Go to lunch with a progressive and you may well be badgered about how your hamburger contributes to global warming. Also that you are oppressing animals. Also that your unhealthy eating is contributing to the nation’s health care problems. Also that the burger joint isn’t paying its workers enough.
Now a Democrat is complaining that his party’s image is due to what he calls its “hamburger problem.” That is, progressives tend to politicize EVERYTHING and to annoy ordinary people by judging their everyday choices about how they live their lives.
Kyle Smith, after the jump, discusses the syndrome. He says that Republicans used to be the ones accused of interfering with people’s personal lives. But now Democrats have become “the annoying party.”
Progressives have a problem: They ladle unto every decision, even the most mundane and trifling one, an unattractive glop of gooey political significance. They can’t resist warning the rest of us that we’re abetting the destruction of the planet every time we, say, tuck into a Quarter Pounder.
Josh Barro is a recovering ex-Republican who is now a member of a niche political group: the non-crazy Democrats. He coined a cute phrase — “the hamburger problem” — to describe the relentless politicization of everything by progressives and Democrats. He writes, “Democrats’ problem isn’t that they’re on the wrong side of policy issues. It’s that they’re too ready to bother too many ordinary people about too many of their personal choices, all the way down to the hamburgers they eat.” He cites nonstop Democratic hectoring on, inter alia, the team name of the Washington Redskins, the way men sit on subway trains, and even some Americans’ choice not to abide by China’s one-child standard as the reasons why the party is today as electorally wobbly as Rocky Balboa in the 15th round. . . .
It wasn’t that long ago — say, the early 1990s —when Republicans were perceived as intruding into people’s private lives by talking about family values, saying no to drugs, and framing issues in moral terms. Today there can be little doubt that the broad American wish to be left alone is more strongly identified with the GOP, and that the Democratic party is providing a lavishly welcoming political home for the busybodies.
Illustration by Honza Groh (Vlastní fotografie/ Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons