“Why the Right Is So Obsessed With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” reads a headline at the left-wing website Slate. “Conservatives are terrified of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And so they should be,” declares another headline in the equally left-wing Guardian. Even conservative Kevin Williamson has a piece in the New York Post which purports to explain, “Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drives conservatives crazy.”
Normally, I don’t pay much attention to such articles. They’re usually just a way of making some leftist non-entity seem more powerful or important or threatening than in fact she is. But with Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, as they now call her, they have a point. The young woman’s presence in Congress actually does bother me, and I don’t need a journalist to tell me why.
AOC, a declared Socialist, is not just a dangerous ignoramus. At 29, the new congresswoman from Queens is a dangerous ignoramus who, in many ways, exemplifies her generation. She is confident and attractive. She radiates an endearing vitality and passion. And virtually everything she says and believes is either immoral or untrue.
If the steady stream of BS that poured out of her pretty face were just a matter of dishonesty, I would chalk it up to normal politics. I did, I must admit, experience a certain amount of pleasure when the excellent Michael Knowles (at least I think that’s what Ben Shapiro calls him) caught her out in a lie about her background. More than once, AOC has cited her upbringing as a poor kid from the Bronx as some sort of faux credential. But Knowles showed those claims were a lot more faux than we thought when he remarked that, in fact, she grew up well-to-do in a very toney part of Westchester County. You could tell Knowles’ blow landed hard by all the mainstream news articles claiming it didn’t land at all.
Still, the fact that AOC lies is not what bothers me. I wouldn’t get much rest if I worried about politicians lying.
But there’s also the fact that her entire philosophy is based on an apparently bottomless ignorance about economics, history and America’s founding laws and values. When she talks about single-payer health care lowering costs, she speaks as if the money you earn is part of some big pot she gets to redistribute — and yet it never occurs to her to wonder whether the Constitution actually grants her that redistributive power. She denigrates Capitalism without apparent awareness of the fact that Capitalism and property rights have virtually eradicated extreme poverty worldwide just since the 1980’s.
Which is not even to mention her proposal to raise tax rates to over 80 percent, her support of a “Green New Deal,” which amounts to government control of the marketplace, her proposal to eliminate ICE, her declaration that World War II should be our model for fighting climate change and her reference to “the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
I mean, the woman is a genuine imbecile.
But again, if simple stupidity were a crime in a congresswoman, our prisons would be full of them. The problem is that she — like many of her generation — is attractive, vibrant, likable and a moral idiot. That’s what makes her a potential danger to the nation over the long run.
At a party a few years back, a young man explained to me that he never paid for books or movies but found ways to download them for free online. I replied as gently as I could, “Then you are stealing, as surely as if you shoplifted the book or movie out of a store.” Visibly startled, the kid sat up straight and replied, “But — that’s the way my generation does it!” as if that somehow absolved him of responsibility for his crimes.
Every time AOC dances delightfully over a rooftop or “slays a lewk” or speaks with the poignant idealism of youth, I feel she is telling me the same thing: “Socialism is the way my generation does it!”
And I respond as I responded to the young man at that party: “Then you are a generation of thieves.”