You’ve probably wondered how it came to be that yesterday’s respectable nonpartisan women’s groups such as the the YWCA and even the Girl Scouts have morphed into today’s policy arm of the radical left. U.S. News & World Report regular John Leo explains in a column for Jewish World Review: it’s misson creep. Leo’s guru on this issue is acerbic former National Review editor John O’Sullivan, coiner of O’Sullivan’s First Law: “All organizations that are not actually right wing will over time become left wing.”    

As examples of the workings of his law, O’Sullivan pinpointed the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ford Foundation, and the Episcopal Church. But Leo notes that the law applies with particular force to organizations with the names “women” or “girls” in their title. Leo writes:

“Though most people still think the YWCA is a sort of health club or urban spa, it too is part of the cultural left. It joined the National Organization for Women’s ‘Fight the Right'” campaign, backed [NOW president] Martha Burk’s campaign against Augusta National Golf Club, and opposed school vouchers in D.C.”

Same with the Girl Scouts. Along with selling cookies and earning merit badges, the Scouts, at least in Waco, Texas, got into the abortion wars on the pro-choice side by giving a “woman of distinction” award to highly placed Planned Parenthood official who ran an abortion clinic and also sponsored a Planned Parenthood-designed sex-education course that many parents found objectionable. After a barrage of parental complaints, the Waco council backed down–but the Girls Scouts’ national council continues to approve the Planned Parenthood sex course, which implies, among other things, that there’s nothing wrong with premarital experimentation.

Finally, there’s UNICEF, the U.N.’s children’s agency. As Leo points out, under UNICEF’s former director, Jim Grant, the organization steered clear of politics and controversy and focused on treating and preventing children’s diseases, saving the lives of some 25 million children. Back in Grant’s years, when you bought UNICEF Christmas cards, you were supporting one of the U.N.’s few worthwhile causes. Now, under the leadership of Carol Bellamy, a feminist activist, Leo writes, “sexual issues and feminist perspectives are dominant, and boys get little attention” from UNICEF.

Sad to say, it’s probably too late to save these once-worthy organizations from politicization, and even worse, left-wing politicization. As Leo writes: “If you’re tempted to support any of these groups, it’s best to remember O’Sullivan’s First Law and find out what they really stand for.” And skip those UNICEF cards this Yule.