Our ever-dignified leaders are committed to bringing America down to new depths of slobbery — but, just like air travel these days, at least we can be comfortable on the descent.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decided to discard one of the last vestiges of a dignified American society over the weekend, Axios reported. Schumer directed the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the traditional dress code required in the chamber. The change will allow Senators to ditch the customary suit and tie, and reportedly has an accommodation for Sen. John Fetterman, the physically impaired and clinically depressed Pennsylvania lawmaker who prefers his own uniform of basketball shorts and hoodies. (RELATED: ‘I Don’t Even Like Me’: John Fetterman Opens Up About Struggle With Depression)
Senate Majority Leader Schumer has directed officials to no longer enforce the US Senate dress code.
So John Fetterman can wear this. pic.twitter.com/OacxvcMfYM
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) September 18, 2023
The accommodation highlights the irony of a society obsessed with “human dignity” giving up any pretense of comporting itself in a dignified manner.
COVID accelerated an ongoing trend of casualization in the way we work, dine, travel, socialize and ultimately live. For many young workers, the Patagonia vest has replaced the sport coat and the dress sneaker is all the rage — that is, if they even have to put on pants to go to the office at all. Fast corporate casual is the preferred style of dining, with the Chipotle model being replicated across every regional cuisine imaginable. Air travel in sweatpants is all too common, if not already the norm. Scheduled family dinners at home — let alone formally organized social gatherings — are increasingly fading into anachronism. Even the Senate has not been immune, with recent “modernizing” reforms since 2017 suggesting this week’s final death knell was only a matter of time.
At the same time, America has become increasingly obsessed with dignity. Everyone, no matter who they are, deserves societal recognition of their basic human dignity, we are told ad nauseam. Once built on the idea that we are all made in the image of God, dignity has taken on a material form — leveling the real or perceived disparities of old hierarchies.
This understanding has served as the moral foundation of all modern identity movements. As a society, we strive to accord women equal dignity as men, minorities equal dignity as white Americans, and gay couples the same dignity as straight couples. In the case of pronoun totalitarianism, the dignity accorded to someone’s subjective sense of self must replace reality entirely.
Yet as our focus shifted to granting dignity at a societal level, we’ve moved away from acting dignified ourselves. Elites once set the standard for the common man to comport himself. Proper attire signaled adherence to behavioral expectations and conveyed a sense of respect for oneself and those he surrounded himself with. A finely dressed gentleman showed he could resist the brutishness of human nature and control his impulses as deliberately as he tailored his suit. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
The poor emulated the rich, proving that their dignity transcended their social station rather than demanding external recognition. Perhaps the most striking example is bread lines from the Great Depression, where despite their circumstances, men wore their best coat and tie to acquire their daily rations. Down on their luck far more than Fetterman, they refused to allow the adversity they faced to reflect in how they carried themselves. Resilient men produced a resilient civilization, yet gone are the days when our elites stood as a stalwart of how to live a good life.
The casualization of American life is an extension of the modern formulation of dignity. Traditional dress codes are stifling, a sartorial hierarchy that keeps people from expressing themselves how they otherwise would in a truly free society. Customs must be broken to accept people however they wish to be seen. (RELATED: John Fetterman’s Wife Lays Out The Future Liberals Want — And It’s The Worst Thing You’ve Ever Seen)
The assumptions of Fetterman’s case go one step further. Given his condition, it would be unjust for society to make demands on him to dress professionally. To force him to conform to the accepted standards would deny him the dignity inherent to his being; his slovenly dress is just an extension of his authentic self. The institution must conform to him, rather than the other way around.
But changing the rules to accommodate one man does not in reality make him — or anyone else — better off. As the exception becomes the rule, we all suffer. Far from affirming that Fetterman as being just like everyone else, it affirms that he is not. It suggests he is so disabled, so broken, that to expect him to conform to his colleagues would be a grave injustice. As the pressure to conform fades, society begins to do away with expectations entirely.
But as we’ve seen in other efforts to grant dignity, a new pressure to conform invariably emerges. You must chant the slogans, you must bake the cake, and you must deny the very truth in front of you. The masses come to emulate elite vices rather than their virtues. If Democrats have their way, soon we’ll all be wearing gym clothes to work.