Why ARE liberals so condescending?

I always thought it was because they are unhappy and don’t care who knows it, and are trying to bring the rest of us down. Gerard Alexander was interviewed by Dennis Miller this morning, and he has written his thoughts in the Washington Post. Gerard and Dennis had a lot of fun with this topic – good radio.

American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension.

I don’t discount liberal’s arrogance either.

UPDATE: a short primer on happiness from the podcast Stuff You Missed In History Class. Starts with the Greek philosophers. (podcast is dated 6/8/9)

3 thoughts on “Why ARE liberals so condescending?

  1. Funny. It seems that this post has the very attitude which it criticizes. But perhaps that is just because of my liberal bent. Perhaps you are just having a laugh, and writing for any audience other than me.

    Let me point out though only the most disturbing aspect of the epigraph of your blog (the Barzun quote). Do you agree with the quote in its entirety, including the idea that feminism (i.e., the equality of the sexes) is equivalent to flexible morals and changing fads? And if you believe that women need to get back into the kitchen barefoot, on what do you base that idea? Presumably on the “traditional rules,” which you take to be completely right and factual without doubt, which is to be “committed to the proposition that [your] views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while [liberal] positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.”

    1. Dedalus, you misunderstand the point of the Barzun quotation. I take it as descriptive of our age; I don’t intend any particular attitude toward any particular component of it. In fact, the quotation comes at the beginning of an article on research libraries, which also, Barzun observes, characterize Alexandrian eras. I have nothing against them—indeed, I’ve spent much of my life in them! They, like the other components of our age Barzun mentions, emerge for reasons, some good, some bad. They have important cultural implications. They help people to attain certain goals but can hinder the attainment of others. I don’t think of traditional rules as completely correct, and I certainly don’t think of them as “factual” or “without doubt.” Indeed, I’m a thoroughgoing fallibilist. Of course I think my views are correct; I hardly consider them self-evident, however, and I don’t consider opposing views illegitimate or unworthy of serious consideration. I don’t try to silence liberals, or insult them, or suggest that their views shouldn’t play a role in public debate. I see people on the left do all that and more, however, to conservatives. So, I reject the implied moral equivalence here.

      On feminism in particular, I’m all for equality of opportunity. I don’t think that’s what feminism as a movement has been about since the 1970s, however. The equality battle was won around that time; feminists might have declared victory. But they didn’t. They sought out more and more rarified forms of discrimination that needed to be fought. Now, in a lot of areas, including education, there is blatant discrimination against men. But that’s a long story….

  2. Well i am a consevitave i gust bought my girlfriend an expencive pair of shoes also i kicked her OUT of my kitchen to be honest i cook better i think that dispels your “theories” about us let us not forget abe lincolon was republican and the GOP backed the civl rights movement… Liberals opposed both explain that deadlus9 and if you dont belive me look in a UNBIASED political history book.

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