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- AUGUST 27, 2010
Why the liberal elite finds Americans revolting.
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:
charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast
media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on
— Resistance to the vast
expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by
the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black
— Disgust and alarm with the federal
government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized
in the Arizona law? Nativism.
— Opposition to
the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed
in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.
— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.
we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year’s excuse
for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a
nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?
portrays this as a cynical game: "Note what connects these issues. In
every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public
opinion. . . . What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the
trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and
substance of the contrary argument."
But this has its limits as a
political strategy. Krauthammer writes that "the Democrats are going to
get beaten badly in November," and no one will credit him for boldness
in that prediction. Some may disagree with his reckoning as to the
reason for that likely loss: that "a comeuppance is due the arrogant
elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them
from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose
But can anyone argue that a show of contempt is a winning
political strategy? The question answers itself and implies that the
contempt is genuine.
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.
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:
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