The United States Senate, once known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” will now permit its members to grace its chamber floor wearing whatever clothes—no matter how casual or unprofessional—they happen to fancy on any given day. Following Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s (D-N.Y.) decision earlier this week to have the sergeant-at-arms cease enforcing the Senate’s long-standing dress code, senators might be forgiven for trading in their traditional Brooks Brothers wares for that most chic of modern haberdashers: the local homeless shelter.
There is one reason and one reason only for Schumer’s distasteful change in policy: The brain-damaged and cartoon villain-resembling junior senator from Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman, insists on it. In addition to his imposing stature, lingering physical health issues stemming from a 2022 stroke, and mental health issues for which he admitted himself into a hospital earlier this year, the hoodie- and shorts-toting Fetterman has become known in the nation’s capital as perhaps the first U.S. senator to ever dress for the job like a bona fide slob.
True, on Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) said he would file a bipartisan resolution next week “to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations.” But as of this writing, Fetterman’s exceedingly “casual” dress has been granted a senatorial imprimatur of legitimacy. Indeed, on Wednesday Fetterman presided over the entire Senate wearing a short-sleeve shirt, no tie, and shorts.
Fetterman’s appalling sense of dress, and Schumer’s capitulation to it, can be seen as part of the Left’s broader, sustained attacks on the norms of many venerable institutions. (We are, after all, reliably informed by many wokesters that the very structure of the Senate—two members per state, regardless of population—is a throwback to “white supremacy.”) But the koshering of Fetterman’s sartorial slovenliness bespeaks a trend both greater and more pernicious than the wokes’ now-trite attacks on American traditions: the failure to recognize, and uphold, objective social standards.
Call it the Senate’s version of the youth soccer “participation trophy.” Everyone is a winner just for showing up!
Across all of American and Western society, the “participation trophy” mentality now reigns supreme. Objective standards are certainly not upheld in the world of modeling, where to speak of “objective beauty” is to out oneself as a hidebound chauvinist; so-called plus-size models, on the contrary, are now all the rage. Objective standards are certainly not upheld in the world of art, either, where much of modern art makes a mockery of the one-time craft of da Vinci and van Gogh. Nor are objective standards recognized in much of postwar architecture, which saw the rise of such hideous schools as brutalism at the expense of the neoclassical and Gothic styles.
Suggesting that some physical female figures, works of art, building designs, musical songs, and so forth are affirmatively “nicer” than others is now frowned upon. We are often told that it is too “judgmental” to make such blanket assertions—to treat mere differences of subjective opinion as matters of objectivity, good and bad, right and wrong. So too, Schumer and Senate Democrats are telling us, it is wrong to treat Fetterman’s preference for casting Senate votes in hoodies and shorts as any different—any “better” or any “worse”—than his colleagues’ preference for doing so in suits and ties. As with a participation trophy, everyone is a winner just for showing up!
The problem is that society cannot function without objective standards. Consider that the rule of law exists to codify which actions are morally acceptable, which are noble, and which are so unacceptable or ignoble that they must be punished. The rule of law, that is, exists to establish rules of conformity for people living in a mutually interdependent society—rules that are predicated upon a prevailing moral consensus. The new Senate dress rule, and the broader relativistic mentality it represents, amounts to social and cultural lawlessness—a form of anarchy wherein there are no standards of conformity, and anything goes.
The Senate is defining its institutional standards down to meet the idiosyncratic demands of a single physically and mentally defective boor who lived off his parents until he was nearly 50 years old and still cannot bring himself to dress and act like a normal, functioning adult. President George W. Bush, speaking in a different context, made a nonetheless similar point when he memorably spoke about the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” The U.S. Senate should be helping to set the tone for the nation over which it putatively presides, elevating its members’ conduct instead of debasing itself to appease perpetually aggrieved woke ingrates.
Really, is it too much to ask that our lawmakers representing the nation wear a proper pair of pants to the office?
Josh Hammer is Newsweek senior editor-at-large, host of “The Josh Hammer Show,” a syndicated columnist, and a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation. Subscribe here for “The Josh Hammer Report,” a Newsweek newsletter. X: @josh_hammer.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM
The post John Fetterman’s Slovenliness and the Demise of Objective Social Standards appeared first on Newsweek.