who? "Political analysts."
The benefits of more women?
First, better optics. The current mix "doesn't look like the city of Houston." Looking like the city of Houston, evidently, is a bigger old deal than electing the best candidates.
Second, more women means "less gridlock and more efficiency." And, get this, it's possibly genetic in origin. So says Bob Stein, who is in the running simultaneously for this year's Jimmy the Greek Award for Political Oddsmaking and Larry Summers Prize for Gender Sensitivity.
The story and its placement are implicit rebukes to the city of Houston. In this as so much else, you and I simply do not measure up. (Though, to be fair, one "political analyst" says "he does not believe there is any broader anti-woman trends in Houston." What a relief.)
This front-page story diagnoses a problem that is not a problem, but adds to the pointlessless by offering no cure.
The usual progressive remedy is to put a thumb on the scales to help the victims du jour.
Gerrymandering black majority districts is a common tactic. Women, however, refuse to cooperate. First, they insist on being an electoral majority, not a minority. Second, they insist on integrating themselves into the population at large, which would require a proper gender Gerrymanderer to run district lines down the middle of beds.
The only remedy, it seems, is a proper dose of guilt. The newspaper is raising our consciousness so we will be prepared to expiate our guilt and atone for our misdeeds when the next elections roll by. This is narrative-building, at which progressives are masters.
Three last points:
Not only does this story perfectly demonstrate what equality means in the progressive lexicon, but it also shows how progressives think of human beings, which is as members of groups, not as individuals.
Further, it also demonstrates what a low opinion progressives have of representative democracy. It's simply not enough that we have good honest elections and live with the results. This method of self-governance clearly fails to put the right people in charge.
Finally, this business about equality meaning equality of outcome is highly selective. The outcome in higher education today is that sixty women, approximately, are enrolled for every forty men. You won't read about that under a banner headline on page one. Nor about the racial breakdown of illegitimacy or crime statistics. Nor about the possible links between these two sets of numbers.
These inequalities of outcome make progressives uncomfortable. They are not to be mentioned in polite company. Those who mention them misogynists and racists.
* * *
UPDATE: A friend suggests a new headline: "Houston elects new city council: Women, minorities hurt worst.)
Meanwhile, thanks to the indispensable blogHouston for the link.
Also, in response to a challenge to say how the story should have been covered: Not at all. The opinion page should have sought out an out-0f-the-closet progressive to write an opinion piece that makes the same points. The remarkable thing is today's front-pager could be turned into that opinion piece with a nip here and a tuck there. Alternatively, write a quickie and run it somewhere inside. Just don't go all Second Coming on a minor story. And while we're at it, couldn't the writer have found even one person to stand up for equality of opportunity?