How gender theory helped bring about our Afghan rout and other commentary 


Foreign desk: Did Gender Studies Cause Rout?

At The Spectator World, the pseudonymous Cockburn wonders — only half-jokingly — if “gender studies” caused America “to suffer its most humiliating defeat ever” in Afghanistan. US government reports say “$787 mill­­ion was spent on gender programs” there, though “that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking.” One report cites the difficulties, such as the fact that there’s no word for “gender” in Dari or Pashto. And a 10 per­cent female-participation quota in the Afghan legislature’s lower house might have made sense “in a Marvel movie, but didn’t to devout Muslims.” Even as America “built an Afghan army that ended up collapsing in days, and a police force whose members frequently became highwaymen, it always made sure to execute its gender goals.” 

Conservative: No Office for DC Mandarins

These days, “bureaucrats hardly come to the office, and when they do, they are masked and isolated within the great corridors of their cavernous Soviet-inspired concrete mausoleums,” Donald Devine laments at The American Spectator. The White House “plans to start phasing the federal workforce back to the office after Labor Day,” but “few agencies are prepared to do so, and most have not even created plans.” In fact, “an Internal Revenue Service employee confessed” that his office’s reopening “has been pushed back 10 times, and he suspects there is no real plan.” It’s hard to blame them, given the draconian measures imposed by President Biden, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing even for the vaccinated. “Smart government employees have read the tea leaves and know they will never have to go to the office again.”

Tech watch: Amazon Killed (the Name) Alexa

The name Alexa “has suffered one of the sharpest declines of any popular name in recent years” due to Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant product, Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic explains. After Amazon debuted the devices, “parents began to realize that having the name could be a nuisance, or worse, could become associated with subservience, because people are always giving orders to their virtual Alexas.” Three years after its blockbuster release, the number of babies named Alexa “plunged below its pre-Amazon baseline in 2018 — that may be when many parents started to understand the ubiquity of the name.” Still, Amazon has yet to bring the name to extinction: More than 75,000 American girls named Alexa “are younger than 18.”

From the right: David Brooks’ Bobo Lens

Reprising the themes of his best-selling 2000 book, “Bobos in Paradise,” New York Times columnist David Brooks has recently taken the liberal urban gentry (the hyper-educated “bobos” of his title) to task for widening social divides — but, Peter Berkowitz argues at RealClearPolitics, Brooks doesn’t go far enough and, indeed, “remains attached to progressives’ soothing sense of moral superiority.” Brooks’ claim is that “as the bobos achieved a sort of stranglehold on the economy, the culture and even our understanding of what a good life is, no wonder society has ­begun to array itself against them.” The trouble, says Berkowitz, is that Brooks himself views the opposition through a bobo lens, regurgitating elites’ false, self-serving claims that populists are deranged and bigoted. ­“Although he provides no evidence, [Brooks] sees ‘a lot of truth’ in the belief that the people’s inveterate racism and aversion to change exacerbate their ­reaction to elite arrogance and overreach.” In other words: “The left still has a long way to go to understand the right and what ails America.”

Culture beat: Save Single-Sex Spaces!

Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, is pushing for an old men’s club in London to admit women — but, counters The American Conservative’s Helen ­Andrews, sex-separate spaces are “common sense”: “Just as men are different from women, groups of men are different from groups of women. They operate by different rules and have different strengths and weaknesses. They vary in competitiveness, in whether decisionmaking is egalitarian and consensus-driven or hierarchical, in what kinds of conformity are enforced and how.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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