The Midas Touch is named for the mythical Greek king Midas, who is said to have been able to turn everything he touched into gold.
The Left has the opposite ability: to turn virtually everything it touches into rubble. Sometimes it happens quickly; sometimes it takes generations. But it is inevitable.
Almost the only time this is not true is when the Left takes a position that is shared by non-leftists. But whatever the Left transforms in its direction is damaged, and often destroyed.
Name the institution or the value transformed by the Left, and that institution or value is ruined.
Here is a partial list:
Since the left came to dominate universities, schools of education, and, increasingly, high schools, each has become inferior to what it was prior to left-wing influence.
Universities have become to the Left what seminaries are to religions — a place to indoctrinate students. Truth is derided as a false construct and is no longer the goal of most university professors (outside of math and the natural sciences). Schools of education teach left-wing doctrines and brand-new notions of teaching that are almost always inferior to what existed earlier.
Art and Music
The left-wing influence on art and music has been almost entirely destructive. Notions of greatness in art have been deconstructed, if not ridiculed. There is no pursuit of excellence or of spiritual or moral elevation, and no aim to inspire. Indeed, the opposite is more often the rule. The ugly, the deliberately offensive, the moronic, and the scatological are celebrated: the 24-foot sculpture of a dog lifting its leg and peeing in front of the Orange County Museum of Art; Piss Christ, the crucifix in the artist’s urine shown at galleries around America; and exhibits composed of menstrual blood are but a few examples.
While all rational people want to protect the environment, environmentalism has become a destructive leftist religion. Millions of Africans have died of malaria because of the environmentalist-induced bans on DDT. Environmentalist opposition to modifying rice to include Vitamin A has led to the deaths of about 8 million Third World children. Wind turbines have created killing fields for birds and bats. The American prairies are being destroyed by the environmentalists’ push for ethanol.
The cultural Left has created and celebrated an unbelievable coarsening of the culture, especially injurious to the young. Examples of Hollywood’s degradation of culture in film and on television are too numerous to mention. It will suffice to mention only MTV, one of the most damaging cultural forces in the lives of American young people; and the sex-drenched universities from an f-saw exhibition to the ubiquitous “Sex Week.”
For decades, the Left has sought to weaken the American military, the most potent force for peace and liberty on Planet Earth — by, among other things, huge cuts in military spending (not only through sequestration) and social-engineering experiments such as placing women in combat units.
Thanks to the Left’s total dominance of California political life, the Left, in the words of the most respected observer of California life, Chapman University’s Joel Kotkin, “has turned the California Dream into a nightmare.”
Left-wing policies have done incalculable to damage to black America. Left-wing mayors of nearly every major American city have supervised the economic ruin of many of those places; decades of rhetoric reinforcing black victimhood have served only to stymie black progress and increase anger; and left-wing welfare policies have been the primary contributor to the 70 percent black out-of-wedlock birth rate and the concomitant decline of black fatherhood.
The left-engineered welfare state with its monumental national debts is crushing the economies of virtually every European country that has adopted the idea, and it will do the same to the American economy. Even the proudest achievements of the Left — Medicare and Medicaid — will soon be unsustainable, as will Social Security if the retirement age is not raised by at least a few years.
Men and Women
Thanks to left-wing attitudes inculcated in women from high school on, more and more women consider marriage and family second in importance to career success. This will lead, as it already has, to unhappiness among vast numbers of women who eventually realize that career isn’t nearly as meaningful to them as it is to most men. Meanwhile the anti-boy policies in elementary schools and high schools — books assigned that appeal far more to girls, the end of games at recess that boys enjoy and need — have directly led to boys’ falling more and more behind girls in academic and professional achievement.
Meanwhile left-wing denigration of marriage (except same-sex marriage) has led to the lowest rates of marriage in Western history, and the left-wing-induced secularization of society has massively contributed to historically low birth rates in America and Europe.
God and Religion
For over half a century the Left has made war on Judeo-Christian religions in the popular culture and through legislation, beginning with the Supreme Court’s 1962 decision banning this voluntary and non-denominational prayer in New York State schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.” The consequences of this enforced secularization of American life in terms of human happiness and ethical behavior are — and will increasingly be — disastrous.
It turns out that there is little difference between the Midas Touch and the Leftist Touch. Both end up destroying everything.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.