I So Wish that H. L. Mencken Were Still Alive

by Don Boudreaux on August 29, 2008

in Politics

Political types say the darndest things.  Earlier today I heard, on NPR, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake interviewed about John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.  Ms. Lake said something like "Gov. Palin will have to convince voters that she and Mr. McCain are in touch with women’s issues.  For example, how will she deal with the fact that, as Senator, Mr. McCain voted many times against raising the minimum wage?  The minimum-wage is absolutely a women’s issue."

What??  Let’s assume — contrary to economic logic — that the minimum-wage achieves the very goals that it’s advocates publicly assert that it will achieve with no downsides.  Why would the minimum-wage be a "woman’s issue"?  What is it about higher wages that is of unique concern to women?  Are low-skilled men indifferent to what they earn?  Are men indifferent to what their low-skilled wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters earn?  To what their low-skilled fathers, sons, and brothers earn?  Do men care less about these things than women do?  (If so, does that mean that men are less materialistic or less greedy than women?)

I don’t mean to pick on Ms. Lake (whom I never heard of until a few hours ago); she’s simply one among a horde of political activists.  I cite here her ridiculous statement about the minimum-wage being a "woman’s issue" only to give further evidence that the vast majority of political talk is childish — ridiculous — fueled more by thoughtless presumptions than by considered thought.

Politics is absurd.  Looking to it as a source of earthly salvation, or even as a good means of getting potholes filled, is mystifying.

(The above quotation from Celinda Lake is from my memory.  I can’t now find any on-line version of this statement by Ms. Lake.  If you can find one, please do send it to me.)


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