University of Virginia politics professor Gerard Alexander has written a rather peculiar op-ed. In his outspoken judgment, liberals are too outspoken and judgmental. With this exquisite logic, Prof. Alexander proceeds to hector liberals for hectoring conservatives and the millions of dimwits who voted for Trump. "Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think You Are" is a tour de force in pots, kettles and blackness.
Here's an example of Alexander's deep reasoning. "When Kanye West publicly rethought his ideological commitments, prominent liberals criticized him for speaking on the topic at all." Parenthetically, I can't understand why anyone gives a damn about what Kanye West thinks. But to care enough to write that he "rethought his ideological commitments" is just laughable. Last night I happened to be reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' article on West, and ran across this: "In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban." Liberal judgment affirmed.
Here's another. "Liberals feel more powerful than they are…. Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be. In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel." Has Alexander ever encountered a liberal? Far too many are sad sacks who fervently believe the cards are stacked against them in every way: the press is monolithically hostile to them, conservatives are unbeatable supermen, and George W. Bush personally recalibrated Diebold voting machines in Ohio. This is much more annoying and repellent than whatever Alexander has in mind.
And another. "Liberals … have rightly become more sensitive to racism and sexism in American society…. But accusers can paint with very wide brushes…. Some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans — specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump." Well, let's see. Trump spent 17 months on the campaign trail consistently denigrating minorities and women. More than 60 million people then turned out to vote for the vile little worm who had made racism and misogyny core elements of his campaign — and so a connection is made. Oh, the intellectual presumptuousness of these liberals.
(Speaking of painting with wide brushes … "Within just a few years, many liberals went from starting to talk about microaggressions to suggesting that it is racist even to question whether microaggressions are that important." Many liberals did this, which in reality translates to a couple hundred airheads on college campuses of thousands, in some cases tens of thousands.)
And another. "When Mr. Obama remarked, behind closed doors, during the presidential campaign in 2008, that Rust Belt voters 'get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them,' it mattered not so much because he said it but because so many listeners figured that he was only saying what liberals were really thinking." Damn right. And so was Obama. Why are liberals condemned for speaking their right minds when clowns like Trump are applauded for prattling on dementedly?
And another. "Even if liberals think their opponents are backward, they don’t have to gratuitously drive people away." If liberals' comments about their backward opponents were gratuitous, I'd be forced to agree. But.
And this final example. "Without sacrificing their principles, liberals can come across as more respectful of others. Self-righteousness is rarely attractive" — writes Alexander, self-righteously.
Those are just the highlights. The good professor provides many other examples of liberals' outspoken judgmentalism that shouldn't be. Astonishingly, it never seems to occur to Alexander that he's bashing his own piece. Not only that, he acknowledges that much of liberalism is intellectually upright if not virtuous but encourages liberals to suppress it, so that the tender feelings of Trumpeteers are spared. What is it that conservatives are forever telling liberals? "Deal with it." Sounds about right to me.