Liberal illogic

By Ilana Mercer

Writer Maralyn Lois Polak first caught my attention with her smarmy “Saint Martha, and the whores in the temple” column. Like many a media liberal, Ms. Polak proves incapable of advancing a substantive argument against Martha. Instead, she offers up a string of personal assaults, based on the peculiar symbolism Stewart has acquired in Ms. Polak’s mind. That she projects almost paranoid ideation on a woman she doesn’t know says everything about Polak, but very little about the victim of such riffs of outrage.

Bottom line: The ad hominem doesn’t cut it as an argument. The abuse heaped on Martha’s person doesn’t in itself constitute legitimate argument. (My own method is to lob barbs while never neglecting to prove my case.)

On the prowl for Martha, the liberal – and this includes neoconservatives – likes to set the scene by denouncing mammon. Ms. Polak self-righteously disavows money as “… more of an affliction, like genital herpes, something you worried would return uncontrollably, passed on to others through sweaty but dubious transactions you usually regretted later.” Problem being that Polak doesn’t understand what money is.

Money is no more than a medium of exchange. It arose naturally to replace a primitive barter economy. Once-upon-a-time, Ms. Polak would have been forced to directly exchange her articles or books for anti-herpes medication. Finding someone who possessed herpes-calming meds, but at the same time wanted a dose of epistolary clap, may have proven tough.

As people went about making a living by exchanging things – for that is all the maligned free market is – they came to realize that if they didn’t facilitate indirect exchanges, many would starve. Money is simply a way of replacing a direct-barter economy with an ability to make indirect exchanges. That Martha has more money than Ms. Polak or myself simply means that many more people are willing to trade their moolah for a Martha than for a Polak or an Ilana.

I’m not quite sure what Martha manufactures, but whatever it is, leave it to Ms. Polak to discover the inherently corrupting power of the product. Consumer sovereignty? Free will? No such thing, the grim socialist will bay. People aren’t rational beings who make decisions based on preferences. Rather, they are marionettes in the hands of Monster Marthas. Writes Polak: “Martha Stewart helps keep millions and millions of women down by giving them more and more meaningless, trivial busywork to preoccupy them from achieving real major changes in their already over-scheduled lives, let alone lasting accomplishments like … composing sonatas …” (See what I mean by the unhealthy habit of assigning to a stranger wild, imaginary and unproven vice?)

As to sirens and sonatas: Feminists have, admittedly, done an impressive job of jamming cyberspace with online catalogues of obscure women composers. I hate to break it to Ms. Polak: Real history as opposed to “Herstory” – how I laughed when I first heard that feminist sobriquet – shows a stark lack of aptitude for composition among women, which, incidentally, way preceded the appearance of The Martha.

Forgive me, but no one cares how many ancient Greek poems Sister Sappho set to music. Good music always was – and remains – male. Even my daughter, far more forgiving than her mother is on matters musical – would take Bach or Bon Jovi anytime over what she calls the Tuna Tour: The simpering and untalented Sarah McLachlan or the Jewel-type bimbo with a bedroom whimper for a voice. (Relatively skilled women like Stevie Nicks or Alana Myles are a rarity.)

I got distracted (hmmm … Bon Jovi). Back to the lacunae in Polak’s thinking.

Ms. Polak rejects the notion that she might be parroting the feminist paranoia about Martha. Her proof? “Last time I looked,” she grandiosely grouses, “I think for myself.” No, no, no – that’s an assertion, ma’am, and not a valid argument! It certainly seems an Argument From Authority, and, as such, must be discounted!

Either way, to Ms. Polak, Martha’s knack for giving people a touch of the patrician for prices the peasantry can afford is an oppressing plot, for which almost all women have fallen, except for – drum roll, please – Ms. Polak.

If the Marxist notion of Martha’s power to subjugate is valid, why is it, then, that Polak and her confreres have managed to see through it and avoid the mesmerizing pull? Polak’s answer is in the mold of her previous compromised reasoning: She is smart. Ms. Polak, evidently, has always possessed the smarts to see that Martha is a “manipulative business woman,” who preys on women’s need to be perfect. Other women are just not that astute. See what I mean by slipshod thinking?

At the root of this mindless meandering is the profound contempt the liberal has for the masses and their right to buy a tea cozy without being declared non compos mentis.