Niall Ferguson dismisses economist John Maynard Keynes's work as the product of an "effete" sensibility more interested in talking ballet than building a family with his wife.
Daily Caller writer Matthew K. Lewis blasts coverage of the gun control debate and declares, "Newsrooms should also hire a few journalists who aren't effete liberal p*ssies."
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas dismisses fellow Republicans who considered voting for a de minimis gun-control bill as "squishes."
Welcome to the place where public policy-making runs smack into the culturally charged policing of the boundaries of masculine identity.
Pussies. Squishes. Effete elites. This isn't policy talk oriented toward coming up with the greatest good for the greatest number, reducing human suffering, or even securing the nation against foreign threats. This is something else -- something far more primal. This is about perceptions of manliness, and about policy as an affirmation of masculine identity.
While identity politics is often seen as being a form of argument involving minorities, the reality has always been that identity politics in America is little more than a recent instantiation of the core human desire to be part of a group, and the fact that groups ceaselessly contend for power against each other. White men once were seen as the American norm from an identity perspective, in that they were the only ones who held the franchise. They remain the dominant class in virtually every significant remunerated field of endeavor. But today I think we see more and more expressions of cultural identity from white men qua white men, as they seek to claim a place of their own in the multicultural firmament. Sometimes this identity is described as being Southern, or rural; other times, as Lewis puts it, it's about "redneck" culture. He contrasts this with having "a cosmopolitan background," a.k.a. hailing from a racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse urban community.