In a column that appeared in National Review Online on Sunday, correspondent Kevin D. Williamson wrote a response to a blog actress Lena Dunham wrote where she gave five reasons people should vote. Williamson’s article, titled ‘Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb To Vote,’ claimed that the first reason someone would be too dumb to vote is if they got their voting advice from Dunham. He then proceeds to rip apart Dunham’s political leanings, specifically the fact that she is involved with Planned Parenthood and is pro-choice. Williamson also complains at length about Dunham’s HBO series, Girls.
The NRO correspondent exposes his real intentions with his column right away when he complains about Planned Parenthood and abortion. While he tries to argue throughout that his issue is about Dunham’s narcissism and the the childish nature with which she speaks about voting and political issues, his complaint is really due to Dunham being pro-choice and trying to convince young women that look up to her to vote their conscience.
If you would like to be filled with despair for the prospects of democracy, spend a few minutes attempting to decipher the psephological musings of Lena Dunham, the distinctly unappealing actress commissioned by Planned Parenthood to share with her presumably illiterate following “5 Reasons Why I Vote (and You Should, Too).” That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.
It is an excellent fit, if you think about it: Our national commitment to permanent, asinine, incontinent juvenility, which results in, among other things, a million or so abortions a year, is not entirely unrelated to the cultural debasement that is the only possible explanation for the career of Lena Dunham. A people mature enough to manage the relationship between procreative input and procreative output without recourse to the surgical dismemberment of living human organisms probably would not find much of interest in the work of Miss Dunham. But we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress.
Beyond Williamson’s rants on abortion, one thing you quickly notice is the pretentious nature of his writing. Later on in his piece, he complains about Dunham’s own narcissism and the self-centered nature of her show and celebrity culture today. Yet, he peppers his column with words like ‘psephological’ and ’empathogenic.’ To see the true nature of his pomposity, just look at the following excerpt.
As a procedure for sorting out complex policy issues, voting is of distinctly limited value: If you wanted to know whether the compressive strength of a particular material were sufficient to support a bridge over Interstate 20, you would not go about solving that problem by bundling that question with 10,000 other equally precise and complex but largely unrelated questions, presenting the bundle of questions to the least-informed few million people you could identify, and then proceeding with whatever solution 50 percent +1 of them preferred. That would be a bad way to build a bridge — a homicidal way, in fact — and though it is a necessary instrument of accountability in a democratic republic, voting properly plays a very limited role. For instance, we have a Bill of Rights, which could with equal accuracy be called the List of Stuff You Idiots Can’t Be Trusted To Vote On. A majority of Americans don’t like free speech? Too bad, Harry Reid.
But for Miss Dunham et al., this isn’t a question of citizenship — it’s a therapeutic matter. Voting, she promises, will offer “a sense of accomplishment,” knowledge that one has done the right thing, even “joy.” But checking a box is the most trivial accomplishment imaginable; having done so is no guarantee that one has done the right thing, inasmuch as voters routinely make bad decisions for evil reasons; and one suspects that Miss Dunham means something different and less by “joy” than did, say, Beethoven or Walt Whitman. “I wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote,” she writes, “then walked around with a spring in my slinky step. It lasted for days. I can summon it when I’m blue. It’s more effective than exercise or ecstasy or cheesecake.” And that of course is the highest purpose of our ancient constitutional order: to provide adult children with pleasures exceeding those of cheesecake or empathogenic phenethylamines.
In the end, Williamson is just upset with Dunham because she is energizing young women to vote. He knows that, for the most part, these women are going to be pro-choice and vote for liberal or Democratic candidates and initiatives. Seeing that, he decides to personally criticize Dunham and her work. He then proceeds to say that anyone who follows her advice is too dumb to vote because they aren’t actually thinking about the issues at hand. Instead, they are just voting because it makes them feel good and important, therefore proving that they are just concerned with what they want, not anyone else.
Here’s the thing. Essentially, voting is about what someone personally wants and desires. One person, one ballot. You get to decide who and what you want to vote for based on your own self-interest. Should people do research and put a lot of thought behind their vote before stepping into the booth? Sure. However, it is still going to be what they personally want.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).