So the same people who call Republican women “sluts,” who accuse the Tea Party of being “racist,” who depict black Republican Representative Allen West punching an old white woman, and who imply that Mitt Romney is a “felon,” a tax cheat, and possibly a murderer of a little old lady, are so worried that an 18-year-old might be teased and get his feelings hurt that they are willing to gut the First Amendment. So much for the “diversity” of ideas and the “tolerance” of opposing viewpoints, so much for the fealty to individual rights and the value of dissent against orthodoxy.
And here we get to the most illiberal and reactionary dimension of the lib/prog ideology: it is rigidly orthodox and enslaved to received wisdom. Rather than being edgy dissenters “speaking truth to power,” most lib/progs are stolid, unquestioning supporters of the reigning dogma, no matter how stale or intellectually incoherent. Look no farther than the Obama campaign’s strategy to exploit class envy and resentment and paint Mitt Romney as a robber-baron villain, a Gordon Gekko leering “greed is good” as he ships off jobs to China, kicks widows and orphans out of their homes, and cackles as the fired employees of the companies he’s plundered waste away with cancer––Marxist anti-capitalist clichés as old as 19th century melodrama, one already dead in 1946 when Frank Capra used it to create Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. Of course, this is the same Obama whose Department of Justice just gave its mega-campaign contributor Goldman Sachs––over $1 million just in 2008–– a pass on its suspected financial fraud related to the mortgage crisis that precipitated the Great Recession. And let’s not forget the “green energy” subsidies to political supporters, like the half a billion of taxpayer money bestowed on now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.
It’s hard to say whether this double standard reflects cognitive dissonance, the rank hypocrisy of the opportunist, or the corroding power of ideology on the critical faculties. Something must explain why lib/progs think waterboarding a terrorist is a crime against humanity, while obliterating the terrorist and the family around him with a drone is okay. Something must explain why Ann Romney’s $900 shirt makes her an out-of-touch plutocrat, while Michelle Obama’s $6,800 J. Mendel jacket evokes breathless encomia to her style. Something must explain why the media decried a planned Republican ad about Obama’s factual ties to racist reverend Jeremiah Wright, while the aired Democrat ad linking Romney to a woman’s death by cancer earns a mainstream media shrug. Something must explain why critically questioning Christianity and its doctrines shows intellectual bravery, even though such criticism has been going on for over two centuries and is risk-free, while doing the same thing to Islam is Islamophobic hate speech rather than true intellectual daring.
We may never know why this contradiction inhabits the lib/prog mind, but one thing we do know: it’s not liberal and it’s not progressive in any meaningful sense of those words. So anyone have a suggestion for what we should call it?
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