The last refuge of a liberal
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, August 27, 2010
Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."
That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.
It's an excellent piece, and I recommend reading it all at the link.
I'd planned on blogging about it yesterday, but good things come to those who wait, and now James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal has done a piece expounding on Krauthammer's column. Taranto explains how the modern liberal (leftist) is an oikophobe. This explains why self-identified liberals are intolerant of the people they profess to stand for, and share more in common with Soviet commissars who would never consider themselves the comrade of the "glorious" coal miner or wheat farmer.
Why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting.
If you think it's offensive for a Muslim group to exploit the 9/11 atrocity, you're an anti-Muslim bigot and un-American to boot. It is a claim so bizarre, so twisted, so utterly at odds with common sense that it's hard to believe anyone would assert it except as some sort of dark joke. Yet for the past few weeks, it has been put forward, apparently in all seriousness, by those who fancy themselves America's best and brightest, from the mayor of New York all the way down to Peter Beinart.
What accounts for this madness? Charles Krauthammer notes a pattern:It's worth it to go back and read Krauthammer.
What is the nature of this contempt? In part it is the snobbery of the cognitive elite, exemplified by a recent New York Times Web column by Timothy Egan called "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings"--or by the viciousness directed at Sarah Palin, whose folksy demeanor and state-college background seem terribly déclassé not just to liberals but to a good number of conservatives in places like New York City.
In more cerebral moments, the elitists of the left invoke a kind of Marxism Lite to explain away opinions and values that run counter to their own. Thus Barack Obama's notorious remark to the effect that economic deprivation embitters the proles, so that they cling to guns and religion. (Ironically, Obama recently said through a spokesman that he is Christian.) Here's Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's labor secretary, explaining "The Anatomy of Intolerance" to readers of TalkingPointsMemo.com:
Many Americans (and politicians who [sic] the polls) don't want a mosque at Manhattan's Ground Zero. . . .
Where is all this coming from?
It's called fear. When people are deeply anxious about holding on to their homes, their jobs, and their savings, they look for someone to blame. And all too often they find it in "the other"--in people who look or act differently, who come from foreign lands, who have what seem to be strange religions, who cross our borders illegally.So if some Americans are afraid of people "who have what seem to be strange religions," it must be a totally irrational reaction to "economic insecurity." It couldn't possibly have anything to do with an act of mass murder committed in the name of the religion in question.
And Reich doesn't just fail to see the obvious. He dehumanizes his fellow Americans by treating their values, feelings and opinions as no more than reflexive reactions to material conditions. Americans in fact are a very tolerant people. Even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was no serious backlash against Muslims. What makes them angry--what makes us angry--is the bigotry of the elites.It's also worth it to read the whole thing here at the link.
Now, one more smaller read to tie things in together and that's it. Reason Online had a column the other day talking about the history of The Big Lie, and how it was not supposed to be a tool for use by fascists, but a tool that had been used against them, as described by Hitler. In modern usage, it's the concept of The Big Lie that's important, not so much it's origin... until someone cites its origin incorrectly. But I digress... the important part is that the leftist founder of DailyKos has released a shitty new book and what it shows about the left.
Roger Ebert, Hypocrisy, and "the Big Lie" Michael C. Moynihan | August 26, 2010
As I observed on Twitter last night (which you would have known if you were following me), the strangest thing about Markos Moulitsas’s stupid new book American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right is that it is blurbed by David Coverdale, the leather-faced former Whitesnake front man. Quoth Mr. Tawney Kitaen, “American Taliban shines a blinding light on the conservative right’s dark agenda. Anyone who genuinely cares about America should read this book.”
The title of Moulitsas’ book is pretty self-explanatory, but according to the promotional materials provided by the publisher, the DailyKos founder “pulls no punches as he compares how the Republican Party and Islamic radicals maintain similar worldviews and tactics.” To my comrades on the left, congratulations on the acquisition of your very own Dinesh D’Souza. But today I noticed a few other effusive blurb writers praising the Republican-Taliban connection:
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is, I am often told, a paragon of reason on cable news. Indeed, she opined to Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.): “Do you feel like it's possible to have a constructive debate, even about hot-button issues like abortion, like some of the other things that have attracted some of the most extreme rhetoric? Or do you feel like things have now been so heated, for so long, and there's been so many exaggerations that the prospects for civil discussion are dim?” Yes, purge the extreme, over-heated rhetoric from the debate...by providing a blurb for a book comparing the Republican Party to the Taliban! Because, as Maddow says, “It isn’t possible to understand American politics now without understanding the worldview and arguments of Markos Moulitsas.”The book is called American Taliban, and it's every bit as stupid as you'd expect from Markos "Screw Them" Moulitsas. The bogus polls he cites are from pollsters he's suing because they manufactured data to suit his book. It's leftist propaganda. No surprise there.
There is one important difference between the American oik and his European counterpart. American patriotism is not a blood-and-soil nationalism but an allegiance to a country based in an idea of enlightened universalism. Thus our oiks masquerade as--and may even believe themselves to be--superpatriots, more loyal to American principles than the vast majority of Americans, whom they denounce as "un-American" for feeling an attachment to their actual country as opposed to a collection of abstractions.
Yet the oiks' vision of themselves as an intellectual aristocracy violates the first American principle ever articulated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . ."
This cannot be reconciled with the elitist notion that most men are economically insecure bitter clinging intolerant bigots who need to be governed by an educated elite. Marxism Lite is not only false; it is, according to the American creed, self-evidently false. That is why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting.This is how modern liberals (again, leftists) can accuse those who aren't leftists of being like the Taliban, of being closed-minded, of being haters, of being reactionary small-minded bigots. Simultaneously, the liberal can embrace the sharia-supporting Cordoba/Ground Zero Mosque, embracing their own open-mindedness by embracing islam, yet ignore women's and gay rights that they also claim to support. This is how the modern liberal can accuse everyone but them of being "economically insecure bitter clinging intolerant bigots who need to be governed by an educated elite" - just as Taranto says.
To the educated elite of the left, the Taliban and Islamic terrorists, soccer moms and Nascar dads are all the same, even though they're opposites. To the educated elite of the left, when they have to decide who the real bad guy is, oikophobia rules, and they tear down the American citizen who rejects the left's statist rule - be it absurd taxes or the left's de facto support of the advancement of a global caliphate.
Perhaps one quote by Moulitsas * makes this distinction more clear:
The military is perhaps the ideal society -- we worked hard but the Army took care of us in return. All our basic needs were met -- housing, food, and medical care. ... The Army taught me the very values that make us progressives -- community, opportunity, and investment in people and the future.
A regimented, structured society with a caste system where everyone wears the same clothing, everyone operates at the same time, where regulations are harshly enforced and grueling work is the norm? Where liberty and freedom are granted only by the grace of those of superior rank? The left does want a harshly statist society. They want to live in 1984. They want the state to rule them "for the greater good".
His freedom is slavery.
His ignorance is strength.
Moulitsas doesn't seem to understand that the military is voluntary. There is a great distinction between being conscripted into a socialist state with threat of prison just to be a citizen and voluntarily making one's personal liberty and even life secondary in order to keep your fellow countrymen safe.
But the left wants to be the ruling class and resent it when the country class tells them no. Anyone who doesn't submit to their grand scheme of a regimented society for the "greater good" is the problem. Anyone who opposes the country class is someone they ally with.
They are oikophobe bigots and tyrants, who accuse others of being bigoted tyrants if they resist. Projection.
*Of course, given that the left frequenly has liars who claim military service as street cred - like the liar Micah Wright, we're just assuming that Moulitsas was in the military. 20 mile road march and bleeding feet in boot camp? I find that claim highly dubious.