Bigot and the left
Earlier this week, Charles Krauthammer wrote a provocative column entitled “The last refuge of a liberal”. The essence of his argument is that the liberal-left respond to critics of their views and policies by labeling them bigots and little people. According to Krauthammer: “promiscuous charges of bigotry are exactly how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking”. The “incorrect thinking” is anything that differs from their views.
Now let’s be honest and admit that we are all bigots, some to a lesser degree than others. Unfortunately this is the legacy of tribalism over the millenia, whether the tribalism is based on religion, language, culture, nationality or even socio-economic status. There has been some progress in some parts of the world in reducing the degree and impact of bigotry, but it persists.
The liberal-left happen to be among the worst bigots because they do not recognize that they are. Their bigotry is based primarily on elitism. They believe they are smarter than everyone who are not part of their select circle. Thus, they believe that they know what is best for everyone, especially the outsiders, and so they believe that they should be entitled to rule in order to implement their ideas. They are paternalistic as a result, but very thin-skinned paternalists.
They have almost no tolerance for critics. They call their critics small-minded, little people, bitter people, fools, and lastly, bigots. The Sarah Pallins of the world and the members of the Tea Party are looked down upon as idiots and unworthy of any consideration.
What the left fail to realize, or do not want to admit, is that their ideas are accepted by a majority of the people only in countries where most people are poor. In such countries, and Venezuela is a good example, the poor can be easily be bought by the government, which destroys the wealth of the country and drives out the enterprising middle and upper income citizens in the blind pursuit of retaining power.
Wherever there is a large, thriving and growing middle class, there has been serious resistance to the ideas of the left.
Krauthammer concluded his column as follows: “The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama overread his mandate in governing too far left. But because 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 them.”
If the Democrats and the real liberals among them are to stage a comeback and try to become the majority party in the US, they will need to do the following.
They will have to recognize that no one has all the answers.
They will have to pay attention to the majority of voters who have different views and try to understand the reasons for this. They will have to accept the real possibility that their opponents, the great unwashed, may be right and have some important contributions to make to policy debates.
They will have to start speaking to people beyond their comfortable ghettos. There are people and views beyond Georgetown, Alexandria and Manhattan.
They will have to do a much better job spelling out their vision and how their ideas might better help the country and the people. But at all times they will have to be open-minded and be prepared to change. Condescension and name-calling are not substitutes for leadership and compromise.
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not reflect the views of either Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.