On May 30, Lou Dobbs had a panel discussion with Fox News colleagues Doug Schoen, Juan Williams, and Erick Erickson over a Pew Research Center study showing that women are now the primary or sole wage earners in 40 percent of American homes.
Dobbs views this phenomenon as a function of “society dissolving around us.” Erickson, observing that all throughout the animal kingdom males “typically” assume “the dominant role,” remarked that “having mom as the primary breadwinner is bad for kids.” Williams sees this correlating with “the disintegration of marriage,” while Schoen characterized it as “a catastrophic issue” that threatened to “undermine our social order.”
Bear in mind, while Erickson of redstate.com leans to the Right, Dobbs is an independent, and Williams and Schoen are both long-time Democrats. Yet whatever political differences they have over other issues were forgotten while discussing this one. As Williams asserted: “Left, right, I don’t see how you can argue” that Pew’s findings are a good thing.
Well, another Fox News celebrity, Megyn Kelly, did indeed try to do what Williams thought impossible. The very next day, she had Dobbs and Erickson on her show.
Kelly wasted no time in getting to the point. To Erickson, she asked: “What makes you dominant and me submissive and who died and made you scientist-in-chief?”
When the imperturbable Erickson replied that the much respected Pew Research Center determined that many in their own study were no less concerned about its findings than he, Kelly shot back: “Just because you have people that agree with you doesn’t mean that it’s not offensive.”
She continued: “I didn’t like what you wrote one bit. To me you sound like somebody who’s judging and then wants to come out and say, ‘I’m not, I’m not, I’m not,’ and now let me judge, judge, judge.”
Kelly alluded to studies that supposedly suggest that children of homosexual parents and single mothers are just as well adjusted as the children of stay-at-home mothers. She also mentioned that once upon a time “science” established that the offspring of interracial unions were inferior. “Tell that to Barack Obama,” she said.
Notice, Kelly didn’t just disagree with her colleagues’ assessment of the Pew study. She was angry at them for it. She found their comments “offensive,” judgmental, and, in short, “didn’t like” them “one bit.” From beginning to end, her exchange with Dobbs and Erickson was marked by sarcasm and hostility.
Yet it was also marked by illogic and irrationality.
It may come as a newsflash to Kelly, but the truth of a proposition doesn’t depend upon whether she — or anyone — is offended by it. There are still other lessons that she would be well served to learn.
In bullying one’s interlocutor by making insinuations against his character, one neither strengthens one’s own view nor weakens that of one's opponent. Moreover, even if the charges are accurate, even if, say, one’s opponent really is the jerk, idiot, “sexist,” or “racist” that one suggests, he may still be correct.
The left-wing blogosphere lionized Kelly for combating “the sexism” of her colleagues. If this is indeed the target upon which she set her sights, then Kelly must be deemed to have failed abysmally, for she only fueled the stereotypical image of the hyperemotional woman.
Meanwhile, Dobbs and Erickson remained as calm as could be and in good cheer.
That 40 percent of women are primary or exclusive wage earners is no cause for celebration. It is cause for concern. It may not be an occasion for tears — or it may be so. But this is the point: We simply don’t and can’t know for certain the effect that a shift this dramatic, this unprecedented, in an institution as central as the family will have on the fate of civilization. The prudent and wise would never think to treat any change of this magnitude as cavalierly as they would regard a change in bed sheets or lipstick brands.
And they certainly wouldn’t demonize those, like Dobbs and Erickson, who are reasonably pessimistic about such changes.
But Kelly has proven that she is neither prudent nor wise.
Nor, for that matter, is she particularly charitable to those with whom she disagrees — especially when they dare to deviate from the politically correct line on gender relations.