Magazine article Insight on the News

Liberal Agendas Are Trendy, but Are They Worth the Price?

Magazine article Insight on the News

Liberal Agendas Are Trendy, but Are They Worth the Price?

Article excerpt

Is it a strength or a weakness of this land that we fret only fitfully about bureaucracy and its propensity for placing large rocks on the railroad tracks of life?

Most of us keep an eye on Congress, of course. Even toddlers know that those gentleladies and gentlemen are capable of anything up to and including trying to ship the Capitol dome to their home districts.

But the policy elites in the bureaucracy seldom are noticed beyond the Beltway, in part because monitoring their concoctions would be a full-time responsibility. Most Americans are occupied with earning a living, rearing a family and walking the dog.

As a result, routine depredations against civil liberties and sanity translate into guidelines and regulations, directives and dictates.

There's a wicked game, for instance, being played at HUD -- the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- a costly fiefdom that is a parody of efficiency. Roberta Achtenberg, assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, is directing the crazed production.

You may remember Achtenberg and the transient fuss over her Senate confirmation. Concern was expressed whether her open lesbianism and militancy, as exemplified in California when she leaned hard on the Boy Scouts for prohibiting homosexuals, might get in the way of her chores. Not to worry, the senators rude enough to bring up the matter were assured.

Achtenberg is at it again, however, in the revered cause of cultural diversity (as defined by the left). She and the assistant secretary for HUD administration, Marilynn Davis, sent out an internal memo correctly characterized by the Washington Times editorial page as an approximation of Stalinism.

The memo warns that if HUD supervisors want to climb the bureaucratic ladder, they'd better adhere to the Clinton/Achtenberg agenda. To get the performance ratings upon which promotions depend, HUD supervisors will have to "participate in [equal opportunity] and cultural diversity activities outside of HUD and among its clients." They will have to be, according to the memo, "active members of minority, feminist or other cultural organizations."

Stalinism is barely adequate to categorize this arrogant initiative: Obey the party line or else -- and to the trash can with privacy.

The memo should evoke howls of outrage, if not from the citizens of Ottumwa and Eureka and Bangor who pay for this nitwittery, then at least from those in Congress who profess to believe in privacy and merit. But not even a growl so far.

Achtenberg, of course, isn't down-shifting. …

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